- In terms of what came before, we're trying to figure out who did what best and take inspiration from that: Move the genre forward; keep things updated and bring it into the 21st century. – Jeffrey Bard
- Eve Online with its regionalized economy and risk vs reward in transportation.
- ArcheAge with its building systems, transportation and naval combat.
- Star Wars Galaxies with its crafting systems.
- Lineage II with its risk vs reward, castle sieges, flagging, open world PvP and guild progression.
- A lot of the systems in Lineage 2 were based around a concept that got lost today in mmorpgs, and that's risk versus reward. You know this idea that the more you risk the greater potential reward should be present is a complete paradigm shift away from everyone's a winner, everybody gets a participation reward, and here you go, congratulations you're a player in this game; and that's boring. It gives nothing for a person to aspire to achieve something, or to feel the bite of loss when you fail. Those are the driving forces of why people want to play games and it's a reason why new games when they come out have such a short lifespan, because they are always competing with WOW. You don't have to compete with WOW. You don't have to be a WOW killer. You can focus on something that is different from a philosophical design standpoint; and I think that's just what a lot of studios today don't want to take the risk on. – Steven Sharif
While Ashes of Creation took inspiration from Lineage II (and other games) it has also addressed several flaws in the implementation of those games. The approach of the flagging system in Ashes of Creation is to further disincentivize griefing while still allowing the system to keep risk relevant in the open-world setting.
First and foremost, PvP in Ashes exists in both opt-in systems and events, as well as our open world flagging system. And while it is true that I enjoyed and took much inspiration from games like Lineage 2, we have innovated and adapted our approach to Ashes’ flagging system in order to further disincentivize griefing while still allowing the system to keep risk relevant in the open world setting. The overwhelming majority of player’s experiences with PvP in Ashes will be through consensual systems like caravans, sieges, wars, the open sea and other events. Players will make a choice to participate in those systems or not. And if they choose to participate there will be significant rewards for success. – Steven Sharif
- PvP in Ashes of Creation exists in both opt-in systems and events as well as open-world PvP with a flagging (and corruption) system.
In the open world, when competing for the scarcity of resources, raids, dungeons and or hunting grounds, an important element of risk vs reward is introduced through our flagging system. Players must be aware of their surroundings and the reputation of other players who may be in proximity. The flagging system is intended to always provide an element of risk in all settings, but also architected to ensure that griefing and PK’ing is almost never worth it. The subtleties of this system are complex, which is of course why it will require considerable testing and feedback. – Steven Sharif
- Corruption gain takes into account level disparity between the attacker and the player that was killed. The greater the disparity the higher the corruption accrued. Corruption penalties occur as the corruption is gained.
These are all things that I've changed in the system that help to safeguard some of those loopholes. Now of course, as we said, we can't and we don't want to 100% remove the ability for that risk to be alive- for that risk to be realized. But what we do want to do is make sure that those occasions are few and infrequent, and are not the majority of a player experience, let's say in the open world; and we do so by incorporating all of those risks and costs into a decision to gain corruption and then PK another player in the open world. It's just not going to be done often and that is my expectation and opinion. It's also the goal of the system is that griefing is not a viable option or play style. And as a result of that desire for the system, we will fine tune it in such a way through testing that that outcome is achieved. And that is the intent and purpose of the design. – Steven Sharif
- Increasing corruption score adds increasing levels of skill dampening for PvP combat.
- Abilities with CC effects do not apply to non-combatants. This prevents players from opening attacks that stun unflagged players.
- Players who heal, buff, or otherwise support corrupted players will flag as combatants.
- Corruption score has a scaling impact on skill and stat dampening that will ultimately make them ineffective at PvP. This dampening only affects PvP combat.
- There is a 60 second timer to logout while corrupt. Force-disconnecting the client during the cooldown will leave the character in-game.
- Ashes of Creation is a unique take on the MMO experience. Our world structure is dynamic and built to react to the actions of our players. Cities will rise and fall, their populations based on the history of the world as the players create it. Quests will unlock as these populations gather, their needs grow, and secrets are unlocked. As the world’s NPC structure is established in real time, players will have the ability to destroy what they’ve created, paving the way for new development, new populations, and real change. Political strife and intrigue will play a very real role in the structure of your world. Gone are the days of static worlds, change is here to stay.
Ashes of Creation is a PvX game built on the foundational principle of risk versus reward. The developers may seek feedback and make changes to portions of the game, but the core design pillars of the game will never be changed.
- We will refine systems, we will iterate on systems, but we will never change the core identity of the intent and philosophical approach to what Ashes of Creation as an MMO brings to the MMO genre space... What we want to do is express that Ashes of Creation is endeavoring to build a risk-versus-reward centric PvX style game. And that intent and purpose will be delivered upon, and it will not change. – Steven Sharif
- Ashes of Creation is referred to by the developers as a "themebox" or "sandpark" game as they aim to create a reactive player-driven world accompanied by curated content.
- When it comes to how MMO’s have been traditionally designed, most gamers are familiar with two distinct types of gameplay loops: the “theme park”, and the “sandbox”. The vast majority of MMO’s we’ve all seen come and go in the gaming industry have been of the theme park variety – these games put the player onto a specific path, guiding them along, with plenty of pretty sights in between the same old quest hubs, very little in divergent paths, virtually no freedom in player progression. Recently the MMO genre has seen some games of the sandbox nature come onto the scene, but despite the ultimate freedom the sandbox affords players, many are left wanting more, as there is by definition no pre built world content, no human touch, just the vastness of the “sand” for lack of a better term. Thus many MMO players often find themselves caught between the repetitive rock of the theme park or the vast dead spaces of the sandbox’s hard place. This chasm between the state of MMO gameplay loops is where we intend to inject Ashes of Creation’s Node system.
