Ashes of Creation

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Ashes of Creation (AoC) is an upcoming MMORPG, set in a high fantasy open world.[1]

Ashes of Creation is an upcoming MMORPG set in a world of high fantasy where player’s choices will shape and define the world around them.[1]

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.[1]

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.[2]Steven Sharif

AshesRoadmap9.png

The Ashes of Creation release schedule is subject to change.[3]

Phase Release Estimated/Actual date
Pre‑alpha Alpha-0.[4] December 15, 2017.[5]
Alpha Alpha-1 stress test.[6] September 7, 2018.[7]
Alpha-1 phase 1 arena (battlegrounds).[6] October 19, 2018.[8]
Alpha-1 phase 1 castle siege mode.[6] December 2018.[6]
Alpha-1 phase 1 horde mode.[6] End of March 2019.[6]
Alpha-1 phase 2.[9] Q2 of 2019.[10]
Alpha-2 (persistent alpha).[11][12] Q3 of 2019.[13]
Beta Betas won through the weekly drawings ("Beta-0").[14] After Alphas, but before Betas.[14]
Beta-1. 2019.[15]
Beta-2. -
Pre‑release Head start for crowdfunding backers at the Founder level and above.[16] 1-2 days before launch.[16][17]
Release Launch (live) release. Before 2020.[18][19][20]
Post‑launch Major releases (DLC expansions). Quarterly.[21]
Minor releases. Monthly.[21]

Nodes

Encompassing each server are carefully placed points of development called Nodes.[1]

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.[26]

Node advancement

Citizen and non-citizen player activity (questing, gathering, raiding, etc.) within a node's ZOI counts toward that particular node’s advancement (progression).[1] There are six stages of node advancement.[1]

  1. Expedition (Few hours)
  2. Encampment (Many hours)
  3. Village (Few days)
  4. Town (Many days)
  5. City (Few weeks)
  6. Metropolis (Many weeks)
Conceptual illustration. Nodes that are in the ZOI of more advanced nodes have their progression capped by the more advanced node.[27]

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.[28]

  • Nodes advance to the first stage quickly. This enables NPC services such as vending or banking items.[29]
  • The more advanced the node is, the larger its ZOI becomes.[22]
  • 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.[27]
  • A node does not receive XP from the nodes within its ZOI until these nodes have reached their cap.[27]
  • Players are moved to safety if they intersect with newly spawned assets during node advancement.[30]
  • Citizens of one node can contribute to the advancement of other nodes.[31]
  • The exact percentage of advancement from obtaining items or killing monsters is not going to be explicitly known to avoid "gaming" the system.[32]

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.[32]Steven Sharif

Node sieges

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.[1]

Sieging nodes will not be an easy task for the attackers. Cities and metropolises will have a considerable defensive advantage.[1] Automatic PvE sieges may be initiated against nodes that are not continuously active.[34]

If you own a home in a node and you don't want to see that home destroyed, you need to defend that city![35]Steven Sharif

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Combat

Alpha-0 Timeless protector boss in the Dünheim dungeon.[36]

Combat in Ashes of Creation is focused on strategy and tactics.[37]

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.[38]Steven Sharif

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Factions

There are no predefined factions in Ashes of Creation.[39]

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.[40]Steven Sharif

Open world

Alpha-0 flood plains environment.[41]

Ashes of Creation will be a seamless open-world experience.[42]

  • No loading time or loading screens between regions.

There will be open world dungeons and raids. The aspiration is to maintain the open world feel while being able to capitalize on the benefits of instanced mechanics.[43]

  • 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.[42]

We're probably going to do instancing only in certain dungeons and in arenas. You probably won't see instancing too much anywhere else. What you see is gonna be what you get.[42]Jeffrey Bard

The PvP flagging system presents an opportunity for open conflict.[44]

PvE

The Node system facilitates the generation of new PvE content such as Quests, Dungeons, Raids and Monster coins.[46]

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.[47]Steven Sharif

PvE content adapts to the development of the world to avoid repitition.[48]

Whenever you have a player versus environment setting you don't want a stagnant kind of overly repetitive because its lackluster. It does not have that a component that engages.[48]Steven Sharif

