Ashes of Creation
When it comes to how MMO’s have been traditionally designed, most gamers are familiar with two distinct types of gameplay loops: the “theme park”, and the “sandbox”. The vast majority of MMO’s we’ve all seen come and go in the gaming industry have been of the theme park variety – these games put the player onto a specific path, guiding them along, with plenty of pretty sights in between the same old quest hubs, very little in divergent paths, virtually no freedom in player progression. Recently the MMO genre has seen some games of the sandbox nature come onto the scene, but despite the ultimate freedom the sandbox affords players, many are left wanting more, as there is by definition no pre built world content, no human touch, just the vastness of the “sand” for lack of a better term. Thus many MMO players often find themselves caught between the repetitive rock of the theme park or the vast dead spaces of the sandbox’s hard place. This chasm between the state of MMO gameplay loops is where we intend to inject Ashes of Creation’s Node system.
In order for sandbox mechanics to mean something, there must be curated content to accompany the player’s choices. Which means, as the developers, we must create that Themebox style content but for every possible path the community may take. – Steven Sharif
- 1 Nodes
- 2 Combat
- 3 Gear
- 4 Races
- 5 Religions
- 6 Classes
- 7 Lore
- 8 Design pillars
- 9 Open development
- 10 Payment model
- 11 Alts
- 12 End game
- 13 Game difficulty
- 14 Game balance
- 15 Localization/Translation
- 16 Platforms
- 17 Performance
- 18 Servers
- 19 Esports
- 20 Voice acting
- 21 Milestones
- 22 Release schedule
- 23 Accomplishments
- 24 Security systems
- 25 Franchise
- 26 Gameplay videos
- 27 External links
- 28 See also
- 29 References
Nodes are a pre-set location, wrapped in a zone of influence, in our world that can form into towns of different sizes. These sizes range from a small camp to a sprawling metropolis. The size of the towns depends on the contribution by players and how far they’ve advanced the Node. Players do not create the footprint of a Node, but within that footprint they do have the ability to own land. Players who are part of the government for a specific Node will have the ability to modify building types and services further, but for the most part, a Node will grow along its own specific path (think about this more as NPCs building these towns out, rather than PCs individually putting buildings and walls up). A Node’s contribution area is larger than the actual town itself, allowing for players to adventure while building upon the town. We call the contribution area the Node’s “Zone of Influence,” and it’s the area where players help to advance the Node they are in.
- Expedition (Few hours)
- Encampment (Many hours)
- Village (Few days)
- Town (Many days)
- City (Few weeks)
- Metropolis (Many weeks)
The advancement of a node unlocks its unique content, which comes at the cost of locking out an increasing ring of neighboring nodes from progressing to the next stage.
- Nodes advance to the first stage quickly. This enables NPC services such as vending or banking items.
- The more advanced the node is, the larger its ZOI becomes.
- Less advanced nodes (referred to as vassal nodes) that fall within a more advanced node's ZOI can still gain XP, but must remain at a lower advancement stage than the dominant node.
- A node does not receive XP from the nodes within its ZOI until these nodes have reached their cap.
- Players are moved to safety if they intersect with newly spawned assets during node advancement.
- Citizens of one node can contribute to the advancement of other nodes.
- The exact percentage of advancement from obtaining items or killing monsters is not going to be explicitly known to avoid "gaming" the system.
Different people have different resources invested in nodes progressing and it would be a little "gamey" if you could know exactly what was necessary at that point because that would disincentivize people from participating. – Steven Sharif
Node sieges enable players to delevel a node (reverse its advancement) and to ultimately destroy that node entirely. This paves the way for new development and access to the locked content in surrounding nodes. Due to this dynamic, political strife and intrigue play an important role in the structure of the world.
Sieging nodes will not be an easy task for the attackers. Cities and metropolises will have a considerable defensive advantage. Automatic PvE sieges may be initiated against nodes that are not continuously active.
