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 – Steven Sharif
|Alpha-1||Alpha-1 early preview livestream.||March 27, 2020.|
|Alpha-1 limited QA testing (NDA).||May 28, 2020.|
|Alpha-1 preview pre-test 1 (NDA).||Dec 18 - Dec 21 2020.|
|Alpha-1 preview pre-test 2 (NDA).||Feb 19 - Feb 22 2021.|
|Alpha-1 preview intermittent spot testing (NDA).||Mar 19 - Jul 9 2021.|
|Alpha-1 preview weekend (no NDA).||July 9 - July 11 2021.|
|Alpha-1 (no NDA).||July 14 - August 15 2021.|
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. – 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. – 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.
- Stand up multiple world server deployments across different geographical regions.
- Soak test server grid health over a continuous period of production use.
- Evaluate current networking architecture, and identify non-performant code and areas for additional optimizations or refactoring.
- Test our build strategy and hot-fix deployment procedures, account services, web-based systems, launcher and patcher stability, and cloud-based infrastructure.
- System functionalities and behavior testing (in their core state)
- Node features (In their core state).
- Experience collection – The ability for nodes to collect and store accrued experience from players in their Zone of influence and for this data to persist in a global hierarchy of the node matrix.
- Propagation – The ability for nodes to advance in stages, reflecting the appropriate advancements in the following: culture, layout, quest hooks, spawners, crafting and processing stations, NPCs, service buildings, merchant tables, prop placement, housing, citizenship, government systems (election, appointment, terms, admin interface) and taxes, |points of interest propagation and advancement, public projects, and parenting/vassal hierarchy.
- Player character systems (in their core state)
- Experience collection and persistence, experience debt, death effects, corruption and flagging, inventory systems, character paper doll and equipable items, property ownership and player storage, stats and waterfall derivatives, combat and ability systems, tab and action states, race and class selection and their customization, movement and character states, looting and party management systems.
- Ancillary systems (in their core state)
- Caravans, drop, spawn, and reward table adaptations, player trading, mount and vehicle systems, raid and party functionality, guild progression and persistence, guild hierarchy, chat systems, customized AI behavior trees, boss functionality, harvesting prerequisites and procedural resource spawners, recipes and craft station systems, interactable containers and objects, global event manager, siege and battleground systems, open world traversal and dungeon design, quest and narrative dialogue setup.
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. – Steven Sharif
Alpha-1 combat revamp
A revamped combat system will be rolled out during and post Alpha-1 testing based on player feedback.
- The goal is to give more agency to the player and achieve a more fluid flow of combat with greater mobility when using abilities.
- The current hybrid tab and action combat system will remain after the revamp.
- This revamp will not represent the final form of combat, but will set the general direction that combat will be taking.
- The revamp will be iterative and will be rolled out to testers in different phases.
- The developers will be testing whether or not to use global cooldowns GCDs on different types of abilities during Alpha-2.
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.
- You'll be able to move forward while swinging your weapon; and this will allow you complete control over your weapon attacks for melee. – Steven Sharif
Alpha-1 combat was focused on core functionality rather than combat balance. Alpha-2 combat will include archetypes, significant ability support, augments, split-body combat, weapon attacks, and many additional items, among other things.
- Changes that allow templated abilities to apply to 3D positions in the air or water will be prototyped and may be included in Alpha-2.
Pre-order pack upgrades are possible for current pack holders for the difference in price. Upgrades to Kickstarter and Summer crowdfunding packs are also available in the store for the difference in package price.
- August 15, 2018 was the last day for purchases of Alpha-1 through Intrepid pre-order packs (History).
- August 13, 2021 was the last day for purchases of Alpha-1 through the Adventurer pre-order pack (History).
Alpha-1 testing is available to the following participants:
- Anyone who won and claimed an Alpha-1 Key through a giveaway.
- Adventurer pre-order pack and Intrepid pre-order pack owners.
- Braver of worlds, Leader of men, Royalty, Hero of the people, and Avatar of the phoenix Kickstarter and summer campaign backers.
- Official content creators.
There were approximately 9,600 participants in Alpha-1 testing as of August, 2018.
- As of May 31, 2021, just under 5k additional participants have been added since Alpha-1 sales resumed. Less refunds and unclaimed codes, leaves a total of slightly over 13k testers.
- The weekend test of May 27, 2021 saw 5,300 unique logins over the 3 day period.
There were roughly 9600 if I recall A1 participants prior to my closing the preorder packs in 2018. Since opening them up again there have been just under 5k additional participants added. And prolly around 300 refunds give or take. Of the roughly 14,000 a1 testers, there are still about 1k unredeemed ks codes which leaves a little over 13k testers? The weekend test saw 5300 unique logins over the 3-day period. And I think discord flags stand around 4k roughly? – Steven Sharif
Alpha-1 castle sieges
Alpha-1 castle sieges are based on Ashes of Creation Apocalypse castle sieges.
