Showing posts with label Ashes of Creation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ashes of Creation. Show all posts

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Upcoming Games I'm Interested In

 Just a quick check in on games I am paying attention to and some summaries with links to more info if you are interested.

Ashes of Creation

ashes of creation

 Ashes of Creation is an upcoming open-world fantasy MMORPG with a massive 1200 km² world called Verra. It features a dynamic node system where player actions shape the development of civilizations, from humble villages to vast metropolises. The game blends PvE and PvP elements, with open-world dungeons, professions like fishing, and intense castle sieges in PvP zones like international waters.[2][4]


Light No Fire

light no fire

 Light No Fire is an upcoming open-world survival fantasy game from Hello Games, set on a procedurally generated planet the size of Earth. Players can explore vast landscapes, climb any mountain, sail oceans, and fly on dragons[1][4]. Character creation allows customizing species like rabbits or wolves[1]. It features multiplayer, allowing players to build persistent communities together or go solo[1][4]. While focused on exploration and building, combat is also expected to play a role[1][4]. The intriguing title "Light No Fire" hints at the game's mysterious lore and potential dangers lurking in the shadows[4].


Ghost MMO

ghost mmo

 The Ghost MMO is an upcoming fantasy MMORPG being developed by Fantastic Pixel Castle, a new studio founded by veteran developers like Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street (World of Warcraft, League of Legends MMO). It takes place in a shattered world of floating "shards" containing different biomes and environments to explore. The game features a unique shard system - private "Blue Shards" for you and friends to play survival/base-building, and public "Red Shards" for a more traditional MMO experience. With a focus on community, heroic characters, and alt-friendly gameplay with dozens of classes, Ghost aims to modernize the MMO genre while retaining classic RPG combat and social worlds.[1][2][3][4]


 The Word on the Street podcast, hosted by Scott Johnson and Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street, provides monthly insights into the development of Fantastic Pixel Castle's upcoming MMO Ghost, featuring conversations with the team working on various aspects like prototyping, combat design, world-building, and technology.[1]


Combat Champions

combat champions logo

 Combat Champions is a fast-paced, first-person shooter video game where players engage in over-the-top stunts and map-altering destruction while capturing key points and outshooting opponents in corporate arenas turned into game show settings.[1][2] Developed by C77 Entertainment, the game features explosive corporate conflicts televised by the Corporate Mediation Alliance, allowing players to drive the crowd wild with their high-stakes, high-reward performances.[1][2]


Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Ashes AMA

 Let me be a beacon of darkness in the hype around the recent AMA (ask me anything) with our MMO savior Steve over at Ashes of Creation.  I'm worried about some of the answers that were given.

 First go ahead and watch the video (or summary embedded at the bottom of the post).

 First, the AMA started out on a great topic of guild management and I was happy to hear Steven talk about wanting to build a toolset for guild management in game.  In theory this is a fine desire, but I worry whether the dev team knows enough of how guilds need to be managed in the game prior to it's release to really do it correctly.  

 This isn't a knock on the dev team and again I want to say I'm happy to hear they want to include guild management features.  However, this is a "you don't know what you don't know" scenario so I hope they stay high level in the tools until after launch and they see how players actually play the game.  Personally I'm a believer in letting the community solve needs for tools like this because they will get to it faster and deliver it more to the players needs and it's not at the expense of development in other areas of the game.  With that said; I'm interested to see what the devs come up with for Ashes.

 The next question that intrigued me from the AMA was around the open world (i.e. non-instanced) dungeons and how Steven spoke about them.  He spent a lot of time talking about groups carving out their little part of the dungeon.  Loot is limited so a zerg can't show up and all get a reward; only a small number of players will.  That sounds promising and I hope they figure this out but I'll be surprised if they deter the zerg approach that most players tend to take.

 Another good question was around node (aka player controlled areas of the world) and griefing.  The answer let me down though.  Steven talked about guilds/nodes initiating war against each other to settle conflicts which sounds good on paper but is a moot point the moment the griefer just logs out and logs on their other account.  We need to know more about the mechanics here before I will be convinced that players won't quit a month in because they are tired of the grief.

