Leafiara (prime)/Mechanical Musings/Ascension Considerations
Recording my musings on how to most effectively train ATPs as the thoughts come to me.
Last updated January 9, 2023: Minor update to make sure the header in the Dexterity vs. Spell Aiming/Picking Locks section also mentions Ranged Weapons!
- 1 Training Logic First to Make Everything Else Faster
- 2 When is it Better to Train a Skill Through Ascension Than Conventionally?
- 3 When's the Right Time for Each Profession to put 100% Experience into Ascension?
- 4 Quick Wins and Thresholds
- 5 Efficient Ranks of Dexterity vs. Spell Aiming (or Ranged Weapons or Picking Locks)
- 6 Efficiently Improving Melee AS: Weapons, Strength, and Combat Maneuvers
- 7 Earth Lore for Melee AS
- 8 Melee AS with a Katar
- 9 Melee AS with Two Weapons
- 10 Efficiently Improving UAF
- 11 CS For Bards, Clerics, Empaths, Paladins, Rangers, or Wizards
- 12 CS For Sorcerers
- 13 When is it Better to Gain AS Through Ascension Than Elemental Targeting (425)?
- 14 When Does Mana Regeneration Through Ascension Help More Than Harness Power or Mana Control?
- 15 Improving Enchanting or Sanctifying
- 16 New Lore Considerations: Bards
- 17 Obscure Options
- 18 Over-The-Top Absurd Things You Could Do If You Had Infinite Time and Money
- 19 Training Logic: A Clarification
Training Logic First to Make Everything Else Faster
Don't do it. Not for this purpose, anyway, at least not early on.
Assuming you have a multiple of 5 Logic bonus at cap, you'd have to put 750,000 exp into ATPs before you'd see any benefit while on a node. At that point, since exp pulses happen about once per minute, you'd need to play for 750,001 minutes before things tipped over to start making things faster for you.
Even someone who threw their 10 milestone ATPs at Logic and then added the other 5 over time would still need to play 250,001 minutes for it to pay off, which is equal to playing 24/7 for about 0.4756 years.
And if you only play eight hours a week, forget about it; at that point it'll be 520.8354 weeks, or in other words over ten years, before it pays off. (Extrapolate this out however you want. Play 20 hours a week? It'll be 208.3342 weeks to pay off, or over four years.)
Even if that doesn't put you off right away, it's all not factoring in the opportunity cost of not having put those points elsewhere. For the same amount of ATPs you could have an additional 10 AS, 5 CS for most professions, +5% chance for another damage cycle on Spike Thorn, etc.
All of that said, Logic becomes a much more appealing choice if you have additional reasons to train it, like improving enchanting on a wizard or improving Minor Mental CS for a monk. I'm only addressing one of the first thoughts that many people understandably have about Ascension: the question of whether it's worth it to train Logic for the express, exclusive purpose of speeding up ATP gains for everything else.
For more on this, please see the "Training Logic: A Clarification" section at the bottom.
When is it Better to Train a Skill Through Ascension Than Conventionally?
The short answer is never.
The long answer is almost never, but with a caveat.
Even the most egregious grinds you can think of, like taking a warrior to 3x Dodging or a pure to 1x Dodging, are much faster to train conventionally (assuming you haven't already maxed them out conventionally, of course). The former is typically a converted cost of 40 MTPs, which is only 33,333 exp vs. 50k to start for Ascension. The latter is typically a converted cost of 60 PTPs, which is 50k, so it's on par for the first 5 ranks of Dodging via Ascension but at least twice as fast afterwards.
The few skills that would actually be faster through ATPs aren't an option, like spell ranks on a warrior or rogue.
That said, you have to sink a certain number of ATPs into the Common Ascension tier to unlock higher tiers anyway. You'll get less bang for the buck in the short-term by taking, say, Multi-Opponent Combat to move your empath from 55 to 60--costing 250k exp of ATPs instead of 145,833 conventional exp--but the conventional path doesn't unlock further growth potential later.
These fringe cases are pretty few and far between, though. Multi-Opponent Combat is one of the better examples because it has discrete thresholds, but even then I had to illustrate by assuming an empath who already has a pretty solid number of ranks. Since ATP skills operate on bonus, pushing an empath who has no conventional MOC ranks to 5 ATP ranks is only the equivalent of taking one conventional rank.
When's the Right Time for Each Profession to put 100% Experience into Ascension?
Or, in other words, when are you "done enough" with normal skills to call it a day?
With a huge disclaimer that it's going to depend very heavily on your goals and builds, I'd generally argue it doesn't happen until at least 2.5x cap to 3x cap for most characters. Now, I say that with a lot of caveats; in many cases it might be even further along, but my general assumptions are:
- You're interested in maxing straightforward offensive and defensive skills.
