Skyforge Managing Difficulty Guide

Skyforge Managing Difficulty Guide by Yokai

Here ya go: the COMPLETE guide to both understanding and managing game difficulty for any class at any prestige level.

There have been several guides posted so far that talk around a central–and crucial–concept, but none thatdirectly address it. That central concept is…

Why does the game seem suddenly too difficult?

There are seven root causes for this. In order of importance, they are:

  1. Playing a newly unlocked, underdeveloped class. You probably haven’t picked up the essentialability/talent nodes yet that provide the synergy needed to make the class as strong as possible. These can make a HUGE difference in your perceived strength and survivability. For example, many players even try out a newly unlocked class without even acquiring actual weapons yet, which means a huge drop in Might and Stamina as well as important bonuses.
  2. Mixing and matching Ring stats instead of choosing only two (such as Strength/Luck or Valor/Luck) for ALL your rings. And/or picking weak ring stats for your class.
  3. Rushing to unlock too many classes in the upper atlas, instead of first unlocking important and valuable talent nodes such as Ultimate Strength, Maximum Recoil, Mobilization, Lacerated Wound, and so on. These can provide HUGE buffs to your overall power.
  4. Not unlocking the most useful class Symbols and additional Symbol slots quickly and efficiently by fully unlocking ALL talent/ability nodes in your first “main” class, and then in your second “main” class, and so on. These also provide HUGE buffs to your overall power.
  5. You have developed your Prestige faster than your Proficiency instead of keeping them in balance with each other. The biggest and most likely culprit here is pumping too many credits into accelerated Adept Missions for your Order. This pumps your Might and Stamina and Health Bonus (and Prestige) really fast, but this is very imbalanced growth that leaves your Str/Valor/Luck/Crit/Accuracy/Temper/etc. stats lagging behind. More importantly, per this guide, this practice can ALSO leave your Proficiency lagging behind, which means you cannot equip new gear pieces that will boost your power enough to meet the increased difficulty caused by too much unbalanced Prestige growth.
  6. You finally “jumped to the next rank” in the underlying loot tables for dropping the next-highest (Proficiency) range of gear, but you haven’t earned new gear in the new range yet, so you’re effectively fighting with weaker gear for a while.
  7. You simply might not have learned your class very well yet, even if it’s well-developed and well-geared.

This guide can’t help you with root causes #7 (read other class guides for that), but it will definitely help you understand and manage your way around root causes #1-6.

Fixing root cause #1

Don’t let the simplicity of this fix fool you, because it’s the MOST important thing you can do to ensure that you enjoy playing Skyforge instead of feeling frustrated and raging about bad design and lack of in-game help/information.

  • The Golden Rule: Quickly figure out the class you want to “main” first and focus on it exclusively for a while until you’ve built it to full strength. Then, you can break the monotony with other classes from time to time, but still focus MOST of your play time on that first “main” class until you’ve unlocked EVERY major node in its class tree.
  • The Silver Rule: Pay for a Premium membership. It’s worth every penny if you pay real world cash, and you can alternatively buy a Premium membership with in-game credits by first converting them to Argents.

By adhering to The Golden Rule, the only significant “difficulty bump” you’ll EVER experience in Skyforge, if at all, is during the short period before you’ve grabbed all the most important synergistic talents and abilities within your main’s class atlas. Once you’ve made the class strong enough by quickly grabbing the righttalents/abilities ASAP, you will henceforth ALWAYS be able to fall back on this main for any fight in any instance at any difficulty level.

By adhering to The Silver Rule, you ensure that when you need to fall back on your main to get through hard content, you will earn neutral, gold-colored Sparks of Evolution. You can use these gold sparks to play for class nodes on ANY other class atlas. If you do not have a Premium membership, the only way you’ll gain sparks for a given class is to actually beat the content with that class.

Fixing root cause #2

  • Don’t mix and match stats, such as one Luck/Spirit ring, one Valor/Luck ring, one Strength/Valor ring, and so on.
  • Instead, always pick two main stats and one bonus stat and fill all four slots with that. For example, the “safest” choice for literally every class is STR/LUCK with +Crit or VALOR/LUCK with +Crit.

If you don’t understand rings and stats and damage calculators and whatnot, my advice is standardize on 4x VALOR/LUCK with +Crit at first, until you do finally learn more about the best stats for your class and your build. No matter what your class, this choice will serve you either very well or at least adequately.

