Player flagging

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The open world PvP flagging system is designed to deter people from griefing other players without limiting opportunities for open conflict.[1][2][3][4]

We do incentivize players to fight back, or to participate in PvP through the flagging system, but not to PK. Not to go corrupt.[3]Steven Sharif
  • Players can participate in open world PvP with one another without having to resort to murder.[5]
  • The penalties are intended to be severe enough to deter any type of spawn camping.[6]
  • Summons follow the same PvP flagging rules as players and share the player's flag status.[7][8]

pvp flagging diagram.png

There are three levels of flagging for world PvP in Ashes of Creation.[9]

  • Non-combatant (green)
    • All players start as non-combatants.[10]
    • Non-forced attacks, including AoE and status effects, will not hit non-combatant players.[11][12]
    • Green players killed by mobs (the mob deals the killing blow) do not flag attacking players as corrupt, but since the exact health of another player is not known (outside of the same party, raid, alliance, or guild), attackers run the risk of killing the player and becoming corrupt.[13]
    • Player abilities with CC effects do not apply to non-combatants. The target of a CC ability must be flagged in order to suffer the CC effects. This prevents players from opening attacks that stun non-combatant players during a pull for example.[14]
    • Non-combatants will not be flagged for looting bodies.[15]
    • Players will be able to opt-in (via a checkbox) to allow their beneficial spells, or non-beneficial AoEs to hit combatants.[16][17]
If you have that check-box for flagging with your AOEs and heals available then you will flag. If you do not have that box checked then on completion of the skill it will not flag you because the check was made at the start that there was a flagged party member; and then he will not he or she will not receive the beneficial effect as a result or the damage, if it's an offensive spell.[17]Steven Sharif
  • Combatant (purple)
    • Players are flagged as combatants if they attack another (non-corrupted) player when carrying out a forced attack. If the attacked player fights back, they are also flagged as combatants, otherwise the attacked player will remain flagged as a non-combatant.[16][18][10]
    • Non-combatants entering an open world battleground (PvP event) are automatically flagged as combatants and remain flagged for a period of time after leaving that battleground.[9]
    • Non-combatants who heal, buff, or otherwise (positively) interact with combatants or corrupted players will be flagged as combatants.[20][21][22][23]
    • Players can kill combatants without repercussions, and are encouraged to do so, since dying while a combatant has reduced death penalties.[10]
    • Players are not able to manually set their flagging status to combatant.[18]
    • Players remain flagged for a period of 90 seconds following their most recent attack on a non-combatant or another combatant.[24]
    • Players cannot log out while flagged as combatants.[25]
You're not going to see griefing in the game very often; and that's because our flagging system. The corruption mechanics are based around disincentivizing a griefer or PKer but still offering the opportunity, should the occasion arise, where the benefits outweigh the risk, you have the ability to do so. If you gain corruption, which is killing a non-combatant - a player who is not fighting back basically - if you gain that corruption, your world has changed. It is not going to be a very beneficial place to be and you have the potential of losing your gear. Your combat efficacy decreases based on the amount of corruption you accrue. It is a comfortable balance between player agency and grief and basically removing player agency for other players.[26]Steven Sharif
  • Corrupted (red)
    • If a combatant player, or their summon, kills a non-combatant player, including any of their controlled entities, such as their battle pet, mount, or summon, the player's character will be flagged as corrupted.[27][7][4]
      • Corruption gained for killing controlled entities is a lower value than killing the players.[27]
    • A character's PK value increases with each non-combatant player killed over the lifetime of that character.[28][14][29][30][9]
    • The wider the level disparity between the players, and the higher the attacker's PK value, the more corruption score they gain.[28][14][29][30][9]
    • A character's corruption score multiplies their death penalties and reveals a their location to bounty hunters.[4]
    • If a non-combatant attacks a corrupt player, the non-combatant will not flag as a combatant.[10]
    • Corrupted players may kill bounty hunters without acquiring additional corruption score.[31]
    • There is a 60 second timer to logout while corrupt. Force-disconnecting the client during the cooldown will leave the character in-game.[20][25]
It's important to note that the idea is going to be that, unless a player is in your party, alliance, guild, or raid that you will not have definitive knowledge of their exact hit point values. So when you do something that's sketchy like that, where you want to bring them close to death and let a monster finish him off, you are taking the risk of overhitting and actually gaining the corruption.[13]Steven Sharif

