Abilities in Fractured are grouped into different categories known as schools of magic and schools of fighting. This classification is both logical and practical in the UI of the game, but your hero is able to learn all the abilities in each school with no restrictions and in no forced order.
The schools do not represent the classic concept of "classes" in other MMOs. While spells belonging to the same school indeed share a common “theme” and often synergize with each other, you’re hardly meant to build your character using only one school. On the contrary, the system is designed to incentivize you to mix different schools according to the role you have in mind – which could be a canonical RPG archetype, that MOBA champion you really like, or a hero designed to overcome a specific challenge. Some abilities are affected by certain environments.
On Fractured, magical and combat abilities are discovered and learned through a unique process involving exploration, combat, gathering, crafting, and a little bit of waiting time (including offline time).
The aim in the design of this piece of the Knowledge System is to avoid grinding and to make it feel like any ability learned is a small adventure in itself – always familiar yet never repetitive, always worth following but never creating power gaps.
Discover & Quest
Initially, in the Character Abilities window, almost all the spells listed in each School are in an Unknown state.
When an ability is Unknown, you character doesn’t know anything about it, including its effect and the tasks required to unlock it – you’re only able to catch a glimpse of its icon. How to discover an ability? Just play the game! Travel, fight, gather, craft – whatever you fancy. As soon as you accidentally perform one of the tasks required to unlock an ability, it will switch to Discovered state.
Once an ability is Discovered, you get to know everything about it: what it does, what’s the cost to use it, and – mostly importantly – what are the tasks that have to be performed to be able to start studying it. Some examples of such tasks are:
- Find, interact with, or kill specific creatures.
- Kill some specific creatures in a unique way.
- Find, collect or refine some amount of a specific resource.
- Consume X units of a specific item.
- Be hit X times by a specific spell.
- Perform a specific combat action X times.
- Explore one or more world locations.
- Rest in a specific location.
- Craft X units of a specific item.
- Die in a specific way.
Ability learning tasks never require you to repeat the same action for hours. Instead, they’re designed encourage you to explore and travel – rewarding cleverness and bravery, not time spent grinding.
All abilities have a total of 6 tasks associated to them, but it’s enough you complete 2 to turn the ability to 'Ready To Study – and that’s when the second part of the learning process begins.
So you finally have your ability Ready To Study. To start the learning process, all you need are:
- A sufficient amount of Knowledge Points.
- A blank tome of the appropriate School of Magic or Fighting.
Tomes are regular items that can be crafted by players. Tomes of different schools feature different procedures to be created, as some are made of parchment, others of paper, and several require unique resources on top of their basic material. They can be freely traded between players.
When you have your tome and enough Knowledge Points, you can start the learning process: the points are consumed and the book is inscribed, removed from your inventory and added to one of the Learning Slots of your character – if you have at least one not in use. Once launched, a learning process cannot be interrupted and continues even when your character is offline. The inscribed tome disappears when the learning has been completed.
That’s it! Now you just have to wait for the learning process to end to be able to use the ability. The total time required depends on several factors (such as the type of ability and your character attributes), and can be made shorter by actively playing the game (e.g. by consuming special kinds of edible resources).
In the paragraphs above, we’ve covered the process that turns an Unknown ability to Discovered, Ready To Learn, and finally usable. Abilities, however, are not only meant to be learnt once, since they feature up to 3 levels of power! Completing only 2 tasks of a Discovered ability allows you to study an ability to level 1. After that, you need to have at least 4 tasks completed to study it to level 2 and 6 tasks completed to study it to level 3.
Different learning tasks of the same ability are usually balanced so that completing a couple can be usually done in your home planet, while completing all 6 almost always requires you to travel to other planets. Studying higher levels also needs more complex blank tomes crafted with exotic resources and sophisticated tools – so we expect them to be a common item in player commerce.
You don’t have to worry about ability leveling creating a too wide power gap between new players and veterans. Sure, leveling up an ability increases its power – be it a stronger effect, increased duration, reduced cooldown, and more. However, they’re always minor differences, mostly interesting on a competitive level. Level 1-2 abilities are more than enough to create effective builds for casual PvE and PvP.
Some people were afraid that VIP would give an advantage in leveling up spells, but that's really not the case. The hard part of raising a spell to level 2 - 3 was always completing 4/6 - 6/6 tasks, because some could be located on different planets and/or be more complex than the others.
Concept of leveling up spells to make them more powerful has been removed in favor of acquiring alternate versions of the same spell, which can then be chosen during the resting phase as if they were different spells altogether. An alternate version might be more effective (higher damage and so on), but if so, that's always offset by one of more parameters getting worse (typically higher mana cost and cooldown).
Focus abilities are toggle abilities, but you can have at most 2 active at the same time.
Active channeling spells that do whatever they do until the player press the hotkey. They will have a gathering time of about 5 seconds that prevents you from spamming them. (for example, beams work this way)
And then, we have also channeled spells, in this case, the casting phase is not instant and both the gathering (in this case you will need just to make another attempt) or the casting process (here you will also lose mana or any other resource and the spell will go on cooldown) can be interrupted, causing the spell to end prematurely.
Some active racial abilities like Primal Form for example might have it's own button outside standard 8 button skill bar.