The Ability system in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance is very similar to that of Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. While active techniques are implemented through the Deck Command system, passive abilities are managed through the Abilities menu, and with only two exclusions must be purchased from the Ability Links of the protagonists' Dream Eaters. Equipped abilities can be activated or deactivated at will, and when an ability is highlighted, the menu will also display any Spirits whose Ability Links contain a yet-to-be-purchased iteration of that ability, even if the player has already maxed out the ability; once the ability is purchased, the Spirit will not be displayed even if the ability is not currently equipped.
The Abilities list is divided into three categories. Stats abilities encompass those which increase the protagonists' stats, but are only equipped for as long as the Spirit providing them remains in the party. Meanwhile, Support abilities and Spirit abilities, which provide miscellaneous benefits to the protagonists and their Spirits, respectively, remain equipped permanently once they are purchased.
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