Ashes of Creation revises referral program, unlocks Underrealm race, and shows freehold housing

    
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With less than a week to go in its fundraising campaign, Ashes of Creation has raised over $2.5 million and become the most successful Kickstarted MMORPG of all time. This milestone also means that another stretch goal has been crossed, prompting the development of a “beast-like” Underrealm race to go with those boring humans, Elves, Orcs, and Dwarves.

One aspect of the campaign that the studio is being quiet about concerns its slightly controversial referral program. PC Gamer noted that the system originally factored in pledges and reached out to Kickstarter to see if this was allowed. Kickstarter examined the situation and determined that Ashes of Creation was in the wrong and had to separate referrals from crowdfunding.

“Last year we began allowing financial incentives for referrals. But we do not allow revenue or profit sharing, which this program essentially offers through its payouts over time,” Kickstarter said.

Since then, Ashes of Creation made the necessary changes to the campaign and has revised its referral program information on its website according to PC Gamer. The game is also no longer pushing YouTubers to cover the MMO with possibilities of how much money they could make. [Intrepid has disputed part of the PC Gamer piece; see below for details.]

The team also posted a new video showing off two of the types of freeholds possible in the game. Freeholds are player housing plots that can be placed in the open world and customized as desired.

Source: Kickstarter, PC Gamer. Thanks Dro Guul!
Update: Steven Sharif has posted that Kickstarter did indeed request that his team “change the language on [its] referral program” but claims that PC Gamer issued an “outright lie” when the publication wrote, “In response to PC Gamer’s inquiry, Kickstarter told me they’ve informed Intrepid Studios, which has removed Kickstarter pledges from its referral program.”

Sharif says he’s requested a retraction from PC Gamer, but as I type this, PC Gamer has not granted that request for reasons unknown to us. Sharif says that “pledges from Kickstarter will have the referral reward associated with it, that reflects it’s policy of a ‘financial incentive for referrals’ and remains in accordance with their policies and procedures at Kickstarter.”

We’ll update when we know more.

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Loyal Patron
Neurotic

That PC Gamer article was hugely dodgy itself. Clearly biased against Sharif, and ended with this ridiculous statement “It’s an enormous challenge, and one where much safer bets like Garriott’s Shroud of the Avatar and McQuaid’s Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen have arguably failed.” Really, he’s sabotaging his own argument with lines like that.

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CloakingDonkey .

I’d like to see the justification for how that supposedly sabotages his argument.

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Loyal Patron
Neurotic

Quite simply, SoTA is absolutely blooming and coming along at an astonishing rate, looking like nothing other than a top-quality game. And after a bumpy start, Pantheon is also rolling along very nicely indeed.

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CloakingDonkey .

Yes but both of them have failed to stick to their time tables time and time again… so has Camelot Unchained and Crowfall btw… that’s the only “failure” it can really be as none of them are released games yet ;)

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Loyal Patron
Neurotic

Well, SoTa hasn’t had any problems with its scheduling for a loooooong time now. I seem to recall that there were some bumps in the timetable way back in the beginning, but they have probably the most transparent, communicative development process I’ve ever seen, which runs on an almost clockwork schedule. As for Pantheon, I guess they’re a bit less open about their progress, but they do seem to check in from time to time on their Twitch channel and so on. But certainly SoTA doesn’t have anything like the timetable problems you’re describing.

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socontrariwise

We play different SoTA then (and that comes from an UO fan).

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Loyal Patron
Neurotic

Gods only know what SoTA you’re playing then, because the one on this planet is pretty damn amazing!

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Crowe

I recently re-subbed to PCGamer and the quality of the writing has slipped way down. While it still may be worth $24 a year, it’s more “bathroom reading” than anything to get excited about. They really need to clean house and hire in a solid group of writers.

cmdr_cotic
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cmdr_cotic

I think this is dodgy as hell. Like they say in the PCGamer article it looks kind of odd that a no name is raising money faster than industry vets like Garriot, Roberts, Braben etc or games like Shenmue 3, Bloodstained and so on.

Something does not smell right.

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Necromonger

Or that Steven sharrif payed the developers wages out of his own pocket for 15 months straight and put 30 million dollar out of his own pocket to fund the first phases of the game.

