Each Hero has up to three skills: a Passive Skill, a Commander Skill, and a Special Ability. Skills are one of the most defining aspects of characters, and many skills are more effective when used in the right combinations.
The Special Ability is the Hero’s activated ability. Special Abilities cost mana to activate, and are usually very powerful. Special Abilities can have a wide variety of effects, including: different types of attacks, healing, creating elemental terrain, buffs and debuffs. Special Abilities level over time. Heroes gain skill experience every time they participate in a level, making their Special Ability more powerful over time.
You earn XP every mission, and can use it to Upgrade your Heroes. Upgrading increases stats as well as the power of Special Abilities, making them much more effective in battle.
Passive Skills happen automatically. Although they can be easy to ignore, passives can have a big impact on your effectiveness. Many passive skills require a condition to be met to trigger. For example, many Heroes have passives that trigger when they kill an enemy, and some Heroes have passive skills that trigger when they die.
Commander Skills are similar to passive skills in that they happen automatically. Commander Skills often change the battlefield or have an impact on the entire team. You can only have two Commander Skills active at once - the one from your selected commander, and the one you receive from the allied commander (or guest) you bring with you.
Collecting and upgrading Heroes is the main way to get stronger. There are a variety of ways to improve your Heroes.
Increasing the level of your Heroes is the first step to making them more effective. Every level a Hero gains increases their stats, making it very important to keep Heroes near max level. Hero max level is determined by the level of your Headquarters and the Hero’s rank, which comes from promotions.
XP is used to upgrade your Heroes. There are six types of XP. General XP, and XP specific to each of the five elemental affinities. Heroes can be upgraded using either general XP of the XP that matches their elemental affinity.
Every Hero has a current and a maximum star rating. Star rating is an approximation of the power level and rarity of a Hero, although Heroes will have some variance in power within a single star rating. Evolving Heroes increases their current star rating. The higher the current star rating, the better overall stats and power of the Hero.
Elixirs are uncommon and rare items that can be used to permanently increase the stats of a Hero. Each hero can only consume a limited number of elixirs. As Heroes gain rank (through promotions), they will become stronger and can safely consume more elixirs.
Every Hero comes with their own weapon and armor that cannot be replaced. However, you can upgrade and evolve gear to make them stronger. This requires building the Crystal Forge and acquiring ore from the Burny Mine.
Evolve a Hero to improve their stats and appearance. Evolving is also the only way to improve a Hero’s Passive and Commander Skills. It’s safe to evolve a Hero any time you meet the requirements - skill experience and stat gains will transfer over to the evolved Hero. Most Heroes can be evolved at least once.
Heroes can be promoted, resulting in an increase in their rank up to a maximum of +10. Each rank gives an increase to the Heroes’ base and maximum Special Ability level, an increase to the number of elixirs they can consume, and an increase to their maximum attainable level. Promotion requires a mixture of gold, reagents, and elemental shards. You can gain elemental shards by selling unwanted uncommon and rare Heroes, and occasionally find them for sale in the Marketplace.