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  1. newsbot

    First Q&A Session with Devs

    Hey everyone, We have released our first Q&A session with; Creative Director Steven Sharif, Lead Designer Jeffrey Bard, Senior Designer Peter Pilone and Senior Designer Matthew Reynolds. This Q&A covers a range of topics and game mechanics. And we will be releasing more Q&A sessions over the coming months. Let us know what you think on the forums! The post First Q&A Session with Devs appeared first on Ashes of Creation. Source
  2. Our Immersive World – Environments Ever since I could remember, I’ve had an over-active imagination. My childhood was filled with books and movies that transported me to another world, a different universe. The limits of what I thought were possible changed before my eyes. I could fly, travel through space, or cast spells and slay the greatest dragon. I suddenly became enamored with experiencing the inexperience-able. It was only a short time before this thirst for a world beyond reality, translated into a love for the MMORPG. My first ever MMORPG was back in 1992. I was 7 years old, and every day that I got home from school, I would sit down at our family computer and play Neverwinter Nights on AOL. Nobody in my family was a gamer. Video gamers barely existed back in the ancient times of 1992. Sure there were console games, but Neverwinter Nights was the first Graphical MMORPG. I had no real understanding of money at the time, being 7 years old, and I would spend hours playing that game. Little to my knowledge, at the end of a bingeworthy first month, my mother got her AOL bill. That game cost $6 per hour to play. Let’s just say it wasn’t a very fun summer for me that year. The game itself opened an entirely new world to me. I was actually able to participate in a real way, with worlds I had only read about or imagined… Later in life, I was exposed to the joys of pen & paper RPG’s such as D&D. But there was something about video games that stuck with me. It wasn’t until I grew older and began to experience different MMOs, that I found out what it was that set the virtual world of gaming aside from the imaginative worlds in the books I had read. Immersive – im·mer·sive iˈmərsiv/ adjective adjective: immersive noting or relating to digital technology or images that actively engage one’s senses and may create an altered mental state Over the past 30 years, developers have constantly tried to enhance the immersive nature of MMORPGs. We have come a far way in technology since 1991, and the possibilities today are extraordinary. There are endless components to making an MMO immersive, to name a few; Story Music Sound Mechanics Player Agency Physics Risk/Reward Environment That last one, Environment, is what I want to share here. In Ashes of Creation, the development of Nodes causes the world around you to change. But what if the world changes independent of those Nodes? We talk a lot in the office about the environment needing its own character. How can we give it character outside of just stellar art direction? We give it life, and we give it meaning. Not just with a few visual effects, but with actual mechanics that reflect that life. I want to see the world affect the player’s actions. To influence a decision that you may or may not make. And I am not just talking about weather here. I am talking about zones that follow a cycle of seasons. Perhaps seasons that persist or change based on community activity in the world. Let me explain… In Ashes of Creation the world will change on a regular basis. Zones will progress in a seasonal cycle, which will alter the very nature of the environment around you. Snow may block pathways that are accessible in warmer months, spring may encourage creatures otherwise unseen to come to the surface, and fall might be the only time that certain crops thrive. This cycle can then take in the state of the world’s Nodes and shift depending on their progression. What happens if there’s an unexpectedly long summer and a far too short autumn? We’re not entirely sure ourselves, but we do know there will be plenty of stories that begin with “I remember when…” I want these cycles to affect a wide array of mechanics, including; NPC generation, boss content, dungeons, drop tables, Node progression, combat, skill use, gatherables, trade routes, NPC appearances, and weather. How you approach the world will depend on the world’s mood at that time. Certainly you might re-consider your approach to that dungeon if it’s fall rather than spring. Most importantly, I want you to “feel” the difference in the world around you. I want Ashes to immerse you in the sights and sounds of the forest you are moving through and the ridges of that canyon you desperately cling to. If it’s winter, I want you to feel its icy fingers. Summer should bring that sticky-hot sensation that makes you just want to take it slow. The world must have a palpable texture to it, and we’re going to do that not just visually, but through music, sound, and story which together will complete that sensory tapestry. Those details are imperative if we want to illicit an emotional response that feels real. The secret to immersion, ironically for a fantasy game, is to create the illusion of reality. That is what I intend to do. The post Our Immersive World – Environments appeared first on Ashes of Creation. Source
  3. newsbot

    Node Series – Part One

    Nodes are… Nodes are a lot of things. We think that some of the features for Nodes got lost in translation last time, so let’s get into it a bit more here! Nodes are a pre-set location, wrapped in a zone of influence, in our world that can form into towns of different sizes. These sizes range from a small camp to a sprawling metropolis. The size of the towns depends on the contribution by players and how far they’ve advanced the Node. Players do not create the footprint of a Node, but within that footprint they do have the ability to own land. Players who are part of the government for a specific Node will have the ability to modify building types and services further, but for the most part, a Node will grow along its own specific path (think about this more as NPCs building these towns out, rather than PCs individually putting buildings and walls up). A Node’s contribution area is larger than the actual town itself, allowing for players to adventure while building upon the town. We call the contribution area the Node’s “Zone of Influence,” and it’s the area where players help to advance the Node they are in. Each Node can form into towns, but are limited by their neighbors. The Nodes have different levels of advancement. There can only be so many of each level. Think of this as advanced settlements needing more elbow room. Nodes encompass more land as they grow and will require more effort to be sustained. This system is a main driver for change in the world because it creates scarcity. As Nodes advance in stages of growth they will lock out neighboring Nodes from progressing, and will absorb their zones of influence. Nodes are About Community Nodes are formed through players doing things in their Zone of Influence. If you do something that gets you experience, the Node gets experience too. The main way for players to contribute to a Node is by being active. If players are questing, gathering or gaining experience in any way then the Node grows. Groups of players may move to an area because of a quest and indirectly form a camp, or players may specifically move to an area and aim to form a city! Whatever the motivation, you build through doing. The larger the group, the faster the Node advances. Nodes are About Story Everything about our world is reflected by the advancement of the Node system. Where towns form will dictate which raid boss appears, which dungeons are available, which quest lines become unlocked, and how the tale of the server unfolds. This tale can change and grow with the decisions of the community. We want the players to tell a story using the tools we provide. This requires a great deal of content to account for many different possible paths. But it’s worth the work to have a world where decisions matter and watch each server make different decisions. Nodes are about Choice There are four types of Nodes, each with a different strength. We will give you the details in the future, but the four types are: Military, Divine, Economic, and Scientific. For example, a Military Node will have combat oriented benefits. Stronger walls, combat buffs for citizens etc. Being a part of these Nodes shape the benefits you receive. If you find the benefits you want aren’t available because another Node is present, you can seek out an area to form one (or seek to destroy an established Node to make room!). Choice, needs, and differing motivations cause strife, which the Node system thrives on. Nodes are About Power With choice comes power and responsibility. Choices are great for those who reap the rewards from them, and bad for those who suffer from them. Players don’t own Nodes, the world does, but there are ways to influence them. Players run the government, players conduct trade, and players own the land. Individuals play a role in them, as do guilds. Nodes succeed with more people, much like actual towns. The more citizens they can tax, the more transactions taking place, the more they can do. Being the most popular town is very desirable. Conflicting desires between outsiders and insiders creates strife. We want to allow for a power struggle around the world, where players can become a part of the community they create. In the early part of the game land will be common, but later on availability will decrease. If you can’t advance a new Node to the level you want anymore, conflict will be necessary. Nodes are a lot of things. Ultimately, Nodes are what you make of them. The first part of this video series will help explain what Nodes are and how players interact with the space around them. Enjoy! The post Node Series – Part One appeared first on Ashes of Creation. Source
  4. newsbot

