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Pre-alpha PAX East 2018 PvE Developer playthrough, 4 April 2018.[1]

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.[2]

The Node system facilitates the generation of new PvE content such as Quests, Dungeons, Raids and Monster coins.[3]

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.[4]Steven Sharif

PvE content adapts to the development of the world to avoid repetition.[5]

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.[5]Steven Sharif

Alpha-1 PvE content

PvE content in Alpha-1:

There's over 200 quests in the game right now. There's a bunch of dungeons. We've retooled all of the boss fights. Those dragons that you see in the siege are also in the world- part of the open-world too. There will be a slightly different- there are some extra mechanics in the siege versions versus the ones that are in the world, but there's plenty of cool things to get on both of them, so make sure you check them out and hunt them down.[6]Jeffrey Bard


Alpha-1 early quest user interface.[16]

Questing in our world combines the best elements of traditional MMO’s as well as the introduction of our unique player driven experiences. Ashes of Creation offers area quests, public quests, and quest chains that change dynamically and in real time based on the player’s experiences and choices. Players will have the ability to directly alter world events and change the landscape through their actions, as an individual and as a community. Server quests will allow political rivals to compete for the fate of the world.[2]

Quests in Ashes of Creation are divided into three categories: Events, Tasks and Narrative quests.[17][18][19]

We’re going to be breaking up what is traditionally called ‘questing’ into three different categories: Narratives, Events, and Tasks. We want to avoid going down the path of trying to force narrative into gameplay where it doesn’t really fit (ie: filler stuff that doesn’t really relate to what’s happening in the world).[19]

Questing will be placeholder until Alpha-2.[7][8]


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.[21]


Dungeons in Ashes of Creation will range in size and will be mostly open-world.[27][28]

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.[27]Jeffrey Bard

Half the problem won't just be solving the dungeon, it will be solving other players too.[29]Jeffrey Bard

Dungeon difficulty will increase the further a player ventures into the dungeon.[32]

  • Mobs and mob mechanics will become more difficult.[32]
  • Terrain and environmental dangers will increase.[32]

Deeper darker types of interactions will be found deeper in the dungeon.[32]Steven Sharif

There are approximately 6 or 7 dungeons in Alpha-1.[12]



Raids will either be based on triggered events or more traditional systems. Traditional world bosses will change based on node development.[35]

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.[36]Steven Sharif

There is one true 40 person raid boss and an almost raid-level dungeon in Alpha-1.[12]


Monster coins

Monster coins enable players to play as monsters within the event system. This ranges from playing friends as a horde of zombies, to becoming a massive dragon.[38]

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.[39]

Monster coin events are system spawned events.[40]

  • They are structured in a way to prevent groups from gaming the system.[40]
  • 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.[41]
  • Server messages appear for players in the vicinity of these dynamic events.[42]
  • Drop tables are disabled for player controlled monsters.[43]
  • The Ancients are not going to be part of the monster coin system.[44]
  • Monster coins only allow a character to participate in events on their own server.[45]

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.[46]Steven Sharif


World bosses

There will be ancillary effects that happen as a result of downing certain world bosses.[48]

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.[49]Steven Sharif


Adaptive content

Alpha-1 preview pirate themed dynamic point of interest.[50]

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.[50]Jeffrey Bard

Alpha-1 preview pirate themed dynamic point of interest flythrough.[50]

One of the core functions of these points of interest across the world is that dynamic level up. As the world grows, these points of interest grow: Additional buildings will spawn, additional monsters and leaders, and quest hooks. All of these things start to grow with the world.[50]Steven Sharif

New points of interest (such as dungeons, world bosses, and corrupted areas) spawn as nodes develop.[51][52] This content adapts to the node progression of the zone it is in.[50][53]

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.[19]

Raid strategies

Raids will have elements that can be pre-planned.[5]

  • Required composition of DPS, healers and support.[5]
  • Key positioning.[5]

Raids will also have dynamic elements that can change from session to session.[5]

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.[5]Steven Sharif

Player driven narrative

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.[54]