- Players will be able to join guilds. These guilds can register for the siege events.
- Castle siege events will be 100v100 battles that occur daily and will last for three hours.
- Attackers will start on the opposite end of the map (from the defenders).
- Attackers will be able to use trebuchets to drive to and assault the castle.
- 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.
- The victors of castle sieges will receive benefits, such as cloaks, flying mounts for guild leaders and potentially also for guild officers.
- Alpha-1 castle sieges are in a separate zone that is accessible via a NPC teleporter.
- 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. – Steven Sharif
- This zone includes the following raid bosses.
- These bosses will also appear in the open-world (outside the siege zone) with slightly different mechanics.
- The opposing team is notified when these raid bosses are being attacked.
- Teams who get the last hit on these bosses will receive buffs that will help them in the siege battle.
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. – Steven Sharif
- Destructible structures (such as walls and gates) are present in Alpha-1 castle sieges.
- The ability to repair structures (and siege weapons) is a long term design goal that will not be present during Alpha-1.
Alpha-1 PvE content
- There are over 200 quests in Alpha-1.
- Approximately 10 percent of the artisan system will be online in Alpha-1.
- There are approximately 49 unique gear sets obtainable in Alpha-1.
- These are unique sets with different stats, but some may be similar in appearance.
- There is no instancing in Alpha-1.
- Approximately 6 or 7 dungeons with one almost raid-level difficulty.
- Two world bosses requiring party-sized groups.
- One true 40 person raid boss.
- Alpha-1 castle sieges occur in a zone that is accessible via a NPC teleporter.
- This zone includes three Elder dragon raid bosses.
- These bosses will also appear in the open world outside the siege zone with slightly different mechanics.
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. – Jeffrey Bard
Artisan classes in Alpha-1
Artisan classes (Gathering, Processing, Crafting) is expected to come online fully in Alpha-2 and the Betas.
- Approximately 10 percent of the artisan system was online in Alpha-1.
- Crafting honestly will not come online in any sense of its true form until Alpha-2. Alpha-1 has essentially what are intended to be the core gameplay loop of crafting, meaning the collection of materials, the translation of those materials into processed goods, and the use of those processed goods into item acquisition. That's the core gameplay loop that is currently present in Alpha-1. But those are mostly facilitated kind of piggy backing the merchant systems right now and not actually using the real crafting system; and that's because crafting hasn't been completed in a form that can be implemented in Alpha-1, but will be for Alpha-2. What's present in Alpha-1 doesn't even really scratch the surface for crafting. – Steven Sharif
Alpha-1 servers are provisioned in the following regions.
- US East.
- US West.
- EU East.
- EU West.
Alpha-1 servers will support 1,500 concurrently connected users per server.
Alpha and Beta servers will be wiped prior to launch.
As a general rule, if the testing phase contains the word Alpha, it is safe to assume there will likely be wipes. – Steven Sharif
Alpha-1 testing prior to the full release of Alpha-1 was covered by NDA.
- NDA review and acceptance is done via the game client.
- The text and voice NDA was lifted from the PI QA testing phase on May 28, 2020.
- The verbal NDA was lifted from Alpha-1 preview testing, and future testing, on May 17, 2021.
- The NDA was lifted on July 9, 2021 for the three day Alpha-1 preview weekend test.
- The NDA was lifted on July 14, 2021 for Alpha-1.
We are extremely excited to invite folks to this glorious milestone of our development journey with NO NDA as we want everyone to be able to provide feedback unfiltered. During Alpha One testing, we'll be looking for your feedback specifically on the following things: download and installation process, client performance, and server performance.
Alpha testing system requirements
Ashes of Creation alpha testing minimum system specification. These system specs have not changed for Unreal Engine 5.
- Operating System: Windows 10 64-Bit
- Processor: Intel Core i3-2125 3.3GHz / AMD Phenom II X4 3.3GHz
- Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 750 Ti or AMD Radeon R9 270
- Memory: 8 GB RAM
- Network: Broadband Internet connection
- Storage: 50 GB of available space
- Sound Card: DirectX Compatible Sound Card
- Operating System: Windows 10 64-Bit
- Processor: Intel Core i7-6700K 4.0GHz / AMD FX-9590 4.7GHz
- Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon R9 Fury with 4GB and DirectX 12
- Memory: 16 GB RAM
- Network: Broadband Internet connection
- Storage: 50 GB of available space
- Sound Card: DirectX Compatible Sound Card
Alpha testing zone
Alpha-1 testing took place in a zone to the north west of the world map. This zone has many islands and a mainland area.
- The Alpha-1 starting area is set in the ruins of an Pyrian divine gateway.
- There are 12 different (sub)zones in the Alpha-1 testing location.
- The Alpha-1 map was approximately 70 km2 of playable area.
- Alpha island (also called Alpha-0 island) was the first open-world testing zone for Alpha-1 participants.
- There are approximately 4 biomes in Alpha-1: Flood plains, Desert (Desert), Snowy mountains, Forest.