    Group Dynamics

    Group Dynamics in Ashes of Creation Part 1 of 2 Grouping in an MMO is as important as any other feature in the game. Yet, so often it seems like an afterthought – a checkbox to tick to say that players can play together. But what’s the point if there’s no content that begs for players to band up and journey forth? In Ashes of Creation, grouping is an essential part of the game. Solo play is encouraged and totally viable as well, but we believe that an MMORPG is at its best when it’s fostering communities to form. And that can’t happen if no one ever plays together. Today, we wanted to talk about the Group Dynamics of Ashes of Creation – consider this your Grouping 101 class for the Greatest MMO. Note: Ashes of Creation is still very much in-development. Our ideas drawn out here could easily change down the road through playtesting and player feedback. That said? Fans of group content will be happy no matter what. We promise. GROUP SIZE In Ashes of Creation, we’re going big. Our current party size is sitting at eight (8) players for a single group. While that number could change before launch, it’s serving a particular goal we have for gameplay. We like the idea of having a larger party because we want to put the massive back in Massively Multiplayer. If people just want to play with four others, they can always play their favorite MOBA. The idea behind an 8-person group is to allow us to really amplify party roles, and to create a need for each of the archetypes in every party. We can get pretty creative with encounters if we build for a representative from each of those roles. Each Archetype has a valuable utility that applies to exploration and adventure which will help dungeons and other content go more smoothly. We want to allow for well-rounded parties to be rewarded for diversity and inclusion when people are determining party composition. The flipside is that it is a lot more work to balance toward eight-person groups, and having a higher number than normal cause availability issues for people if their social circles are smaller. With our concurrent server sizes, however, we expect to see large populations to pull from when forming groups. Expect this to get a lot of attention in our playthroughs and in the Alpha phases. LOOTING RULES This one is cut and dry, but also important. We’re going traditional in our loot rules. The party leader sets the rules and can choose who will be the Lootmaster, let things play out Round-Robin, or go Need/Greed with dice rolls. We’re also looking at a potential bidding system, which allows a player who wants an item to bid against another player who wants the item. Instead of rolling, the person willing to pay the most gold gets the item. That gold then goes into a pool which is split among the rest of the party members. A win, win situation for the entire group! We realize most people just default to a Need/Greed system, but we’re all about player agency and choice in Ashes of Creation, and we want to make sure there are plenty of options for parties, friends, and guilds to choose from. PARTY ROLES Now we’re talking – this is the nitty gritty of group dynamics in Ashes of Creation. While we’re including traditional Tank, DPS, and Support roles our secondary class system and augments system make customizing your character of the utmost import. We want players and their builds to feel malleable in Ashes of Creation. We never want you to feel pigeonholed into a single role, but at the same time we want roles and customization choices to be meaningful. So how do we maintain flexibility in character growth while making sure roles are important? The traditional roles are the high concepts our classes fall into, but a better way to think of them are as tools that each class can use to help their comrades in arms. Enter Augments – this is how you’ll diversify and personalize your character outside of its primary role, or double down on it’s primary role – the choice is yours. A tank might be able to make a wall, blocking monsters into an area where only he can be hit. A damage specialist might have skills that create weaknesses in their enemy, letting everyone do more damage in turn. A support class might be able to bolster your allies with magic, hardening them against the ruthless foes that seek to strike you down. These sorts of secondary effects are a way to make classes feel truly useful without just relying on tooltips that preach More Aggro, More Damage, or More Healing. We want the role you play to actually influence your allies and the enemies in the world around you. Shiny damage numbers are nice, but making your enemy fall with style makes victory that much sweeter. Soon, we’ll be diving further into our group dynamics with details on how it all comes together in Raids, Dungeons, and yes, our Questing and Goal systems. Thanks for reading, and remember to subscribe to our YouTube Twitter and our Twitch to catch our bi-weekly developer streams! ——— The post Group Dynamics appeared first on Ashes of Creation. Source
  5. newsbot