 Later in the AMA the topic of PvP TTK (time to kill) comes up and I personally feel like the question was presented poorly and then answered only somewhat.  Steven gave the expected answer of "squishy DPS will be squishy" and "tanky tank will be tanky" so TTK will vary.  Ideally the question could of been phrased around do they see this as a FPS style TTK where its measured in seconds or is it meant to have more drawn out battles.  This is an important aspect to get right in PvP.

 While the question and answer disappointed with TTK it did bring up the topic of zergs and how Ashes will combat them.  I was less than impressed on the answer though.  Steven's answer was "skill".  Skill is what will defeat zergs.  If you are better you will just smash down waves of enemy players.  That is easy to say and far harder to realize.  

 To actually get to this answer then that means good groups will be able to make themselves so overpowered that not even the biggest zerg can wipe them out.  That basically means you have to create completely broken classes and abilities or combinations of such.  I just don't buy it.  Zergs suck but they are part of the modern MMO experience so we need to see more on how much of what Steven talked about in the AMA doesn't just get run over by the first streamer army that shows up.

 In some other answers in the AMA Steven gave me some tidbits I am worried about.  He talks a lot about nodes and travel where each node is different than another and one group may run their node for X reason and another might target Y.  Travel between will be manual or via caravans (i.e. slow) and each node is unlikely be self sufficient.

 On paper all of these ideas make sense just like similar ideas made sense when New World launched with local trading posts and limited fast travel.  The problem: it is not fun.  In fact it is annoying if the only way I can do something is spending a portion of my time running from A to B.  Just like New World experienced so will Ashes: players will realize the game doesn't respect their time and they are gone once the new shiny wears off on the game.

 Maybe I am wrong and this will all work out.  I am personally interested in seeing if they can make it work but it uncorks so many questions and possible problems.  What happens when the inevitable fall off of players post release when the buzz dies down?  Server merges seem like a disaster for Ashes to consider but also it sounds like it will be fairly miserable on an empty server.  

 Ashes can create an amazing game but if there is friction everywhere a player turns then it limits the audience to players willing to put up with the friction for some sense of meta game that the average player doesn't graps.  None of what Steven is saying about the systems -- be it dungeons, guild management, nodes, slow travel, caravans, etc -- says to me this game is going to work well without coordinated groups of players.  There are too many games on the market to put a bunch of friction in Ashes and expect players to stick around and I worry about risk of once one key group member leaves because of it the group dissolves and leaves as well.  

 Is Steven ultimately build a house of cards?  That's my take so far and we need some harder hitting AMAs on how he envisions this all coming together (and not taking another 10 years to do so).

TLDW video summary

The provided transcript is from a live stream AMA (Ask Me Anything) session focused on "Ashes of Creation," a highly anticipated MMORPG. During this session, the game's creator, Steven Sharif, is joined by four prominent content creators from the game's community. They discuss various aspects of the game, including guild tools, story arcs, dungeon designs, node types, and crafting systems, among others. Here's a summary organized into sections with bullet points for clarity.

Introduction and Content Creators' Introduction

  • Steven Sharif introduces the AMA session and welcomes four content creators: Vladis, Jamie Chaos, Sunny (from L Forge), and Nice.
  • Each content creator briefly shares their excitement and the communities they represent.

Guild Tools in Ashes of Creation

  • Steven talks about the importance of guild tools and mentions features like offline messaging, forum connectivity, data on player performance in events, and administrative tools for guild leaders.

Story Arcs and Player Level System

  • The game will have story arcs catering to different player levels, with some designed for high-level content and others for a broader range of levels.

Dungeons and Player-versus-Environment (PvE) Content

  • Discussion on non-instanced dungeons' size and complexity to accommodate multiple groups and PvX potential.
  • Specific dungeons, like the Tower of Carin, designed to support multiple parties with distinct levels and challenges.

Tulnar Civilization and Lore

  • The Tulnar, having lived underground for a long time, have a tribal, city-state-like civilization with significant achievements in construction and development.

Customization and Diversity for Tanks and Healers

  • Steven addresses concerns about customization for tanks and healers, emphasizing the secondary archetype system for hybrid gameplay styles.

Mechanisms Against Node Griefing

  • Guild wars and node wars are mechanisms to counteract griefing through land management and resource depletion by enemy nodes.

