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Issue #8: Holiday Cheer

The holiday season is upon us and the Ashes of Creation community is getting an early Christmas in the form of some much anticipated reveals. The December 15th stream showed off some actual Alpha Zero gameplay for the eagerly awaiting fans. A blog post was also added which included a full list of the class combination names - with the promise of details on the eight base classes and all the 64 combined class combinations coming in 2018. "The classes adhere to roles like tanking, DPS, support, and healing, but it’s really so much more than that. Each one must provide a true fantasy fulfillment for the player – you want to be a badass, no matter what your class. And that’s a promise we intend to keep." And the hype train rolls on... This issue we have a bit of a grab bag for you - we'll start off with Makinoji's interview of Stez as part of a bonus spotlight of the guild, Styx, and Makinoji and I will wrap up with some final thoughts. So sit, stay a while and enjoy a bit of holiday cheer, Ashes style!

Guild: Styx (Co-Leader: Stez)

Stez and his co-founder Fleelix are the dynamic duo behind the guild, Styx. The guild's focus is primarily on player versus player combat and progression. They are looking to recruit dedicated PvP players, however Stez is quick to point out that PvE progression is "necessary" to be able to be ranked as a top guild and ultimately claim one of the world castles. While they are recruiting PvPers, Stez is aware players might wish to balance their playtime between the PvP and PvE. "Players are of course allowed ot focus on their preference. We will have groups for everything." He points out that Ashes feels like a game where all types of player will be needed - "the one thing [PvE] compliments the other [PvP]. PvP Players need to gear up etc, while caravans [for example] also need protection."

When asked about his recruitment strategy given the fact that PvP and PvE are so intertwined and if he would be open to the possibility of recruiting players that might only want to PvP casually, Stez was quick to respond that his guild would be happy to have hardcore and casuals alike with the aim to support all types of members and foster a community that encourages more experienced players to assist those that are new or unfamiliar with PvP gameplay. Styx's first MMO as a guild will be Ashes and their plan is to bring in friends from other games in addition to recruiting from the current Ashes community. While Styx waits for Ashes, they are very keen on fostering social interaction through gaming to keep their guild members engaged. Some of the games the guild plays at the moment are World of Warcraft, Player Unknown Battlegrounds (PUBG), League of Legends, Overwatch, Skara and so on. The reasoning behind gaming as a group is "high level PvP requires trust in your teammates" and in Stez's opinion it also a way to better understand your fellow teammates' playstyles.

Styx's guild hierarchy is based on a few things - mostly on what the player plans to do in game, tenure in the guild itself as well as previous gaming experience. Stez says they will appoint different leaders for different areas of gameplay available in the game. The goal being not to reward members just based on social status within the guild but for the experience and accomplishments related to furthering the guild ideals and goals. They want to avoid "one sided" leadership but instead nurture fresh ideas and new perspectives.

When asked about his leadership style and what makes him a good leader, Stez felt that he and his co-leader Fleelix compliment each other as a leadership team. He thinks that as well as having a lot of previous experience in leadership roles in games is what sets them apart. He also believes that Styx will foster "effective and progressive PvP," meaning that the guild will focus on helping out each other and wants to recruit like-minded players with a wide range of experience in gaming. They feel their knowledge on how large scale PvP groups work will help them tie things all together. Stez's leadership style is more personal in the sense that he really wants to get to know his members. He wants to understand his recruit's background, goals in game and get them interacting with their fellow team members as soon as possible. He does reiterate that his plan is to ensure that his guild focuses on helping members hone their skills through coaching versus telling them to well...git gud, scrub. Stez wrapped up the interview with a shoutout to his fellow guild leader and friend Fleelix as well as his friend Pote for his guidance. We wish Stez and Styx the best of luck and hope to see them in game in the future. Thanks, Stez!

Maki's Final Word 2017

Back in July, when I began work on this passion project, I had no idea the reception I would encounter. With the encouragement from amazing guild members, I took the first step and released Episode 1. Fast forward 5 months and we have added numerous regular guest voice actors, writers and our very own community spotlight post, The Ashen Herald. So much positive feedback has been sent our way and it fuels us to continue to bring more quality content to the community as the game progresses in development. The encouragement and support from all of you pushes me to continue, especially the LGBT+ Ashes members. Supporting one another despite our various differences is the key to being a unified community. I want to thank The Ashen Herald co-founder and lead writer, Daedelus, for all his contributions to Anthology and to AOC community. The various content creators for keeping AOC hyped and well oiled and to those who are just joining us. Welcome. Lastly I would like to invite anyone who is still on the fence about joining a guild to check out Sons of the Seven, have a chat with our guild leader and swag monster seven, Telchar. I promise you all your doubts will be laid to rest and you will find a home with us. From my gaming family to yours, have a safe, fun and merry holiday. I look forward to bringing more of the amazing works of the community's writers alive and sharing beautiful music as well. Happy new year everyone!

The Final Word 2017

It's been a heck of year in the MMO genre. Hard to believe that so much time has passed since I saw my first video on nodes back right before the Ashes kickstarter campaign. It seems like yesterday that I felt my imagination run wild with the possibilities of a world where I could have a real impact as a player. Even more so than the game and the passion that I feel every time I hear any one of the Intrepid Studios team members talk about where they are in the process or what's next, I am inspired by this community. The amount of talent we have in our midst is staggering. Any game can have great players, but it is the level of engagement from the content creators that truly makes the Ashes community special for me. I'm especially grateful to Makinoji for taking the time to collaborate with me on "The Ashen Herald." I also want to thank those that have supported the series with their great feedback and also their participation. I'm excited to share more content as we learn more about the game and eventually experience it as players.

I also wanted to wrap up with a personal message to Intrepid Studios, without which The Ashen Herald would not exist. Steven and his team have only begun what I hope will be a long and fruitful journey in their development of Ashes of Creation, they have already accomplished more in less than a year than many of their peers have in the same time frame. Thank you for all your efforts and I wish you continued success - thank you for taking an idea that many of us as gamers have had maybe not even knowing we did, and working on making it a reality. From the desk of the Ashen Herald, I salute you. This journey may take away your sleep, but it will never take away your FREEDOM! With that, my fellow Ashes Community, I wish you the happiest of holidays. As the new year approaches, I welcome your thoughts and ideas for new content to cover in the Herald. I'll leave you with an official pre-alpha video which I feel is season appropriate. Cheers!

Check out Makinoji's channel "Anthology" on YouTube.

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