We want combat to be engaging, fun... Right now we've begun the sprint toward Alpha-1 first phase deployment, so we're really looking into the action side of combat right now; and we're building systems for that. And the reason why we are doing that is because tab-targeting has been a staple of MMORPGs for a very long time, even though there's a large interest now in action for MMORPGs and there has been some successful titles with action-oriented, like TERA and BDO. We want to be able to really delve into that development so that we can better understand how to merge tab and action together in the same game, because they are vastly different play-styles. – Steven Sharif
Because we are non-faction based, you want to grant the user the ability to either do things that are "evil" or "good", so there has to be a plethora of choice on the evil side for them to participate in. – Steven Sharif
- No loading time or loading screens between regions.
- Instancing is only going to happen in certain dungeons where the desire is to have greater narrative appeal. Outside of these and arenas there will not be too much instancing anywhere else.
There is going to be a lot of PvE content for all portions of the playerbase... Part of that risk versus reward: Your risk is your time you're putting in to having a chance at getting the reward and successfully completing; and that should feel good based on how much time you devote. Now I know that there's a spectrum of casual and hard-core players in the time there, what we can do, but that's why we have many different content paths that play towards how you affect the world around you. – Steven Sharif
PvP (Player versus player combat) is the catalyst for change in Ashes of Creation. Player combat is intended to be meaningful, ranging from Caravan battles to vast open world conflicts fought for the pride of Kings and Queens.
Because players are motivated by different things, because they want something from the game that other players don't want, that's going to cause people to butt heads. Different players are going to want different experiences and the conflict between the two of them will create a bigger and better thing. Out of strife comes rebirth and that's a core symbol, it's a core theme that occurs throughout the game. – Jeffrey Bard
Just because our flagging system gives corruption to pkers, doesn't mean PvP won't happen. There is plenty of reason for PvP to occur open-world. Scarce resources, open world hunting grounds, caravans, sieges, guild wars etc. – Steven Sharif
- Weapons and armor are not class locked, but certain classes are more efficient with certain types of weapons or armor.
- Weapons and armor are not race locked, but armor will take on a racial appearance.
- Axes (One and two handed).
- Hammers are being considered.
- Maces (One and two handed).
- Potion launchers.
- Spears are being considered.
- Swords (One and two handed).
- Wands are being considered.
- Aela Humans (Kaelar and Vaelune).
- Pyrian Elves (Empyrean and Py'Rai).
- Kaivek Orcs (Ren'Kai and Vek).
- Dünzenkell Dwarves (Dünir and Niküa).
You will see in the different races that are available from a player character standpoint a lot of different influences that reflect many cultures in the world: Not just European, not just Africa, not Mesoamerican. These cultures are going to be present in many of the races. – Steven Sharif
We're keeping lore very close to the chest and the reason for that is because it is very rich. It is diverse. It will have applications outside of just the MMORPG. We intend to take it much further, but I want it to be something that the players get to reveal themselves, that's not just handed to them and then the experience is lost. They should feel when they're experiencing this that it relates to them on a personal level. – Steven Sharif
It is about mythology and discovering what truths mythologies are talking about and finding out what really happened on this world so long ago; and that's part of that discovery process; and we want people to feel that throughout the game, not just in terms of lore but in terms of the world itself . – Jeffrey Bard
In designing Ashes of Creation, we adhere every detail to five main pillars: Engaging and Immersive Story, a Reactive World, Player Interaction, Player Agency, and Risk vs Reward. Even in the environment, everything you as the player do will tie into these pillars, while everything your guild does, everything your server does will ultimately keep the world fresh, ever-changing, and most importantly... exciting.
I think that we live in an age where it's easy to be transparent if you're not trying to hide something. The downside is if you're showing something that's not a completed or finished product, it is incumbent upon the viewer to understand that fact. – Steven Sharif
"This allows us to avoid the pay to win mentality many free to play games employ, as well as maintain a steady flow of new content for all our players."