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PvP

PvP (Player versus player combat) is the catalyst for change in Ashes of Creation.[50] Player combat is intended to be meaningful, ranging from Caravan battles to vast open world conflicts fought for the pride of Kings and Queens.[46]

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.[35]Jeffrey Bard

There are many reasons to engage in open world PvP in Ashes of Creation.[51]

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.[51]Steven Sharif

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Gear

There may be some gear binding (BoE or BoP) but it will be an exception rather than the rule, as this doesn't facilitate the objectives for the economy.[52]

A lot of what we experienced in games that usually come before us is that many things our account bound and they're soulbound to your character... Instead very little here is character bound. Very very little. The vast majority of gear- yes you will get quest related gear as rewards- but it won't be let's say one set in one dungeon and you must run the dungeon over and over. Instead we want to really emphasize the reliance on the economy and crafters and gatherers and processors to support a majority of the gear structure in-game, combined with that of world raid bosses and dungeon bosses; not a repetitive quest line through a single dungeon.[53]Steven Sharif

Weapon types

There is an even split between melee and ranged weapons.[58]

Read more...

Armor types

Armor types in Ashes of Creation.

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Races

Ashes of Creation offers nine playable races.[73]

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.[75]Steven Sharif

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Religions

There are six religions in Ashes of Creation.[76]

We're talking about a pantheon here, not necessarily separate religions. They're all kind of offshoots of who is the better god, or who is the god who identifies best with you.[77]Jeffrey Bard

The gods in Ashes of Creation represent different aspects of the Universe, and feelings as well. For example:[78]

  • God of creation.[78]
  • Goddess of love.[78]

Each god... has a specific realm that they relate to in the world and its creation.[77]Steven Sharif

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Classes

With 8 Archetypes to combine, players may choose from 64 total combinations to create their class.[79][80]

Secondary
Bard Cleric Fighter Mage Ranger Rogue Summoner Tank
Bard Minstrel Soul Weaver Tellsword Magician Song Warden Trickster Songcaller Siren
Cleric Scryer High Priest Templar Oracle Protector Shadow Disciple Shaman Apostle
Fighter Bladedancer Highsword Weapon Master Spellsword Hunter Shadowblade Bladecaller Dreadnought
Mage Sorcerer Acolyte Battle Mage Archwizard Spellhunter Shadow Caster Warlock Spellstone
Ranger Bowsinger Soulbow Strider Scion Hawkeye Scout Falconer Sentinel
Rogue Charlatan Cultist Duelist Nightspell Predator Assassin Shadow Lord Shadow Guardian
Summoner Enchanter Necromancer Wild Blade Spellmancer Beastmaster Shadowmancer Conjurer Brood Warden
Tank Argent Paladin Knight Spellshield Warden Nightshield Keeper Guardian

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Lore

Ashes of Creation logo.[81]

Ashes of Creation is a direct reference to the storyline. Without giving too much away, the phoenix is going to be a persistent symbol throughout the first phase of the storyline, and the world that the players will be inhabiting is a long-lost world that has suffered devastating calamity.[82]Jeffrey Bard

There are different parts to the Lore in Ashes of Creation.[83]

These story arcs drive one or more quest lines.[83]

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.[84]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 .[85]Jeffrey Bard

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Progression

Progression occurs through a variety of pathways.[86] Repetition will not be part of progression in Ashes of Creation.[87]

  • The objective is to provide both vertical and horizontal progression.[88]

Multiple playstyles should be relevant and viable. Additionally, you have a spread between casual players and hard-core players; and most of us exist somewhere on that spectrum. The progression path in a society or religion is more conducive to the time we have to play. Whereas, someone else may be playing several hours a day, and they have a better opportunity for the raid/level progression that might require some more dedication. So we want to have these different progression paths available to accommodate the different times in our lives that we have to play the game. And all of those types of progressions will make us relevant in some way shape or form to the general world.[89]Steven Sharif

Having the ability to gain power at a sacrifice... That's a way to kind of reach a horizontal type of progression. It may not be entirely, because there could potentially be a meta if balancing isn't done correctly; but the objective there is to make sure we have both vertical and horizontal progression in the game.[88]Steven Sharif

Leveling won't follow a traditional linear path, although classic mechanics for leveling exist.[90] Experience (XP) is gained through a variety of activities:[91]

