Specializations, our original “class” system – feature presentation

Hello everyone!

After the presentation of the talent system, it was obvious to continue with specializations! For that part there is much more to say and it has a more direct impact on your gameplay. In case you forgot (really?), our Kickstarter campaign is still running!
Ok, let’s start !

What are those “Specializations” ?

A more classic game may have “classes”. That’s what most of us are used to in RPGs. It defines the fighting style of the character ; warrior, mage, hunter, … you name it. Why do we call them “specializations” ?

  • Because a specialization is like a “mini” class. It only unlock between 3 and 5 active skills to use and 3 to 5 passives skills.
  • Because a specialization have a strong focus on ONE theme while usually, classes in MMO have several theme. For example mages controlling arcane, fire and frost. Warrior having tanking or damage orientations.
  • Because in Ascent Quest, each player can have TWO specializations and that is the combo of those specializations that we can call a class.
Specialization interface, available anytime in the main menu.

How do we choose our specialization ?

Every player starts with the same specialization at level 1 : Swordman. And very early in the game, around level 3, you’ll get the opportunity to choose more specializations. They are “unlocked” by speaking to a trainer or finishing a certain objective. Your character can unlock every single specialization in the game. You don’t have to create a new character to play another specialization.

When you are in safe places (cities, outposts) you can freely swap your specialization in preparation of the battles to come. This swap cost – nothing -. You just have to be careful with what you pick, because once in the wild or in the middle of a mission, you can’t change it. You have to wait to be in a safe place again.

When you get your specialization, it is untrained. It unlocks one skill and that’s it. You have to actually play with this specialization to progress with it.

How can we progress with a specialization, how does it work ?

Your active specializations will gain experience ; yes, the same than your character with talent points. But they have their own unique experience bar. As you slowly fill this bar, skills are unlocked. If you decide to use another specialization, no worries, your progress is saved and you can return to your previous one without losing experience. To give you an idea of how much time it takes to fully unlock a spec, if you pick two specs at the beginning of the game and finish the whole story with them. Both specs will be maxed out when you reach level 40 with your character.

All specializations have 9 skills. About half of them are passives, the others are actives (meaning they have to be manually activated). Let’s give you an overview of the different types of skills. Note that the examples given might change as the development progress, but you’ll get a better idea on how it works.

The “filler” active skill

The very first skill is unlocked right away when you get the spec. It is the “filler skill”. It has no reloading time (cooldown); you can spam it, use it how you want. Just have fun … but be careful because like every skills, it consumes energy. Those filler skills are what you use when all other skills are on cooldown or if they don’t suit to your current needs.

For example, the Pyromancer have the classic Fireball as a filler skill. You can launch as many Fireballs you want, you just have to cast long enough to give some energy to your ball so it increase in power. Release the cast, your Fireball is launched and will travel longer / do more damage based on the amount of energy you used.

Active skills with cooldowns

Aside from the filler skills, ALL active skills have a cooldown that range from 20 seconds to 3 minutes or more. Usually, the more powerful they are, the longer is the cooldown. A Pyromancer can ignite a big explosion at the targeted ground to do instant and massive damages in an area. Then a cooldown of 45 seconds starts.

Passive skills

Passive skills are… passive. You don’t have to manually cast them. Some simply increase your damage with certain types of weapon or give you a neat little help to get better at your spec. For example, an Archer will unlock a passive skill that show a little line to estimate the trajectory of the arrow. Sometime, passives skills are effects that are automatically triggered under certain conditions. A Swordman can recover a little bit of health points every time a parry is successfully made. The first Guardian passive skill increases the chance that enemies target you when you attack them (increase your hostility towards them or “aggro”).

“Ultimate” skills

At the very end of each specialization sits the strongest skill. They can be passive or active. Those skills can take a little bit of time to unlock but they are STRONG. Like, very STRONG. So they also usually have a long cooldown. Here is a very simple example to imagine with Pyromancer. Yeah, Pyromancers again. It’s easy to imagine what they can do, more explosions ! So yeah, anyway, … One of the Ultimate of the Pyro is, the Meteor. You target the ground somewhere, it can be at a great distance. Then you charge your energy in it. When you release it, a meteor will fall into that position and hit everything. The size of it, the damage it does, is based on how much energy you’ve put in it (spoiler : it consumes your energy FAST). Very efficient to clear a goblin camp. Then you get a cooldown of few minutes.

