After weeks of silence, Ashes of Creation looks like it might be gearing up for the promised December 15th Alpha Zero test. While the team hasn’t recently confirmed that today’s test is still on track to begin, Intrepid Studios did open up the game’s new storefront yesterday to sell merchandise, in-game items, and four pre-order packs.
The pre-order packs are not necessary to gain access to the launch game (as that will be subscription-only), but they do contain several advance bonuses such as in-game currency, game time, accessories, and access to the different stages of testing. The $75 Wayfarer pack will guarantee Beta 2 access, while moving to the very top, the $500 Intrepid pack will get you in to Alpha 1 and beyond.
It has become a long-standing tradition as Massively OP and our former site that we like to end the year by creating a list of titles that we anticipate for the coming one. It has always been a devilish list to create, full of loose dates and fast guesswork about which titles will and won’t be releasing during a 12-month window (just read last year’s list to see how spot-on I was).
This year we’re changing things up a bit by tossing out the qualifying factor of “will see a hard launch in 2018.” Instead, I drafted up a list of 20 MMOs that have the potential to do or be really interesting next year, whether that be a launch, a long-anticipated beta test, or some other significant development. Plus, hey, you get 20 for the price of 10, so no complaining now!
As an aside, this list isn’t going to cover some other exciting-looking multiplayer games that are arriving in 2018, like Sea of Thieves, The Crew 2, Monster Hunter World, DayZ, Red Dead Redemption 2, Stardew Valley, Conan Exiles, and State of Decay 2. And you old school fans won’t want to forget that Ultima Online has a new free-to-play option coming this spring.
One thing you can say for the MMO industry: It never ceases to surprise all of us. No matter what predictions we may make at the beginning of a year, by December we will all be proven fools who lack vision and foresight.
Although 2017 isn’t quite over yet, we here at Massively Overpowered wanted to count down the biggest news stories that crossed over into our neck of the woods so far this year. We witnessed controversies and delights, shockers and sadness. We saw launches and shutdowns, expansions and bugs.
So before we move into 2018, let’s take a look at the year that was and remember the biggest stories that dominated headlines.
With a strong focus on player government and politics, Ashes of Creation is giving careful consideration with how it will structure the leadership of each city. It won’t be hard to figure out where to go if you want to vie for power and position, as the city hall is being designed for such hobnobbing and meetings.
“Our government system is really all about letting players take control of the world they make,” the team wrote in this week’s dev diary. “The first step here is deciding how the city should feel, what laws should be in place and how it’s run.”
At the city hall, player leaders can meet together to make key decisions for the local town. Possible rulings include making people of a certain node “enemies of the state,” what to build, what to tear down, declaring war, forming alliances, activate festivals, and even create quests for other players.
It’s a well-worn but welcome roleplaying game trope that adventurers gather before quests in a colorful tavern full of shady characters, intrigue at every table, and a bard strumming a lute in the corner. This iconic setting is something that the team behind Ashes of Creation wants to get right with its upcoming game.
So what will the Ashes of Creation tavern offer? Aside from purchasable food and drink, a private chat space, customizable music, rentable rooms, battle maps on tables, parlor games, and (of course) rested experience. The team said that the latter is important to put butts in the chairs and “keep you socializing with your fellow players and to enjoy the amenities tavern owners provide.”
Taverns will also serve as a launchpad for quests: “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.”
Meanwhile, check out the team engaging in all sorts of Halloween nonsense — and perhaps spot a few development Easter eggs on their screens!
Point the first: Can we all agree that “Alpha Zero” is a really cool name? It seems weird that we don’t have dozens of games on different platforms with that title. (There does appear to be one.)
Point the second: We’re not talking about that game. We’re talking about Ashes of Creation, which is showing off its Alpha Zero test environment in the latest video from the team. So that’s great!
Point the third: That test environment is, well, just the environment. So don’t expect to see much in the way of gameplay… or, well, anything in the way of gameplay. Unless you count panning cameras as gameplay.
Point the fourth: You should not count panning cameras as gameplay.