I backed this game up if it fails to meet all expectations at least i tried to be part of a community that tried to get rid of all those cancer mmo’s with pay to win or nikkel and dime models that fail 2 months post launch.

Sounds dodgy ? not for me.

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Brother Maynard

The 30 million dollars figure is the expected development cost of AoC in its currently planned form. It is not what Sharrif has paid so far.

Of course, paying 1+ year of game development is not cheap and definitely costs millions, but it’s far from the overall budget allocated for the game.

We already know the team will double over the coming months and then grow to 40-50; that’s when they will be spending most of their 30 million budget.

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CloakingDonkey .

I’m sure he’ll be ok without a few of those scam millions. He’ll still have plenty of them in the bank.

cmdr_cotic
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cmdr_cotic

Nothing you said has any bearing on the things I said. I was wondering how they earned money faster than reputable names and/or IPs of the industry.

Who has paid wages and your own personal feelings about the state of MMOs have no relevance with regards to the things I mentioned.

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socontrariwise

Personally after SoTA pledging I wouldn’t crowdfund anything from Garriott anymore. And I gave money for SoTA exclusively because of nostalgia and because he promised to go back to his standard fare and it sounded like UO2. But I think Garriott is incapable of managing money and people well and do anything resembling a progressive or innovative MMO. Funnily enough his team didn’t even manage to reach UO on a professional level in my opinion, it feels like Wish or Irth or such: clunky, awkward, outdated, amateurish.

McQuaid I wouldn’t throw a penny at after seeing his lack of managemement skill with Vanguard. Utter soap opera that. And seeing their gameplay videos I burst out laughing, then switched off quickly. I could not believe what I saw, more people stuck in the nostalgia and self grandeur bubble mixed with delusion of skill?

I gave money to Ashes because they have what I believe is a competent server/client head, a decent middleware/engine selection and a CEO who does indeed have had experience (and success) with business development. And they attempt something not too crazy new but interestingly new enough that it MIGHT work out. I believe I’m not too unique with that judgement. Nothing strange here.

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CloakingDonkey .

It’s simple. It’s because of what their referral system was before. Every time someone who clicks your referral buys a kickstarter pledge you get 15% of that money. Even if someone just gets a 50$ pledge that’s 7.5$ payout which is FAAAAAR more than you would ever get from someone watching your videos… hence why all of a sudden dozens and dozens of youtubers and streamers are interested in this game and ooh… hey guys, if you’re already gonna pledge for this AWESOME AMAZING BEST EVER GAME!!! why not click on this here referral link it’ll get you right where you need to go, no need to google. awesome right? ;) You thought undisclosed paid promotions were bad? AoC: hold my beer…

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yoh_sl

Yeah that one element alone gets my bullshit detector wailing.
Everything about this game either sounds too good to be true, or just down right shady.
Long story short, it doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

But who knows, maybe a half way playable game might materialize some years down the line, but honestly I am not holding my breath.

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CloakingDonkey .

oh yeah it could become a great game. But crowd funding is all about trust. These people are simply not trustworthy. Not after the last few weeks.

Loyheta
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Kickstarter Donor
Loyheta

Their referral system is one of the worst I’ve encountered. It has worked once out of five times trying with my gf and friend’s accounts. I’ve finally gotten my gf’s to work but not my friend’s. >.> I’d plug my referral link if I wasn’t sure it’d get this whole post taken down. If you want to use me just add /ref/Loyheta to the end of ashes of creation’s home page and register there. I’ll love you forever :D

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mcsleaz

Underworld Race!
SWEEEEEEET!
Just cracked open the wallet and doubled my pledge, need that Cape, lol :)

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Matthäus Wey

Something with the graphics looks off to me :/
I know it’s pre alpha but it looks like a bunch of different assets with no style to me

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silverlock

Really? I love it myself.

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Matthäus Wey

Yea… the thing is I don’t know what i dislike about it xd

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Reht

I like the overall graphics, think they look great. However something about the design of the houses in the video above felt off to me too, like they don’t really belong in that type of landscape. Yeah, i know it’s overly critical for a pre-alpha demo, but it’s what they showed…..

