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Alpha-1 testing

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In our February testing, we hit some challenges and have spent the last few weeks addressing those issues. Of course, at the onset of our Alpha One schedule we acknowledged that we may see some changes as we move through the different phases and undiscovered work becomes visible. As we have been addressing these challenges, my team has determined that additional polish is needed in order to guarantee a smoother Alpha One testing phase, and yesterday I approved this NDA extension. I know that is not what you want to hear, but my team and I are committed to excellence for Ashes of Creation, and honestly, this is the purpose of these Alphas and Betas - to discover issues and address them as early as possible. I am committed to bringing you along on that journey, regardless of the good, bad, or ugly.[1]Steven Sharif

In the meantime, we will continue with our periodic spot testing under NDA with our Glorious Alpha One testers, as we work to deploy updates between now and May's testing. We, of course, will continue to show footage of testing in our March and April live stream updates, so please make sure to tune in there and on our socials for more updates! It’s been a thrill to see the world of Verra take shape with each update - this would not be possible without the help of our glorious community and hard work of our incredible Alpha One testers. Thank you all for your continued support, patience, and feedback as we march forward towards our major Alpha One milestone.[1]Steven Sharif

Phase Release Estimated/Actual date
Alpha-1 Alpha-1 early preview livestream.[2] March 27, 2020.[3]
Alpha-1 limited QA testing (NDA).[4][5] May 28, 2020.[6][7]
Alpha-1 preview pre-test 1 (NDA).[8] Dec 18 - Dec 21 2020.[8]
Alpha-1 preview pre-test 2 (NDA).[8] Feb 19 - Feb 22 2021.[9][10]
Alpha-1 preview intermittent spot testing (NDA).[1] Mar 19 - June 1 2021.[1]
Alpha-1 preview one week test (no NDA).[1] May 14 - May 21 2021.[1]
Alpha-1 one month test (no NDA).[1] June 1 - June 30 2021.[1]
Alpha-1 additional tests.[11] To be announced.[11]

Read more...

The term "alpha" is a tricky one, and it typically has 2 meanings in gaming. The development meaning for alpha is a point in the process where we are ready to test the fundamental systems in their core form, without polish and without much of the content. Then, there is the external or "marketing" term for alpha. This is typically applied to Eastern-ported MMORPGs, when in fact that is a completed game being localized for a region, and not really indicative of a true development alpha. As you may know by now, game development has many stages - from the initial tech demos to the pre-production and pre-alpha states, then on to the alphas and betas and eventually launch.[8]Steven Sharif

I want to make emphatically clear, our alphas and betas are true development alphas and betas, and some have said I am crazy to allow these phases to be seen without an NDA…maybe I am crazy? lol… But I am trusting the community of gamers out there to get a glimpse into the process, and understand the long road ahead for what will eventually be worth the wait. Given time and talent, amazing things can happen, so make sure you help us in communicating that we are in open development which means people get to see the bare bones before the meat. And look, I know people see our 4K footage and say, "This looks better than most released games!", but trust me when I say, you ain't seen nothin’ yet.[8]Steven Sharif

Alpha-1 combat revamp

4K Alpha-1 preview open world PvP (2v2).[12]

All of you out there who are waiting to see all of these changes remember that these are iterative changes and they're kind of rolled out in different phases. So you're going to see kind of the early aspect of them and don't expect them to be fully polished or all the animations to have yet been adapted.[13]

A revamped combat system will be rolled out during and post Alpha-1 testing.[14][13] This was originally targeted to be ready to test in the Alpha-1 March preview testing.[15]

  • The goal is to give more agency to the player and achieve a more fluid flow of combat with greater mobility when using abilities.[16][17]
  • The current hybrid tab and action combat system will remain after the revamp.[16]
  • This revamp will not represent the final form of combat, but will set the general direction that combat will be taking.[15]
  • The revamp will be iterative and will be rolled out to testers in different phases.[17]

The revamp is taking a bit longer than expected. We are still in the process of overhauling the backend of the combat and ability systems before we touch the front end components. The changes and prototypes will be rolled out slowly and in phases during and post alpha one.[14]Steven Sharif

