When to Hard Cap, Soft Cap, only 1 point?

I’m sorry if there is a guide and I’ve missed it, please point me in the direction if there is. Also if this is in the wrong location, plz move it.

So I recently got my first 100 and I’m working just fining gear, let alone find a build I want to try for endgame. Over the many builds listed, I’ve seen some skills go varying ranges from hard caps to soft caps, to only a single point (usually a passive when you have gear bonuses), to maybe half (like 5 or 6).

My question is, do we have lists or is there conventional wisdom for certain skills to get the hard/soft/half amount of points. When making a build, how do you know that you only need one point, etc.

I realize i most circumstances, this is very build/gear dependent. Such as my fresh 100 Warlord with a hard cap on Blitz. But I could’ve instead chosen Forcewave and instead hard capped that. That I get. But I’ve seen other builds that use a Soldier and War Cry, there is a large variation of points between hard cap and only one point; why? Or even, in the respect to the Oathkeeper, Guardians of the Empyrion is (almost always) just one point but the Celestial Presence maxed usually over cap from bonuses.

Is there some kind of math involved? If so, yay! I actually like math. But seriously anyone have info on this but not specifically the examples I gave?

A lot of skills have varying breakpoints. Example elemental balance node in the iskandras elemental exchange line; it scales 2% crit damage per point up until 16% then drops to 1% per level. Certain skills scale very well at the last few ultimate ranks.

I don’t think there is a guide anywhere, but playing around in grim tools should enable you familiarize yourself with different breakpoints.

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You know it from knowledge of mechanics / experience / Math + how it translates to in-game result. Almost all skills vary in terms of number of skill points players put into them because it’s dependent on

  • personal preference / being a try-hard / priorities

  • build

  • hc vs sc

  • activity (superbosses / main campaign / SR / Crucible etc)

Best to ask for specific skills in specific builds. Or you just making a build and a more experienced player suggests changes.


The Fwuffy says “Dis is teh way”


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Idea for the future, guide about breakpoints of every skill. Problem is patches usually change skills and their scaling. For instance Mines were changed.

But let’s say skills are best used until their stats have diminished return.


Returns are already diminishing after 1p :wink:


Something like this makes me hope that there is a guide like Poinas made for TQ back then. Veteran already familiarize themselves with how many poin a skill need from theorycrafting on grimtools, so best answer currently is to spent more time in there. But for me hard cap is for main damaging skill and exclusive, soft cap for aura/toggle buff, or skills that give good utility (war cry, nullification, ill omen), 1 point for mobility skill like blitz or vire might (max if this skill is your main damage source). On some trigger skill like menhir will or fighting spirit I usually try to reach certain treshold (40% for menhir will, and either 6 or 12 point to fighting spirit). On WPS you need to balance the point with the total activation pool.


Actually have a draft of such guide for months already, perhaps should just finish it finally.


Without getting too deep into parts you need to study, the only hard rule is that you wanna hardcap your main damage source as well as your main RR sources. So if you’re playing a cadence build. Hardcap the entire cadence line (I heard fighting form is worth it nowadays). If you play ABB then hardcap ABB and lethal assault. Exclusives are usually either softcapped or hardcapped depending on your preference.

Skill point distribution should look like this:
(disclaimer: it’s not really what I do cause I get more advanced than what I’ll say here but it’s the basics)

I’ll use dw pierce cadence blademaster as an example here. No gt link meaning no itemizations considered. Advanced players who will read this will find a lot of mistakes but I’m considering here players that don’t know breakpoints and such.

  1. Your main skill is cadence. The usual idea is to hardcap cadence (pretty sure you have some +points on your gear) then softcap the two nodes. Get 1 point on veil of shadow to max out Night’s chill cause that’s RR

  2. Look at what skills give you more damage to your preferred damage type, in this case pierce and then softcap those skills i.e. Oleron’s rage and dual blades. Something like Merciless repertoire won’t help cause it doesn’t give pierce so don’t get it.

  3. Softcap skills that give you PERMANENT primary stats (physique/cunning/spirit/oa/da/health) i.e. Anatomy of Murder, Decorated soldier, Pneumatic burst, Shadow Dance, Veil of Shadow but not fighting spirit cause it’s not permanent.

