- To answer your question about "what stops all servers from from progressing the same nodes," the answer to that question is "other players." Certain content is locked behind different nodes that develop. If we assume that at some point all of the information regarding node progression is available, not all players on a server may agree on what content they want access to, or that they want other players to have access to. Even if a certain perks from node progression are considered "best value" to players trying to solve a node meta, that doesn't mean all players on a server benefit from that in the same way. Because of this, some players make act against your best interests, because it isn't their best interest. Nodes define (and redefine) the world around you, influence points of interest, world quest lines, story arcs, drop tables, resource pools, and even spawn tables for NPCs and bosses. The cycle of nodes leveling and triggering events is something we expect to see play out in a variety of different ways, across different servers, based on how players choose to play Ashes of Creation. – Ry Schueller
- There will be a multitude of servers located throughout the various regions of the world.
- Server selection will show the region where the server is located and/or the ping to that server.
- With regards to live launch when the server's go live, you'll be selecting a server to play on; and that will be your character's home; and that server you'll be aware of where that server is located usually by either a ping or a region that's notated on next to the server. – Steven Sharif
- The developers may occasionally release stats relating to server populations and archetype/class makeup, but there isn't going to be an official page that surfaces this information.
- Server-firsts will be able to be captured and collected on memory fragments that players can collect in-game so they may relive their experiences.
- North America (NA).
- Europe (EU).
- Asia/Pacific (SEA).
- Oceania (OCE) (Australia).
At this stage we do not have numbers on how many different servers will exist for different regions. We've said in the past 8-10,000 concurrent users per server is what we'd like to aim for. Obviously, the number of servers that exist in a region are going to be dependent on the population that's playing. – Steven Sharif
- South America is under consideration due to traffic from that region.
Once we get closer to launch we'll update this information, which may include additional regions.
- Players will be able to make characters on any server they wish. There will be no region locking (outside of harmonized regions).
- Previously it was stated that English, French, German, and Russian will be supported then Italian, Polish and Spanish be added later.
- Other languages are being considered based on interest.
- User interface localization tools are available in the chat window.
The current plan is for Ashes of Creation to be available in the following languages: English, French, German, Russian, Italian, Polish, Spanish, and Portuguese. Although this may not be the final list of languages we support, we are still looking at which other languages into which the game may be translated.
- US East.
- US West.
- EU East.
- EU West.
Testing server wipes
- Around 8-10k concurrent users per server is projected.
- Initially there will be a limited number of registered accounts (approximately 15,000) per server to help mitigate login queues.
- There may be queues to get into high population servers, but the aim is to avoid excessively long queues.
- The developers intend to carefully manage server populations via the use of character creation throttles to avoid the need to merge servers.
- The developers may occasionally release stats relating to server populations and archetype/class makeup, but there isn't going to be an official page that surfaces this information.
Managing population density
Ashes of Creation features a custom network back-end with proprietary Unreal Engine networking code to enable mass combat in the open world: such as PvP, Node sieges, Castle sieges, Dungeons and World bosses.
- Player density is a very important aspect of our custom network layer. Zach and his team have been doing an incredible job of creating a unique network layer that we utilize in Ashes of Creation to facilitate, not just the player density goals, but also the open-world and seamless travel across that world. There's a number of different strategies that we employ when architecting the network layer. Some of those things have to do with the significance of replicated data that the player is receiving as the density gets higher. We mitigate calls and reduce the significance distance- the net relevancy distance. We keep things specifically that need to be known for the player directionality, which direction they're facing. Those are the most pertinent data that we transfer- that we transmit to the player character. So there's a lot of different strategies. It's a relatively complex system but our goal is to satisfy hundreds of players available within a given area; and certain events, especially castle sieges, caravans are one of those types of events, and our architecture facilitates that. – Steven Sharif
- The networking solution dynamically distributes processes and scales up necessary server instances to accommodate player density across the world.
- The upgrade to Unreal Engine 5 was primarily a change to the front-end side of the game. The custom back-end networking code remains largely unaffected.
