Ashes of Creation is an upcoming medieval fantasy MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) developed by Intrepid Studios for PC.
Table of Contents
Genre and Platform
As an MMORPG, Ashes of Creation will feature a persistent open world for thousands of players to explore together, with gameplay focused on action combat, character progression, questing, crafting, player economy, and player housing. It is being designed primarily for the PC platform.
Node-Based World Design
One of Ashes of Creation’s most unique features is its node system. The world is undeveloped at the start, with players building up node settlements that eventually transform into villages, towns, cities, and metropolises with their own infrastructure, buildings, NPCs, and resources. The growth of these nodes is driven by player activity.
The economy in Ashes of Creation is almost entirely player-driven. Players gather resources, craft goods, set up personal shops in cities, and freely trade items with other players. The game world adapts dynamically to fluctuations in supply and demand.
Large-Scale PvP and Siege Warfare
Guilds and alliances can declare war on nodes and lay siege to them when they reach the castle stage. Successful sieges will grant the victors special rewards, titles, and influence over the node’s development, introducing more meaningful large-scale PvP gameplay.
Deep Character Customization
Ashes of Creation lets players customize their characters extensively, not only in terms of aesthetics like hair, facial features, tattoos and gear dyes, but also their abilities. There is an augmentation system that allows mixing and matching active and passive skills for unique builds.
Release Date and Development Status
Ashes of Creation is currently in the Alpha One stage of testing. The developers aim to launch the MMORPG sometime in 2023 or 2024. It will utilize a buy-to-play business model with an optional subscription.
Ashes of Creation features an open-world action combat system, moving away from the tab-target and hotkey combat mechanics typical of most MMORPGs. Players actively aim, dodge, and maneuver during battles rather than passively relying on statistics.
Action-Based Combat System
Players swing weapons, cast spells using skill shots that need aimed, block incoming attacks with shields, and actively dodge enemy blows. This creates more visceral and engaging combat compared to traditional MMORPG combat mechanics. Environment terrain and obstacles also play a role during fights.
Skills and Abilities
Each class has a unique set of skills and abilities relating to their archetype and fighting style. There are both magic and melee damage-dealing classes. Healing classes focus on supportive skills like healing allies, buffing stats, removing debuffs, and crowd control.
Abilities have cooldown timers, limited charges, duration times, mana/stamina costs, range requirements, accuracy thresholds, and other checks and balances to ensure balance and strategic depth.
Targeting and Hitboxes
Ashes of Creation uses hitbox-based targeting rather than locking onto enemies directly. You must aim spells and swings to actually land hits on the parts of the enemy character models. This raises the skill ceiling and helps enable action-oriented combat.
There is also friendly fire considerations in group fights. Players have to be careful not to accidentally hit their own allies in chaotic battles against multiple foes.
Character Classes and Roles
There are eight base archetypal classes – Fighter, Mage, Ranger, Rogue, Summoner, Cleric, Tank, and Bard. These each have up to four specialization paths, for a total of 64 base class combinations before factoring in augmentation customization.
Multi-classing is also possible by augmenting two primary archetypes. This flexible class system allows players to uniquely hybridize and specialize their roles beyond the trinity of DPS/heal/tank.
B. Professions and Crafting
Crafting and resource gathering comprises a major part of gameplay in Ashes of Creation. There are progression paths and talents associated with non-combat professions.
Gathering and Harvesting Resources
Players can learn skills related to extracting resources from the environment, like mining, herb gathering, lumber cutting, animal handling, etc. Raw materials are needed as part of crafting finished goods.
Higher gathering skill allows efficiently harvesting higher yield and purity resources used to craft rarer items. Upgrades reduce time requirements, expand storage capacity and improve gathering tools.
Crafting and Refining Materials
Many player-made goods require raw materials that, while freely gathered, must be taken to specific buildings in node settlements to be refined into processed goods before crafting things like weapons, potions, armor, stat-boosting food, mining picks and tons more.
Crafting takes refined materials and combines them with recipes to make useful items. Higher skill unlocks rarer recipes to improve efficiency stats of items produced. For example, a +15 mining pick can yield much more ore per swing than a basic one.