Costs and Benefits of Active Blocking

  • Discusses the stamina resource associated with active block, dodge, and other universal skills, and how skill points can be allocated for enhancements.

Discoverable Dialect in Ashes of Creation

  • While current incantations are ad-libbed, there's interest in developing more fleshed-out dialects and languages for the game's cultures in the future.

Trial Quests for Archetypes

  • Steven explains that while players can switch secondary archetypes, there's no current plan for trial quests before making a selection.

Passive Skills Available to Smaller Guilds

  • Smaller guilds can focus on enhancing their passive skills as a strategic choice, with details on how guild structure affects passive abilities.

Intended Time to Kill in PvP

  • The intended time-to-kill (TTK) in PvP scenarios ranges based on player levels, gear scores, and archetypes, aiming for skillful play to overcome numbers.

Guild Freeholds in Ashes of Creation

  • Details on guild freeholds offering expandable plots for members and the central guild hall providing unique benefits and customization options.

Weapon Types and Dual-Wielding

  • A list of weapon types available at Alpha 2's launch, details on dual-wielding mechanics, and clarification on shields not having a weapon tree but being part of universal skills.

The session concludes with Steven Sharif thanking the content creators and the community for participating in the AMA, highlighting the engaging and informative discussion that took place.

Friday, March 01, 2024

Ashes of Creation Commissions

ashes of creation

 Ashes of Creation released its monthly development update featuring it's version of quests called commissions.  Watch the video and hit the jump for my thoughts.

 I have to admit the game looks visually better with each developer update and that stands out the moment the demo starts.  I am really digging the look of the town (called nodes) and it is still crazy to think most of these towns will be player placed and upgraded.

 The demo shows commissions which immediately brought "quest boards" to mind of every MMO in recent memory.  However, the difference that eventually pays off in the demo is that the commissions feed into more and more of what Ashes is advertising as it's main attraction: a living and dynamic world.

 Think of the commission as a kick start to get players out of town and into the opportunity to unlock a chain of events that contributes to a dynamic change in the world.  Players can of course just skip the opportunity as Steven does in the demo and get a train of enemies rolling around, but more exciting was to see the world change as different actions are taken.  

 In the video we get to see a sudden thunderstorm form as new enemies appear in an open world event.  The event intertwines with other quests in the area before hinting at unlocking a larger transformational world event at the end of the video.  

 Plenty of MMOs have dynamic open world events, but the "revolution" Ashes hints at is that all actions are leading to changes in the world that are stickier than other games.  A real "fear of missing out" model where server 1 will be different than server 2.  Add in the nodes mentioned earlier and the game is starting to show the real possibility to be that revolution we've all wanted in the MMORPG genre.

 This isn't to say all of it was revolutionary.  There was still the same old static -- I will never move from this spot - quest givers.  Enemy AI wasn't all that impressive; easily defeated by the age old tactic of running away.  Combat looks noisy (too many effects) and for a few updates has shown a favor towards kiting enemies.

 While I could nitpick more I won't.  I am cautiously continuing to grow excited about the possibilities of this game.  With only Alpha 2 planned for this year there is still along road to go here for betas and a launch, but its going to be a fun one to check out each month in the developer updates.


Monday, February 05, 2024

Ashes of Creation PvP

ashes of creation PvP

  Ashes of Creation's most recent update focused on their caravan system, including PvP, and boy did it impress!

 I've beat up on past updates from Ashes for lacking in showing a cohesive game experience.  The updates were often lacking UI and failed to show complete game loops.  With this update, which was titled "the PvP update", we got to see a lot more than PvP.  We saw complete game loops with the back drop of players battling it out.

 What impressed me the most was actually the caravan and I'd argue this update was better in regards to caravans than the prior caravan update.   We got to see a caravan get ambushed and stolen.  The team showed off how caravans can be converted to barges and floated down river.  All of it worked with no issues (at least nothing obvious).

 My favorite part was watching the caravan convert into a barge.  The system seemed well thought out and featured complex visual stages for this early in the game's development.  The players had to defend the barge while it was converting and there was a sense of excitement as it pushed off just as the attackers pushed in.