Population based scaling
Things that NPCs buy and sell scale based on the economic activity that exists on that server... As inflation rises, prices rise and everything ends up being equal, even though there might be a couple of extra zeros. So that can go up and it can also go down so as a population leaves, things become less expensive and players don't have to do as much to earn that. On the other side of things we look at the node system and the node system is set up in this really flexible way that allows us to scale the experience needed to level a node and the attrition that delevels a node to scale based on activity too. So it's just a matter of adjusting a couple of constants and that goes up and down and the server can watch it and change those on the fly as it needs to. – Jeffrey Bard
This would likely be utilized more so by guilds than that would be solo or unaffiliated players; and I believe that the solo player they may have friends that they want to play with. That's fine, they can also still with those friends do the reservation system, but the player who is just joining the game fresh and doesn't have a community that they're part of, I don't think they really mind in that regard and will not utilize that system. – Steven Sharif
- Accounts will have name reservation tokens, that entitle its holder to reserve a name on a specific server when the reservation time comes.
Objective-based PvP events such as node sieges, castle sieges, guild wars, and node wars will occur within a prime-time window somewhere between 3PM and 9PM server time. This is subject to testing.
- Guild wars and node wars can be declared at any time, but the objectives will only spawn during the prime-time window.
Dungeons and Raids
- 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 design of Ashes of Creation.
- In situations where we want to contain a particular type of raid, we will utilize instancing; and that can protect certain engagements with certain bosses. But that's really more on the 20% of the scenarios will have instancing protection like that. Around 80% of the content is open-world, where competition is- healthy competition is an instigator for soft player friction; for potential cooperation; for the ability to yield alliances; and the political theater that comes with it. So that's an intended part of the PvX design of Ashes. It's a core philosophical point. And just to be clear, that is not for everyone. We are not trying to make a product that appeals to every MMO gamer. That's impossible; and so we've been very upfront and forthright with what we are trying to accomplish and what our core pillars of philosophical design are. – Steven Sharif
- Castle and node sieges may contain instanced locations where specific groups can participate in certain objective-based waypoints.
- Dungeons and raids will maintain an open world feel while also capitalizing on the benefits of instanced mechanics. Instancing is only going to happen in certain dungeons where the desire is to have greater narrative appeal. Outside of these and arenas there will not be too much instancing anywhere else.
- There will be some open dungeons that have bosses at the end of the dungeons. There will be some open dungeons that just have a multitude of dungeon bosses, not necessarily world raids or something; and there will be lots of different rooms and they'll be progressive in the sense that in the earlier parts of the dungeon they'll be lower level and then at the later parts of the dungeons deeper down they'll be higher level and more difficult; and that creates again I think an ecosystem of where players across a multitude of levels have an opportunity to coexist within certain areas of the world; and that's good from a social dynamic. It's good from a recruitment dynamic. It's good from just a liveliness and relevance of particular areas. So that you don't end up with these locations that once you pass a certain level like it's empty. – Steven Sharif
- We're probably going to do instancing only in certain dungeons and in arenas. You probably won't see instancing too much anywhere else. What you see is gonna be what you get. – Jeffrey Bard
- Healthy competition is seen as 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 design of Ashes of Creation.
- This friction presents an opportunity to engage in the political aspects of the game, which is the lifeblood of what keeps players interested and invested in the game.
- Q: When you reach the bosses in [open world] dungeons can you be jumped?
- A: For the most part if there are bosses at the end of dungeons, it is possible for you to get jumped. – Steven Sharif
- Q: In an open world dungeon, what prevents others from just waiting until you're at the boss and then killing you and taking your boss's loot? What prevents mega guilds from just owning an area and preventing you from accessing or enjoying it?
- A: In a majority of cases, we do not want to prevent another group from engaging potentially in PvP. We disincentivize it by creating safeguards within the flagging system that make that decision very concerning for the people that might go corrupt; and if you're in the large enough group of numbers I doubt you're going to experience that unless there's some rivalry between guilds. In which case there's apparatuses like Guild Wars that are more opt-in. You can drop guild tag if you want. But anyways, the competitive nature of this environment is a PvX element. – Steven Sharif
The arena system as we've spoken about before is going to have ladder systems where people can progress within certain seasons based on their win/loss ratios. The importance of arenas are obviously that players have an opportunity to participate [and] practice out certain builds from a PvP perspective and can compete with one another within the system. – Steven Sharif
- Arenas will have 1 man, 3 man, 5 man and possibly 20 man Free-For-All (Deathmatch) group sizes.
