Talk:2020-07-19 Steven Sharif Interview - Asmongold

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McConnel: l What do you think dude? If this game comes out


McConnel: With everything that's been promised and it's polished, WoW's done.

Asmongold: All right here we go boys. Yeah okay man.

How's my how's my sound quality by the way I'm on my phone driving to Vegas and I'm like in the middle of the desert.

Asmongold: Surprisingly better than most streamers who make it a career to have their sound quality be pretty good.

[Laughs] Okay, perfect.

Asmongold: Well I wanted to say thank you very much for coming on and talking to us about this. I mean I think we all really appreciate it I mean like you I heard a little bit of your story about how you were kind of an MMO player who's been, you know, as many of us a little bit, maybe felt a little bit neglected and you thought about going your own way. And so this is something you've been working on how long have you been working on the project for?

So, yeah, actually, you know, I started my first MMORPG as a kid at seven years old when it was like 1992 six dollars by the hour to play on AOL it was Never Winter the first Never Winter.

Asmongold: Oh boy

Yeah, since then, you know, I played pretty much every MMO out of the box and, you know, the story for Intrepid and Ashes of Creation really stemmed from my last MMO that I was playing pretty heavily which was Archeage about six seven years agoand. I really loved that game like I felt it had a lot of great potential and I just got really fed up and upset with, you know, some of the design decisions and and let me know if I'm cutting out by the way but

Asmongold: It'll probably be off and on it'll be all right

Yeah, some of the design decisions really just kind of ticked me off and, you know, I had a very large guild in that game and I've had a large guild since I was one of my favorite MMOs I played back in like 2003 for many years was Lineage 2. A lot of inspiration I have for Ashes comes from like Lineage 2 (and) Archeage.

A lot of people brought that up.

Actually, yeah, I thought Lineage 2 was a great game I really like non-faction based games that, you know, leave kind of the, you know, player agency to determine your friends and foes to the player. So essentially, you know, I was in San Diego. And San Diego is a great hotbed for developers, you know, we have a lot of studios around us we had Sony Online Entertainment which became Daybreak. we had, you know, Blizzard in Irvine we had a, you know, Amazon Game Studio and stuff so, you know,. I'm a pretty big tabletop gamer as well, I love playing like Warhammer fantasy and Warhammer 40k and a lot of the guys from Sony would play at my game shop and, you know, I was retired at like 29 and when I was fed up with Archeage and I said to these guys I was like "Hey, what do you think about making an MMORPG like I'll fund it let's try to hire a bunch of people and see what we can do". So, you know, we started like 2015, 2016 kind of white papering out all of the designs that I had for Ashes, you know, all the different systems that exist and about 2017 we went to Kickstarter not really as a means for funding, you know, I'm personally funding the entire project but actually to, you know, add some additional features but also mainly to get a litmus test on what the community thinks about many of our designs.

Asmongold: To see if there's a demand?

Exactly, yeah, essentially to test these this design theories because as, you know, and a lot of MMO players know, you know, there's been this kind of a paradiGM shift towards a mentality of everybody's a winner and there's no longer a risk vs reward type of design philosophy and.

Asmongold: Yes, we've heard of that.

And that's I can't stand that, I mean, it makes me. It really undermines what the genre was meant to be and that doesn't go to say that there shouldn't be systems that are made for casual players and systems that are made for hardcore players. You should have a diversity of progression paths but, you know, I really got upset with that. So we really wanted to make sure that these ideas resonated with the MMORPG genre. And that's, you know, what we did with Kickstarter was very successful, and that's when we started to really ramp up in the number of developers and and the size of the studio and really started making significant progress in production. So we've been in production now for about three years ever since Kickstarter and, you know, we have, over 60, over 65 developers that are here in San Diego with some that are, you know, outside elsewhere

Asmongold: WoW

in the world and then we're ramping up right now we just launched another hiring phase with 24 positions available at the studio that we're promoting.

Asmongold: So whenever you're talking about the Kickstarter and the kind of feedback that you guys have gotten is there any specific feature in the game that was actually kind of thought of by people in the Kickstarter or are these just kind of all ideas that you've come up with and just different people have enabled them to happen?

Yeah there really wasn't ideas that we took so to speak from a system or mechanics standpoint from Kickstarter all of these designs are, you know, essentially designs that I created as as kind of inspiration from the many MMORPGs that I played in the past each of which, you know, contains some, you know, reference to maybe a system that is in Ashes that I thought did well and I just thought why not combine all of these systems together into a game that represents a wide array of player ability to kind of focus in the direction and progress in a direction that they want.

Like blizzard on crack dude

Yeah exactly I mean that that's something that we're obviously we still, you know, providing a truly PvX kind of experience.

Yeah I mean that's one thing that I was really kind of excited to see. And this is something that I really liked about Classic WoW. For example is that you had people who basically their endgame was doing professions and with BDO you had kind of the same thing where you had players that were PvPers and PvErs and then you also had people that were working inside of the community of the game kind of like, kind of carving out their own gameplay experience. And I feel like professions are playing a very big role in Ashes of Creation. Am I kind of right about that? I've seen a lot of stuff about it.

Yeah so the profession system is intrinsically tied to what is called our artisanship system. So the artisanship system really contains three branches of focus. Okay, gathering, processing and crafting. Essentially the gathering is focused really around the blacksmithing profession your ability to craft tools that essentially better your ability to collect raw resources in the world to harvest them. they grant you access to higher grade resources, they increase the chances of proccing rare materials are out of, excuse me, rare resources out of the harvesting nodes. And then the processing is based kind of around your freehold system with essentially establishing the infrastructure for processing those things on your freehold parcel. And that's like building blueprints of smelters or of stables for the animal husbandry profession that kind of thing.

It's kind of like middle professions?

Right! Exactly. And once you process those raw gatherables into craftable materials that's when the crafters come online, and their main focus is to acquire recipes there are limited uses to recipes the more rare the recipe is and there are and that's tied intrinsically into node progression so as nodes get higher stages it unlocks crafting stations that can be constructed so that the crafters who get their processed goods from the processors who get their raw materials from the gatherers are able to complete a finished product.

So there's like a it's an assembly line effectively?

Right, exactly. The key to making a successful crafting system is including interdependencies that exist within the system that people are required to excel and progress in order to facilitate that assembly line

Yeah I totally agree with that. I think that's one of the best things about the game it's one of the things that I've kind of disliked about WoW is the fact that people can kind of do everything all by themselves. But how many professions can you have? You can only be an artisan in one profession at a time is that right?

So as you progress in one of the three branches of the artisanship system with your with your gathering, processing or crafting abilities it unlocks access to certain professions that then you have a secondary progression path and based off of your performance in creating that profession's specialty. So think of it like a tree the higher you go up the tree the taller the branches that you have access to, those branches are essentially the professions

Okay that makes sense. And so I did see one element of it that I was a little bit. I'm actually curious about how you're gonna be able to balance this. And that the profession gear is going to be equivalent to the raiding gear.

Right. So essentially the crafted gear is going to be on par with what legendary drops will be. And the way you kind of accomplish that is, you know, the drop tables that exist for world bosses or dungeon bosses they have a RNG chance of dropping completed item.


You know, complete, totally finished items. However they have a higher chance of dropping material components that are necessary, and unique recipes, that are necessary in crafting those, on par gear.

I see.

So, yeah, so the idea is as you're completing this content you're not only fueling the opportunity through the drop table system to acquire completed boss gear, but you're also adding additional materials that go into supplying the master artisans with the ability to craft this gear as well.

Did you ever play Classic WoW?

Yeah, I played classic WoW.

Onyxia Scale Cloak, is that it?

I really honestly didn't get into WoW too much.


And the reason why is because WoW launched around the same time as Lineage 2 and, you know, I really just wasn't a huge fan of the faction-based system, you know, often times I found myself disliking my own faction more than I disliked the enemy faction I was told to fight.

Yeah I can relate.

I kind of, you know, felt in Lineage there was an opportunity there to more have more guild driven politics, more player driven interactions and I kind of got hooked on Lineage in that regard. So I didn't play WoW a lot.

No. I can I can understand that I think that the same dynamic happened in Black Desert and I can totally understand it. It was really fun in there too. So like for example with the profession gear let's say you kill a dragon and the dragon can drop a dragon tooth but you can also get dragon scales from the dragon and you use the dragon scales to craft like a shield or something?

Absolutely correct. So there's going to be multiple material components that are capable of being dropped from each raid boss and dungeon boss. And those components will relate to a specific type of craftable gear.

