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

Altar-ed state

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.

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Show notes:

  • Intro
  • What is Ashes of Creation?
  • What do you like best about some other MMOs you’ve played?
  • What’s the office environment like there at Intrepid?
  • Why was this Kickstarter such a success?
  • What did you learn from the Kickstarter process?
  • Why did the web store take so long to start up?
  • Will the store post totals? Why no stretch goals?
  • Will there be continued fundraising?
  • Have you done anything to mitigate complaints about the affiliate system?
  • How much of the game is playable right now?
  • Will we start getting blog posts again?
  • How do you time nodes so they don’t feel too quick or too static?
  • What is the roadmap for this year?
  • How will you wrangle a contentious community?
  • What traditional MMO systems and features are you rethinking for Ashes?
  • What will the housing system be like?
  • Outro

Other info:

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Listening to him go on and on about openness, when there’s questions about fundamental game systems, like combat, that he is inexplicably evasive on, was sickening. I really wish interviewers could call him out on that, but I guess this wasn’t necessarily the place to do that.

Raimo Kangasniemi

At this stage of development, combat can still go through a lot of changes and if that’s the case with Ashes, perhaps its better not to give any details that might not make it in the end.


You can’t both want the community to be part of the process and not want to show core systems until they are done. There is a host of incomplete systems that they have no problem talking about and showing off, why is combat an exception?


They’ve answered a lot of combat specific questions before, and they’ve shown pre-alpha combat before:

Lots of mage spellcasting in that video for example.

They’ve also shown some predator (rogue/ranger class) bow attacks in previous videos.

What we know about combat so far: it’ll be a hybrid between tab target & action combat, there will be different types of stealth (one being “camouflage” type stealth), there will be cooldowns, skills that create collision walls, parkour for certain classes, utility skills, i.e. “spyglass” for rogue, (which if I recall correctly) they mentioned could be used to spot stealthers) and I could go on.

I would suggest you watch the previous livestreams if you want to learn more about the combat. Also, there will be a stream this Friday where they talk about classes, combos & character customization.


I don’t know why I would watch all the livestreams or read all the transcripts again, they didn’t give any significant information the first few times. Hybrid is a meaningless term without more definition. The definition they’ve provided (positional based abilities, dodging) can be used to describe almost any MMORPG. They’ve yet to go into the actual meat of the design. The closest they’ve come is describing it as a mix of tab targetting, action, and a third aspect, while refusing to actually go into detail about what that third aspect is.

The combat they’ve shown in videos was also described as only 5% done, so I’m not basing any conclusions on that. What I’m critical of is their unwillingness to talk about, in meaningful terms, what they want combat to eventually be. I can’t think of any good reasons to hold those cards so close to the chest, and to do that while praising themselves for their openness just stinks.

I would suggest you take a step back and look at your fourth paragraph. That is close to everything we know about their combat design, and you had to pad your list with fluff like cooldowns and utility skills, despite being asked about combat in almost every other livestream. That is a problem.


There’s a lot more than what I listed that they’ve mentioned regarding combat, for example that they don’t want to have too many skills on screen, or how environment affects your skills etc.

I’m sure they’ll show more combat and talk about it more once it’s more than 5% done. They’re likely going to actually have to do that before PAX Prime in early September, as there’s going to be a playable demo there.

There’s a lot of combat related things I’m still curious about too, especially the amount of skills we can expect to have on each class, whether there’s a “stealth bar” for rogues etc.


AoC is 2 years out….combat isnt even done yet so how can he answer questions when there is nothing set in stone yet ?

Tons and tons of stuff is in development, tons and tons of stuff are going to be changed, adjusted, deleted, invented, reworked.

If he says something that will be changed later on the whole internet will call him out for that as he PROMISED THAT – YOU SAID THIS WOULD BE IN – LIES IN THAT INTERVIEUW IT WAS TOTALY DIFFRENT !!!

So he wont answer on shit he has still ideas for and is not set in stone.
AoC is still years away man, you cant expect him to give answers to questions he cant give an answer to.


Combat isn’t implemented completely, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t gone through a high level design (and its pretty obvious it has, given the statements about a third aspect). Tons and tons of stuff is in development, and they have no problem going into depth on those systems when asked. Nodes, caravans, crafting, corruption, guilds, and more are all just as unimplemented as combat but they’ll go on endlessly about each. So its clear that they don’t have a problem with talking about fluid features. Something as potentially divisive as combat, though, and we get the safe, meaningless answer of hybrid and as little detail as possible. And I don’t understand why.

Fervor Bliss

So is everyone forced into PvP?


Go back and read the available info, this question has been answered countless times.


Since you’re not forced to play the game (unless it is some new form of Waterboarding by the CIA), no, you’re not forced into PvP. :P


Stormblood is an excellent expansion in FFXIV for those who don’t enjoy pvp in an all pve only game. You should check it out if you are too lazy to watch the youtube shows on the game where they answered this question already.


Any half decent mmo has open world pvp in their sandbox.

But to answer your question it wont be a gankbox as the moment some1 kills you he gains corruption and will be a beacon on the map with reduced stats that will greatly weaker the ganker.

It might sound strange but AoC has a risk vs reward kinda thing were you are to defend your assets with similar minden people or try to take those assets away by attacking them.

This will be the main source of pvp and where pvp has no penalty.
Everywhere else the corruption system kicks in and you dont want to get corruption as it will make you extremely weak and a piss easy target to take revenge on.