PvE

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Alpha-1 Elder Dragon of the Tundra raid boss.[1]

The environment in Ashes of Creation is a visually stunning realm, with fantastical beasts and creations designed to both inspire awe and instill fear. The world is harsh and unforgiving, presenting a clear and present danger to the players. Dungeons, demons and dragons, oh MY! Our unique and adaptive AI means that an encounter with similar creatures will yield a completely different experience to adapt to as a player. Keeping you on your toes for constantly changing responses from your adversary. The world awaits its heroes.[2]

Elder Dragon of the Wood raid boss gameplay.[3]

Whenever you have a player versus environment setting you don't want a stagnant overly repetitive because its lackluster. It does not have that a component that engages.[4]Steven Sharif

The Node system facilitates the generation of new PvE content such as Quests, Dungeons, Raids and Monster coins.[5]

There is going to be a lot of PvE content for all portions of the playerbase... Part of that risk versus reward: Your risk is your time you're putting in to having a chance at getting the reward and successfully completing; and that should feel good based on how much time you devote. Now I know that there's a spectrum of casual and hard-core players in the time there, what we can do, but that's why we have many different content paths that play towards how you affect the world around you.[6]Steven Sharif

PvE content adapts to the development of the world to avoid repetition.[4]

PvE difficulty

Tumok the Wretched Alpha-2 world boss.[7]

Raid bosses are aware of the number of combatants within an area in proximity to them and that awareness is part of an indicator to which behaviors they're going to utilize as part of their behavior tree. So as it's assessing the types of combatants that are facing it, the number of those combatants, the position of those combatants, the abilities and totals of those combatants, it weighs certain actions in its behavior tree and then it acts on those actions; and in the scenario where you're bringing overwhelming odds to a particular fight, that might weigh heavier the AoE options that the boss has access to, where they're utilizing a lot more AoE abilities during an engagement due to that overage of players. So in that sense it's a bit adaptive. It's a bit dynamic based on the encounter scenario.[8]Steven Sharif

The difficulty of PvE content, such as raids and dungeons, will adapt based on the number of participants and their performance against that and previous bosses in that encounter. This applies to both instanced and open-world encounters.[9][8][10][11]

How does the state tree of the NPC respond to the actions of the players? Well, it weights certain actions and behaviors based off of what the players are doing and as it weights those things, it makes decisions that will be unique according to the encounter that's occurring in front of it. So, each time might be different as a result of that. That's one section. In addition, when we talk about the adaptive scaling- this isn't scaling in like power relation to the level of the player- this is scaling in the quantity of participants; and that means that it starts to weight the behaviors that include AoE actions higher than others as a result of the number of players who are present. This intrinsically increases the challenge rating of the encounter, because those AoE abilities are providing a higher return on DPS overall to the to the raid encounter for the monster.[9]Steven Sharif
  • There will be mobs who's level is above the player level cap.[14]
Both in Alpha-2 and when the game launches, there will be monsters whose technical level is above that of the cap; and the intent there is obviously again to provide some level of challenge that exceeds a comparable level challenge rating.[14]Steven Sharif
Q: How challenging will raid boss mechanics be given the given that players may need to simultaneously fight other players while also fighting the boss?
A: It depends. The great thing about our encounter system is that it has a wide scalability from encounters that some might consider easy given their composition to encounters that some might consider impossible until they get their gear level to a certain stage. The level of interaction with other players is really predicated on the encounter itself. We may have some encounters that are in instances although the predominant portion of those will be in the open world, in which case they do have the potential being contested; and these encounters, especially the big ones that might land in contention, are giving some of the best-in-slot gear you can get in the game. So it's important that they are contested because it is a significant victory point; and one of our core pillars is risk versus reward: and the higher that risk the higher that reward should be. So those two things seem fitting and then in addition we do have the concept of winners and losers. Not everybody in Ashes of Creation is going to be a winner; and that sucks if you're not I guess, but there is opportunity for you to continue to excel and become one. But it gives much more meaning to an achievement when not everybody gets the achievement. That's our philosophy.[15]Steven Sharif
Q: So it's the sort of thing where it might be, we're going do a dungeon that's oops, all fire golems, so if everybody straps up with plate armor and fire resistance, you don't have to worry about the magic fire: you've got the fire resistance for. And when you start getting punched around, that's why everyone's come in with plate?
A: The encounters design team presents a particular type of challenge rating- for those you're familiar with playing DnD or whatever, challenge rating gets informed by a few different vertical power levels, but then there's also the horizontal perspective: That is, what tools does your party have to address the challenge rating of the situation and some of the horizontal progression exists within how you kit your equipment slots. Some of those can be enhancements or stones, as you're discussing with fire resistance. Some of those are base stats that exist on a particular item, such as physical damage mitigation versus magical damage mitigation and what subtype of damage is incoming based on that. These are the ways that we emphasize that more rock-paper-scissors type of interaction with balance to where it's okay to have asymmetric imbalance if there are horizontal methods by which you achieve the challenge rating.[16]Steven Sharif