Okay, and that's where the high level craftable gear comes from and these high-level bosses, and these like world bosses and everything, these are all in instant content the highest level?

So not not all of them there are some that are more story related that get instanced, but 80% of the content that will exist in Ashes of Creation is open world, and there's a specific reason for that. So because of the way that friendships and or enemies are forged in the game and people have the opportunity to create, or, you know, their own friends or foes we want that to play out from a contesting standpoint as well. So a lot of these hunting grounds or raid bosses that people are going to have opportunities to kill they're going to be essentially contested, potentially, by your enemies that you've created in the game, or you can work together to create alliances in order to defend those contested zones.

Oh yeah. We have that now in Classic WoW. It's very, very drama-driven, but it's also very social, it is extremely social and that's a big positive.

Absolutely. I mean the social component of what MMORPGs as a genre are supposed to be have kind of been lost over the years in my opinion. Over the past decade as many of the designs are more related to essentially creating these safe spaces for players which don't create a lot of soft friction and I don't like the idea of that I think soft friction is an important component of making people emotionally invested in the outcome of events in games. That's an important part of why we play games. And some of the best experiences that I've had as an MMORPG gamer have been not related around the curated content by the designers but instead by the unpredictable player driven encounters that, you know, nobody could have predicted. Like I remember in Archeage, you know, I had a great time my guild was fighting almost the entire server. And we had literally, and I'm not exaggerating here, we had a 24 straight hour fight where I went to bed in the middle of the fight for like three hours and I got back up and got back

Holy Shit

into the command chair.


And it was all over the Kraken raid boss that the server was trying to prevent us from doing. And that, I mean, those types of events live with you. I mean yes-


-they're gated around the content but they're player driven events.

So I guess, probably, that experience is what caused you to have the sieges be it dedicated times during the day?

Yeah, so I think it's important that, you know, for players, we. I mean we work hard so that we can have the free time to come and enjoy, you know, what we like with MMORPGs and it kind of sucks if, you know, somebody can sneak in a castle siege at 2 A.M in the morning-


- and, you know, you're not up and your friends are up and that's a really shitty experience so, you know, kind of the way we're going to structure the server shards is essentially when you come into the game you're going to have a time zone that's appropriate next to your server that you choose and that's going to reflect essentially the windows in which some of these key systems can operate. So like, say for example you want to declare a siege against a node, you'll complete that quest to get the siege scroll when you get that siege scroll, the applicable time that you can declare the siege will be between you know, 3 P.M and 7 P.M eastern time if you're on an eastern server

Right, yeah. Okay, well that makes a lot of sense. I think that's probably the smartest and best way to do it for the same reasons that you mentioned too. So whenever you're talking about like this PvE content like, what's kind of the difficulty level of that content and how will, it is. Like is the game meant to be like with World of Warcraft nowadays there's a heavy emphasis on like content that's very challenging and very hard, is that something that you're really looking to emulate in Ashes of Creation or is it just gonna be mainly a social experience with difficulty that's kind of created primarily through the friction of other players.

Well I think. So a hundred percent, our objective on the PvE front is to create encounters that have varying degrees of difficulty that are determined by your performance as a raid or group. So essentially as you're progressing through, let's say, a raid environment, a dungeon and you're beating the first and second and third boss before you get to the final boss your performance at those stages will dictate the AI's performance against you at each subsequent phase. That's kind of the idea behind the varying difficulties, now based on your performance, and the varying degrees of difficulty, will also influence the drop tables that are used when you complete that content as well. So the better you do the better opportunity you'll have from a gear and drop standpoint also.


Now, that's super important because, one of the primary driving forces that I've experienced as a gamer in MMORPGs is that gear-chase, and the reason people have a gear chase comes down to performance essentially right?


And that performance can either be dictated by your PvP experiences whether that be castle sieges or group PvP whatever, or it's dictated by the ability and drive for you to complete content at a degree in which you have to get the benefits that you want right.


So we want to make sure that there's is difficulty that's reflective of the desire to get best in slot items and that's a very important component.

So like for example: Let's say you do the first boss and if you kill the first boss within 30 seconds, then the second boss gains more health and it drops better gear and if you kill the second boss within 30 seconds then the third boss is even stronger? Is that kind of so, okay.

That's sort of that's a very simplistic way to look at it.


I would say that is accurate to a principal standpoint but really what happens is, Our bosses have specific AI behavior trees and blackboards that they use in order to determine the types of skills that they're going to show during an encounter. The type of thresholds on their health pool that instigate either rage mechanics, or different types of environmental hazards and strategies that become online all of those things are kind of predicated in an overarching AI manager for an encounter like let's say that that dungeon where you described. "Hey I killed the first boss in X amount of time now the second boss is AI behavior tree number three on the scale or number five, you know, it kind of increases.

So it's dynamic difficulty in that way?


Okay and does this does it also scale with the amount of players so like for example if you go in there with I think the numbers were 8, 16 and 40. Are you encountering the same bosses at eight players as you are with 40 or are there certain bits of content in the world that are exclusive basically for large groups like 40 and above?

So we're not going to be incorporating scaling into the encounters and the AI essentially.

[Asmongold does hallelujah emote in his chair]

You're going to have designated encounters that are intended for 40 man groups, you're going to have designated content for party groups, elite monsters, and then you're gonna have designated solo encounters, right? The idea there, you know, I'm not a huge fan of scaling-


I think that kind of diminishes your achievements and if you're always fighting the same difficulty level it's a monotonous experience and it kind of sucks so, you know, that's why we have statically designated types of content.

And so that actually leads me to another question I have with leveling. So whenever you're leveling out in the world the time frame that they gave, and that, Lazy Peon gave was 45 days playing four to six hours a day is that accurate or where would you kind of expect it to lie?

Yeah I'm always hesitant to, you know,

Yeah, yeah, I get that.

to have answered that in the past because I don't want to give people the wrong impression but I would say this safely. A lot of games are are built around very fast progression and, you know, our philosophy is: There are many different progression paths. Not everything is tied to your adventuring class, and leveling your adventuring class. There's advancement within societies of nodes, there's the advancement of the nodes itself, there's the advancement of your artisanship classes and gatherables, there's advancement within the religion system, there's advancement that is in exploration, there's a lot of different things that players can do to progress. So it kind of, you know, to kind of tie it all back to just the adventuring class and being able to get max level in a week that's not going to be Ashes of Creation. Ashes of Creation on the adventuring class side will require some substantive dedication in order to level up, you know, we want to get back to that more nostalgic kind of design philosophy where your your investment in your character is meaningful and not everybody is going to get a participation reward.

Well that's certainly a relief. And whenever you're leveling up, so you're going from like, there are zones that are for instance level 20 zones that if you go to level 30 those mobs are still level 20 and if you go there at level 10 the mobs are still also level 20?

So actually there's a unique component, you know, the biggest thing that sets Ashes of Creation apart from pretty much every MMO that's come before it, is that as nodes, you know. Nodes are the primary world building mechanic in the game. You go throughout the world you do your normal MMO things you kill monsters, you do quest-lines, you gather goods, whatever. As you're doing that you're collecting that experience and you're in a node somewhere, collecting that experience as well, and as the node advances in stages at each stage it's actually changing the spawn tables around it. So you have dedicated points of interest that exist around each of the node locations, and as the node advances it advances the level of the mobs in certain locations so that those areas remain relevant. One of the biggest problems that MMO's, you know, have that I've experienced in the past and the reason, partially, one of the reasons why I wanted this system in place. Is because you always have these starting areas that were empty, worthless and had no relevance after an initial launch, right?


Or a new expansion lauch. And that's kind of one of the intrinsic problems with MMOs it appears to be like. From a new player acquisition point MMOs don't typically fare well, from a retention standpoint they tend to fare better than most. So how can we kind of solve that problem? One of the ideas I had was with the node progressing and unlocking new content, that maintains relevancy of those zones so that new players come back and the reason why it's important, excuse me: not new players, high level players come back. And the reason why that's important is because one of the problems of a new player joining an existing MMO is: There's no social experience because of those empty starting zones, Everybody is always max level.

there is nobody there. Exactly! So one of the ways we kind of solve that, is: If the primary source of new content is the node system then, you're always going to have these nodes that exist near the starting areas for players to kind of get introduced into societies, religions and guilds and whatnot. And still have the relevant monsters and quest-lines for them to progress, but there's going to be, you know, higher level end game characters that are present at the node as well for them to get inducted into, you know, guilds or whatever.

