Learnable talents are divided into two broad groups: Class talents and Generic talents. Class talents are specialized skills that only specific classes may learn; Generic talents represent more general knowledge and are usually available to several classes. Some (but not all) Generic talents may be purchased in stores, or acquired as quest rewards.
Certain equipment may bestow a talent on you, including talents not available any other way (for example, Block). These talents exist only while you have the item equipped.
For every level gained, a character receives:
- 3 stat points (2.5 in insane game mode) that can be used to increase Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Magic, Willpower, and Cunning.
- 1 Class talent point and 1 Generic talent point (except: 2 Class talent points and 0 Generic talent points at levels 5, 10, 15, and so on) that can be used to increase Class or Generic talents, respectively.
Characters also receive 1 Talent category point at levels 10, 20, and 36. These can be used to learn a new talent category (grey in the talent list), or to increase the mastery of a known category by 0.2 (only once per category), or to add an additional infusion/rune slot (up to a maximum of 2 additional slots).
At levels 30 and 42, a character may learn Prodigies.
Finally, at level 50, a character earns 10 stat points, 3 class talent points, and 3 generic talent points (in addition to the normal level rewards).
Therefore, not counting quest rewards, a character will receive a total of:
- 190 stat points
- 63 class talent points
- 43 generic talent points
- 3 category points
- 2 prodigies
Other sources of points:
- Weapon stores in Last Hope teach how to shoot and reload a ranged weapon (cost: 8 gold), and open the Combat Training tree for classes that start without it (cost: 50 gold).
- Completing The agent of the arena quest in Derth will grant 2 Generic talent points.
- Some of the Alchemist Quest rewards grant Class or Generic talent points.
- Eating the Heart of the Sandworm Queen grants 3 stat points, 2 Class talent points, and 1 Generic talent point.
- The Wyrm Bile from the backup guardian in the Sandworm Lair grants a category point.
- The mindstar store in Zigur teaches Mindstar Mastery (100 gold to buy it locked, 750 gold to buy it unlocked and save a category point).
- Similarly, the staff store in Angolwen teaches Staff Combat (100 or 750 gold, as above).
Talents are organized into trees and types. A 'tree' is a set of four talents which have a similar mastery level (how effective the player is with those talents) and which have a similar focus. A 'type' is a collection of talent trees with similar themes.
For example, the 'Chronomancy' type contains the trees: Age-manipulation, Chronomancy, Energy, Gravity, Matter, Paradox, Spacetime-folding, Spacetime-weaving, Speed-control, Temporal-combat, Timeline-threading and Timetravel.
There are three basic types of talents: Passive, Active and Sustained.
Passive talents are always in effect once you know them; you don't have to do anything to make them work, and they cannot be deactivated by enemies. An example of a passive talent is Combat Accuracy.
Active talents have to be triggered, either by pressing a hotkey or clicking an icon on the talent/hotkey bar at the bottom of the screen. There is often (but not always) a resource cost to activate the talent, and a cooldown period before the talent can be used again.
Most active talents cost 1 turn to activate, but some are instantaneous (notably, wild infusions and shielding runes and most of the basic racial talents). Some active talents affect only the character using them (e.g. healing, teleport, shielding, ...), while others are targeted at a single opponent (Dirty Fighting, Assault), or a selectable area of the map (Fire Breath), or the tiles around the character (Death Dance), etc. Some of them produce effects that linger for a while (on the map, or on characters); others are resolved immediately. Each talent is different.
Sustained talents are triggered like active talents, but they remain in effect until deactivated. Most of them produce an effect that benefits the character using them; for example, Icy Skin gives armour and cold retaliation damage. Most sustained talents have a resource cost associated with them, which decreases the total available pool of that resource for as long as the talent is in effect. For example, Blur Sight is a sustained talent with a Mana cost of 30. If your character has a pool of 200 Mana, activating Blur Sight will decrease your Mana pool to 170. Stamina-using sustained talents work similarly.
Sustained talents that use Equilibrium or Paradox work a little bit differently, since those resources operate in reverse. Icy Skin has a sustained Equilibrium cost of 30. Normally, your Equilibrium level will drop toward 0 when Meditating or walking on the world map. When Icy Skin is in effect, your Equilibrium level will not drop below 30. Likewise, Weapon Folding has a sustained Paradox cost of 75. When it's in effect, your Paradox level cannot drop below 75.
Sustained talents, and effects obtained from active talents, can sometimes be deactivated by enemies. Be careful out there!
For more details on how talents work see Talent mechanics.