- Arenas will have a minimum level requirement to participate.
- There won't be bifurcated brackets with separate player pools.
- There might be some form of an ELO system that gets flushed on a seasonal basis.
- There will be an arena ladder system.
- Mayors of military nodes are chosen from citizens through last man standing (gladiatorial arena style) combat.
- The arena system may support cross-server combat.
- Arena style combat is instanced but spectators may be possible through an interface.
Server vs server
- There may be monthly competitions where the winning server and winning team receive beneficial buffs for the month.
When you're talking about Arena play especially, one server might not be able to support that depending on what's going on with it, but across all the servers then we've got a really great pool for matchmaking. – Jeffrey Bard
- Number of successful siege defenses.
- Number of successful siege assaults.
- Number of PvP kills.
- Number of PvP deaths.
- Raid participation points.
- Number of firsts.
Visibility of those types of things on the server help to promote a competitive atmosphere. If there is an attainable impression that you can work towards, so that others know your success, you have more drive to succeed. – Steven Sharif
- We're going to leverage tech that captures at the moment when something server-first is done in the story arc; and those will be recorded on these memory fragments that players can collect within the game through their experiences and relive potentially. – Steven Sharif
- Dungeons completed.
- Raids completed.
- PvP kills.
- Caravans raided.
- Gathering activity.
- We have many dreams that we want to do with game-to-web and game-to-mobile in regards to showing stats and being making things shareable for you. We know how social media works; how sharing content with friends works. But those things will come in due time. – Margaret Krohn
- There won't be separate roleplaying (RP) servers.
- There won't be separate PvE and PvP servers.
- A defining principle of Ashes of Creation as a PvX game is that PvE builds the world, and PvP changes the world.
- 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.
- There won't be separate PvE and PvP servers but some servers may be more PvP focused than others.
- 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. – Steven Sharif
- Server rollbacks are emergency scenarios. Are we open to taking emergency action if it's necessary? Yes, of course we're open to doing whatever is necessary to address unforeseen problems, but it should be a last a last-ditch option. – Steven Sharif
- Castle sieges.
- Node sieges.
- Legendary world boss spawns.
- Mob attacks and Monster coin events.
- Dungeon opportunities.
- Local events
- Local events (such as caravan PvP) may prompt players via the UI asking if they wish to participate or not.
- Other local events may offer audible or visual cues without any UI notifications.
- Local events that have not been addressed may start to expand regionally or even globally.
- One important thing to note about events in general is notifications are sent to the players. Players can opt into these events in a similar way that you would into a quest. You're going to be presented with a 'would you like to participate' but they might not always be that way. You might hear trees falling in the forest and that may be an audio cue to tell you something's happening over there. It's out of the ordinary. This is not normally an audio cue that I hear in this area and i'm gonna go investigate that thing. So it might not just be always that UI window represented with a 'participate or not' but I'm going to go investigate and in that sense it could be stage driven. So you might have the more local stage where it is just the visual or audio cues and you get to go participate in that stage; and then when it advances, or if you don't answer the problem in time, then it starts to expand regionally and then it might send out particular notifications to either citizens of the node from which it falls under its purview or even broader than that. It could be global driven events and then it could have things that are are visual cues that are really big like a giant blizzard that's affecting the zone, because the event hasn't been addressed; and that can affect the crop rotations or it can affect passages and roads and how caravans move. There's a lot that the predicate system informs to the event system and then the event system reacts to those types of predicates. – Steven Sharif
- Node-based events
- Certain node-based events will be broadcast to node citizens, others, such as caravans, will not be announced and will instead rely on player word-of-mouth.
- Node advancement notifications will be broadcast depending on the node's stage.
- New citizens of a node may be announced in a dedicated node citizen chat channel.