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.[55]

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.[56]Steven Sharif

Corrupted areas

Work-in-progress Alpha-1 preview corrupted area on Alpha island by Mia DelCasino.[51]

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.[57]Steven Sharif

All of our POIs and kind of just the world in general can react to the node- we don't have to but we can- and this is one of those places where as civilization grows this will grow kind of in contest with it.[51]Jeffrey Bard

Corrupted areas (zones/points of interest) can dynamically evolve with the progression of nodes.[57][51]

  • 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.[58]
  • These are sources of NPC events that players need to address before they grow out of hand.[59][57]
    • Players need to participate in these events to stop the spread of corruption and hold back the intrusion on the material plane.[58]
  • Corrupted areas do not confer corruption onto a player.[60]

There are certain things that can happen, such as the spawning of dragons or hordes of zombies that are going to come out and attack those installations, those nodes, those points of interest; and... communities that don't respond to those in an effective way might see the disabling of certain services, the reduction of certain quest lines for particular organizations. The idea is to keep this as part of a believable living response from world, so those can get pretty significant the bad effects that can happen for the community.[59]Steven Sharif

Artificial intelligence

Jermaine Torment of Illwind boss mob.[61]

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.[61]Margaret Krohn

Ashes of Creation utilizes an adaptive artificial intelligence (AI), which means that different encounters with similar creatures will yield different player experiences.[2]

  • Utilizing new AI technology that hasn't been seen in other MMORPG projects.[62]
  • Bosses are scripted and make decisions dynamically during boss fights.[63]
  • NPCs performing "idle actions" to make the world seem more alive has been discussed by the developers but is not confirmed.[64]
  • Certain AI behaviors might activate based on progress within an encounter.[22]
    • Higher frequency of AoE attacks depending on how many players are participating.[22]
    • Unlock rage, recovery effects and buffs.[22]
    • Additional adds and add classes.[22]

There are AI systems that don't relate to controlling NPCs.[65]

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.[65]Steven Sharif

Group dynamics

EoUW9A XUAkzbvC.jpg

Group dynamics aim to bring players together.[66]

One of the main philosophical pillars behind our design was that PvE must be impactful and inclusive. We want solo players, small groups and large groups to all have a home within our system.[2]

Ashes of Creation is in development. These systems could change through playtesting and player feedback.[66]

Group sizes

The minimum goal is 500 players on a single battlefield. I think we will be able to hit 500vs500 but we shall see.[67]Steven Sharif

Ashes of Creation is designed for solo players as well as large and small groups.[68][69]

  • Parties have up to eight (8) players in a single group.[66]
  • Raids will have 40 man groups.[70]
  • Content will be tailored for 40, 16 and 8 person group sizes.[71]
  • Arenas will have 1 man, 3 man, 5 man and possibly 20 man Free-For-All (Deathmatch) group sizes.[72]
    • There won't specifically be guild vs guild arenas but team-based matchmaking allows teams to face other teams.[73]
  • Castle sieges are expected to have at minimum 250x250 players to be on a single battlefield, with the possibility of increasing this to 500x500 over time.[67]

The idea behind an 8-person group is to allow us to really amplify party roles, and to create a need for each of the archetypes in every party.[66]

Content isn't locked behind guilds.[74]

  • Mechanics exist within larger conflicts for small groups and even solo players to impact the battle.[75]
  • This includes systems that will likely focus on single group sized participants while the larger battle is occurring.[75]

Ashes of Creation Apocalypse group sizes

Group sizes in Ashes of Creation Apocalypse.[76]

There will be an option in the lobby where you are capable of joining a guild based match that you can link parties together up to a maximum of twenty individuals.[76]Steven Sharif

Looting rules

Ashes of Creation intends to use traditional loot rules, selected by the party or raid leader.[78][79][66]