Level cap

The level cap at launch is expected to be around level 50.[92]

The developers anticipate max level should be attainable in approximately 45 days.[93]

Grinding

Repetition will not be part of progression in Ashes of Creation.[94]

  • There will be no "grindy" quests.[94]
  • There will not be repetitive quest lines through a single dungeon to obtain gear.[53]
  • The aspiration is to have more things to do in the game than a player has time to do.[94]

AFK leveling

There will not be AFK leveling in Ashes of Creation.[95]

We want this game to be played. If there are things that you can do to not play the game and still progress, we've done something wrong.[95]Jeffrey Bard

Level scaling

There will be a mentorship program where upper-level players are able to benefit from partying and/or helping lower level players; and getting them situated in the game.[96]

  • Levels or skills will not be adjusted to allow low level players to participate in dungeons with higher level players.[96]

There will be activities that are present for higher level players to mentor lower level players. Let's say you have a friend who joins later on and you still want to do things with them, there will be things to do. Will you he be able to enter a dungeon of your level and participate? No, because we don't want to inflate or deflate characters and manipulate that type of skill or power. We want that to be something that makes sense for them in a progression standpoint.[97]Steven Sharif

Class progression

As a player progresses with their primary archetype (primary class), they will have the opportunity to choose a secondary archetype to augment their primary skills with effects from their secondary archetype (secondary class).[98] The combination of primary and secondary archetypes is referred to as a Class.[79][80]

If a Fighter were to choose Mage as a secondary archetype, the fighter would become a Spellsword. This combination opens up augments that can be applied to skills in their primary skill tree. Fighters have a Rush skill that allows them to rush towards a target; and upon reaching the target, deal an amount damage with a chance to knock the target down. A Mage's escape augment could be applied to the rush skill, which would now teleport the player to the target; thus eliminating the charge time on the skill.[98]

Each skill in the primary tree will have several augment options from the secondary tree. This is an example of horizontal progression.[98]

Players receive skill points as they level. These can be used to level up skills within their skill tree.[99]

  • It will not be possible to max all skills in a skill tree.[99]

Weapon progression

Weapons will have their own progression paths and their own applicable types of skills.[100]

Ashes of Creation is all about providing many progression paths... The reason why we don't like the term endgame is because with the amount of progression that's available with the amount of diversity and player agency that that impacts the world... We kind of want the the weapon system and add an element of that as well... You can determine special effects that proc from currently the combo system right; you can determine ancillary effects that proc based on enchantment types; you can power stone weapons to add different either elemental types of damage and/or energy that kind of play rock paper scissor with player defenses ... and then you can skill tree out how those effects that are granted ... you can make them better you can branch them off into a different direction.[101]Steven Sharif

Pet progression

Some pets will be levelable and will have gear available to them.[102]

Artisan progression

Artisan classes do not allow a character to become a master of all.[103] Players must choose a path in the artisan skill tree for each character.[104] Branching into specific paths allows the player an opportunity to specialize in certain areas. This encourages player inter-dependency, enhancing the artisan experience.[105]

Religion progression

There are player progression paths within a religion.[107]

  • Players may follow only one religion at a time.[107]
  • Religions will have a ranking system.[108]
  • Changing religion will cause loss of progress in a player's previous religion.[107]

It depends on their dedication to the religion itself; their performance when it comes to certain religion's religious objectives; their contribution to the development of that religion within the world. There's a lot of different markers that we use at each stage to determine how they progress within the religion.[109]Steven Sharif

Naval progression

Mariner classes (also referred to as boatsmanship classes, boatsman skills or seamanship) contain different skill trees arranged in a similar manner to Artisan classes. As a player gains experience in these different skills they become more adept at using them.[110]

  • Gunnery
  • Piloting
  • Navigation
  • Boat repair
  • Ship components
  • Defensive skills
  • Utility based skills

You can spec into and kind of create your own class based on what things you're doing on the boat... It's gonna be very similar to in structure to like the artisanship trees, so you'll you'll have your mariner class: You'll have different trees in that class.[110]Jeffrey Bard

Zones and progression

Dungeons, World bosses, Mobs, Quests, Events, and other content within a node's ZOI will have a diverse level range; but will scale with the advancement of that node.[111]