- Election notices will be mailed to the accounts of citizens.
- Whether it be like a siege or a triggered event against a city or like a unique dungeon opportunity... those types of things are going to involve notifications. Especially to the citizens of the city; where you'll be informed of an impending event. Basically it will give you time. – Steven Sharif
- This design may have changed.
- We're gonna keep track of the history of the world so that we can tell people the story up to the current day. A player who's brand new, who's come in at the six-month mark can take a look at each server, what each server has done, how each server has tackled the storyline; and they can decide for themselves what community they want to join; what version of the world that they want to take part in. – Jeffrey Bard
- Scribes may be able to collect and record information about the events of the world as they see it from their point of view.
- Information about the world will be presented directly to players through the world map UI. Previously the Library was used to access information about the world, such as the history of significant narrative events, locations of gatherable resources, dungeons, and POIs.
- In the past we talked about having a library that was capable of facilitating players exchanging information for map data like that, but we've moved a little bit more in a direction of just presenting that information up front to the player, because travel is such a meaningful portion of the game and we don't have fast travel. So, I think that for Alpha-2 what's planned is that we're going to be showcasing the intricate details of services offered at these node locations from just a UI presentation standpoint within the map. – Steven Sharif
Players can use the Library to access information, including (but not limited to) the following:
Unreal engine 4 (Custom back-end)
Unreal Engine 5 is the graphical engine for Ashes of Creation. The game was originally developed in Unreal Engine 4. Migrating to UE5 required early is expected to save time the long run compared to upgrading closer to release, or post-release.
- Unreal Engine 5 enables improved forms of locomotion/animation (motion warping), such as crouching, tilting and mantling.
- What it provides in my opinion as person who enjoys PvP is it adds additional dynamics to what is possible from your opponent or from yourself. You know, if there is a ledge and jumping off that ledge is going to deal a lot of damage to me when I hit the ground and that puts me at a significant disadvantage, maybe I have an option to jump off the ledge at a point where I can mantle onto the side of a cliff or something. Now the give and take there is I won't be able to use my skills while I'm mantled. I won't be able to react easily, but I didn't have to take the fall damage per-se. Or if there's an obstruction and I'm going to take a significant reduction in speed so that I can crouch and make it past that, and now I have a effective line of sight has been obstructed as a result of that decision. I think it adds interesting elements to the battlefield and the key here is going to be making sure that it's not cumbersome- that it doesn't feel opposite of the flow of combat. – Steven Sharif
- Lumen is going to greatly improve the visual fidelity and performance of the game with the reduced work and effort that's required by the art team, making Ashes of Creation much more beautiful than in UE4. – Steven Sharif
- Nanite enables increased graphical fidelity in the game (without excessive overhead).
- Nanite brings us really an entirely new approach to rendering and art workflows. Now we can render more actors with extremely high detail while eliminating the need to bake out normal map textures. For artists essentially what this means is that they can import high quality sculpted meshes directly into Unreal 5 without really having to reduce the poly count, making the workflow more efficient while simultaneously improving the quality of the art. – Steven Sharif
- Features (such as World partitions and One file per actor) make it much easier for multiple developers to work together.
- World partitions also enable Unreal Engine 5 maps to exceed the map size constraints of UE4 (~20 kilometers squared).
- Q: How does this upgrade to UE5 affect the Ashes of Creation release timeline?
- A: While UE4 is a great engine, there are certain focuses and technological endeavors that Epic is doing on UE5 that won't necessarily be supported by UE4; and we want to make sure given the lifespan of Ashes and how long we intend this MMO to last, that when we made this decision early on during the development process that we weren't going to exacerbate the amount of effort it would take to move over later in the lifespan or after launch. – Steven Sharif
- Ashes of Creation features a custom network back-end with proprietary Unreal Engine networking code to enable mass combat in the open world: such as PvP, Node sieges, Castle sieges, Dungeons and World bosses.
- As of January 24, 2022 all teams have moved over to Unreal Engine 5.
- The developers were able to transition to Unreal Engine 5.1.1 in February 2023 as part of milestone 4.