    The Mighty Beard

    You arrive in a town called Marrow’s Mead, and before long you find yourself in a tavern called The Mighty Beard. You see some fellow travelers, and the rag-tag band happen to sit at your table. The table is old and worn, water damage certainly from spilled beer. The tavern is lively, a barmaid seems to dance between tables as she holds pint glasses by the dozen. A rosy cheeked dwarf slams her ale down and challenges a behemoth of a Ren’kai to an arm wrestling match. Music walks its way to your ear, and begins to run as the Elf increases tempo. You feel at home, and your could-be companions at the table begin speaking. Many adventures begin in a humble tavern. I’m sure many of you have memories from pen and paper adventures that begin in a small town, with a small town tavern and small town problems. Over time, it becomes a headquarters. You go there to rest, to eat, to hear gossip and meet friends. It’s a home away from home and your connection to the world when you’re not on a quest. What makes a dimly lit, odd smelling, drunk-patron-having tavern a great place? It’s the atmosphere, it’s the people, it’s the feeling you get, and it’s the memories. We’re going to try to capture this feeling of home best we can, and we have some cool ideas to make this happen. First, let’s talk about what the tavern has to offer in a more direct sense. Players will be able to buy food and drink from the tavern, some of which will be supplied by the tavern owner or other patrons that they get their menu from. These consumables will offer tangible benefits to players that stay within a certain proximity of the tavern itself. In short, our taverns are going to be more than just a place to go AFK. We want players going to taverns for things they can’t get anywhere else, you’ll find this in what these consumables do here. After you return from your excursion, you’ll find a private chat available to you (with voice to) for all patrons within the building. This puts you right into the place you are, it keeps you present – in the moment. We want the interaction between players to be meaningful and easy. We want there to be communities within communities. You quest every day, PvP every night, so why not be a regular here to help relax? It’s a player’s home away from home. The music within the tavern can be switched by players to give the atmosphere they’re after. We want you chatting with friends at a table, grabbing some food before you go out to adventure and enjoying the music you’d like in the meantime. We believe everything in our game should be an experience. But what about the real meat and potatoes? Beyond the delicious food the tavern will offer, there are systems that really will change how the game is played for you. We want to include systems that have you staying inside the building, and enjoying what the owner has created. The first thing that all players will enjoy and use is rested experience. It goes back to our purpose here: to keep you socializing with your fellow players and to enjoy the amenities tavern owners provide. Offering rested experience for those that rent rooms or spend time as patrons of the tavern does this. For those that don’t know, rested experience lets players gain experience at a faster rate for a chunk of their experience bar. It’s a nice reward for taking a break, and means that not being “active” in the questing or hunting sense still lets you reap the rewards of having been so. Next, another system is the battle map system. Our game doesn’t have fast travel, uses imperfect information to cause intrigue and as developers we want players to work together in order to plan their next moves. Battle maps allow players to strategize, gain bonuses on planned attacks, and see the blueprints of attackable points. If attacking a node or castle they’ll be able to discern defenses, analyze possible weak points and gain tactical advantages before any battle begins. The battle map might not fit into a lower level tavern, or one with smaller rooms however. Depending on the level of the building, the owner will be able to rent out more (and better) rooms. Different types of rooms allow for different benefits. With some rooms for sleeping, activities like parlor games or even the aforementioned battle maps system, we want tavern owners to customize their space. We also want our players visiting the building to take advantage of the wide range of benefits. A major focus of our game in general is being scalable, where anyone can enjoy something, and whether it be a group or a lone player we think parlor games offer fun to all. The parlor games were a stretch goal (Thanks to all who supported!) during our Kickstarter that we think will act as a way to have people have fun with friends or even compete on their off time. For the particularly skilled, this could be a good way to earn some extra gold when you’re not adventuring! There will be traditional dice and card games as well as some of our own! We want players to be having fun at all stages of the game, and we think that having games in a tavern only increases the atmosphere we’re after. Walking into a tavern in any town, finding a group enjoying food and drink, a Bard regaling a crowd with a tale or a group of hardened mercs playing cards all adds up to the humble fantasy beginnings we remember. With all of these benefits, why would you even leave? Well, that’s because a temporary respite is just that, temporary. The moments of calm are the intermittent times between the adventure. Taverns foster adventure in a few ways, one large part being the bulletin board. The bulletin board, quests can be posted here and completed too. If a Tavern owner needs supplies they can post quests, others can also purchase space in order to post quests as well. This keeps the Tavern as a hub of activity. It’ll have people moving in and out, but it will encourage new patrons for the owner and will encourage a higher base of “regulars.” When you get people from all over Verra coming to one place, you get an influx of information. Remember Marrow’s Mead? People from all over venture there and walk into The Mighty Beard, but they don’t just buy ale and leave, they leave something behind. Information, gossip, gab, rumors. This drives quests, points of interest, and activity. Our taverns act as central points to capture this information. Since our maps don’t illuminate when a point of interest becomes active, Taverns act as a large source or regional information. A haunted tomb has been uncovered, a cave with kobolds (sound familiar, Tavern starters?) or a sprite-filled forest are all points of interest that will be passed by word of mouth in Taverns. Perhaps a more nefarious band of adventurers are spreading false rumors to trap others, but, you need to go out and adventure to solve or confront these rumors. Taverns also help you find a party to better handle those adventures, tables in our taverns can act as group finders to help fill out any empty spots. While resting, eating and playing games, players will be able to queue up for groups and be able to pick from the available tavern quests or simply go out and hunt. You don’t just have to hunt monsters, though, the bounty system will be present at the tavern as well. When someone in our world openly kills fellow players they become corrupted, and bounties will be set for these players. Groups can become bounty hunters in their spare time in order to help those in the nearby region by cleansing it of these corrupted souls. After a long day of adventuring, solving riddles, completing quests, gathering resources and learning more, everyone can use a rest. Taverns are a calm place in the tumultuous world. For those who are looking for a little down time, there’s gambling, food, drink, camaraderie, and comfortable lodgings. For those looking to prove themselves there are quests, bounties, challenges and rumors of treasure left untouched. No matter what’s in store for the rest of your day, Taverns have what you’re looking for. Whether you want to own one of be known at one, we know players will enjoy them. Good luck on your initiative rolls, next blog we’ll be taking a dive into more social buildings! The post The Mighty Beard appeared first on Ashes of Creation. Source
  6. newsbot