- You're interested in maxing threshold skills, like Armor Use for specializations or mana controls for MANA SPELLUP uses.
- You aren't necessarily interested in beneficial tertiary skills like First Aid, Survival, Trading, Magic Item Use or Arcane Symbols on squares and semis, etc.
- You aren't necessarily interested in beneficial but long grinds like 303 Harness Power on pures, 1x Dodging on pures, spells on warriors or even rogues, 2x Dodging plus 2x Combat Maneuvers on rangers and bards, 2x Perception on non-archers, etc.
- You aren't necessarily interested in training secondary weapon types on squares and semis to have a rotation of weapon techniques available.
I can't easily illustrate the math since I have no idea how you've placed your stats, what race you've picked, what society you've picked, and most importantly don't know what skills you consider must-haves. Suffice it to say: start plugging your desired skills into any of the up-to-date character planners/spreadsheets in the community and you'll probably find that 2.5-3x cap is the mark, if not all the way to 4x cap in some cases.
Quick Wins and Thresholds
Let's say you mostly want to get to Elite and Legendary (eventually) and are only sinking points into the Common tier because that's a prerequisite to unlocking the higher tiers. There are some obvious choices of what to take, like 250k exp into weapons or Spell Aiming for a quick +5 AS, but here are some less obvious things I'd be looking at:
- Quick win: 200k exp into Dexterity and 100k exp into Agility (or vice versa) reduces mstrike RT by 1 for any of the following races if they have 100 non-ascended, non-enhanced Agility and Dexterity: aelotoi, dark elves, forest gnomes, half-elves, sylvans, erithians, and humans.
- Quick win: 250k exp into Aura gives an extra point of spirit to someone with 100 non-ascended, non-enhanced Aura.
- Quick win: 150k exp into Multi-Opponent Combat gives an extra unfocused mstrike target for a ranger archer or crossbow rogue with 101 conventional Multi-Opponent Combat.
- Threshold: 550k exp into Summoning lore allows a cleric or empath to have 100% Spirit Slayer during Duskruin with a fixskill to 202 conventional Summoning. If you're ordinarily at a Summoning threshold like 60 or 30 for locates, it also means you can shave off respectively 8 or 2 conventional ranks to go to another spiritual lore.
- Threshold: In general, review your lores again to see what you're close to but couldn't reach within the 2x or 1x limitation. Note that Ascension skills add bonus and not ranks, so if your lore is under 40 conventional ranks, you'd either need additional Ascension ranks or would have to balance the numbers out a bit.
- Quick win: 50k or 100k exp into Survival reduces the roll needed to forage an herb for someone with, respectively, 101 or 202 conventional Survival.
- Quick win: Some characters might be within range of another Trading threshold to make more silvers. You get 1% for every 12 combined bonus from Trading and Influence, so at most you'll be 950k exp away (750k into Trading and 200k into Influence), but you could be as low as 50k away.
Efficient Ranks of Dexterity vs. Spell Aiming (or Ranged Weapons or Picking Locks)
Exp Cumulative Skill Ranks Benefit Rate per +1 AS 250k 250k Spell Aiming 5 +5 AS 50k 200k 450k Dexterity 4 +2 AS 100k 500k 950k Spell Aiming 5 +5 AS 100k 150k 1.1m Dexterity 2 +1 AS 150k 750k 1.85m Spell Aiming 5 +5 AS 150k 400k 2.25m Dexterity 4 +2 AS 200k 1m 3.25m Spell Aiming 5 +5 AS 200k 1.25m 4.5m Spell Aiming 5 +5 AS 250k 600k 5.1m Dexterity 4 +2 AS 300k 1.5m 6.6m Spell Aiming 5 +5 AS 300k 350k 6.95m Dexterity 2 +1 AS 350k 1.75m 8.7m Spell Aiming 5 +5 AS 350k 800k 9.5m Dexterity 4 +2 AS 400k
And so on. (The same math also applies to improving Picking Locks instead of Spell Aiming.) When rates are equal, I'd give Dexterity priority because it also improves SMRv2 defense (albeit in a very minor way) or mstrike RT. SA does offer runestaff DS or spellburst protection, though. (Albeit in very minor ways here too.)
Improving Ranged AS is similar, except add Ambush into the rotation (alongside Ranged and Dexterity) at a cost of 100k for the first point of AS from two ranks (assuming a character with 202 Ambush ranks), then 250k for the next point of AS from four more ranks, then 400k for the next point of AS from four more ranks. After that it scales up to 600k, so it gets well beyond the scaling shown above; you'd be training Ranged and Dexterity for quite a while longer before going back to Ambush.
