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Ashes of Creation talks about group dynamics and shows PAX demo locales

Calling it an “essential part of the game,” grouping is this week’s focus over at Ashes of Creation.

Ashes of Creation’s team is currently planning for a default group size of eight, saying that this brings back the “massively” to the genre and “amplifies” class roles. Loot rules will be pretty traditional compared to what you’d find in most MMOs, although the team is considering adding a bidding system as well.

To help with the creation of more well-rounded groups, the team will empower players to choose “augments” that allow for more diversification in addition to their main role. Think of a DPSer having some debuff abilities or a healer that adds some buffing skills.

“We want to allow for well-rounded parties to be rewarded for diversity and inclusion when people are determining party composition,” the devs wrote.

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Global Chat: Are MMO side quests worth it?

Apparently I am a pot-stirrer. On my side blog, Bio Break, I like to throw out conversation starters every now and then, and one such recent post concerned side quests. Namely, I mused about getting rid of them altogether in MMORPGs. This generated a lot of interesting conversation around the subject among other bloggers.

In An Age said that side quests are vital for pacing: “Pacing, meanwhile, is all about enhancing the main story. How do you enhance a story? By fleshing it out. Giving context to its development. Allowing breathing room in which to digest the latest narrative bombshell. Bringing the world in which the story exists to life.”

“I’m a fan of side quests if they’re done well overall. I don’t expect every single one to be breathtaking storytelling,” said Gaming SF. And Bhagpuss goes the other way: “I have to wonder whether, rather than putting side quests on ice, it isn’t the main quest itself that should be deep-sixed. If side quests add breadth and depth to the world, don’t main quests try to put that world in a box and close the lid?”

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PAX West 2017: Ashes of Creation’s PvP demo trailer

Yeah, we’re way far off from PAX West, but so what! Ashes of Creation has released a trailer today featuring PvP arena content that will be demoing at the Seattle con next month.

“That’s right, Intrepid Studios is bringing Ashes of Creation to PAX West this September (1st through 4th), and we’re bringing a big tasty playable build for all of you. Not only will we have a full group hunting scenario on hand (details to come!), but we’ll be showing off our PVP Arenas with the gorgeous locales you see in the video below.”

Pew pew. We’ll be at PAX too — will you?

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Daybreak Game Company holds job fair, appetizers presumably delicious

Next month, big things are happening over at DaybreakDaybreak is holding a job fair in which the studio will seek potential candidates for hire.

While the games and projects related to these positions haven’t been made public, we do know that Daybreak was looking for software engineers, software architects, programmers, game designers, UI designers and programmers, artists, a marketing analytics manager, project managers, project producers, and QA engineers. Also, and we cannot stress this enough, there will be delicious appetizers.

Speculation time! Is Daybreak gearing up for a new big project or is the studio attempting to fill in the gaps of its staff after losing team members to the likes of Intrepid Studios and Amazon Game Studios?

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 123: Ashes of Creation’s Steven Sharif

On this week’s show, Justin sits down with Ashes of Creation’s Steven Sharif to talk about the game’s successful Kickstarter, handling a wild community, and the next steps for this up-and-coming sandbox MMORPG.

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’s post-Kickstarter pledge store is live

Wallets at the ready, peeps: As promised, Ashes of Creation is following up its massive Kickstarter run with a more local, homegrown crowdfunding effort on its own website, live now.

“We’ve been hearing from the community that many couldn’t participate due to the payment limitations of Kickstarter,” writes Intrepid Studios. “In response to this, we came up with a campaign that benefits both new backers and those from the Kickstarter! This campaign will have new backer goals achievable by previous Kickstarter backers and new backers as they are unlocked.”

Pledges begin at $25 and run up to over $5000, with a whole ladder of rewards for all backers depending on how many gamers jump in. There’s even a trailer to talk you into the deal.

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Ashes of Creation will launch its web store next week

If you’re curious what was going on with Ashes of Creation’s promised web store to allow fans to donate even more money to its crowdfunding coffers following the game’s highly successful Kickstarter campaign, the short answer is that it is coming. Next week, in fact.

Intrepid Studios announced that the web store will go live on June 20th alongside internal email integration for current backers. The team also said that “exciting” announcements are coming during livestreams on June 16th and 30th.

Thanks to deeper pockets, Intrepid has been expanding its development team. Five new members were announced: Lead Economic Designer Rocco Scandizzo (Activision, Vivendi), Lead Technical Designer Akil Hooper (EverQuest II, Fallout New Vegas), Lead Programmer Kevin McPherson (PlanetSide 2, Shadowbane), Senior Character Artist Mat Broome (H1Z1, DCUO), and Programmer Alex (Amazon).

