Ashen Foundry

Character Attributes and Itemization: A First Look

I was looking at some stuff from the pre-Alpha footage that has been streamed, as people do when they are bored at work, and something that jumped out at me was a momentary glance of the stats panel.  It’s barebones, but it’s pre-Alpha so User Interface enhancements are the last thing on any one’s mind right now.  Still, I think there are a few things of interest to look at from this panel.


The Attributes

It appears that characters will have six main attributes, something that is quite common in a lot of RPGs, such as Dungeons & Dragons.   It's unknown to me what effect each attribute will have on specific classes,Save this for posterity! or even if a class like Tank will utilize all six of the attributes.  It's entirely possible that Ashes of Creation is following other games where only two attributes are used, one for damage and one for health/survivability.  In the case of the Tank, it could be surmised that the Power attribute is the main damage attribute

Briefly, here are the six main attributes and a few of my first impressions about each of them:  

  • Power -- At 64 points, this appears to be the Tank's primary stat.  Since it's named Power and not Strength, does that mean it's related to any sort of physical type of damage?  Or just melee damage? 
  • Dexterity -- Generally a skill associated with fast-paced melee damaging classes like Rogues or for ranged damage, I have to wonder if it will play any sort of roll in any defenses as well.  
  • Constitution -- I'm straight up assuming this will be related to your health pool.  Some games call it Stamina, but I'm down with calling it Constitution.  Let's embrace those D&D roots.
  • Willpower -- I'm waffling between this being a caster damage attribute or it increasing spell-based damage, or if it helps with defending against spell-based attacks.  I really think it could go either way.
  • Wisdom -- Healing-based attribute possibly.  Wisdom is a main stat for Clerics in D&D, so it's possible!  Either way, it's tied with Willpower as the lowest attribute on this particular Tank character.
  • Mentality -- Like Willpower, I'm waffling on what this might be.  If Willpower is a spell defense attribute, this might be the attribute that determines spell damage, or vice versa.

The character panel also lists three other stats directly.  Physical Attack (rated at 94), Magical Attack (rated at 44) and finally Block Chance (23.26%).  Combined with other information presented on this screen, there are a couple of observations that I can make as well as a few questions that crop into my head.

  1. Since there is no shield equipped (the character is using a staff), does that mean that a staff has block chance?  Does this mean all weapons have a block chance as there is no parry stat?  I would be curious to find out, that might make itemization quite interesting for certain dual-wielding characters.
  2. Does that weapon have different attack values for Physical and Magical attack ratings?  Since the Physical Attack rating is 94, one could assume that the staff has a damage rating of 30 and add that to the Power attribute which is 64.  As far as the Magical Attack rating goes, it's less obvious.
  3. Will Block be the only option?  What about evasion?  A part of me would love to see evasion tanking crop up into an MMO again.  
  4. Where's our armor rating?  How much mitigation will it provide?  I'm curious, but I also assume this is part of the unfinished aspect of the UI.

Armor, Regalia and Weaponry Oh My!

The left side of the Character Panel is made up of the armor pieces available in the game.  I’m actually quite pleased to see that there are a number of available slots.  I think gear is boring when it’s limited to only a small handful of items… but eight equippable pieces of armor?  Fantastic!  So let’s take a quick look at what slots we have available, shall we?

  • Helmet
  • Shoulders
  • Chest
  • Bracers
  • Gauntlets or Gloves for those cloth-wearing hippies
  • Belt
  • Legs
  • Boots

How much do attributes effect HP and MP?It’s quite the assortment, and if armor sets are in the game, it could make for some interesting mixing and matching of sets.  Curiously, the provided screenshot shows that our Tank has no helmet or shoulder armor at the moment.  Are those pieces a little higher level?  Or did the person playing want to show off their beautiful head of hair?  We may never know.

As for the right side of the character panel… we can see that there are two sections for items.Regalia in a column on the very right-hand side and Weapons on the bottom.  Let’s start with Regalia first.

There are five slots for what the Ashes team is calling Regalia, though most people might commonly refer to as jewelry:

  • Necklace
  • Two Earring Slots
  • Two Ring Slots

This seems like standard fare, but combined with the eight possible armor slots, it does look like we will have a lot of options in gearing up our characters.  And that doesn’t even touch on the last three slots:

  • Melee Weapon
  • Shield (or Off-Hand?)
  • Ranged Weapon

Our hero, Tank, is equipped with a staff.  That being a two-handed weapon, it’s understandable why he wouldn’t be wearing a shield in his off-hand slot.  The Ranged Weapon slot being empty begs the question… can the Tank equip a bow and plink a few arrows at an enemy?  Or would they have to have a secondary class in order to do that?  If not, can a Ranged Weapon be equipped to work as a “stat stick” (an item that provides extra stats but doesn’t do much else).

