Author Topic: What's the story with Ashes of Creation?  (Read 311 times)

Bellofici

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What's the story with Ashes of Creation?
« on: May 10, 2017, 09:19:31 pm »
Definitely a bit TL;DR, but for those that may have read up or are curious about Ashes of Creation...

Been following this game for a few months now and while much is a rinse and repeat MMO, I do find something appealing about their strategy to address stale content and encourage player vs player behavior in the form of their node system. The idea here is that the map is broken up into areas of influence and each area (or node as they call it) has a unique set of story based code locked away and brought to the surface when certain conditions become true. Such conditions could be aligned with how the node develops - does it take on a more agrarian style of farms and resource gathering or more of a industrial feel with forges and manufacturing. How exactly does the settlement of houses within the node take shape and as a result, does development uncover some hidden secret, tomb, or cavern that unlocks further mysteries or, in one such example, a sleeping dragon that lays waste to the node.

The idea is then that the inhabitants of the node, expecting to be a collection of guilds or like minded people, can decide if they band together to defeat the dragon or move on. There is also a sense of an economy that, given the scale of the maps and how goods are transported, indicates each node will have its own prices, markets, and offerings depending upon what resources are present within that node and local supply and demand. Furthermore, there is a concept of PvP and laying siege to these larger settlements as guilds and individuals battle against each other for land and resources and, let's be frank, just because they can. This is where it gets interesting.

I get the sense that Ashes of Creation are trying to build a living environment but one that can scale given in the end - is still just a damn game that is not limitless. Concepts that are uncovered in one node through hardship and peril may be much closer to the surface in other nodes. Aspects of the narrative also become unlocked or exposed as nodes develop, furthering this concept around a living world that can scale accordingly with development. Furthermore, the developer will use these nodes to interweave new content as some nodes develop at a rate faster than another. These nodes are completely behind the scenes at first, but as people complete quests, explore, and settle within the area of the node, certain other quests or areas are unlocked, encouraging guilds and players in general to band together to progress both themselves as a player and the node around them. This design encourages guild activity but is largely based around similar concepts to that of public quests seen in GW2 and WAR (from at least my experience of those games).

Nodes fall into one of four categories - military, divine, economic, and scientific. As the node advances, additional story lines become available that are aligned with the node's affinity. A node then advances from say a basic wilderness of folks hunting and gathering to a metropolis with castles, walls, and siege defenses (over time of course).

Where the kicker comes in is that as one node develops, neighboring nodes suffer. The idea is to facilitate and foster that competitive nature - that as one is more successful, richer, and better off, others covet what they don't have. As this gap between the haves and have-nots increases, so too does the risk of conflict, which is a huge component of this game. Those that care about economic growth and engage in that gameplay may succeed in so much that rival military and scientific nodes begin to suffer, causing residents in those nodes to band together to 'go to war' with those in the economic node. What's crazy is that every node can be completely destroyed and wiped back to is most basic level, or its starting point. So while yes, one could avoid PvP, its very clear that the design is such to encourage it or at least force someone to fight for the continuity of the world they have developed around them, and the developers are simply going to watch human behavior play out (no doubt fostering certain conditions as gods of the game should things need to be spiced up a bit). Each server then in turn will have a completely different engagement and successes (or failures) depending upon how the players interact with the environment and develop the nodes around them. I can see this causing very polarizing opinions and views of this game and the node behavior, especially from someone who spent a lot of time developing a dying node just to watch it be leveled because no one but themselves cared enough to defend it...

A pretty good video of nodes can seen here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMvubbX-SHg.

While they just started their kickstarter (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1791529601/ashes-of-creation-new-mmorpg-by-intrepid-studios), the core game is already funded. The kickstarter was a way to gauge interest and of course get that basic sense of who's willing to buy a game that is extremely early in its development. Most of the kickstarter rewards are trivial things, with perhaps the exception of naval exploration which was unlocked already. They do have some pretty advanced pre-alpha footage that looks pretty good but it's largely based upon the environment and the node system and not around player and class mechanics. That being said, they've managed to raise nearly 1.7 mil in the first week of the kickstarter. They have over 100K users registered on the forums, and nearly 10,000 backers already pledged.
 
Definitely a game I'm going to be watching just because its taking a different approach to living story and how to engineer for it. Not to mention for me it has a very EVE like life of its own that each server can take on depending upon the players. Curious if anyone else is following this game or has some thoughts about the viability of this approach in the MMO space?
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Quethel

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Re: What's the story with Ashes of Creation?
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2017, 06:17:17 am »
Sounds intriguing. Looking into the team I'm not sure they can pull it off, but I'll remain hopeful. One thing for certain, the MMO market is hungry for games that let you shape the world.
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