Information about skills in God of War Ragnarok, including details on unlocking new skills, leveling up skills, and applying Mod Tokens to skills.
How to Unlock Skills in God of War Ragnarok
You’ll find various skill trees under the “Skills” tab in the menu, with each unique weapon and, oddly enough, companions possessing their own trees, which may expand as you advance through the game. Skill trees are pretty simple affairs in God of War Ragnarok, with lines connecting unlockable skills to their prerequisites, usually in purely linear fashion. You unlock skills by expending XP, which is earned in combat, when you find collectibles, or by completing goals (quests, favors and labors). In addition, many skills are progression-gated by the weapon’s level - you’ll need to rank up weapons to unlock some skills, in addition to meeting their prerequisites and XP costs.
Companion skill trees will expand as you progress through the story.
How to Upgrade Skills
Once you’ve spent XP on a skill, it’ll unlock and you’ll gain its benefits. Skills largely fit into two categories; moves and passives. Passives are always potentially in effect (although you may have to meet certain conditions to activate them, like landing multiple melee attacks without sustaining damage), while moves can be performed by pressing the correct inputs under the right conditions, as detailed to the right of the screen when a skill node is selected. The Serpent’s Snare skill for the Leviathan Axe (under the Melee tree), for example, can be performed by holding down the button.
By using moves in combat you’ll rank that skill up through three tiers - bronze, silver and gold, and while these ranks don’t do anything by themselves, once you’ve used a skill enough to reach gold rank you’ll unlock the ability to purchase Mod Tokens for the skill. To do this, highlight the desired gold-rank skill and press the button, after which you’ll be prompted to spend XP to unlock your choice of Mod Tokens. The Mod Tokens available vary by skill, but they generally provide a passive statistical boost to the selected skill, increasing elemental effects, damage, stun, stagger resistance, etc. It doesn’t matter which Mod Token you pick, as once you’ve expended the XP you can swap between all possible Mod Tokens for a skill on a whim.
Ranking up skills is solely a matter of usage. You have to successfully use the skill in combat for the counter to increment, but the quality of your opponent or the efficacy of the attack doesn’t matter. As long as you hit, you should get credit. Enemies are somewhat finite near the beginning of the game, but you’ll eventually unlock areas that allow you to fight to your heart’s content. If you’d rather not wait, you can intentionally grind up skill ranks by using them against enemies - farming Wretches from nests or Bergsra Mothers are both fine ways to rack up cheap kills.