Alpha Slot Benefits
The Alpha Slot can be unlocked by defeating foes at level 50. It used to be normally unlocked by completing Mender Ramiel's arc, which is still interesting since it introduces players to the Incarnate System by advancing the in-game story-line and lore, and explaining the mechanics of how the Incarnate System works.
A character can access their Incarnate Abilities Window even before any Incarnate Slots are unlocked, where they can manage all their Incarnate abilities.
Once the Alpha Slot is unlocked, the character:
- can fill the Alpha Slot with an Alpha Slot Ability which can grant universal power aspect enhancements, a level shift, and bonuses to certain in-game tasks.
- starts getting Incarnate Shards as a drop from defeating foes.
- starts getting Incarnate Components or Incarnate Shards as a reward for certain Raids and Task Forces.
- can access a third build.
- can join activities restricted to Incarnates. This includes the Tin Mage and Apex Task Forces.
- If the Alpha Slot is empty, the character suffers from a -4 Level Shift during these activities.
- If the Alpha Slot has an ability slotted, the character does not suffer from the negative shift during these activities.
- can receive the Notice of the Well Incarnate Component from the Weekly Strike Target.
The Unlocking Process
The normal course of unlocking the Alpha Slot follows this general plan:
- Optionally run Mender Ramiel's arc to get some backstory and get the character's first Incarnate Shard
- Determine which Alpha Slot Ability works best for said character. That will determine which Incarnate Components are required to craft.
- Gain Veteran Levels to get Incarnate Threads and Empyrean Merits; defeat enemies (who con even or higher) to get Incarnate Shards or Threads; and/or run Incarnate Trials, endgame Task Forces, or missions in Dark Astoria to get Incarnate Components.
- Craft and equip the Alpha Slot Ability.
- The character can now work towards another or a higher tiered Alpha Slot Ability.
Alpha Slot Mechanics
- With regard to the Tin Mage and Apex Task Forces, a character is prevented by the game from joining if they do not have the Alpha Slot unlocked. If the Alpha Slot is unlocked, but is not slotted with an Alpha Slot Ability, then they can participate, but at a -4 Level Shift. Thus, they will be at eight levels lower than the Level 54 foes, hitting at 5% of their normal damage due to the Purple Patch.
- All Common and Uncommon Alpha Incarnate Components can be crafted from Incarnate Shards; therefore, no one specific Raid or Task Force is required to create a Common or Uncommon Ability. They can also be crafted from Incarnate Threads. Because Shards can only be used for the Alpha Slot, it is best to craft Components for it from Shards where possible, but drop rates mean it is unlikely that Shards will be sufficient.
- Rare-tier Alpha abilities require a Notice of the Well uncommon salvage which can be acquired by running the Weekly Strike Target.
- Very Rare-tier Alpha Abilities require a Favor of the Well that can be crafted from two Notice of the Well; it also consumes any two Rare-tier Alphas in order to craft the Very Rare one.
- The reason why the Incarnate Component Gr'ai Matter can be bought with Vanguard Merits is because the Rikti Mothership Raid doesn't have a reward table for completing it.
- Characters can switch between Alpha Abilities by simply equipping a new ability. The old ability is not lost, but simply switched out. There is a 5 minute cool down between equips. Also, equipping an ability is prohibited by being in combat and may require additional cool down time or leaving the mission to equip.
- The Alpha Ability cannot be slotted or changed in Ouroboros.
- Higher-tier Alpha Abilities consume a lower tier ability when crafted. Characters can have several higher-tiered abilities, but if they're in the same 'tree', then they'll have to re-craft the lower tiered ability again for each higher-tiered ability they want to have.
- The Alpha Slot was initially supposed to launch with Going Rogue, but beta feedback said without content to play with the Alpha Slot, the system felt incomplete, so it was pushed back.
- The Alpha Slot was added to the game in Issue 19; at that time, the only way to unlock it was via Mender Ramiel's story arc.
- When Incarnate Experience was added to the game as a reward from the Lambda Sector and Behavioral Adjustment Facility Trials in Issue 20, the Alpha Slot was also made unlockable via both Psychic and Physical Incarnate Experience.
- When Incarnate Merit Vendors were added to the game in Issue 20.5, an Unlock Alpha Slot Token was made available for 5 Astral Merits. This token can be purchased by any character on an account, and is awarded as a Character Item.