 At the end of the event the caravan was back in town and stolen goods were taken care of.  I like that towns will have variety based on how they are "leveled up"; in the case of this video with a black market dealer.  This should hopefully lead to opportunities to make a niche for a town.  Hopefully there is a "if you take this; you can't take that" balance to it so towns don't become "everything".

 What I think this developer update lacked the most was the actual PvP.  We saw players slinging spells and arrows at each other but we really didn't get into the nuance of PvP.  The combat looked smooth and there was a variety of actions being taken, but no details on anything.  We saw stealth players ambushing and melee players leaping into the fight.  One poor soul was insta-gibbed.

 I'd like to have seen more around the nuance of combat; especially with PvP hot topics such as crow control, stealth, and ranged vs melee balance.  Also with the system as a whole there is going to be A LOT of questions about how griefing and exploitation will be addressed.  It was mentioned that spying on an opposing caravan's plans was a legitimate tactic they expected players to take.  

 Spying which is likely to occur outside the game... which brings into the question how are developers balancing that? What happens its the result of a hacked account? Or a hacked Discord server? Or if real life money exchanges hands for the info?  I forsee this being a huge sticking point for this game with it's desires to have PvP as a countering force in the world against other player's activities.

 The video did somewhat show that numbers will be a key aspect as well which is going to upset a lot of the PvP tryhards. Bigger forces (i.e. zergs) will smash smaller forces.  I don't see anyway around that yet in a PvP experience that is built around anyone being able to show up at any time.  Ashes is going to have to start answering these questions or it's going to be trial by fire and getting screwed over on something like this is 100% something players will quit a game over.

 While there are long standing questions on open world PvP that will need answering this update still showed a lot of promise.  Its cool to see where the game is at and where it is headed.  I did not buy into the Alpha 2 packages but I can see why players would have bought in to get early hands on with this type of gameplay.  The game is still a ways out but my interest continues to grow.

Thursday, November 02, 2023

So much stuff... so little time!

 Work is a bit crazy and my leisure time has been spent playing New World so blogging has suffered as a result.  I wanted to mention a few things.

New World's dev team released a new edition of Forged in Aeternum talking about the game's economy.  Anyone that knows me knows that game economies are my jam so I do want to try and find time to make some comments.

Throne and Liberty released a video ahead of their December launch in Korea.  Lots of information about the game and video looks good as T&L videos always seem to.  I am hoping they've made some progress from the previous iterations that basically crash landed in the western MMO market killing any and all buzz about the game.

Ashes of Creation also released their long awaited "caravan" demo. Surely this is the update where it all comes together?  Right? The game is shaping up but I still walked away unimpressed so want to drop some more comments about it.

NaNoWriMo also kicked off and as it's 11/2 and I haven't started I will just have to pass again for this year.  Oh well!

Tuesday, May 02, 2023

Ashes of Creation Looking Better: Mage

Mage Preview

 Ashes of Creation featured the mage class in their most recent monthly update.  This was the most promising look at the game in a while.  

 First, I want to highlight the format to this archetype preview was better than it's predecessors.  There was structure and thought behind what was shown and why it was shown.  Details of abilities accompanied the on screen display.  Abilities were showcased before jumping into content.  I walked away understanding the direction they are headed with the mage.  In past archetype previews I didn't walk away with an understanding of the class.

 Second; USER INTERFACE! We saw USER INTERFACE!  Finally.  The UI is critical to understanding the game.  We saw two stacked hot bars, some indication of equipped weapon, cool downs, and a little bit of the inventory.  UI needs to be featured more.  It is the biggest missing piece to help drive confidence the game is making more progress than just being able to show off animations and basic combat.

 We also got to see a few other things.  Most notably was the gliding (flying?) mount (23:12 in the video).  The animation from take off, gliding, to landing were awesome.  Enemies also aggro'd as the mount glided or walked past and there was quite the train of enemies gathered up.  I am not sure if this is how aggro is intended in long run, but definitely some early-days MMORPGs vibes there!

ashes of creation

 Also numerous times in the video we got to see the character traverse various world obstacles. The traversal looked smooth and gave me confidence that they are headed in the right direction for movement and how it feels to the player (i.e. I can climb that rock in front of me vs it being an invisible wall).