We don’t have a strictly level 25 zone. Instead, that zone might have some level 10 creatures near the road, some level 20 creatures deep in the forest, and some level 30 creatures up the mountain. These ratios will change based on the Nodes that inform them, becoming generally more dangerous as the Node grows. All this civilization attracts the attention of Things-That-Should-Not-Be. This does not mean that wilderness areas are safe, by any means. Some may be safe-er, but all will have dangers that even the most experienced traveler needs to watch out for.[112]

Guild progression

Guild progression occurs through participation in different systems.[113]

Passive skills and augments are unlocked by guild progression.[113][115]

  • Passive abilities increase certain stats relating to a guild member's ability to perform in combat or in other aspects of the guild, such as the economy.[113]
  • augments may apply at the upper tiers of guild progression.[113]
    • This Applies to guilds that have opted for the non-expansive member route.[113]
    • Benefits guild members that have a classification of officer or knight.[113]

Guild size can be traded off for guild progression.[113][116]

  • The higher the guild's member cap, the fewer available skill options will be available to that guild.[117]
  • Guild alliances may be a key part in creating a larger "guild".[116]

As you're leveling up the guild and you're getting these points to either allocate towards expanding the guilds member count or allocate towards adding certain passive abilities that your guild members can gain by being guild members. You're also going to see as you're leveling up the guild through different type of quest-based, participation-based, node-based, organization-based systems and ways that those quests hook into the world. You're also going to see perhaps some augment abilities at the upper tiers of the guild levels become unlocked for certain members that have a classification of officer or knight, will have access to those different types of augment abilities that might get unlocked should you go down the non expansive member lane; and the idea there is to offer these benefits to smaller groups.[113]Steven Sharif

It's not always going to be combat. You could have an economic focus guild. You could have a trade oriented guild; and there's all sorts of things that you can kind of put together and kind of give your guild its own identity.[113]Jeffrey Bard

Social organization progression

A player progresses through a social organization by accomplishing tasks or quests.[118] There are hierarchical paths pertaining to specific questlines for the organization's thematic.[118]

- For example, a Thieves' guild may have objectives and quests toward securing a particular item to enable players to advance within the organization.[118]

Social organizations are going to have questlines that players participate in which some will include sabotage, espionage, intrigue... While it's not necessarily player versus player in the combat sense, it is player versus player in pitting communities in those organizations kind of against each other in a competitive atmosphere, where only some things can be accomplished by certain communities; and not everybody can succeed at a particular task. So, I think that that's a unique way to involve meaningful conflict that doesn't necessarily have to relate to PvP, because obviously we have a lot of PvP systems in the game and and there are many ways for players to participate in player versus player combat; but we also want to make sure that from a progression standpoint, from a system standpoint there are going to be abilities of individuals to follow these questlines, these tasks that will pit organizations against each other, specifically from an organizational standpoint.[119]Steven Sharif

You're gonna see arguments being used a lot throughout a lot of our systems. When we're talking about the guild system, when we're talking about social organizations, when we're talking about religions. A lot of those things are going to affect how and what you have available to augment your skills with.[120]Jeffrey Bard

Alliance progression

Ashes of Creation may have specific content that revolves around Alliances.[121]

Content that revolves around alliances specifically and progression within the development of that alliance; and the ability to share some common services between guilds that are part of that alliance. I think that additionally allowing alliances to toggle certain relationships with nodes as an interaction is beneficial. That's going to provide an interesting dynamic for players who are either members of the particular node that has the relationship established or members of the Alliance. So I think that obviously building systems is is about creating the channels by which these players can form bonds and the more layers you have around those you know channels of bonding between the different guilds or players, the more sustainable that relationship.[121]Steven Sharif

Freehold progression

Freehold buildings are able to be levelled up based on the length of time and productivity of the freehold.[122]

  • Freehold progression unlocks new bonuses, abilities and capabilities.[122]

We want there to be progression in many systems and part of the freehold progression is that when you establish these base buildings the longer and more productive you are and exist with that freehold, the more opportunity those buildings will have to both level up: offering new bonuses, new abilities, new capabilities; and just surviving in this world is a feat in and of itself, so it's rewarded by allowing progression with those things.[122]Steven Sharif

Taverns provide tiered services.[123]

  • Quests that might only be gathered from the player-owned taverns.
  • Meals that grant buffs for a period of time after a player leaves.
  • Recipes that could potentially be sold to cooking professions, that may only be obtained from a player-owned business in a certain area.