Story arcs

Alpha-2 early preview of the story arc UI.[17]

Story arcs are like a pre-packaged tabletop campaign. They contain all of the NPCs and quests and monsters- all the things you need to make a cool fantasy story. They're not procedurally generated... We write all the dialogue and we construct all the narrative beats and everything like that, but they will enter the world dynamically depending on the state that the world is currently in; how players have built up specific nodes, what races control various nodes. We have plans to include lots of different things on top of that, but we don't have any quest hubs or anything like that in this game, because players build up all the cities. So we had to get a system that looks at what players are doing and can inject content into the world that makes sense for what they're doing.[18]Skott B

The Blood Still Due story arc unlocking at The Tower of Carphin.[19]

When story arcs come online, they change a lot the environment. They update what monsters are in the world. They create quest NPCs... and then new Pathways can open up through the environment.[20]Skott B

Story arcs are unlocked by multiple types of player activity within each server.[21][19][18][22]

Every stage a node develops it's unlocking narratives, storylines, it's changing the spawn population of the area around it, changing what bosses exist, it's triggering events where you may have legendary dragons attack the city. It's basically writing the story of the server based on the actions and determination of the players. So, you may experience a dungeon one month earlier and have a completely different story that relates to this location the next month, because something has changed either geopolitically or from the node standpoint.[22]Steven Sharif
Even player driven mechanics will still have story components. There will be a reason why the player driven mechanic is available or required of the player; so every system that's created touches a story.[30]Steven Sharif
  • If there are too many other major arcs happening at the same time in the same zone, a story arc may need to wait its turn, even if conditions are right for it to be unlocked.[21]
  • Story arcs drive one or more storyline quests within the game.[32][33][34][35][25]
    • Story arcs can branch into different stories with multiple possible endings depending on the quest objectives that players complete during each chapter.[32][33]
    • The developers will try to ensure that story arcs in future expansions flow on from existing story arcs, regardless of the different possible outcomes.[32]
  • There will be a variety of different types of story arc content at different scales, with different cooldowns to suit different types of players in the game.[37]
We must provide enough of this content at varying scales such that it isn't worthwhile or economical to control every single story arc in the world. Some will be smaller in scale and production value, and thus, will move faster and have shorter cooldowns before they're reintroduced.[37]Skott B
  • Story arcs offer content tailored to players at various adventuring levels. Lower level story arc content can influence what higher level players are able to do.[38]
Q: Are the story arcs designed to engage players of all levels simultaneously, or certain segments specifically tailored for high-end or endgame content?
A: We have story arcs that do both. We have story arcs that are catered towards high-end level ranges that are very specific to the types of adventuring levels that we want players to participate in that story arc, and then we have some story arcs that have different sections which cater to a broader diversity of level ranges; and the way we approach players participating in those more broader story arcs is that the activities of the lower level players feed up through the story arc, so what they're doing influences even what higher level players are able to do. And meeting the certain quota of objectives that are necessary to progress the story arc requires participation down the line across the story arc features. So, to answer your question shortly: We have both.[38]Steven Sharif
info-orange.pngSome of the following information has not been recently confirmed by the developers and may not be on the current development roadmap.

Certain story arcs can be unlocked through the bulletin board system. Certain requirements would need to be met in order to access story arc quests.[42]

Quests

Alpha-1 early quest user interface.[43]

Questing in our world combines the best elements of traditional MMO’s as well as the introduction of our unique player driven experiences. Ashes of Creation offers area quests, public quests, and quest chains that change dynamically and in real time based on the player’s experiences and choices. Players will have the ability to directly alter world events and change the landscape through their actions, as an individual and as a community. Server quests will allow political rivals to compete for the fate of the world.[2]

Alpha-2 quest journal user interface early preview.[44]