So like for example, I don't know like how close this is but I'll give you like a scenario and just let me know if this is, you know, if I'm hot or cold here so like imagine: There's like a mountain and then if you're mining in the mountain eventually you start finding, you know, small little like fire salamanders and then you, you know, advance your note a little bit farther and now you're seeing, you know, medium-sized drakes and then you announce advance your note even further and then there's an actual dragon inside of the node.

Yeah, exactly!

Is that pretty much how it works?

Not only that but it's a little bit better as well because the way we spawn nodes in real time, as those assets come online. Sorry about that I was getting a call.

That's alright.

As the notes come online, points of interest start to manifest as well so you might be mining at that node fighting a little fire salamander, and that fire salamander might stay there when the node progresses but, next to the mine you were mining a dungeon has now appeared basically the entrance has opened up because some archaeologists are attracted to the stage three node, right?


And now that dungeon has relevant content for higher level people, so you as and the content that you're experiencing with the little fire salamander might remain but as the as the spawn tables progress and points of intereststart to come online for content now new players are going to come and be attracted to that to that stuff, yes.

Yeah that sounds really good. And there's one thing that you said too that did kind of spark my interest. There are religions in this game is that right?

That's correct there are six primary religions as well as an under-realm religion that players can progress in. And religions, societies like the Scholars Academy, Thieves Guild they all have progression in rank and title so as players, essentially, players have to choose which religion they're going to be a part of, they have to choose which society they're going to be a part of, they choose which guild they're going to be part of. As you choose those things there is progression within those societies that are quest-based, as well as objective-based. So essentially like, you know, the Thieves Guild may want a specific book from the Scholars Academy and your node is a patron node of the Thieves Guild. So that's the only society it has available to it. you're a member of that Thieves Guild, you receive an objective that many players receive as well, to steal the book from a nearby node from their Scholar Academy building. Scholar Academy buildings are going to be flagged to kind of encounter and see you, and they can try to stop you. But if you're successful you get experience and you also get notoriety within the organization that grants you access to special shops, titles and abilities that come online during either node sieges or different types of events.

So are these different religions? I mean I'm sure there's a real life parallel to this as well. But are these different religions and guilds not necessarily guilds but like different organizations like the Thieves Guild and everything like that. Are these going to be put at odds with each other through mechanics in the game like via PvP, or is it just kind of something that plays out narratively?

So the guilds will have the opportunity to be at odds with one another through the guild wars system, but they'll also have the ability to be friends with each other through the alliance system. The societies which are more NPC driven, those will have, those will be predicated on the relationship your node has with surrounding nodes. So part of the mayoral duties is to maintain diplomatic relations with nearby nodes and that flags the citizens, you can only ever be a citizen of one node, and that flags the citizens as; either being at odds with the citizens of a nearby node, depending on that diplomacy, or allies of the nearby node citizenship, so you could either be flagged for battle for a period of time, if there's a war, or you can participate with one another in certain events. So the way that relates to those societies is based on that diplomatic relation that's set by the mayor you can have either cooperative quest-lines that introduce players of other organizations, or you'll have adversarial quest-lines such as the stealing of the book that I described before.

Okay that makes a lot of sense. And so basically all of the kind of forced hostility like where you see another player and they're hostile toward you and you can attack them all of that is opt-in? Like you opt in to make the decision, like who you're hostile with?

Yeah that's correct. So there's no there's no forced hostility. So essentially the opt-in can be delegated either to leaders or to the individual essentially. Let's say you're a part of a node; As a citizen and the mayor decides that they want to go to war. I don't know how this happened but my seat cushion heater got turned on I was wondering why I was like firing up.

Oh shit.

[Laughs] I was like it's like 120 degrees outside and I'm burning.

Yeah it's the wrong time if you're in Las Vegas.

[Laughs] No, to answer your question it's a it's an opt-in system sometimes that opt-in is delegated to leaders like the mayoryour guild leader, but essentially you will always have the option to leave either that organization if you don't agree with the leadership, or to vote them out through the election system of the of the mayorship systems.

Yeah that's something that, you know, as a streamer I'm worried if they're going to vote for me or to vote me out. I'm certainly curious about that.

The cool thing about the node system and its government stuff is that; there's four types of nodes essentially there is the; democratic type: which is called our scientific node type, that's where the election method is by by voting. There's the military type: Where players receive a champion upon becoming a citizen and they can level that champion up through doing quest-lines and they can grant the champion gear. And then they participate in gladiatorial arenas to see who the victor is and that victor becomes the mayor. The divine node types have a quest based kind of merit system where the more questing you do for the temple of the node, the like more likely you are to become mayor at the end of the election cycle. And then the economic system is more an oligarchy kind where you contribute resources and gold to essentially bid, for the highest bidder to become the mayor. So not always is it going to be through popularity contest that's really just

I love that.

-scientific system.

I think that's really good feature: because you're going to have some people that can just, you know. Like if you have. Like let's say one guild that's completely dominant on the server you're gonna know that these people are always going to be in charge but if there's different paths to progression, that kind of makes it at least a lot harder for that to happen.

So that's right and not only is it absolutely and not only is it harder but, you know, I've always found in games that have non-faction based more guild driven dynamics that: Having a very powerful guild on the server is really almost always temporary. And either there's infighting that occurs or internal politics between the alliances, or some other guild rises to fight. And I think that's kind of it replicates that dynamic of good vs evil type struggle, where people become invested. Now obviously if the mechanics and systems of a game are built in such a way that they do not provide some rails to how far a dominant guild can go to ruin the experience for others then, it's a bad design theory. But if if the designs are maintained in such a way, such as in Ashes of Creation, where there is success that's demonstrably recognized through the advancement of that particular guild but, you can't go as far as to ruin the game for other players so to speak you can definitely manifest your power, but you can't just at every end stop progression for other players that's an important inclusion in an open world type.

And that leads into the whole corruption mechanic.


Yeah and so the way that works. My understanding is that it's kind of like the more that you basically kill other players the more hostile you become towards the, not only other players in general, but also towards the NPCs as well.

Right so, you know, I took a lot of inspiration for the open world flagging mechanics from Lineage 2. I thought that Lineage 2 did a great job in balancing both allowing the agency for players to kind of make rash decisions out of either, you know, extreme anger or whatever, as long as there's a downside. So the corruption mechanic is really designed in a way like if you see somebody out there and you just hate this person and they've done something to you that's wrong or they betrayed your guild and dropped with some boss loot or whatever, you know, the standard, you know, drama that happens in MMOs that makes it fun. Yes

And you want to kill that person, you know, you have the [Steve get's connectection problems]

He's still in call. He's driving, so.

as long as you understand that as concept because there is normal. yeah sorry go ahead.

Oh no, you just cut out for a couple of seconds, i was just letting you know.

Sorry about that. So yeah the corruption system, so basically the way it works is: There's a standard death penalty. and that death penalty allows you to, upon death acquire a debt experience and that debt experience can impact your normal gameplay by either diminishing some of the power of your skills if you accrue too much, and the normal death penalty that you accrue is actually halved if you fight back. So if you're rolling up on a person and they're not flagged and you're not flagged you can attack them you will become a combatant, they will still be a non-combatant, if they fight back and they die as a combatant you lose half of the normal death penalties you would normally lose. So we're incentivizing consensual PvP. If the player were to kill you and you did not flag back, you didn't fight back, and you were still a non-combatant, they're gonna gain a corruption score. And that corruption score multiplies their normal death penalties by four times. It also increases. It also adds the opportunity for them to drop completed gear upon death and it flags them for the bounty hunter system.

From thier character? They drop gear from their character?

That's correct.


Yes, so they can drop equipped gear if they're corrupt. Now that's a conscious decision that that player is making to become corrupt though, so it's again, you have to weigh the cost-benefit ratio there and the idea s that if you gain too much corruption, meaning you try to turn into either a PK character or something along those lines, you're going to be eventually at some point you're going to be combat ineffective. Not only are you going to potentially lose your gear significantly more but you'll also have less impact from combat skill percentage standpoint. And then additionally for corrupt players there's two ways that you can essentially lose that corruption when you die you lose a significant portion of the corruption. If you go and you hunt, and you gain experience that starts to diminish the corruption you have as well so at that point it becomes kind of a cat and mouse game because you're present on the map for bounty hunters and because there's limited fast travel in the game, kind of really just determined by metropolis, they're gonna have to travel out to you and you're not gonna be very easily able to you know, scroll back town so to speak, as you would in other games. So that cat and mouse relationship provides benefits to the bounty hunter if they successfully kill corrupt players but it also allows the corrupt player to fight back against the bounty hunter, and the bounty hunter is always flagged against the corrupt player so the corrupt player can fight back and kill the bounty hunter without additional detriment. So it's like yeah. It's a cat and mouse game. Okay well that's pretty interesting. Is there. So you have to do a lot of PKing to start actually losing this kind of this stuff right like your combat effectivness and all?

