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Ashes of Creation will be easy to understand yet hard to master.[1]

My stance on participation trophies is that things should be hard, people should fail, the bitter taste of defeat is what makes success that much more rewarding. Helping other players learn encounter strategy, and fine tuning their play style for high end content is an important part of eliminating participation trophy. Growing together is a good thing, and that include failing together as a means to drive for success together.[2]Steven Sharif


Dünzenkell Crypt open-world Dünir dungeon in Alpha-1.[3]

Half the problem won't just be solving the dungeon, it will be solving other players too.[4]Jeffrey Bard

Dungeons in Ashes of Creation will range in size and will be mostly open-world.[7][8]

Different tiers and types of dungeon content will be more or less relevant to specific groups or class compositions.[11]

There are going to be smaller, simpler, linear dungeons. There's going to be bigger, more complex, nonlinear dungeons. So, It's a little bit of both. We want the environment to be a character. In order for the environment to be a character, these places need to be interesting and there needs to be a dynamicism to them.[7]Jeffrey Bard

Dungeon difficulty will increase the further a player ventures into the dungeon.[12]

  • Mobs and mob mechanics will become more difficult.[12]
  • Terrain and environmental dangers will increase.[12]
Deeper darker types of interactions will be found deeper in the dungeon.[12]Steven Sharif

There were 13 dungeons in Alpha-1.[13] Originally this was estimated to be 6 or 7.[14]

List of dungeon bosses

info-orange.pngThis section contains information from Alpha-1 testing. It will be updated when new information is made available.

List of notable dungeons

info-orange.pngThis section contains information from Alpha-1 testing. It will be updated when new information is made available.



Raids will either be based on triggered events or more traditional systems. Traditional world bosses will change based on node development.[17]

We want things to be more fluid and one of the ways that we make them more fluid is through our triggered event system. That is one of the methods by which we make these more spontaneous. We make them more accessible to a wider audience. You can be just in the city and not normally be a part of a raid team, but now get to participate in this organic event that's kind of popped up around the city and if you are not participating then buildings are gonna get destroyed and NPCs are going to die... It's not just how fast can we do it, how will we get it done in its schedule, but oh my god this thing popped up if we don't kill it we're not going to access to our stables this week and we can't get our animal husbandry certificates... It's that risk versus reward that gives you a sense of adrenaline.[18]Steven Sharif

There is one true 40 person raid boss and an almost raid-level dungeon in Alpha-1.[14]

List of raid bosses

info-orange.pngThis section contains information from Alpha-1 testing. It will be updated when new information is made available.

Raid strategies

Raids will have elements that can be pre-planned.[19]

  • Required composition of DPS, healers and support.[19]
  • Key positioning.[19]

Raids will also have dynamic elements that can change from session to session.[19]

One of the design elements that we're implementing into our raids is that the raid will not be exactly the same every single time. You're going to have variables that can't necessarily be pre-planned out for. You can pre-plan out for a lot of the raid like how many DPS do you need and healers and support; where the key position and all that kind of stuff; but I think the compelling aspect of Ashes raiding will be the difficulty in achieving this content and having that content change from session to session as well. We want there to be variables that get manifested by you know what type of node got developed elsewhere. Is he going to have acolytes or cultists? What will the acolytes have skills [available] to them? What kit is the boss gonna have? What available skill repertoire will the boss be able to [wield]? ... A lot of those systems are influenced obviously by world development. So the raid kind of takes into account at what stage has the world developed: Are there two metropolises now available in the world? Okay well let's activate this skill in this skill. Now you have five metropolises, well now all these skills have been activated. Are there are they all economic nodes? Are they all military nodes? That we can change things based on that stuff. And it really is a threat assessment from the environment against the players.[19]Steven Sharif


World bosses

There will be ancillary effects that happen as a result of downing certain world bosses.[21]

When a server downs a legendary boss, I want it to cost time, resources, dedication; and when you do that I want everyone to benefit from it.[22]Steven Sharif

Monster coins

Monster coin concept art.[23]