(Note: while Ambush continues adding to ranged AS past 202 ranks, Perception ranks don't.)
If you're close to a threshold of your combined Intuition bonus and Wisdom bonus being a multiple of 6, investing some ATPs into those can be worthwhile for an archer or magic bolter for additional crit weighting, as displayed in the tables here (for ranged) and here (for bolting).
Efficiently Improving Melee AS: Weapons, Strength, and Combat Maneuvers
Basically the same math as above except now there are two things on the Dexterity scale...
Exp Cumulative Skill Ranks Benefit Rate per +1 AS 250k 250k Weapon 5 +5 AS 50k 200k 450k Strength 4 +2 AS 100k 200k 650k Combat Maneuvers 4 +2 AS 100k 500k 1.15m Weapon 5 +5 AS 100k 150k 1.3m Strength 2 +1 AS 150k 150k 1.45m Combat Maneuvers 2 +1 AS 150k 750k 2.2m Weapon 5 +5 AS 150k 400k 2.6m Strength 4 +2 AS 200k 400k 3m Combat Maneuvers 4 +2 AS 200k 1m 4m Weapon 5 +5 AS 200k 1.25m 5.25m Weapon 5 +5 AS 250k
And so on.
When they're at the same rate, you can flip them around however you like. The AS benefits are equal, but Strength offers encumbrance benefits, CM offers SMR offense and defense (including weapon techniques), and weapon bonus (to my understanding) improves parry rates.
Earth Lore for Melee AS
Strength (509) can increase melee AS too when self-buffing (not just self-casting), due to benefits from Earth lore. If you're hyper-focused on AS and nothing but AS, when does it make sense to switch back to normal skills and train Earth lore?
- For clerics, empaths, paladins, and rangers, adding 1 AS via Earth lore costs 266,667 exp, then an additional 66,667 exp per AS from there up to a total of 7. (So 333,333 exp, then 400,000 exp, etc.)
- For monks, double the above numbers.
- For rogues and warriors, adding 1 AS via Earth lore costs 200,000 exp, then an additional 50,000 exp per AS from there. (This assumes they already have enough ranks of Minor Elemental to be heavily converting PTPs to MTPs; if not, then training Minor Elemental is far more efficient than Earth lore.)
- For bards, it technically costs 106,667 exp, then an additional 26,667 exp per AS from there... but I assume the bard wants to keep 75 Air lore for Song of Tonis. In that case, the third threshold isn't 160,000 exp, but instead 106,667 exp into ordinary Earth lore, then put 200,000 exp into Ascension-based Air lore so you can untrain 4 ordinary Air lore and shift those ranks to ordinary Earth lore. Past that point involves even more mind-melting shenanigans of moving traditional Air to Earth, but suffice it to say we're talking hefty expenses!
- For sorcerers, it costs 93,333 exp, then an additional 23,333 exp per AS from there... at least up until the threshold after 98 (the 7 point that most professions stop at). Since sorcerers can 2x, the next threshold from there is 478,333 exp, then 560,000, then 606,667, then capping off at 653,333 for a total of 11 AS.
- Wizards, of course, are far faster at gaining AS with 509 than anyone else due to both cheaper training costs and not cutting the lore benefit in half since they know the spell naturally. It costs 40,000 exp for the first 1 AS, then an additional 10,000 per AS up to 11 (so still only a cost of 140,000 at that point). Shortly afterward it hits 2x costs, costing 280,000 for the next AS, then 320,000, then an additional 40,000 exp per AS from there up to a max of 16 with no enhancives nor Ascension. (In reality, we're probably talking about a warmage who will also have to sink some amount of points into Air lore, but that's another story.)
Melee AS with a Katar
Exp Cumulative Skill Ranks Benefit Rate per +1 AS 200k 200k Strength 4 +2 AS 100k 200k 400k Combat Maneuvers 4 +2 AS 100k 500k 900k Edged and Brawling 10 (total) +5 AS 100k 150k 1.15m Strength 2 +1 AS 150k 150k 1.3m Combat Maneuvers 2 +1 AS 150k 400k 1.7m Strength 4 +2 AS 200k 400k 2.1m Combat Maneuvers 4 +2 AS 200k 1m 3.1m Edged and Brawling 10 (total) +5 AS 200k 600k 3.7m Strength 4 +2 AS 300k 600k 4.3m Combat Maneuvers 4 +2 AS 300k 1.5m 5.8m Edged and Brawling 10 (total) +5 AS 300k 350k 6.15m Strength 2 +1 AS 350k 350k 6.5m Combat Maneuvers 2 +1 AS 350k 800k 7.3m Strength 4 +2 AS 400k 800k 8.1m Combat Maneuvers 4 +2 AS 400k 2m 10.1m Edged and Brawling 10 (total) +5 AS 400k
Melee AS with Two Weapons
...this one hurts my head and I'm honestly not even going to run the numbers, leaving it to someone who writes a .exe to run these kinds of calculations. That said, some things to note:
- 100% of the AS benefits of Combat Maneuvers in either of the above plans (for non-hybrid or hybrid weapons) apply to the offhand.
