Ascend with precision
Ah Ascension Shards, those little golden bricks of joy that occasionally grace you with their presence as they appear from the 100th1chest and into your inventory.
A common question that gets asked is the best way to spend these shards. Allow me to introduce you to your new best friend who can be found on every item milestone track:
Surcharge Energy Cost Reduction
Each ascension track for items has a milestone at 15 ascension stars (or 11 for the premium gun, wand and crossbow lines) which reduces the energy cost to surcharge that item by 10%.
Now I accept it doesn’t look as big or flashy as some other suggestions you may have heard like “specialize into only 4 lines” so bear2 with me whilst I explain the power of 15 in all.
Firstly, let’s take a look at the surcharge costs for some items:
Horned Helm (Tier 3 Helmet)
Without 15: 60
With 15: 53
Early on we won’t see much of a saving – in this case we’ll only be saving 7 energy. However, when it comes to ascending a line to 15, we always pick the 5 cheapest blueprints meaning we’d ascend this one anyway, reducing its crafting costs for you.
Paladin Helmet (Tier 6 Helmet)
Without 15: 265
With 15: 238
We can save a modest 27 energy per surcharge on a Tier 6 item, just by having 15 stars in the helmet track. At the stage of the game where you’re crafting tier 6, this can be a nice help. Let’s look at some higher items now:
Berserker Helmet (Tier 9 Helmet)
Without 15: 885
With 15: 796
As we enter the higher tiers, we start seeing the ascension saving really come into play – we’re now starting to save 89 per surcharge. If you design your shop to do the no bin strategy, this breakpoint is the difference between you being able to surcharge in 1 small talk instead of 2. If you’re a crafter, you can save on your precious energy to allow you more smalltalks in the near future.
Juggernaut Furnace3 (Tier 10 Helmet)
Without 15: 1780
With 15: 1601
Tier 10 ramped up the costs of surcharging by lots, and in turn means we also save lots with our 15 stars – we’re now saving 179 energy per surcharge. And if we take a look at a Tier 10 Opulent4 item:
Opulent Heaume (Tier 10 Helmet)
Without 15: 2895
With 15: 2605
Yeah, the saving gets pretty silly. If tier 11 follows the pattern of tier 10 and has another massive jump in surcharge costs, having 15 stars to reduce that is going to be incredibly helpful.
Update: Tier 11 has been released
Without 15: 2155
With 15: 1939
Tier 11 received an energy reduction one day after launch to its surcharge costs. As you can see it has still been heading upwards adding more weight to the reduction ascension.
Update: Tier 12
Vermilion Guard Helm
Without 15: 3,060
With 15: 2,754
“Okay Reiga but I don’t craft so-“
Well the good news there is this discount applies no matter how you acquire the item! You can buy them from the market, get them as a quest drop, have a worker bring them in – this cost reduction will be applying to everything, whereas specialised lines will only be affecting a few.
Other reasons to go 15 in all lines first over specialising include:
-Future proofing. If you opt to ignore the reduction in 2/3rds of the lines and just focus on a specific few, you run the risk of screwing yourself if the next tier comes out and your specialized lines suck
-Cost. In a worst case scenario (purely f2p, do not have any chest blueprints) it will cost you 165 shards to bring a line to surcharge reduction. Specializing in a line and ascending an end game crafting item is going to take way more shards from you.
So to sum up:
By going to 15 stars in every line, we get a benefit which increases in strength as we advance through the game, it’s reasonably cheap to do, provides its bonus no matter how we get the item and is not at risk of being made obsolete.
Once you have achieved this goal, then you have a couple of options you can explore. Some players like to focus on Elements and Spirits, spending all their shards there to try and craft as many high quality ones due to their fantastic gem value on the market.
Others will then start to focus a few lines and take them up to 51 to start collecting the titan bonuses (+1% to surcharge value of all items.) There are some who like to take all lines to 21 then to get the multicraft bonus for every line. All of these ideas are viable, they just all share one thing in common:
Ascend all lines to 15 first
Do this by ascending the lowest tier items you can