Let's say for example you have an event- that is the predicate for this event kicking off was that a raid boss was killed in a nearby dungeon; and it was killed for the 50th time, or it was killed by some particular storyline end or whatever the predicate system is in the world state to say "hey kick this event off". Well, when that event kicks off a number of spawners activate around the node and NPCs start moving towards a node. The node is notified, like "hey there's something happening here, you guys should put up your defenses focus on this thing"; and those with monster coins who are within the area and are not a citizen of the node or an affiliated node can choose to activate the monster coin to become one of the monster types that exist within that event; and that event has a number of targets; and let's say for this particular story arc the thing was we need to find artifacts and better weapons in order to defeat these bosses at the bottom of this dungeon; and a lot of players went through that process they found those weapons and whatnot. Well those things might be stored in three buildings that exist within the node. They might be stored within the armory; they might be stored within the barracks; and they might be stored at a workshop that has access to a workbench that they've chosen to build and that could also potentially serve as a predicate; and when you become the monster those are your three objectives; and you don't need to destroy all three. You potentially just need to destroy one, or you destroy as many as you can if it's a time selected event; and you might have targets that are NPC-related as well, such as the blacksmith that's at the workbench, or the captain of the guard who's at the barracks, or whatever who's at the armory; and you get to go in and you get to kill other players potentially during this who are helping to defend the city; and you can also make it to the objectives and potentially help in destroying the building, or killing the NPCs. That is the type of objectives that would exist within a monster coin system for an event.[24]Steven Sharif

Pre-alpha monster coin system.[25]

Sometimes the disturbed beings could take the form of packs of dire wolves, hordes of zombies roused from their graveyard, or even, rarely, an epic-tier dragon flying out of a volcano once a node reaches its maximum level. In any case, the disturbed monsters have to tackle a series of destructive objectives, which can either be handled by the the AI or, more interestingly, by a player. The player in turn would attempt to complete all those actions much as in a multi-objective quest, hopefully before other players brought him or her down.[26]

Monster coins enable players to play as monsters within the monster coin event system. This ranges from playing as a horde of zombies, to becoming a massive dragon.[27][28]

During a Monster Coin Event, players will be able to activate Monster Coins, allowing them to become monsters and wreak havoc! These Events can be triggered in a variety of different ways, and in some cases they may even provide cosmetic rewards.[23]

Monster coin events are system spawned events.[27][29]

  • They are structured in a way to prevent groups from gaming the system.[29]
  • Monster coin events are triggered by activity in the world, such as node advancement, defeating a boss or constructing certain types of buildings within a node.[30]
  • Server messages appear for players in the vicinity of these dynamic events.[31]
  • The player will have a number of potential objectives they can choose to attack during the event. This may include node buildings, points-of-interest, dungeon, NPC, or other open-world objective.[24]
When you're playing as a as a monster from the monster coin use as part of an NPC event that might be targeting a node, or other some other open-world objective or POI, or dungeon, you get to participate as a monster and your focus is completing objectives that have already been prescribed as part of the event.[24]Steven Sharif

The Ancients are not going to be part of the monster coin system.[34]

Traditionally, the Ancients are not going to be part of the Monster Coin system. These are the primary antagonists of the story. From a lore perspective, and one of the reasons why they're not a part of the Monster Coin system, is because their souls have really developed almost to the point of perfection in manipulating the Essence for more corrupt uses. They haven't quite gotten there, and who knows if they ever will, but that kind of attunes them out of the possibility: The reason why the monster coin system is possible with other creatures.[35]Steven Sharif

Corrupted areas

Work-in-progress Alpha-1 preview corrupted area on Alpha island by Mia DelCasino.[36]

How the world kind of reacts and changes to the nodes, you see these intrusions of corruption beginning to pervert and infest the lands; and these are obviously going to be sources by which NPC events are driven based on player progression within the world. And these sources of evil need to be addressed by the players, or else they'll grow out of hand.[37]Steven Sharif

Corrupted areas (zones/points of interest) can dynamically evolve with the progression of nodes and story arcs.[38][39][40][37][36]

  • Harbingers that exist on Verra as dungeons are where The Ancients are capable of pushing into the material plane. They can continue to do so under the guise of the effects of corruption as it spreads.[41]
  • These are sources of NPC events that players need to address before they grow out of hand.[42][37]
    • Players need to participate in these events to stop the spread of corruption and hold back the intrusion on the material plane.[41]
    • If players fail to address these corrupted areas, the frequency of NPC events against their node will increase. These can lead to node buildings and services being disabled, increasing the node's vulnerability to node sieges.[43]
It can be a very detrimental thing if corruption is not addressed; and that's the intent of corruption, is to present a challenge to the players that if not addressed it becomes exacerbated and a problem over time.[43]Steven Sharif
To degree your mortal coil, as we call it, or what some might consider a soul from your character's perspective within this story- can be influenced and can be changed into a shape that's more in tune with corruption; and that's through doing PvP things you can accomplish that.[44]Steven Sharif
When it enters the corruption state outside of weather, in that corrupt state, you will probably see a little bit less of the influence of the season because really it's adopting that corruption, which in-and-of-itself is kind of a season.[46]Steven Sharif



