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Player flagging

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The open world PvP flagging system is designed to deter people from griefing other players.[1]

  • Players can participate in open world PvP with one another without having to resort to murder.[2]
  • The penalties are intended to be severe enough to deter any type of spawn camping.[3]

pvp flagging diagram.png

There are three levels of flagging for world PvP in Ashes of Creation.[4]

  • Non-combatant (green)
    • All players start as non-combatants.[5]
    • Non-forced attacks (such as AoE) will not hit non-combatant players.[6]
    • Green players killed by mobs (the mob deals the killing blow) do not flag attacking players as corrupt, but since the exact health of another player is not known (outside of the same party, raid, alliance, or guild), attackers run the risk of killing the player and becoming corrupt.[7]

It's important to note that the idea is going to be that, unless a player is in your party, alliance, guild, or raid that you will not have definitive knowledge of their exact hit point values. So when you do something that's sketchy like that, where you want to bring them close to death and let a monster finish him off, you are taking the risk of overhitting and actually gaining the corruption.[7]Steven Sharif

  • Combatant (purple)
    • Non-combatants entering an open world battleground are automatically flagged as combatant and remain flagged for a period of time after leaving that battleground.[4]
    • Players are flagged as combatants if they attack another player when carrying out a forced attack. If the attacked players fight back, they are also flagged as combatants, otherwise the attacked player will remain flagged as a non-combatant.[5]
    • Non-combatants who heal, buff or otherwise interact with combatants will be flagged as combatants.[8]
    • Non-combatants who attack a player using combat pets (or any other player-controlled entities) will be flagged as combatants.[9]
    • Non-combatants will not be flagged for looting bodies.[10]
    • Players can kill combatants without repercussions, and are encouraged to do so, since dying while a combatant has reduced death penalties.[5]
    • Players are not able to manually set their flagging status to combatant.[11]
    • Players remain flagged for a period of 90 seconds following their most recent attack on a non-combatant or another combatant.[12]
    • Players cannot log out while flagged as combatants.[13]
  • Corrupt (red)
    • If a combatant player kills a non-combatant player, they will be flagged as corrupt.[1]
    • Corruption multiplies death penalties and reveals a corrupt player's location to bounty hunters.[1]
    • A player’s corruption score increases with each non-combatant player killed.[4]
    • If a non-combatant attacks a corrupt player, the non-combatant will not flag as a combatant.[5]
    • Corrupted players may kill bounty hunters without acquiring additional corruption score.[14]
    • There is a 60 second timer to logout while corrupt.[13]

A player may not flag on members of the same party, raid, guild or alliance.[15]

  • Players will be able to opt-in (via a checkbox) to allow their beneficial or non-beneficial AoEs to hit flagged players. If this is checked then AoE heals or damage will affect flagged players. If it is not checked then the AoE will not damage or heal any flagged players, and as such will not cause the caster to be flagged themselves (if they are not already).[16]

If you have that check-box for flagging with your AOEs and heals available then you will flag. If you do not have that box checked then on completion of the skill it will not flag you because the check was made at the start that there was a flagged party member; and then he will not he or she will not receive the beneficial effect as a result or the damage, if it's an offensive spell.[16]Steven Sharif

Sieges, caravans and guild wars do not use the flagging system.[17]

You're not going to see griefing in the game very often; and that's because our flagging system. The corruption mechanics are based around disincentivizing a griefer or PKer but still offering the opportunity, should the occasion arise, where the benefits outweigh the risk, you have the ability to do so. If you gain corruption, which is killing a non-combatant - a player who is not fighting back basically - if you gain that corruption, your world has changed. It is not going to be a very beneficial place to be and you have the potential of losing your gear. Your combat efficacy decreases based on the amount of corruption you accrue. It is a comfortable balance between player agency and grief and basically removing player agency for other players.[18]Steven Sharif

Hunting grounds

Hunting grounds are open-world PvP corruption-enabled areas that encompass most of the map.[19]

One of the interesting components of Ashes of Creation and our flagging system is that it presents the potential for two conflicting parties to have open conflict in the open world over pretty much anything that they may want or disagree with; and if that pertains to a hunting ground, not just the caravan or the castles or the nodes or whatever, it can exist in that area.[22]Steven Sharif

Outside of PvP for certain things like caravans, sieges of nodes and/or castles is that you're going to have those open-world hunting ground fights that may occur. You're going to have resources fights that may occur. You're going to have political fights that may occur between members of guilds; and we're taking the guild politics to a whole new direction in regards to playing those conflicts out.[21]Steven Sharif