- The upgrade to Unreal Engine 5.2 was completed. The developers expect to start upgrading to 5.3 around the end of 2023.
- At some point the developers intend to stop updating Unreal Engine until post-launch. This decision will be based on careful consideration of potential delays and other risks.
- Q: What is your stance in regards to focusing on delivering an MVP versus continuously upgrading your tools and engine to deliver a better product with new tech, even if that results in delays or additional years of development like UE 5.2, maybe 5.3 etc?
- A: Our technical teams, especially our network team, our ICS teams, our gameplay engineering teams, they convene and weigh when our next update should be on the engine side: What new technologies might bring benefit overall. My perspective on how we balance the need for integration of new technology versus the responsibility we have in a timely manner to provide testing sessions that get us closer to the launch date; that's a delicate balance. I would say generally our disposition is not to incorporate new technologies that yield some significant amount of delay on the development side. We very much take the perspective that we're capable of adjusting and/or integrating those new technologies post-milestone, post-launch if necessary. At some point we'll stop updating the Unreal Engine in development until launch. That point hasn't come yet, but of course the larger the project grows and on the more custom we make the engine for our back-end needs; and for whatever else merge conflicts can occur- those mergers can become big and painful; and the update process gets more painful. So to answer your question shortly, we have a team that evaluates what direction we need to take there; and at the top of my mind is always, let's not incorporate delays as a result of leveraging new technologies. – Steven Sharif
- Verra's map will not be procedurally generated, but starting resource points may be different on each server.
- Node locations and types are predefined and are the same on each server but they will develop differently on each and drive different narratives and storylines.
- Node layout and style is determined by several factors, such as Environment (biome) and location, Node type, and Race.
- Roads are both pre-generated and player influenced.
Wherever we can leverage procedural mechanics in such a way that does not appear procedural we should. There's a healthy blend between the things that we do in having defined parameters for it and then incorporating a procedural component; and in that sense it will be perceived well, but where we the predominance of what we're implementing should be curated or by design. – Steven Sharif
- The Ashes of Creation Apocalypse stress test was hosted by Microsoft servers in the US Midwest (Ohio).
- Google was the original candidate for server hosting.
- Livestream, May 19, 2017 (37:03).
- MMOGames interview, January 2017
- Official Livestream - May 4th @ 3 PM PST - Q&A
- Livestream, September 27, 2018 (48:13).
- Livestream, November 19, 2021 (52:35).
- Livestream, January 27, 2023 (4:18).
- Interview, May 8, 2017 (22:06).
- Livestream, May 24, 2017 (40:50).
- Ashes of Creation FAQ: Where will your servers be?
- Reddit Q&A, 2019-01-8.
- Livestream, 2018-04-8 (AM) (26:41).
- Livestream, July 9, 2018 (47:54).
- Livestream, July 25, 2020 (1:21:03).
- What languages will Ashes of Creation be in?
- Interview, August 24, 2018 (2:35).
- Livestream, May 17, 2017 (1:09:22).
- Livestream, May 24, 2017 (45:49).
- Interview, August 24, 2018 (3:19).
- Alpha-1 screenshot.
- Alpha-1 screenshot.
- Interview, July 19, 2020 (1:21:49).
- Alpha one test schedule, Mar 12, 2021.
- Livestream, November 30, 2020 (7:27).
- Livestream, May 17, 2017 (59:25).
- Livestream, October 29, 2021 (1:14:00).
- Video, September 6, 2018 (4:25).
- Interview, July 18, 2020 (12:56).
- Interview, July 18, 2020 (10:04).
- Livestream, December 17, 2019 (51:20).
- Livestream, October 31, 2023 (1:37:17).
- Livestream, May 3, 2017 (26:50).
- Livestream, December 23, 2021 (47:51).
- Livestream, June 4, 2018 (39:15).
- Livestream, July 25, 2020 (1:06:43).
- Voyager plus pre-order pack
- February 8, 2019 - Questions and Answers.
- Interview, July 29, 2020 (31:05).
- Interview, July 18, 2020 (13:13).
- Interview, July 8, 2020 (22:37).
- Livestream, October 14, 2022 (2:53).