Whoever is first to loot gets the loot.[78]
A master looter (or lootmaster) is a player designated by the party leader to decide how loot is distributed in a dungeon or raid party.[66]
With round-robin looting, party members take turns looting.[66]
Need before greed
This is a traditional need before greed system based on dice rolls.[66]
Since there is very little gear binding in Ashes of Creation, it's left to the party to deal with players who excessively roll Need on loot.[80]
Bidding system
Intrepid are investigating a potential bidding system, which allows players to bid on items instead of rolling for them.[66]
  • The highest bidder wins the item.[66]
  • The gold then goes into a pool that is split among the rest of the party members.[66]

Party roles

Ashes of Creation has the traditional trinity of Tank, DPS (damage dealers) and Support (healer or non-healer) roles.[81][66][82]

We have our eight base archetypes; and the trinity is a pretty strong influence with regards to the eight base classes. However the area in which we actually begin to play with that line between the trinity is in the secondary classes that you can pick. That's where we begin to blend those spaces and allow people a little bit of influence over their role and whether or not they fit perfectly within a particular category within the trinity.[83]Steven Sharif


We like to really refer to ourselves as a PvX game, because in those systems of PvP, PvE, crafting they're all intertwined: They're interdependent on each other... Our system of development really requires some interdependence there between those things. You're going to need a crafter to give you the best items. You're going to need PvPers to secure cities and castles. You're gonna need PvErs to take down those world bosses for those materials to craft.[84]Steven Sharif

Ashes is a comprehensive game. It is not a PvP focused or a PvE focused, it is a comprehensive PvX game and as a result these systems are all interconnected and have to coexist with one another with certain types of mechanisms that can provide that give and take, that push and shove.[85]Steven Sharif

Ashes of Creation is a PvX game. Players will naturally encounter both PvP and PvE elements.[85][86][87] It is unlikely that a player could purely focus on just PvP or just PvE.[87]

We're very clear with our objective and philosophy on the game and we understand that they may not appeal to everybody. But you know it is an important reciprocal relationship between the content that's related to PvE and the content that's related to PvP and they feed off of each other. They're catalysts for change: Their progression, their development. It's things that people can value when they see something earned and they see something lost. That elicits an emotional response from the player: That they've invested time in to either succeed or fail; and PvP allows for that element to be introduced into gameplay. And we're very clear that is our objective: That risk versus reward relationship, that achievement-based mentality. Not everybody's going to be a winner and that's okay.[91]Steven Sharif