    City Hall

    The rustling and bustling of the city envelops you. From your home in the lower end of town, a grizzled and gray Vaelune sells trinkets made of something that at least looks like gold. A Dunir family buys spices from a Ren’Kai with a soft smile as he gives them a deal.The buzz changes the longer you walk, people begin taking their time a bit more, the hollering and haggling ends. Where once you saw a Kaelar stooped over by age and illness, you now see an Empyrean selling fine art out of her gallery (complete with a statue-like guard to ward off wandering hands). You feel a bit out of place, but you have places to go and people to see. Every step takes you farther away from the city you knew and into the shadow of what controls it all. Looking up, you see what can only be called a ziggurat, but instead of worshipping creation it praises bureaucracy. The only thing you see above it is the sun, though even it seems to give deference to the monument before you. You know that you’re entering into a truly dangerous place – decisions made here don’t affect just you, but all of Verra. There is no building more powerful, more magnetic than the City Hall. Many stories include themes of intrigue, power struggles – the highest highs of the human condition as well as the lowest lows.These stories are often wrapped in politics, or some type of government setting. Think of television shows where ambitious politicians use back door conversations to expand their own power, sci-fi novels where corporations own everything or fantasy novels where the court is as dangerous as the battlefield. Since our game has a player-run government structure, our world will be no different. For those who like to lead, participate or control, we’ve got just the system for you. THE PEOPLE NEED LEADERS Our government system is really all about letting players take control of the world they make. The first step here is deciding how the city should feel, what laws should be in place and how it’s run. A lot of this comes from what’s actually in the city, so one of the largest systems players will interact with in the City Hall are buildings. Players are able to make choices about which buildings within the walls of the Node get built. Leaders of a Node will decide which buildings they want to build, expand (level up), or eventually demolish. Are you in an economic Node where most of your citizens have gold always on the brain? Then perhaps try expanding the marketplace by allowing more kiosks, or instead use those resources to build an auction house. These are decisions that change not just the literal landscape of the Node but the political landscape as well. Disagreements of the Node’s direction will inevitably arise and whether strife takes hold is dependent on the savvy of those in charge. By giving options to the players, personalities will eventually become more apparent and unless leaders play the political game well, that well-oiled bureaucratic machine may begin to break down. We want our Nodes to have personality, not because we made it that way but because our players are the Nodes. Not all conflicts arise from within a Node, however. There are times where one Node will have problems with another down the road. Much like how at the tavern, guilds or groups may plan each other’s demise, leaders of Nodes can plan the destruction of others within the City Hall. Who else will rally the people and alert them to the dangers marching ever forward, ready to destroy their homes, other than the ever-selfless bureaucracy? The City Hall gives you the option to make foreign citizens of certain cities enemies of the state, rewarding your own citizens for helping bring them to justice! If the guerilla tactics seem a bit too roundabout for you, you can press the button to declare war on another Node and rally your citizens to the cause! Just be careful not to lose their favor, or you won’t be in power for long… BONDS OF COOPERATION Node-relations aren’t just about bridge burning, it’s also about forming bonds. For those more inclined to find success through cooperation, you’ll find that the City Hall offers options for peaceful co-existence. One of the best ways to show that your interest is friendly is probably a trade agreement. Each Node entering into a trade agreement can designate caravans with certain materials to be sent to the other, improving the economy of both Nodes at the same time. This will give experience to all involved, contribute to the Node’s growth and help construct buildings. Diplomatically, this can lead to more trust and perhaps even an alliance. We want the City Hall to be the place where big decisions are made for each Node. It should be where the “ruling class” comes together and decides what to do (these decisions can quickly make them the “old ruling class” too). The Node itself can be made more or less attractive depending on what its leaders do. The importance of this fact has far reaching implications. The beginning of a Node is essentially a group of people deciding where they’d like to do things, which creates a hub that attracts similarly minded people. But, eventually, desires change and a community evolves. Where at first people may have come together with shared needs for hunting or completing quests, they find amenities that make them want to establish something more permanent. Our dungeons, resource allocations, and home development all give people reasons to set down roots, which then culminates into a community. With a thriving community comes interaction and eventually this place may become a booming location for business, questing, raiding, grouping etc. Keeping the Node this populated and happy is no easy task, and it falls on the shoulders of those who have (been) chosen to make sure all goes well for their slice of the world. The most upfront way this happens is through a simple option that everyone knows all too well: taxes. Generally games use taxes as a money sink, taking money out of the economy otherwise suffer the cruel fate of “mudflation.” In our game, taxes also serve an important purpose for the player. Our towns are player run, and any interaction that is taxed there is taxed based on what the ruling body of the Node decided. The Node needs taxes to grow, but also needs them to be reasonable in order to attract new population and favorability. There are other, more positive, ways to bring players into your Node. This should be a major aim of those in power. The City Hall allows you to reward your citizens or attract even more. You can line the streets with festivities, giving your citizens buffs to things like experience gain, crafting, unique services, among many other benefits. The leaders in City Hall can also generate quests for everyone to enjoy. The rewards depend on Node level, Node type and the sort of improvements they’ve made. A Node isn’t just done when it becomes populated, a whole new game begins for players with a planning-oriented mind. Overcoming variables like location, warring guilds, and dynamic resource spawns aren’t the end of it, you also have to compete with competent leaders of another Node! The leaders of Nodes have to take the good with the bad, and are constantly battling within City Hall to make sure the citizens within the Node’s walls are safe, productive and happy. WILL IT LAST? As you leave City Hall there’s an odd feeling of all the weight of the world being lifted, but quickly, a new weight replaces it. You walk the route you normally take in the morning, getting a sense of how your town is doing. The Ren’Kai has closed his stall after a successful day, the smile is still on his face as he thinks of going home. The streets are quieter now, all of the hollering has left the market and is exchanged with music streaming out of taverns like The Mighty Beard. Being a council member isn’t easy, but everything here is your responsibility. Every morning the streets need to be loud in the market place, and every night taverns need to be bursting with activity. You’ll make the rounds tomorrow before going back again to City Hall, putting your reputation on the line once more to make sure the the city you’ve helped build lives to see another day. The post City Hall appeared first on Ashes of Creation. Source
  7. newsbot

