Ashes of Creation’s Steven Sharif talks servers, housing, and moderating the playerbase

    
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In an interview with the Paradox Gaming Network, Intrepid Studios’ Steven Sharif answered a whole slew of questions regarding Ashes of Creation, whether it’s about the game’s servers, its housing, node sieges, and dealing with unruly players.

In the interview, Sharif talked about the importance of servers having a timezone-specific prime time for events like node sieges, and stated that he wants servers to have the prime time hours marked on them. According to Sharif, the prime time rules are driven by player-instigated events, meaning the window for declaring sieges is set by that behavior so players won’t have to worry about someone waiting to siege their stuff at 2:00 a.m. local. Sharif also confirms that there will be Oceanic/SEA servers to better serve Australian players, the devs have just not tied down where that server will be located.

The interview also probed about the game’s in-node housing and open world Freehold housing systems, with Sharif noting that Freeholds can become established business like taverns or shops as well as explaining how Freehold levels don’t change the size of the plot itself. He also promised that more in-depth blogs about housing features will be shared as the game heads closer to beta. Sharif rationalized the decision to not reveal too much about systems like housing, which is largely done in the interest of preserving the sense of surprise or discovery.

Finally, Sharif touched on matters of player moderation such as tracking down offensive or inflammatory user created content like icons. According to him, the fact that the game has an active GM base, is a subscription-based game, and that account punishments for unruly players tie into the overall risk vs. reward vibe of AoC will be a strong deterrent. Sharif also addressed gold buying, stating that actions could be as simple as stripping assets or as severe as permanent bans depending on the nature of the infraction.

There’s a whole lot more to the interview, including discussion about cosmetics purchasing and the relationship with My.games and Xsolla, an overall temperature check of the community, and a look back at five years of development among other topics. The entire interview is embedded below.

Also worth a note? Sharif told Discord fans that the company may turn back on alpha 1 access buyables.

Ashes of Creation Alpha 1 Access may be purchasable again in the future! from MMORPG

source: YouTube

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hurbster
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hurbster

I try to avoid PvP, I take it that this game is not for me ?

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Solaris

My most anticipated MMO by far. Very promising development and the dev team is very involved with the community. AoC has a great community manager which helps.

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Jahlon

Thanks for sharing Chris!

This article was much more polished and well-rounded than the last massively article on Ashes. The community really enjoys your coverage.

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Rndomuser

That was pretty interesting. I do not agree with some of their decisions but it was interesting to hear the detailed explanation for all of those.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

They certainly seem to be rigorously defining their playerbase.

Looks like this game is continuing to bead in on elite PvPers. Any time a game cordons off highly desired items to only be available to certain play styles, it effectively dismisses other types of players, who just won’t engage with the game at all once it’s clear from the limited agency the game gives them that they are not the sought-after type of player.

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Robert Mann

Tying things to prime time is a negative to me. It means I will never participate in them. I still value the friends I have in game, but if all the important stuff happens when I’m not able to attend due to life… then it starts feeling like I’m not important to the game and developers, which means that obviously I should take any spending elsewhere (and I often just stop playing in favor of games that actually care about the rather large ‘off’ shift segment of the population).

Where I get they want to try to make PvP be less about offline attacks, it doesn’t stop there most of the time. When an online game doesn’t address that, it has gotten to the point where the expectation is they will ignore that portion of players who don’t have that 9-5 job. In many cases, it has gone to a point where things kept getting pushed toward that prime time, and there was not enough left outside that (locking people out of rewards and progress simply because they couldn’t play in within a 1-2 hour window).

Given how prevalent the territory control stuff is… this is part of why I believe that PvP and PvE cannot remain mixed into the same areas of games. If there’s PvP, and/or PvPvE areas, that’s fine. Something else, for those who aren’t interested, is more and more required… not merely because there is no interest in that content, but because any other attempt to mix them has been seen too often before and it doesn’t work.