The longer the tavern is in business and the more patrons served, the faster the tavern will level up.[123]

Monster coin progression

There is a progression system that levels a player's monster skills based on how often they participate in monster events.[124]

In Ashes of Creation a large portion of world events revolve around the environment reacting to the player. This means that as players are exploring the world and developing civilization around them the environment is responding to this encroachment by spawning dynamic events and creatures to attack those developing cities. These events occur in 3 different types: the Legion level the Elite level and the Epic level.[125]

As nodes advance, so does the scale of the monsters.[126] There are tiers of events denoting the caliber of the monsters being spawned.[127]

Game balance

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.[128]Steven Sharif

Class balance

Balancing is such an important aspect of this class system that we want to make sure that there's a role to be had for every possible combination.[129]Steven Sharif

You don't make 64 classes for four to be played.[129]Peter Pilone

Balancing in Ashes of Creation is "group focused".[130]

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.[130]Steven Sharif

Certain secondary archetypes are capable of "bridging the gap" between their counterpart.[131]

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.[131]Steven Sharif

Design pillars

The design of Ashes of Creation adheres to five main pillars.[132]

  1. Engaging and immersive story
  2. Reactive world
  3. Player interaction
  4. Player agency
  5. Risk vs reward

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.[132]

Inspiration

Ashes of Creation has taken inspiration from various other MMORPG titles.[133]

In terms of what came before, we're trying to figure out who did what best and take inspiration from that: Move the genre forward; keep things updated and bring it into the 21st century.[133]Jeffrey Bard

Artistic style

Ashes of Creation will have a higher graphical fidelity than most western games. It will not be too stylized or "cartoony".[134]

We can push the limits a little bit on the graphical fidelity, especially using Unreal Engine 4... My desire was not to see very cartoony games. I'm not a big fan of highly stylized art.[134]Steven Sharif

Open development

Intrepid Studios has embraced an open (transparent) development approach, rather than sharing information through carefully curated press releases and announcements.[136]

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.[136]Steven Sharif

There are obviously going to be some aspects of the development that we will not reveal, like lore and some system mechanics in order not to spoil the game for release.[137][138]Steven Sharif

Payment model

Box cost

There is no upfront box cost associated with Ashes of Creation.[139]

Subscription model

Game time is currently purchasable in the Voyager plus pre-order pack.[140]

Ashes of Creation is a subscription based game.[141]

"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."

Expansions

DLC expansions (post-launch releases) are planned on a quarterly basis.[21]

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.[145]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.[145]Steven Sharif

We don't intend to a wordsmith around future charge for DLC content. As a subscription model, that's part of the agreement between us as a Studio and you guys: That there will be regularly scheduled updates and chapters; and that subscription is what allows you to access that content.[146]Steven Sharif

Pay to win

Ashes of Creation will not be pay to win.[147]

"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.[148]Steven Sharif

Inventory slots and XP potions are considered pay to win.[149]

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.[149]Steven Sharif

Cosmetic store (micro transactions)

The Cosmetic store enables players to purchase Cosmetics for use in Ashes of Creation.[151]

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.[153]

All cosmetic store items will be non-tradeable.[154] There will be no gifting mechanism for cosmetic items.[155]

I don't want cosmetic items that can be purchased from the marketplace to be transferable... because it is in a way a transfer of money for potentially something in-game.[155]Steven Sharif

Equitable cosmetics, both from a quantity and quality standpoint, are achievable through in-game means.[156]

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.[156]Steven Sharif

Alts

There are no specific barriers to alts.[157] Gear will be able to be transferred between characters.[158]

End-game

There is not going to be a typical end-game in Ashes of Creation.[96]

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.[96]Jeffrey Bard

Cultural references

There will be real-world cultural references, particularly with regards to real-world holidays and historical events.[159]

  • These won't be out of place in terms of immersion. They will be homages.[159]

There will be some real world references, particularly with regards to potentially real world holidays as well as some historical events or cultures. For example the PAX East kind of ship that was named Eleanor that we released a cosmetic of, you know, being a reference to the Eleanor ship that the tea was thrown off of; or kind of colonialesque look.[159]Steven Sharif