  4. Get 1 point on passives that actually give you something i.e. all of them except menhir’s will and repertoire.

  5. Cover up some holes in your defenses (you can’t cover it all with jist skill points but It’ll help). For example if you need more elemental resist then get more points on shadow dance.

  6. Invest 1 point in qol aka movement skills aka shadow strike and/or blitz.

  7. The remaining skill points go to whatever helps your damage. blade spirits, hardcapping deadly momentum, Oleron’s rage and dual blades harcap. Lethal assault if you have conversion.

  8. Play your build and you’ll notice what’s good and what’s not.

  9. Adjust stuff till you get what’s right. Of course if you wanna get deeper then you’ll have to study other builds so you get more ideas about skill distribution. Until @nery publishes a guide that’s all you got.

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Hardcapping your primary damage dealing skill is rarely a bad idea, if ever.

I’ve found that active skills in general scale better in ultimate ranks than passives, although there are exceptions in both directions.

I think passives are generally worth 1-pointing if they offer anything at all to your build, since you’ll almost certainly have +skill bonuses to bring them up, and the marginal utility of those extra skill points is highest when the overall skill rank is low and diminishing returns haven’t kicked in yet.

And that’s the thing, really; when you have a skill point to spend, there’s no shortcut for examining all of your options and understanding exactly what each one will get you. It’s something that gets easier with experience


click on the :gear: and select “ignore mastery skill limit” and then you can just see what each new point does :slight_smile:

i’d say 11/12 anatomy of murder is the sweet spot

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If I wasn’t talking to a new guy I’d say hardcap anatomy on every cunning build. 11/12 is the breakpoint but unless you really need the points you wanna hardcap it. But again, I was talking about how you should distribute points without knowing breakpoints.

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oh wow… I never expected such a discussion. Thanks everyone for their input.
I do so feel the need to whip out excel and do some math for each point and look at it from a efficiency POV. My analysis would more math driven than experience driven

In my …experience… which is limited, btw- ive learned through experimentation, and re-speccing skill points. Each build’s journey and the methods by which it is realized can be perfected to a work of art. These works of art are often shared here on the forums in beginner builds, which have a tendency to expose the reader to vast knowledge. The most effective beginner build posts are easy to read and understand. They are very valuable resources for newer players or players still learning about the game, as well as those of us (like myself) who have put roughly 3,000 hours into this game and still feel like noobs!

Guides arent for everyone though, and I encourage you to experiment on your own. Studying numbers to find sweet spots and calculate for diminishing returns is great, but lets not forget- things can look one way on paper, and feel very different in action.

This game has some of the highest replay value that ive ever encountered in a game, specifically because of how meticulous one can get while brewing builds and playtesting them. Dont forget to have fun with it- Every class and class combo Ive tried I have always hardcapped my favorite skills out the gate before testing anything else. Most times, against the general concensus or conventional wisdom you mentioned here on the forums. Thats just how I play though, its whats fun to me.

In essence I dont know if anything I said is actually helpful here, because I repeatedly willingly sacrifice build power, potential, and efficiency, in order to keep the janky ass shit I like to use in the spotlight. A good example would be the first build I ever hit level 100 with- Full blown HP Regen Warder. I went all in on Menhir’s Will, well beyond what was recommended at the time in various threads here. Hell, an HP Regen based build was somewhat against the grain at the time based on the things I was reading here. Valid points being it doesnt matter how much HP you have and how fast you can regenerate it if you dont do enough damage to kill things IE; offense is the best defense, etc. I was a garbage player though and kept dying all the time so for me the priority was just staying alive. I found a lot of joy in exploring the means by which that could be accomplished- i learned about the order of defenses, and how to layer them and build around them optimally. Each time I learned about a mechanic id try another build based around it, maxing out that mechanic IE; Armor/Armor Absorption and Damage Absorption made me go crazy for Commando, Block Rate and Block Recovery sent me to Captain America Warlord land. My favorite character these days is a Saboteur that prioritizes Dodge/Deflect among other things (not advisable IF your goal is endgame IE; Crucible/SR viability).

Its all up to you, but like others mentioned here, grimtools is a great resource for that excel style data. Just dont forget to experiment in gameplay, that journey is half the fun too.