Alpha-1 Elder Dragon of the Tundra raid boss.[47]

The environment in Ashes of Creation is a visually stunning realm, with fantastical beasts and creations designed to both inspire awe and instill fear. The world is harsh and unforgiving, presenting a clear and present danger to the players. Dungeons, demons and dragons, oh MY! Our unique and adaptive AI means that an encounter with similar creatures will yield a completely different experience to adapt to as a player. Keeping you on your toes for constantly changing responses from your adversary. The world awaits its heroes.[48]

Elder Dragon of the Wood raid boss gameplay.[49]

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.[19]Steven Sharif

The Node system facilitates the generation of new PvE content such as Quests, Dungeons, Raids and Monster coins.[50]

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.[51]Steven Sharif

PvE content adapts to the development of the world to avoid repetition.[19]

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.[52]Jeffrey Bard

PvE difficulty

The difficulty of PvE content, such as raids and dungeons will adapt based on the performance of the raid or group against previous bosses in that encounter.[61]

  • Higher performance in earlier phases will increase the difficulty of subsequent phases of the encounter.[61]
Raid bosses are aware of the number of combatants within an area in proximity to them and that awareness is part of an indicator to which behaviors they're going to utilize as part of their behavior tree. So as it's assessing the types of combatants that are facing it, the number of those combatants, the position of those combatants, the abilities and totals of those combatants, it weighs certain actions in its behavior tree and then it acts on those actions; and in the scenario where you're bringing overwhelming odds to a particular fight, that might weigh heavier the AoE options that the boss has access to, where they're utilizing a lot more AoE abilities during an engagement due to that overage of of players. So in that sense it's a bit adaptive. It's a bit dynamic based on the encounter scenario.[62]Steven Sharif
Q: How challenging will raid boss mechanics be given the given that players may need to simultaneously fight other players while also fighting the boss?
A: It depends. The great thing about our encounter system is that it has a wide scalability from encounters that some might consider easy given their composition to encounters that some might consider impossible until they get their gear level to a certain stage. The level of interaction with other players is really predicated on the encounter itself. We may have some encounters that are in instances although the predominant portion of those will be in the open world, in which case they do have the potential being contested; and these encounters, especially the big ones that might land in contention, are giving some of the best-in-slot gear you can get in the game. So it's important that they are contested because it is a significant victory point; and one of our core pillars is risk versus reward: and the higher that risk the higher that reward should be. So those two things seem fitting and then in addition we do have the concept of winners and losers. Not everybody in Ashes of Creation is going to be a winner; and that sucks if you're not I guess, but there is opportunity for you to continue to excel and become one. But it gives much more meaning to an achievement when not everybody gets the achievement. That's our philosophy.[65]Steven Sharif

Adaptive content

Alpha-1 preview pirate themed dynamic point of interest.[66]

This is actually a dynamic POI. This one will evolve as players evolve the node that it's attached to. So this is kind of its final state.[66]Jeffrey Bard

New points of interest (such as dungeons, world bosses, and corrupted areas) spawn as nodes develop.[36][67] This content adapts to the node progression of the zone it is in.[66][68]

Certain dungeons and other points of interest across the map will all be affected by the server’s node development. Some dungeons will only be unlocked if nodes are developed to certain stages. The storyline objectives for players inside dungeons will also be dependent on the story arc paths chosen through the node system. The drop tables in area and dungeons will also be tied into the progression of certain areas. For example, let’s say that the humans have developed a node in Region A, and a storyline has opened up that leads players to inspect the ruins (dungeon) of a nearby area. And let’s say that this node was developed in a scientific (crafting) zone… Well before the node developed, this dungeon was accessible… But now the dungeon has propagated new monster assets that include a drop table catering to a crafting emphasis because of the development of that scientific node. And perhaps, a new boss appears in different rooms of the dungeon that includes different adventure quest starts, like a mysterious item with a storyline that can only be progressed if a node develops to the metropolis stage in a certain region, across the world. Our system is so vast, when it comes to interconnectivity and how the world reacts to the players.[69]