We actually used the journal as one of our test cases for the style guide because it's a very complex screen. There's a lot of things that are going on, where we have different tiers of story arcs that might be available for players; and so we wanted to make sure the color denoted different information for them. We also have iconography to support that as well; and we have a little bit of a twist on what a traditional quest system would be like. With these story arcs we wanted to make sure that it was organized in a familiar way, but also something that supported all of the designs needs.[45]Colby Marchi

Quests in Ashes of Creation are divided into three main categories: Events, Commissions, and Story arc quests.[46][47][48][49]

  • The various questing systems are intended to direct player activity toward content that affects the development of the world.[51]
Nodes act as a hub; and one of the ways they direct player traffic is obviously through the commissions, the buy orders, things that essentially are supplying that demand of activity or action from the player; and then what the players choose to do is essentially the agency that's provided in helping to dictate how the world state will change.[51]Steven Sharif
  • Every type of quest can be shared with other players in the same party. This may be tuned based on Alpha-2 testing.[52][53]
    • Story arc quests and events can be shared within a raid group.[54]
    • Other types of quests, or commissions, if allowed within a raid group, may be selectively distributed with members of that raid.[54] For example: kill objectives may be shared, but drop objectives may go to the first member looting the drop.[55]
If we do allow progression within narrative systems like a quest or commission, I think that's going to be distributed based on the number of raid or party participants. So, killing a particular monster is not going to get everybody a check mark on their progress towards killing 20. It's going to be one person's going to get that progression; and then it'll continue to the next person and so on and so forth. If we're talking about some questlines, like story arcs or events that have phases, or that have overall participation by many members then that progress can be shared at a party raid level. So there's different settings depending on what objective there is within a quest. Some of them will share, some of them will be distributed.[54]Steven Sharif
Q: Will dialogue choices have any impact on the quests in regards to how NPCs respond to you or the overall outcome of that quest, or is it more just a role-playing perspective without any major impact?
A: No. The dialogue choices are intended to provide an impact, both with the response of the NPC, it might also serve as predicates for other systems. If there are certain paths chosen within the dialogue tree it might unlock different side arcs and story lines that other players may not experience. The dialogue trees are not meaningless. They're meant to provide gameplay related context.[57]Steven Sharif

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Dungeons

Dünzenkell Crypt open-world Dünir dungeon in Alpha-1.[60]

Half the problem won't just be solving the dungeon, it will be solving other players too.[61]Jeffrey Bard

Dungeons in Ashes of Creation will range in size and will be mostly open-world.[64][65][66][67]

  • Open world dungeons will be populated to facilitate multiple groups within the dungeon.[65][61]
    • 80% of dungeons will be open world.[68][69]
  • Instanced dungeons will also be present and will cater for solo and group questlines.[61]
    • 20% of dungeons will be instanced.[68][69]
    • Some boss rooms (within larger encounters) will be instanced.[64]
    • Instances will either be individual or party instances, and in rare cases raid instances.[65]
    • Instanced dungeons and raids will utilize room locks or other mechanisms that restricts the encounter to its target audience.[64]

Different tiers and types of dungeon content will be more or less relevant to specific groups or class compositions.[65][70]