Fixing root cause #3

  • Don’t be stupid like me and rush to unlock nearly every class at first. Stop. Think. Watch videos and read guides and decide on the first “main” class you will enjoy playing until it’s fully unlocked, and then decide on the second class you want to unlock fully (either because of its class Symbol or because it’s just a fun alternate role you want to play).
  • Once you’ve made these two choices, spend your early time in the upper atlas by unlocking important talent nodes. Only after you’ve grabbed the most important talent nodes for your first two chosen classes should you think about moving towards unlocking a third class.
  • DO NOT bother unlocking any Sun, Coph, or Ket “ether nodes”. And when you are farming in Regions(only), do not pick up any green, glowy round chests because these contain “ether cores” and they’ll eat up bag slots if you aren’t dumping them into Sun/Coph/Ket nodes. (However, do pick up green chests inInstances because those are trophies, which are very useful.) What’s the problem? A) The miniscule stat bonuses that ether nodes/cores confer are not worth the amount of argents they cost, and B) The Russian reworked system will be coming our way soon, which is FAR better, stat-wise.

Which talent nodes are most important? I won’t go into exhaustive detail about the order in which I recommend picking up the sub-30K nodes except to say that my order is based on distance from starting point versus bang for the buck, and for Tanks, I’m prioritizing skills that synergize with Impulse (because Tanks generate a lot of impulse charges even if they don’t actually rely on impulse damage that much). For DPS, I’m also prioritizing the Crit-centric talents over the other great DPS talents. You are free to disagree with my order and choose a different order. :) Just as long as you prioritize these really strong talents over unlocking a bunch of different classes early on in the game; that’s all I’m really recommending here.

  • Support: There are no significantly useful support-specific nodes within easy reach below 30,000 Prestige and your God form. So pick DPS-specific nodes.
  • Tanks: Element of Surprise > Impulse Intensity > Double Discharge > then pick up the Crit-centric DPS talents
  • DPS: Maximum Recoil > Lucky Shot > Lacerated Wound > Mobilization > Element of Surprise >Ultimate Strength

Fixing root cause #4

This goes hand in hand with the fix for root causes #1 and 3.

  • To make room for all the juicy talent symbols you’re unlocking in the upper atlas, you MUST steadily max-out your first “main” followed by your second “main”, followed by your third “main” and so on. Also, some class symbols are themselves very juicy.

The talent nodes in the upper atlas unlock Symbols in your talent sheet (in the Symbols sub-tab). You cannot actually use these symbols unless you are steadily unlocking symbol slots. You start out with only 3 symbol slots. Every class that you max-out will unlock two more symbol slots, and also grant you a class symbol.

If you’re spending too much time jumping around in your different classes and never fully maxing any of them out, you are denying yourself the EXTREME power of having many good talent symbols and class symbols working on your behalf. It was a difficult choice to place this root cause at #4 in priority, because really it goes hand in hand with #1 and #3. But guides and lists being what they are, I had to pick a place for it somewhere.

As for which class symbols are best, that’s role-specific and class-specific, but the one universal class slot everyone should have before they try any high-end raiding is the Paladin Symbol.

Fixing root causes #5 and #6

I’m going to lump these together because this gets a little complex….

Understanding the natural gaps/ranks in gear acquisition (Proficiency)

The first thing to understand is that while it’s easy to keep gaining Proficiency through investment in red and green nodes in the various class and upper atlases, there are some discrete “ranks” in your ability to actually acquire gear within the next highest Proficiency range! So even if you are growing both Prestige at a continual rate, you will hit long stretches starting at ~11000 Prestige where you might be better off farming in either Solo/Squad content or in Group content depending on your exact Prestige level.

For example, up though about 11780 Prestige, you can always find a smooth progression just in the Solo/Squad instances, which provide increasingly higher-Proficiency gear drops by simply finding the right Solo/Squad instances to farm (more on how to do this in a section further below). In that ~11000 Prestige range, the best Proficiency gear you can get to drop is in the 725-818 range.

