intrepid studios

Ashes of Creation really wants you to grok its node system

We've teased upcoming Ashes of Creation for its "nodes," and apparently Intrepid Studios agrees that they're confusing, as the MMORPG has released a dev blog this afternoon explaining just what they are, again.

"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."

Nodes can grow into towns, and players who perform activities within their boundaries contribute back to the node (and vice versa), but the size of the municipalities is limited; there can be only so many huge, sprawling metropoleis at a time, after all. Nodes will also have a determined type -- military, divine, economic, and scientific -- which will provide benefits to the associated activities.

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Ashes of Creation promises a 'reactive world'

"When you push the world it pushes back. When you give to the world, it gives back. Take too much, and the world just might bite back."

The Ashes of Creation team posted a new developer diary this week that focused on one of its five design pillars, that of a reactive world. The gist is that the game world will slowly react and respond to player actions, reshaping in both positive and negative ways.

The team said that each server will be a world to itself: "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."

Looking for a little more of an Ashes of Creation hit to get you through the weekend? The team posted a pair of short videos showing off some aggressive fauna -- namely, a troll and flanggler. Watch them below!

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Ashes of Creation demos combat gameplay and UI in new alpha video

Ashes of Creation sprung a brand-new alpha video on MMORPG players via PC Gamer this morning. It's not, as suggested there, the team's first gameplay video; Intrepid Studios has been dropping those over the past few months, when we've got a glimpse of spell animations and combat. But it is our first look at the game with any sort of user interface at work, and we get much more group combat and movement animations here.

Ashes of Creation crept onto the scene back in December; it's staffed by a number of former SOE and Daybreak vets, and it's purporting to be a bit of a sandbox, with organic events and some old-school (but not annoying) design vibes, wrapped up in a modern graphics package. Check the video out below!

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Ashes of Creation on dungeon finders, soloing, player shops, and guild ethics

MOP tipster Joel let us know about an absolute trove of info flowing in the Ashes of Creation Discord channel thanks to the candor of Creative Director Steven Sharif. Sharif has been on a tear explaining game systems to the players hanging out there. Here are a few of the more interesting bits!

  • "Ashes will allow medium and small guilds to stay competitive. We have specifics systems in place to accomplish this."
  • "Playing alone is complete accepted, and feasible."
  • "High customization suite for character creation will allow for fat/skinny variants."
  • "I want to see players be able to enjoy the game together, and that includes new players being able to participate in activities with their experienced friends."
  • "While we do have classic leveling mechanics for the adventuring class, there are many ways to 'level' in Ashes. Not everything is put behind a linear progression. We want players who are casual to be able to participate in activities with players that have more time to play."

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 104: WoW Token resistance

Financial nerds ahoy! On today's show, Bree and Justin talk about the economics of WoW Tokens and earnings reports, encouraging listeners to break out their accountant books to play along. There's a secret message encoded for those who balance their checkbooks correctly!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Ashes of Creation demos new dungeon video, won't 'sacrifice aesthetics for performance'

Curious what Ashes of Creation looks like in action? The team released its first gameplay video last night, showing a mage exploring an icy dungeon with both outdoor and indoor sections. It's a short romp, to be sure, but there are several details to be gleaned from it, including combat spells, utility magic, and very beautiful effects and scenery.

In a press statement, Intrepid Studios said that it's giving us a movie-like version first and will demonstrate the dungeon with the full user interface next week: "We turned off the UI and shot much of the gameplay through a cinematic angle. We did this because we want you to experience the beauty in Ashes of Creation. All too often, MMORPGs have had to sacrifice aesthetics for performance. With today’s technology that is no longer necessary. The versatility of Unreal Engine’s graphical fidelity coupled with our own in-house built backend allows for the rendering of a visually stunning world while encompassing the gameplay mechanics of a massively multiplayer online experience.

Check it out after the break and let us know what you think in the comments!

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Global Chat: Interior decorating in MMORPGs

With Elder Scrolls Online's new housing system coming early next month and LOTRO testing out some much-needed housing improvements, homemaking seems to be a subject on the mind of many players these days.

Contains Moderate Peril says that MMO housing has yet to live up to potential: "What you can do with housing is a far more interesting talking point. At present housing mainly offers in the MMO genre additional storage, an opportunity for aesthetic customisation, and convenient support services [...] What housing across most MMOs fails to do is offer any additional social facilities or unique group content."