 This is the first class preview where I can give a solid "thumbs up".  The more of the various game aspects that are mixed into these previews the more confident I will be that the game is heading towards a test! 

Tuesday, March 07, 2023

Ashes of Creation Monthly Update

Ashes of Screenshots!

 Ashes of Creation's monthly update focused on the user interface (UI) and it featured screenshots!  I used an exclamation point so I must be excited.  Right?  You may want to read on.

  I know, I know!  Ashes of Creation is a work in progress so if I don't want to follow a game in development then I shouldn't follow it.  I shouldn't be here complaining about it either but if you know me then you know I can't help myself.

 The reason I choose to dig into Ashes of Creation is twofold.  One: it is the promised one; the savior of this MMORPG genre that I love so dearly.  Two: it has no issue taking money from people all while saying it doesn't need our money.  If a game developer can take the time to sell calendars for an unreleased game then it can stand up to some criticism about taking its damn sweet time to release a game.

 Ashes is under a glacially slow pace of development.  Years (yes, years) ago you could buy the "indie studio" but Interpid Studios is way past being a small indie game developer.  Ashes makes a lot of promises and yet shows very, very little in their updates which is concerning for a game this long in the pipeline.

 Which brings me to my main gripe: Ashes should be showing us more at this point.  If they can't then this game is so far out in the future we shouldn't be talking about it and the team definitely shouldn't be wasting cycles on calendars or monthly live streams.  

 Look at Pax Dei coming out of left field and generating buzz and showing more in a short intro video than the entirety of six years of Ashes updates.  Pax Dei seems much closer to an alpha than Ashes.  This may seem a poor comparison.  How long has Pax Dei been in development?  This is a fair criticism, but Pax Dei isn't asking for my money and isn't clogging up my feeds with lackluster updates.  If Pax Dei hits the 6 year mark of monthly updates without showing anything close to a finished game then we can revisit it.

 Back to Ashes.  

 As with the recent class updates the UI update this month was a typical lackluster update.  A developer was brought on and talked about their team and their approach. Then some screenshots were shown of different UI components which were followed by yet more screenshots of sample user interface windows which were followed by... more screenshots.  

 I don't think once during the UI update we saw an actual functioning UI overlaying a game being played.  That is concerning.  There is a place for showing the static components of a UI, but the magic of a UI is seeing it and how it interlaces with the underlying game.  How a UI functions is as critical as how it looks.  All we got from this update was how it may look because we didn't actually see it in the game.

 There has been a lot of praise in the Ashes community around this update and how "good" the UI looks.  I am not sure if these folks are playing ancient games or are that detached from current offerings, but the UI screenshots shown were as generic of a UI as I could imagine.  There was nothing to write home about.  If anything I'd of said the UI is a little too artsy; I prefer a utilitarian approach.  The game can be beautiful and awe inspiring, but the UI needs to be functional.

 If it's not clear; I was not impressed.  This adds to the mounting concern I have about Ashes.  Each update is lacking in substance on the promised topic.  We had an entire UI update and didn't see the UI being used.  We heard more about promises of the UI: customization, sizing, and accordions.  Did we see these in action? No.  It is like anything else with Ashes: promises.  Promises that may or may not be delivered.  This was not an update that screams to me that the game is approaching any state of release.

 Let me know how wrong I am by leaving a comment.


Saturday, March 04, 2023

Pax Dei

Pax Dei mmo
New MMO on the block

Pax Dei is generating a lot of buzz, and in my opinion, it should serve as a warning to games like Ashes of Creation. The first trailer offers a glimpse of combat and the user interface, all from the perspective of the in-game engine. If games like Ashes don't launch soon, titles like Pax Dei may swoop in and steal their audience. The first look of Pax Dei is pretty impressive, and it has convinced me to join the queue for alpha access.

 Not only were the visuals striking, which is to be expected with the Unreal Engine, but I felt like shots were taken at games like Ashes that have been hesitant to show combat and user interface as both were featured in the Pax Dei release trailer.  Granted it is not in depth but it gives me hope the game is further along than just being a set of ideas.