Because of the modularity of a lot of the systems that we're working on, it's not too hard to iterate and implement new things... We're planning on going on a quarterly/ monthly cycle to continue to push out new content. – Jeffrey Bard
The quarterly cycle for the big content is good for us and then, as you said, those modular components to our mechanisms in the game allow for us to introduce smaller content patches that can be seen in real time in the world. – Steven Sharif
Pay to win
"Ashes of Creation will not be pay to win, that is our pledge to the community. One of the core principles we set forth with Ashes of Creation is a very strong desire to maintain the game's even playing field."
- Q: Will there be RNG boxes?
- A: I dislike RNG. Archeage made me loath rng monetization gimmicks. – Steven Sharif
My definition of pay to win is really anything that affects the in-game economy, the in-game action pool, your abilities and/or skills... In my opinion the inventory slots and the XP potions would be considered pay to win. – Steven Sharif
Cosmetic store (micro transactions)
We plan to include a shop for micro transactions. The shop will only include cosmetic items. Nothing in our shop will ever be pay to win as we believe this practice greatly hurts the MMORPG genre.
Equitable cosmetics, both from a quantity and quality standpoint, are achievable through in-game means.
I want to incentivize purchase in the cosmetic shop for sustainability of what expansions we have intended, since we are not a box cost. I want to incentivize purchase by offering limited items: limited time, limited quantity, so you have confidence that when you purchase them, they won't be offered later on in some other way. However, I want to make sure that equitable cosmetics both from a quantity and quality standpoint are achievable through in-game achievements. Time, effort should let you be happy with what you can accomplish. – Steven Sharif
Part of the whole experience with nodes is that there is no real end-game, in that the world is constantly shifting every day. Month one is going to be really different from month two; and that's for the level 50s and level 1s. – Jeffrey Bard
People who put more time and effort into it are definitely going to get more out of it but that doesn't mean that person who logs in once a week won't be able to have fun so it's just a matter of the scale of stuff that you're going after... Running a caravan is not gonna be the same thing every time you do it. You might be able to find like a super secret path that nobody knows about... and you exploit it for a while and nobody knows and then eventually somebody sees you and suddenly that route becomes a lot more difficult so you know that's kind of the way we really want that emergent gameplay to kind of come out of those options that we give you guys; and a lot of it is gonna come down to other players making it more or less difficult for you. – Jeffrey Bard
I think our target demographic, obviously we have a very high graphic fidelity in the game that's attractive to younger players, but at the same time we have a very roleplay game orientation - a kind of a play back to that pen-and-paper Dungeons & Dragons feel that perhaps younger generations may not know but is very near and dear to the hearts of older gamers. So I think we have a broad appeal from a demographic standpoint. – Steven Sharif
A guy who wrote a book on game design, called Bartle, breaks gamers up into different categories. We will often talk about the different categories of gamers and trying to satisfy their needs. – Akil Hooper
The most compelling design argument for how those different sects of gamers interact with each other is dependant from the design standpoint of interdependencies in the systems. So, for example if as a Raider or as a PvPer you're looking for the best gear, you're going to devote your time towards leveling up and going out and participating in the things you enjoy like pvping, perhaps going for caravans or sieging cities and castles and all that type stuff. If you want the best gear, you're going to have to to rely on a person who's devoted their time towards crafting potentially; and they may not be a PvPer but they have a place in your wheelhouse because you need their services. And then that crafter is going to need a person who is either a gatherer or plays the economy as a merchant in the nodes with the auction houses that are regionalized. They're going to have to work with a person who specializes in trade that takes caravans with either mercenary groups or other guilds that are PvPers between the nodes to get the resources they need. Building dependencies on different groups or factions of players that exist within a large world like this MMORPG is what kind of solidifies the bonds that allow for them to exist either harmoniously, or at least in a way that they know you need those types of players. – Steven Sharif
Casual vs. hardcore players
Casual players will have an impact because what they do is necessary for the health of the server.