Differences from other games

While Ashes of Creation took inspiration from Lineage II (and other games) it has also addressed several flaws in the implementation of those games.[34][14][35][36] The approach of the flagging system in Ashes of Creation is to further disincentivize griefing while still allowing the system to keep risk relevant in the open-world setting.[34]

First and foremost, PvP in Ashes exists in both opt-in systems and events, as well as our open world flagging system. And while it is true that I enjoyed and took much inspiration from games like Lineage 2, we have innovated and adapted our approach to Ashes’ flagging system in order to further disincentivize griefing while still allowing the system to keep risk relevant in the open world setting. The overwhelming majority of player’s experiences with PvP in Ashes will be through consensual systems like caravans, sieges, wars, the open sea and other events. Players will make a choice to participate in those systems or not. And if they choose to participate there will be significant rewards for success.[34]Steven Sharif

In the open world, when competing for the scarcity of resources, raids, dungeons and or hunting grounds, an important element of risk vs reward is introduced through our flagging system. Players must be aware of their surroundings and the reputation of other players who may be in proximity. The flagging system is intended to always provide an element of risk in all settings, but also architected to ensure that griefing and PK’ing is almost never worth it. The subtleties of this system are complex, which is of course why it will require considerable testing and feedback.[34]Steven Sharif

  • Corruption gain takes into account level disparity between the attacker and the player that was killed. The greater the disparity the higher the corruption accrued.[14][29][30][37][9] Corruption penalties occur as the corruption is gained.[38]

These are all things that I've changed in the system that help to safeguard some of those loopholes. Now of course, as we said, we can't and we don't want to 100% remove the ability for that risk to be alive- for that risk to be realized. But what we do want to do is make sure that those occasions are few and infrequent, and are not the majority of a player experience, let's say in the open world; and we do so by incorporating all of those risks and costs into a decision to gain corruption and then PK another player in the open world. It's just not going to be done often and that is my expectation and opinion. It's also the goal of the system is that griefing is not a viable option or play style. And as a result of that desire for the system, we will fine tune it in such a way through testing that that outcome is achieved. And that is the intent and purpose of the design.[20]Steven Sharif

  • Non-combatants can attack corrupted players without flagging themselves as combatants.[20][10]
  • There is a 60 second timer to logout while corrupt. Force-disconnecting the client during the cooldown will leave the character in-game.[20][25]


An affiliation tree determines which entities can participate in attacks against other entities within its hierarchy.[44][45]

There's node citizenship. There's guild. There's alliance. There's party. There's raid. There's family. All of these types of affiliations have a hierarchy. The highest of which is your node affiliation: So your citizenship is your greatest superceding relationship, which means if you were a part of a guild and the guild has multiple nodes in which its members are citizens of, if there was a war between two of those nodes, the members of those nodes would be first and foremost citizens who defend that node, even against their own guild members.[44]Steven Sharif

All of these things have some hierarchy; and within that hierarchy there's the ability to participate within certain systems. So for example, if you have a node that has fallen under your vassal state and you're a citizen of the parent node, then you could participate in a siege against the vassal node but if you're a citizen of the vassal node you could not participate as an attacker against the parent node; so there's a hierarchy, unless you were to renounce your citizenship.[45]Steven Sharif

Player corruption

Corrupted player in the Alpha-1 preview.[47]

When you gain that corruption you have the potential of losing your completed items, your weapon, your armor, stuff that is very difficult to achieve; and then the other aspect of that is, that in order to deter basically players taking alternate characters and saying this is my PK alt, the more players you kill, the more corruption you gain, the higher your combat efficacy in PVP diminishes. If you're out there and you killed you know 20 players... you will not be able to perform in PVP any longer. You will need to take that character and go work off that corruption. The other aspect of corruption is that if you kill another player, who is a non-combatant and the level disparity between you and that player is great, you will gain a higher amount of corruption from that single kill. To the point where you should not be killing a level one character.[40]Steven Sharif

If a combatant (purple) character, or their summon, kills a non-combatant (green) character, or any of their controlled entities, in Open-world PvP, they will be flagged as corrupted (red).[27][7][4] Corruption gained for killing controlled entities is a lower value than killing players.[27]