- Livestream, May 8, 2017 (36:26).
- Livestream, July 28, 2017 (35:42).
- Livestream, April 30, 2020 (1:05:34).
- Interview, July 19, 2020 (11:04).
- Livestream, May 22, 2017 (20:59).
- Interview, September 10, 2023 (58:47).
- Livestream, March 31, 2023 (1:00:16).
- Livestream, March 28, 2020 (1:48:36).
- Livestream, May 31, 2023 (45:47).
- Livestream, January 28, 2022 (17:50).
- Podcast, September 29, 2021 (34:11).
- Podcast, September 29, 2021 (35:17).
- Livestream, April 28, 2023 (2:06).
- Livestream, May 19, 2017 (24:17).
- Video, July 16, 2017 (0:01).
- Livestream, September 24, 2021 (1:22:46).
- Livestream, May 5, 2017 (16:53).
- Livestream, May 26, 2017 (48:12).
- Livestream, October 28, 2022 (1:38:33).
- Podcast, May 11, 2018 (52:20).
- Livestream, May 26, 2017 (29:13).
- Interview, March 27, 2020 (11:04).
- Livestream, 2018-04-8 (PM) (36:21).
- Livestream, May 26, 2017 (29:05).
- Podcast, August 4, 2018 (1:47:21).
- Livestream, May 31, 2023 (2:21).
- Livestream, July 18, 2017 (58:50).
- Livestream, May 15, 2017 (44:10).
- Livestream, May 10, 2017 (35:27).
- MMORPG Interview, 2016-12-12.
- Video, April 16, 2018 (1:32).
- Podcast, April 11, 2021 (38:31).
- Livestream, May 12, 2017 (24:52).
- Livestream, May 5, 2017 (33:25).
- Livestream, August 31, 2023 (20:54).
- Livestream, April 7, 2023 (55:22).
- Livestream, October 28, 2022 (32:52).
- Livestream, June 1, 2017 (37:39).
- Livestream, May 15, 2017 (14:05).
- Interview, August 8, 2018 (25:53).
- Livestream, June 30, 2022 (1:13:23).
- Types of Events on Verra.
- Livestream, April 29, 2022 (32:29).
- Livestream, April 29, 2022 (42:31).
- Livestream, May 4, 2018 (48:14).
- Livestream, April 29, 2022 (39:00).
- Livestream, June 25, 2021 (1:13:30).
- Interview, August 17, 2018 (24:48).
- Interview, March 27, 2020 (16:19).
- Livestream, May 22, 2017 (40:40).
- Livestream, April 30, 2021 (1:01:10).
- Livestream, October 30, 2020 (1:01:00).
- Kickstarter packages.
- Blog: Know Your Nodes - Scientific Node Type
- Interview, April 20, 2018 (9:20).
- Livestream, September 29, 2023 (1:14:29).
- Livestream, May 26, 2017 (51:37).
- Video, December 23, 2021 (0:00).
- Livestream, December 23, 2021 (19:59).
- Livestream, December 23, 2021 (40:53).
- Livestream, December 23, 2021 (50:50).
- Livestream, December 23, 2021 (49:39).
- Livestream, December 23, 2021 (42:09).
- Livestream, December 23, 2021 (55:32).
- Video, December 23, 2021 (23:53).
- Livestream, December 23, 2021 (54:00).
- Livestream, December 23, 2021 (52:52).
- Video, December 23, 2021 (2:54).
- Livestream, December 23, 2021 (52:58).
- Livestream, January 28, 2022 (7:26).
- Livestream, March 31, 2023 (1:10:30).
- Livestream, February 24, 2023 (1:14:41).
- Livestream, January 27, 2023 (1:07:46).
- Livestream, April 7, 2023 (1:21:29).
- Livestream, March 31, 2023 (1:27:15).
- Livestream, February 25, 2022 (1:07:36).
- Blog - Know Your Nodes - The Basics.
- A reactive world - Nodes.
- Livestream, October 30, 2020 (39:17).
- Livestream, September 27, 2018 (53:06).
- Livestream, January 29, 2021 (1:13:04).