There are events that are that are happening in the world in the game that you won't need to be a hardcore player to impact and join. For example, the triggered events from the PvE standpoint against the cities; the trades of the caravans; those natural battlegrounds that exist; the castle sieges you can login for. There is a lot of systems that are at play where a person can simply log in, participate, have fun, be impactful and then log out. – Steven Sharif
The way that the systems are being designed from a balancing standpoint we're taking into account how we would like the nodes to change per-se how often and we've designed attrition systems for certain cultures that may have more dominance over others. These are things that in Alpha and Beta we will be testing and watching and making sure that our objective is achieved from a gameplay standpoint and if it's not we'll come back and recalculate. – Steven Sharif
There will be match ups in 1v1s where one class will be superior to another; and that application should be a rock-paper-scissors dynamic. We want there to be counter-play between the different classes... Instead it's going to be a group focused balance, where as long as you have the diversity of classes present, that's going to be an equal level playing field. It's going to be very dependent on skill and strategy. – Steven Sharif
Certain archetypes are capable of moving the gap between their counterpart per-se. If I am a Tank archetype and a Mage is my counter, I can take a Mage secondary and kind of bridge the divide slightly; and then move my identity that direction ever so slightly. – Steven Sharif
- Translation will be done in the game client based on interest.
I think our min spec right now is targeting 960. Basically, the goal is to have computer when we launch five years back be viable. So we're not targeting super high-end systems. Unreal gives us a lot of capability to tune down fidelity as we need it, so we've got a lot of options in there. Right now it plays extremely well even on lower end systems. And we haven't even done any optimization. – Jeffrey Bard
Highly scalable options to adjust rendering and particle effects will be offered.
Unreal Engine 4
Ashes of Creation will feature a custom Unreal Engine back-end with proprietary networking code to enable mass combat in the open world: such as PvP, Node sieges, Castle sieges, Dungeons and World bosses.
We're ripping out most of the network code that Unreal has and putting in our own just so that it works with our game and so everything is as efficient as possible. We're not going to have any replication problems because we're building it ourselves. – Jeffrey Bard
One of the most important things about Epic Games as the creators of Unreal Engine is the way they've allowed developers to have access to the source code. To be able to do that makes the engine very versatile. – Steven Sharif
- Servers will be named after the champions of the great battles that led up to the fall of Verra.
- Announcements of the server names will be made during the PAX West 2018 panel.
Other server regions will be considered based on interest.
- South America is under consideration due to traffic from that region.
At this stage we do not have numbers on how many different servers will exist for different regions. We've said in the past 8-10,000 concurrent users per server is what we'd like to aim for. Obviously, the number of servers that exist in a region are going to be dependent on the population that's playing. – Steven Sharif
Servers won't be language locked.
We're gonna keep track of the history of the world so that we can tell people the story up to the current day. A player who's brand new, who's come in at the six-month mark can take a look at each server, what each server has done, how each server has tackled the storyline; and they can decide for themselves what community they want to join; what version of the world that they want to take part in. – Jeffrey Bard
- There won't be separate roleplaying (RP) servers.
- There won't be separate PvE and PvP servers.
- First team members were hired in December 2015.
- Ashes of Creation development began in February 2016.
- Official website was launched and project announced, 10 December 2016.
- Official discord was launched, 18 January 2017.
- Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign launched with $750,000 funding goal, 2 May 2017.
- Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign completed with 19,576 backers raising $3,271,809, 3 June 2017.
- Summer crowdfunding campaign launched, 21 June 2017.
- Summer crowdfunding campaign completed with 3,122 backers, 22 July 2017.
- PAX West 2017, 1-4 September 2017.
- Alpha-0 released on schedule, 15 December 2017.
- Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2018, 19-23 March 2018.
- PAX East 2018, 5-8 April 2018.
- Last day for purchases of Alpha-1 through Intrepid pre-order packs, 15 August 2018.
- (Upcoming) PAX West 2018 panel, 1 September 2018.
- (Upcoming) Alpha-1 phase 1 release, third week of September 2018.