Alpha-1 availability

Alpha-1 is available for purchase again via the Adventurer pre-order pack from May 5, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. pacific time until June 30, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. pacific time.[18][19][20]

Adventurer pre-order pack FAQ

How long will the Adventurer pre-order pack be available?
If I purchase the Adventurer pre-order pack, when can I participate in Alpha-1 testing?
Will there be a limited number of Adventurer pre-order packs available?
  • We have not announced any plans to limit the quantity of available Adventurer Pre-order Packages. However, keep in mind that the Adventurer Pre-order Package will only be available for purchase until June 30, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. Pacific.[18]
If I already own a pre-order package, how can I get access to Alpha-1?
If I’m a Kickstarter or Summer crowdfunding campaign backer, how can I get access to Alpha-1?
Who is eligible to participate in Alpha-1 testing?
Where can I get more info on Alpha-1 testing if I’m participating?
  • Keep an eye out for emails from our team with more details on how to download and play! We'll also email you more info on how to get the latest testing updates on our Discord and forums. If you don’t receive any emails and you believe you should, please reach out to our Support team directly here.[18]

Alpha-1 participation

Alpha-1 testing is available to the following participants:

There were slightly under 10,000 participants in Alpha-1 testing as of August, 2018.[23]

Alpha-1 castle sieges

Trebuchets in the Alpha-1 preview castle siege attackers headquarter camp.[24]
Alpha-1 preview castle (work-in-progress).[24]

An initial implementation of castle sieges based on Ashes of Creation Apocalypse castle sieges is being tested by the developers.[26][20]

  • Players will be able to join guilds. These guilds can register for the siege events.[24]
  • Castle siege events will be 100v100 battles that occur daily and will last for three hours.[24]
  • Attackers will start on the opposite end of the map (from the defenders).[24]
  • Attackers will be able to use trebuchets to drive to and assault the castle.[24]
    • Trebuchets have a single primary fire that does a small amount of damage to players and heavy damage to buildings.[24]
    • Trebuchets will be fully physical when they are being driven.[24]
  • When the attackers have breached the castle they will be able to channel a cast on the relic in the throne room to try to capture the castle from the defenders.[24]
  • The victors of castle sieges will receive benefits, such as cloaks, flying mounts for guild leaders and potentially also for guild officers.[24]
  • Alpha-1 castle sieges are in a separate zone that is accessible via a NPC teleporter.[27][28][29]
    Currently the siege zone is actually in the open world, but separated by mountains and off in the sea a bit. There is actually no instancing in A1, although the siege zone will only be accessible in A1 through a registration NPC teleporter.[27]Steven Sharif
  • The opposing team is notified when these raid bosses are being attacked.[26]
  • Teams who get the last hit on these bosses will receive buffs that will help them in the siege battle.[26]

Last year, I spoke of attempting to incorporate sieges into the Alpha One experience. This has obviously been a goal of mine because it provides considerable data and a consistent event within the world that players can participate in to help stress test the deployment. Well, I am happy to say that it is appearing more and more likely by the day! Initial implementation of the Apocalypse siege code has been migrated into the Alpha One client, and we should begin internal testing next month. I will caveat this expectation with the fact that we are cutting it a bit close from an internal QA standpoint, but I have some confidence that the system will be online and capable of inclusion for the Alpha One test in the month of June. The siege component will obviously not be representative of what the siege system will be at launch, or even in Alpha Two.[20]Steven Sharif

Alpha-1 PvE content

PvE content in Alpha-1:

There's over 200 quests in the game right now. There's a bunch of dungeons. We've retooled all of the boss fights. Those dragons that you see in the siege are also in the world- part of the open-world too. There will be a slightly different- there are some extra mechanics in the siege versions versus the ones that are in the world, but there's plenty of cool things to get on both of them, so make sure you check them out and hunt them down.[28]Jeffrey Bard

Artisan classes in Alpha-1

Artisan classes (Gathering, Processing, Crafting) will come online fully in Alpha-2 and the Betas.[31][32]