Creating Weapons, Armor, and Other Items
There is a wide range of specialized crafting stations allowing players to make heavy armor, leather armor, cloth armor, melee weapons, bows, staves, alchemical concoctions like potions and tonics, jewelry, saddles, explosives, furniture, storage chests…almost anything you would logically find useful.
The quality of items produced scales relative to the crafter’s progression in that particular profession path. Rare crafting materials are needed to make best-in-slot gear.
Player-Owned Shops and Markets
Players can set up personal shops in rented storefronts at the marketplace buildings of node settlements. These shops allow you to list your crafted wares or surplus gathered resources for sale at your set prices even while offline, making trading easier.
As cities develop, their prime location and high traffic results in lower listing fees and better sale returns compared to less populated nodes.
Exploration and Adventure
The world map of Verra is a massive open world spanning multiple biomes like lush forests, arid deserts, humid jungles and frigid mountaintops. It contains many dungeons, points of interest and dynamically generating content.
Nodes created/upgraded by players serve as hubs for civilization, providing sanctuaries between stretches of dangerous wilderness teeming with brigands, wandering elementals corrupted by Chaos magic, and beasts both mundane and magical.
Diverse Biomes and Landscapes
Each biome has a distinct feel in terms of creatures, vegetation, weather conditions and even changing seasons – mild summers enhance forest growth while frigid winters freeze lakes used as monster lairs.
From natural cave formations, haunted necropolises and forgotten temples to deathtrap-riddled ruins and castaway pirate coves secreted away on secluded islands, there is environmental diversity.
Hidden Secrets and Dungeons
The ruins of ancient civilizations leftover from past ages litter Verra, containing labyrinthine underground dungeon complexes rife with rare lost knowledge, powerful artifacts, and nameless supernatural guardians who feast on bold explorers.
Legendary equipment and tomes of epic spells lay waiting to reward fortune’s favored heroes for unraveling ancient mysteries. But death and madness lurk around every corner.
World Events and Dynamic Encounters
Sporadic breaches into Verra from other planes of existence introduce instability, bringing alien influences like swarms of interdimensional insects that corrupt organic lifeforms, or gouts of chaotic energy that morph terrain into surreal alien dreamscapes.
Dynamic content like ambushes by roving warbands looking to prey on travelers, monstrous aerial dragons attacking frontier settlements, or even demonic incursions through Hellmouth rifts that open without warning ensures surprises round every corner.
Socialization and Community
Guilds and Alliances
Players can join guilds for mutual protection and shared benefits. Guilds allow easier organization of group activities via calendars, polls, announcements and discussions. Tags appear above characters denoting guild affiliations.
Alliances allow different guilds to combine their members and resources under unified banners. Alliances can purchase castles during node sieges and exert regional influence while unlocking additional benefits.
Group Activities and Raids
Fostering community and playing together is encouraged via group dungeons, dynamic world events requiring ad-hoc cooperation to overcome via puzzle-solving or defeating powerful bosses, and end-game raids featuring intense large-scale battles demanding fine teamwork.
Instanced randomized dungeons known as The Underrealm have various difficulty tiers to test groups with ever-escalating challenges for better and better loot.
Player Housing and Decoration
Owning a home means having a private space to store collected treasures like achievement trophies and trophies from defeating epic bosses, as well as trappings like fancy furniture, your very own hot tub, maybe a magical tree that changes seasons…depending on how blinged-out you want it.
Home decoration feeds into the game’s living ecosystem – placing a table and chairs might get NPC visitors who use them dynamically. A bard NPC may even compose unique songs about your adventures.
Roleplaying and Community Events
Some players enjoy roleplaying romantic or heroic relationships between their characters. Some guilds are dedicated roleplayers often found at city taverns or scenic beaches emoting out elaborate performances.
Many roleplaying groups organize events like balls, theater shows, gladiator tournaments and even comedic plays based on stories from the game world lore for a sense of virtual community.
