I recently did a Q&A with Intrepid Studio. the devs behind the upcoming MMORPG Ashes of Creation.
Q: As you may have seen the last successful mmorpgs, the crafting system has been a huge portion of game income. Some people get ahead in crafting ASAP to get as much income as they can, however some people may not be that hardcore and take months to understand how this system works. Hearing this, is there a crafting system in Ashes and how does it work how will it affect in-game income?
A: There is a very in-depth and crucial crafting system in the game. Personally, I have always felt that crafting should be a serious commitment, and because of that it should be seriously rewarding. Our crafting system is built into a class progression, which players can choose to level concurrently with their primary adventuring class. As you progress in this Artisan class, you will have three distinct trees that you can progress in; Gathering, Processing, and Crafting. An artisan will choose which path he will progress in, or he can spread out his progress to be efficient in all three trees of artisanship. True masters will be dedicated to one of the three Artisan paths. Because of the amount of time and effort required to become a skilled artisan in Ashes of Creation, these players will undoubtedly exert a strong influence over the in-game economy.
Q: As a developer you may have gone through struggles developing the game and probably solved most of them. The MMORPG’s community grow every year and the problems grow with it. We have seen developers and producers get a massive harsh criticism for “not” doing what the community expected. What are your plans on community management?
A: Part of what makes me love MMORPGs is the community. I’ve always felt that developers start with the best intentions, then end up missing the mark completely because of corporate influence, and bottom lines that end up turning into cash grabs. It breaks my heart to see the genre I love, reach such a hopeless period. This is why I decided to make Ashes of Creation. I believe, that if we build it, they will come. If we do this right, and LISTEN to the community, get engaged, be transparent… Ashes of Creation will rock the industry back to what made it great.
Q: With the enhancement in technology resources our frontiers are getting smaller as we speak, it’s easier now to engage in political, gaming, social discussions with foreigners in the other side of Earth. Is there any plans on expanding the servers across the seas?
A: This is a really great question, and makes an excellent point. We’re far from making any sort of final decisions about this, but as you state, technology has come a long way from even ten years ago, and that makes these decisions a lot easier. In broad strokes, our preliminary investigations reveal that we can run and manage overseas servers cost effectively, which is good, because those expenses used to be a real hurdle to get over, especially for a smaller studio like ours. As long as we get a critical mass of interest in a region, we’ll be looking to open up servers in that region. The only other sticking point is that our ability to do this will depend heavily on local laws and regulations. Some places are much easier than others to expand into, so we’re looking toward partnerships that will help us navigate those particular waters.
In short, yes, we almost certainly will have international servers available, but we don’t know yet where and when. As we know more, we’ll share more with the community!
Q: Trading is a good opportunity for a community based resource for materials and money and I’ve noticed Ashes’ brings a new trading system that sounds amazing, but is it? Can you explain or tease us what is the trading in Ashes’? What do you mean by “Our regional market system allows players to participate in creating pocket economies that will reinforce the stability of goods in particular regions.”?
A: Our trading system is the first of its kind in any MMORPG. The movement of resources from region to region is where risk meets reward. And we want players to experience that feeling of suspense. To give you an idea of how this works; Resources in our world spawn in certain regions. As an example, let’s say Iron may only spawn in a Tier 1 region. And that Iron ore can only be processed in a Tier 2 region. Players have a very limited carrying capacity for resources, and will rely on our caravan system to transport goods from region to region. Caravans are spawned in Villages (Stage 3 nodes) or above and can be sent to other village stage nodes or above… While the caravan moves it will have players who are registered as defenders, and NPC guards assigned by the village. A zone around the caravan will prompt players nearby with a window that asks if they wish to defend, attack or ignore the caravan. If the caravan reaches its destination the defenders will reap a reward, and the owner will have transported his goods for processing and sale. Multiple players can deposit goods into a single caravan. However, if the bandits succeed at destroying this caravan, then a wreckage will appear, only lootable by players who registered to attack. This system will create pocket economies in certain regions that depend on the activity of bandits or guilds to defend the trade routes between player governed cities. And we are excited to see how players will interact over these contested regional trade routes.
Q: Ashes brings the best of pvp out there, open world, sieges, points of interest, etc. but because of this type of pvp, griefing can become a thing. Sometimes people may not find it fun when they’re getting camped by a few other players, as normal as it is, complaints will come. Is there a legal system to control the outlaws a little?
A: Our flagging system highly deters griefing and outright PKing.