    Class List

    Class is in Session One of the most important decisions you’ll make in your Ashes of Creation career is picking your class. It shouldn’t be something you stress over too much, but it also needs to be something that lets you feel unique enough to not be “Nameless Sword-and-Shield Hero Number 47”. With that in mind, our class system lets you pick one of eight (8) base classes to begin, and then later you’ll be able to mix in a secondary class to create one of sixty-four unique class mixes. Secondary classes in our game are more than just another list of spells and skills to add to your hotbar. They’re not secondary in name only, as each one brings in unique augments that fundamentally change how the primary class skills work, what they’re called, and what they do. A Warden must feel uniquely different from a Spell Hunter, and a Beastmaster must feel unique when partnered up with a Necromancer. When players choose their primary class, it’s not just dictating how the next several hundred hours of gameplay will go. The secondary class choice, which comes after some time getting used to the world of Verra, will be more fluid. If you choose the Fighter and the Rogue to make a Shadowblade, but eventually want to try your hand at Summoning to make a Bladecaller, you’ll be able to do so. It’s only the primary class that cannot be changed. And hey, that’s what alts are for! As we march into 2018, we’ll be detailing each of the eight Base Classes, and all 64 of the combined classes with brief rundowns of their lore, skills, and mechanics. Today, as we begin our Friends and Family Alpha Zero test, we wanted to show you just how diverse we expect our playing field to be. The classes adhere to roles like tanking, DPS, support, and healing, but it’s really so much more than that. Each one must provide a true fantasy fulfillment for the player – you want to be a badass, no matter what your class. And that’s a promise we intend to keep. The post Class List appeared first on Ashes of Creation. Source
  8. newsbot

    A Reactive World – Nodes

    Hello everyone and welcome to Ashes of Creation’s first developer journal, our way of peeling back the curtain on the design process and giving you some insight into our game’s planned features. It is our hope that through these developer journals we can convey some of our game’s primary mechanics as well as give our community a true transparent window to watch our development . Ashes of Creation has been a labor of love for us here at Intrepid Studios and though we are still early into the production cycle, we are thrilled to finally start bringing our project into the public’s eye! Thus without further ado let’s dive right in! What is Ashes of Creation? Ashes of Creation is an upcoming MMORPG set in a world of high fantasy where player’s choices will shape and define the world around them. Veteran gamers may find themselves very familiar with the above game terms, but just in case there is any lingering confusion let’s take a moment to define them. MMORPG (or MMO for short henceforth) is simply an online multiplayer game where thousands of players can experience the world side by side, and with high fantasy as a setting we’re talking about a world where magic and mythic creatures abound, think swords and dragons. For the most part the previous two terms are pretty straightforward and gives players a baseline for what they can expect out of Ashes of Creation. What isn’t immediately clear however is the phrase: “…shape and define the world”? For this, as well as the primary focus of this particular dev journal, I’d like to introduce our “Nodes.” What are “Nodes”? When it comes to how MMO’s have been traditionally designed, most gamers are familiar with two distinct types of gameplay loops: the “theme park”, and the “sandbox”. The vast majority of MMO’s we’ve all seen come and go in the gaming industry have been of the theme park variety – these games put the player onto a specific path, guiding them along, with plenty of pretty sights in between the same old quest hubs, very little in divergent paths, virtually no freedom in player progression. Recently the MMO genre has seen some games of the sandbox nature come onto the scene, but despite the ultimate freedom the sandbox affords players, many are left wanting more, as there is by definition no pre built world content, no human touch, just the vastness of the “sand” for lack of a better term. Thus many MMO players often find themselves caught between the repetitive rock of the theme park or the vast dead spaces of the sandbox’s hard place. This chasm between the state of MMO gameplay loops is where we intend to inject Ashes of Creation’s Node system. So what exactly are Nodes then? Players in Ashes of Creation will find themselves thrust into the forefront of an inhospitable world filled with bountiful undiscovered treasure and ancient evils lurking just over the horizon. The very first pioneers into Ashes of Creation will find the wilderness a bleak reality, but even the harshest environments can be tamed. This is where Nodes come into play. Encompassing the entirety of our world’s playable areas are carefully placed points of possible development, which we call Nodes. These Nodes in their undeveloped form will not be visible to the players at first. However, as our intrepid players venture out into the wilderness with a variety of quests and tasks from their starting zones, these nodes will begin to absorb the activity in its radius zone of influence. In practice this will look like a band of friends completing quests or fighting monsters for sweet loot, searching for treasures, or delving into a dungeon.. progressing their characters as all MMO players are familiar with, but critically they will also be progressing the world around them. Every Node in our system operates as a kind of sponge, with each Node given purview over a predefined geographic area. Within this space (which we call a Node’s “zone of influence”) the Node tracks all player activity . This activity is then weighted and counted towards that particular Node’s own advancement track. By undertaking familiar MMO gameplay mainstays (questing, gathering, raiding, etc.) players will have agency in determining which Nodes in the world will develop. Furthermore these nodes exist in certain “regions” that will dictate what Marketplace that node is apart of, or what Warehouse cluster the node belongs to, as well as what crafting Tier the node exists in. Different zones will fall under different influences that will also affect the Node’s development. Zones can fall under 4 different categories; Military, Divine, Economic or Scientific. The zone type will affect the government type and buildings of the Node, as well as the content generated from that Node’s progression. As I’m sure you can see, the Node system is the backbone of many of the game’s systems. It is also important to note, that after a node has advanced to the next stage, it is no longer possible to develop its neighboring nodes unless the node is sieged and destroyed. After every advancement to the next stage of that node’s development, the ring of disabled neighboring nodes grow, stopping the neighboring nodes from progressing to the next stage. Each node has it’s own unique content, that is only accessible after being developed. So when one node may advance and unlock content, it comes at the cost of the content that a neighboring node may have offered. Currently, as a Node develops, it will follow 6 progressive stages of development; The progression time of these stages are based on the activity of the players. Stage Rough Development Time Expedition Few Hours Encampment Many Hours Village Few Days Town Many Days City Few Weeks Metropolis Many Weeks At every stage, the game radically changes for that region. Allowing paths to be taken by the players that dictate the world’s development around them. We will expand more on the specific content for these stages in later journals. Building the world sounds great, but what can I do if I want to change it? A world built through player choice is one of our ultimate goals with Ashes of Creation, but there’s always a flip side when a choice is made: not everyone will agree with this choice. As players work through and develop the Nodes that populate their world, they will shape that world in important but also specific ways, actively working towards certain areas in favor of others. Mix in Node exclusives, world firsts, political disagreements, and specific bonuses of one region over another and we immediately find ourselves in a place of very likely disagreement and thus player conflict and competition. All of this begs the questions, “what can I do if I disagree with the choices made by others?” or “will I miss out on the world building aspects of the game if I’m not part of the first players?” Just as Nodes can be developed by players in Ashes of Creation, they can also be destroyed by players as well. Every Node in the game world can be destroyed as a result of player actions, resetting the progress made on that particular Node back to a lower tier of development or even its original starting point. Are you unhappy with the oppressive actions of a player government in a particular area? Did one Node beat out yours in a race for exclusive developments? Is there content you want to explore, that requires a Node elsewhere to develop? Envious that your hometown is not the center of the world? All of these “problems” will have an ingame solution available in the Node’s ability to be destroyed. Finally, and perhaps most importantly from a gameplay perspective, the destruction of a Node will not be a simple everyday run of the mill activity. These sieges will allow players to participate in the defense or assault of a particular node. Sieges will have a declaration period, allowing for the server to prepare for the upcoming battle. This mechanic will not be an easy task for the attackers. Cities will have a considerable defensive advantage. Nor can this mechanic be used often, as there will be a cooldown on the siege mechanic reflective of the size of the node under siege. A world built by player choices sounds intriguing, but why does it matter? So what does all this mean for you, the player, and why should you care? One of the central pillars behind Ashes of Creation’s design philosophy is to stress meaningful player choices whenever possible, real decisions that can be difficult for players to make and which hold actual relevance on their gameplay experiences. Having the ability to sculpt the world is pretty cool, but simply building something for an arbitrary reason holds no meaning, which is why we are excited to see what happens once we give control of the Nodes to you, the players. Every Node at the village stage and above is governed by some variation of a player run government, and it will be up to those who are charged with the care of their communities to carefully balance a variety of city mechanics. As Nodes continue to advance along their development tiers, more and more options will become available for the citizens of that node. Nodes are not merely just a quest hub or place you run back to every now and again to drop off the new loot or sell unwanted items, they are tied intricately to the game. Questlines will morph based on what areas of the world have or have not been developed, specific items and wondrous mounts will become available based on which Nodes are developed, dangerous dungeons will open up for exploration and powerful new world raid challenges will begin to appear. The world around a developed Node will reflect the activity and choices of the community. A continuing discussion We hope you have enjoyed reading about our Node system. This is a good start for our community to understand what a Reactive World entails. There is a great deal of information that revolves around this system, and it is one we intend to continue to elaborate on as we move forward. Many of the mechanics will be subject to tweaking as well, when we begin play testing. For now, we invite you to discuss this journal, in the Dev Journal section of our Forums! https://www.ashesofcreation.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Ashes_of_Creation_-_Node_Demonstration.webm The post A Reactive World – Nodes appeared first on Ashes of Creation. Source
  9. newsbot

