Now that PAX West has officially ended, it’s time to take a look of some of the standout games that we encountered over the entire event.
The genre of MMORPG’s is extremely over saturated and has been churning out bland and unmemorable title’s over the past few years. Some have been low-key, while others have been high profile launches, all falling into that long fabled “WoW Killer” status, but ultimately falling to the wayside. Players in the genre are looking for new and refreshing content and experiences that will bring that level of immersion that hasn’t been seen in many years. With any luck, the team over at Intrepid Studio’s may have just what the genre needs, and has been expecting. The only question is whether or not they can pull it off.
We sat down with the Creative Director for Ashes of Creation, Steven Sharif, to get a deeper look at what this talented team has been working on.
Ashes of Creation is a open world MMORPG that is non faction based, set in a high fantasy story. Players will help establish their regions, building homes, Craft and trade, and engage in PvP to get an advantage against other players. Your initial reaction may be that this is just like any other hyped up MMORPG pitched to the genre’s community over the last few years, but if you peel back the layers you will find something that hasn’t quite been done before, at least to this extent. See the Pre-Alpha we got the chance to demo below.
AoC takes a very unique approach to how they will develop their entire foundation. One of the most important features is their “Node System”, which essentially is the regions in which players will develop their communities and experiences. Each server has it’s own linear history, but how that history plays out is completely dependent on the choices players make while building the world and the nodes around them. Yes, each city and civilization will be completely built from the ground up by players settling in these nodes.
These nodes are one of the more defining aspects that make AoC different from any other MMORPG. The system will lay in the background of the server and collect experiences that will help the node advance through stages. There are 6 stages that they will go through on their development cycle starting with an NPC stage, which will bring unique quest lines to the node once enough players have been actively exploring the area. From here the nodes will advance into camps and eventually reach the point where an entire Metropolis will be built on the ground you have worked so hard to expand. At each stage new content will become available to players as the area around them begins to change.
(Sick Critic) How do these nodes differ in a case by case basis to build these unique stories for players?
(Steven Sharif) “When a node develops it will disable the neighboring nodes around it, so if you are advancing one story line you are going to be disabling the content that is available in another story line. This becomes important because our catalyst for change in the world is PvP, which means that if certain players don’t like the narrative being told or the loot being dropped, the monsters being spawned, or do not have access to the housing in the node, then they will be able to siege that node, paving way for new construction and story lines to be unlocked. This isn’t new and difficult technology, this is actually existing technology we can use to create the system. It’s just really never been done before to this level to effect change in the world”.
Another interesting aspect impacting how these communities are built is player housing. There will essentially be three types of player housing. There is player housing that will be static within the node and as that node advances, housing will advance with it. In other words, from Steven Sharif, “If you got in early and got a shack, by the time that node reached the point of a metropolis, you would have a mansion”. This is interesting because it builds a sense of real estate in the world, where there are incentives to try to settle early in a developing node that is not as advanced as others in the world.
Additionally, there will be capabilities for “player run governments” to establish apartment living in their nodes, as there are specific plots within the cities for players to decide which type of building is placed there. Lastly, you have the option for open world housing within stage 3 or above nodes you have influence in. This means that you will have the option to drop in a plot of land for you to place structures in. This will give players customization options in how they develop their nodes, while giving a real sense of purpose and fulfillment to the area they call home.
(SC) A large part of the MMO experience revolves around the economy, and how players craft and trade within the confines of the system within the game. How does the caravan system impact the economy?
(SS) “In our game we want things to be hard earned. When you are talking about the economy, our world is regionalized with markets. There is no global Auction House or warehouse. If you want to move goods, you must do it through our transit system, which is our caravan system. The caravan system allows you to transit those goods from region to region. Our crafting system is set up so that certain items can only be crafted in certain regions and those materials can only be found in the opposite corresponding regions, so that requires the hauling of goods. The Caravans are set up so that players can direct the caravan. It is a multi-component crafted caravan that is dependent on many different professions to determine its hit point value, speed and ability to move off road. Players direct this caravan when moving, and around it is a static battleground that players can move into in an attempt to attack or destroy”.
(SC) How will PvP within the environment work, and how will attacking other players settlements within their nodes change the area?
(SS) “Our sieging mechanic applies in two scenarios. One is our castle system, we have castles. There are 5 castles in their world that exert control over large portions of land, in which there will be nodes that are developed. They collect taxes and grant benefits to those nodes in they wish, the lord kind of makes those decisions. Those can be sieged, taken and destroyed, but are able to be rebuilt again. The nodes themselves has a sieging mechanic as well, where players can siege the node. If the node is successfully sieged, it will be destroyed. All assets within will be removed and destroyed. Now, the zone of influence that node has control over will have open housing there. They will become vulnerable for a period of time after the destruction of their parent node, so players who destroyed that node will roam the area attacking and taking materials and resources from the freeholds players have been storing these in.”
As you can see, Intrepid studios is trying to take a unique idea into the world of MMORPG’s and bring it to life. We had the opportunity to get some hands on a pre-alpha demo with AoC at PAX West 2017, which was developed only 3 months after their kick-starter campaign. The amount of progress this team has made in such a short amount of time gives me hope that they will be able to bring their idea to fruition and create a wonderful game. They have the backing as well, with over 3 million dollars raised from their initial kick starter campaign and well over 250,000 members of their online community as we speak. With the amount of resources and experience this team has gathered to complete this massive project, it might be safe to say that this is something to keep your eye on. Can Ashes of Creation make MMO’s great again? Only time will tell. You can watch their full panel from PAX West below for more inside information.
Stay tuned for more updates from our time at PAX West 2017