- Temporary teleportation points will be present in early tests until ships are introduced later in the alpha testing.
- ↑ Livestream, May 28, 2021 (1:36:43).
- ↑ Livestream, July 30, 2021 (20:30).
- ↑ March 2020 newsletter.
- ↑ Video, March 23, 2020 (0:01).
- ↑ 6.0 6.1
- ↑ Creative Director's Letter, 2020-04-1.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 Blog: Creative Director's Letter, October 16 2020
- ↑ Livestream, February 26, 2021 (14:58).
- ↑ Blog: Creative Director's Letter, January 2021.
- ↑ 12.00 12.01 12.02 12.03 12.04 12.05 12.06 12.07 12.08 12.09 12.10 12.11 12.12 12.13 12.14 12.15 12.16 Alpha One Schedule Update, May 10 2021.
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 An Update on Alpha One Schedule, March 12 2021
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 Ashes of Creation Twitter - Alpha-1 Preview Weekend Begins
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 17.2
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 Livestream, July 30, 2021 (31:22).
- ↑ Livestream, May 28, 2021 (1:14:50).
- ↑ Video, February 26, 2021 (6:17).
- ↑ 22.0 22.1
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 Livestream, February 26, 2021 (27:41).
- ↑ Interview, February 7, 2021 (49:18).
- ↑ Livestream, July 29, 2022 (1:05:20).
- ↑ Interview, June 13, 2021 (4:12).
- ↑ 27.0 27.1 Livestream, May 28, 2021 (1:13:05).
- ↑ Livestream, May 27, 2022 (1:11:41).
- ↑ Livestream, May 27, 2022 (1:16:17).
- ↑ 30.0 30.1 30.2 Livestream, April 30, 2021 (4:02).
- ↑ 35.0 35.1 35.2 35.3 35.4 35.5 Ashes of Creation Store: May cosmetics.
- ↑ 36.0 36.1 36.2 36.3 36.4 Blog: Creative Director's Letter, April 14 2021
- ↑ 37.0 37.1 37.2 37.3
- ↑ Livestream, August 17, 2018 (24:07).
- ↑ Video, May 28, 2021 (24:44).
- ↑ 40.0 40.1 40.2 40.3 40.4 40.5 40.6 40.7 40.8 Video, April 30, 2021 (19:25).
- ↑ Video, May 28, 2021 (19:04).
- ↑ 42.0 42.1 42.2 42.3 42.4 Video, April 30, 2021 (13:02).
- ↑ 43.0 43.1 43.2 43.3
- ↑ 44.0 44.1 44.2 44.3 44.4 44.5 44.6 44.7 44.8 44.9 Livestream, April 30, 2021 (41:18).
- ↑ 45.0 45.1 Podcast, April 11, 2021 (49:40).
- ↑ 46.0 46.1 Livestream, May 28, 2021 (1:04:29).
- ↑ 47.0 47.1 47.2 Livestream, March 26, 2021 (42:28).
- ↑ 48.0 48.1 48.2 48.3 Interview, February 7, 2021 (35:30).
- ↑ 49.0 49.1 49.2 Livestream, March 26, 2021 (39:08).
- ↑ 50.00 50.01 50.02 50.03 50.04 50.05 50.06 50.07 50.08 50.09 50.10 50.11 Alpha-1 screenshot.
- ↑ 51.0 51.1 51.2 51.3 51.4 51.5 51.6 Alpha-1 screenshot.
- ↑ 53.0 53.1 Interview, July 19, 2020 (1:21:49).
- ↑ Alpha one test schedule, Mar 12, 2021.
- ↑ Livestream, November 30, 2020 (7:27).
- ↑ 58.0 58.1
- ↑ 59.0 59.1 Livestream, May 29, 2020 (31:37).
- ↑ 62.0 62.1 62.2 Guide to Alpha One.
- ↑ 63.0 63.1
- ↑ Livestream, March 26, 2021 (12:34).
- ↑ 65.0 65.1 What are the minimum requirements for Alpha?
- ↑ Livestream, December 23, 2021 (49:39).
- ↑ Livestream, December 23, 2021 (42:09).
- ↑ Alpha-1 screenshot.
- ↑ 70.0 70.1 Livestream, November 30, 2020 (12:09).
- ↑ 71.0 71.1 71.2 71.3 71.4 Livestream, November 30, 2020 (22:43).
- ↑ 72.0 72.1 Livestream, November 30, 2020 (9:51).
- ↑ 73.0 73.1
- ↑ Livestream, March 26, 2021 (16:05).
- ↑ Interview, January 14, 2022 (3:50).
- ↑ Podcast, April 11, 2021 (53:01).
- ↑ Livestream, November 30, 2020 (25:45).
- ↑ Livestream, January 29, 2021 (26:38).
- ↑ Livestream, October 16, 2017 (12:08).
- ↑ Livestream, November 30, 2020 (24:51).