    A World with Consequences

    A World with Consequences In this genre, worlds mature. One of the main features we love about Ashes of Creation is how it changes for the player. MMOs typically have a static world, the tree you just saw is always there and this type of monster is always right here. We don’t want that, a reactive world doesn’t work that way. Trees are supposed to fall down, creatures roam, herds form, and civilizations expand and contract. Players progress, bosses are defeated and storylines are explored and driven forward. In the past, a traditional approach to an MMO world is something more static than we’d all hope for. We’ve seen advances in NPC patterns, we’ve seen developers strive to change the world on their own with content updates… but no one has done what we’re doing on Ashes of Creation. Each server in Ashes of Creation will be unique, because each server will grow, mature, and change on its own based on how its players interact with one another. Sure, we’ll have our own events planned out, but the players’ choices on how and where to settle towns, when to lay siege to settlements, and even how much they forage for resources – it all changes the landscape and layout of a given server. With that in mind, let’s get into exactly how the world can change, what possible interactions you’ll have, and why it’s exciting! This guy is anything but cute, and it’s probably why he has the flower. The world has its own ambitions, and this guy’s ambition is to eat. For the poor herbalist trying to get a reagent, they appear more as a meal to this critter. Not even picking flowers is without risk. Gathering, exploring, questing, just being in this new world brings danger, but with it comes excitement. Rocks fall, pits await you in dungeons, cursed glades call out, even magical ley lines hold danger – the player will experience a tricky and sometimes combative world. We don’t think that a casual walk should be so… casual. Part of having an immersive experience is having immersive challenges. The coolest part of going into a cave isn’t opening the treasure chest, it’s earning the treasure chest. Slowly walking through dark places, not knowing what danger awaits you. Most importantly in an MMO, it’s sharing this experience of the unknown with others. A new world brings new challenges and hopefully new heroes. Banes and Boons When you push the world it pushes back. When you give to the world, it gives back. One of the main acts of player agency in Ashes on a macro level is the development of Nodes. Nodes are the birth of civilization, the expansion of the world’s people. The development of these Nodes will give great environmental benefits, bridges to connect new areas, better roads for travel and even harbors for coastal cities. But, should civilization push up against a cave or forest, creatures that have lain dormant for time untold will awaken. Like all things in life, the evolution and progression of a world is a give and take. Take too much, and the world just might bite back. Dark and malevolent beings may start to move towards your town, driven to fury by an emerging population once thought eradicated. Perhaps the trees will come to life and defend themselves when your people try to make lumber out of them. And once a world’s resources and nature are destroyed, they won’t just spawn a few minutes later for you to whack at them again. Like we said, this world changes, and it’s not always a quick change. Nothing is permanent, for ill or for good. Storytime, Kids! The world in Ashes has been void of civilization for centuries. Without revealing too much of the lore, it is important to know that long ago, there was a great calamity. This resulted in a mass exodus of the planet, granted by divine intervention. A corruption befell the land, twisting and perverting every facet of nature, from the troll-like creature you see below to all the way up to giant behemoths, nothing escaped its touch. More of our lore and story will be revealed carefully in the future, but for now, know that this corruption is always present. The story of our game begins with the arrival of our players. You have been chosen to repopulate this forgotten world. To explore what untold magic and glory exists in the deep dark crevices of these lands. It is up to the players to advance civilization and found cities in order to develop this kingdom for the glory of your people. This civilization will begin to rise in the form of Nodes, following the path the players set forward. Nodes aren’t the only way to affect the world, however. Usually within an MMO, the story is told to you on the micro level. The player is following a linear path, everyone has the same story and there’s no real choice. One major pillar of our design philosophy is that the player story is incredibly important, and that the stories the players create themselves are always the most memorable. This is why we plan to have questlines that incorporate these player stories and make them part of the canon of your server. Did your server slay the raid boss at the end of this major quest, or did your raid wipe? Which city was it that built this temple, and to what God? Think of our game like a book, and each of these server quests a chapter. We want players to be the story, for their tales to be etched in the world. Each server will weave a different tale, and we think this level of player agency is an incredibly important part of storytelling in an MMO. Of course parts of this will include traditional forms of narrative and a deep well of lore for players to explore. But what will make Ashes of Creation so special is that each server will have its own narrative, and each one can be vastly different, similar in some aspects, and never prescribed. In designing Ashes of Creation, we adhere every detail to five main pillars: Engaging and Immersive Story, a Reactive World, Player Interaction, Player Agency, and Risk vs Reward. Even in the environment, everything you as the player do will tie into these pillars, while everything your guild does, everything your server does will ultimately keep the world fresh, ever-changing, and most importantly… exciting. Steven Sharif Creative Director The post A World with Consequences appeared first on Ashes of Creation. Source
