10/14/22 Reddit AMA Transcript

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October 14th Reddit AMA Transcription

– Steven Sharif heads over to Reddit to answer the highest upvoted questions from the community.


Since AoC relies heavily on players, do you have a plan for servers with low population?
Yes, we do have a plan- Typically a large portion of the population on a server starts on day 1. Although you do get a small refresh on this population during expansions. However for Ashes of Creation, the element of world building is key as that’s how the different cities (nodes) come up. Server merges are planned to be conducted within respective regions, thus a European server would be merged into other European servers. There’s various factors that go into planning a server merge- Currently our plan is to have a weaker server merged into the stronger server. Players from the weaker server would be offered name changes. Regarding properties and land ownership, the weaker server would have their land ownership reset- Alternatively, both the weaker server and the stronger server would have their land ownership reset. This is something we’re relying on player feedback to decide on what’s the right decision to go with.

What work/milestones still need to be completed before Alpha 2 launch?
We’ve seen plenty of core content in Alpha 1, however Alpha 2 involves adding content to those core systems that you’ve previously seen. Thus the main milestones for Alpha 2 is content, since there is a mix of themepark and sandbox content, there is a fair amount that needs to be curated content for Alpha 2.

How many abilities will be made or are planned to be made for each archetype?
It depends on the archetype- Some have more actives than passives compared to others. It also depends on your class combination. However on average, each archetype will have 35-40 abilities. The player will not be able to spec into all of these abilities due to limited skill points requiring them to pick and choose how they build their class. We dont want to have obsolete or un-utilized abilities like some other games.

How are you Steven?
I’m doing great! Had an awesome year so far and still got some fun stuff planned for October/November. We’ll be doing ExtraLife charity fundraising for the fifth year in a row. Building games is difficult, building an MMORPG is more challenging- There’s a lot of work that goes into it and watching the team work hard to build something that everyone including the players can be proud of, it takes a toll on the developers. But being able to walk into the office each day and build this dream with one another has been an absolute delight. At times people ask- “Why follow a development process?” Well, as consumers of the MMORPG genre, many of us have felt that the genre has gone in a direction that does not represent what the playerbase wants. One of the most important aspects of our development process is to allow players to look under the hood and interact with the developers, to dictate the course of the final end product, a rare opportunity which often does not occur during the development of other games. A typical MMORPG enters the feedback phase when it is nearly completed and it isnt possible to make major changes. Typically MMO’s only have a single attempt at launch so its important to get it right (ofcourse there are a few rare exceptions)

When can we expect to see how secondary archetypes work in the game?
You’ll be experiencing them in Alpha 2 to some degree- We will also be showcasing them in the upcoming developer livestreams. 

Can we expect to get any pre-alpha 2 spot tests this year or early next year and will they be under NDA?
Yes we will be having spot tests, we’ve already been having spot tests internally but over the course of the next several months, we do plan to do some NDA spot testing for the testers. Once the dates have been locked in, you will be receiving emails if you have access to those respective tests.

Assuming that staves are melee weapons, could you explain briefly what are the main differences between orbs, wands and spellbooks?
Some staves will be ranged, some will be melee. The primary differences between orbs, wands and spellbooks would be their skill trees. It’s important to note that different weapons provide passives and proc-based benefits that you can spec into as you progress that specific weapon’s skill tree. Attack speed, attack range, various waterfall stats and more differences will be present.

What are your plans to make healing skills fun, deep and effective?
I’m not going to be answering this in detail as we have an upcoming developer livestream scheduled where we will be showing off the cleric base class. However, what makes healing fun? For me personally, it’s a lil whack-a-mole type of game where if I’m the healer in a party, it’s important for me to conserve my mana and manage my healing rotations so that I can time heals appropriately and bounce between my various party members to keep all their HP bars topped up. In regards to Action combat, aiming healing skills in a line-path trajectory or proximity based heals that rely on positioning, or formation type skills where players must be directionally positioned behind say a tank in order to be healed. All of these and more contribute towards a compelling and engaging combat system. 

What do you envision as the primary leveling systems for Ashes?
The primary levelling system is rather traditional- Usually questing and grinding are the two primary ways to level up your adventuring class. Now of course you can contribute to this via crafting, raiding, PvP and so much more. Personally I am not a fan of solo questing where you go from quest to quest mindlessly to level up. That wont be the case with us, there’s a whole wide world to explore in Ashes!

What are some of the biggest challenges at this point of time before releasing Alpha 2?
One of the challenges is going to be the QA process (Quality Assurance). We have a lot of rapid development at Intrepid studios, we test and iterate on things rather quickly which can be good at times to get a good feel of things, but this can also lead to bugs sneaking in and then we have to dedicate extra time to get those bugs identified and squashed. It’s a double edged sword where we want to iterate on things quickly but it leads to bugs. The other challenge is the sheer scope of content, there’s a lot of things to get done and that’s a big effort to create a lot of the content. Lastly from a technical perspective, we have high goals when it comes to player density- We want to achieve a large amount of players on screen at the same time during sieges.