Our PvP mechanics follow a flagging system, as well as static PvP zones at certain points of interest; fight for control over cities, castles, caravans, or hunting grounds. Our PvP is designed to offer the players a well-balanced and fair world to shape through the pen, or sword should they choose.[23]


An affiliation tree determines which entities can participate in attacks against other entities within its hierarchy.[24][25]

There's node citizenship. There's guild. There's alliance. There's party. There's raid. There's family. All of these types of affiliations have a hierarchy. The highest of which is your node affiliation: So your citizenship is your greatest superceding relationship, which means if you were a part of a guild and the guild has multiple nodes in which its members are citizens of, if there was a war between two of those nodes, the members of those nodes would be first and foremost citizens who defend that node, even against their own guild members.[24]Steven Sharif

All of these things have some hierarchy; and within that hierarchy there's the ability to participate within certain systems. So for example, if you have a node that has fallen under your vassal state and you're a citizen of the parent node, then you could participate in a siege against the vassal node but if you're a citizen of the vassal node you could not participate as an attacker against the parent node; so there's a hierarchy, unless you were to renounce your citizenship.[25]Steven Sharif

Player corruption

Corrupted player in the Alpha-1 preview.[26]

When you gain that corruption you have the potential of losing your completed items, your weapon, your armor, stuff that is very difficult to achieve; and then the other aspect of that is, that in order to deter basically players taking alternate characters and saying this is my PK alt, the more players you kill, the more corruption you gain, the higher your combat efficacy in PVP diminishes. If you're out there and you killed you know 20 players... you will not be able to perform in PVP any longer. You will need to take that character and go work off that corruption. The other aspect of corruption is that if you kill another player, who is a non-combatant and the level disparity between you and that player is great, you will gain a higher amount of corruption from that single kill. To the point where you should not be killing a level one character.[27]Steven Sharif

If a combatant (purple) player kills a non-combatant (green) player in PvP, they will be flagged as corrupt (red).[1]

  • A player’s corruption score increases with each non-combatant player killed.[28][4]
Reward without risk is meaningless... Corruption is just another word for risk.[29]Steven Sharif
  • The wider the level disparity between the players, the more corruption will be gained.[28][4]
You can't necessarily time perfectly you know the damage or understand even the health of the player. Unless you were in their party you cannot see an opponent's health as well so that's another component that you know adds risk.[30]Steven Sharif
  • Corruption penalties occur as the corruption is gained.[31] The higher the corruption score:
    • The more skill and stat dampening applies (lower health and mana, lower gear proficiency), until the corrupt player ultimately becomes ineffective at combat.[32] This dampening only affects PvP combat.[33]
    If you go on a murder spree and you have 10 pks under your belt then you might start feeling a significant dampening to your skill effects against other players. I don't want to give necessarily a number or curve for players to extrapolate prior to us having the ability to actually test these ideas and where those numbers are going to lie; but I would say what is the intent behind that dampening: The intent isn't to limit the fun of the player, the intent is to provide a give-and-take or a risk-versus-reward; and the risk of continuing down the road of accruing corruption is not only the loss of your gear and amplified death effects but also your ability to perform in that activity.[34]Steven Sharif
    The more corruption you gain, the less effective you become in PvP and there's going to be a certain period at which point you have gained enough corruption that you're going to be gearless and you're also going to have a massive reduction in your PvP efficacy.[36]Steven Sharif
  • Corruption has a visible effect on a player’s appearance.[37]
  • If a non-combatant attacks a corrupt player, the non-combatant will not flag as a combatant.[5]
  • A corrupt player’s location is revealed to bounty hunters on their world map.[28][1]
  • Corrupted players may kill bounty hunters without acquiring additional corruption score.[38][14]
    • Corrupted player's combat penalties do not apply when battling bounty hunters.[38]
  • Player to player trading and the ability to store items in public warehouses is disabled for corrupt players.[39]
Q: Will there be any large-scale consequences when many players in a group guild region religion etc become corrupted frequently or for an extended period of time?
A: There are not group dynamics or mechanics that revolve around mass murdering people in the world. The corruption system is intended to deter mass murdering, not to provide incentives by which players can go out and gain corruption.[40]Steven Sharif
Q: If my guild has no one corrupted and your guild is like always killing people and always corrupted, will your guild have repercussions because they're corrupted versus my guild?
A: No I don't think so either. And the reason why is we want to deter it, but we don't want to make the system meaningless; and if the deterrent becomes too heavy-handed then it's a system without a purpose. And I think that the intent behind the corruption is that like during a rise in passion and like anger and whatever you want to make this decision and do something and you'll suffer the repercussions later. But if those repercussions are just overwhelmingly bad and even anti-social in the sense that like your guild is like hey man you went corrupted and this gives us like corruption points on the guild, and like you're out of here, then people just aren't going to choose to use it; and then at which point might as well just take it out. So I think there's a healthy balance between the type of deterrent used.[41]Steven Sharif