  10. Hi everyone, this is Steven Sharif, Creative Director here at Intrepid Studios. Welcome to part 2 of our Node series. If you haven’t already, I’d recommend you take a look at Part one in our 4 part video series on nodes, it’s a great introduction to the system’s overall purpose and design. Node Series – Part 1 The Metropolis The Metropolis. The pinnacle of civilization. A symbol of the power and ingenuity of the People. It is wilderness conquered, mastered, and remade in your own image. The Metropolis is effectively the culmination of the Node system – it’s the biggest thing that players can bring into being, and the final level of civilization’s development on this forgotten world. The Metropolis requires a large amount of resources to develop and maintain, and because of how Nodes relate to one another, there can be no more than five in existence at any time. So you might naturally ask, what does it do? Housing To answer that question, we need to know what civilization offers in general. Every stage of a Node’s development comes with additional services and benefits, and these services really start to pick up at stage 3, the village stage. One of the foremost services that a Node offers is housing, and through that, citizenship, and citizenship is a big deal. There are three primary means of acquiring housing, the first is our in-node housing. It’s here that players can begin buying static housing. These buildings belong to the Node, and as a Node levels up, this housing levels up with it. A player will be able purchase a small one room house, at the village stage. When the Node advances up to a town, so does that house. The owner enjoys the benefits of a suddenly larger home – his property size increases, his house is located more toward the center of town, and the square footage of his home has gone up considerably. There’s new property available at the Town Stage, but this new property is more akin to what was available at the previous stage, small and modest. Now when the Node advances up further, this time to a Metropolis, this all happens again. The player’s house, already sizable, grows into a mansion, The number of mansions in a metropolis will be the same number of small homes that were available in this metropolis’ village stage. Only those houses that existed at the Village level will ever become these main street mansions. So effectively at each stage the node advances, you will see the existing homes advance as well. This makes getting in early for a node, pretty important. And introduces a real estate aspect to owning in-node property. I know what you’re thinking, and the answer is yes, you CAN sell these properties. These in-node housing options are at a premium, and we expect these to be hotly contested. But if you want to be a citizen and there are no more in-node housing spots available, you do have some options! For instance, at the Town stage and above, your Node’s politicians will have the option to open up instanced apartments. These are internal only spaces, which can be decorated to your desire. Different price points will offer different sized apartments, and apartment rentals will also offer citizenship. They won’t have external spaces to build out, and they aren’t quite as prestigious as in-node housing, but they’ll still offer some housing functionality to those who really want to be a citizen of a specific node. The prices for these apartments will fluctuate depending on the number of units already sold in the city. The final type of housing available are our freeholds. These pieces of property can be built anywhere within a Node’s Zone of Influence, and only after a Node reaches stage 3, the Village stage. These are sizable plots of land that all sorts of structures can be built on. Inns, taverns, forges, smelters, lumber yards, mills, stables, are all things that you might find on a Freehold. These plots of land are where a player can really get creative with their buildings. Because they’re built within a Node’s Zone of Influence, they grant citizenship as well! The larger the Node, the bigger its Zone of Influence is, which means more Freeholds can be built! Node Types As you may know, nodes have 4 different types, Scientific, Economic, Militaristic, and Divine. These types unlock different buildings at each level of Node progression, contributing progressively larger benefits at each stage of a nodes development. At the Metropolis stage, these benefits are so wide reaching that a Scientific Metropolis is going to feel very different from an Economic Metropolis and a Divine Metropolis will feel very different from a Militaristic Metropolis. Not only will these cities feel different, but the regions these giant cities belong to will feel different as well. Different types of Metropolises will have specific ultimate bonuses. For example, a Scientific Metropolis will offer fast travel to Nodes within its zone of influence, this is big because there is very little fast travel in the game.. A world with even just one Scientific Metropolis will feel and act much differently than a world without it. Similarly, an Economic Metropolis brings world changing functionality to the table. Normally markets are local, and players can buy from and sell to only those players who are in the same Node. Economic Metropolises break that convention, and they have the capability to build a market that integrates with all the Nodes in their zone of influence, providing for a far larger market than any other Metropolis could hope for. Divine and Militaristic Nodes also break world convention in one way or another – in other words everything changes once a Node reaches the Metropolis level. Along with those benefits, node type also determines the type of government that a Node has. The most traditional government comes from the Scientific node, which allows the citizens to come together and choose their leaders. The Divine type, allocates its leaders through service oriented quests, quests that directly help others and their Node, quests that prove their faith and dedication to the node. Economic type governments are run by an Elite Oligarchy. These positions can be bought and sold, so if you want to rule an Economic type Node, make sure your coin purse is heavier than your competition. Finally, the Militaristic type is rule by combat. Whoever are the last ones standing have proven their worth to lead, by iron fist and sharpened blade. These warriors can only be removed from office by citizens who are better and more bloodthirsty than they. Once a leader is chosen, they have a lot to do. Outside the basic services that a Node provides, leaders must choose what other service buildings to construct, which means they should have a clear plan for what they want to accomplish during their tenure. Some buildings might simply provide a zone-wide bonus to their citizens, others might provide expanded markets, some may increase a Node’s ability to defend against a siege. There is only so much space for these kinds of buildings, so the leadership will need to choose well in order to keep their citizens happy. Along that same line, leaders will need to tax their populations to provide these services, to construct these buildings, and to keep Node atrophy at bay. Too much and their populations will abandon them, too little, and the Node will decay and de-level. Savvy leaders can supplement their Node’s income with trade routes and trade agreements with other Nodes (be sure to provide some armed escorts for those caravans!),. Absentee leaders need not apply, as every leader can be replaced in the next election cycle. Citizens and only citizens reap the reward of the Metropolis, gaining the benefits that their taxes pay for. Additionally citizens can gain titles according to their position within society. Most of these are reserved for those who have been with the Metropolis longest, but late comers can earn their way to the top with enough effort and guile. Only