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Eamil

Freeholds are a type of housing that can be placed anywhere in the landscape (within the area around a node that’s reached city status, I think, not just any random place in the world) so it makes sense if the architectural style doesn’t seem to fit the location. Racial building styles are supposedly selected based on which race contributed the most to the node, rather than by geography.

(Edit: I don’t know if that’s true of freeholds as well as towns, but I mention it to illustrate that if you’re inclined to expect dwarven architecture in snowy mountain regions and elven architecture in lush forests, the cities in-game might not conform to that idea)

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Loopy

I think you’re getting that vibe due to textures not being ironed out yet. Everything looks very clean and sanitized, and i believe that adding a bit more personality to the assets, alongside the flora/fauna in the surroundings will make things blend a lot more smoothly.

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Reht

No, it’s the design, not the textures. It’s just jarring to me, kind of like imagening a Victorian home in the middle of a trailer park.

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Vorender

Upgraded ArcheAge with a sub model? Umm, yes please.

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Solaris

They had me at moss covered steps.

Godnaz
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Godnaz

They showed housing structures but never went into any of these houses. Hoping to see what the interiors of these homesteads will look like. Decor, furniture, crafting stations, inventory chests, etc.

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Solaris

They have shown interiors in previous videos.

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Necromonger

There are Q&A’s where he walks inside a house and shows how it looks, cant remember wich one tough but its in one of the intervieuw movies on their side.

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Dro Gul

How can they remove the Kickstarter referrals from payout. That’s a lot of money they are shorting people! Who cares about the 15% of some sub fee 4 years from now? I want the 15% of the $400 people I referred!
That seems very dishonest to me.

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MesaSage

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Pepperzine
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Pepperzine

Referring your friends (or people in general) to invest in funding simply because of the 15% you’ll make seems very dishonest to me.

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Reht

welcome to moral/ethical dilemma of MLM.

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Jason Wivart

Don’t worry Steven Sharif has stated on discord the referral for KS still get 15% and that article is WRONG, massively needs to contact Intrepid studios to get the real facts. Intrepid Studios has sent a retraction letter to PC gamer yesterday on this topic.

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Dro Gul

If this is true why is it not published on their forums or better yet on the referral page? Not that I don’t believe you, but now two top gaming sites are reporting the same thing. If this is wrong then he should publicly state that the KS still get the 15%.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

To be clear, no one’s contacted me about any error in our piece. PC Gamer has not retracted it as I type this either. I am a little bit skeptical of the mobbing of the PC Gamer author (accusing him of lying is waaay over the top – there’s no reason whatsoever to think he “lied” – it’s far more likely that there’s terminology confusion or that Kickstarter miscommunicated what was going on during that interview). I’m going to update to acknowledge the ongoing dispute, but that’s it for now until it’s clear what’s going on.

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Jason Ffbe

I see you have the updates from Steven listed above, here is more

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Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

Cringe. That is not helping!

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kidwithknife

Yeeeaaahhh… his response puts up more red flags for me than the PC Gamer article.

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Jason Ffbe

Sorry here is retraction statement

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CloakingDonkey .

This project and its fanbase are cancer, Bree. Anything that isn’t praising it into oblivion is “lies” “devoid of facts” “badly researched” etc.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

I wish it were confined to this project, but it’s the sort of lemming thing that happens with every single new MMO, and especially the KS ones that form around a personality. I don’t think it’s singular to this game. :D I’d say it’s more common with this type of game (pseudo-gankbox), but I saw it with WildStar too, the carebeariest themepark ever.

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Dro Gul

That sounds an awful lot like a cult.

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CloakingDonkey .

You’re right it does happen with most games these days to some extent. But the viciousness with this one is more distilled, at least from what I’ve seen. I mean this game got me my first batch of “kill yourself”s :P

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CloakingDonkey .

that’s not how anything works with this project… all the juicy juicy info is hidden away on the discord.

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silverlock

This might be one of those games where just wondering around is worth the price of admission. Still don’t feel compelled to back when I can just wait till release and check it out for $15.

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Reht

Yeah, i am surprised there is no box price. $15 or so is more than worth checking out just about any game for a month.