Q: With most dungeons and POIs being non-instanced, how large and intricate can we expect dungeons to be in order to accommodate many groups and PvX potential? For example, how many players do you expect the Tower of Carphin to accommodate?
A: Let me break that up into two sections. First it's important to note that while the vast majority of our playable areas are within the open world, there are some that are contained obviously within instances. Those instances being either individual instances, party instances, or even, in some rare cases, raid instances. with that being said however, part of the dynamic that a PvX game wants to emphasize when it comes to open world dungeons and playable spaces is the natural friction that occurs when scarcity is a real thing; and scarcity means that not all hunting areas are going to be the same quality. There are going to be specific loot tables that are relevant to certain hunting areas. There's going to be certain spawn rates that is relative to experience values for those areas. And there's going to be different compositions of mobs that are relevant to the areas as well; and so because there are these tiers of quality of hunting grounds, that creates a rarity value essentially to those locations, of which then there is a level of scarcity because there's limited space. So we are going to be creating spaces that are very large, to answer the first part of the question, that will host many many many groups; and we're also going to have spaces that are relatively small and might only be able to cater to one or two groups.
Second part of your question as it relates to Carphin. Carphin is broken up as a hunting area into two primary sections: There is the tower itself and then there is the wreckage of the city in which Carphin existed beneath. Now, the beneath section is the wreckage itself, is generally catering towards groups of three to five players. So it's not so much a solo area, but it is an area where you might go with a few friends. But if you went with a full party then maybe your kill rate needs to be really high; and there's a few sections that are in the wreckage area that could support that, but not the entire wreckage. Okay, so that's an important distinction to keep in mind when thinking about the dungeon itself. The tower is intended for full parties and there are I believe five levels above the base level, so six total levels that are playable; and each of those levels will support anywhere from three to four groups essentially. So it is a relatively large structure: a vertical dungeon that we're expecting groups to spend a lot of time in. And it's not intended that the groups go between levels. It's intended that they find a level and they carve out a section of that level that they're going to be hunting in; and then another group's going to be near them and maybe there's going to be some friction because they keep pulling mob from your section and you're like, "Hey what the hell dude, get the hell out of my section", and they're like "No, you're gonna die now!"[65]Steven Sharif
  • Dungeon difficulty will increase the further a player ventures into a dungeon.[71]
  • Mobs and mob mechanics will become more difficult.[71]
  • Terrain and environmental dangers will increase.[71]
Deeper darker types of interactions will be found deeper in the dungeon.[71]Steven Sharif
Q: Will open-world dungeons have a negative feedback loop for those who are busing or carrying dungeons for lower level players?
A: There is a level disparity mechanic that prevents players who are outside of 9 to 10 levels of the highest level within the party from collecting experience through their adventuring. So, to some degree there is a safeguard with regards to that; and then obviously the way that we cater the encounter experience, depending on those locations, are going to require that a party is operating at at a high efficiency level in order for it to be efficient for that lower level player to participate and gain levels in a way that makes sense. So, I think there are some safeguards with regards to that. And the other thing is that, if you're paying other players to power level you, or you're engaging in any type of RMT, we have behavioral heat mapping which will help us identify those individuals and take action.[72]Steven Sharif

There were 13 dungeons in Alpha-1.[73] Originally this was estimated to be 6 or 7.[74]

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Raids

Raids will either be based on triggered events or more traditional systems. Traditional world bosses will change based on node development.[77]

We want things to be more fluid and one of the ways that we make them more fluid is through our triggered event system. That is one of the methods by which we make these more spontaneous. We make them more accessible to a wider audience. You can be just in the city and not normally be a part of a raid team, but now get to participate in this organic event that's popped up around the city and if you are not participating then buildings are gonna get destroyed and NPCs are going to die... It's not just how fast can we do it, how will we get it done in its schedule, but oh my god this thing popped up if we don't kill it we're not going to access to our stables this week and we can't get our animal husbandry certificates... It's that risk versus reward that gives you a sense of adrenaline.[78]Steven Sharif

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Monster coins

Monster coin concept art.[79]

Let's say for example you have an event- that is the predicate for this event kicking off was that a raid boss was killed in a nearby dungeon; and it was killed for the 50th time, or it was killed by some particular storyline end or whatever the predicate system is in the world state to say "hey kick this event off". Well, when that event kicks off a number of spawners activate around the node and NPCs start moving towards a node. The node is notified, like "hey there's something happening here, you guys should put up your defenses focus on this thing"; and those with monster coins who are within the area and are not a citizen of the node or an affiliated node can choose to activate the monster coin to become one of the monster types that exist within that event; and that event has a number of targets; and let's say for this particular story arc the thing was we need to find artifacts and better weapons in order to defeat these bosses at the bottom of this dungeon; and a lot of players went through that process they found those weapons and whatnot. Well those things might be stored in three buildings that exist within the node. They might be stored within the armory; they might be stored within the barracks; and they might be stored at a workshop that has access to a workbench that they've chosen to build and that could also potentially serve as a predicate; and when you become the monster those are your three objectives; and you don't need to destroy all three. You potentially just need to destroy one, or you destroy as many as you can if it's a time selected event; and you might have targets that are NPC-related as well, such as the blacksmith that's at the workbench, or the captain of the guard who's at the barracks, or whatever who's at the armory; and you get to go in and you get to kill other players potentially during this who are helping to defend the city; and you can also make it to the objectives and potentially help in destroying the building, or killing the NPCs. That is the type of objectives that would exist within a monster coin system for an event.[80]Steven Sharif

Pre-alpha monster coin system.[81]

Sometimes the disturbed beings could take the form of packs of dire wolves, hordes of zombies roused from their graveyard, or even, rarely, an epic-tier dragon flying out of a volcano once a node reaches its maximum level. In any case, the disturbed monsters have to tackle a series of destructive objectives, which can either be handled by the AI or, more interestingly, by a player. The player in turn would attempt to complete all those actions much as in a multi-objective quest, hopefully before other players brought him or her down.[82]