- (Upcoming) Alpha-1 phase 2 release, Q2 of 2019.
|Pre‑alpha||Alpha-0 is the friends-and-family pre-alpha.||December 15, 2017.|
|Alpha||Alpha-1 "soft rollout" available to Braver of worlds backers and above.||Short time before Alpha-1 phase 1.|
|Alpha-1 phase 1 release.||Third week of September 2018.|
|Alpha-1 phase 2 release.||Q2 of 2019.|
|Alpha-2 is the persistent alpha.||No official date.|
|Beta||Betas won through the weekly drawings ("Beta-0").||After Alphas, but before Betas.|
|Pre‑release||Head start for crowdfunding backers at the Founder level and above.||1-2 days before launch.|
|Release||Launch (live) release.||Before 2020.|
|Post‑launch||Major releases (DLC expansions).||Quarterly.|
- Kickstarter's most funded MMORPG.
- Kickstarter's #7 most funded video game.
- Most anticipated MMO – MMORPG.com's Best of 2017 Awards.
- Most anticipated early access hands-on MMORPG – MMOs World.
- These systems collect user data and flag abnormal activities for inspection. This combined with player reporting functions generates a live "heat map" that draws attention to unusual behavior.
- Players caught cheating will be banned.
- The Ashes of Creation MMORPG is one of many intended products in the franchise.
- 2017-05-25 Video - Monster coin system
- 2017-05-30 Video - Pre-alpha Mage gameplay
- 2017-12-15 Livestream
- 2018-01-30 IGN Ashes of Creation hands-on
- 2018-02-09 Livestream
- 2018-04-04 Video - PAX East Pre-Alpha Gameplay
- 2018-04-06 MMORPG-PAX East 2018 Demo and Interview
- 2018-04-09 MASSIVELY OP - Hands-on with the surprisingly solid combat of Ashes of Creation
- 2018-04-20 Dragon Blogger - Gameplay and interview with Jeffrey Bard
- Ashes of Creation official website.
- Ashes of Creation official discord.
- Ashes of Creation official forums.
- Ashes of Creation official Twitter.
- Ashes of Creation official Facebook.
- Ashes of Creation official Instagram.
- Ashes of Creation official YouTube channel.
- Ashes of Creation official Twitch channel.
- Ashes of Creation official Steam community.
- Ashes of Creation official subreddit.
- A reactive world - Nodes.
- MMOGames interview, January 2017
- Node series part II – the Metropolis.
- Ashes of Creation - Screenshots.
- Livestream, 15 December 2017 (1:11:52).
- Node series part I
- Livestream, 16 October 2017 (50:20).
- Video, 20 April 2017 (0:02).
- Livestream, 17 November 2017 (55:27).
- Livestream, 26 May 2017 (28:16).
- Video, 4 December 2016 (0:02).
- Video, 30 April 2017 (5:31).
- Livestream, 9 February 2018 (20:40).
- Livestream, 3 May 2017 (15:15).
- Livestream, 8 April 2018 (PM) (41:44).
- Livestream, 26 May 2017 (39:36).
- Livestream, 8 April 2018 (PM) (11:27).
- Livestream, 16 October 2017 (11:51).
- Livestream, 22 May 2017 (20:59).
- Livestream, 19 May 2017 (24:17).
- Video, 4 April 2018 (0:01).
- Ashes of Creation FAQ.
- Livestream, 8 April 2018 (PM) (1:14:01).
- Livestream, 15 December 2017 (40:26).
- Livestream, 15 May 2017 (13:06).
- Livestream, 26 May 2017 (44:11).
- Livestream, 26 May 2017 (20:46).
- Livestream, 24 May 2017 (14:15).
- Livestream, 4 May 2018 (33:56).
- Livestream, 28 July 2017 (45:21).
- Livestream, 4 May 2018 (33:27).
- Livestream, 24 May 2017 (18:40).
- Livestream, 15 December 2017 (59:49).
- Livestream, 9 February 2018 (7:31).
- Livestream, 22 May 2017 (51:00).
- Livestream, 9 February 2018 (15:01).
- Livestream, 28 July 2017 (31:30).