Right. Yeah, not only is there do you have to do a lot of PKing that are consecutive but, if you have a number of PKs on your record without going through, you know. We haven't really described this to the community yet but there is a method by which you can lower your previous PK count so that it doesn't exacerbate the next amount of corruption you gain from the system but corruption you also gain more if you have a lot of previous PKs as well so it's a cumulative. It's like a karma system almost?


Okay and so you do have like guild sieges and all that kind of stuff and all of that is completely outside of the corruption system because it's consensual?

Right the corruption system only applies to open world flagging. all PvP events that are contained within opt-in systems such as; castle sieges, node sieges, caravan caravan fights, guild wars and node wars. Those are all self-contained within specific systems that don't utilize the flagging system and do not utilize the corruption system. Those are where you automatically become combatants against the player pool for the defense or them attacking side. And so, going over to like the way the housing works the freeholds effectively are just player housing out in the open world is that right?

Right. So there's three there


Yeah there's three types of housing: There's an in node static housing which are open world housings that are, you know, they come online with each advancement of the node. There's apartment systems which are instance housing that essentially, you know, you must own a house within a node zone of influence or within a node before you can become a citizen of the node. So those instance apartments kind of grant the ability for players to become citizens of those nodes they're statically, there's some that start but then also, player, mayors get to elect construction sites which are public work projects that the citizens can participate in they can grant, you know, resources to those buildings and he can construct additional apartment buildings, he can construct advanced crafting stations, he can construct the diplomatic buildings, marketplaces, auction houses, all depends but then the player housing, the third type is the freehold system. And the freehold system is one per account, it grants you a large parcel of land which you must then collect blueprints for and then collect resources to build those those buildings. And that's really kind of the processing plant of each player they'll be able to take raw resources that they either purchase from other people or that they acquire themselves and they'll be able to process them into material goods that can be then used for crafting. Is there going to be something like a effectively guild freehold like something larger like a castle?

Correct. So guilds advance and level, and the way guilds advance in level is through specific quest-lines that are attributed to the guild members that they must participate in and or achievements that the guild can achieve. When they advance in level the guild has the opportunity to allocate guild skill points in their skill tree, to either allowing them to include additional membership or, to focusing passive abilities that the guild members can have as a benefit of being in the guild. So essentially what that allows is guilds can either be more focused into kind of elite teams that are smaller that have specific objectives during these large encounters. Like castle sieges and whatnot. Or they can be more on the higher member count side. And essentially-

Zerg vs Protoss.

Right, exactly. And at a certain stage of that of that guild advancement there comes an opportunity for the guild to elect to own a guild hall freehold. So essentially what that does is it grants the guild leader the additional opportunity to follow a quest line for a guild freehold plot that he would be the owner of but the guild has access to and can contribute towards. And that allows them to build a guild hall out on a freehold system. Also they're static in node guild halls as well which come with different benefits and opportunities.

Okay, yeah, that makes a lot of sense, and that's one of the things that I know that McConnell and I talked about is like how how large could these things be and so you'd be able to pretty much destroy them if and you can destroy guild freeholds too? You can assault guild freeholds?

Right. So the way that destruction works is as nodes advance there are quest systems that are relating to achieving a siege scroll essentially. And players can undertake that quest they can acquire the siege scroll and they can then lay the seat scroll down to declare a siege against a specific node, and depending on the stage of the node will determine the quest line required and the additional resources needed to reflect kind of not only the amount of effort it took to build that node but that should be somewhat equitable to the amount of effort it takes to siege that node, right? So once the siege has been declared a server message goes out that tells the server: "Hey, you know, in x day's time there will be a siege at this time and all of the affiliate, all the alliance nodes with that node become automatically registered defenders for the siege and they will be flagged as as defending combatants against the attackers and any player who's not affiliated with an ally node of that node can come and register to attack against that against that node. And what happens is during a two-hour period of time there's a central objective that players must participate in: The defenders must run the clock out, or destroy the headquarters of the attackers. And the attackers must gain access to the city kill the quartermasters which increases the respawn time of the defenders and decreases the respawn time of the attackers. And then they must reach a center point where they cast a five minute cast that's channeled, and can't be interrupted by CC but can be interrupted through death, on a central flag that exists in the in the node. If the attackers are successful: what happens is the raw goods and the processed materials that are stationed within that regional warehouse that players are using become lootable: A portion of it is sunk, and then a portion becomes lootable to the attackers. In addition.

So you can steal their stuff?

You can steal raw gatherables and processed goods correct, you can't steal completed items or potions or equipment-


but you can steal the raw gatherables, but the more important incentive is that as over a guild's lifespan, excuse me, over a node's life span they have what's called a reliquary. And the reliquary is a building within the node that houses all of the accomplishments, the achievements the unique, and legendary items that the that the node has achieved that the citizens have access to for different crafting things and it destroys the reliquary and access to limited use of those reliquaries are granted to the attackers as well. Now, if the siege is successful the buildings inside are destroyed including static and node housing and the apartment buildings. It's not going to be tedious for the players to essentially go and find a new node and they can save their, you know, furniture layout and they'll get their furniture mailed back to them so they're not going to lose that component we don't want to make it, you know, too tedious to kind of get back up and running again because, change should be a common theme in Ashes through the destruction and siege mechanics. But on the freehold side after the siege is completed and the attackers have won. There's a two-hour window where the attacking, the marauding kind of barbarians, can go out into the open world where the zone of influence for that node was was relevant and can attack the freehold systems. now players will have the ability to defend their freehold and if they survive that two-hour window of destructibility, they will have a grace period where they can wait and see if another node pops up that they can exist under and if they do successfully get another node risen in that grace period then they'll fall under the tax purview of that node.

Okay so you either get all your shit destroyed or you have to pay him?

McConnel: l Jesus

[Steven Laughs So that's pretty much how it works. Okay so it's like basically like, you know, like a real life the old marauders raiding, you know, like different cities right after they destroy the capital they go and they attack the, you know, out which is.

Correct and one of the big things, one of the big targets for players will be during that time is housing. One of the biggest benefits of housing is that it offers you a separate depository, separate warehouse system, where you can deploy chests in the housing, right? And the freehold systems have superior type chests that can be granted, they also store the pro the processing raw materials takes time within the processing plants those buildings that you construct on the on the freehold. So during the declaration of a siege that declaration period that might might last three to five days depending on the size of the node the ability to remove raw goods and gatherables or resources, oh excuse me, materials from the storage containers is suspended you can't do it until after the siege.


So if you know there's some like legendary, you know, there's a guild hall out there with a shit ton of materials and goods that you know that guild has and you want to surprise them with that declaration and you succeed. Your next target is to go destroy that guild hall, so you can then also loot their their chests.

And this is the size of this goes up to 250? on each side?

So that's for castle sieges. There are five unique castles that exist in the world, one per economic region and they exert control and taxation rights over the nodes that live under their region and they also have unique benefits from a crafting and from a crop rotation standpoint, as well as unique items and equipment and abilities that are granted to the host guild that owns it. And essentially what happens there is guilds go to register to attack those castles and it's a 250 vs 250 player encounter. Now that's really easy to accomplish, you know, we have we have a great veteran team of developers many of whom came from Planetside one and two and as you'll know Planetside, you know, two hosts the largest concurrent online battle of over a thousand players in a single areand we have the lead programmers from those games so, you know, we feel very confident in the custom back end that we've been building under unreal engine 4 that will be able to facilitate that part of the, you know, the whole debacle, and we got a lot of shit for it, with apoc was to essentially test these systems and luckily during that testing period we did discover that there were some architectural issues with the things that we were developing, if we had waited until later in the testing cycle after systems have been built on top of those foundational architectures it would have been a whole different beast to kind of to fix. So luckily we discovered it early through that testing method and, you know, we were able to fix it and we have been demonstrating, you know, thousands of NPCs in a single zone along with hundreds of players in our recent alpha 1 preview testing.

So you're confident in having 500 players in combat simultaneously being able to do a castle siege with minimal lag?

I will tell you this: We are extremely confident on the 250 vs 250. Right now we're trying to push it to 500 vs 500 but I can't give any promises we'd be able to achieve that. On the 250 vs 250 front we're very confident on.