Since siege wars can affect freeholders and such, that very much makes me less interested. I cannot participate in defense even if I wanted to, would much rather live in an area where I didn’t since there’s negative interactions with others there that are merely doubling down on the sexist, ethnocentric, and foul crud that tends to get spewed everywhere else by so many, and yet would still like to have somewhere to work on things with friends and other nice people.

–AKA, still waiting on an MMO that has a focus outside just combat, and cares to step up with regard to how others behave in game. All of this stuff that AoC talked about has pretty well been done before. It doesn’t work. Repeating the same things and expecting different results… the tagline (punchline) for online game development the last few decades.–

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Malcolm Swoboda

Any game with specific, frequent, timed trigger for events probably going to lose me at this point.

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Rndomuser

Yes, the timed siege wars are a mistake.

laelgon
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laelgon

I’m not sure what the alternative is though. If there’s no time window, it’d be impossible to hold any territory unless you form one of those intercontinental zerg guilds that has coverage in every timezone. If you let players pick their vulnerability times, or attack times, they’ll still just pick off-hours when the majority of players are at work or asleep.

There’s no implementation of territory control mechanics that can work for everyone.

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Robert Mann

I think the only way they can work without excluding people is to slow them way down, and make wars a long term thing rather than short term trading of stuff.

Which will upset other people, of course. There’s a fine balance there, but I think some games should look into a slower pace. At the same time, fast travel and short distances make that an issue as well, so the difference in gameplay would extend far beyond just the difference in territory control.

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Dug From The Earth

My issue with player run economies and other systems that rely on players is this.

The majority of mmorpgs players are not the type that played SWG or UO. They are the exact opposite of the type of gamer that would set out to do these sorts of activities. Why mention this? Simple. If this is going to be a key mechanic and element of a game, then you are, right off the bat, limiting your player base.

So, knowing that, if you truly want to move forward with systems like this and have a large player base, you have to make sure that the players who dont care to take part in it, dont feel left out, left behind, or hindered in any way by choosing not to partake.

Ive already talked about the system they proposed for flying mounts only being given to the 0.005% of players who hold high ranking government positions in the game. Thats great for the few players who strive to partake in those activities and work to reach those achievements. But if ALLLLL the other player feel slighted because of it, then they wont play your game for very long.

It really comes down to this. Is Ashes a game that seeks to have a player base number over 1 million? Something that is even 1/3rd the population of WoW or FF14? If so, systems like this need to be handled very very carefully. If the goal is to have a much smaller playerbase, mostly of the more niche, not-so-casual players, then keep doing what you are doing.

laelgon
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laelgon

The other component is whether there’s enough supply for people that do want to participate in this kind of gameplay. The flying mounts are exclusively going to be for massive guilds and streamers with large audiences, so that’s entirely a write-off for me.

How the availability of housing is handled will be a huge factor for a lot of people. It’s almost always a problem where if you don’t rush to get a spot the moment the servers come up, you’re not getting one until months later when the population starts dropping off, and even then you’re fighting everyone else on the server. Anyone who dealt with all the shenanigans of trying to get a spot in Archeage knows exactly how bad it can be. Everyone loves open world housing until they’re locked out of gameplay because they can’t get a house.

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Robert Mann

That’s true as well. Land rushes, and too small of availability (even with instanced systems as it has happened) are a big problem to address.

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Robert Mann

I 100% agree with the point about things like flying mounts. That mindset, alongside node wars affecting people who are either not available when they happen -or- just don’t care… will be the driving force to many simply saying no.

I both agree and disagree with the economy part. There’s a whole slew of people who are constantly asking for a good player based economy. It never happens, or if it does it’s so hidden behind a wall of FFA PvP that nobody does anything with it. Nobody is making a caravan to trade when 20000 other people want nothing more than to murder and raid such a thing, no matter what the developers say.

At the same time, there are indeed a slew of people who want the AH convenience, and don’t care about what it precludes in gameplay in other areas than combat. I don’t believe a perfect middle ground exists there either. I do believe that some areas can come closer… but it simply becomes something that emphasizes the need for different games and systems for different people.

In short, where I might well enjoy the systems around freeholds and interacting with trade/adventurer types, I full well expect other things to more than equate to any potential fun with negatives here.