- Utilizing new AI technology that hasn't been seen in other MMORPG projects.
- Bosses are scripted and make decisions dynamically during boss fights.
- NPCs performing "idle actions" to make the world seem more alive has been discussed by the developers but is not confirmed.
There are some additional AI parameters that are set that don't relate necessarily to controlling NPCs. There are AIs with regards to the development of the borders for nodes in the direction and also the decisions that are made of which lower nodes to enslave as vassal states. There's AI that relates to a little bit of the stock market that's going to be present in the economy. There's some AI systems that are going to be announced also that are pretty innovative I think with regards to the MMORPG genre and that's going to make the triggered event system very interesting I think; and that's you know with regards to how nodes kind of develop and the environment reacts to that development by you know spawning these triggered events of you know a horde of zombies attacking a city or a legendary raid boss coming out of the mountain. I think there's a lot of opportunity for some of the innovations that's been in the AI sector of game development too to come out in Ashes. – Steven Sharif
The World manager is an algorithm in Ashes of Creation that controls dynamic world elements. It acts as both a throttle and an incentive system for various activities to ensure certain parameters are within acceptable thresholds.
- Prices of hunting certificates.
- A heatmap of experience being gained to apply to node advancement.
- The territory expansion algorithm takes into account the nearest coast, neighboring nodes, and the heatmap of players in surrounding areas over the last weeks or month.
- Due to the way the progression algorithm calculates territorial (ZOI) expansion during node advancement, there is a small possibility that two nodes of the same stage end up being close to each other.
- Transit of resources and goods between regions to drive quest rewards for nodes.
For example if you know iron is being used as a raw resource for a specific crafting path that might drive up the price of mithril or silver; and that will incentivize the market to course correct a little bit. The idea is to provide soft incentives that help to alleviate the demand and also to prop up the supply that might not be present from the economic systems. – Steven Sharif
- Additional buildings will spawn.
- Additional mobs will spawn.
- Content difficulty will change.
- Dungeons will be unlocked when certain nodes advance to certain stages.
- Drop tables in areas and dungeons will be tied into the progression of certain areas.
Certain dungeons and other points of interest across the map will all be affected by the server’s node development. Some dungeons will only be unlocked if nodes are developed to certain stages. The storyline objectives for players inside dungeons will also be dependent on the story arc paths chosen through the node system. The drop tables in area and dungeons will also be tied into the progression of certain areas. For example, let’s say that the humans have developed a node in Region A, and a storyline has opened up that leads players to inspect the ruins (dungeon) of a nearby area. And let’s say that this node was developed in a scientific (crafting) zone… Well before the node developed, this dungeon was accessible… But now the dungeon has propagated new monster assets that include a drop table catering to a crafting emphasis because of the development of that scientific node. And perhaps, a new boss appears in different rooms of the dungeon that includes different adventure quest starts, like a mysterious item with a storyline that can only be progressed if a node develops to the metropolis stage in a certain region, across the world. Our system is so vast, when it comes to interconnectivity and how the world reacts to the players.
Raids will also have dynamic elements that can change from session to session.
- The types and numbers of bosses and mobs present in the raid and their skill repertoire.
- Variables are manifested based on node progression.
One of the design elements that we're implementing into our raids is that the raid will not be exactly the same every single time. You're going to have variables that can't necessarily be pre-planned out for. You can pre-plan out for a lot of the raid like how many DPS do you need and healers and support; where the key position and all that kind of stuff; but I think the compelling aspect of Ashes raiding will be the difficulty in achieving this content and having that content change from session to session as well. We want there to be variables that get manifested by you know what type of node got developed elsewhere. Is he going to have acolytes or cultists? What will the acolytes have skills [available] to them? What kit is the boss gonna have? What available skill repertoire will the boss be able to [wield]? ... A lot of those systems are influenced obviously by world development. So the raid kind of takes into account at what stage has the world developed: Are there two metropolises now available in the world? Okay well let's activate this skill in this skill. Now you have five metropolises, well now all these skills have been activated. Are there are they all economic nodes? Are they all military nodes? That we can change things based on that stuff. And it really is a threat assessment from the environment against the players. – Steven Sharif
Player driven narrative
The world of Verra will be the same on each server, but Nodes will develop differently. Different servers will have different narratives. Things that happen on one server may not happen on another.
We want as many people as possible to experience the main server Narrative. These will branch at different scales, but largely at the personal level. Where things change is at the Node level – different parts of the story will be unlocked based on where and when Nodes grow. Unlocking a part of the story in a certain way locks out progression of the story in a different way. You’ll see different antagonists, different NPCs, and different calls to action depending on what’s happening with the server at that time.
It kind of redefines what the players will experience in an MMORPG to come into a wilderness that is devoid of really any structure outside of what the community creates themselves; and then what can be created can be changed, if they want to experience a storyline that's been seen on another server, but you know you're fighting a dragon because you're near a mountain and the other server's fighting a Kraken because they're near the coast and you want to fight that Kraken because of its drop table. If you want to meta it or because you just want that under your belt: to be the server first to take out that Kraken and you have yet to develop the node there, you know it's incumbent upon you to manifest that in the game. – Steven Sharif
Ashes of Creation Apocalypse horde mode
- Each wave is more difficult than the last.
- Between waves, players collect experience, money and weapons to take back to their hold to defend against the next wave.
- Monster coins enable players to join the game as part of the horde.
Horde mode will absolutely include boss mechanics, so some of the ideas behind that is going to have a wave mode of a variety of NPCs will likely include some achievable cosmetics as well in that mode depending on how far you can get and those cosmetics will include pets of the NPCs that you face, so like a little miniature version of the NPC's and we'll update those as well, that you'll have in the MMO. – Steven Sharif
- Testing the blackboard for the AI.
- NPCs with different adaptive AI focuses:
It's a way that we thought it would be kind of fun to implement AI mechanics that we're looking to implement. Testing the you know the blackboard for the AI. Being able to have variable types of NPCs that have roles whether it be like a sniper, ranged, melee, boss, heroic you know kind of different AI focuses for those monsters during interesting situations. – Steven Sharif
- About Ashes of Creation.
- Livestream, 5 May 2017 (11:55).
- Livestream, 28 July 2017 (43:57).
- Livestream, 8 April 2018 (PM) (3:56).
- Podcast, 11 May 2018 (24:23).
- Interview, 19 July 2020 (1:10:55).
- Interview, 19 July 2020 (1:08:22).
- Interview, 18 July 2020 (10:04).
- Interview, 8 July 2020 (1:00:15).
- Livestream, 26 March 2021 (50:33).
- Livestream, 26 March 2021 (22:53).
- Livestream, 17 November 2017 (36:22).
- Livestream, 17 November 2017 (18:29).
- MMOGames interview, January 2017
- Podcast, 9 July 2018 (22:24).
- Livestream, 19 May 2017 (37:03).
- Interview: Ashes of Creation on Building Their Virtual World, 13 April 2017.
- Livestream, 22 May 2017 (28:02).
- Interview, 24 August 2018 (13:17).
- Livestream, 1 September 2018 (54:06).
- Livestream, 17 August 2018 (30:29).
- Interview, 8 August 2018 (4:00).