There are 14 skills in Ashes of Phoenix, divided into 3 categories: Primary Skills, Secondary Skills and PvE Skills. At character creation, a player must tag exactly one primary skill and two secondary skills. Primary skills are weapon skills, secondary skills have other uses that are important for PvP. The PvE skills, as the name suggests, are mostly important for PvE activities, such as crafting and doing quests.
- When you create your character, you are required to tag 3 Skills. You must tag 1 Primary Skill and 2 Secondary Skills. Tagging a skill instantly raises it by 30 points, and increases by 2 instead of 1 when adding Skill Points.
- To improve your skills, you use skill points, which are earned on level up. How many skill points you get each level depend on your Intelligence stat. The Skilled Trait gives an additional 5 skill points per level (at the cost of getting a perk only every 4 levels instead of every 3).
- Only Primary and Secondary skills can be improved with skill points. The PvE skills have a chance to improve each time you use them: when you trade something, you might improve your Persuasion skill, and when you repair or craft something, your Engineering or Science skills might improve. Thus, how effective you are as in PvE is separated from your PvP abilities in general.
- Weapon and medic skills are affected by a mechanic called Bleedover. This mechanic shares your level in a skill with another skill, up to 150% with 100% and later with 50% efficiency. For example, if you have 150% in Small Guns, you'll be able to use a big gun just as if you had 150% in Big Guns. However, this only affects your precision and doesn't unlock any Weapon Perks, so you'll have to raise the according skill for that. For 250% Big Guns you get 175% in all other primary skills. The general goal behind this mechanic is to allow you to decently use as many available weapons as possible with one single character, though you'll still be more specialized and efficient with gun types from the skill(s) you raised.
- Your tagged skills can only be improved while your level is 24 or less. After that, you will keep earning skill points as normal, but they can only be used to improve non-tagged skills, and the non-tagged skills can only be improved up to the level of the lowest of the tagged skill in that category. So for example, if at level 25 your tagged primary skill is at 225%, the other primary skills can only be increased up to 225%, but not beyond it. If your secondary tagged skills are at 175% and 150%, all the other secondary skills can only be increased up to 150%, but not beyond that. Thus, until level 24, you should only increase tagged skills.
For each 25% of the skill SP cost will grow.
The primary skills are:
Primary skills are capped at 250%. For ranged weapons, the skill (among other things) determine your Hit Chance - how likely you are to hit a target in combat. The better your skill, the farther you can shoot and still be accurate. In general, a skill of 150% is enough to use a weapon properly. Above that, the accuracy climbs only very slowly. The difference between 250% skill and 150% translates to roughly 40% additional range.
Aside from better hit chance, a high skill will unlock different Weapon Perks for different weapons. These unlock at skill levels 150, 175, 200, 225 and 250. So with a maxed out Small Guns skill, wielding any small gun will give you 5 extra perks that are specific to that weapon.
The secondary skills are:
Secondary skills cap at 200%. Similarly to the primary skills, certain skill related items unlock perks as your skill increases. There are also other advantages with increasing the secondary skills, but these are specific to each skill. A higher traps skill for example means that any traps you rig will be more devastating and harder to detect, while a higher leadership skill will make the leadership boosts stronger for the whole team if you are the squad or fire team leader.
The PvE skills are:
PvE skills are, like the secondary skills, capped at 200%. They can't be increased using skill points from levelling up: instead you improve your skills by actively using them in the game.