Gameplay videos


See also


  1. Video, 4 April 2018 (0:01).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 About Ashes of Creation.
  3. Ashes of Creation FAQ.
  4. Livestream, 8 April 2018 (PM) (1:14:01).
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Podcast, 9 July 2018 (22:24).
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 Livestream, 30 April 2021 (41:18).
  7. 7.0 7.1 Blog: Creative Director's Letter, October 16 2020
  8. 8.0 8.1 Newsletter, 7 August 2018
  9. Livestream, 26 March 2021 (42:28).
  10. Interview, 7 February 2021 (35:30).
  11. 11.0 11.1 steven-siege-zone.png
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 Livestream, 26 March 2021 (39:08).
  13. Podcast, 11 April 2021 (49:40).
  14. Blog: Creative Director's Letter, April 14 2021
  15. Video, 30 April 2021 (13:02).
  16. Video, 31 May 2020 (6:25).
  17. Video, 31 May 2020 (5:25).
  18. Livestream, 15 May 2017 (20:58).
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 19.5 MMOGames interview, January 2017
  20. Livestream, 24 September 2021 (1:22:01).
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Interview, 19 July 2020 (14:51).
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 Interview, 13 June 2021 (22:20).
  23. Interview, 19 July 2020 (17:12).
  24. Livestream, 18 January 2018 (16:34).
  25. Livestream, 9 February 2018 (4:42).
  26. dungeons-leak.png
  27. 27.0 27.1 Livestream, 1 June 2017 (39:21).
  28. Livestream, 22 May 2017 (20:59).
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 Livestream, 27 September 2018 (43:21).
  30. 30.0 30.1 openworldinstancedsplit.png
  31. 31.0 31.1 Livestream, 28 March 2020 (1:48:36).
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 Livestream, 30 April 2020 (1:32:06).
  33. Video, 31 May 2020 (1:40:18).
  34. Video, 31 May 2020 (1:17:42).
  35. raid events.png
  36. Podcast, 23 April 2018 (27:14).
  37. Video, 25 May 2017 (0:02).
  38. kickstarter monster coins.png
  39. IGN: Ashes of Creation first look: An MMO that lets you be the boss.
  40. 40.0 40.1 monster event spawned.png
  41. Livestream, 26 May 2017 (22:19).
  42. Livestream, 3 May 2017 (36:25).
  43. Livestream, 3 May 2017 (35:25).
  44. Podcast, 15 November 2020 (47:12).
  45. Livestream, 25 June 2021 (1:36:05).
  46. Podcast, 15 November 2020 (51:22).
  47. Video, 31 May 2020 (17:20).
  48. Livestream, 19 November 2021 (55:31).
  49. Livestream, 8 April 2018 (PM) (1:09:37).
  50. 50.0 50.1 50.2 50.3 50.4 50.5 50.6 50.7 50.8 Livestream, 26 March 2021 (50:33).
  51. 51.0 51.1 51.2 51.3 Livestream, 26 March 2021 (22:53).
  52. Livestream, 17 November 2017 (36:22).
  53. 53.0 53.1 53.2 53.3 53.4 Livestream, 17 November 2017 (18:29).
  54. Livestream, 19 May 2017 (37:03).
  55. Interview: Ashes of Creation on Building Their Virtual World, 13 April 2017.
  56. Livestream, 22 May 2017 (28:02).
  57. 57.0 57.1 57.2 Livestream, 26 March 2021 (50:03).
  58. 58.0 58.1 Livestream, 8 November 2020 (12:47).
  59. 59.0 59.1 Livestream, 25 June 2021 (1:13:30).
  60. Livestream, 25 June 2021 (1:32:24).
  61. 61.0 61.1 Livestream, 25 June 2021 (21:24).
  62. Livestream, 5 May 2017 (11:55).
  63. Livestream, 28 July 2017 (43:57).
  64. Livestream, 8 April 2018 (PM) (3:56).
  65. 65.0 65.1 65.2 65.3 65.4 Podcast, 11 May 2018 (24:23).
  66. 66.00 66.01 66.02 66.03 66.04 66.05 66.06 66.07 66.08 66.09 66.10 66.11 66.12 66.13 66.14 Group dynamics blog.
  67. 67.0 67.1 castle-siege-scale.png
  68. Livestream, 30 November 2020 (1:20:25).
  69. solo2.png
  70. Livestream, 9 May 2017 (34:38).
  71. February 8, 2019 - Questions and Answers.
  72. partysize.png
  73. Livestream, 26 May 2017 (48:12).
  74. Livestream, 8 May 2017 (28:48).
  75. 75.0 75.1 solo.png
  76. 76.0 76.1 76.2 76.3 76.4 76.5 Interview, 17 August 2018 (18:53).
  77. Livestream, 26 March 2021 (26:40).
  78. 78.0 78.1 Livestream, 30 November 2020 (1:01:40).
  79. Livestream, 25 July 2020 (1:24:56).
  80. Livestream, 30 November 2020 (1:12:03).
  81. Podcast, 11 April 2021 (13:30).
  82. 82.0 82.1 82.2 82.3 Livestream, 22 May 2017 (46:04).
  83. 83.0 83.1 Interview, 20 October 2018 (2:40:16).
  84. Video, 16 April 2018 (1:32).
  85. 85.0 85.1 Podcast, 11 April 2021 (38:31).
  86. 86.0 86.1 Livestream, 12 May 2017 (24:52).
  87. 87.0 87.1 87.2 87.3 Livestream, 5 May 2017 (33:25).
  88. pvx stats.png
  89. MMORPG Interview, 12 December 2016.
  90. Livestream, 15 May 2017 (14:05).
  91. Livestream, 1 June 2017 (37:39).