Graphics and Audio
Ashes of Creation is built using the Unreal Engine 4, which provides excellent graphical fidelity and performance optimization potential. Intrepid Studios aims to offer an immersive atmosphere on par with modern AAA fantasy titles.
Visual Style and Art Design
The environments, architecture, creatures and character models have a stylized realism look rather than overly-exaggerated proportions. Visual aesthetic leans into high fantasy themes rather than gritty realism. Expect vibrant color palettes.
As a large-scale MMORPG intended to remain relevant for many years, the developers chose a timeless art style that avoids looking dated too quickly due to graphical advancements. This should help maintain future-proof visual quality.
Detailed free-hanging banners, intricately carved statues and stained glass windows are examples of background accents used to add life. Ambient creatures like colorful chirping birds enhance believability of spaces as “living worlds” rather than static backdrops.
Character Models and Animations
3D character models are realistically proportioned for the chosen art style rather than exaggerated. There is visual distinction between 8 archetypal classes based on cultural inspirations and backstories.
The level of detail on gear pieces like individually articulated plates of full plate armor sets moves beyond painted textures to contribute to the high-fantasy aesthetic. Animations are motion-captured for fluid, lifelike movement.
There is extensive customization available when first creating a character. Beyond aesthetic choices like hairstyle and facial features, physical attributes like height, body type, even birthmarks offer personalization. Emote animations let players roleplay too!
Environments and Effects
Each biome has distinct aesthetic qualities with appropriate vegetation and wildlife. Lush green forests brimming with fluttering birds contrast frigid alpine peaks with howling winds and drifting snow. Beasts like mammoth coats adapt to cold climates dynamically.
From crumbling ancient ruins claimed by creeping vines to thriving contemporary cities bustling with everyday life, there is environmental diversity spanning settlements at different stages of development, natural vistas free of civilization’s touch and more.
Magic plays a huge role in effects like elemental spells of fire, ice, lightning, light, darkness and other schools. These are vibrant and trend towards the flashy rather than subtle to visually communicate power and dynamism during combat. Destructible terrain demonstrates impact.
Music and Sound Design
The original soundtrack aims for an orchestral stylefrequently punctuated by choir chants and haunting vocals in foreign fantasy languages to sell the medieval mythic fantasy setting. Melodies range from whimsical and soothing to bombastic and epic.
Regional backgrounds feature 3D spatialized ambient sound effects like birds chirping in forests or gusting winds that subside when you enter cave dungeons. NPCs have snippets of voiced dialogue, though most quest dialogue remains text-based.
Spells produce satisfying impact sounds, from deep thrumming hums charging up to thunderous blasts. Steel clashing against steel heightens the immediacy of combat audio. Overall, audio immersion should match the level of graphical immersion.
System Requirements and Performance
Ashes of Creation is built using the Unreal Engine 4 with all the optimization potential and multi-platform export support it provides out of the box. The developers aim to offer broad hardware compatibility.
A. Minimum and Recommended Specs
Official minimum and recommended PC system requirements have not been announced yet. However, based on the scale of the game and graphics fidelity shown so far, we can extrapolate some probable specs.
Minimum requirements should allow 720p resolution gameplay targeting 30 FPS on graphics preset mixes favoring performance over quality. This means older quad core CPUs like Intel i5 models released 5+ years ago, 8 GB RAM, and GPUs at least as powerful as a Nvidia GTX 970 or AMD RX 480.
Recommended specs for smooth 1080p 60 FPS gameplay at high graphics presets means newer six or 8 core CPUs, 16GB RAM, and GPUs at least on par with a Nvidia RTX 2070 or AMD RX Vega 64. SSD storage is highly recommended.
Laptops meeting recommended specs released within the last two hardware generations should deliver playable performance. But high-end desktop PCs provide the most future-proof experience for this graphically intensive MMORPG.
B. Optimization and Scalability
Developers intend to leverage the scalability of Unreal Engine 4 to ensure good performance across a wide spectrum of hardware. There will be graphics options to tweak things like:
- Level of detail
- Shadow quality
- Texture quality
- Rendering resolution
- Post-processing effects
- View distance/level streaming
Tying game logic to framerate maintains CPU/GPU timing synchronization for smooth gameplay regardless of hardware power.