- 60% of the AS benefits of weapon ranks in the above plan apply to the offhand. For the other 40%, you'll have to train Two Weapon Combat. The corollary is that you'll have to train 2.5 times as many ranks for the equivalent AS boost--and that applies to the offhand only.
- AS benefits from Strength apply to the offhand only when the character's Strength bonus doesn't wind up exceeding their Dexterity bonus. When it does exceed, you'll have to take more Dexterity to get them to parity.
- For a halfling, who innately has a 30-point advantage of Dexterity over Strength, Strength will always benefit the offhand unless they've used a combination of enhancives and ATPs to bump Strength bonus by at least 31.
- Conversely, for a giant, who has a 20-point of advantage of Strength over Dexterity, Strength will never benefit the offhand unless they've used a combination of ATPs and enhancives to bump Dexterity bonus by at least 21.
Efficiently Improving UAF
Exp Cumulative Skill Ranks Benefit Rate per +1 UAF 250k 250k Brawling 5 +10 UAF 25k 500k 750k Brawling 5 +10 UAF 50k 750k 1.5m Brawling 5 +10 UAF 75k 200k 1.75m Combat Maneuvers 4 +2 UAF 100k 1m 2.75m Brawling 5 +10 UAF 100k 1.25m 4m Brawling 5 +10 UAF 125k 150k 4.15m Combat Maneuvers 2 +1 UAF 150k 1.5m 5.65m Brawling 5 +10 UAF 150k 1.75m 7.4m Brawling 5 +10 UAF 175k 200k 7.6m Strength 4 +1 UAF 200k 200k 7.8m Agility 4 +1 UAF 200k 800k 8.6m Combat Maneuvers 4 +2 UAF 200k 2m 10.8m Brawling 5 +10 UAF 200k
Extremely different progression from melee AS because Brawling ranks add 2 UAF per bonus, but Strength and Agility only add 0.5 UAF per bonus. MM is far more important to brawling than UAF, so it's not exactly accurate to say brawling improves twice as quickly as other melee AS since they're not directly comparable. That said, if you want to just see very big numbers, this is a great way to do it.
CS For Bards, Clerics, Empaths, Paladins, Rangers, or Wizards
Exp Cumulative Skill Ranks Benefit Rate per +1 CS 200k 200k CS Stat 4 +2 CS 100k 150k 350k CS Stat 2 +1 CS 150k 400k 750k CS Stat 4 +2 CS 200k 600k 1.35m CS Stat 4 +2 CS 300k 350k 1.7m CS Stat 2 +1 CS 350k 800k 2.5m CS Stat 4 +2 CS 400k 1m 3.5m CS Stat 4 +2 CS 500k 550k 4.05m CS Stat 2 +1 CS 550k 1.2m 5.25m CS Stat 4 +2 CS 600k
(The CS stat is Aura for bards and wizards, but Wisdom for the others.)
CS For Sorcerers
Your first thought might be "eesh, sucks to be a sorcerer since they have to pay twice as much." That's kind of true and kind of not, depending how you look at it. Here's the training plan:
Exp Cumulative Skill Ranks Benefit Rate per +1 CS 200k 200k Wisdom 4 +1 CS 200k 200k 400k Aura 4 +1 CS 200k 350k 750k Wisdom 4 +1 CS 350k 350k 1.1m Aura 4 +1 CS 350k 500k 1.6m Wisdom 4 +1 CS 500k 500k 2.1m Aura 4 +1 CS 550k 650k 2.75m Wisdom 4 +1 CS 650k 650k 3.4m Aura 4 +1 CS 650k 800k 4.2m Wisdom 4 +1 CS 800k 800k 5m Aura 4 +1 CS 800k
(You can swap the order of Wisdom and Aura depending on whether you value Wisdom's boost to ensorcelling and spiritual TD or Aura's boost to spirit and elemental TD.)
Comparing some reasonably close thresholds, you can see how it shifts around...
- At 200k exp, a sorc has gained 1 CS while another pure has gained 2.