There is no incentive to go corrupt... There's zero incentive for a player to go red. It actually gives you negatives for doing that- very significant downsides.[3]Steven Sharif
It is my expectation that the system will perform very well in keeping risk alive, but significantly curtailing or deterring the ability for players to grief.[48]Steven Sharif
  • A player's corruption score (corruption value) increases with each non-combatant player killed.[28][29][30][9] Corruption score has a scaling impact on the efficacy of a character's skills in PvP combat.[20][37] The higher the corruption score:
    The more corruption you gain, the less effective you become in PvP and there's going to be a certain period at which point you have gained enough corruption that you're going to be gearless and you're also going to have a massive reduction in your PvP efficacy.[41]Steven Sharif
    If you go on a murder spree and you have 10 pks under your belt then you might start feeling a significant dampening to your skill effects against other players. I don't want to give necessarily a number or curve for players to extrapolate prior to us having the ability to actually test these ideas and where those numbers are going to lie; but I would say what is the intent behind that dampening: The intent isn't to limit the fun of the player, the intent is to provide a give-and-take or a risk-versus-reward; and the risk of continuing down the road of accruing corruption is not only the loss of your gear and amplified death effects but also your ability to perform in that activity.[50]Steven Sharif
    • Corruption penalties occur as the corruption is gained.[38]
Reward without risk is meaningless... Corruption is just another word for risk.[51]Steven Sharif
Corruption value from PK'ing a non-combatant is based on level disparity along with the PKer's cumulative PK value.[29]Steven Sharif
You can't necessarily time perfectly the damage or understand even the health of the player. Unless you were in their party you cannot see an opponent's health as well, so that's another component that adds risk..[52]Steven Sharif
  • Corrupted players may kill bounty hunters without acquiring additional corruption score.[53][31]
    • Corrupted player's combat penalties do not apply when battling bounty hunters.[53]
  • There is a 60 second timer to logout while corrupt. Force-disconnecting the client during the cooldown will leave the character in-game.[20][25]
Q: Will there be any large-scale consequences when many players in a group guild region religion etc become corrupted frequently or for an extended period of time?
A: There are not group dynamics or mechanics that revolve around mass murdering people in the world. The corruption system is intended to deter mass murdering, not to provide incentives by which players can go out and gain corruption.[56]Steven Sharif
Q: If my guild has no one corrupted and your guild is like always killing people and always corrupted, will your guild have repercussions because they're corrupted versus my guild?
A: No I don't think so either. And the reason why is we want to deter it, but we don't want to make the system meaningless; and if the deterrent becomes too heavy-handed then it's a system without a purpose. And I think that the intent behind the corruption is that like during a rise in passion and like anger and whatever you want to make this decision and do something and you'll suffer the repercussions later. But if those repercussions are just overwhelmingly bad and even anti-social in the sense that like your guild is like hey man you went corrupted and this gives us like corruption points on the guild, and like you're out of here, then people just aren't going to choose to use it; and then at which point might as well just take it out. So I think there's a healthy balance between the type of deterrent used.[57]Steven Sharif
info-orange.pngSome of the following information has not been recently confirmed by the developers and may not be on the current development roadmap.
  • Corruption has a visible effect on a player’s appearance.[61]

Removing corruption

The primary means to remove corruption is through death. Multiple deaths may be necessary to remove all corruption.[39][10]

  • Dying removes a significant portion of a player's corruption score.[63]
  • Gaining experience will also slowly reduce a player's corruption score.[64][14][39]
    Any experience that's gained by the player, whether it be through achievements in crafting, or in adventuring, or through other types of achievements: All of that experience goes towards your adventuring class experience gained; and then some experience can dual purpose towards professions as well. So if I reach an achievement in my crafting profession and that grants me additional experience within that profession to rank up, it will also grant the same amount of experience over in my adventuring level; and to that point, anytime you gain adventuring experience you tick away at the corruption.[64]Steven Sharif
  • A quest may be utilized to reduce the player kill (PK) count of a corrupt player in order for them to accumulate less corruption score in the future.[65][63]
    • This is a design shift from a religious quest being used to directly reduce the corruption score.[66]
info-orange.pngSome of the following information has not been recently confirmed by the developers and may not be on the current development roadmap.

