I’m Hadrien and today I want to talk a little about our new Signature skills system, which is coming next update. Since most in-game help and tutorials are currently missing, I thought I would give you a quick overview of Signature skills, their purpose and functioning, so that you can take on the next patch serenely. Without further ado, let’s get started.
Signature skills are special spells that you can unlock in the Passive Skills Tree instead of learning them through books. You will need to specialize in a section to get them, and they will often rest upon more specific gameplay mechanics than regular spells, since they are designed to perfectly fit the section they belong to. All sections will contain at least one of them, probably more, and you will recognize them from their new base model and animated glow. Next update will bring the first 5 Signature skills to the first ring, which will be the entry points of the first 5 sections of the PST. This means that those 5 skills are the first nodes you’ll unlock, and that you can take all of them without investing further in the trees if you want a quick access to utility spells at the start of the game. This is important for us, as it give you a quick way to use weapons and techniques that fit your build and your play style, without relying on the luck you’ll need to find the books that you want most for regular spells.
Those five skills are named Ironguard, Spellbinder, Infiltration, Hunting Ground and Battle Art, and I will introduce two of them at the end of this article.
The first Signature skills will be the 5 entry points of the PST
There is an other specification to Signature skills that change the way of customizing them : they don’t have their own Active Skill Tree like regular spells. You won’t be able to level them up and choose variants at level tiers. However, their level is equal to your level when you use them and the sections that contain them will also bear different nodes that can affect them in many ways, so you can still improve them or modify the way they work. The lack of an experience bar on such skills is something that allow us to give you deeper ways of handling your character with only a few points invested, meaning you won’t have to play hours to get the most powerful version of the spells. But don’t worry, we are designing them so they remain balanced and useful even at higher levels.
Signature skills do not have experience bar or active tree
Signature skills are always shown in your AST window, even if you don’t have unlocked them yet. They will be greyed out when locked, and like all PST nodes, they can be deactivated if they are disconnected from the center of the wheel, depending on your current rotations. It will be your choice whether you should invest deeply in the tree to get a more powerful version of the spell, take it in its simpler form and use your points elsewhere, or even not unlock it if you deem it useless for your character.
Signature skills will always appear in your spells window, even when deactivated
Our intention behind those skills is to give you ways of actually playing the sections you chose, not just through contextual passive effects, but directly as damage sources or utility spells. It would feel weird to specialize into a Necromancer without owning undead-summoning spells because you don’t have the right books. With this system, we can give the Gunner a dedicated ammo spell, the Maleficient a cursing area or the Assassin a death mark skill and be sure that players have all the tool they need to play their classes correctly. Given that the most advanced sections will have several Signature skills, we can even create small specialized branches inside a section that rely on a single mechanic and a few variants, bringing a lot of diversity to a single class, and lots of potential new skills.
If we look closely at Ironguard for instance, this spell really matches the Guardian’s gameplay by allowing you to use a shield both offensively and defensively. This is an instant shield bash that has blocking frames (100% block chance within your shield angle when used), hits a single enemy and knocks him down. It uses our new charges system and consumes all available charges on launch to increase the damage output. Since charges are gained when blocking attacks (whether it’s through the spell or the regular block mechanic), it creates lots of interactions with the block-related passive skills like the new Deflection node that allow you to passively block all kinds of attacks, not just Physical ones.
A skilled Guardian will reduce his damage input by blocking more attack, but will also be able to deal more damage with its shield. With some passive variants he’ll be able to negate incapacitating effects, like the Guard Mastery node which can return a Knock-back effect against its source (ultimate weapon against Orc Chargers) if the spell is timed correctly, but he can also increase its offensive power with Deviation which has a chance to make projectiles bounce against his shield when using Ironguard.
Many passive nodes will affect Signature skills in the same section
Another example of Signature skill that can help you define your playstyle is Infiltration, the Thief Signature. It is the first skill that use the new semi-passive system (sigils-like spells that have a passive effect when slotted and lose it to the benefit of another when used) along with Spellbinder, and give you a permanent Movement speed bonus and Armor malus. When you use it, you will become invisible (losing the previous bonus and malus) for a short period of time, allowing you to attack enemies without them targeting you.
WIP of Infiltration effect
If you attack them too much without moving while invisible, they may respond from time to time, but beyond that, you can hit them and burst all your abilities without fearing imminent threats. The Ghost variant will permanently reduce your Presence level while Infiltration is in passive mode, while the Shadows Step node will change its whole behaviour, allowing you to go through enemies but preventing you from attacking when in active mode (thus making Infiltration a purely defensive spell).
Just like regular spells, Signature skills effects can sometimes change drastically
The changes brought by those PST nodes on Signature spells can even go further and bring alterative effects to them, like it is the case for Battle Art : it is a very passive spell, but with the right variant becomes a powerful circular cleave or a massive bump that repel enemies, depending of the stance you’re at when you launch it. You can then use it very offensively, just like a regular attack. These are just a few examples of what Signature skills will be and how deep it will affect the game and the archetypes combinations. Next update will bring early versions of those 5 spells to Wolcen amongst other features I mentioned like charged spells, semi-passive spells and a bunch of new passive skills. It won’t be long until it’s out, so we really hope you will enjoy using those spells and building your character around the mechanics you like most. And of course, keep your eyes open for more Signature skills in the future. Thanks for reading, and have a good game. 😉