In Alpha One the core basics of what crafting represents as a gameplay loop that is represented. So that means that there are gatherables out there. You will have to have tools in order to service those gatherables. There will be processing that's necessary; and then there's crafting stations that are available and can be constructed by the players. This is in Alpha One. You have to collect the recipes, you have to collect the materials, and you have to refine the materials; and then you have to create the reagents and then use those to kind of create the final crafting component of that you're trying to create. So that in and of itself is present, but it is a very very small piece of really what will be the larger crafting puzzle for Alpha 2 and betas.[31]Steven Sharif

Crafting honestly will not come online in any sense of its true form until Alpha-2. Alpha-1 has essentially what are intended to be the core gameplay loop of crafting, meaning the collection of materials, the translation of those materials into processed goods, and the use of those processed goods into item acquisition. That's the core gameplay loop that is currently present in Alpha-1. But those are mostly facilitated kind of piggy backing the merchant systems right now and not actually using the real crafting system; and that's because crafting hasn't been completed in a form that can be implemented in Alpha-1, but will be for Alpha-2. What's present in Alpha-1 doesn't even really scratch the surface for crafting.[32]Steven Sharif

Alpha-1 servers

info-orange.pngSome of the following information has not been recently confirmed by the developers and may not be on the current development roadmap for Alpha-1.

Alpha-1 servers will support 1,500 concurrently connected users per server.[34][35][36]

Alpha-1 servers will be provisioned in the following regions.[37]

Server wipes

Alpha and Beta servers will be wiped prior to launch.[41]

  • Alpha-1 testing phases will include full wipes.[42]
  • Servers may also be wiped between individual tests, unless the developers require progression to be saved for certain spot tests.[43]

As a general rule, if the testing phase contains the word Alpha, it is safe to assume there will likely be wipes.[44]Steven Sharif

Alpha-1 NDA

Alpha-1, Alpha-2, Beta-1, Beta-2 releases are not covered by NDA (non-disclosure agreement).[45]

  • Alpha-1 testing prior to the full release of Alpha-1 is covered by NDA.[46][5]
    • The text and voice NDA was lifted from the PI QA testing phase on May 28, 2020.[46]
    • The NDA will be lifted for the May 2021 Alpha-1 preview spot tests.[1]

Our plan at the moment is for you to review and accept the NDA as part of the game client itself. Keep an eye out for emails in your inbox on how to test as we get closer![47]Sarah Flanagan

Alpha testing system requirements

Alpha-1 stress testing, March 17, 2021.[48]

Funny story; So yesterday as we are stress/density testing with our NDA testers, I accidentally summoned 5k bears around our few hundred players. But hey, it didn’t crash! Can you spot Lt. Toast here?[48]Steven Sharif

These are fully operational NPCs. They have behavior trees, they have AI blackboards; you know they are functioning as an NPC would; and to my surprise, to everyone's surprise actually, the server handled it quite well: 5000 entities all within a very dense area.[49]Steven Sharif

Ashes of Creation alpha testing minimum system specification.[50]

  • Operating System: Windows 10 64-Bit
  • Processor: Intel Core i3-2125 3.3GHz / AMD Phenom II X4 3.3GHz
  • Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 or AMD Radeon 6870 HD with 1GB and DirectX 12
  • Memory: 6 GB RAM
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Storage: 35 GB of available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX Compatible Sound Card

Recommended specification.[50]

  • Operating System: Windows 10 64-Bit
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-6700K 4.0GHz / AMD FX-9590 4.7GHz
  • Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon R9 Fury with 4GB and DirectX 12
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Storage: 35 GB of available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX Compatible Sound Card

Alpha testing zone

Alpha-1 testing tropical zone featuring a war beast and a tribe of pigmy goblins.[52]

This is a rather large tropical area; and what we use some of the creatures for is kind of like establishing character for different parts of this tropical place. So that even though it's the same biome, it feels different when you are going from place to place based on what's there and how those things are interacting with the environment.[53]Jeffrey Bard

Alpha-1 testing takes place in a zone to the north west of the world map.[54] This zone has many islands and a mainland area.[55]