Meanwhile, Dimension Gallery featured one house designer that came up with some impressive dimensions (my favorite is the Spongebob Squarepants!).

Housing not your thing? After the break we have blog essays on Final Fantasy XIV, welfare epics, and the true endgame activity of MMORPGs!

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Ship of Heroes' character customization already looks amazing

If you're a superhero fan who loves hair -- and you probably are, if our City of Titans commenters yesterday are any guide -- you're definitely going to want to scope out Ship of Heroes' new video. It's 7 minutes of glorious character creation, with tropes and UI heavily inspired by City of Heroes -- but also with a fully customizable face and body and hair-do, bringing the genre into 2017 and feeding our obsession with millions of sliders and dials (not to mention demonstrating the game is a lot further along than we might have guessed!).

Get your hype on below.

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Ashes of Creation might end up paying you to play it

One of the interesting aspects of Ashes of Creation's business model is how the game will let you subsidize your subscription by earning money via referrals. In a brief post, Intrepid Studios outlined how its referral program will work in the future.

Basically, if you end up referring a player to the game through your own link, you will get 15% of what that player spends for the rest of his or her time with the game. The studio said that while this can be used to cover your subscription fee, players also have a choice to spend those funds on cash shop purchases or receive real cash back. So yes, you could theoretically end up getting paid more from playing Ashes of Creation than you are paying the company.

"We understand that giving players the ability to be rewarded with actual money is an exciting prospect in the gaming industry, but remember 'With great power, comes great responsibility,'" the team wrote. "In other words, we ask that you use this system responsibly, don’t go spamming forums or your friends with endless links. A little goes a long way!

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Ashes of Creation details the progress of seasons

The environment in Ashes of Creation is meant to change around you. The most basic level of this, as detailed in the most recent article on the official site, is simply the changing of seasons, with spring giving way to summer which eventually turns to fall and so on. Passes that might be perfectly safe and accessible in the summer may become dangerous or even impassable in the winter, while water may freeze and create new routes that can't be accessed in the spring. You get the idea.

But that's not getting into how the development of certain nodes can alter their surrounding environments, and how the actions of players can change the vegetation and wildlife present... or how seasons don't always come as planned, and you can have an unusually rainy fall, or a too-short winter, or a dry summer. Check out the video just below for a first preview of what all of this looks like in the game, although just the description is probably getting you ready to curse at digital weather just like the real weather.

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Ashes of Creation unloads 25-minute Q&A video

Now that the cat is out of the bag on the existence of Ashes of Creation, the team is charging forward in sharing its vision and design of the game with potential players. In this effort, a 25-minute question-and-answer video was posted on the site today to give a better idea of what this MMO is all about.

This marks the first time that the community will see the faces of some of Intrepid Studios' dev team, including Senior Designer Peter Pilone, Creative Director Steven Sharif, Lead Designer Jeffery Bard, and Senior Designer Matt Reynolds. The team fielded several questions that were sent in from the community, such as Ashes' node system, character identity, world lore, guild features, player housing, the referral system, and the game's rejection of factions.

Give the video a watch after the jump and learn more about Ashes of Creation from our December interview!

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 99: Landmark goes into the dark

We're not yet a full week into the new year and we've already been delivered news of a major shutdown. In today's episode, Bree and Justin talk about the fallout of the Landmark announcement, the Hi-Rez Expo, and several major patches.

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

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Ashes of Creation outlines its reactive player-driven nodes

So what is Ashes of Creation meant to be? Is it supposed to be more of a sandbox, more of a themepark, what? The answer is "a bit of both," as outlined in the first diary about the game's mechanics. Rather than giving players a set series of quests to move through or the option to simply create meaning in a barren expanse, the game is offering players the opportunity to shape the world through more direct means: Nodes.

Nodes are hubs that overlook geographic regions in the game, and they're hubs that react organically with player activities. If a bunch of people engage in PvP in the area, the node will build itself up to support PvP; if players opt for questing and crafting, it will support that. Of course, that doesn't mean a given node will change and be locked into one mode forever, as players can also participate in sieges to knock the node back down and begin a new building process... or defend the nodes they wish to see continue operating. Check out the full rundown for a more comprehensive overview of the reactive world.

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