Monster coins enable players to play as monsters within the monster coin event system. This ranges from playing as a horde of zombies, to becoming a massive dragon.[83][84][85]

During a Monster Coin Event, players will be able to activate Monster Coins, allowing them to become monsters and wreak havoc! These Events can be triggered in a variety of different ways, and in some cases they may even provide cosmetic rewards.[79]

Monster coin events are system spawned events.[84][86]

  • They are structured in a way to prevent groups from gaming the system.[86]
  • Monster coin events are triggered by activity in the world, such as node advancement, defeating a boss or constructing certain types of buildings within a node.[87]
  • Server messages appear for players in the vicinity of these dynamic events.[88]
  • The player will have a number of potential objectives they can choose to attack during the event. This may include node buildings, points-of-interest, dungeon, NPC, or other open-world objective.[80]
When you're playing as a as a monster from the monster coin use as part of an NPC event that might be targeting a node, or other some other open-world objective or POI, or dungeon, you get to participate as a monster and your focus is completing objectives that have already been prescribed as part of the event.[80]Steven Sharif

The Ancients are not going to be part of the monster coin system.[91]

Traditionally, the Ancients are not going to be part of the Monster Coin system. These are the primary antagonists of the story. From a lore perspective, and one of the reasons why they're not a part of the Monster Coin system, is because their souls have really developed almost to the point of perfection in manipulating the Essence for more corrupt uses. They haven't quite gotten there, and who knows if they ever will, but that attunes them out of the possibility: The reason why the monster coin system is possible with other creatures.[92]Steven Sharif

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World bosses

The general philosophy is that respawns will be variable. We don't want to have set specific times in which respawns will occur, so that they can be camped and farmed. But there'll be variable location respawns as well as variable time respawns. And then that provides opportunities for different parties to engage at different times and locations.[95]Steven Sharif
  • Some world bosses will have stages of progression, such as defeating acolytes, then lieutenants, then generals, then the world boss itself.[100]
    • At each stage there is increasing difficulty. This may be parsed out into different time periods and be behind a wall of development.[100]
  • A single digit percentage of the population will be capable of defeating certain content.[100]
  • There will be ancillary effects that happen as a result of downing certain world bosses.[101]

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Adaptive content

Alpha-1 preview pirate themed dynamic point of interest.[104]

This is actually a dynamic POI. This one will evolve as players evolve the node that it's attached to. So this is its final state.[104]Jeffrey Bard

New points of interest (such as dungeons, world bosses, and corrupted areas) spawn as nodes develop.[105][106] This content adapts to the node progression of the zone it is in.[104][107]

Certain dungeons and other points of interest across the map will all be affected by the server’s node development. Some dungeons will only be unlocked if nodes are developed to certain stages. The storyline objectives for players inside dungeons will also be dependent on the story arc paths chosen through the node system. The drop tables in area and dungeons will also be tied into the progression of certain areas. For example, let’s say that the humans have developed a node in Region A, and a storyline has opened up that leads players to inspect the ruins (dungeon) of a nearby area. And let’s say that this node was developed in a scientific (crafting) zone… Well before the node developed, this dungeon was accessible… But now the dungeon has propagated new monster assets that include a drop table catering to a crafting emphasis because of the development of that academic node. And perhaps, a new boss appears in different rooms of the dungeon that includes different adventure quest starts, like a mysterious item with a storyline that can only be progressed if a node develops to the metropolis stage in a certain region, across the world. Our system is so vast, when it comes to interconnectivity and how the world reacts to the players.[49]

Raid strategies

Raids will have elements that can be pre-planned.[4]

Raids will also have dynamic elements that can change from session to session.[4]

One of the design elements that we're implementing into our raids is that the raid will not be exactly the same every single time. You're going to have variables that can't necessarily be pre-planned out for. You can pre-plan out for a lot of the raid like how many DPS do you need and healers and support; where the key position and all that stuff; but I think the compelling aspect of Ashes raiding will be the difficulty in achieving this content and having that content change from session to session as well. We want there to be variables that get manifested by what type of node got developed elsewhere. Is he going to have acolytes or cultists? What will the acolytes have skills [available] to them? What kit is the boss gonna have? What available skill repertoire will the boss be able to [wield]? ... A lot of those systems are influenced obviously by world development. So the raid takes into account at what stage has the world developed: Are there two metropolises now available in the world? Okay well let's activate this skill in this skill. Now you have five metropolises, well now all these skills have been activated. Are there are they all economic nodes? Are they all military nodes? That we can change things based on that stuff. And it really is a threat assessment from the environment against the players.[4]{{ndash|Steven Sharif}