Holy Shit

There's some very specific culling algorithms that we have applied to essentially the not only from the client side where-

Spell effects and stuff?

rendering issues. Yeah. So there's scalability on spell effects, there's default player appearances to help rendering on the client side but more importantly on the networking side, determining net relevancy and hosting specific players across distributed services on the server side is a new type of architecture that we're employing for Ashes of Creation which will help facilitate those larger battles. Okay, yeah, I think that makes a lot of sense. The castle sieges especially from somebody like. I love seeing those gigantic battles like the Planetside ones the EVE online battles and just seeing something like. That that's what really kind of inspires me to play the game and so with WoW, they've had a lot of problems with that and I'm really glad to hear that because that's one thing that really makes an MMO, you know, the first M, massive, you know, you have a lot of people in the same place.

Yeah I mean that's one of our core tenants right is kind of putting that massive back and massively multiplayer, you know, some of the most fun that I've had in the past even though it was a slideshow shit fest for a lot of games and it's no fault of the developers it's just technology hadn't caught up by that time right. Is is those massive battles are a lot of fun -

They're fucking awsome

you're in this brawl, where you don't know what the fuck is happening, And you're like, you know, having fun trying to coordinate, you know, the strategy for hundreds of players all at the same time as a leader or making sure that your group's doing the right thing those types of things are what make those experiences memorable.

Oh I still remember shit like that that happened to me 10 years ago. And so I can totally understand that and speaking of scale like what would be I this is kind of like an odd question what would we expect to see in terms of like large-scale monsters like are there gonna be Krakens in the sea I like sea monsters, right, so i wanted to ask about that?

So absolutely so another core tenant when it comes to the immersion of the world is; that this is a grand lore game and by grand I mean that: there were monolithic and megalithic civilizations that existed the dungeons are tall and wide and expansive I mean there's a we released a 4K video last month of about two hours of uninterrupted unedited gameplay and at the end of that video you can see, you know, some of the dungeons that we're going through and that and one of the one of the lower bosses that is a pyroclastic dragon essentially- Yeah

and they're I mean they're massive, they're huge. I mean there's one boss that is, you know, this kind of like half treant dude and you're like the size of his toe[Laughs]

Oh jeez, OK so

It's a lot of massive stuff.

What kind of what kind of seafaring content? I saw that there's going to be, a there's a profession for shipbuilding, so what do you get on your ship so you sail out on your ship what happens?

So ships are similar to caravans in the sense that there are components that can be built through the shipbuilding profession that enhance either the durability of the vessel or a caravan the ability to move and change directions rapidly, the speed that it has, the hit points that it has, the offensive abilities that's really the shipbuilding component. On the naval front, you know, the idea there is that you will have the ability to acquire different types of blueprints for ship construction those class of vessels will exist from a personal vessel, to a group vessel, to a raid vessel so large like galleon type ships. And there's a lot of content out on the ocean not just from a raid boss standpoint like, you know, large monsters like, you know, Kraken related or more lovecraftian type.

Yeah like a giant squid.

Yeah right exactly and there will be there will be required some significant coordinated efforts among multiple raids to down some of those raid bosses, but also there's going to be underwater dungeons and underwater kind of mounts that players can have as well so you're going to be able to acquire these different ships that are going to be relevant to different experiences and different encounters.

Well that's certainly. That sounds fucking awesome. I'm just going to say it: sounds fucking awesome. Are there going to be islands out there in the sea that you can go and like kind of.


Oh really. okay yeah.

So not only are there islands that exist out in the sea that have, you know, either dungeon content or, you know, you can place freeholds on, if it falls into the purview of a coastal nod. But also nodes that exist along the coast will change the spawn tables of the content out in the water as well. And those can attract specific events to that node, so the node will hook up to a point of interest that is essentially its harbor and that harbor will have specific quest-lines that relate to out on the ocean and the islands that exist out there.

Okay. So it's like for example: If you have like an oil rig and then the oil rig pollutes the water and then like the animals out there turn like more corrupted and more powerful or something like that?

Yeah something like that. I mean not

ot so much not so much the pollution but something similar?

Yeah, exactly. Corruption is the primary theme within the world, you know, the lore behind-

Right, right, yeah

that you're essentially coming back to a planet that was the home of your ancestors and they were driven out during the apocalypse, by essentially the primary antagonists the ancients and the others that exist these evil gods and and the initial creation of the gods they come to kind of defile and pervert all of creation, and they drive your ancestors off this planet to a planet through the divine gateways called sanctus and then after thousands of years the portals open up again And that's where the races come from, it's the different portals.




Okay can you buy like, is gear soul bound in the way that like once a character obtains it or equips it they can't trade it to other people or could you hypothetically buy a best and slot helmet or sword?

So the vast majority of gear that exists within the economy of Ashes of Creation is not soul bound. And the reason for that is because the crafting mechanics as well as the decay mechanics that exist require not only the deconstruction of gear but also the constant resupply of base mats in order to repair that decay. It's not going to be some, you know, bullshit small gold compensation that makes a really irrelevant decay system. It's actually going to re-invigorate the demand and supply of base materials for the gathering artisanship tree and with that being the case, you know, we want there to be this open economy that utilizes this regional transit system and warehouse system in order to supply certain areas with the ability to craft and create new items.

So for example if you have an iron sword and then the sword gets damaged from use you have to use more iron to repair it?

Correct. And what that does is remember the interdependencies that we were talking about on the crafting system?


You want to make sure that there's significant sinks in the game for base mats and materials -

To crate demand?

so that you are creating a scarcity and demand that's present on the creation of higher goods as well as supplying the necessary decay components for the world.

Okay, and somebody that basically wants to play the game as a crafter or a gatherer can pretty much do that? Absolutely, yeah, 100%. So, you know, my philosophy when it comes to MMOs. You know, the MMOs I played a lot of MMOs and they all in some way shape or form have their own take on certain systems right, you know, the best systems that I've encountered are: the games that incorporate these progression paths that are relevant for different kinds of players not everybody is a pvper not everybody is a PvEer not everybody is a crafter but if you can create a system like Ashes of Creation where there are interdependencies between those different groupings, those different demographics of players you can harmonize the population that feed off of each other that are essentially are dependent

Create an eco-system

Absolutely, Right. And the best MMOs I've experienced are the ones that go for that PvX experience those are those are the best MMOs that I've experienced. But that means that not everybody can be a winner that there has to be a significant chase, there has to be people who are the masters of their craft or the, you know, the best ranking on the PvP side have the, you know, legendary gear that means something that it just can't be this type of super, you know, just like

Call of Duty

meaningless experience. Exactly.

Well let's say like just in a hypothetical I don't know if you've really like thought of it this much in terms of in game: But let's say you have a player that's just reached level 50 and then you have another player who has effectively like almost or the best gear in the game, what would you say is the power difference between those two players?

That's a very good question so this is obviously a dilemma that a lot of games have to deal with.


What I would say is the way we're building Ashes of Creation is there are two primary components, excuse me, there are three primary components when it comes to an encounter like that. First from a balancing perspective our balance is dealing with specifically group based balance. We are not balancing off of 1v1. So we're balancing off of an eight player group synergizing between the different effects that are housed within different active skills based on the archetype that you've chosen right? So that's the first component. And that provides a rock paper scissor type dynamic that's, intrinsic in the trinity type system we're not trying to reinvent the wheel on the trinity side we feel that's a very competent type system and it's relevant to different classes. So with that being the first model. The second one is that there should be something said for gear acquisition, yes, there is going to be a discrepancy between the gear level of a hardcore player vs a casual player and that's okay because there should be certain progression paths that reflect a benefit for more time spent in investing in that progression path. Yep

So with that being said with that being said. Not only are you going to acquire additional skill, because you're more hands-on and tactile with the combat system because you're playing more often, but you're also going to acquire different gear levels and that gear level can present, you know, if I were to give just an off-the-hand percentage difference I would say that we want gear to influence maybe at a max of like 40 to 50 percent of overhead benefit. Now the third component however, and that and that's the most extreme discrepancies right the third component is going to be level and skill. right excuse me, level applies to second one. The third one's gonna be skill. The skills is gonna be important because the way that the skills are essentially established is there's a lot of synergy effects that can occur based off status conditions that are applied so for example: just to give you an idea of where the skill system works there's three primary skill sections there's passives, there's actives and then there's combat skills. Combat reflects specifically your weapon skills, so if you're a dagger if you're rogue and you're using a dagger and your dagger you want to invest some skill points into that weapon group you can start unlocking, you know, proc effects that cause the target to bleed, that can cripple the target or hamstring the target and the way your active skills interact with that is: Let's say you. we don't have an auto attack feature by the way, a weapon attack is an active combat attack so you have to actively press that weapon attack to use it, and when you do make contact with the target if you've invested skill points into that weapon you can essentially cause a bleed to proc if the bleed procs on the target you're going to have a corresponding skill like let's say backstab that you can apply to deal X damage to the target and it'll have a conditional modifier on that damage if you're behind the target and it'll have aconditional modifier deal additional 50% damage if the target is under a bleed effect, so you want to synergize essentially your weapon proc conditions with your active skills so that you're timing your certain active skills appropriately with the status conditions that the target has taken so with that to answer your question long-windedly, apologize. Essentially you're going to have not only the skill level the investment that you put into it the gear discrepancy between you and the target but also this the skills that you use to combat the character.