Following a flurry of blog posts, its PAX West appearance, and its crowdfunding campaign, Ashes of Creation has gone downright silent this fall. It’s probably more fair to label it “quiet” than silent, as the team is still discussing the game as it pushes hard to get it done. Apparently there’s that December 15th deadline looming ahead for the start of Alpha Zero…
This week during Intrepid Studio’s livestream, the team talked about various parts of the game and showed off 20 new images from Ashes of Creation. These included pictures of architecture, some concept art, and plenty of shots of the game world itself. The developers also took questions from the community and shared how towns will become “mini-Sim Cities” in practice.
We’ve got all of the new images plus the full livestream for you below!
Can a game that isn’t even in alpha yet have a Halloween celebration? Heck yes it can, Intrepid Studios says, and it has one such planned for Ashes of Creation, which was crowdfunded earlier this year. In fact, participants may even win keys to test the game.
“Alpha Zero keys, so many Alpha Zero keys! How do you get them you wonder? You must please the Sandal King Steven! Every day leading up to the 31st, our undead team of developers invite you to unleash your creativity upon the world. Our spookiest minions will be rewarded for their mischief with a chance to playtest Ashes of Creation this December exclusively with the Devs and their brood!”
Players can expect a “spook-a-thon stream,” a fan art contest, a pumpkin carving event, a horror short story night, and maybe the best bit, a virtual costume ball where you can submit a costume (with appropriate game logo). Damn, I’m exhausted just thinking about doing all of those. What would you dress up as for a free alpha key?
This past summer, ARK: Survival Evolved finally officially launched, ending its stint as an early access game just three days before PAX West, then promptly announced its second expansion on the first day of the convention. There wasn’t even a week between launch and the second expansion’s unveiling, and there will be fewer than two months between the two launches; Aberration is scheduled to launch in October.
While at PAX, I sat down with Studio Wildcard Senior Producer Navin Supphapholsiri, who thanked fans for supporting the game: “We really appreciate the support for the past two years. Just to see how far we’ve come along, it’s all thanks to the community.” Then we talked about the launch, about Aberration, and about the team’s focus going forward.
While the full Hi-Rez portfolio wasn’t in attendance at PAX West, Hand of the Gods was on-hand with a fan tournament as well as machines to introduce folks to the game. Devs were also available to discuss this tactical SMITE spinoff. I sat down with Lead designer Scott Lussier and Executive Producer and VP of Design Scott Zier to talk about the game’s name, its progress, the reception at the convention, and plans going forward.
In fact, one of the tidbits Lussier shared is that the Japanese pantheon is next on the list after Hindu is released later this month.
You don’t have to be a massive MMO studio to have a big showing at PAX West – Intrepid Studios proved that. The indie studio developing Ashes of Creation had a large booth with a giant TV broadcasting videos, hands-on demos for players to see what the game is about, a merchandise counter (which appeared to be doing good business), plenty of devs on hand to answer questions, and a full panel to discuss the game’s progress and plans to a large audience. And Founder and Creative Director Steven Sharif was on hand the whole time to talk about his game with everyone who came by. As he told me, “That’s our job here today, to expose more people to [AoC’s] potential.” He wants players to know that it isn’t about promises without delivery
Between a demo and a couple of interviews, I had the opportunity to chat with Sharif about the game a few different times. We talked about classes, crowdfunding, and character customization. I also got to team up with a group and run through a short PvE adventure narrated by a dev, testing out skills and exploring a few features. Then I delved into a PvP match. And yes, we also discussed the red hat controversy.
PAX West 2017 has come and gone, and though MJ is still feverishly working on her last few articles, we wanted to pause a moment to reflect on everything we’ve seen and read and recapped so far. So for today’s Massively Overthinking, I asked our writers to tackle three topics from an MMO player’s perspective: the biggest surprise of the show, the most disappointing bit, and the games that grabbed them and won’t let go.
This past weekend at PAX West, Ashes of Creation made sure to drop a few announcement bombs on its community that showed up to check out and support the game. The biggest of these, of course, was the dating of the “Alpha Zero” test for this December 15th.
But is that test and date pushing it too much for this team? Apparently not, according to Intrepid Studios. The team showed up for an hour-long panel to discuss the MMO’s development, and said that preparing the PAX West demo proved that they had the pace and know-how to get a more robust version of the game ready for later this year.
There’s a lot to take in with the panel, so we’ve got that for you after the break. As a bonus, why not check out some PvE gameplay focused on taking in Ashes of Creation? You didn’t need to do anything else productive today!