2020-04-01 Blog: Creative Director's Letter
Glorious Ashes Community, I hope everyone of you is keeping safe and healthy during these strange times. Who would have thought that the start of 2020 would have taken such a turn? Regardless, Intrepid continues to forge ahead in the development of Ashes of Creation, and we have had some incredible progress towards our Alpha One of the MMORPG. Just this last week, we debuted an Early Preview at the Alpha One world, showing off some of the core systems in this live playthrough.
Jeffrey Bard, Margaret Krohn and I really enjoyed the reactions and excitement from the community. We are looking forward to getting our glorious players into the game and helping us test these systems thoroughly. As always, in everything we have done during our development, our primary focus is creating the vast amount of mechanics with high-quality visuals that will provide a polished experience for our players. This obviously is no easy endeavor… but it is made easier by the continued support and trust of our core community.
I also could not be prouder of our incredibly talented team of developers as our Intrepid family continues to grow. Ashes is among the most ambitious projects currently in development for the MMORPG genre, in both the quantity of features and quality of our design. Chief among the requirements I look for when hiring additional developers is not only their talent and experiences but also their passion. In the first quarter of 2020 we have hired some very talented new devs to the team, but we still have many more to go before we hit our peak production mark. So, starting this quarter, I directed our community team to ramp up the social messaging around our recruitment objectives. Thus far, our community has done a great job sharing the project with the world, but we can always do moar. If you have not subscribed to our social media channels, @AshesofCreation, please make sure to do so and tag your favorite developers to let them know about Intrepid and the Ashes of Creation project.
Of course, during this time, we have had to enact a Work-From-Home policy to comply with the guidelines of the State and Federal government. We are however adapting well and will continue to monitor the development of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our hearts go out to everyone in our community and gamers in general as we all try to cope with the impact this worldwide crisis has on our normal lives. In order to be considerate of the struggle our community is having during the crisis, I have instructed our community and web teams to forgo the regularly scheduled cosmetic updates for the time being, so as to respect the hardship that my fellow gamers are enduring. Obviously, the monthly cosmetics are enticing to the many collectors among us, but I do not want our amazing community to be disappointed about missing out on the month’s cosmetics due to a hardship they are having to cope with during these difficult times.
As such, I have commissioned a small statue to commemorate this challenge that we as a species will overcome. The statue will be granted to all accounts who have been registered or register during this crisis. This item will be showcased on our next live stream in April and will be placeable within your home as a piece of décor.
Finally, I am happy to announce that limited Alpha One testing will begin in May of 2020 starting with our highest level Alpha One backers from Kickstarter. This testing will include our Phoenix Initiative backers and above at first. As the game client becomes more stable during this limited testing, we will begin to introduce our Braver-of-World and above backers, and eventually our Intrepid pre-order pack holders. Our goal is to have the Alpha One game client ready for full testing in Fall of 2020. Now obviously this timeline is subject to the preliminary testing and its success during the next several months, so make sure to temper expectations. The whole purpose of testing Ashes is to create a solid and enjoyable experience, while iterating on game design and implementation. The important takeaway of this announcement is that we are making progress towards a playable experience. There is still a long road ahead, and many systems in Alpha One are core systems that require more fleshing out still. And even now I cannot guarantee delays will not occur, but we will strive to be transparent and communicate with you about our successes and failures.
The initial tests in May with our Phoenix Initiative and above backers will be conducted during single day sessions, which over the course of several months will eventually evolve into weekend testing periods as the Alpha One game client becomes more stable. Over the summer, as we expand the participating Alpha One testers to include Bravers and above, they too will start off with weekend experiences that will test the patience of our players. As we get closer to Fall of this year, we aim to invite all Alpha One players to participate in weeklong testing sessions and push the limits of our Alpha One experience. As we approach these testing periods, we will be updating you with schedules and instructions.
True Alpha testing is not for everyone. I cannot stress enough; Rome was not built in a day. Temper expectations and extend a degree of patience as we get through what will be a lot of hard work. I often live my life by taking solace in the fact that nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain and difficulty. Having a passionate community behind the backs of our developers gives us motivation and a sense of fulfillment when things go right. And when things go wrong, we are still humans. We get disappointed in letting down our community, but strive evermore to achieve our goals and make you proud.
The road ahead remains long and arduous, but with every step we take, the dawn approaches. I cannot tell you enough just how much your support and participation mean to myself and my team. When I think back to the start of this journey, I often wonder what a closed production would have been like. I can honestly say that having a community to experience this development with us has been an overall rewarding experience. What is most rewarding for me is seeing the bonds that have already been formed. The social connections that have begun to sprout into lifelong friendships. My goal has always been and shall always be to create a world where you can lose yourself, and create an experience that will make you proud to have been a part of this journey.
Stay healthy, Stay safe. Your faithful Creative Director, Steven Sharif