The amount of skills that you get. So you level up to 50 is there any leveling system beyond 50, are the skills, the leveling system beyond 50 or how does that work and are they finite or infinite

So they are finite we intend to have, you know, a lot of additional content creation for the game post launch that will manifest both on a monthly, you know, and a quarterly basis to kind of implement new new features into the game and whatnot. Because a lot of the features that we actually have discussed those are going to be present launch but we also have features that have been backlogged into post-launch feature sets. But with that being said on the progression level, yes, you progress to 50 but the way that our our skill system works is you choose one of the base 8 archetypes initially, and then you choose from that base archetype again at level 25 and the secondary archetype does not grant you additional skills, but it does give you access to what are called 'schools of augmentation' and there are four 'schools of augmentation' per secondary archetype. So let's say you choose fighter initially as your primary archetype you're gonna have access to active skills that you can put your your skill points into and that'll get you like let's say a rush ability, and the rush ability will allow you to charge X distance to a target upon reaching the target deal X damage and some condition modifier and that's the rush skill if you if you take the secondary class to secondary archetype of mage that'll give you access to four different 'augmentation schools' one of which may be teleportation. The teleportation augmentation you can spec into and when applied to the rush skill will now instead of charging the target over X distance over X time will instantly teleport you to the target so upon reaching target you'll do like damage some condition modifier. If you had chosen the elemental school you'll charge x distance to the target upon reaching the target you might set the target ablaze or deal electrical damage that deals damage over time. So the idea is to house the active skills in the primary archetype but change the skill effects as based on your secondary school which kind of blurs the line between what role you take in the whole in the holy trinity.

Okay so there's like gonna be things like for example I saw that you had bards. And bards don't really do damage they don't really heal but they kind of do a bit of both and empower other people is that kind of what you're saying

Right bards are a very strong support class.


So bards are essentially going to be proximity based buffs that become relevant and are timed according to essentially when the bard chooses to activate certain skills these are going to augment the tanking ability the evasions ability the DPS the healing abilities, you know, they're gonna they're gonna be essentially the a whole array of buffs that are conditional and situational and based on proximity to your party member.

Okay well that's definitely good to hear, and is there going to be a class that's basically like a retribution paladin like a templar or a crusader or something like that.

Yeah we have a templar. The idea kind of behind again these these augments is that, you know, you may be proficient in damage mitigation and tanking right or controlling the battlefield and drawing aggro and as you choose a secondary class like the healing class you may be able to augment your aggro power your, aoe aggro power, to also convert incoming damage into health for your character or to grant a temporary shield to damage mitigate and take the damage from a nearby ally if you target them, you know, these are the types of kind of augments that become available when the class systems are combined.

Okay so they're kind of you have like your main class and kind of like a sub class which modifies your main class abilities effectively.

Right through the augment system.

Yeah, and so flying mounts apparently are extremely exclusive there's only going to be 10 people with them on a server is that kind of what you're thinking?

Hey look my phone is dying so actually let me transfer you over to the car and hopefully it doesn't.


how does this work?

it works yes it works you're good.

Okay sorry if you want to run to the restroom.

Okay all right I'll be right back, okay give me a second.

I heard another voice on who else is on here?

McConnel: lOh I'm nobody don't worry about me man


I'm just here to hang out.

Okay nice are you playing WoW a lot?

Oh yeah, I love WoW I've been playing WoW for like 15 years man.

Holy smokes that's a while

Yeah it's too long this game sucks.

On the classic servcer?

yeah classics, it's a game we sometimes play, you know

[Laughs] Yeah I missed out on the WoW boat, I was really heavily into Lineage at the time but.

Honestly man you probably didn't miss much.

One thing I really appreciated about WoW was the raiding system, you know, those I thought that that WoW did that super well.


oh yeah yeah their rate systems or their raid rates been pretty good. I like their art team in wild's been doing like pretty fucking good for like 10 years I would say. right chat?

Oh yeah there's such talented developers over at Blizzard 100%.

Oh yeah

[Asmongold ]All right I'm back sorry about. You there?

Welcome back yeah.

Okay. So I was wondering about flying mounts like are they really going to be as uncommon as people make them out to be?

Yeah so, you know, one of the things that and going back to kind of that philosophy of earning legendary shit that, you know, is unique and is scarce, you know, that's not just going to be with regards to like flying mounts it's also going to be in regards to unique items that exist on the server where only one can exist at a time but also, you know, on the flying side we have different tiers of mounts essentially and the royal tier can only ba access on a limited time basis for guild leaders who own a castle and mayors who are mayors of metropolis stage which is the last stage of node development.


But additionally players can also have an opportunity as a rare drop to get eggs from legendary bosses and then that egg system has a quest path that relates to the processing a profession of animal husbandry where you can essentially raise that pet, excuse me, that mount to have a lifespan that ranges from 15 to 30 days based on how well you raise the mount. And then once you open the mount and use it for the first time its lifetime starts ticking so if you ever lose the castle or aren't mayor one season or your mount dies you lose access to that. So at any given time on a server there's only ever going to be between, let's say 10 and 20 people that will have access flying.


And the castle siege mounts, excuse me, the castle mounts and the and the node metropolis mounts those are huge mounts so these are very large dragons that have, you know, significant battlefield abilities like laying down massive FoV, excuse me, AoEs.

So this is like game of thrones?

Right. [Laughs] Yeah you see Danny flying in and just burning the shit out of King's Landing and that's what's happening.

Okay well fuck yeah that sounds awesome so do the normal mounts also have life spans or is it just the flying mounts?

No, just the royal mount.


So all the royal mounds have life spans all other mounts they can be. So mounts can be separately targeted when you're on them they can also follow you, so you can be dismounted and they can be summoned and essentially they can be targeted and killed if they're killed there's a cooldown time before they can be re-ridden and there's also going to be certain types of potions that can restore life on a mount that's been killed so you don't have to wait the cooldown time.

Can you re-ride the royal mounts too or when it when they die are they just permanently dead?

No you can re-ride them as well so long as you have the satisfying condition and that conditions either being, you know, the mayor, the guild leader or the lifespan available.

Can can other people ride on the mount with you or are they all just one person mounts?

So in the guild system there is going to be essentially royal mounts that are temporary only during guild sieges now these won't, and you can assign them to officers so you're gonna have a limited selection that you can apply towards certain officers they'll have the ability to fly those mounts as well they're not gonna be as large and they won't have the same type of presence and abilities that the main mount has during the castle siege for the guild leader but they are going to provide a flying ability so you can have oversight of the battlefield.



like that basically?



Yeah like Nazgûl, yeah like they're going to be the. They won't be the Witch-King of Agnemar but they will be like the little lesser

Yeah yeah the Witch-King is the guy with the royal mount is that right.


Okay, all right that makes sense. So is there any way so you have like the auction house is there gonna be any way to like buy currency in the game or is it going to be completely completely built inside of, you know, farming gold. So like I know in Runescape for example you can effectively buy gold with like bonds and and WoW you can buy gold with the WoW-token and there are other things in the game that are effectively like kind of pay-to-win features are you guys gonna have anything like that? Absolutely not

Absolutely not?


No? Okay that that's great.

I think this is what he says at

So what i hate is when the company comes in and you have a player driven economy and they think it's a great idea to throw something a wrench into that economy and introduce something on a microtransaction market that upends the player-driven economy the people spend month. when you think about the way that the economy and Ashes of Creation works essentially it's a traditional gold-based system however monsters don't drop gold per se what they drop are certificate, and these certificates could be pelts they can, you know, it's just a work term we use it could be pelts they could be whatever that house the value of the monster's death okay and you accrue these over time and what happens is you go to a certain node and based on the level of the node and the distance of that node from the location of the drop will determine the value of the certificate so like I said there's five primary economic regions and in that scenario there's five specific certificate types that are granted by the mobs that die in those regions you can move those certificates through the caravan system but if you get attacked and the caravan is destroyed a portion of those certificates gets sunk and then another portion are granted through the wreckage that the caravan now supplies the attackers. So you you have to be strategic, you can turn it in within the region you farm them you'll get lesser gold for that, but if you want to take the risk you want to take some of those certificates across regions you can do it through the caravan system and it provides a significant sink but opportunity to the player again that's an opt-in type system. So like for example if you're out in like a in like a winter area in like a northern mountain and you kill a Yeti and then you take it all the way down to some southern area it's probably worth a lot more money?