Player driven narrative

One of the major goals I feel like we have is to allow player decisions to have consequences and to have meaningful results from the decisions that they make, so it seems like people can really create their own stories.[75]Aimi Watanabe

The world of Verra will be the same on each server, but Nodes will develop differently. Different servers will have different narratives. Things that happen on one server may not happen on another.[76]

We want as many people as possible to experience the main server Narrative. These will branch at different scales, but largely at the personal level. Where things change is at the Node level – different parts of the story will be unlocked based on where and when Nodes grow. Unlocking a part of the story in a certain way locks out progression of the story in a different way. You’ll see different antagonists, different NPCs, and different calls to action depending on what’s happening with the server at that time.[78]

It kind of redefines what the players will experience in an MMORPG to come into a wilderness that is devoid of really any structure outside of what the community creates themselves; and then what can be created can be changed, if they want to experience a storyline that's been seen on another server, but you know you're fighting a dragon because you're near a mountain and the other server's fighting a Kraken because they're near the coast and you want to fight that Kraken because of its drop table. If you want to meta it or because you just want that under your belt: to be the server first to take out that Kraken and you have yet to develop the node there, you know it's incumbent upon you to manifest that in the game.[79]Steven Sharif

Artificial intelligence

Jermaine Torment of Illwind boss mob.[80]

You can see how we utilize some of the different armor pieces- you've probably seen some of these pieces on different outfits like that toast Corvid Castigator cloak is on him.[80]Margaret Krohn

Ashes of Creation utilizes an adaptive artificial intelligence (AI), which means that different encounters with similar creatures will yield different player experiences.[48]

  • Utilizing new AI technology that hasn't been seen in other MMORPG projects.[81]
  • Bosses are scripted and make decisions dynamically during boss fights.[82]
  • NPCs performing "idle actions" to make the world seem more alive has been discussed by the developers but is not confirmed.[83]
  • Certain AI behaviors might activate based on progress within an encounter.[63]
    • Higher frequency of AoE attacks depending on how many players are participating.[63]
    • Unlock rage, recovery effects and buffs.[84][63]
    • Supporting other monster types or classes nearby.[84]
    • Additional adds and add classes.[63]
  • NPCs in certain encounters may be aware of their local environment and can seek cover behind obstacles, for example; but this will not be prevalent in general AI designs.[85]

There are AI systems that don't relate to controlling NPCs.[86]

There are some additional AI parameters that are set that don't relate necessarily to controlling NPCs. There are AIs with regards to the development of the borders for nodes in the direction and also the decisions that are made of which lower nodes to enslave as vassal states. There's AI that relates to a little bit of the stock market that's going to be present in the economy. There's some AI systems that are going to be announced also that are pretty innovative I think with regards to the MMORPG genre and that's going to make the triggered event system very interesting I think; and that's you know with regards to how nodes kind of develop and the environment reacts to that development by you know spawning these triggered events of you know a horde of zombies attacking a city or a legendary raid boss coming out of the mountain. I think there's a lot of opportunity for some of the innovations that's been in the AI sector of game development too to come out in Ashes.[86]Steven Sharif


