Earlier today (May 1, 2017), Intrepid Studios launched their Kickstarter video to raise funds for the upcoming MMO, Ashes of Creation. Ashes of Creation is an open world, non-faction, high-fantasy MMORPG. Creative Director Steven Sharif says he put his team together to make Ashes of Creation because he isn’t satisfied with the MMORPGs that have been launched in recent years. He claims there’s something better than the cash-grab pay-to-win MMORPGs we’ve seen on the market lately. Sharif says there are four major “pillars” to his upcoming game Ashes of Creation in their latest video.
Like all MMOs, Ashes of Creation needs their gimmicks. Node systems have been done before but not on the depth that AoC takes it to. Nodes in AoC will influence the size of towns and cities, the rise and fall of leaders, bosses, and many other locked up contents. For example, if a city built into a mountain grows too large, it may awaken a dragon living deep within the mountain, setting off a volcanic eruption and unleashing the fury of an enormous dragon upon the region. Players must work together (and let’s be honest, against other guilds) to vanquish the dragon and claim rewards. Events like this will shape the story of the world. Fighting players, merchanting, crafting, slaying monsters and more will all affect the areas around, increasing or decreasing the sizes of cities and settlements as populations rise and fall. Anything that gives experience in any area of your player is recognized as experience toward that node. In short, players will decide what cities grow and what cities become ghost towns.
AoC aims to create meaning conflict within their world. Much like Black Desert Online, players will take up arms against each other to win territories and resources. The more conflict in a region, the larger the population must be to sustain war. Taking down other groups could give you access to their resources or let you ransack their settlements, potentially making yours larger and theirs smaller. This chain of events could set off key events, increase commerce and make your own region thrive. Conflict will be integral in AoC because every battle shapes the destiny of your world.
On top of crafting, collecting and merchanting, players can own homes and establish themselves within an area. Just like how areas of our world excel at certain trades due to available resources, so will regions within AoC. You may have a mountain city that focuses on mining, and smithing, exporting the highest quality weapons and armor for the world, whereas they must trade for food and other supplies from cities along plains and rivers with different resources.
Regional warehouses will be the closest thing to a global marketplace Ashes of Creation may ever see, and it’s localized to a certain in-game area. A weapon crafter in one city can’t sell to a fishing colony without transporting goods to the fishing colony’s regional warehouse. This leads to conflict with other players who wish to steal your goods and market them for their own profit. Certain paths could become too risky, shutting down trade to certain areas and leaving players to decide if they want to fight off bandits, take a longer route, or just sell to a different city.
The node system plays a vital role to the development of the storyline. Each server, due to the players in that world and how they decide to interact with the nodes, will have a different story. One server may have a dragon destroy a city, which means a hero died that would have helped someone else accomplish something in another area. Heroes and villains will come and go differently depending on the nodes. Dragons and monsters could become a wealth of resource or a force of destruction depending on the focus of players.
All these events aim at immersing the player within the world. Players will log in one day and their home is threatened by an invasion. Maybe the next week there is a massive demand for coal or wheat. The week after, trade routes are being camped by enemies and parties are sent out to drive them away. The world is ever-changing and the player must react to the people and the environment around them.
“This is going to change the genre,” says Jeffrey Bard, lead designer. But many questions are left to be answered. The developers claim to hate pay-to-win games, so how do they plan to make a profit — one-time buy, subscriptions, cash shop items? How optimized can the servers be? So many Kickstarter campaigns are let-downs, will this one succeed? Whatever happens, I hope Ashes of Creation is the next big MMORPG that transcends the pay-to-win mentality to keep a community alive for years to come.
The Kickstarter campaign is almost at their $750,000 goal as of 11 p.m. Central tonight. With 3,660 backers, the average donator pledged just over $200. Take that as an indication of how badly people want to see this new western MMORPG thrive. To support their Kickstarter or see their current progress, you can click here. By tomorrow morning they will have met the goal.