- Q: How do you go about designing some of the more old school systems such as XP debt, minimal fast travel, and open world raiding that have really gone away for the most part in modern MMOs?
- A: When looking at the reasoning behind why some of those old systems existed, a lot of it was centralized around the idea of risk versus reward. I mean, let's take a look at the three that you name, XP debt, minimal fast travel, and open world raiding. Experience debt is a cost of failure. Experience debt is the bite of not achieving success. If I die to a monster because my strategy was bad, because my performance was bad, because my planning was bad: all of that means that debt is the cost I pay for the bad choice... Minimal fast travel: My location matters; and the time it travels there is the cost I pay. Open world raiding: I'm not the only person interested in completing this objective. I have competition. That competition represents pressure. That pressure represents a desire to succeed and perform. All of those are touch points on player emotional connectivity. There is a reason why I want to succeed: Part of that reason can be incentivization through reward; part of that reason can be distance; it can be incentivization through failure. So that I think are one of the core fundamental philosophies as to how you design some of the more old-school systems. – Steven Sharif
In designing Ashes of Creation, we adhere every detail to five main pillars: Engaging and Immersive Story, a Reactive World, Player Interaction, Player Agency, and Risk vs Reward. Even in the environment, everything you as the player do will tie into these pillars, while everything your guild does, everything your server does will ultimately keep the world fresh, ever-changing, and most importantly... exciting.
Engaging and immersive story
Topics that reflect the past and the present of Verra.
- Classes | Archetypes | Roles
- Races | Religions
- Skills | Augments
- Lore | Story arcs
- Roleplaying | Social animations
- World map | Points of interest | Climate
- Environments | Underrealm | Undersea
Topics that describe how the world of Verra evolves based on player activity.
- Nodes | Node types | Node stages | Zone of influence
- Economy | Player businesses | Auction houses
- Artisan classes | Gathering | Processing | Crafting
- Quests | Events | Tasks
- Naval | Naval combat | Ships
- World bosses | Monster coins
- Destructible environments
Ashes of Creation will be a living, breathing, reactive world. Your actions will shape the Zones of Influence, leveling Nodes to form massive Cities, and create the story of the world that everyone experiences. – Margaret Krohn
Game systems and mechanics that foster player interaction.
- Dungeons | Raids | Combat
- Guilds | Guild halls | Guild fortresses | Guild castles
- Group dynamics | Looting
- Social organizations
- Parlor games
We decided to focus on mechanics that bring the idea of community to the forefront. To get people to interact with each other meaningfully – not just to conquer a raid boss, or to get some coin from a faceless auction house, but to maybe save a city. A city that all the local residents had a stake in. A city that the players had spent weeks or months developing; the defense of that city, the attack on that city! Or building a world together as a community choosing our own fate with our friends. We believe that’s going to be a story far more memorable and far more meaningful to players than just about anything we can come up with.
Systems that grow and shape player experiences in the game.
- Weapons | Armor
- Progression | Leveling
- Housing | Node housing | Apartments | Freeholds
- Mounts | Mules | Dragons
- Character creator | Gear appearance
- Cosmetics | Skins | Costumes | Accessories
- Inventory | Consumables
We will have a lot of content that is available, but those will be behind doors that are accessible through agency on behalf of the community. In a traditional sense, no we are not a theme-park, however we will probably have more content than a theme-park does, traditionally. Just because, in order for those choices to be meaningful, there must be meaningful content behind the door you choose. – Steven Sharif
Risk vs. reward
Activities that reward daring adventurers and foster meaningful conflict.
- World PvP | Caravans | Guild wars
- Node sieges | Castle sieges
- Player corruption | Bounty hunters
- Achievements | Leader boards | Trophy park
- Exploration | Treasure hunting
- Stock exchange (sharemarket)
The risk versus reward relationship, when, say for instance, you've dedicated time towards building a node and other players have dedicated that equivalent time towards sieging the node, there's going to be a pitched battle between those players... They spend that time doing this because they care passionately about having access to that content. – Steven Sharif
- Interview, August 24, 2018 (8:35).
- Interview, July 29, 2020 (9:02).
- Interview, July 18, 2020 (41:54).
- MMOGames interview, January 2017
- Livestream, October 28, 2022 (26:48).
- Interview, July 18, 2020 (44:35).
- Interview, April 27, 2017 (0:17).
- Interview, April 22, 2019 (54:40).
- Livestream, November 17, 2017 (29:45).
- Livestream, October 28, 2022 (24:28).
- Podcast, April 23, 2018 (51:31).
- Livestream, May 22, 2017 (42:33).
- Podcast, May 5, 2017 (43:05).
- Interview, May 11, 2018 (5:05).
- Video, April 30, 2017 (0:00).
- Ashes of Creation MMO.
- A reactive world - Nodes.
- Podcast, April 11, 2021 (46:44).
- Livestream, October 14, 2022 (37:10).
- Livestream, July 28, 2023 (1:30:11).
- Livestream, April 7, 2023 (55:22).
- Livestream, March 31, 2023 (1:00:16).
- Livestream, October 28, 2022 (32:52).
- Livestream, June 1, 2017 (37:39).
- Livestream, April 7, 2023 (40:30).
- Dillias diary.
- Livestream, February 9, 2018 (33:50).
- Blog - Know Your Nodes - The Basics.
- Livestream, January 28, 2022 (0:00).
- Ashes of Creation - A new Beginning.
- Livestream, September 27, 2019 (50:01).
- Livestream, 2018-04-8 (AM) (27:26).
- Video, July 16, 2017 (0:01).
- Livestream, October 28, 2022 (13:53).
- Livestream, May 22, 2017 (38:44).