For less powerful rigs, effects like particle density can be reduced without severely compromising visual cohesion. Higher preset mixes scale up extraneous background details.
DX12 and Vulkan API support better utilizes multi-core CPUs. Ashes of Creation can scale across future hardware advancements to extend longevity as more powerful components release.
Server Performance and Stability
Server infrastructure utilizes cloud-based solutions rather than single standalone servers. This allows smoothing activity spikes across data centers to limit downtime and instability from routine maintenance or hardware failures.
Lag compensation techniques help minimize disruption from latency fluctuations. Position updates are more frequent so combat flows smoothly for participants even on connections up to 250ms pings. Actions validate quicker despite delays.
Of course, players with fiber broadband connections under 30ms pings will have the most responsive combat gameplay. But the servers are designed to gracefully handle 400 to 500 simultaneous players in the same immediate area before needing to instance overflow shards.
With cloud resources readily available to spin up more hardware, expanding server capacity will match increasing player populations over time to keep up with demand and maintain stability.
Overall, Intrepid Studios is dedicated to providing an optimized, scalable and stable platform using modern hosting solutions so that client hardware and server performance rarely inhibit enjoyment of this ambitious MMORPG for most gamers.
Monetization and Business Model
Ashes of Creation utilizes a hybrid business model. The game is buy-to-play, with optional subscriptions and cosmetic microtransactions as primary revenue streams rather than pay-to-win mechanics.
Subscription Fees and Microtransactions
Players purchase Ashes of Creation once then own it forever. There is an optional monthly subscription called a “Compendium” that grants some benefits. Cash shops offer cosmetic skins and mounts purchasable for real money.
The developers aim for “ethical monetization” that enhances without providing insurmountable advantages. The philosophy is allowing those with more money than time to catch up to hard-grinders, without invalidating effort invested.
Subscription perks like boosted currency generation applies equally rather than stacking unfairly. Items purchased with real money can also be earned through in-game activities at comparable rates. The playing field stays reasonably level.
Subscriptions fund regular content updates like new dungeons, gear/loot improvements and fresh end-game challenges on par with what expansion packs offer in traditional MMORPGs. Value matches cost.
Cosmetic Items and Mounts
The in-game cash shop focuses mainly on aesthetics that don’t impact combat performance. Mount skins, costume pieces, housing decorations, social pets and similar vanity enhancements make up most offerings.
Some species of mounts are only available as cash shop variants, but baseline mounts have comparable movement speeds. So purchasing remains completely optional sidegrade fluff rather than mandatory upgrades.
Again the aim isn’t to gate improvements behind paywalls, but provide non-combat lifestyle luxuries for those who value visual panache over combat effectiveness. And permitting patrons to indirectly fund the development that benefits all players.
Pay-to-Win Concerns and Community Feedback
MMOs relying too heavily on pay-to-win monetization often see community backlash, especially when advantages feel too unbalanced, diminishing the value of gameplay investment.
Intrepid Studios seems highly conscious about avoiding such resentment, actively soliciting player feedback during early access testing to help ensure nothing sold through microtransactions feels “mandatory” to remain competitive in activities like PvP.
Providing the very best gear still requires engaging heavily with crafting, dungeon runs, boss raids that take effort to master rather than merely swiping credit cards. At most the costs are time versus money, not power outright locked away from non-paying players.
The developers promise to walk this difficult tightrope carefully to offer reasonable convenience without introduce irreparable imbalance between payers and dedicated grinders. Only time will tell, but signs seem optimistic so far.
That covers they key business model concepts that will finance ongoing development and server operational costs once Ashes of Creation launches. As noted, the intent seems clearly to avoid alienating swathes of playerbase with overt pay-to-win schemes, which bodes well for community satisfaction.
End-Game Content and Player Progression
Reaching max level in Ashes of Creation opens up a variety of horizontal progression avenues rather than outright ending measurable advancement. Let’s look at some of the activities that encourage sticking around.