Player driven narrative

One of the major goals I feel like we have is to allow player decisions to have consequences and to have meaningful results from the decisions that they make, so it seems like people can really create their own stories.[112]Aimi Watanabe

The world of Verra will be the same on each server, but Nodes will develop differently. Different servers will have different narratives. Things that happen on one server may not happen on another.[113]

We want as many people as possible to experience the main server Narrative. These will branch at different scales, but largely at the personal level. Where things change is at the Node level – different parts of the story will be unlocked based on where and when Nodes grow. Unlocking a part of the story in a certain way locks out progression of the story in a different way. You’ll see different antagonists, different NPCs, and different calls to action depending on what’s happening with the server at that time.[115]

It redefines what the players will experience in an MMORPG to come into a wilderness that is devoid of really any structure outside of what the community creates themselves; and then what can be created can be changed, if they want to experience a storyline that's been seen on another server, but you're fighting a dragon because you're near a mountain and the other server's fighting a Kraken because they're near the coast and you want to fight that Kraken because of its drop table. If you want to meta it or because you just want that under your belt: to be the server first to take out that Kraken and you have yet to develop the node there, it's incumbent upon you to manifest that in the game.[116]Steven Sharif

Corrupted areas

Alpha-2 corrupted area in the Riverlands biome.[117]

We just saw a corrupt zone and that zone becomes corrupt after a period of time in which players are not addressing some issues that arise through certain events or through certain story arcs; and that corruption can spread and corruption changes the spawners for resources and for monsters; and that has a fundamental effect on the resource economy of the game.[118]Steven Sharif

Corrupted areas (zones/points of interest) can dynamically evolve with the progression of nodes and story arcs.[118][39][21][19][18][119][105]

  • These are sources of NPC events that players need to address before they grow out of hand.[118][121][119]
    • Players need to participate in these events to stop the spread of corruption and hold back the intrusion on the material plane.[118][120]
    • If players fail to address these corrupted areas, the frequency of NPC events against their node will increase. These can lead to node buildings and services being disabled, increasing the node's vulnerability to node sieges.[122]
It can be a very detrimental thing if corruption is not addressed; and that's the intent of corruption, is to present a challenge to the players that if not addressed it becomes exacerbated and a problem over time.[122]Steven Sharif
To degree your mortal coil, as we call it, or what some might consider a soul from your character's perspective within this story- can be influenced and can be changed into a shape that's more in tune with corruption; and that's through doing PvP things you can accomplish that.[123]Steven Sharif
When it enters the corruption state outside of weather, in that corrupt state, you will probably see a little bit less of the influence of the season because really it's adopting that corruption, which in-and-of-itself is a season.[125]Steven Sharif

Artificial intelligence

Jermaine Torment of Illwind boss mob.[126]

You can see how we utilize some of the different armor pieces- you've probably seen some of these pieces on different outfits like that toast Corvid Castigator cloak is on him.[126]Margaret Krohn

Ashes of Creation utilizes an adaptive artificial intelligence (AI), meaning different encounters with similar mobs and bosses will yield different player experiences.[127][2]

  • Some NPC AI behaviors may be randomly selected at the time of initial engagement causing them to make decisions dynamically during an encounter.[127][10][128][129]
    • Higher frequency of AoE attacks depending on how many players are participating.[10]
    • Unlock rage, recovery effects and buffs.[130][10]
    • Supporting other monster types or classes nearby.[130]
    • Additional adds and add classes.[10]
    • Some NPCs may attempt to seek cover behind obstacles during encounters.[131]
  • NPCs performing "idle actions" to make the world seem more alive has been discussed by the developers but is not confirmed.[132]
Part of the NPC encounter design is not always going to be the same behavior tree. There will be purposefully behaviors that exist for the boss that are rolled at the time of the initial engagement; and so that is in an effort to keep things emergent, to keep things different, to try to not keep a static monotonous engagement idea.[127]Steven Sharif

There are AI systems that don't relate to controlling NPCs.[133]

There are some additional AI parameters that are set that don't relate necessarily to controlling NPCs. There are AIs with regards to the development of the borders for nodes in the direction and also the decisions that are made of which lower nodes to enslave as vassal states. There's AI that relates to a little bit of the stock market that's going to be present in the economy. There's some AI systems that are going to be announced also that are pretty innovative I think with regards to the MMORPG genre and that's going to make the triggered event system very interesting I think; and that's with regards to how nodes develop and the environment reacts to that development by spawning these triggered events of a horde of zombies attacking a city or a legendary raid boss coming out of the mountain. I think there's a lot of opportunity for some of the innovations that's been in the AI sector of game development too to come out in Ashes.[133]Steven Sharif