Exactly it could be worth upward five times what you would normally get for trading it into a huntsman at a local node where you farmed it.

Okay and that's kind of about and you're balancing that, basically with the idea that it's going to take players a while to go from point a to point b?

So there's two primary algorithms that are used when balancing the return ratio on those certificates.


First the world server manager takes into account the existence of certificates in the normal population so we have a tally of how many certificates are out there then, we also have a heat period that takes into account. Wow that doesn't sound good, A heat period. Oh we also have also we also have a period of time where we take into account the number of trade-ins of specific types of those pelts within let's say a week or a month period of time yeah and that also is a determining factor in the turn in that you can get from the huntsman. So you have a it's like an internal like supply demand or price, demand algorithm?

Oh absolutely okay that's part of our what we call our world manager and the world manager takes into account a lot of different it takes into account, you know, the amount of experience that's being gained by players as a heat map on the world so that we know what type of threshold states can be applied to different node advancement we also take into account the transit of resources and goods from region to region so that there can be specific quests that provide those types of rewards based off of how much has been turned in so for example part of what nodes can utilize to develop their treasury which they then spend on the development of buildings or defenses is essentially incentivizing players, you know, raw iron, raw mithril and then they get a reward and that reward is based on the algorithm of how much has been turned in elsewhere to kind of drive those quests additionally, yeah, there's a lot of stuff that goes into the world manager system. Okay so that's all kind of like basically a throttling system so things don't get too far out of hand in any sort of way? Right, not only yeah throttle but it's also an incentive system so like for example if, you know, iron is being used as a raw resource to for specific crafting path, you know, that might drive up the price of mithril or silver, right? and that will incentivize the market force correct a little bit, you know, the idea is to provide soft incentives that help to alleviate the demand and also to prop up the supply that might not be present? from it from the economic systems.

Okay, yeah, I think that makes a lot of sense to me too. Like yeah. And so there's not going to be any sort of real money trading or anything like that.

Real money trading. So players can, trade there won't be allowed RMT's I guess real money transaction right but you can you you can trade the currency within the game for purchasing items or whatnot now we we do have already built into the game, you know, on the outset is essentially behavioral metrics so, you know, in the game as a player does normal things and they acquire normal gold, you know, that's all good and well but if there starts to be item IDs that appear on the player account that are out of the norm like either a large amount of gold or, you know, significant legendary items like what that does. Thresholds

Exactly. What it does in the back it flags the account view so that we can take a look at where did this item come from is it coming from a known gold seller or a flaged bot or whatever and then we investigate so we're going to be pretty hard on the ability for players to subvert the natural economy systems by RMT or botting. So another important yeah another important fact that, you know, intrinsically over the past decade what I've noticed in in a lot of games. as MMOs go the free-to-play route. You see this serious influx of gold seller botters and whatnot and this is super problematic because there's no barrier of entry for those types of bad actors in the game when you have a subscription based model what you do is you exchange the amount of gold sellers, now they're still going to be gold sellers we're going to have to combat that and that's part of the behavioral metric system, but being a subscription-based game alone automatically cuts out significant population of the gold sellers that might be applicable to your game it doesn't stop them but it is a barrier entry

Yeah yeah. Because they have to pay money and then also because it takes so long to level and the odds are you're probably going to be able to make a lot more gold than ever your high level the investment is much higher and so if you're banning them at a higher rate than they're getting their return on investment then they're not going to be yeah yeah of course yeah that's what I mean.

And then one other thing that's super important is in my experience as an MMO player I really hate the fact that not a lot of companies best in active GM teams. GMs who are present on the server on a day-to-day basis and are playing with the population and are there to actively enforce and and moderate what can be a major nuisance from these gold sellers and/or botters. So one of the pledges, you know, in Ashes of Creation and something that is a personal interest of mine is making sure that the player base have active GM force that are present on the servers and are participating. Okay well that's certainly a big relief. And there's one more game question I wanted to ask is that what are stats on gear going to look like. like what kind of stuff.

So, because gear is not class dependent you can have any type of gear you want and gear is really the type of gear you want to have is based on the encounter you're facing so, you know, if you're going to be a tank there's different types of tanks you can be, sure, from a balancing standpoint no game has ever achieved ultimate balance there's always metas, there's going to be, you know, updates that try to address certain metas but we don't want it to destabilize the builds that people have built so we have to be really cognizant of that. But what I would say is that like when you acquire gear. gear is going to have multiple types of stat allocations that are dependent on the crafter to determine, and also there's going to be multiple types of sets that exist within the different tier levels of the gear that you can acquire from drops from monster or raid bosses or dungeons or quest-lines all of which have different types of relevancy to whatever your focus is. If you're a physical combat damage type focus, you know, there's going to be stats that augment your strength that affect your ability and the option to crit those types of going to be things that you'll have to make conscious decisions.

Okay well that makes a lot of sense so you're basically going to have like the usual like, you know, strength agility and then critical strike chance probably hit chance and stuff like that?

Right. Yep.

Will you have a like resistances like fire resistances?

Yes so essentially players have the ability to augment their skills with certain types of damage or energy types and in addition you will have the ability to enchant and empower your equipment as well. and you can empower and enchant them as a give and take type relationship where you may want to spec into a more specific fire type damage or radiant damage and then players will have the option to enchant their armor as resistant against certain types and what that does is it adds an additional layer of complexity and item customization and class customization so that there's no just cookie-cutter type experiences you have among all the different players that exist out there each person is going to have a very unique build in that regard and you're going to want to make sure you know who players on the battlefield are when you're going up against them or that you're synergizing with them if you form parties for PvE.

Okay that makes sense. So like if, you know, you're going up against a node that's right next to a volcano you can probably get gear with fire resistance on and do better than average. Exactly and those socketed enchantments, can be exchanged out as well, they're not permanent. Okay well that makes sense. And also the scale of the world is something that I'm kind of curious about. So how long would it take on foot for example, I don't know if you can give me like a ballpark on this to go from the top left of the map to the bottom right. [Laughs] So on foot that would take multiple multiple hours the idea behind the world size is, you know, between 400 and [inaudible], you know, to put that into kind of context I guess if, gosh what was the name of that game, well if you if you take a look at the at Lineage as a world I believe Lineage was about 400 square kilometers and it was a significant trek across. The idea behind our travel systems though that as nodes develop you can get faster travel, but fast travel is very difficult to attain you'll have to see a metropoli of the scientific type and then that can construct a building that offers a player fast travel teleportation or airship travel to nodes that exist with under its vassal. So it'll a metropolis zone encompasses about one world size okay under its zone of influence so you'll have fast travel under that scientific metropolis but faster travel is things like commissioning a, you know, a thunderbird to take you, not the car but- Yeah an actual thunderbird

An actual thunderbird, fly you down to a node or a region quickly.

So you'll have flight paths?

Exactly, correct. They'll be on a supplie line route and they'll take you across the world. The idea there is why it's important to me because a lot MMOs that I played in the past there is the zerg mentality and mechanic, where, you know, any given guild that's a large instantly port to a location and just overwhelm the people. The no fast travel kind of I think curtails that a little bit. If you get wind of a fan on the and your guild is like oh man we need to get there and everybody's out in parts of the world it should take some time to move to that location, you shouldn't just be able to instantly teleport yourself you want to go and just overrun people. So that fast travel negator is kind of gonna curtail that zerg mentality.

Yeah that makes a lot of sense. I know that happens in like classic WoW it happens and WoW a lot. Will players be able to summon to other locations like let's say like yeah yeah.

So there's going to be a friendship mechanic that exists within the family system that will. So there's a limited number of family members that you can have and essentially you'll be able to on cooldown summon certain family members so the idea is that this is a longer cast time and that you can slowly start to spawn your family members. Now you can only be ever be a member of one family so it's important if you want to coordinate kind of constant party or PvE groups that you, you know, coordinate which families you're a part of so that you can summon out to different dungeons and whatnot. okay so there is a way but it's very limited?