There are three states that a player can find themselves in: Non-Combatant (Green), Combatant (Purple), and Corrupt (Red). Everyone is a Non-Combatant by default. If a Non-Combatant attacks a Combatant or another non-combatant, then they become a Combatant for a period of time. Similarly, if a Non-Combatant enters a PVP zone (which includes things like Castles, City Sieges and Caravans) they are automatically flagged as a Combatant while in the zone, and for a period of time after leaving that zone.
Players can kill Combatants without repercussions, and are encouraged to do so, since dying while a Combatant means you suffer reduced death penalties. Where this changes is when a Combatant kills a Non-Combatant. In this case, the Combatant is Corrupt, and acquires a Corruption Score (which is accrued based on a number of different parameters, including the level differential of their freshly slain victim). This Corruption Score can be worked off with effort through a few mechanics, but the primary means of getting rid of it is through death.
While a player is Corrupt, they may be attacked by both Combatants and Non-Combatants. If a non-combatant attacks a corrupt player, the non-combatant will not flag as a combatant. We also have some other ideas that we haven’t formalized yet that will allow players to participate in what we feel could be a fun cat-and-mouse part of the game. As an example, the location of these corrupt players will be displayed on the map, if you have the Bounty Hunter title, which can be obtained through a quest available to a citizen from a Military zoned, Stage 4 (Town) Node. These are systems that we’re still working on, but Corruption is something we want to provide explicit gameplay opportunities for.
Our players can participate in PvP with one another without having to resort to murder. It would be near impossible to camp a player in Ashes of Creation. Our corruption system for PKers ensures that their combat effectiveness diminishes with each murder they commit. Eventually a corrupt player will be ineffective in PvP, and will have the potential to drop his gear if killed while corrupt.
Q: This game brings a non-seen system for world’s development, the cities might be destroyed by their citizens and a new city has to be built from the ground to the skies. How does it work?
A: We have recently written a developer’s blog in regards to our node system which can be found here, http://www.ashesofcreation.com/a-reactive-world-nodes/
The most important aspect of our node system, is to understand that the world is your creation. You as players determine what story will be told. Through the creation or destruction of the world around you. It affects every aspect of gameplay.
Q: Will quests be the only viable way to level up? Will there be other ways to gain experience like crafting or gathering?
A: This is a much bigger question than it at first seems, because it kind of touches a lot of systems which we’re not quite ready to reveal yet. What we can say is that while questing may be a primary means of getting experience, it will by no means be the only way of progressing. Exploration, crafting, events, and of course killing monsters will all contribute to your character’s growth – we want to reward people for playing and participating in a sort of big picture way. You’ll probably see your character gain experience from weird things you haven’t seen in the past.
Q: In the FAQ of the game, it says that it is a high fantasy open world. But, is it really
open world, are there no invisible walls at all? Can I scale up mountains and such? Will there
be any loading screens?
A: When we say open world, we pretty much mean that. We’re aiming to make as much of the world traversable as possible, because exploration is something we want to incentivize and reward. There may be certain other situations where you’d see a loading screen, like cutscenes perhaps, but they’ll be few and far between. As far as invisible walls, there will have to be places that you won’t be able to go, particularly along the edges of the world, but we’d prevent you with environmental hazards rather than invisible walls (like deep ocean that has nothing beyond it). We agree that they’re jarring and usually take you out of the experience.
Q: What will the game setting be? A medieval-ish western type of setting or a more eastern approach? Can you describe the world to us?
A: We are aiming for a more medieval approach but with a very Lord of the Rings look. A lot of mysterious and mythological environments. The world is ruined and has been undiscovered for thousands of years. So many ancient artifacts and abandoned cities of old.
Q: WIll AoC be more PvP focused or PvE focused? Maybe a perfect balance of both?
A: Ashes will be a very strong balance of both PvE and PvP. We want the mega raids for bosses, and dungeons that stop your heart with wonder and awe. We want to see players cooperating to defeat a town or castle from an opposing group of players but at the same time, watch that same community work together to rebuild out of the ashes a new city. PvE is how the world is built. PvP is the catalyst for change. They are ying and yang.
Q: Will world bosses be a thing?
A: Yes. Absolutely. Epic. Did I say yes?
Q: What inspired AoC? How did you guys come up with such a unique game with such immersive features?
A: Honestly, I have always wanted to build an MMORPG. I got tired of sitting around talking with my guild about why x company did that a certain way. Why did x company ruin this game… I just figured that if something has to be done right, I needed to do it myself. So I am using my experience as a player of MMORPGs for 25 years, coupled with industry veterans from some of the best done MMOs that I know of, to build the MMORPG that will make MMORPGs great again.