Artistic influences

ESRB rating

Ashes of Creation will likely have a M for Mature ESRB rating.[164]

Dead bodies in a Pre-alpha raid encounter.[165]

There may be an option to turn off blood and gore in the game.[166]

There probably won't be swearing in quests.[167]

The antagonists in this game are definitely dark... We're not going grimdark at all, but there are parts of it that get that way.[167]Jeffrey Bard

Game difficulty

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.[168]Jeffrey Bard

There's a ton of room for difficulty on whatever scale... In a living world everything becomes much more difficult.[168]Peter Pilone

Learning curve

Ashes of Creation will be easy to understand yet hard to master.[169]

Target demographic

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.[169]Steven Sharif

Player types

Ashes of Creation will cater for a variety of player types; from Raiders or PvPers to Role players and Crafters.[170]

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.[170]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.[170]Steven Sharif

Casual vs. hardcore players

Casual players will have an impact because what they do is necessary for the health of the server.[171]

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.[171]Steven Sharif

Mentor program

There will be a mentorship program where upper-level players are able to benefit from partying and/or helping lower level players; and getting them situated in the game.[96]

  • Levels or skills will not be adjusted to allow low level players to participate in dungeons with higher level players.[96]

There will be activities that are present for higher level players to mentor lower level players. Let's say you have a friend who joins later on and you still want to do things with them, there will be things to do. Will you he be able to enter a dungeon of your level and participate? No, because we don't want to inflate or deflate characters and manipulate that type of skill or power. We want that to be something that makes sense for them in a progression standpoint.[97]Steven Sharif

Localization/Translation

Servers won't be language locked.[172]

  • There may be a separate servers in the EU region based on language type.[173]

There's localization that will be present in the German and French Russian languages to start; and then we intend to also localize in Italian polish and Spanish. So servers will be allocated within the region as being one of those language type servers. So it's not going to be per country per se as it might be per language.[173]Steven Sharif

Efforts will be made to translate Ashes of Creation into multiple languages.[172][174]

Platforms

Ashes of Creation will be released on the Windows PC platform.[176]

Performance

By the time of launch, five year old hardware should be viable.[178]

  • Minimum specification of a 2014-2015 rig with a mid to high range graphics card from that era.[178]

The target is a five-year-old system when we launch should be able to run the game... You're looking at kind of like mid to high range graphic card from that era and you should be good to go.[178]Jeffrey Bard

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.[179]Jeffrey Bard

The game will be highly customizable from a settings standpoint. If you don't quite have the rig necessary to run it, you can dial the game settings down.[178]

  • Highly scalable options to adjust rendering and particle effects will be offered.[180]
  • Motion blur will be togglable on and off.[181]
  • Settings to cull out characters in large battle scenarios are being worked on.[178]

Unreal Engine 4

Unreal Engine 4 is the graphical engine for Ashes of Creation.[182]

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.[183]

Unreal engine makes it really fast to iterate... Compared to other gaming engines, I can do something in a hour that would take eight hours to do in another engine.[184]Jeffrey Bard

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.[185]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.[185]Steven Sharif

Servers

The world 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.[186]

There will be a multitude of servers located throughout the various regions of the world.[188]

  • Post launch, users will be able to select their server by the ping or the region that's notated next to the server.[188]
  • Alpha-1 phase 1 server selection is driven by the party leader. Whatever region they have selected will apply to their friends and squad.[188]

We'll have a multitude of servers located throughout to the various regions of the world; and those servers will be good connection points for- and will be driven by- I mean there's two types of servers I'm sorry: For the alpha-1 arena those will be driven by the party leader right; and wherever whatever region they have selected if they invite friends to their squad or whatever, they'll be able to play on that region. With regards to live launch when the server's go live, you'll be selecting a server to play on; and that will be your character's home; and that server you'll be aware of where that server is located usually by either a ping or a region that's notated on next to the server.[188]Steven Sharif

Regions

Ashes of Creation will launch with the following server regions:[189][190]

Other server regions will be considered based on interest.[190]

  • South America is under consideration due to traffic from that region.[193]

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.[194]Steven Sharif

There will not be region locking or IP blocking.[195][196]