What sorts of questions does the character panel bring up for you about possible itemization or character progression?  

About Nybling:

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12 Replies
  1. #1

    Atropos

    Administrator143 Posts

    Nice insights @Nybling, it's definitely super early so I agree its hard to say how much this reveals about the long run plans, but I do suspect that some things are reasonable to start talking about. Presumably they would have a clear vision even from the very initial stages of design about what fundamental RPG/character systems they want. I think it's reasonable to assume that the 6 primary attributes referenced in the Alpha Zero character sheet will show up in the final game. I think personally my biggest hope is just that builds have multiple attribute dependencies, melee DPS needs Power, Dexterity, Constitution, etc...

    Creator of Ashen Foundry and Tamriel Foundry. Former guildmaster of Entropy Rising. Economist and MMO enthusiast.

  2. #2

    Isarii

    Moderator80 Posts

    Nice article @Nybling! Good catch on block chance seeming to function as a single stat instead of having parry broken out. I'm really curious how that will play out.

  3. #3

    Atropos

    Administrator143 Posts
    Isarii wrote on Feb. 13, 2018

    Good catch on block chance seeming to function as a single stat instead of having parry broken out. I'm really curious how that will play out.

     I'm thinking they might not have all the meta-attributes and mechanics implemented yet. For some skill descriptions they specifically mentioned Evasion and Evade Chance, but that doesn't show up on the Alpha charsheet yet.

    Creator of Ashen Foundry and Tamriel Foundry. Former guildmaster of Entropy Rising. Economist and MMO enthusiast.

  4. #4

    Nybling

    Contributor18 Posts
    Atropos wrote on Feb. 13, 2018
    Isarii wrote on Feb. 13, 2018

    Good catch on block chance seeming to function as a single stat instead of having parry broken out. I'm really curious how that will play out.

     I'm thinking they might not have all the meta-attributes and mechanics implemented yet. For some skill descriptions they specifically mentioned Evasion and Evade Chance, but that doesn't show up on the Alpha charsheet yet.

     This is good, I think having separate mitigation options are great.  I love the idea of Evasion tanking, or building your tank to be able to block and evade a bit more reliably in order to help mitigate incoming damage.  Curious to know how much damage Blocking would mitigate.  100%?  Less?  So many questions!

  5. #5

    Latin

    Moderator14 Posts

    Where it expresses "Block chance" as a percentage value, does it mean that Block is a passive mitigation in this game? If so, then they should be really careful about the amount of mitigation it provides, as well as the way it stacks with other defensive mitigation.

    Staff also gives block chance in some games like PoE, so it is not that surprising to see it being associated with tanking or blocking here.

    Not seeing helm and shoulder for tank seems weird. But I think there are two possibilities here. First with there being cosmetic toggles, to disable helm and shoulder for personal aesthetics. Alternatively, it could be the result of certain special gear used elsewhere, that provides special bonus or effect when worn, but does not allow one to use a helm and shoulder piece - this is what I would like to see, to have to choose between different competitive options, resulting in complex decision making for us (and thus plenty of room for theorycrafting and testing).

    It makes some sense to give weapons different attack ratings for physical and magical attacks, it differentiates between the different types and allow for greater diversity in game. But at the same time, other armour pieces and skill passives should also contribute to the physical and magical attack power, to encourage builds with more coherence and planning rather than a mere mix-and-match.

    We may well see hybrid setups and roles early on in the game, especially as the current class system empowers players to choose hybrid classes, which may allow them to use a larger set of skills, use different combination of weapons and enable more possibilities in combat. But I expect to see specialised roles, between the MMO trinity of DPS, Heal and Tank, as the eventual meta as Ashes evolve. Perhaps the developer imagined so as much, and may have or intend to impose soft (stat penalty, movement/action/skill impairment) or hard (outright prevents the use) limitation on using a Bow (or non-tank oriented gear) on a tank. Maybe this is why we don't see any Ranged weapon slotted for the tank. After all there should be a cost to the added flexibility and options of hybrid classes, setups or roles, for balance purposes.

    e pluribus unum

  6. #6

    Nybling

    Contributor18 Posts
    Latin wrote on Feb. 16, 2018

    Not seeing helm and shoulder for tank seems weird. But I think there are two possibilities here. First with there being cosmetic toggles, to disable helm and shoulder for personal aesthetics. Alternatively, it could be the result of certain special gear used elsewhere, that provides special bonus or effect when worn, but does not allow one to use a helm and shoulder piece - this is what I would like to see, to have to choose between different competitive options, resulting in complex decision making for us (and thus plenty of room for theorycrafting and testing).

    It's possible that there are cosmetic toggles, but I think it's way too early in testing to have that stuff in the game (though I could be wrong). 

    I think the most likely option is that helmets and shoulders might not be available as obtainable gear until a higher level.  Wasn't it around 20 when you get your first pair of shoulders in WoW?

