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Alpha-1 castle sieges

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Trebuchets in the Alpha-1 preview castle siege attackers headquarter camp.[2]

Alpha-1 castle sieges are based on Ashes of Creation Apocalypse castle sieges.[4][5]

  • Players will be able to join guilds. These guilds can register for the siege events.[2]
  • Castle siege events will be 100v100 battles that occur daily and will last for three hours.[2]
  • Attackers will start on the opposite end of the map (from the defenders).[2]
  • Attackers will be able to use trebuchets to drive to and assault the castle.[2]
    • Trebuchets have a single primary fire that does a small amount of damage to players and heavy damage to buildings.[2]
    • Trebuchets will be fully physical when they are being driven.[2]
  • When the attackers have breached the castle they will be able to channel a cast on the relic in the throne room to try to capture the castle from the defenders.[2]
  • The victors of castle sieges will receive benefits, such as cloaks, flying mounts for guild leaders and potentially also for guild officers.[2]
  • Alpha-1 castle sieges are in a separate zone that is accessible via a NPC teleporter.[6][7][8]
    Currently the siege zone is actually in the open world, but separated by mountains and off in the sea a bit. There is actually no instancing in A1, although the siege zone will only be accessible in A1 through a registration NPC teleporter.[6]Steven Sharif
  • The opposing team is notified when these raid bosses are being attacked.[4]
  • Teams who get the last hit on these bosses will receive buffs that will help them in the siege battle.[4]

Last year, I spoke of attempting to incorporate sieges into the Alpha One experience. This has obviously been a goal of mine because it provides considerable data and a consistent event within the world that players can participate in to help stress test the deployment. Well, I am happy to say that it is appearing more and more likely by the day! Initial implementation of the Apocalypse siege code has been migrated into the Alpha One client, and we should begin internal testing next month. I will caveat this expectation with the fact that we are cutting it a bit close from an internal QA standpoint, but I have some confidence that the system will be online and capable of inclusion for the Alpha One test in the month of June. The siege component will obviously not be representative of what the siege system will be at launch, or even in Alpha Two.[5]Steven Sharif

Siege weapons

Trebuchet siege weapon in Alpha-1 castle sieges preview.[10]

It wouldn’t be a castle siege without siege weapons. These are massive machines of war that enable attackers to bring down the walls, and defenders to keep their keep safe. Crafters can bring their own powerful schematics to the battlefield, or you can order baseline siege weapons from your friendly neighborhood siege master NPC. The Castle’s defenders will be able to deploy their own defensive weapons and turrets based on how well they maintained and defended their own Nodes. The sky will be illuminated with fire and fury.[11]

Siege weapons are able to be crafted or purchased from NPCs.[13]

Part of this endeavor of sieging a player-held location (or non-player-held location) is time to prepare; and that includes gathering and crafting these mega weapons or collecting the resources: Whether it be gold or specific quest items to purchase from NPCs.[13]Steven Sharif

Anything that you want to bring into existence in the world is going to be built by players: Whether that is Ships, Siege engines, Weapons, Armor, etc.[15]Jeffrey Bard

There will be ways to repair destructible structures (such as walls and gates) and also repair (or re-craft) siege weapons that were damaged during sieges.[9]

  • This is a long term design goal that will not be present during Alpha-1.[9]

Server prime-time

Objective-based events such as Node sieges, Castle sieges, Guild wars, and Node wars will occur within a prime-time window somewhere between 3PM and 9PM server time. This is subject to testing.[16][17][18]

Alpha-1 combat revamp

Alpha-1 split-body melee weapon combat sneak peek.[19]

I can move while swinging on this guy. I can back up then continue to attack him. Just have complete control over my character while attacking.[19]Steven Sharif

A revamped combat system will be rolled out during and post Alpha-1 testing based on player feedback.[20][21][22]

  • The goal is to give more agency to the player and achieve a more fluid flow of combat with greater mobility when using abilities.[23][24]
  • The current hybrid tab and action combat system will remain after the revamp.[23]
  • This revamp will not represent the final form of combat, but will set the general direction that combat will be taking.[25]
  • The revamp will be iterative and will be rolled out to testers in different phases.[24]

The revamped combat system will feature split-body animations, where the character's upper body can be locked by weapon attack animations while the lower body is free to continue moving.[19][26][27]

You'll be able to move forward while swinging your weapon; and this will allow you complete control over your weapon attacks for melee.[19]Steven Sharif

Alpha-1 testing is initially focused on core functionality rather than combat balance.[27]

Q: Based on recent feedback, what direction are you leaning towards in regards to split-body versus root-motion?
A: We are leaning towards split body.[28]Steven Sharif

Alpha-1 PvE content

PvE content in Alpha-1:

There's over 200 quests in the game right now. There's a bunch of dungeons. We've retooled all of the boss fights. Those dragons that you see in the siege are also in the world- part of the open-world too. There will be a slightly different- there are some extra mechanics in the siege versions versus the ones that are in the world, but there's plenty of cool things to get on both of them, so make sure you check them out and hunt them down.[7]Jeffrey Bard

Alpha-1 playtest schedule

Hail and well met glorious Ashes of Creation testers. My name is Sean Farrens. I am the manager of quality assurance on Ashes of Creation and on behalf of the Ashes QA team I would like to extend a deep and heartfelt thank you to everyone who participated in testing Ashes of Creation during the weekend of May 14 through May 16th for our Alpha 1 build. In spite of instability and uncertainty you have all proven to be invaluable in regards to your feedback and bug reports; and for that I cannot express my gratitude enough. As many of you know, developing an MMORPG is an epic endeavor that is filled with trials and tribulations that no other kind of game will ever encounter; and your illustrated dedication has proven to our team that we are on a high road to the best MMORPG gaming experience to date. During this most recent testing period we received over 2,600 bug reports, which have been an absolute boon to our testing process. We review each report individually and I continue to be impressed with how detailed and helpful each of these reports has been. Like seriously you guys give repro steps and everything. Super duper handy. I greatly look forward to your feedback in the future and hope you enjoy our content so far, so thank you so much everybody.[34]Sean Farrens

While we will have specific spot tests for certain systems as we develop them post the Alpha one month, it should be expected and understood that after this Alpha one month there will be probably a significant amount of downtime where there won't be spot testing as we kind of break apart a lot of systems, take what we learned from alpha one month and implement and iterate upon those learnings. So there's gonna be several months probably worth of significant downtime where there will not be access to spot testing, where we are going to go in and really rejigger a lot of systems[35]Steven Sharif

Phase Release Estimated/Actual date
Alpha-1 Alpha-1 early preview livestream.[36] March 27, 2020.[37]
Alpha-1 limited QA testing (NDA).[38][39] May 28, 2020.[40][41]
Alpha-1 preview pre-test 1 (NDA).[29] Dec 18 - Dec 21 2020.[29]
Alpha-1 preview pre-test 2 (NDA).[29] Feb 19 - Feb 22 2021.[42][43]
Alpha-1 preview intermittent spot testing (NDA).[44][45] Mar 19 - Jul 9 2021.[44][45]
Alpha-1 preview weekend (no NDA).[44] July 9 - July 11 2021.[46][47][44]
Alpha-1 (no NDA).[44] July 14 - August 15 2021.[48][49]
Alpha-1 intermittent spot testing.[35][50] After August 15 2021.[35][49]

Read more...

The term "alpha" is a tricky one, and it typically has 2 meanings in gaming. The development meaning for alpha is a point in the process where we are ready to test the fundamental systems in their core form, without polish and without much of the content. Then, there is the external or "marketing" term for alpha. This is typically applied to Eastern-ported MMORPGs, when in fact that is a completed game being localized for a region, and not really indicative of a true development alpha. As you may know by now, game development has many stages - from the initial tech demos to the pre-production and pre-alpha states, then on to the alphas and betas and eventually launch.[29]Steven Sharif

I want to make emphatically clear, our alphas and betas are true development alphas and betas, and some have said I am crazy to allow these phases to be seen without an NDA…maybe I am crazy? lol… But I am trusting the community of gamers out there to get a glimpse into the process, and understand the long road ahead for what will eventually be worth the wait. Given time and talent, amazing things can happen, so make sure you help us in communicating that we are in open development which means people get to see the bare bones before the meat. And look, I know people see our 4K footage and say, "This looks better than most released games!", but trust me when I say, you ain't seen nothin’ yet.[29]Steven Sharif

Alpha-1 testing goals

Server deployment and performance testing
  • Stress-test our server deployments and player concurrency numbers with high volumes of player activity and interactions.[44]
  • Stand up multiple world server deployments across different geographical regions.[44]
  • Soak test server grid health over a continuous period of production use.[44]
  • Evaluate current networking architecture, and identify non-performant code and areas for additional optimizations or refactoring.[44]
  • Test our build strategy and hot-fix deployment procedures, account services, web-based systems, launcher and patcher stability, and cloud-based infrastructure.[44]
System functionalities and behavior testing (in their core state)
Player character systems (in their core state)
Ancillary systems (in their core state)

The above is not a comprehensive list of everything being tested in Alpha One, but it hits the primary points. There are many other data metrics being collected for our approach to the content production pipelines, system definitions, and refactoring as well. Not to mention a plethora of technical art implications and optimizations, but you get the gist. This is a very fundamental test that will impact the direction of development post-Alpha One, so you can understand the importance of testing and its need for player participation, attention, and feedback.[44]Steven Sharif

Alpha-1 testing zone (Alpha island)

Map of Alpha-1 testing zone.[51][52] Image credit: Axiom: Angelcry

The Alpha One map including nodes, dungeons, quest givers, POI, teleporters, and camps will be explorable! Note that this is only a small portion of the world of Verra.[53]