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Massively Overthinking: MMO monetization run amok

Over the last couple of weeks, the monetization of unreleased games has become a pervasive and uncomfortable theme for the MMO genre. Just in brief:

The frustrating bit is I could go on, and this is just for games that aren’t even formally launched yet. So for this week’s Massively Overthinking, I want to take the temperature of alarm regarding these types of business models for unlaunched games. Is this all par for the course, in line with what we expect from the new MMO market? Have they gone too far yet? If not, what’s too far? How do we feel about this type of pre-launch monetization run amok?

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 120: Steaming into summer

On this week’s show, Justin and Bree welcome summer by talking about SWTOR’s roadmap, Black Desert’s amazing Steam debut, and a troubling Shroud of the Avatar announcement, as well as a mailbag question about casual gaming.

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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HuffPo examines Ashes of Creation’s ‘business lessons’

How did Ashes of Creation run the biggest MMORPG Kickstarter to date? HuffPo thinks it knows. The publication has run down a whole list of “business lessons” to take away from the game’s $3.2M campaign, noting that Intrepid Studios took advantage of existing viral networks to Steven Sharif’s “surrounding himself with people that are experts in their own fields.” Transparency and plenty of game footage has been a big boost too, as it helps convince would-be backers that they’re not just pouring money down a drain.

“Intrepid Studios has created a movement in attempting to redefine the MMORPG genre and has appealed to his target audience with laser precision,” says the blog.

Oh, and it turns out that having a crapton of money also helps your Kickstarter venture. “Steven Sharif has stated that he is willing to refund the money back to it’s backers should anything go awry,” HuffPo writes. “This money will come personally from Sharif himself, something that not every young company has the luxury to afford. Nevertheless, there is a level of comfort that comes from Sharif being willing to put his money where his mouth is.”

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Kickstarter to take no action on Ashes of Creation’s campaign following referral program confusion

Last weekend, we ran an article covering PC Gamer’s detailed investigation into Ashes of Creation’s pledge system. At the time, PC Gamer’s Steven Messner wrote that Kickstarter had told the author that AoC’s revenue and profit sharing systems ran afoul of Kickstarter’s rules and that consequently, Kickstarter had asked AoC’s Intrepid Studios to remove Kickstarter pledges from its referral program, which Kickstarter said Intrepid had done.

Ashes of Creation’s Steven Sharif disputed that, saying that while Kickstarter asked the studio to change the language of its referral program, Intrepid had not actually changed the program itself, meaning Kickstarter pledges were still included in the referral program, which Intrepid says it believe remains in compliance with Kickstarter’s rules.

In heated forum comments about the situation, Sharif also accused PC Gamer’s writer of issuing an “outright lie” and of having an “agenda” and “combative” demeanor. “We know that he wanted to ride the hype wave with the project with clickbait titles and an article that he riddles with reddit links? Really? lol,” he told the game’s official Discord channel.

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Massively Overthinking: 2017’s MMORPG zeitgeist

This time last year, I polled the Massively OP writers for their opinions on which MMOs had had the best year, or half year, up to that point in 2016 — which games were the most influential and important specifically in that time period. I was pretty surprised at the spread of answers too. Since we’re nearing the midpoint of 2017, I thought we should renew that question and see whether anything’s changed. So as last time, I’m asking everyone to pick three games that represent the MMORPG zeitgeist, using whatever combination of criteria they wish – revenue, playerbase size, hype, anticipation, update cycle, and so forth. What should we be paying attention to? Which games are a sign of the times? And just who is dominating now in 2017?
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Ashes of Creation’s Kickstarter has successfully funded at $3.27M

Ashes of Creation’s Kickstarter has successfully funded this morning, bringing in a grand total of $3,271,809 US out of its $750,000 goal with almost 20,000 individual backers contributing, thus making it the largest Kickstarter for an MMORPG ever. Intrepid Studios’ Steven Sharif has previously told us in interviews that he has investors lined up to cover his anticipated $30M budget goal.

Reaching the $3M pledge mark unlocked the stock exchange stretch goal, which is expected to introduce “in-depth economic performance metrics for commodities, trade routes, wars, and raids” and allow player investment in nodes and social groups.

Missed out and regretting it? No need: “During the month of June, interested gamers can continue to pledge their support and upgrade their pledges on the Ashes of Creation website,” Intrepid’s PR this morning said (amended below). “No early bird packages will be allowed, but this extended round of pledging is intended to allow folks who could not use Kickstarter payment methods to still show their support. To make the idea even more interesting, Intrepid Studios will soon be unveiling even more stretch goals that all backers (Kickstarter or official site) will unlock.”

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