High-Level Dungeons and Raids
Upon hitting the level cap, the difficulty ceiling keeps escalating through instanced group dungeons and large-scale coordinated raids against truly epic adversaries.
These test skill mastery over class abilities and equipment synergies. Complex environmental mechanics intertwine with multi-phase boss movesets to punish the slightest misstep. Only conquering the ultimate challenges earns glowing prestige.
Success means steady access to the most coveted best-in-slot gear. Unique boss trophies and titles cement status as one of the greatest adventurers to ever set foot in the world of Verra!
PvP Arenas and Battlegrounds
Braving head-to-head competitions in Arena ladders and 20-person strong Battleground face-offs lets combat specialists demonstrate dominance against lethal human opponents.
Mastering all the tricks like animation canceling, skill combos, quick equipment hot-swapping mid-fight, timely application of potion buffs, makes the difference between glorious victory or inglorious defeat when two closely matched titans clash!
The thrill of hard-fought narrow wins against equally determined rivals provides adrenaline unlike any scripted PvE fight. Arena champions earn prizes like unique cosmetic weapons and armor to visually broadcast mastery.
C. World Bosses and Events
On a more casual level, world events centered around new seasonal festivals, bizarre interdimensional incursions summoning otherworldly monstrosities, even the occasional uprising of NPC factions normally confined to remote lands each provide repeatable mass group activities.
Some grandest battles erupt when notorious Dragons awaken from ancient slumbers to lay waste while working towards inscrutable agendas. Guild alliances band together to take down these legendary world threats that can appear unexpectedly anywhere in Verra.
World bosses have rotating loot tables, so there’s incentive to join these public events whenever they pop up. And they grant lucrative bounties of crafting currencies used to craft endgame gear in the player economy.
Endgame Gear and Rewards
The depth of crafting systems means best-in-slot equipment relies tremendously on player interdependence rather than pure solo grinding. Trading coveted rare crafting materials fuels the perpetual gear upgrade cycle.
Ancient schematics containing long lost secrets are key to producing each new power plateau introducing improved base attributes and special effects augmenting specific class synergies when combined as matched armor sets.
Buffing support classes to further empower heavy damage dealers raises entire groups to staggering potential. Perfect coordination actualizes astronomical ability potency beyond any individual limits. Community collaboration drives vertical improvement.
And everything resets upon major seasonal updates keeping the living world ecosystem dynamic while players aim to demonstrate peak power until the next rotation!
Ashes of Creation aims to revitalize the MMORPG genre by providing an immersive high fantasy world focused on impactful large-scale combat, deep crafting systems leveraging a player-driven economy, and world building centered around player agency influencing dynamically transforming node settlements.
Key features setting it apart from traditional themepark MMOs include the node system promoting conflict-centric gameplay reversing the leveling process when settlements delevel during invasion wars, ambitious castle sieges with real consequence, and the sheer scale supported for epic battles with up to 500 simultaneous players clashing on screen.
The graphics engine provides beautiful stylized visuals capable of running smoothly on mid-range gaming PCs and laptops for approachable hardware requirements that should remain viable for years to come. Performance optimization keeps framerates high while allowing tweaking to suit disparate setups.
Creative augmentation systems permit extensive diversification of abilities when combining classes and talents for unique hybrid builds rather than rigid archetypes. Crafting depth empowers merchants and artisans to make meaningful impacts supplying goods underpinning the player economy.
Optional subscription monetization funds regular content updates while ethical microtransactions allow spenders to catch up without invalidating the progress of grinders, aiming for convenient value propositions rather than pay-to-win advantages that disrupt balance integrity.
Endgame progression embraces horizontal gear treadmills pursuable through crafting upgrades, PvP ranking ladders, peak instanced PvE challenges offering prestige cosmetics or titles, and engaging large-scale world events open to all levels rather than outright concluding advancement.
Ashes of Creation ambitiously attempts to check all boxes delivering everything fans love about MMORPG gaming layered beneath novel innovations chartering new directions for the genre. If potential fully actualizes during remaining production polishment, it may shape interactive fantasy persistent worlds for years to come!