I can confirm there will be no region locking.[195]Steven Sharif

No IP blocking.[196]Steven Sharif

Q: When you say you no region locking or IP blocking, does this refer to all regions or just only Europe, Russia or North America?
A: Currently that refers to regions that are territories under our license agreement with My.com and Mail.ru, which is Europe and Russia as it relates to our North American servers as well. However, moving forward should we announce additional strategic partners for foreign territories, it would be a red line for us as well not to allow for any region locking or IP blocking.[197]Steven Sharif

Server population

Population limits will be enforced on each server.[198]

Server history

The history of each server will be tracked and visible to players.[201]

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.[201]Jeffrey Bard

Server instancing

There won't be server channels (sharding) on a server.[202][203]

Server types

Server transfers

Players may migrate their account from My.com to Intrepid Studios if they wish.[206]

A player may choose to migrate their account of from My.com to Intrepid Studios, should they wish. Additionally, if they own a package from either Kickstarter or from the Summer backers, they can migrate that package over to the My.com registration as well.[206]Steven Sharif

Server transfers are likely not easily accessible.[207]

Publishers

Intrepid Studios will self-publish Ashes of Creation in the NA (North American) region.[208]

Intrepid Studios will be self-publishing in North America.[208]Steven Sharif

My.com (Mail.ru) will publish Ashes of Creation in the EU (European Union), RU (Russia) and CIS regions.[209]

Intrepid will maintain 100% creative control over Ashes and our partners My.com and Mail.ru shares our vision for Ashes, as this was very important to us. This means our stance on p2w for the game. This partnership allows us as a Studios to focus on the development of the game and allows us to feel comfortable with the level of service that we know my.com and Mail.ru can provide our glorious community.[210]Steven Sharif

Today I have confirmed business model will be subscription with no box cost, cosmetic only marketplace (will match NA).[211]Steven Sharif

There is no current publisher for the OCE (Oceanic) and SEA (Southeast Asia) regions. It is likely that Intrepid Studios will self-publish in OCE.[212]

We do not have a publisher in mind for Oceanic and Southeast region of Asia so we will likely be self-publishing in OCE.[212]Steven Sharif

Payments

It will be possible to register with Intrepid, in order to play on NA servers. In which case, your account and billing info would be handled solely by Intrepid. My.com will be responsible, with collaboration from Intrepid, for EU accounts and servers.[213]Steven Sharif

Q: So to play on EU you would need a EU account via mycom?
A: Correct.[214]Steven Sharif
Q: Can you inform us about payments done by EU. Will they be to my.com or to IS?
A: Depends where the player creates their accounts, you will be able to choose Intrepid or my.com.[215]Steven Sharif

Esports

eSports is not the main focus, but the game will naturally move in that direction if the game play is compelling, competitive and fun.[216]

If we make the gameplay compelling, competitive and fun, that naturally it will move in that direction; and then we will find the ability to support it afterwards.[216]Steven Sharif

Voice acting

NPCs will have voice acted audio greetings.[217][218]

  • Narrated quest lines are not currently planned.[217]
  • Adding voice acting into the game at at a later point is a fairly cosmetic change.[217]

Is it difficult to add voice acting later? No, it's definitely not... It's a fairly cosmetic change.[217]Steven Sharif

Voice acting is a fun luxury to have, but it is not only a costly one, but it is also one that takes a lot of logistics.[219]Steven Sharif

Security systems

Security systems will be in place to combat cheating, exploiting, botting, gold selling, item duplication and other things that affect the economy starting from Alpha-0.[220][221][36]

  • 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.[36]
  • Players caught cheating will be banned.[36]

Two-factor authentication

Token-based two-factor authentication (2FA) may be in place for Alpha-1.[222]

Addons/mods

Addons will not be allowed, in general.[223]

  • The developers don't want addons/mods to be necessary to experience the game.
  • The developers believe that parsers (DPS meters) can have negative effects.
  • The design of the game API is still under consideration.[225]
    • There will be integrations available for streaming services such as Twitch and a few other services, but it's not something that will be exposed through an API just yet.[226]

We will have a lot of customization present in the both from a UI perspective as well as different data points that will be naturally in the game, but we don't want to open up the mod game just yet. That might be a decision we change in the future but, it's not planned for release.[226]Steven Sharif

Milestones

Accomplishments

  • Kickstarter's most funded MMORPG.[241]
  • Kickstarter's #7 most funded video game.[242]
  • Most anticipated MMO – MMORPG.com's Best of 2017 Awards.[243]
  • Most anticipated early access hands-on MMORPG – MMOs World.[244]
  • Gamescom 2018: Best Independent game.[245]
  • Gamescom 2018: Best Online game.[245]

Franchise

Ashes of Creation will be a franchise.[246]

  • The Ashes of Creation MMORPG is one of many intended products in the franchise.