Sometimes, you have to choose.

You will notice that sometime, two skills are unlocked at the same time. On the interface, there is a little arrow between those two skills. It means that you have to choose only one of the two ! It allows to adjust a bit how you will play your specialization. To continue with Pyromancer examples, you will have to choose between two passive effects that affect your Fireball : it now explodes on impact and deals some area damage OR it flies faster and travels a longer distance. Depending if you are a more offensive user who doesn’t fear to run inside the melee or more of a sniper… You have the choice!

One is good. Two is better.

So now that you have a better idea of what a specialization is, let’s talk about the fact you can have two of them enabled at the same time!

Each specialization will give you 6 skills, including 2 to 3 active ones. You will have 2 filler skills, one behind each triggers of your controllers. You can, of course, use both simultaneously. But you won’t have 2 ultimates. In fact one specialization will be your primary and the other your secondary. You won’t have access to the ultimate of the secondary spec.

The “Dual Skill”

If both your specializations are maxed out, you will unlock the “Dual Skill”. It is usually a passive skill that is here to improve the synergies between your two specs. Simple example, if you pick Swordman & Pyromancer, at max level your sword will deal additional fire damages each time you hit with it. If you pick Archer & Guardian, you will now have a miniature shield in front of your bow. Awesome to block projectiles while you shoot !

So if you are good with numbers, you deduced that your character at max level will have, based on your choices :

  • 4 to 6 active skills (2 fillers, 1 ultimate, 1 to 3 others)
  • 6 to 8 passive skills (1 dual, 7 others)

In addition to your weapon you use to attack/parry/block, it makes a fair amount of actions to manage at higher level, but we may still change things based on tests during the alpha.

The Pros & Cons

Why have we made such a system? That’s a fair question. When thinking about classes in MMO using the tank / healer / damage-dealer system (know as the “holy trinity”), many issues can raise. Knowing that we are on a VR game with more likely less peoples playing than a “AAA game” from big studios, we have to make things differently. So, what are the Pros&Cons ?


  • One of the main issues in online RPG is the shortage of tanks and healers. With 2 actives specs, damage-dealer player can decide to use a healing or tanking spec as a secondary spec. They are still damage-dealers but they can fulfill the secondary role. You need more heals for a difficult dungeons ? You may have 2 damages-dealers with healer as a secondary spec. So you have solutions in case of shortage.
  • Imagine you are lvl25 and you realize that you don’t like your class in a classic MMO. You have to restart from scratch with your character. Now with this system, you can just change one of your two specs and continue your adventure. Your remaining higher-level spec can still be enough to kill monsters and progress while your new secondary is getting experience.
  • Players are more incited to play more specializations, because they don’t have to fully restart their character. So it’s going to be easier to find someone willing to fill a specific role in shortage. It’s also interesting to try to unlock and progress in every specializations.
  • Each specializations can have a strong entity with a very few amount of skills but all having more impact on the gameplay.
  • As developers, creating new specialization is much easier than a fully fledged class. So we can have more of them at a greater pace. Even if you are not interested in a spec, it can by fun to play the new one as a secondary spec alongside your favorite one.
  • Balancing is more flexible. If a specialization gets under-powered, players can easily switch to another one while we’re working on a fix. Your favorite specialization is weak while another one is overpowered ? Keep your favorite as a primary and the overpowered as secondary. While we fix your spec, you won’t be stuck with an under-performing character.
  • There are a ton more pros to this system but those are the main ones.


  • Less unique identity. A fully fledged class can have more identity yes, with more synergies between skills. Yes but the specialization offer more liberty. A player loving to tank can decide what type of tank he want to be. More of an healer/tank hybrid ? Pick Tank&Cleric, you get a Paladin. Like death magic ? Tank&Necromancer (to be unlocked during our Kickstarter !), you have a Dark Knight. With the “Dual skill”, we ensure that there is enough synergies between skills to make it feel like a full class.
  • It can be a bit complicated for new players. Yes ! That’s why we are trying to guide players through the specialization the easiest way possible. You will start with only one spec, slowly unlock more. An NPC will explain everything. Once you are familiar with it, at level 10, you can have your secondary spec.

That’s it for the overview of the specialization system! As you can see, it’s a quite big feature and it will impact the gameplay a lot. You will certainly have ton of questions about and we’ll gladly answer it on social media or another article, so don’t hesitate to give your feedback!