Genuinely excited for Ashes of Creation! Here’s why! Players addicted to the first person shooter genre like Tarkov and Arma 3, are surprisingly excited for something on the other side of the gaming world specifically Ashes of Creation.
There are two main foundations that have supported my excitement for the game- people who call the shots and the core gameplay. In those foundations there’s a big crack that is formed and that is the actual delivery of the project. We will see if that crack gets patched however. The people or precisely the person in charge is one of the biggest nerd dumb / MMO super fans I’ve ever seen- Steven Sharif, the creative director of Intrepid Studios who is developing Ashes of Creation. He had massive financial success in his early life that put him in a position to put a fornicating ton of money into something that he is passionate about since he is one of the biggest nerds which is of course a compliment. He’s spent the last decade constantly beaten down by failed MMOs, he has decided to put a small fortune into funding a team to create the best MMORPG experience he could think of. This immediately filled 2 of the 3 major concerns for early access games these days, the funding and the direction.
The funding for the project was already good from the start but multiple crowdfunding campaigns bolstered it further making the man with the plan call all of the shots. So there are no big corporations or publishers to screw anything up which can create massive issues for projects like this. The second thing is the plan itself, if it is not a good idea then what is the point. The game isn’t exactly accessible yet so we can’t see that for ourselves but with hours of internal gameplay and interviews with the biggest names in gaming, practically everybody seems to be on board with the current direction of the project. AOC will have a sort of RTS element to it where on day one, the entire world is essentially blank other than a small starting area around the spawns. The player base is going to create its own world and build up entire cities based on how much they do in a specific area. That specific area is called a node and each node can grow from absolutely nothing to a small encampment all the way up to a sprawling city based on the activity of the players in that node. The size of the node also affects its surrounding areas and creates opportunities for PVE content like dungeons and raids. There’s no lack of PVP content in the game either because it is actually constant and that plays a big role in the core gameplay loop.
Players from one node can go to war with surrounding nodes and entire regions of the world can do the same. The guild content plays into this as well where guilds control castles which technically “control” 20% of the world aka the server. It’s not as bad as you think. If one node gets destroyed by a rival then it gives the surrounding nodes more opportunity to grow and activate more content in the area. With over 100 different nodes in one world all of which with 6 levels of growth, this creates a virtually endless cycle of content.
What is genuinely unique about all of this is that if any of what was mentioned earlier actually worries you, it is very likely that they have thought about it along with a good solution for it. Now there’s some big things about the core gameplay which you might not like because nothing can make everyone happy, like for instance that point about guilds technically controlling 20% of the world but it’s through unique structure placement in specific cities and a taxation system which they themselves as players don’t actually get. The taxes only go back into that region and there’s always the option to rise up against them with intricate revolutionary mechanics if you do not like who is in control. Or maybe you do not like the fact that PVP will always be on but there’s a system in place that makes it unique and worth it. Long story short, here you won’t get constantly killed by people because of the negative effects that they would get for doing that.
Steven and the team over at Intrepid have practically thought of everything. There’s hours and hours of interviews with the biggest names on the internet as they try to poke holes in the project. Somebody from Intrepid or Steven himself always seem to have not just a good but a great answer for it. No matter the background of the player, everyone seems to be on board with it once they know the details.
There is one massive detail that needs to be addressed and that is the game is not done yet. They have the right people calling the shots and they have the right ideas but the actual most important thing left to do is to deliver on those ideas. Unfortunately as with all of the games, AOC has had its fair share of issues and development with delays and difficulties. In those delays and difficulties, nothing that I have seen is necessarily inexcusable though. It seems like they had a bit of team structure issues a couple years back and that has since been resolved. There were some major engineering issues that required them to restart which we’ll see if those are fixed. And they had some poaching from bigger studios to snatch talent which with a project like this will cause significant problems for those bigger studios.
The first Alpha for the project is going live sometime in the next few months and seemingly a launch window of the next 2 years or less. We will be able to see if they can deliver on those ideas for ourselves soon enough. However that is Alpha stage 1 and the Alpha stage 2 which has no date is what you can buy into currently. I suggest not to buy the Alpha unless you fully commit to playing because again we do not know when the Alpha 2 will actually start. There’s an NDA on Alpha 1 starting soon.
In conclusion, as long as you can find a way to enjoy an MMORPG style combat system, you could enjoy Ashes of Creation if they deliver on their promises.