It's time again for the Ashes of Creation developer live stream - the first of 2018! The team had some exciting stuff for us this time around - including two videos showcasing the Underrealm and a Dunir themed dungeon.
Steven very graciously thanked the Alpha Zero testers for their patience over the close to the holiday in 2017. He went on to say that the initial Alpha Zero testing provided quite a bit of great feedback from the testers and a lot of good data to help the team in future phases. Steven also announced later in the stream that another round of Alpha Zero was planned at the end of the month - he will "very likely" lift the NDA so participants can stream their experience and create content. He did add that the game is still in early alpha and he hopes that the community will understand that the Intrepid team's transparency is purposeful. He would like to get the community as involved as possible and asks for their patience during the iterative design process Ashes of Creation will be following.
The first video shown showcased the Underrealm - a very colorful and fantastical environment with a varying array of environmental quirks, some familiar (giant shrooms!) and some new. The video also showed large cat-like creatures with glowing crystals strewn on their backs. As usual, the content was quite impressive visually so hats off to the talented artist behind this! The developers made a point of saying that they are taking environment building very seriously and their goal is to have a variety of dynamic areas to explore. The next video was of a Dunir dungeon, designed by none other than senior environment artist, Michael "Baconator" Bacon, a man of legend among the Ashes Community. It was as breathtaking as the first showcase of the stream - evocative of traditional dwarven architecture. It was thrilling to see how much attention to detail is being put into these environments by the team.
Steven also announced the next hiring phase for Intrepid Studios will begin most likely by Monday. They are looking for 10 additional team members to augment their existing team of 25. He also mentioned that there will be an official Intrepid Studios site soon with more information about the company itself.
Now onto the questions covered in the stream!
Q: When are we going to be able to upgrade our packs on the website?
A: Expected delivery on Jan 26th - estimated. Package upgrades will be available and also add-on functionality for Kickstarter and Summer backers to purchase the cosmetics separately from the currently available packages. These cosmetics will change in the future on a monthly basis, though the current has been available for a bit longer due to the fact that functionality to add on is not fully live.
Q: Quicktime combo bar. It wasn't present in the last stream showcasing Alpha Zero content, can you share an update on this mechanic?
A: It is an iterative process for this mechanic. It's been simplified for the time being while the team works through iterating how it will be included in a more fun way in the game. It will change in the future based on tester/community feedback.
Q: Will there cute pixie and faerie pets?
A: Yes, there will be cool/cute/interesting pets available and some may feel very fae-like.
Q: Is Alpha 2 the only persistent test or will be the betas also have persistent servers?
A: Alpha 2's persistence means they will keep the servers up 24 hours a day (as much as possible during the phase), however there will be character resets/wipes. Beta will be more limited in terms of availability - set times will be designated for testing. In the future, Alpha 2 servers are planned to be the "test" servers in the future for players to preview upcoming patch content.
Q: After the Alpha Zero stream on December 15th, there was an impression that ranged attacks were more powerful vs. melee. Will there be balancing for players that prefer melee?
A: If there was a feeling that ranged was more powerful, that was not intentional. There will be balancing in the future to ensure each type of gameplay is fun, regardless of whether it is ranged or melee.
Q: Will players be able to influence the food/dishes served in a tavern?
A: Yes, characters will have a defined region of agency to influence what is available in the different taverns in a city or freehold. There could also be supply quests attached, influenced by a number of factors (e.g. regional supply of ingredients). The foods available will have different effects/buffs.
Q: Are there any plans to make Bear McCreary's soundtrack available outside of the game?
A: Yes, that is the intent. Music plays such a pivotal role in the immersion of a game and the team is extremely excited to implement Bear's music into the game.
Q: Are there any plans to offer any mobile tie in for the game?
A: Yes, there will be certain mechanics that will able to be accessed via mobile.
Q: If I own a player home, will I be susceptible to griefing or PKing? Will I be able to "hire" security guards?
A: No, you will not be able to be PKed if you are inside your home or on your property, but there may be danger if you venture into the surrounding area and do not have NPC guard patrols nearby (i.e. your freehold is not built close enough to a node where guards patrol). There is no "hire" option for NPCs but you could ask player characters to assist you with security.
Q: Will there be a wide variety of tamable animals that can be use as combat pets?
A: Plan thus far is to have creature templates that have certain abilities/attributes though the visuals may vary depending on what is actually tamed. The hope is that this system can be expanded to provide a wide variety, but the ability to tame is not planned to be open ended where any creature could be tamed.
Q: Will you allow us to be able to tame many mounts?
A: You will be able to breed and tame certain mounts. There will be a limit to how many but it will have a high cap so players will have a variety of mounts to use.
Q: What will we be able to climbed in game?
A: "Open" climbing is more technically complicated to implement. There will be certain scenarios where climbing is present, but it will be limited to those scenarios.
Q: In any of the Alphas and Betas, will we be able to test siege mechanics?
A: Yes, this is the kind of system that will require quite a large amount of testing.
Q: What kind of siege weapons will be available? Crafted? Bought from NPCs? Able to be carried around?
A: All of the above, but choice will be a factor on what to invest it and players will not be able to carry around two extremely powerful siege weapons, for example.
Q: Is there a limit to the numbers of taverns that would be available in a node?
A: Yes, there will be a defined limit for buildings in a node. Once that limit is reached, then no other buildings can be added.
Q: Is Steven the only person that's working on the lore or is there a small team under him?
A: No. There are many story arcs to be told - the origin story, the fall, the deliverance and return. There will also be personal, regional and cultural questlines. Jeff and the team are also working on the lore - Steven comes up with the ideas and the team works on fleshing those ideas out. It's a collaborative effort, but Steven drives it.
Q: How does water get into the Underrealm?
A: There will be holes in the cavern ceilings where water may come in and there might also be underground water sources.
Q: Are there rewards for being an Alpha Zero tester?
A: There will be a forum badge and an in-game housing decoration... of an infamous "boss" discovered in Alpha Zero testing... and the development team's eternal thanks.
Q: Any ETA on more information on the website about other classes/skills?
A: When things are final closer to release.
Q: Are you on schedule on where you wanted to be? Ahead? Behind?
A: Extremely comfortable where they are at the moment - slightly ahead of where they expected to be at this point.
Q: What will the role of summoners and bards be in the class party?
A: Summoners will be more flexible in nature and capable of filling nearly every role that might be missing from a party - they can shift their role easily. Bards are more focused on being a "force multiplier" and support. They make their party "better."
Q: How will you deal with gold sellers? How will you handle player to player trading?
A: There will be security monitoring systems in place to flag any suspicious activity for review as well as options for players to report offending players. Gold sellers will be banned. Player to player trading is in the game as it is a core component.
Q: Will the game have a system to prevent bots from ruining the game?
Q: How many different weapons will there be? Will there be only one weapon type per class?
A: Weapons are class agnostic. There 15 weapon types planned however there might be variants of those weapon types - meaning a halberd and a spear are considered one weapon type from the game's perspective.
Q: For players that get into Alphas and Betas, will there be an NDA that prevents streaming?
A: There will not be a NDA for Alpha 1, 2 and Betas. In the next Alpha Zero phase (end of Jan), Steven will be "very likely" removing the NDA so testers can create Alpha Zero content. It is more beneficial for the game that it gets early exposure even in an unfinished state. It will help players provide feedback to improve the game. "It's a better environment when the community has a voice."
The stream wrapped up with the announcement that there will be another stream at the end of January - more gameplay from Alpha Zero will be shown! Can't wait! Thanks team!