Removing corruption

The primary means to remove corruption is through death. Multiple deaths may be necessary to remove all corruption.[43][5]

  • Dying removes a significant portion of a player's corruption score.[44]
  • Gaining experience will also slowly reduce a player's corruption score.[43]
    That creates a fun kind of experience for the bounty hunters to try to catch you while you're working it off.[43]Steven Sharif
  • A quest may be utilized to reduce the player kill (PK) count of a corrupt player in order for them to accumulate less corruption score in the future.[45][44]
    • This is a design shift from a religious quest being used to directly reduce the corruption score.[46]
  • Corruption duration is reduced in military nodes.[47]

Player death

Player death in an open world dungeon in Alpha-1.[48]

We don't have deleveling, instead what we have is experience debt. Now the more experience debt you accrue, the greater the detriment to your character; not to the point where you can not get out of the debt. There will always be a way forward to remove your debt.[18]Steven Sharif

When a player dies they disintegrate into ash. The ashes contain any items lost by the player due to applicable death penalties.[49][50][51][32][52] These ash piles are immediately lootable by any player.[50] Player flagging is not triggered by looting.[10]

  • A non-combatant (green player) who dies suffers normal penalties, which include:[32]
    When players die and they take durability loss, our durability loss isn't like other games where it's a gold sink so to speak. It's a combination of both a gold sink and a material sink. So in a sense, even if you only have completed items, when you take that durability loss you are losing out on materials. It's just a debt to the materials that you are losing instead of the active loss of that material in your inventory. So now you are accruing a material debt if you want to repair and increase again the performance of those particular items that take that durability loss.[55]Steven Sharif
    • Dropping a percentage of carried gatherables and processed goods.[51][32]
      • This also includes a percentage of the certificates a player is carrying.[52]
      • If a player dies there will be a period of time before their mule despawns. Other players must kill that player's mule to be able to loot it.[57]
      • If a player's mule dies its corpse will contain the same percentage of lootable items as the player.[57][58]
  • A combatant (purple player) who dies suffers these same penalties, but at half the rate of a non-combatant.[32]
  • A corrupt (red player) suffers penalties at four times[28] the rate of a non-combatant, and has a chance to drop any carried/equipped items based on their current corruption score. This includes:[28][32]

Experience debt will scale to approximately 2 or 3 percent of the total XP for a max level player. These numbers are subject to change based on testing.[63]

  • As of May 28, 2021, the experience debt in Alpha-1 testing is "completely off mark" and will either be changed or disabled prior to the next spot test.[63]

Death penalties do not apply to objective-based events (such as caravans, guild wars, and node sieges).[64]

There will not be death penalties applied to event-based deaths. The penalties are in the outcome of the event. So your number of deaths is likely going to impact your ability to win that particular event and that's going to be the penalty. This is it to encourage players to opt in to the events right because the more participation we have the more fun it can be; and we understand that the community at large- there's already a risk versus reward component to these events. We don't need to stack on additional risk versus reward to inhibit kind of- to increase the barrier to entry for players who may not be as interested.[64]Steven Sharif
  • Death penalties do not differ between PvP and PvE, but this is subject to change.[65]

Death by drowning is possible.[66]

Siege participation

Non-registered combatants are not permitted on the siege field in castle or node sieges.[67]

  • Players may choose to respawn at their HQ as long as they are registered.[70][73]
    • Non-registered guilds are not granted the ability to take ownership of the castle if victorious.[70]

