AAU 101 - Levels
(Character, Ancestral, Skilltree)
I will admit one of the things that I often take for granted when talking about Archeage is that not everyone has the same vocabulary and understanding of terms as I do. I have been playing Archeage for over 5.5 years, so at this point a lot of key terms are just second nature to me. The problem with this is, when making the 101 series, I need to make sure that I keep breaking things down to the lowest level. I am not always the best at this; however, my gaming community is great about pushing back when I start to just glaze over the basics. As I am completely redoing Archeage 101 for the Unchained product, I wanted to carve out a little section to talk about levels; specifically, character levels, ancestral levels and Skilltree levels.
Levels – Character Levels, Ancestral Levels, and Skilltree Levels
In the classes chapter I am going to go into a lot more detail about what makes Archeage different from other games when it comes to the leveling system. For right now, I want to point out that Archeage is different from a lot of games on the market due to their skilltree system.
In many games, when you make a character your character level and your class level are identical. If you make a character and you are locked into a single class, then if you are a level 42 player, then you are also a level 42 Cleric, or Shaman, or Ranger or whatever your class may be. As you level your character you are also leveling your class. This is not the case in Archeage.
In Archeage, your class does not have a level which confuses a lot of new players. You have a level as a character and then each of your three skilltrees have their own level. These can level up all at the same pace until you hit level 55, or you can swap skill trees in and out and level them at different paces. While I say you can do this, I generally recommend against swapping them in and out until you have your three main trees to level 55. More on that shortly.
From the moment you start the game every time you earn XP you will be applying XP both to your character level and your skill tree level. Your Character level will start at level 1 and will go all the way to level 55 until you have completely maxed out the XP bar for level 55. At that point, you will stop earning XP until you make a conscious decision to spend 2k honor on an Honorforged Medal and flip your character over from normal levels to Ancestral Levels. Once you are on Ancestral Levels you will repeat the leveling process from Ancestral Level 1 all the way through all the way through Ancestral Level 55.
Author’s Side Note: It will take you years to max out Ancestral 55 as it is upwards of 16 billion XP to go from Ancestral 51 to Ancestral 55.
Every character created in Archeage has access to all 12 of the skilltrees after they have reached level 15. At character creation you will choose one skilltree from a list of six. At levels 7 and 15 you are given the choice to pick your second and third skill trees.
At level 15 you are permitted to begin swapping out each of your skilltrees whenever you would like for a small fee. The benefit of this is that it opens a lot of versatility inside the class system, allowing a single character to be any of the 220 classes the game has to offer. The drawback to this is that you need to level each class from level 15 to level 55 if you want them to at their maximum level.
There is no class level
One thing that throws people off is that there is no class level. If you are using Vitalism + Songcraft + Auramancy that makes your class Cleric, however, there is no level for your Cleric. It is possible, if you selected all three of these trees at character creation that your character level, your Vitalism skill tree level, your Songcraft skill tree level and your Auramancy skilltree level are all the same. It is also possible that your Character Level is 55, your Vitalism is level 50, your Songcraft is level 40 and your Auramancy is level 16. Each of the skilltrees operate independently of each other.
The important part of skilltree level comes from skill selection. Each skilltree starts with two abilities able to be selected, (three at level 15) with an additional ability becoming available on each of the levels ending in 5 or 0 (20, 25, 30 etc). You cannot choose abilities from a level higher than your current skilltree level.
Character Level & Ancestral Level
While it seems like character level is not that important, several important game mechanics operate off character level.
First, once you reach level 55 you stop losing experience when you die. This is a huge incentive to reach level 55 as quickly as possible.
Second, is that you earn XP based on your character level, which determines which mobs you can farm for experience. If you were to swap in three brand new trees when your character was level 55, you would find it rather difficult to kill monsters that would grant you experience, as your choice of skills would be limited, your skills level would be low, and your access to passives would be limited by your inability to purchase seven skills per tree. (More on this in the class section).
Next, although each skilltree has five abilities that can be augmented by ancestral abilities these augmentations only unlock at the appropriate character level - Levels 1,4,7,10,13. Yes, it is a strange system where you do not need to level each skilltree to the appropriate skill level to have the ancestral abilities, but that is just the way the game designers have intended it to work.
Finally, each ancestral level you obtain grants you the following bonuses:
Received Damage Reduction +0.1%