Ashes of Creation : March 26th Livestream recap

Like every month, Intrepid Studios offers us a live update on the progress of the game’s development over the past month. You will find here a summary and a translation of the different information that was delivered.

General information :

As we already knew from the open letter sent to players in March, the Alpha 1 testing schedule has been reorganised in light of the results of the February preview weekend. Indeed, these first tests allowed the development team to raise various issues, and we will now have to wait for the sessions from May 14th to 31st and June 1st to 30th for the lifting of the confidentiality agreement (NDA).

The start of the Livestream was also the occasion to communicate about a potential reopening of the Alpha 1 accesses for sale. Indeed, in the past Steven Sharif (the founder of Intrepid Studios) had confided that, depending on the progress made by the studio, this first test version of the game could eventually welcome more testers than initially planned, which according to him today seems to be on track. However, we do not have any information on this subject.

Most notable information :

  • The game engine has been upgraded to the Unreal Engine 4.26.
  • A new recruitment phase is coming up in early summer. A sort of « job fair », both physical and virtual, could take place once the team is settled in the new studio.
  • Alpha 1 will include seven to eight dungeons and a world boss (for a 40-player raid) that the team is currently working on.
  • The crafting system in Alpha 1 will be rudimentary and will not be representative of the final version.
  • Nodes in Alpha 1 will be able to progress to level 3 (Village). This level includes, among other things, the following systems :
    • Government
    • Building capabilities
    • House buying

A look back at the problems associated with the February preview weekend :

The main problem encountered in February appeared to be around the « Network Architecture » and affected the tolerance of the servers to a high density of players and entities concurrently present at one location in the Verra world.

It is now reported that the development team was able to identify and resolve the issue, in cooperation with the Alpha 1 testers, but this major issue required a significant amount of testing, which is why the schedule was recently rearranged.

Studio Update:

We might be accelerating the timeline of getting into the new studio. The spot tests have been ramped up. As of today we have moved from Unreal Engine 4.25 to Unreal Engine 4.26. Regarding the recent announcement of the delay in the NDA lift- We’d like you to understand that sometimes unpredictable things do come up during game development. Thankfully with the help of our Alpha testers we’ve been able to make some significant improvements regarding the problems. It’s always good to discover these hiccups earlier than later. Since our goal is to eventually scale up and accommodate 250vs250 PvP, we need to ensure we iron out a lot of core systems early on to ensure development progresses smoothly. Besides these ofcourse, we’re planning to have a solid 7-8 dungeons ready for Alpha, so we’re hard at working ensuring things are completed.

Steven Sharif (Creative Director)

Design Team Update :

Combat is currently a big push for the team right now. We’re using a brand new tool to author abilities and work on them more responsibly. Once we’re done with this, combat should feel a lot better. After this, we’ve got a bunch of additional things, weird stuff, cool stuff and more that we need to try out to see what fits into the game. But we’ll be going step by step for the combat changes. So you will see the changes to the combat come in little by little and we’ll be having heavy feedback stages after each change, the new combat changes won’t come out of the box perfect, but it being an iterative process is key. Also regarding the in-game economy, the current Alpha 1 game economy is not representative of the final economy- It needs a lot of work done. We’ll get to economy testing later- Currently we’re working on systems that come in before the game’s economy.

Jeffrey Bard (Lead Game Designer)

QnA Session :

Q: How do you plan to balance the action camera to make it as viable as tab which often offers more control over visibility, such as looking behind you?
A: The ease of switching back and forth between action and mouse is our answer to this. The definition of the action camera is to have the movement tied to the mouse. So having templated attacks tied to your reticle for easier usage etc and a couple of other things should balance things out. Also we’ll likely add a hotkey that when held down lets you look behind until you release the key. But the objective is to provide people with the ability to play the way they want to play.

Q: What happens to the stuff I have in storage of my apartment if the mayor decides to destroy the apartments?
A: It will be mailed to you. You should be mad at your mayor for that though.

Q: How much stronger can we expect legendary equipment over other end-game equipment?
A: That’s something we’ll get to once we begin testing on those aspects. But there’s a lot of different ways we want to play with it. But since it’s a PvP game, the difference will not be explosive, Legendary equipment will give you an advantage but it won’t be a game changer. Expect a lot of balancing. Roughly 6-12% increase in base stat values (But this needs to be tested). Legendaries should not just be stat bars, but they should ‘feel’ different.

Q: Will I be unable to tame a monster in the wild that has the same appearance as a cosmetic mount/pet?
A: There will be a wide array of creatures in the wild, some may be tameable. But you need to understand that the taming system is a progression system which players will have to invest in. (This answer is in response to marketplace cosmetics, not in-game cosmetics or mounts/pets)

Q: When nodes advance to stage 3 and enter the 21-day lockout siege period, what happens if the node levels up?
A: When nodes advance they get a 21 day protection, yes, if it advances again, the protection will still apply as protection would reset. However the time taken from Stage 3 to Stage 4 will take WAY longer than that short timeframe for the node to level up. Additionally there will be numerous systems and mechanics that come online when a node levels up so you need to allocate resources to various offensive and defensive mechanics. 

Q: Will there be gear for artisans that boosts their ability to gather/craft?
A: Yes.

Q: Will there be a currency cap limit or can we hoard as much as we like?
A: No cap. Hoard away.

Q: If I die to a green mob or fall damage, am I immediately lootable or do I have a window to recover my stuff?
A: You won’t drop gear unless you are corrupted, only collected gatherables, but yes your dead body will be immediately lootable for these gatherable resources by other players.

Q: Are there plans for back attacks to deal bonus damage? Like for rogues?
A: Some abilities will have back attack bonus damage, especially rogue abilities. But this needs some testing. You will also see frontal attack bonuses and flank attack bonuses.

Q: Will there be a limit or soft cap for stats? Or can I hit 100% crit or block?
A: There will be diminishing returns. Most stats are contested. There won’t be hard caps for sure.

Q: Will all quests given by NPC’s stay static as long as the node remains at the same level or will there be conditions that can change the quest?
A: It depends. If a particular node stays at a particular stage, but the neighbouring node advances, and your quest interacts with them, things might change. You might see downing certain world bosses affect some quest lines, so there’s a lot that goes into it. But the vast majority is tied to node progression while others are tied to other systems or mechanics.

Q: Will in-depth auction data be available such as volume, price history etc?
A: There will be some data available. It will most likely be made available through the economical nodes, but it will definitely require some progression or service buildings built on the nodes. Your mayor will need to build it for you.

Q: Will I be able to raise the level requirement of my gear? Like can I raise my level 45 item to a level 50 item?
A: No. There’s a deconstruction system. But no direct upgrade path system where you push something from a lower level to a higher level. You can enhance and add enchantments but you cannot push it higher. You can also transmog though.

Q: Will the winner of the military node tournament automatically become the mayor? Or can they pick someone else as the mayor?
A: The military node is not a political node, it’s meant to be a brute force style node. Someone having a champion is a political move. So no, it’s supposed to be “Who is the most powerful player” and that player is at the top as mayor.

Q: Will the quests that determine divine node leadership be solo oriented or group?
A: Individual/Solo quests. You could rely on some external help for certain quests (like friends helping you with kill quests). But generally the divine node quest chain will be individual based as it focuses on your personal contribution.