Lower level characters will have usefulness in mass combat that does not depend on their level, such as manning siege weapons, helping repair fortifications, bringing proximity-based buffs to key positions, using stealth or scaling walls. These types of things are relevant to the tide of battle and do not require the player to be max-level or have high combat stats.[75]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 pvp flagging.png
  2. Livestream, 12 May 2017 (24:52).
  3. pvp camping.png
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 MMOGames interview, January 2017
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Interview, 27 April 2017 (0:17).
  6. PvP.jpg
  7. 7.0 7.1 Livestream, 30 July 2021 (1:10:34).
  8. Livestream, 17 November 2017 (29:45).
  9. Livestream, 31 October 2018 (44:12).
  10. 10.0 10.1 Podcast, 11 April 2021 (34:41).
  11. Livestream, 30 November 2020 (1:05:22).
  12. steven-flagging-duration.png
  13. 13.0 13.1 steven-flagging-logout.png
  14. 14.0 14.1 Interview, 27 April 2017 (1:18).
  15. pvp flagging lockouts.png
  16. 16.0 16.1 Interview, 8 July 2020 (1:05:27).
  17. flagging.jpg
  18. 18.0 18.1 Podcast, 23 April 2018 (49:21).
  19. 19.0 19.1 Livestream, 9 July 2018 (44:56).
  20. Livestream, 17 November 2017 (45:17).
  21. 21.0 21.1 Livestream, 1 June 2017 (35:42).
  22. Livestream, 19 May 2017 (24:17).
  23. pvp about.png
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 24.5 24.6 24.7 Livestream, 29 March 2019 (17:10).
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 25.4 25.5 25.6 25.7 25.8 Interview, 11 May 2018 (58:07).
  26. Video, 31 May 2020 (5:29).
  27. Podcast, 23 April 2018 (51:31).
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 28.4 28.5 28.6 Interview, 18 July 2020 (41:54).
  29. corruption2.jpg
  30. Livestream, 30 January 2020 (1:40:48).
  31. corruption.jpg
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 32.4 32.5 32.6 32.7 32.8 32.9 Podcast, 5 May 2017 (43:05).
  33. Interview, 11 May 2018 (5:05).
  34. Podcast, 11 April 2021 (38:31).
  35. 35.0 35.1 Livestream, 17 November 2017 (35:20).
  36. Livestream, 22 May 2017 (42:33).
  37. Interview, February 2017 (39:33).
  38. 38.0 38.1 steven-bounty-hunters-1.png
  39. 39.0 39.1 Livestream, 30 April 2021 (1:14:49).
  40. Livestream, 27 August 2021 (1:20:09).
  41. Livestream, 27 August 2021 (1:20:51).
  42. Livestream, 9 July 2018 (20:41).
  43. 43.0 43.1 43.2 Interview, 18 July 2020 (44:35).
  44. 44.0 44.1 Interview, 19 July 2020 (30:51).
  45. steven-removing-corruption.png
  46. Livestream, 4 June 2018 (2:18).
  47. pvp corruption duration.png
  48. Livestream, 28 March 2020 (1:58:24).
  49. Livestream, 24 September 2021 (51:20).
  50. 50.0 50.1 Livestream, 26 March 2021 (1:07:33).
  51. 51.0 51.1 a419c5398b542a713545e4f393d67215.png
  52. 52.0 52.1 Interview, 18 July 2020 (27:11).
  53. Livestream, 19 May 2017 (13:37).
  54. Ashes of Creation Forums - Former Lineage 2 PvP'er wanting to discuss PvP loopholes.
  55. 55.0 55.1 Interview, 7 February 2021 (13:14).
  56. Interview, 29 July 2020 (16:46).
  57. 57.0 57.1 Livestream, 29 January 2021 (1:24:27).
  58. Livestream, 27 September 2018 (47:46).
  59. Interview, 11 May 2018 (15:41).
  60. Interview, 27 April 2017 (9:28).
  61. Livestream, 25 June 2021 (1:15:37).
  62. Interview, 11 May 2018 (3:43).
  63. 63.0 63.1 Livestream, 28 May 2021 (1:50:50).
  64. 64.0 64.1 Livestream, 22 December 2020 (1:13:51).
  65. Livestream, 15 May 2017 (36:23).
  66. Livestream, 28 July 2017 (50:22).
  67. siege-combatants.png
  68. steven-siege-zone.png
  69. Livestream, 30 April 2021 (41:18).
  70. 70.0 70.1 70.2 70.3 Podcast, 11 April 2021 (49:40).
  71. Blog: Creative Director's Letter, April 14 2021
  72. siege-barrier.png
  73. siege-respawn.png
  74. siege-stragglers.png
  75. Interview, 8 July 2020 (1:12:51).