- At 400k, it's 2 vs. 3.
- At 750k, it's 3 vs. 5.
- At 1.1m, it's 4 vs. 6.
- At 1.7m, it's 5 vs. 8.
- At 2.1m, it's 6 vs. 9.
- At 3.5m, it's 8 vs. 12.
- At 4.2m, it's 9 vs. 13.
So in one sense, if both characters are sinking equal amounts of exp purely into CS gain, then 150-160% as much CS is what the other pure is getting, not 200%.
However, if you're aiming to hit a specific CS increase, that's when it looks comparatively worse for the sorcerer:
- To get +3 CS, a sorcerer has to spend 750k while another pure has to spend 400k.
- To get +5, it's 1.6m vs. 750k.
- To get +6, it's 2.1m vs. 1.05m.
- To get +8, it's 3.4m vs. 1.7m.
- To get +10, it's 5m vs. 2.5m.
Not all thresholds shown, obviously, but you get the picture.
All that said, if you are aiming for a specific CS increase, then you might be able to get it up to 4 ranks earlier because of the quirk of hybrid CS explained here: https://gswiki.play.net/Casting_strength#Sorcerer
Due to the nature of hybrid circles, a spell rank configuration that includes 75+ ranks of Minor Elemental will result in +0.5 CS over a configuration without. In practice, this will result in +1 CS in any situation where a sorcerer would receive an additional fractional CS gain from a spell effect.
I don't know of anyone who's tested this with Ascension skills, but it might be true that just one rank of Aura or Wisdom will grant +1 CS if your sorcerer has 75 or more Minor Elemental.
The overall math for sorcerer CS would still be similar, though. The CS gains would be at every [(multiple of 4) + 1] rank instead of every 4th rank and within each tier of increasing ATP costs, you'd be ahead of the curve:
- You'd have +1 CS at 50k instead of 200k.
- +2 CS at 250k instead of 400k.
- +3 CS at 450k instead of 750k.
- +4 CS at 800k instead of 1.1m.
- +5 CS at 1.2m instead of 1.6m.
- +6 CS at 1.7m instead of 2.1m.
- +7 CS at 2.25m instead of 2.75m.
And so on.
When is it Better to Gain AS Through Ascension Than Elemental Targeting (425)?
- For sorcerers and wizards, it's cheaper to get AS via Ascension until it begins to take more than 106,667 exp per AS. (For when that threshold is, see the math above in the "Efficiently Improving Melee AS" section.) This assumes the sorcerer or wizard is already at least 2x spells.
- For bards, it's cheaper to get AS via Ascension until it takes more than 113,333 exp. This assumes the bard is already at least 1x spells, but if not, halve that threshold until they are.
- For rogues, it's cheaper to get AS via Ascension until it takes more than 223,333 exp--but that's assuming the rogue already knows 425 as a baseline. If they don't, then it's an initial 2,791,667 exp of conventional skills to learn 425. That's actually a rate of only 111,667 exp per AS, but you won't see any AS benefit until hitting the threshold all at once.
- For warriors, it's cheaper to get AS via Ascension until it takes more than 400,000 exp--but, again, that assumes the warrior already knows 425 as a baseline. If not, then... the math gets complicated because it depends how many MTPs they've converted to PTPs. The previous assumption figures that by the time they learn 425 and move to gaining AS at a rate of 1 for every 2 Minor Elemental ranks, they've already crossed over into converting PTPs to MTPs. However, before that point they've most likely converted the other way around, so until they make the switch, Minor Elemental ranks cost 100,000 exp each instead of 200,000. It could in theory be as low as 2,500,000 exp to learn 425 for a very physically-oriented warrior. For an extremely physically-oriented warrior, that math might even extend beyond the initial point so gaining AS for every odd Minor Elemental rank above 25 costs just 200,000 exp.
All of the above is evaluating AS only without accounting for additional benefits of training Minor Elemental, such as DS and TD from Elemental Barrier (430), improving CS, improving Lock Pick Enhancement (403), and so on.
When Does Mana Regeneration Through Ascension Help More Than Harness Power or Mana Control?
The short answer is almost never, other than the first 5 ranks, and even that depends on how long your hunts last.
On to the math!
As a baseline for comparison, mana regeneration from Ascension grants 1 mana per pulse for 50,000 exp for the first 5 ranks, then 100,000 exp for the next 5 ranks, then 150,000 exp for the next 5 ranks, and so on.
For all pures, 2x Harness Power grants 6 mana up front and 0.9 mana per pulse (in a hunting ground) for every 80,000 exp. 3x Harness Power grants 6 mana up front and 0.9 mana per pulse for every 160,000 exp.