Group dynamics

Group dynamics aim to bring players together.[135]

One of the main philosophical pillars behind our design was that PvE must be impactful and inclusive. We want solo players, small groups and large groups to all have a home within our system.[2]
Q: Are there ways to combat larger groups and not just let sheer numbers determine the victory? Are there going to be AoE that do more damage based on how many people are within this proximity?
A: If we're talking about smaller TTK numbers then the and the room for error being less that means that you can have a scenario where a larger group- and by definition a Zerg, which is less organized, less skilled players, but are numbers over skill- there is now a better opportunity for the smaller group to prevail against the larger group, if they are better organized and more skillful; which tends to be the case in smaller groups. So intrinsically those two philosophies are tied to one another. The shorter TTK and the how do you solve the zerg problem. Well, by definition, the zerg problem gets solved through skill.[136]Steven Sharif

Group sizes

Party witnessing the beginning of the An Ancient Violence Story arc in Alpha-2.[137]

We're not creating a solo game, but it doesn't mean that we don't offer gameplay that is solo centric as well: It lives in addition to the social aspect of What MMOs provide; and so part of what we do in order to to give that element of gameplay is we have quest lines that are devoted towards solo players. We have hunting grounds. Obviously one of the benefits of being a solo player is you get to keep everything that drops. You don't have to share loot with a party or with friends; that's one benefit of being a solo player. But it's going to be more difficult to overcome challenges; and those individuals who are up to taking that additional level of of difficulty are going to excel perhaps in their character progression a bit faster than those who are more group-centric. It's going to be a little bit of a roll of the dice there because there are loot tables, there are reward tables that accompany that, but it's important to note that from a content perspective Ashes of Creation is looking to fulfill both that solo-oriented mind in gameplay as well as the group and social experience; and a lot of times those paths diverge: They move apart, they come back together; and that process is going to be seen throughout the leveling in Ashes of Creation where you'll have more opportunities for solo gameplay and some opportunities for group gameplay.[138]Steven Sharif

Ashes of Creation is designed for solo players as well as large and small groups.[138][139][140]

The idea behind an 8-person group is to allow us to really amplify party roles, and to create a need for each of the archetypes in every party.[135]
  • Raids will have 40 man groups.[141]
  • Content will be tailored for 40, 16 and 8 person group sizes.[142]
  • Arenas will have 1 man, 3 man, 5 man and possibly 20 man Free-For-All (Deathmatch) group sizes.[143]
    • There won't specifically be guild vs guild arenas but team-based matchmaking allows teams to face other teams.[144]
  • Castle sieges are expected to have at minimum 250x250 players to be on a single battlefield, with the possibility of increasing this to 500x500 over time.[145][146][147][148]
The minimum goal is 500 players on a single battlefield. I think we will be able to hit 500vs500 but we shall see.[148]Steven Sharif

Solo players

Ashes of Creation provides gameplay options for solo oriented players.[138]

For those solo players who don't really care about finding a community to play with but they want to have one when they need it, there's going to be a lot of opportunities from a dialogue perspective, in-game chat options; you can join as part of citizenships: there's a lot of pseudo factions there- social organizations that give you an in to other players without the strong bonds that typically come with guild-oriented organizations; and I think that that's a comfortable medium between the two.[138]Steven Sharif

Looting rules

Alpha-2 looting UI preview.[152]

In the group loot obviously there's a lot of functionality here that parties have the ability to customize. There can be loot master, there can be round-robin, there can be need/greed/pass that's applied on a per rarity basis depending on the party's choices.[152]Steven Sharif

Alpha-2 vote to change loot allocation method UI.[153]

Ashes of Creation intends to use traditional loot rules, selected by the party or raid leader.[154][155][135]

