MMOGames Interview 2017-01-11

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Is this a sandbox MMO? What kind of MMO is Ashes of Creation?

  1. I like to compare our design philosophy, to that of a “Choose your own adventure” book. Our story is Epic, and you have the ability to be an integral part of that story. Dictating the outcome, in a meaningful way.

How will items enter the economy? Will players farm bosses or seek their local crafter?

  1. Our crafters will be the epicenter of our item economy. However, those crafters, in order to create epic gear, depend on the bosses that arise in the story to be defeated. Essentially, we want players who focus their time and effort in crafting to be indispensable in their respective trade skills.

Will there be permanent decay or item loss on death to maintain market demand?

  1. We have developed a durability system that we feel is impactful, and also relies on the crafters in the world to continually upkeep gear for players without feeling like an encumbrance.

Will character progression be traditional/vertical or horizontal, more about unlocking new skills and greater build options?

  1. Both. Our player class advancement follows both a vertical progression in the traditional leveling sense, as well as a horizontal skill customization platform.

Will there be any scaling systems to ensure that world content is never over-leveled?

  1. Each of our zones are designed to scale accordingly with the progress of our nodes. As a node develops into villages, towns, cities etc., the spawning zones in a node’s ZoI (Zone of Influence) will adapt and change to reflect its growth. Propagating in real time new individual and community activities that scale a wide range of levels, and quests that exist outside the normal vertical leveling systems. The interconnectivity of the node system will also influence storylines outside that nodes ZoI, impacting nodes that may develop across the world.

Will quests be the main mechanism through which players level their characters and change the world?

  1. We’re going to be breaking up what is traditionally called ‘questing’ into three different categories: Narratives, Events, and Tasks.
  2. Narratives category is where you’ll find most of what you might call traditional quests.
  3. Events are where you’ll find your public quests, though these will be scaled to fit local, regional, and global needs.
  4. Tasks are hyper-local to individual Nodes, and will be centered around developing the Node that they belong to.

Dynamic events ala Guild Wars 2, or quests adapting in response to the zones’ evolution and player decisions?

  1. Dynamic to us means consequential. If an event occurs in the world, is the world better or worse for it? So yeah, we’ll be doing dynamic events as you understand them, but because each Node rises or falls because of player action, these events should be much more meaningful.

Nodes were described as growing to affect increasingly large areas around them as they progress. Sounds like it could be a big strain if content is all being developed by hand. How are you currently planning to tackle that demand? Will we see procedural content generation?

  1. This is a huge task and is without a doubt, one of our biggest challenges.
  2. It’s solvable with procedurally generated content, but that ties our hands with regard to look and feel. So, the plan here is to do a little bit of procedural generation, and then help it along with good old-fashioned elbow grease.
  3. We have some other shortcuts that we’re working on as well, but at the end of the day, each Node should give the sense that it was lovingly crafted through every stage of its development.

Will dungeons largely exist without being influenced by node progression, or will this type of content sometimes be unavailable if a node isn’t in the right stage?

  1. Certain dungeons and other points of interest across the map will all be affected by the server’s node development.
  2. The storyline objectives for players inside dungeons will also be dependent on the story arc paths chosen through the node system.
  3. The drop tables in area and dungeons will also be tied into the progression of certain areas.
  4. It is difficult to explain in one Q&A.

It sounds like players who take the time to develop a node from a lowly expedition to a bustling city or metropolis will have reason to become sentimentally attached to the city. Will there be in-game mechanics making that attachment more official – like reputation, the ability to join the city’s faction, or even the ability for player organizations to formally attach themselves to a node?

  1. Yes, Yes and Yes.

Can players completely avoid PVP?

  1. No player is forced to participate in the PvP events of Ashes.

What type of flagging system will be used for PvP in Ashes?

  1. Still being developed.
  2. There are three states that a player can find themselves in: Non-Combatant (Green), Combatant (Purple), and Corrupt (Red). Everyone is a Non-Combatant by default. If a Non-Combatant attacks a Combatant or another non-combatant, then they become a Combatant for a period of time. Similarly, if a Non-Combatant enters a PVP zone (which includes things like Castles, City Sieges and Caravans) they are automatically flagged a Combatant while in the zone, and for a period of time after leaving that zone.
  3. Players can kill Combatants without repercussions, and are encouraged to do so, since dying while a Combatant means you suffer reduced death penalties. Where this changes is when a Combatant kills a Non-Combatant. In this case, the Combatant is Corrupt, and acquires a Corruption Score (which is accrued based on a number of different parameters, including the level differential of their freshly slain victim). This Corruption Score can be worked off with effort through a few mechanics, but the primary means of getting rid of it is through death.
  4. While a player is marked as Corrupt, they may be attacked by both Combatants and Non-Combatants. If a non-combatant attacks a corrupt player, the non-combatant will not flag as a combatant.
  5. A Non-Combatant who dies suffers normal penalties, which includes experience debt, durability loss, as well as dropping a portion of carried raw materials (which can then be looted). A Combatant who dies suffers these same penalties, but at half the Non-Combatant rate. A character who has a Corruption Score on the other hand, suffers penalties at three times the rate of a Non-Combatant, and has a chance to drop *any* carried/equipped items based on their current Corruption Score.
  6. What survives play-testing is anyone’s guess!

Vision for smaller organizations, guilds that only have one or two dozen players, or even players who prefer to go it alone?

  1. Many systems in our game involve parameters that cater to smaller groups and individuals. We don’t want to have our systems get dominated by the large guilds.

What about Ashes of Creation are you the most excited to be introducing to the MMO market?

  1. I cannot think of any other venue where millions of human beings across the world can come together, instantly, to build relationships with one another. To solve problems with one another, to enjoy their time with each other. It bridges the divides of our separate cultures, our national borders and politics. That to me is just so amazing.