Gameplay videos

External links

See also

References

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  2. MMOGames interview, January 2017
  3. kickstarter release schedule.png
  4. alpha-0 pre-alpha.png
  5. 5.0 5.1 Livestream, 18 January 2018 (2:48).
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Livestream, 1 September 2018 (54:06).
  7. alpha-1-stress-test-3.png
  8. alpha1-phase-1-update.png
  9. Livestream, 4 May 2018 (47:57).
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Newsletter, 7 August 2018
  11. Livestream, 18 January 2018 (25:22).
  12. alpha and beta phases.png
  13. 13.0 13.1 Livestream, 1 September 2018 (1:02:99).
  14. 14.0 14.1 beta 0.png
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  17. link=Braver of worlds
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  20. before2020.png
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  26. Node series part I
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  32. 32.0 32.1 Livestream, 26 May 2017 (28:16).
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  74. Kickstarter $2,500,000 New Player Race Achieved.
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  79. 79.0 79.1 archetypeclass.png
  80. 80.0 80.1 Ashes of Creation class list.
  81. Ashes of Creation Press Kit.
  82. Interview, 7 December 2016.
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  84. Video, 5 April 2018 (37:50).
  85. Video, 5 April 2018 (37:13).
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  87. Livestream, 12 May 2017 (42:17).
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  98. 98.0 98.1 98.2 progression.png
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  100. 100.0 100.1 Livestream, 4 May 2018 (45:37).
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  112. Interview: Ashes of Creation on Building Their Virtual World, 13 April 2017.
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  136. 136.0 136.1 A chat with Ashes of Creation's Steven Sharif, 7 June 2017.
  137. transparency.png
  138. Livestream, 4 May 2018 (39:41).
  139. kickstarter box cost.png
  140. Voyager plus pre-order pack
  141. kickstarter subscription.png
  142. Livestream, 4 May 2018 (53:34).
  143. screenshot 328.png
  144. Livestream, 17 August 2018 (9:33).
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  146. Livestream, 17 August 2018 (32:31).
  147. kickstarter p2w.png
  148. RNG boxes.png
  149. 149.0 149.1 Podcast, 4 August 2018 (1:57:56).
  150. Ashes of Creation cosmetic store.
  151. cosmetics obtaining.png
  152. cosmetic skins.png
  153. kickstarter microtransactions.png
  154. cash shop non tradable.jpg
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  187. Official Livestream - May 4th @ 3 PM PST - Q&A
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  192. servers SEA OCE.png
  193. Livestream, 9 July 2018 (47:54).
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  195. 195.0 195.1 regionlocking.png
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  209. Interview, 21 August 2018 (27:35).
  210. mycom.png
  211. mycom2.png
  212. 212.0 212.1 Interview, 21 August 2018 (11:27).
  213. NAEU.png
  214. NAEU1.png
  215. payments.png
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  228. Ashes Discord.png
  229. Ashes of Creation Kickstarter campaign
  230. Ashes of Creation Kickstarter.
  231. Summer Crowdfunding.png
  232. summerended.png
  233. PAX West 2017 Schedule.
  234. PAX West 2017 Map.
  235. GDC.png
  236. PAX East.png
  237. gamescom.png
  238. Ashes of Creation Gamescom 2018 Interview: Responding to Criticism.
  239. Newsletter, 7 August 2018
  240. Interview, 8 August 2018 (1:52).
  241. kickstarter most funded MMORPG.png
  242. kickstarter most funded video game.png
  243. MMORPG.com's Best of 2017 Awards.
  244. Most Anticipated MMORPGs For 2018.
  245. 245.0 245.1 DualShockers’ Gamescom 2018 Awards
  246. Livestream, 17 May 2017 (41:27).