Art of Ascension

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January 2024

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This mod for Source is no longer being developed. Download its last release here.


Lucidity Player ID reveals opponent HP
Upgrading Gravity Gun allows car grabbing

Half-Life 2 Art of Ascension

Art of Ascension is a free RPG modification for Half-Life 2. Art of Ascension combines the spirit of online role playing games with the faster battling pace of classical first-person shooters.

At first glance, Art of Ascension is deceptively simple. You begin gameplay just as in any HL2:DM game. You spawn in with a weapon and you attempt to kill your various opponents. But you immediately notice a couple of things:

  1. Your beginning weapon set is weaker than normal.
  2. Your opponents' appear to be kicking your tush all over the place.

And you ask yourself, how did that guy kill me so fast?

As you continue playing, and gaining kills, you eventually notice that the game states you have Ascended to Level 1. You will gain more Max HP and gain more Max AP. Then you put the weapon and attribute points you just obtained into the weapons and attributes of your choice, respectively. You'll gain a marked improvement in your damage-dealing potential and new abilities.

Rinse, Repeat.

Deceptively simple? Sure. Insanely fun in the long run? Definitely.

Art of Ascension Features

  • Integrated help for beginner players (console command aoa_help)
  • Unique abilities, including: fly, pogo, invisibility, create health, create health trap, and create armor.


Note.pngNote:For the exact stats on weapons, visit the official weapons page.


The Crowbar deals massive amounts of damage at short range with a minimal point investment. If your primary weapon is explosive or runs out of ammo easily, just a few points in this weapon can go a long way to save you in an emergency.

Stun Baton

The Stun Baton does not gain as much damage per level as the Crowbar, but gets a higher range increase. As a result, higher levels of the Baton are not wasted on damage overkill, while your range makes it much easier to hit in most situations. If you're feeling gutsy, The Stun Baton surpasses the Crowbar as a primary weapon. Get Stamina, Charisma, and/or Agility so you can outrun your enemies, and some self-preservation skills so you can survive a few hits on your approach.

Since you spawn with the stun baton regardless of spawn weapon, You should try spawning with SLAMs; This way your opponent cannot stay out of range of your baton as easily without backing into a SLAM beam.

Gravity Gun

Most people are content with a level 0 Gravity Gun unless they level theirs just for the fun of it, however the extra power can come in handy when packing barricades or taking down enemies when you're out of ammo. Also works nicely in tandem with Grenades. If not your primary weapon, consider upgrading it to around level 10-20, it tends to make a surprising difference in strength.


The pistol is a hyper-accurate, relatively powerful weapon that fires as fast as you can click. These traits make it incredible for some and horrendous for others. If you can get headshots, it's quite deadly. The downside is that while it spawns with more ammo than the Magnum, the default HL2:DM maps don't have any pistol ammo lying around, so be prepared to switch to other weapons if necessary.

.357 Magnum

It is slightly harder to begin AoA with the Magnum than the other weapons because it does not cary much ammo or deal much damage at low levels. However, it is extremely accurate and quickly gains strength when leveled; at high levels, most enemies fall in only two shots, and thats if you don't get a headshot!


The pump action shotgun has a wide spread pattern, and 7 pellets per shell. When facing one of these up close, be very afraid. At longer distances the spread is only able to nick the opponent with a few pellets, causing the 6 shot compacity to be less effective. When secondary fire is used it consumes 2 shells, you have a greater chance of hitting your target at further distances but with only 3 shots before reloading, be prepared to dance if you miss any shots. Because reloading 6 shells takes its fare share of time. On the sunny side, its possible to fire in midst of reloading.

Machine Gun

With near-equal firepower to the pulse rifle and with 1.5 times the rate of fire, the SMG is quite a force to be reckoned with. When properly aimed, the machine gun's secondary fire can take out entire roomfuls of your enemies. The machine gun makes an excellent starting weapon, as it is one of the most useful at low levels.

Pulse Rifle

The pulse rifle shoots projectiles that do high amounts of damage, cause your screen to change colors if you get hit by one, and knocks you backwards. For distant targets aim high to compensate for drop. The secondary fire lasts longer and gets stronger as you level it up. A common strategy is to grab it with the grav gun and shoot it at others and then catch it again. It is a good low-level weapon because it disorients people and it does heavy damage.


A slow moving bolt and even slower reload time is counteracted by sheer power in the crossbow. At low levels, even the most experienced players will fall in 2 hits. At high levels, all will fear your wrath. The crossbow is the only weapon that remains decent at low levels, even moreso than the machine gun. Even if you aren't planning to upgrade your crossbow, you will undoubtedly find it useful sometime.


The RPG no longer has the aiming system that it had in HL2:DM. If it did, it would be too overwhelmingly powerful. It also fires slower, making it harder to aim. At low levels, it is not very useful, but at high levels, it becomes so strong that you should get extra health to avoid suiciding with it. For some reason, it is the default spawn weapon when you first create a character.


First things first. SLAMs make horrible primary weapons. When caught in combat, the best you can do with a SLAM is drop one, grab it with the gravity gun, and run at your opponent, hoping to kill them in the ensuing explosion that is your death. SLAMs do however, make great secondary weapons. Level them up a few times, and plant them all over the level. You can get quite a boon to your kills that way.


Even level 0 grenades pack quite a punch. Tossing them with the gravity gun is one of the best strategies for getting through the low levels. An excellent secondary weapon, they can also make a powerful primary weapon if are adept at aiming them with the gravity gun. Grenade's power should not be underestimated. If you even hear one bouncing, immediately switch to the gravity gun and prepare to hurl it back, unless you are absolutely sure nobody on the server has upgraded grenades. It is very powerful for its level and you can kill people double your level in one hit if you get to a good enough level with it and have good enough aim.

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