Alpha-1 testing tropical zone featuring a war beast and a tribe of pigmy goblins.[54]

This is a rather large tropical area; and what we use some of the creatures for is kind of like establishing character for different parts of this tropical place. So that even though it's the same biome, it feels different when you are going from place to place based on what's there and how those things are interacting with the environment.[55]Jeffrey Bard

Alpha-1 testing takes place in a zone to the north west of the world map.[56] This zone has many islands and a mainland area.[57]

Alpha-1 availability

Pre-order pack upgrades are possible for current pack holders for the difference in price.[67][68][69] Upgrades to Kickstarter and Summer crowdfunding packs are also available in the store for the difference in package price.[70]

Artwork

Videos

See also

References

  1. Video, 28 May 2021 (24:44).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Video, 30 April 2021 (19:25).
  3. Video, 28 May 2021 (19:04).
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Video, 30 April 2021 (13:02).
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Blog: Creative Director's Letter, April 14 2021
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 steven-siege-zone.png
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 Livestream, 30 April 2021 (41:18).
  8. 8.0 8.1 Podcast, 11 April 2021 (49:40).
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Livestream, 28 May 2021 (1:04:29).
  10. Video, 28 May 2021 (25:44).
  11. Blog: 10 facts about castle sieges in the MMORPG.
  12. Video, 28 May 2021 (11:55).
  13. 13.0 13.1 Livestream, 18 January 2018 (37:05).
  14. Interview, 8 August 2018 (20:49).
  15. Livestream, 24 May 2017 (17:08).
  16. Interview, 29 July 2020 (31:05).
  17. Interview, 18 July 2020 (13:13).
  18. Interview, 8 July 2020 (22:37).
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 Livestream, 30 July 2021 (31:22).
  20. Livestream, 28 May 2021 (1:14:50).
  21. steven-combat-revamp-update.png
  22. Video, 26 February 2021 (6:17).
  23. 23.0 23.1 steven-combat-revamp-update-2.png
  24. 24.0 24.1 Livestream, 26 February 2021 (27:41).
  25. Interview, 7 February 2021 (49:18).
  26. Interview, 13 June 2021 (4:12).
  27. 27.0 27.1 Livestream, 28 May 2021 (1:13:05).
  28. Livestream, 27 August 2021 (1:15:39).
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 29.3 29.4 29.5 Blog: Creative Director's Letter, October 16 2020
  30. 30.0 30.1 Newsletter, 7 August 2018
  31. Livestream, 26 March 2021 (42:28).
  32. Interview, 7 February 2021 (35:30).
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 Livestream, 26 March 2021 (39:08).
  34. Livestream, 28 May 2021 (1:36:43).
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 Livestream, 30 July 2021 (20:30).
  36. March 2020 newsletter.
  37. Video, 23 March 2020 (0:01).
  38. alpha-1-nda-2.png
  39. alpha-1-nda-1.png
  40. steven-a1-testing-start.png
  41. Creative Director's Letter, 1 April 2020.
  42. Livestream, 26 February 2021 (14:58).
  43. Blog: Creative Director's Letter, January 2021.
  44. 44.00 44.01 44.02 44.03 44.04 44.05 44.06 44.07 44.08 44.09 44.10 44.11 44.12 44.13 44.14 44.15 Alpha One Schedule Update, May 10 2021.
  45. 45.0 45.1 An Update on Alpha One Schedule, March 12 2021
  46. steven-a1preview-end.png
  47. Ashes of Creation Twitter - Alpha-1 Preview Weekend Begins
  48. alpha-1-end.png
  49. 49.0 49.1 49.2 49.3 release-dates.png
  50. alpha-1-tests.png
  51. Alpha-1 screenshot.
  52. toast-a1map.png
  53. Guide to Alpha One.
  54. 54.0 54.1 Livestream, 30 November 2020 (12:09).
  55. 55.0 55.1 55.2 55.3 55.4 Livestream, 30 November 2020 (22:43).
  56. 56.0 56.1 Livestream, 30 November 2020 (9:51).
  57. 57.0 57.1 alpha-1-map-size.png
  58. Livestream, 26 March 2021 (16:05).
  59. steven-a1-map.png
  60. Interview, 19 July 2020 (1:21:49).
  61. Podcast, 11 April 2021 (53:01).
  62. Livestream, 30 November 2020 (25:45).
  63. steven-pi-not-alpha-island.png
  64. Livestream, 29 January 2021 (26:38).
  65. Livestream, 16 October 2017 (12:08).
  66. Livestream, 30 November 2020 (24:51).
  67. 67.0 67.1 67.2 Livestream, 30 April 2021 (4:02).
  68. steven-alpha-1-sales.png
  69. steven-a1-upgrade.png
  70. crowdfunding-packs.png
  71. 71.0 71.1 Ashes of Creation Store: May cosmetics.