For semis, 1x Harness Power grants 6 mana up front and 0.9 mana per pulse for every 50,000 exp. 2x Harness Power grants 6 mana up front and 0.9 mana per pulse for every 100,000 exp.
Therefore, regardless of being a pure or semi, after the initial 5 ranks, Harness Power (through conventional skills) is basically always more efficient than training Ascension mana regeneration for typical hunting. Even the first 5 ranks can be outperformed depending on the average length of your hunt. Since 150,000 exp into the first 3 ranks of Ascension mana regeneration gives 3 mana per pulse, that puts it 2.1 mana per pulse ahead of the similar 160,000 exp into Harness Power at 3x costs. However, since Harness Power starts off 6 max mana ahead, your hunt needs to last three mana pulses for the two to reach parity and four mana pulses--roughly an eight minute hunt--for the Ascension ranks to pull ahead on efficiency.
By the time Ascension mana regeneration is into 100,000 exp per rank, the initial mana granted by Harness Power makes it the undisputed winner in almost all contexts. However, over a long enough period of time, the better mana regeneration can still win--this includes scenarios like invasions, Reim, extended gem purification sessions, extended magic item charging sessions, and so on.
- For empaths and sorcerers, their primary (highest) mana control at 1x cost grants 1 mana per pulse every 50,000 exp until 100 ranks. At 2x costs, it's 95,000 exp in the 100 to 110 grind, then 100,000 thereafter until 200 ranks.
- For empaths and sorcerers, their secondary mana control at 1x cost grants 1 mana per pulse every 100,000 exp until 100 ranks. At 2x costs, it's 160,000 exp in the 100 to 110 grind, then 200,000 thereafter until 200 ranks.
- For clerics and wizards, their mana control at 1x cost grants 1 mana per pulse every 50,000 exp until 100 ranks. At 2x costs, it's 95,000 exp in the 100 to 110 grind, then 100,000 thereafter until 200 ranks. At 3x costs, it's 180,000 exp in the 200 to 210 grind, then 200,000 thereafter until 300 ranks.
- For paladins and rangers, their mana control grants 1 mana per pulse every 83,333 exp until 100 ranks. (That number is on average, but in practice it would be 82,500 or 85,000 depending on leftover TPs.) Bards will also be in this category if they switch to Minor Mental. If they keep Minor Elemental, then this math will be true for the primary mana control while the secondary mana control will cost twice as much at 166,667 exp. (That's on average, but in practice it would be 165,000 or 167,500.)
The above is evaluating mana regeneration only, but mana controls have many additional benefits like benefits to profession services, number of targets for AoE spells, uses of mana spellups, mana sharing, spellburst protection, ability to more quickly invoke manual mana pulses, or other assorted perks like the divine energy pool for paladins' Divine Incarnation (1650) or mana restored to sorcerers casting Dark Catalyst (719).
So, even during the windows of time where Ascension mana regeneration exp costs are equal to or slightly better than the exp costs for mana controls from conventional skills, mana controls will typically win out for many people.
Improving Enchanting or Sanctifying
Mana Control is, of course, Elemental for wizards and Spiritual for clerics. The Service Stats are Logic and Intuition for wizards and Wisdom and Influence for clerics.
Exp Cumulative Skill Ranks Benefit Rate per +1 Bonus 250k 250k Mana Control 5 +3 skill bonus 83.33k 200k 450k Service Stat A 4 +2 skill bonus 100k 200k 650k Service Stat B 4 +2 skill bonus 100k 150k 800k Service Stat A 2 +1 skill bonus 150k 150k 950k Service Stat B 2 +1 skill bonus 150k 400k 1.35m Service Stat A 4 +2 skill bonus 200k 400k 1.75m Service Stat B 4 +2 skill bonus 200k 400k 2.15m Mana Control 4 +2 skill bonus 200k 250k 2.4m Mana Control 2 +1 skill bonus 250k 600k 3m Service Stat A 4 +2 skill bonus 300k 600k 3.6m Service Stat B 4 +2 skill bonus 300k 600k 4.2m Mana Control 4 +2 skill bonus 300k 350k 4.55m Service Stat A 2 +1 skill bonus 350k 350k 4.9m Service Stat B 2 +1 skill bonus 350k 800k 6.7m Service Stat A 4 +2 skill bonus 400k 800k 7.5m Service Stat B 4 +2 skill bonus 400k 800k 8.3m Mana Control 4 +2 skill bonus 400k 450k 8.75m Mana Control 2 +1 skill bonus 450k 1m 9.75m Mana Control 4 +2 skill bonus 500k 1m 10.75m Service Stat A 4 +2 skill bonus 500k 1m 11.75m Service Stat B 4 +2 skill bonus 500k 550k 12.3m Magic Item Use 8 +1 skill bonus 550k 550k 12.85m Service Stat A 2 +1 skill bonus 550k 550k 13.4m Service Stat B 2 +1 skill bonus 550k 550k 13.95m Arcane Symbols 8 +1 skill bonus 550k 1.2m 15.15m Service Stat A 4 +2 skill bonus 600k 1.2m 16.35m Service Stat B 4 +2 skill bonus 600k 1.2m 17.55m Mana Control 4 +2 skill bonus 600k
And so on. The rightmost column is the key here, showing the rate of improvement for enchanting alone. When rates are similar enough, you can vary the order of Ascension training a bit if you also want to pursue other benefits like mana per pulse, number of mana spellups per day, exp per pulse (wizards), CS (clerics), preference for magic items or scrolls, etc.