  • There are 12 different (sub)zones in the Alpha-1 testing location.[53]
  • The Alpha-1 zone is almost 100 km2 in size.[53][55] This is approximately 20-25% of the total world size.[53][35]
    • This was estimated to be 70 km2 by Steven Sharif in a recent podcast. Since this was an estimate, the original sizing has not been updated.[56]
    • Traversing the width of the zone (10 km) on a mount would take about 30 minutes.[57]
  • Alpha island (also called Alpha-0 island) was the first open-world testing zone for Alpha-1 participants.[58]
  • There are approximately 4 biomes in Alpha-1: Flood plains, Sahara (Desert), Snowy mountains.[59]
    • A tropical/jungle zone was added for the December 2020 Alpha-1 preview tests.[54][52][53]
  • Temporary teleportation points will be present in early tests until ships are introduced later in the alpha testing.[60]

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 An Update on Alpha One Schedule, March 12 2021
  2. March 2020 newsletter.
  3. Video, 23 March 2020 (0:01).
  4. alpha-1-nda-2.png
  5. 5.0 5.1 alpha-1-nda-1.png
  6. steven-a1-testing-start.png
  7. Creative Director's Letter, 1 April 2020.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 Blog: Creative Director's Letter, October 16 2020
  9. Livestream, 26 February 2021 (14:58).
  10. Blog: Creative Director's Letter, January 2021.
  11. 11.0 11.1 alpha-1-tests.png
  12. Video, 26 February 2021 (30:02).
  13. 13.0 13.1 Video, 26 February 2021 (6:17).
  14. 14.0 14.1 steven-combat-revamp-update.png
  15. 15.0 15.1 Interview, 7 February 2021 (49:18).
  16. 16.0 16.1 steven-combat-revamp-update-2.png
  17. 17.0 17.1 Livestream, 26 February 2021 (27:41).
  18. 18.00 18.01 18.02 18.03 18.04 18.05 18.06 18.07 18.08 18.09 18.10 18.11 18.12 18.13 18.14 18.15 Ashes of Creation Store: May cosmetics.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Livestream, 30 April 2021 (4:02).
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 Blog: Creative Director's Letter, April 14 2021
  21. steven-alpha-1-sales.png
  22. steven-a1-upgrade.png
  23. Livestream, 17 August 2018 (24:07).
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 24.5 24.6 24.7 24.8 24.9 Video, 30 April 2021 (19:25).
  25. Livestream, 30 October 2020 (20:40).
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 26.4 Video, 30 April 2021 (13:02).
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 27.3 steven-siege-zone.png
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 28.4 28.5 28.6 28.7 28.8 28.9 Livestream, 30 April 2021 (41:18).
  29. 29.0 29.1 Podcast, 11 April 2021 (49:40).
  30. Newsletter, 7 August 2018
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 31.3 31.4 31.5 31.6 31.7 Livestream, 26 March 2021 (42:28).
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 Interview, 7 February 2021 (35:30).
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 Livestream, 26 March 2021 (39:08).
  34. alpha-1-participation.png
  35. 35.0 35.1 Interview, 19 July 2020 (1:21:49).
  36. alpha-1-phase-2.png
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 37.3 Livestream, 31 October 2018 (35:53).
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 steven-a1-servers.png
  39. eu-servers.png
  40. eu-servers-a1.png
  41. server wipe.jpg
  42. Alpha one test schedule, Mar 12, 2021.
  43. Livestream, 30 November 2020 (7:27).
  44. server-wipes.png
  45. Livestream, 18 January 2018 (49:26).
  46. 46.0 46.1 Livestream, 29 May 2020 (31:37).
  47. toast-nda.png
  48. 48.0 48.1 steven-a1-stress-test.png
  49. Livestream, 26 March 2021 (12:34).
  50. 50.0 50.1 What are the minimum requirements for Alpha?
  51. steven-a1-testing-leaks.png
  52. 52.0 52.1 Livestream, 30 November 2020 (12:09).
  53. 53.0 53.1 53.2 53.3 53.4 Livestream, 30 November 2020 (22:43).
  54. 54.0 54.1 Livestream, 30 November 2020 (9:51).
  55. 55.0 55.1 alpha-1-map-size.png
  56. Podcast, 11 April 2021 (53:01).
  57. Livestream, 30 November 2020 (25:45).
  58. steven-pi-not-alpha-island.png
  59. Livestream, 29 January 2021 (26:38).
  60. Livestream, 30 November 2020 (24:51).