  • Loot in Ashes of Creation encounters is finite and must be distributed between party or raid members who complete the encounter. There is no individual loot system that grants loot to all participants. This essentially acts to balance the lowered risk in large numbers against lower chances of gaining rewards.[156]
  • Group loot rules are defined on a per-rarity basis.[152]
  • A majority of party members must vote to approve any changes to group loot allocation changes.[153]
  • The developers are considering using a double-tap interaction to loot all containers within a close proximity radius.[157]
  • There won't be auto-looting pets.[158]
  • It will be possible to kick a player from a party prior to them acquiring loot.[159]
Yes, technically it would be possible for you to kick a player prior to acquiring loot. However, again because we are a game that relies on social interactions, there are reputations to be had; and if you acquire a reputation as a raid leader, or as a party leader, of doing something dirty like that, then it's unlikely you'll be able to Garner the support of future party members and/or raids to lead efforts against these raid bosses.[159]Steven Sharif
Free-for-all.[135]
  • Whoever is first to loot gets the loot.[154]
Lootmaster.[152][135]
Round-robin.[152][135]
Need or greed.[152][135]
info-orange.pngSome of the following information has not been recently confirmed by the developers and may not be on the current development roadmap.
Bidding system.[135]
  • Intrepid are investigating a potential bidding system, which allows players to bid on items instead of rolling for them.[135]
    • The highest bidder wins the item.[135]
    • The gold then goes into a pool that is split among the rest of the party members.[135]

Party roles

Ashes of Creation has the traditional trinity of Tank, DPS (damage dealers) and Support (healer or non-healer) roles.[161][135][162]

We have our eight base archetypes; and the trinity is a pretty strong influence with regards to the eight base classes. However the area in which we actually begin to play with that line between the trinity is in the secondary classes that you can pick. That's where we begin to blend those spaces and allow people a little bit of influence over their role and whether or not they fit perfectly within a particular category within the trinity.[163]Steven Sharif

PvX

We like to really refer to ourselves as a PvX game, because in those systems of PvP, PvE, crafting they're all intertwined: They're interdependent on each other... Our system of development really requires some interdependence there between those things. You're going to need a crafter to give you the best items. You're going to need PvPers to secure cities and castles. You're gonna need PvErs to take down those world bosses for those materials to craft.[164]Steven Sharif

Ashes is a comprehensive game. It is not a PvP focused or a PvE focused, it is a comprehensive PvX game and as a result these systems are all interconnected and have to coexist with one another with certain types of mechanisms that can provide that give and take, that push and shove.[165]Steven Sharif

Ashes of Creation is a PvX game. Players will naturally encounter both PvP and PvE elements.[166][165][167][168] It is unlikely that a player could purely focus on just PvP or just PvE.[165][164][167][168]

Ashes is a PvX game; and so in that regard, your ability to wholesale disconnect from the PvP elements of the game are likely not going to be entirely successful. Now, does that mean that you can reduce your exposure to PvP? A hundred percent; and there are multiple play paths and progression points that players can elect instead to be more PvE focused, but by the sheer nature of risk-versus-reward, and risk including not being able to predict how other players might impact your gameplay, that is an element of the innate risk that exists in the multiplayer environment of a PvX setting. So, not everybody is going to like that and we accept that; and we're not trying to build a game that everybody is going to like, because everybody it's doing that is not going to be successful, because there're just people with different interests; and you know we accept that and we're very on the nose about what we're trying to achieve. The idea is not to create a gank fest, is not to create a grief fest. That is not what PvX is; and so because of that we have certain mechanisms and systems that govern the way players engage in PvP and the majority of those are opt-in, but there is always that element of risk that's governed by the flagging system. And so, if you're interested in that I would take a look at the Wiki and look up what flagging is, and look up what corruption is. My experience tells me- and my expectations of the system are that they will signal significantly reduce a player's exposure to non-consensual PvP, but that risk is always going to be present to some degree.[166]Steven Sharif
  • Around 80% of the content is open-world, where healthy competition is an instigator for player friction; for potential cooperation; for the ability to yield alliances; and the political theater that comes with it. This is an intended part of the PvX game design.[103][26][27][28][29]
  • There won't be separate PvE and PvP servers but some servers may be more PvP focused than others.[166][167][170]
We're very clear with our objective and philosophy on the game and we understand that they may not appeal to everybody. But it is an important reciprocal relationship between the content that's related to PvE and the content that's related to PvP and they feed off of each other. They're catalysts for change: Their progression, their development. It's things that people can value when they see something earned and they see something lost. That elicits an emotional response from the player: That they've invested time in to either succeed or fail; and PvP allows for that element to be introduced into gameplay. And we're very clear that is our objective: That risk versus reward relationship, that achievement-based mentality. Not everybody's going to be a winner and that's okay.[29]Steven Sharif
info-orange.pngSome of the following information has not been recently confirmed by the developers and may not be on the current development roadmap.

Gameplay videos

Visuals

See also

References

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