Assumptions for the above math to work:
- The wizard or cleric already has 303 of their mana control conventionally. If not, then going back and training that is exceptionally more efficient than anything Ascension can do since it's a rate of 40k per +1 enchanting power even at 3x costs.
- The wizard or cleric is already at 202 AS/MIU conventionally. If they stopped at 200 of each, they'd need to detour back to normal exp to finish both skills or else they wouldn't be worth bringing into the Ascension training rotation until the rate hits 750k exp into ATPs.
- The service stats (Logic+Intuition or Wisdom+Influence) are even numbers like 100 or 94 before Ascension comes into the picture. Odd numbers will throw off the math quite a bit.
New Lore Considerations: Bards
IMPORTANT: this section will be rendered moot in the future by the bard review.
Assuming a typical bard mental lore split of 75 Manipulation (for Song of Sonic Disruption) and 26 Telepathy (because that's the remainder), it's possible to reduce non-Ascension Manipulation lore by 14 ranks, move them into Telepathy, then put 1.35 million exp into ATPs to regain the lost Manipulation and restore the full power of Song of Sonic Disruption.
The question is whether you would. The major benefits from the new ranks of Telepathy are:
- +28 second duration on spellsong cycles
- +7 second duration on Song of Tonis
- +14 skill bonus to permanent loresong unlocking
- +1 AS from Kai's Triumph Song (and being within 100k exp into ATPs for another +1 AS)
- +6% chance to remove negative effects from party members with Troubadour's Rally (not yourself; that's based on Mental Mana Control)
There are also benefits to Song of Peace, Song of Rage, and Song of Depression, but I'd consider them really minor given that we're talking about a capped bard with skills set to use Song of Sonic Disruption.
While Ascension training options like improving AS, CS, DS, profession services, or encumbrance are obvious picks of what to do with ATPs, here are other things I've been training on some of my characters.
- For bards who purify gems in large batches, Mana Regeneration might be more useful than it would normally be for others. I still don't think it's worth going beyond 5 ranks due to opportunity cost, though, for reasons laid out in the section above about Mana Regeneration vs. Harness Power.
- For empaths, possibly more than any other, training resistances can be very helpful since any reduction in wounds taken also means a reduction in time and mana spent on self-healing. This can even go so far as removing the resource cost entirely if they have enough Blessings lore to really power Troll's Blood.
- For paladins, Spirit Mana Control can reach new thresholds of how many charges of spells can be infused into their bonded weapon. Speaking of infusion, Spell Aiming is a more reasonable option than it might initially seem due to Aura of the Arkati's DS reduction pairing surprisingly well with even a paladin's modest bolt AS if you have the post-cap experience to support it.
Over-The-Top Absurd Things You Could Do If You Had Infinite Time and Money
This section is just for fun, posing hypothetical questions of what you could with dozens of millions of exp into lores and a set of +50 enhancives for all of them. It's more or less unachievable, but an interesting thought experiment!
Please note that I don't account for all benefits of lores, only the ones I see as major.
300 Blessings lore
- Resurrections would have no cooldown other than the hard RT
- Soul Ward would have a 24% chance to remain in effect after the first attack
- Heroism would grant +30 additional AS
- Spirit Strike would have a 60% chance to remain in effect
- The Wisdom boost from Fervent Reproach would last ten and a half minutes
- Assuming 169 Cleric Base, Bless would grant 827 swings without aid from a paladin
- Symbol of the Proselyte would have 11 charges per cast
- Relieve Burden would carry 50k silvers weightlessly
300 Religion lore
- Every other slain enemy would give you an empowered cast of Condemn
- Divine Wrath would have +4 crit ranks 80% of the time and +3 crit ranks the other 20% of the time
- Smite/Bane would have a 40% chance of infusion
- Divine Fury would always have an additional crit cycle (though this would actually have happened 150 ranks ago)
- Miracle could self-raise 4 times a day
Since we're assuming infinite resources, you could still have 100 ranks each in Blessings and Summoning, plus an additional 3 conventional ranks anywhere, so the tradeoffs aren't actually huge. However, Spirit Slayer would notably cap at an 87% chance to recast.