But then you start seeing the following pattern, which means at certain points it’s actually better to farm EITHER Solo/Squad OR Group content, like so:

  • At ~13000 Prestige, you get a bump in some Solo/Squad content to the 782-963 range. Meanwhile, Group content drops 921-1131.
  • At ~14900 Prestige, you get a bump in some Solo/Squad content to the 921-1106 range. Group content is still stuck at 921-1131.
  • At ~16400 Prestige, you get a bump in some Solo/Squad content to the 1056-1221 range. Group content is still stuck at 921-1131.
  • At ~18600 Prestige, you get a bump in some Solo/Squad content to the 1161-1442 range. Group content is still stuck at 921-1131.
  • At ~22600 Prestige, you get a bump in some Solo/Squad content to the 1491-1781 range. Group content data points become spotty at this point, but the pattern in the existing collected data points is clear: Group content is NOT the best place to farm for higher Prestige gear any more (but still the best place to farm for Purple drops, which are granted ONLY in Group content).

So the basic pattern here is that up through ~11000 prestige, you can farm Solo/Squad content for a relatively smooth progression of next-higher-Proficiency gear, but then you hit a long gap between 11000 and 14900 Prestige where the only place to farm for better Proficiency gear is in Group instances. But after you pass that 14900 gap, the pattern is clearly in favor of smooth progression through Solo/Squad content.

The other basic pattern here is that starting at roughly 11000 Prestige, you’re going to see increasingly longer gaps where even greater jumps in Prestige are needed to open up the next rank of Proficiency drops:

  • At ~11000, it’s roughly ~2000 Prestige to the next rank.
  • At ~13000, it’s roughly ~1900 to the next rank.
  • At ~14900, it’s roughly ~1500 to the next rank.
  • At ~16400, it’s roughly ~2200 to the next rank.
  • At ~18600, it’s roughly ~3800 to the next rank.
  • And so on…

Side-bar: what happens when your Prestige was developed much faster than your Proficiency?

Root cause #5 asserts that if you develop your Prestige in an unbalanced way, much faster than you’re developing your Proficiency, the game becomes more difficult. Why? The effect of this is less noticeable if you’ve been really good at avoiding root causes #1-4. But what’s happening here is that as your Prestige rises, the game scales up the monster difficulty at a steady pace. However, if your Proficiency is lagging behind, you are not able to equip the next-better-rank of gear and therefore losing out on useful stat gains to help you match the rising difficulty.

The simplest way to recognize that your Prestige is “too high relative to your Proficiency” is when gear starts dropping that you literally cannot equip yet. You’re doing harder content, the game is dropping better gear for you, but you cannot actually equip the gear yet. To fix this, you should stop raising Prestige as much as possible, and you should invest red and green sparks all over the class and upper atlas. Red sparks give you more bang for the buck, because they grant you MORE proficiency per point of associated prestige gain than green sparks do (Thanks to Chaz for this insight!)

The main cause of your Prestige rising too fast relative to Proficiency is over-investment is Temple ranks (in your Orders mini-game). When you raise the rank, you get a huge amount of Prestige along with Might, Stamina, and Health Bonus. These stats are great, but they don’t contribute to your overall power and killing speed nearly as much as your gear stats, your symbols, and your class development and ability/talent synergy.

Side-bar: What happens when your Proficiency was developed much faster than your Prestige?

What happens in the reverse situation, where you neglect your Prestige growth and develop your Proficiency much faster?

In this case, you will probably feel that content is “too easy”, and you will be thinking “I haven’t see a good gear upgrade in ages…. I can’t use anything that is dropping! This isn’t a serious problem in terms of game difficulty, but it is a slight problem in terms of incentive and reward for effort.

Which brings us to how to avoid both problems…

How to keep Prestige and Proficiency in balance, and quickly move through the “gaps” in Proficiency rank jumps

For this section, it will help to consult Alcca‘s translated and cleaned up version of Wyck‘s original “Loot Helper” spreadsheet from this link: Loot Proficiency Table for Solo Adventure. Use File > Copy to make a copy yourself in your own Google Drive account.

Once you have a copy of Alcca’s version, you can enter your own Prestige values into it and experiment to see for yourself what I’m going to summarize below:


  • All of your Solo/Squad instances will feel “too easy”, and you won’t get any good upgrades anywhere. To fix this, build up your Prestige by three methods:
    • Farm class sparks and invest them in class abilities and talents. When you unlock any node in your class atlas, you gain only Prestige. You are also applying the fix to root cause #1 when you do this, so it’s doubly powerful!
      • To farm class sparks, find any of these three instances that are not marked “Impossible” at the recommended difficulty. Then go farm only the first boss. They always drop class sparks. Then press F11 > Complete to exit the instance. Then repeat.
      • The instances are: Port Naori, Kyris, and Tau Experimental Station.
      • Of these three, Port Naori is the fastest. At my current prestige (~13000), I  can farm 40-50 sparks there in a mere 90 seconds when it’s not flagged as “Impossible”. Tau Experimental Station is especially nice if you have a class that can burst down all four “splits” during the boss’s final health bar in one single burst. If you kill them all simultaneously, you’ll get (using me, for example) 200-300 class sparks! This is hard to do with most classes. Berserker and Knight are among the best to try for this, but it’s not super consistent even with them, so Port Naori is where the smart money is. Look at Chaz‘s Berserker Guide for a video showing how a zerker should attempt this.
    • Spend time in your Order system running Adept Missions and ranking up your TEMPLES. Go ahead and spend credits to accelerate the missions for instant turn-in. Not only will you gain the needed Proficiency quickly, but you’ll also get some great Might, Stamina, and Health Bonus too. Do NOT fret over the fact that “Might scales poorly”. Yes, it does in terms of damage, but every gain in Mightusually comes with OTHER useful stat gains that balance the less efficient damage scaling. When pumping Might through Temple ranking, you get Stam and Bonus Health with it. When pumping Might through red nodes in the upper atlas, you also gain Proficiency. So it’s all good.
    • Farm blue sparks and spend them on every blue node that isn’t blocked by red/green nodes. Why? Two reasons: A) you gain Prestige but NO proficiency when you do this, and B), some of those blue nodes are Greatness nodes which help you rank your temples even higher!


  • All of your Solo/Squad (and certainly Group) content will feel “too hard”, and gear that drops won’t be usable at all until you gain more Proficiency. To fix this:
    • Farm red and green sparks and spend them on red and green nodes, all of which contribute to your total Proficiency.
    • STOP farming class sparks! You want only reds and greens for a while, avoiding as many blue nodes as possible. Class nodes (even the minor 50-point nodes) don’t raise your proficiency at all!
    • STOP ranking temples in your Order system! It’s fine to keep farming for tablets/rings/pommels, etc. to rank up your CHAPELS, because those don’t signficantly bump your Prestige. Just avoid ranking up your TEMPLES for a while.

How to use Alcca’s spreadsheet to find the best places to farm for gear

(You’ll need your own copy to do this)

  1. Enter your current Prestige in the light blue box near the top.
  2. Look at the listed “Available 3 Player Adventures” and “Available 5 Player Adventures” boxes immediately below your Prestige. Note the names of those instances.
  3. Scroll down in the list to examine those specific rows named in the boxes from the preceding step. Look for the BLACK highlighted box in each such row:
    1. If the black box is BELOW your current Proficiency stat, go pump your Prestige as described in the preceding section.
    2. If the black box is ABOVE your current Proficiency, AND the “Min” value to its left is LESS then your currrent Proficiency, go farm that instance and profit!
    3. If BOTH the black box and the “Min” value to its left are ABOVE your current Proficiency, go pump your Proficiency as described in the preceding section.

Note that in any case, ONLY farming instances listed in those boxes beneath your Prestige value will have any chance of dropping gear in the correct (or nearest higher/lower) Proficiency range. ALL OTHER instances might be good for farming sparks or whatever, but they WON’T drop gear that you’ll care about!

Let’s look at some examples showing exactly what I mean by the three decision points in 3.1, 3.2, and 3.3:

  • This is what 3.1 is talking about
    • In this example, assume you have 8110 Prestige and 720 Proficiency (an actual example from the comments for the previous V1 of this guide).
    • 2330314.jpg
  • This is what 3.2 is talking about
    • In this example, assume you have 5462 Prestige and 410 Proficiency. Note that your Proficiency is very close to the black box indicating the “Max” of the rank’s drop range. Most of the gear that drops will actually be towards the “Min” of the range, so you’ll only occasionally get a nice upgrade from farming the 4 listed Solo/Squad instances. Still, these 4 are the best and only instances to farm if you’re looking for slightly better gear at this point. Also note that if you pump up your Prestige just a wee bit to ~5700, you’ll see a jump in the gear rank being dropped!
  • This is what 3.3 is talking about
    • In this example, assume you have 7000 Prestige and 375 Proficiency (a very common situation if you pump too much money into ranking up your Order temples early in the game, to chase after more and more easy Prestige!) Here, the problem is that the only two instances that will drop gear suitable for your Prestige are dropping gear that you cannot actually equip yet! Even worse, if you try to choose the next lower difficulty level, the gear dropped there is no better than the gear you already have! The only solution here is to stop doing anything that raises your Prestige and instead focus on raising your Proficiency until you can actually equip the gear that’s dropping for you in these two instances!
Other Skyforge Articles
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Skyforge Completing Anomalies Quickly Guide
Skyforge Necromancer Basic Guide
Skyforge Archer Basic Guide
Skyforge Gunner Builds Guide
Skyforge Monk In-Depth Guide
Skyforge Archer Builds Guide
Skyforge Alchemist Support and Hybrid Guide
Skyforge Berserker PvE and PvP Guide
Skyforge Gunner Guide
Skyforge Slayer Abilities, Talents and Rotations Guide
Skyforge Monk PvE Control and Damage Guide
Skyforge Squad Adventures Guide
Skyforge Cryomancer Class Guide
Skyforge Kinetic Class Guide
Skyforge Adventures Guide
Skyforge Mare Sacro Monastery Guide
Skyforge Monk Guide
Skyforge Primary and Secondary Stats Guide
Skyforge Paladin PvE Tank Guide
Skyforge Knight Class Guide
Skyforge Nedder Test Area Guide
Skyforge Managing Difficulty Guide
Skyforge Strength/Luck and Valor/Luck DPS Builds Guide
Skyforge Alchemist Guide
Skyforge Stats Optimization Guide
Skyforge Archer PvP Guide
Skyforge Beginner’s FAQ
Skyforge Burst and Buff Mechanics For Fast Boss Kills
Skyforge Weekly Farming Checklist Guide
Skyforge Warlock and Witch PvE Guide
Skyforge 5 Man Dungeons Guide
Skyforge Advanced Class and Atlas Development Guide
Skyforge Building Prestige Guide
Skyforge Berserker In-Depth Guide
Skyforge Pantheon Guide
Skyforge Sparks and Atlas Guide
Skyforge Lightbinder Basics Guide
Skyforge Paladin Guide
Skyforge Archer Guide
Skyforge Kinetic PvP Beginner’s Guide
Skyforge Lightbinder Guide
Skyforge Necromancer Beginner’s Guide
Skyforge Slayer PvE Guide
Skyforge Necromancer Guide
Skyforge Understanding Your Lightbinder Guide
Skyforge Frequently Asked Questions
Skyforge Basics Guide
Skyforge Ascension Atlas Guide
Skyforge Order Guide
Skyforge Beginner’s Tips
Skyforge Cryomancer Guide
Skyforge Beginner’s Guide

3 Responses to “Skyforge Managing Difficulty Guide”

  1. how do you “file>copy” the spread sheet

  2. On a related note, I love the way swtor handles class stats. Each class has a primary and secondary stat which is explained very well early on, and noobs and casual players will do just fine as long as they don’t ignore those stats. There are also a host of other supporting stats that hardcore min/max players can have a field day with. So to my mind swtor satisfies both the casual and the hardcore players.

    Starforge, on the other hand, definitely caters to the hardcore min/max players and is not casual-friendly at all. This is a mistake though because as Wildstar so clearly proved, an mmo lives and dies on the far far larger casual player population who pay real money to play. But I digress.

  3. Thank you very much for writing this. It has been the most useful info I’ve seen on Skyforge yet. Indeed, Skyforge will punish you greatly if you don’t know what you’re doing. Worse, you can actually gimp your character from bad leveling and equipment decisions. Unfortunately, I fell into this trap and have now been trying to do emergency repairs on my character, but your post is certainly helping with this.

    Question about gear upgrades: The game sort of subtly nudges you when you have higher level gear that is not equipped. So you are saying then that in the case of rings, it is better to hold on to a lower level ring with the desires stats? At what point is this no longer true?

    One thing I find annoying is that the game does encourage you to play different classes, and yet one size definitely doesn’t fit all as far as the rings are concerned. It can also be frustrating spending all the time griding for sparks, Order stuff, and so on, and yet never feel more powerful. Also, I dislike having to remember to switch out trophies depending on the dungeon or area. Speaking of which, I was annoyed to find that the trophies are another grind, as if Skyforge doesn’t have enough of that already. .

    I agree completely though with what one person wrote on (I think) about how Skyforge has a solid combat system and one of the most compelling leveling systems ever, but suffers from leaving important things like class builds woefully underexplained.

    Anyway, ty again for your post. Hopefully it will help me get my character out of the emergency room. ;)

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