- Ashes of Creation race breakdown.
- Kickstarter $2,500,000 New Player Race Achieved.
- Interview, 11 May 2018 (1:04:27).
- Livestream, 26 May 2017 (15:37).
- Livestream, 8 April 2018 (AM) (10:02).
- Ashes of Creation class list.
- Ashes of Creation Press Kit.
- Interview, 7 December 2016.
- Livestream, 18 January 2018 (39:08).
- Video, 5 April 2018 (37:50).
- Video, 5 April 2018 (37:13).
- A chat with Ashes of Creation's Steven Sharif, 7 June 2017.
- Livestream, 4 May 2018 (39:41).
- Kickstarter packages.
- Livestream, 4 May 2018 (53:34).
- Livestream, 8 May 2017 (11:14).
- Livestream, 1 June 2017 (19:12).
- Podcast, 4 August 2018 (1:57:56).
- Ashes of Creation cosmetic store.
- Interview, 11 May 2018 (32:36).
- Livestream, 8 April 2018 (PM) (58:29).
- Livestream, 15 May 2017 (18:25).
- Livestream, 15 May 2017 (19:15).
- Video, 5 April 2018 (40:08).
- Livestream, 4 June 2018 (7:25).
- Podcast, 11 May 2018 (33:09).
- Video, 5 April 2018 (44:06).
- Video, 5 April 2018 (48:03).
- Video, 5 April 2018 (49:36).
- Livestream, 24 May 2017 (35:11).
- Podcast, 23 April 2018 (59:28).
- Podcast, 23 April 2018 (1:01:01).
- Livestream, 17 May 2017 (1:09:22).
- Livestream, 24 May 2017 (45:49).
- Livestream, 26 May 2017 (38:30).
- Livestream, 24 May 2017 (23:50).
- Video, 8 May 2017 (16:07).
- Interview, 20 April 2018 (24:11).
- Livestream, 4 May 2018 (43:35).
- Livestream, 3 May 2017 (26:50).
- Livestream, 15 December 2017 (39:23).
- Livestream, 24 May 2017 (54:54).
- Livestream, 19 May 2017 (37:03).
- Official Livestream - May 4th @ 3 PM PST - Q&A
- Interview, 8 May 2017 (22:06).
- Livestream, 24 May 2017 (40:50).
- Livestream, 9 July 2018 (47:54).
- Livestream, 8 April 2018 (AM) (26:41).
- Livestream, 17 May 2017 (59:25).
- Video, 6 September 2018 (4:25).
- Interview, 20 April 2018 (9:20).
- Livestream, 8 May 2017 (36:26).
- Livestream, 28 July 2017 (35:42).
- Livestream, 5 May 2017 (35:27).
- MMORPG Interview, 12 December 2016.
- Livestream, 8 April 2018 (PM) (39:48).
- Livestream, 8 April 2018 (AM) (24:14).
- Livestream, 8 April 2018 (AM) (25:12).
- MASSIVELY OP interview: Ashes of Creation on a new way to MMO.
- Ashes of Creation Kickstarter campaign
- Ashes of Creation Kickstarter.
- Summer Crowdfunding Campaign.
- PAX West 2017 Schedule.
- PAX West 2017 Map.
- Livestream, 18 January 2018 (2:48).
- Interview, 8 August 2018 (1:52).
- Livestream, 15 December 2017 (15:00).
- MMOGAMES Interview, 8 September 2017.
- Podcast, 23 April 2018 (1:02:32).
- Podcast, 11 May 2018 (57:42).
- Livestream, 4 May 2018 (47:57).
- Podcast, 11 May 2018 (59:25).
- Livestream, 18 January 2018 (25:22).
- Livestream, 8 April 2018 (AM) (14:51).
- MMORPG.com's Best of 2017 Awards.
- Most Anticipated MMORPGs For 2018.
- Livestream, 17 November 2017 (38:35).
- Massively OP, 1 June 2017
- Livestream, 17 May 2017 (41:27).