302 Summoning lore
- Spirit Slayer would have a guaranteed recast (though this would have happened 92 ranks ago)
- Area Web could trap up to 10 enemies (though this would have happened 122 ranks ago)
- Bolt Web would be guaranteed to web enemies up to level 109 (level 110 would be an 81% chance, level 111 60%, level 112 37%, level 113 12%)
- Interference and Mass Interference would impart a -35 TD penalty
Brimstones would also probably actually work against far post-cap invasion creatures, but without knowing the formula I can't be sure.
Again, the tradeoffs actually aren't that big a deal with infinite resources. Most of the losses from not having super pumped Religion lore are offset and then some by the guaranteed recast of Spirit Slayer, as with the case of Divine Fury and Smite. The major hits are to Divine Wrath (now down to +2 crit ranks 80% of the time and +1 crit rank the other 20%) and Condemn (now getting an empowered charge from every fifth instead of every second enemy).
210+ Summoning lore and 292+ Manipulation lore
- Wither would always have an extra damage cycle (though this would have happened 60 ranks ago)
- Spirit Slayer would have a guaranteed recast
- Bone Shatter and Wither would have a 16% instant death rate if the warding margin is at least 50; when combined with Spirit Slayer, each cast would have at least a 29.44% instant death rate (assuming the Spirit Slayer only recasts once; if it recasts two or three times, that's respectively 40.73% and 50.21%)
300 Blessings lore
- Limb Repair, Head Repair, System Repair, Organ Repair, and Troll's Blood would always automatically heal any underlying scar regardless of rank (though this would have happened 20 ranks ago)
- Heroism would grant +30 additional AS
- Spirit Strike would have a 60% chance to remain in effect
300 Telepathy lore
- Empathic Link would have a 98% chance of propagating damage and an 80% chance of link overload
300 Religion Lore
- Zealot would grant +54 AS
- Fervor would have a 38% chance of flaring for the paladin and others of the same convert status, and a 33% chance for others
- Aura of the Arkati would reduce enemy EBP by an additional 21%
- Higher Vision would grant an additional +20 DS
201 Summoning lore
- Spike Thorn would always have an extra damage cycle (though this would have happened 41 ranks ago)
- Nature's Fury would always have four damage cycles; depending how it's coded, it might even have a 1% chance to have a fifth damage cycle that would have previously been impossible
- Imbue would create rods with 99 mana capacity
- Sounds would impose 29% spell hindrance
Training Logic: A Clarification
As I write this, it's been about fourteen months since I made this page in June 2020, when we learned how ATPs were going to work. Since then, Ascension itself has been out for nearly eleven months and a few people have raised the point on the Discord mechanics channel that I've skipped over the possibility that someone could train Logic and fixskill out of it later.
I can't remember if that fact (of being able to fixskill out of ATPs) was even known in the initial flurry of info. Regardless, I think their point is that training any Ascension skill isn't permanent, so you can benefit from +1 exp for as long as you want and fixskill out of it later. Conversely, you can fixskill into Logic after having trained other benefits first.
First, I'll point out that I've never said "don't ever train Logic with ATPs." My overarching point was:
- Drawing attention to the fact that there's an opportunity cost for whatever length of time you do have Logic.
- Setting expectations that +1 exp per pulse isn't exactly a get-rich-quick scheme that noticeably accelerates exp gain for most people, AKA those who I hope are reading this page.
Yes, there comes a time where Logic is the next move; I'm only saying that, for most people, that time won't come very early on.
When is the time? To me, it's just an instinctive feeling. It's the time when nothing else seems rewarding for the ATP costs being asked. It's the time after you've plucked the low hanging fruit--if there even was any for your build--and diminishing returns have kicked in hard for other options.
And that's what this page was all about from the beginning: looking at the options competing for your ATPs!
I can lay out the math, but assessing the right moves to make is up to you. It's your character and your choices. Again, I do believe that Logic is for everybody... eventually. For some, that might be exceedingly early. For most people, though, I'd say this: when you look at one of the tables on this page or through the in-game ASCENSION command and simply can't fathom grinding X experience to gain benefit Y, then maybe, just maybe, that's your cue to train Logic.