Player death

Player death in an open world dungeon in Alpha-1.[68]

We don't have deleveling, instead what we have is experience debt. Now the more experience debt you accrue, the greater the detriment to your character; not to the point where you can not get out of the debt. There will always be a way forward to remove your debt.[26]Steven Sharif

When a player dies they disintegrate into ash. The ashes contain any items lost by the player due to applicable death penalties.[69][70][71][42][72] These ash piles are immediately lootable by any player.[70] Player flagging is not triggered by looting.[15]

  • A non-combatant (green player) who dies suffers normal penalties, which include:[42]
    When players die and they take durability loss, our durability loss isn't like other games where it's a gold sink so to speak. It's a combination of both a gold sink and a material sink. So in a sense, even if you only have completed items, when you take that durability loss you are losing out on materials. It's just a debt to the materials that you are losing instead of the active loss of that material in your inventory. So now you are accruing a material debt if you want to repair and increase again the performance of those particular items that take that durability loss.[75]Steven Sharif
    • Dropping a percentage of carried gatherables and materials that are used in the generation of something else.[77][71][42]
      • Items made for final consumption are not dropped, such as consumable items created by the Cooking and Alchemy professions.[77]
      • A percentage of the certificates a player is carrying are also dropped.[72]
      • If a player dies there will be a period of time before their mule despawns. Other players must kill that player's mule to be able to loot it.[78]
      • If a player's mule dies its corpse will contain the same percentage of lootable items as the player.[78][79]
  • A combatant (purple player) who dies suffers these same penalties, but at half the rate of a non-combatant.[42]
  • A corrupt (red player) suffers penalties at four times the rate of a non-combatant, and has a chance to drop any equipped items based on their current corruption score.[28][30] This includes:[30][42]
    Any amount of corruption allows a player to drop equipped gear upon death. The higher the corruption the greater the chances.[80]Steven Sharif
    • These dropped items may be looted by other players.[81]
    • Corrupt players respawn at random locations in the vicinity of their death, not at regular spawn points.[82]
      • Non-corrupt players always respawn at the closest active respawn point (to their death).[83]
    • Corruption penalties occur as the corruption is gained (not just at death).[38]
  • Experience debt will scale to approximately 2 or 3 percent of the total XP for a max level player. These numbers are subject to change based on testing.[84]
  • Death penalties (mostly) do not apply to objective-based PvP (also called sanctioned events).[85][86][87][88]
    There will not be death penalties applied to event-based deaths. The penalties are in the outcome of the event. So your number of deaths is likely going to impact your ability to win that particular event and that's going to be the penalty. This is it to encourage players to opt in to the events right because the more participation we have the more fun it can be; and we understand that the community at large- there's already a risk versus reward component to these events. We don't need to stack on additional risk versus reward to inhibit kind of- to increase the barrier to entry for players who may not be as interested.[88]Steven Sharif
  • Death penalties do not differ between PvP and PvE, but this is subject to change.[89]

Death by falling is possible.[90]

  • Fall damage that occurs while mounted will be first applied to the mount; and if the mount dies as a result, then the remaining damage may overflow onto the player, but this will be determined based on testing.[90]

Death by drowning is possible.[91][92]

  • Players that drown will respawn on shore.[91]

If a player dies there will be a period of time before their mule despawns. Other players must kill that player's mule to be able to loot it.[78]

Players do not lose gold upon death, no matter their corruption level.[58]

At the moment, the plan is for players to not lose gold upon death, no matter their corruption level.[58]Cody Peterson