Gameplay videos


See also


  1. Podcast, May 11, 2018 (33:09).
  2. Ashes of Creation Forums - No participation trophy.
  3. Twitter - The way is shut! Trapped in this dwarven crypt.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Livestream, September 27, 2018 (43:21).
  5. Livestream, January 18, 2018 (16:34).
  6. Livestream, February 9, 2018 (4:42).
  7. 7.0 7.1 Livestream, June 1, 2017 (39:21).
  8. Livestream, May 22, 2017 (20:59).
  9. 9.0 9.1 openworldinstancedsplit.png
  10. 10.0 10.1 Livestream, March 28, 2020 (1:48:36).
  11. Livestream, April 28, 2023 (1:15:22).
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Livestream, April 30, 2020 (1:32:06).
  13. Alpha-1 map.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 Livestream, March 26, 2021 (39:08).
  15. Video, May 31, 2020 (1:40:18).
  16. Video, May 31, 2020 (1:17:42).
  17. raid events.png
  18. Podcast, April 23, 2018 (27:14).
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 19.5 19.6 19.7 Podcast, July 9, 2018 (22:24).
  20. Video, May 31, 2020 (17:20).
  21. Livestream, November 19, 2021 (55:31).
  22. Livestream, 2018-04-8 (PM) (1:09:37).
  23. 23.0 23.1 Types of Events on Verra.
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 Livestream, July 29, 2022 (1:20:24).
  25. Video, May 25, 2017 (0:02).
  26. IGN: Ashes of Creation first look: An MMO that lets you be the boss.
  27. 27.0 27.1 Livestream, April 29, 2022 (39:00).
  28. kickstarter monster coins.png
  29. 29.0 29.1 monster event spawned.png
  30. Livestream, May 26, 2017 (22:19).
  31. Livestream, May 3, 2017 (36:25).
  32. Livestream, May 3, 2017 (35:25).
  33. Livestream, June 25, 2021 (1:36:05).
  34. Podcast, November 15, 2020 (47:12).
  35. Podcast, November 15, 2020 (51:22).
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 Livestream, March 26, 2021 (22:53).
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 Livestream, March 26, 2021 (50:03).
  38. skotty-story-arc-2.png
  39. Video, March 31, 2023 (1:22).
  40. Video, March 31, 2023 (3:32).
  41. 41.0 41.1 Livestream, November 8, 2020 (12:47).
  42. Livestream, June 25, 2021 (1:13:30).
  43. 43.0 43.1 Livestream, January 28, 2022 (1:17:12).
  44. 44.0 44.1 Livestream, March 31, 2023 (54:22).
  45. Livestream, June 25, 2021 (1:32:24).
  46. 46.0 46.1 Livestream, March 31, 2023 (58:27).
  47. Video, May 28, 2021 (5:40).
  48. 48.0 48.1 About Ashes of Creation.
  49. Video, April 30, 2021 (4:51).
  50. Ashes of Creation FAQ.
  51. Livestream, 2018-04-8 (PM) (1:14:01).
  52. 52.0 52.1 52.2 52.3 52.4 52.5 52.6 Livestream, April 30, 2021 (41:18).
  53. Blog: Creative Director's Letter, October 16 2020
  54. Newsletter, 2018-08-7
  55. Livestream, March 26, 2021 (42:28).
  56. Interview, February 7, 2021 (35:30).
  57. 57.0 57.1 steven-siege-zone.png
  58. Podcast, April 11, 2021 (49:40).
  59. Blog: Creative Director's Letter, April 14 2021
  60. Video, April 30, 2021 (13:02).
  61. 61.0 61.1 61.2 Interview, July 19, 2020 (14:51).
  62. 62.0 62.1 62.2 Livestream, January 27, 2023 (1:34:06).
  63. 63.0 63.1 63.2 63.3 63.4 Interview, June 13, 2021 (22:20).
  64. Interview, July 19, 2020 (17:12).
  65. Livestream, May 27, 2022 (1:20:35).
  66. 66.0 66.1 66.2 66.3 66.4 66.5 66.6 Livestream, March 26, 2021 (50:33).
  67. Livestream, November 17, 2017 (36:22).
  68. 68.0 68.1 68.2 68.3 68.4 Livestream, November 17, 2017 (18:29).
  69. 69.0 69.1 69.2 69.3 MMOGames interview, January 2017
  70. steven-pois.png
  71. steven-dungeons.png
  72. Livestream, July 25, 2020 (46:08).
  73. Livestream, April 29, 2022 (40:21).
  74. jindrack-pois.png
  75. Video, March 31, 2023 (28:11).
  76. Livestream, May 19, 2017 (37:03).
  77. Livestream, December 17, 2019 (1:10:30).
  78. Interview: Ashes of Creation on Building Their Virtual World, 2017-04-13.
  79. Livestream, May 22, 2017 (28:02).
  80. 80.0 80.1 Livestream, June 25, 2021 (21:24).
  81. Livestream, May 5, 2017 (11:55).
  82. Livestream, July 28, 2017 (43:57).
  83. Livestream, 2018-04-8 (PM) (3:56).
  84. 84.0 84.1 Livestream, July 29, 2022 (1:23:56).
  85. Livestream, February 25, 2022 (1:03:32).
  86. 86.0 86.1 86.2 86.3 86.4 Podcast, May 11, 2018 (24:23).