Citizens can participate in government, and the different election processes. If their leaders have built marketplaces, Citizens can set up shop there by purchasing time from the city, and paying taxes on the goods they’ve sold. Destructibility In Ashes of Creation, what is built can be destroyed, and Metropolises are no different. But we feel that the effort to destroy something must be equitable with the effort to build something. Because of this, the higher level a Node is, the more difficult and challenging the task of initiating a siege is. That means that sieging a Metropolis will be an act of epic and world shattering proportions. The success or failure of that siege will be written into the history books and likely impact every person on that world. Should it succeed, the Metropolis will be deleveled, or even destroyed, erasing the global benefits that it once provided while at the same time opening up the opportunity for another Node to take its place. Maybe one of a different type, maybe one lead by a tyrant, or maybe none at all. Should that siege fail, that means that the hopes and dreams of the attackers (who should be legion in number) have been thwarted, and the status quo will endure. As I said in the beginning, Metropolises are the pinnacle of civilization. They represent this through their size, through their systems, and through their citizens. Their weight is felt across the world, and once one is established everything will change. For the better, or for the worse? Well, that’s up to you. I hope you have enjoyed this overview of the Metropolis. We have so much to share with you about Ashes during our development. Everyone here at Intrepid Studios is so appreciative of the support that you have shown us, and it means so much to have you with us along the way. Please subscribe to our social media outlets, and make sure to register on our website for updates. Our Kickstarter begins on May 1st, we look forward to building Ashes of Creation into the MMORPG that we can all be proud of. The post Node Series – Part 2 – The Metropolis appeared first on Ashes of Creation. Source
  11. Whether or not Fortnite's success caught Epic off guard is anyone's guess, but the developer is being surprisingly reactive and outlining where they plan to take the game in the coming months. In a blog post today, Epic talked about how they plan to improve things like teaming up with friends, team killing, and improvements to the game's visual fidelity. Epic wants to revamp the way players can play together, trying to fix the current system of Duos and Squads. Certain regions, like Oceania, don't even have Duos playlists, so the developer plans to take action to fix that. As for team killing, Epic was forced to apologize for not having a proper system in place to combat the problem. "We dropped the ball on addressing team killing," the developer wrote. "We take action based on player reports, but the system isn’t straightforward to use, and doesn’t let you know whether we took action or not. This needs improvement. Last week we started casting a wider net to catch current and past team killers and issued numerous warnings and bans. We are also working on better analytical models to weed out the worst offenders and long term would love to have the ability to pair you with players with good reputation." You can check out the blog post at the source link at the below, but one notable aspect is that Epic is looking to maintain 30 frames per second on the console as its main target and does not look to be increasing or lowering it at all. [Source: Fortnite Blog] Our Take Epic has been very reactive to the Fortnite community, which is the key to a longterm successful multiplayer game. With their insistence on going after cheaters, though not in all the smartest ways, Epic does seem like they want to foster a healthy community.
  12. Bandai Namco has announced a My Hero Academia game for PlayStation 4 and Switch, teased earlier this week with the image of an egg in a microwave. The announcement came from Weekly Jump, the manga magazine that publishes My Hero Academia. Details on the title are sparse, with Bandai Namco promising a full reveal at Jump Festa, a convention/festival centering around said manga magazine but typically includes anime-related video games, like the Tales Of series. Bandai Namco recently affirmed support for the Switch in the new year, promising multiplatform support and a trio of exclusives. The title One's Justice refers to the dichotomy in the series between the two powers All For One and One For All, making the title a little less ridiculous than it sounds. Our Take While this game is obviously not one of the Switch exclusives, it does seem that PS4/Switch is a viable path for Japanese publishers. As a fan of the manga, I'm really hopeful for the game.
  13. EA and DICE have just released notes for Patch 1.03, which they say covers issues they found as they wrapped up development on the game. To begin with, each phase of Galactic Assault now includes more reinforcements, a big change to help balance. It also includes a number of big and small bug fixes, like collision issues or doors not opening for Villains in the Heroes vs. Villains mode. The patch notes also mention that Boba Fett cannot just hover high in the sky above a capture point, which raises the question of how that got into release in the first place. The patch also fixed the issue with the post-match MVP screen, which will now recognize players based on scores rather than specific honors like had previously been implemented. The former method lead to things like this screenshot taken by @Campster of one player getting all the accolades at the end of the match. You can find the full patch notes here. Star Wars: Battlefront II was released earlier this month on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.
  14. Stardew Valley, the incredibly popular farm and life game, is getting a host of updates and fixes to the Switch version. The major update adds video capture to the game. The Switch supports video capture as of an October update, but developers have to add it on a per game basis. As of now, very few game support video capture, with Skyrim being the first third-party game, and Stardew Valley seemingly being the first indie game. Additionally, the patch makes saving faster, fixes the issue with controllers getting disconnected, and more. You can find the pull list of patch notes at the source link below. Stardew Valley was released on Switch on October 5. [Source: Stardew Valley Blog]
  15. The wheels on the Pokémon Go wagon keep on turning. As a result of dedicated players' hard work for catching over 3 billion Pokémon in the Global Catch Challenge, a new legendary Pokémon is now in raid battles at gyms around the world. That's right, for a limited time, you can battle Ho-Oh. Recently, The Global Challenge awarded players for their efforts with a bunch of perks beyond just Ho-Oh, from earning double XP to unlocking Farfetch'd. Players have until December 12 to go on the legendary raid to prove themselves against Ho-Oh. [Source: Pokémon Go Official Site]