  7. #7

    Latin

    Moderator14 Posts
    Nybling wrote on Feb. 16, 2018

    I think the most likely option is that helmets and shoulders might not be available as obtainable gear until a higher level.  Wasn't it around 20 when you get your first pair of shoulders in WoW?

     That's a fair point.

    e pluribus unum

  8. #8

    Relic

    Member13 Posts

    Power Dexterity Constitution Willpower Wisdom Mentality  ~ I would like to have seen on a unity/% based distribution system. More progress gives you more points. Points allow you to invest deeper or specialise into any specific attribute at the expense of others.

    e.g. 0.17 0.17 0.16 0.17 0.17 0.16 = 1 would be the start or slightly biased for classes where the first 100 points are pre determined, awarded and set.

    The amount of points available to collect are infinite. But instead of 17% or 0.17 for power, as I gain a further 900 points, i can put them all into power and shift the stats to....

    0.917 0.017 0.016 0.017 0.017 0.016 = 1.

    Note how my stat distribution now has 91% in power, but sacrificed all other stats from 16/17% down to 1.6/1.7%

    Physical Magical Attack  ~ again, would be on a duality unity system. Physical < > Magical bias ranges from 0.0 - 1.0 where the sum = 1

    Physical multiplier = 0.67

    Magical multiplier = 0.33

    Base multiplier = 1.0

    This allows tuning builds to be all out magical or physical and most importantly 'anywhere between'. As long as the system works along the duality and or distribution lines using a percentile/unity concept as shown, I will be ecstatic and content. It will prove they are taking balance seriously.

    @Atropos ~ This background texture and css scheme is wonderful to use in practice. Not just eye candy. Nice job.

  9. #9

    Relic

    Member13 Posts

    I think the biggest hurdle for me is how skills are related to attributes. Do you want a damage dealer using the most powerful heal spell in the game ? Clearly someone who specced for all out damage should have no healing ability. When you delve down that rabbit hole you realise that skill must be powered by attributes and attributes must define a class.

    Normally you would say 'that class has those skills'... to limit the scope and hope to god that this DD class doesn't get turned into a healer by the devs at some point. But there is an alternative that enables you to disconnect a class from skills. A class was originally an attribute preset with fixed values. But nothing stops you saying 'this skill is locked to x attributes in these ranges. As a consequence, skills can be tuned to builds. Players whose builds match that attribute requirement of the skill (within the scope) will be more attuned to its use and thus more efficient with its use. Just like a weapon and armour should be tailor made for optimal performance.

    So you can have a build tuned, classless system without levels, you just have to use the unity based attribute system instead and tie everything to it. When those attributes become resource pools, that can be biased between regen rate or pool size, you can then perfectly balance the cost/damage/second per species. The bigger the pool the longer the charge time but the bigger the hit. Or perhaps you prefer a small pool with lots of light rapid hits ? Or maybe a small but continuous beam. All do the same DPS, so the playstyle is yours to define.

    This also addresses the skill based system. You can use the charging system as the skill aspect. Holding the button down for too long means you waste the skills DPS/HPS/MPS potential. Not holding it long enough deprives you of the full impact of the strike. Simple. Effective.

  10. #10

    Atropos

    Administrator143 Posts
    Relic wrote on Feb. 21, 2018

    This background texture and css scheme is wonderful to use in practice. Not just eye candy. Nice job.

     Yay! I'm glad you like it! I've heard mixed reviews from TF folks who were unused to the change, so it's nice to get some positive feedback also.

    Creator of Ashen Foundry and Tamriel Foundry. Former guildmaster of Entropy Rising. Economist and MMO enthusiast.

  11. #11

    Tiemie

    Member3 Posts

    I'm wondering how much role-playing is going to be involved in PvE quests as I'm not sure how comparable Wisdom and Mentality are to something equivalent to DnD's Charisma?

    It is good seeing the system behind the game, min-maxers are rubbing their hands along with RPG enthusiasts now... 

  12. #12

    Atropos

    Administrator143 Posts
    Tiemie wrote on April 14, 2018

    I'm wondering how much role-playing is going to be involved in PvE quests as I'm not sure how comparable Wisdom and Mentality are to something equivalent to DnD's Charisma?

     I think this is a really good question - I also wonder whether having 3 primary attributes Willpower, Wisdom, and Mentality will end up being the final design. It does seem to me like those 3 share enough overlap that you could condense them down to just 2. 

    On the Charisma front, though, one of the nice things about a true sandbox MMO is that players will definitely be impacted by their own meta-chraisma as a player. How effectively can you interact with other members of your node, your guild, and of the server overall. 

    Creator of Ashen Foundry and Tamriel Foundry. Former guildmaster of Entropy Rising. Economist and MMO enthusiast.

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