 Also impressive in the video was the support for cross platform.  They showed the game on a tablet which is exciting.  I don't do much gaming on mobile platforms but that is because most games don't offer it as a supported option; the more I see games like this support it the closer I get to jumping into gaming on something other than my big rig.

 I didn't know this game was out there working its way towards an alpha, but after the trailer and some of the interview videos I am firmly in the camp of "excited to see what comes next".  Again, I got the sense Pax Dei is closer to reality than games that suck up a lot of community buzz currently and the MMO market is ripe for some disruption.

Monday, December 05, 2022

Ashes of Creation December Update in which we see boob armor

 The Ashes of Creation update for December is out and featured a look at the day/night cycle in the game and some group combat focused on the supporting cleric class.  Watch the update below and read on for my thoughts.

 The first thing I want to say is: combat didn't look great.  Janky movement, attacks that seem to take player characters all over the place, and way-over-the-top sound (he did mess with his sound settings in the video so not sure if that was part of it or not).  Effects do not fit the visual style of the rest of the world or what enemies are doing.  I had more hope after the combat update but many this was a step back from that point.

 The second thing I want to say is: everything not combat looked amazing.  The world. The constellation system.  The transition from day to night.  Everything else is so damn amazing.  It is so crazy to me how combat is where it is at but the rest of the game is where it is at.

 Specific to what was shown off about the cleric it was a bit hard to follow as I think UI elements were missing to help understand the concept of "convictions".  From the discussion it sounds like you build up convictions and that improves

 There was also discussion of synergy between party members with a stagger mechanic that unlocked another player to be able to stun the targets.  I replayed it a few times and not sure I could tell what stagger looked like or how you'd know they were staggered.  Hopefully they improve this aspect as combat systems with poor feedback to the player, or overly expect a player to know a bunch of nuances, never work.

 Another concern I had was that the group had to take a dedicated break to rest to regain mana.  It sounds like with different set ups and higher levels there is regen but the fact there is resting needed is a bit worrying.  In today's game market most games are moving as far away from downtime as possible.  I like that the team talked about items like campfires that could improve the rest experience.

 One really cool thing was how sometimes enemies pop up out of the ground.  There really was a sense of an ambush at one point.  This was very similar to the combat update where the rock monsters popped out of the environment.

 The only worry I have with the spawn system is they may be overusing the "pop out of the ground" spawning system.  I know Steven has said he wants to avoid the "enemies just standing around" model but if its just "enemies always pop out of the ground" model then is anything really different other than increased player frustration of not being able to trust the world around you?  For the record the only two spawn types we've seen in updates is pop out of the ground and standing around.

 One other thing I want to comment around combat is that I felt there was a lack of weight to the feeling of combat.  When the party was fighting larger enemies I did not get a sense that the enemy was, in this case, a large rock enemy.  It sort of stopped whenever a player was reached.  I expected more chaos similar to the cave troll scene from Lord of the Rings movies, but got more of a Steven Seagal karate demonstration.

 There were some UI elements; mainly health bars and a skills bar.  They looked clean and hit the MMO standard, so not much to say about them.

 Something I also caught during the video was the player mount staying around after dismounting.  I really like the idea of mounts persisting after dismount.  I hope this is something they are keeping.

 Steven talked about diminishing returns regarding status conditions (slow, root, silence, etc).  Glad to hear this as its an area that games miss on.  No player likes to repeatedly lose agency (i.e. control) and diminishing returns are a great way to ensure someone doesn't end up in the dreaded stunlock.  This is something New World has struggled with for example.  Again, good to know its being tackled out of the gate.

 Steven asked for feedback on if players wanted night to be complete darkness or whether they should reserve true dark for specific areas (like a cave encounter).  I have fond memories of true dark nights before I knew about screen brightness, but in the modern gaming era it is too easy to cheat real dark out of it's effect.  Thus my feedback is: no true dark, anywhere.

 Also Steven asked about luminosity during open world gameplay.  My feedback here is that the clearer it is the better.  I dislike dreary area after dreary area.  Let all areas be mostly clear during the daytime hours and minimize how often we have to deal with dreariness.  Basically let me have Hobbiton as much as possible!

 And I'll leave you with this last comment: boob armor.

 Did you catch the boob armor? Either way go ahead and leave a comment.