How is the render distance/vision on the sea? And will an item like a spyglass be acquirable to get a zoom in?
Render distance on the sea will be similar to what it is on land. However what will different is that ships have a farther render distance than players. Ships have interchangeable attachment slots on them, so equipping a specific type of attachment on a ship would allow you certain perks such as a radar which will show you your surroundings. The class of ship or type of spyglass would give you an idea to your surrounding. Its important to note that aquatic mounts have abilities that can affect ships, while ships have abilities to detect movement under the water.

Can we get a concrete list of professions and which artisan classes they belong to?
We have 3 types of branches (Gathering, Processing, Crafting). Each of them has different applicability. Many of these will be available in Alpha 2 as well. 

    • Gathering: Mining, Lumbering, Herbalism, Fishing, Hunting.
    • Processing: Metalworking, Stonemason, Smithing, Weaving, Tanning, Lumber milling, Farming, Animal Husbandry, Alchemy, Cooking.
    • Crafting: Weapon, Carpentry, Arcane Engineering, Armor Smithing, Leatherworking, Tailoring, Jewel Cutting, Scribing.

How many active players (Monthly subs) are necessary for the game to survive? And how many active players would Steven consider the game a success?
I dont have a specific number of what is necessary for the game to survive. But what I can tell you is that we have millions of pre-registrations, an assortment of newer and old school legacy MMORPG players. We have the dedication to ensure that the game will not be affected by either Pay to win or Pay for convenience. From our current forecasts, I’m expecting a million concurrent users on launch.

How far along with completion of class combat are you? Are we going to see summoner, cleric, mage, rogue, bard before alpha 2?
Yes you will see some of these classes before alpha 2 begins. A lot of it is the combat feel, the movement, the weapon usage, the ability system, and so much more. All of these require various iterations so that we can continually improve upon these systems. After the design and engineering, there’s a lot of art that’s required to make the abilities feel good, then we need sound to get that tactile feeling to sell the abilities. Even though our design team may have completed the abilities of a class, we have so much more that goes into it from various departments because its a long pipeline. We’re doing pretty good on the progress front.

What is the intended levelling progression experience considering node citizenship and the lack of much fast travel?
We know that we dont have a lot of fast travel, while we do have faster travel between nodes- This only starts out as land travel at the travel building in a node, however once the travel building is upgraded, you’d achieve air ‘faster’ travel. A scientific node at metropolis stage would allow teleportation. When the world is new, when things are fresh, much of your experience will be localized. However as the world progresses, you as a player will need to travel more and thus your experience will be less localized. The intended levelling progression experience will grow steadily over time.

If I’m a ranger and 50 meters away, but I’m prone or crouched in a bush, will my name plate be visible? Can I stalk my prey?
You cannot go prone or crouched at the moment, still in discussion. There are ways to obscure your nameplate, yes. Line of sight will play into obstructing visibility. However I do understand the spirit of your question, to reduce visibility and presence of the player. Yes there are certain skills/abilities such as camouflage, stealth, invisibility, disguises and more that will allow you to use utility based skills that you can spec into based on what you want to do.

Will Archetypes like the Tank or Bard be as viable as DPS or healers in small scale PvP, such as ranked arenas?
Tanks and bards will be viable in PvP, yes- The reason for that is the design philosophy where we have a rock paper scissor type balancing in effect. Certain classes will be naturally stronger than some and weaker than some.

If a node gets destroyed in a siege or atrophies, will it leave behind any evidence of its existence?
When a node gets destroyed, there’s a period of time when the node exists in a ruined state. During that ruined state, the node’s footprint becomes ruins with treasures inside of it. The treasures are decided based on the various things that had contributed to the node during its existence such as trade or upgrades. A node which has turned into ruins is an open PvP ground, it takes time to dig up the treasures and during this time other players can kill you and take the treasures or you can kill them.

When a node developers into a city, if I’m logged in 24/7 starting at it, what is it doing?
When a node has a level up event, it informs the server, the server then triggers various visual events such as caravans and other NPC’s coming to the node and beginning to upgrade it. If you’re outside of the node, there will be animations and visual effects as the new node pops into existence. If you are within the city, you will be teleported to a respawn area near the city and you will be able to watch the visual advancement of the node.

How many active skills on the hotbar?
Roughly 15-20.

Will there be any castle sieges in the ocean/coastal nodes where ships can be involved?
Yes! There are specific castles and some nodes that are within range of ships. On the node front the ships won’t be involved, however some nodes will have harbors which have objectives during a siege that ships can be involved in. From a castle based perspective, there is one castle that can be attacked via ships.


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