Okay well that makes sense and a couple of questions is that when are we gonna get the alpha?


yeah yeah. Now the hard questions

We announced the alpha one is the end of the year it's gonna be, you know, something right now that we're in the middle of actually testing we have next month we've invited about I think there's a little over 450 people that are backer to participate in the preview of the alpha one client and then as we kind of go through testing the server infrastructure as well as us bugs and play systems for the alpha one that then we're going to start opening it up to about 10 000 people who are scheduled for alpha so time frame for that was about the end of this year.

Wow and and 10 000 is about the size of one full server is that right?

Right. So our for a server between eight to ten thousand now if alpha one we're going to be mitigating that server concurrency because the playable area is significantly smaller than what the whole world will be so servers around 1500 to 2000 concurrency because it's only about 20% of the world map that's playable.

And that's going to be happening at the end of the year?


Wow okay and is the game. The game isn't buy to play you just pay a subscription, and then you can play it.

Yes so one of the things for me as a player that's really important is, you know, I don't like companies that try to nickel and dime players by having all three full of buy to play - [inaudible]

I think Blizzard DDOSed him.

[inaudible]- whenever you have pre-order packages that are up but honestly, you know, you're not you're you're not losing anything by not purchasing those packages because there's no pay-to-win component in them they're just cosmetics so, you know, I highly advise people, you know, who are skeptical or think, you know, I don't know if Ashes is going to be all it's hyped up to be wait until the game launches you'll be able to see we don't have we're not going to have an NDA on out I'm not going to have an NDA on alpha 1 we're not going to have an NDA on alpha 2. You'll be able to see, you know, people playing this game you won't lose out on that experience but, you know, as as a part of a gift from me to the player base I'm not going to charge a buy to play there's not going to be a box price it's going to be entirely just a subscription base well that's certainly a relief, I know some games now they have a you have to pay a subscription you have to buy the game sometimes buy expansions on top of that and they have the micro transactions and it seems like a bit much Yeah my philosophy is if you build it they will come, and a subscription is more than enough or a company that is has a successful game under its belt to provide constant updates content releases and it really just creates a healthy dynamic between the player base and the developers providing new experiences for them so it doesn't need to have a, you know, a raking in on the buy to play front a box price that you buy a 50 dollar expansion whatever all the DLC and the expansions will part of the subscription price so right now that's at 15.99 a month that we're going to be doing when it launches but, you know, one of the things that's really important to me and, you know, I'm I'm funding the project myself and, you know, we don't we don't have, you know, this. The desire to be transparent is a double-edged sword you have to trust the player base to look at things with a objective and understand that making an MMO is hard as fuck, and making an MMO of our size even harder so, you know, we want players to be a part of that because the good side of the sword is you guys get to give us feedback you get to give us input you get to get on our discord server and chat with me and other developers and, you know, tell us your experiences as an MMO player what did you enjoy what excites you what are you liking about the experiences you've experienced in Ashes so far that's all so meaningful to us as developers as we go through the iteration process from test period to test period and we continue building this game are all the animations perfect during alpha no of course not is the content got all the content going to be there no of course not, you know, is there still going to be a shit ton of polish that's needed on the game absolutely, you know, that 4k video we put out last month even though it looked good it's nowhere near what it's going to look like when the game is near the polish phase and it's going to be actually ready for launch so, you know, what I would advise, I know you got a lot of viewership, and by the way I really appreciate you taking your time even though I'm in the car coming on here and chat.


Because the opportunity just to tell people look this is a process but our ultimate end goal: to make a product of quality that we are proud of and that you are proud of and that means not rushing to market not launching early taking our time and building the things that need to be built, you guys like what you're hearing on the systems and mechanics side trust us that's what's going to be built and we're going to take the time necessary to make sure it's built right.

And that that's I think something that's reassuring for a lot of people I think that a lot of the vitriol and like emotionally based concerns that people have really stem out of not being listened to or feeling like they're not heard so having a more direct wine with the community and everything is definitely something that I see developers doing and whenever that happens you might have people that disagree with the developers say but they can at least respect that they're getting the communication. Absolutely that's 100% right I mean I like now that more developers participate in active conversation with the community, you know, for me personally over the past years of production. five years since I've undertaken the Intrepid endeavor, you know, my life is Ashes of Creation I live eat, breathe wake, up and, you know, don't get sleep over, building this game like my fellow developers we're doing it to make something that players that we love in this genre that love the genre like us are gonna have been asking for a long time and, you know, having a company that respects the players and their input is, you know, not something that's seen very often


and it's it's important to show other publishers and companies and game developers that there is a right way to engage your audience and to know your such not design decisions get influenced by a board of suits they're looking to make the bottom line, opposed to creating something that respects what players want and that gives you the longevity and retention that an MMORPG deserves.

Yeah I completely agree with all that I feel like there's always been, especially now with like, you know, these companies being public and making decisions for shareholders and not players and I think this has happened a lot with many games and like many genres I mean you've seen it happen with Fallout I think that was one WoW problems and to have things that are kind of by players for players is something that have you ever played Path of Exile?


Look at the love that people have for that game.

Absolutely that's a perfect example.


I mean, you know, I'll tell you this I know that there's a lot of skepticism out in the MMORPG community in a whole not just about Ashes but about any new development yep and that's because we've been beaten time and time again with a stick and we're like this hurt dog that is like somebody comes up to you with a freaking beef jerky, you know, biscuit and they're like here have this new MMO and they beat the shit out of you again. yeah it's alright

And I understand that that is reason why a lot of the of the jadedness and skepticism, you know, comes out it's understandable what I would say: there's nothing more motive to it especially on a project like Ashes than to see the excitement from a community about the design philosophy and mechanics that we're instituting in the game and if you have skepticism just sit back and wait, watch see what happens, you know, it doesn't shitting on people is not it's not beneficial to making significant change in a genre we all love.

yeah I think that's one thing to keep in mind is that a lot of us, you know, we just really want to play a good game that's really what ultimately matters and I mean like I've always been kind of critical about WoW and it's really good to see what this game is shaping up into and I think one thing that really I think I can speak for at least a lot of people in my audience that is reassuring is that it seems like a lot of the ideals and the phyllis the philosophy that you guys are taking into the game is something that's shared by a lot of players and not as many developers and I think that's probably one of the most refreshing things to hear.

Yeah absolutely appreciate that, yeah, we're excited.

Well yeah we are too especially now more than ever. So thanks a lot for coming on and talking about all this it really means a lot to us and for our community thank you very much and we are very anxiously waiting to be able to play the alpha

Thank you appreciate that buddy I'll hook you up with that alpha. I know you messaged me.

All right man all right.

Thank you very much to your community thanks for the time, appreciate it have.

McConnel: lThanks man

All right talk to you later bye take care


McConnel: l Dude

So what do you think what do you think

McConnel: l Dude

Yeah, what?

McConnel: l Listen, if this game comes out


McConnel: lWith everything that's been promised and it's polished. WoW I was done.

I don't think WoW it's gonna be done I'm gonna be honest like this game's never gonna die like but it'll be a good game to play too. like I would love to have another game that we could play so I'll be honest I hope guys that I did a good job with the interview okay I really do obviously I tried to do my best asking the questions that I thought were relevant there were tons of things that you guys wanted to wanted to have me ask I didn't have what do I didn't have a ton of a ton of questions I took from you guys but I do want to say thank you all very much for watching that and also for being supportive I did a great job well thanks I appreciate it I did and No Man's Sky 2.0? Well the difference between no man's sky and this is we actually have a play test for it and also the other big difference between No Man's Sky and this is this is being self-funded so there aren't there isn't pressure from like publishers, there isn't pressure from, you know, Microsoft for example to push a product so it's not really the same thing. Now obviously I mean there are games that could be, you know, this game could be in in development for the next five years we don't really know hopefully that's not going to be the case but if that's what it takes and that's what matters this has been something that we've been waiting to hear for a long time as MMO players or at least I can speak for myself I've wanted to hear what what steven had to say for a long time it didn't really matter who was saying it but he was saying it and this has been something that we've been looking forward to and wanting to see forever I mean I feel like we've been neglected we've been

McConnel: l Due his analogy about us being like MMO players being fucking the dogs just getting the shit beat out of us like that dude 

Come here here's Aeon here's Aeon [Slams fist into hand] fuck you!

That was that was so spot on it actually hurt a little bit.

No it really did it was it was kind of sad wasn't it. Are you backing a kickstarter? yeah I'll back to Kickstarter. I will I absolutely will. I think that it's a good option and, you know, I always talk about supporting things and, you know, that kind of stuff and I think that's the best idea is to lead by example.