See also


  1. Livestream, April 28, 2023 (2:06).
  2. Livestream, March 31, 2023 (1:00:16).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Livestream, June 25, 2021 (23:08).
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 pvp flagging.png
  5. 5.0 5.1 Livestream, May 12, 2017 (24:52).
  6. pvp camping.png
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 steven-summons-pvp-1.png
  8. steven-summons-pvp-2.png
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 MMOGames interview, January 2017
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 Interview, April 27, 2017 (0:17).
  11. Livestream, October 28, 2022 (1:34:52).
  12. PvP.jpg
  13. 13.0 13.1 Livestream, July 30, 2021 (1:10:34).
  14. 14.00 14.01 14.02 14.03 14.04 14.05 14.06 14.07 14.08 14.09 14.10 14.11 14.12 14.13 CC effects do notapply to non-combatants.png
  15. 15.0 15.1 Podcast, April 11, 2021 (34:41).
  16. 16.0 16.1 Livestream, December 2, 2022 (2:41).
  17. 17.0 17.1 Interview, July 8, 2020 (1:05:27).
  18. 18.0 18.1 Livestream, November 30, 2020 (1:09:06).
  19. Livestream, October 31, 2018 (44:12).
  20. 20.00 20.01 20.02 20.03 20.04 20.05 20.06 20.07 20.08 20.09 20.10 20.11 Livestream, October 28, 2022 (26:48).
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 steven-healing-corrupt.png
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 Interview, April 22, 2019 (54:40).
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 Livestream, November 17, 2017 (29:45).
  24. steven-flagging-duration.png
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 steven-flagging-logout.png
  26. 26.0 26.1 Podcast, April 23, 2018 (49:21).
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 27.3 Livestream, October 28, 2022 (1:35:36).
  28. 28.00 28.01 28.02 28.03 28.04 28.05 28.06 28.07 28.08 28.09 28.10 28.11 28.12 Livestream, October 28, 2022 (24:28).
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  30. 30.00 30.01 30.02 30.03 30.04 30.05 30.06 30.07 30.08 30.09 30.10 30.11 Interview, July 18, 2020 (41:54).
  31. 31.0 31.1 Interview, April 27, 2017 (1:18).
  32. flagging.jpg
  33. pvp flagging lockouts.png
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 34.3 34.4 steven-asmon-open-world-pvp.png
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 35.3 steven-l2.png
  36. 36.0 36.1 Interview, August 24, 2018 (8:35).
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 steven-corruption-score.png
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 corruption.jpg
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 Interview, July 18, 2020 (44:35).
  40. 40.0 40.1 40.2 40.3 Podcast, April 23, 2018 (51:31).
  41. 41.0 41.1 41.2 41.3 Livestream, May 22, 2017 (42:33).
  42. 42.00 42.01 42.02 42.03 42.04 42.05 42.06 42.07 42.08 42.09 42.10 Podcast, May 5, 2017 (43:05).
  43. 43.0 43.1 Interview, May 11, 2018 (5:05).
  44. 44.0 44.1 44.2 44.3 44.4 44.5 44.6 44.7 Livestream, March 29, 2019 (17:10).
  45. 45.0 45.1 45.2 45.3 45.4 45.5 45.6 45.7 45.8 Interview, May 11, 2018 (58:07).
  46. 46.0 46.1 Livestream, July 29, 2022 (1:07:20).
  47. Video, May 31, 2020 (5:29).
  48. 48.0 48.1 Livestream, October 28, 2022 (13:53).
  49. 49.0 49.1 Livestream, November 17, 2017 (35:20).
  50. Podcast, April 11, 2021 (38:31).
  51. corruption2.jpg
  52. Livestream, January 30, 2020 (1:40:48).
  53. 53.0 53.1 steven-bounty-hunters-1.png
  54. 54.0 54.1 Livestream, February 24, 2023 (1:12:24).
  55. 55.0 55.1 Livestream, April 30, 2021 (1:14:49).
  56. Livestream, August 27, 2021 (1:20:09).
  57. Livestream, August 27, 2021 (1:20:51).
  58. 58.0 58.1 58.2 vaknar-gold.png
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  61. Interview, February 1, 2017 (39:33).
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  63. 63.0 63.1 Interview, July 19, 2020 (30:51).
  64. 64.0 64.1 Livestream, April 28, 2023 (1:27:18).
  65. steven-removing-corruption.png
  66. Livestream, June 4, 2018 (2:18).
  67. pvp corruption duration.png
  68. Livestream, March 28, 2020 (1:58:24).
  69. Livestream, September 24, 2021 (51:20).
  70. 70.0 70.1 Livestream, March 26, 2021 (1:07:33).
  71. 71.0 71.1 a419c5398b542a713545e4f393d67215.png
  72. 72.0 72.1 Interview, July 18, 2020 (27:11).
  73. Livestream, May 19, 2017 (13:37).
  74. Ashes of Creation Forums - Former Lineage 2 PvP'er wanting to discuss PvP loopholes.
  75. 75.0 75.1 Interview, February 7, 2021 (13:14).
  76. Interview, July 29, 2020 (16:46).
  77. 77.0 77.1 Livestream, December 2, 2022 (1:26:02).
  78. 78.0 78.1 78.2 78.3 Livestream, January 29, 2021 (1:24:27).
  79. 79.0 79.1 Livestream, September 27, 2018 (47:46).
  80. steven-corruption-gear-drop.png
  81. Interview, May 11, 2018 (15:41).
  82. Interview, April 27, 2017 (9:28).
  83. Livestream, June 25, 2021 (1:15:37).
  84. Livestream, May 28, 2021 (1:50:50).
  85. Livestream, February 24, 2023 (1:29:45).
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