I was one of the lucky 250 to gain access to alpha 1 stress test on Sept. 7. Here's a few thoughts on the game's battle royale mode and visuals...
The game mode was a standard battle royale last Man standing. We were only allowed to queue for solo. If you've played fortnite or are just familiar with the genre, you know how the game mode goes. Special abilities like high jumps or explosion arrows were locked to the weapons. Some armor dropped with camouflage specials which did seem like a major cheat mode.
The visuals on the other hand were out of this world. My game defaulted to epic settings causing a minor stutter, which was corrected by dropping shadows down. Playing on lowest graphic setting didn't hurt the visuals much at all, even looking better than other AAA games on max settings. Every element of the game looked beautiful. Plants to trees to water. The weapon effects and physics were just as amazing.
The action combat was fluid. I was able to snipe players 200m+ away. You needed to be accurate to make a hit with a bow but with the 2hand long sword you could...
Last night at ~0300 CEST, the Alpha 1 stress test for Ashes went live. The stress test will include a limited number of testers, which will increase each week. The first week only has about 450 testers (but this may be increased), the second will increase that to over 2000 testers, and finally 5000 testers for week 3. The point of this stress test is to test their server backend, login-system, matchmaking, etc. All those underlying mechanics that need to be working properly before they open the gates for all those with Alpha 1 access.
The participants are chosen from Kickstarter backers, then summer backers, and finally the pre-order pack backers. If you are not selected in these weeks, don't be alarmed: After about 3 weeks of stress testing, Alpha 1 will be open to allthose with access to that phase.
NDA is still active folks, hold your streaming horses!
As for NDA, Steven confirmed on Discord yesterday that there is still an active "visual NDA". This means that you may share your experiences from Alpha 1, but cannot share anything...
Today Volker at My.com posted an official statement on the Ashes of Creation Discord channel, in an attempt to calm the worries of the community in regards to customer service, pay-to-win, server stability and account security. I personally think that this is promising, as it shows that Intrepid and My.Com is taking this very seriously. Of course, only time will tell if this actually holds true, but I think EU fans of AoC should relax and have faith in Intrepid and their strategy. You can read the full statement from Volker bellow.
"As previously communicated, we at My.com are, and remain, fully committed to supporting the creative vision that Steven and Intrepid Studios has for Ashes of Creation. Their vision appeals to the desires of western MMORPG fans, and we are fully committed to bringing this non-Pay-to-Win vision to the European players. In the past, My.com has published and developed primarily titles that were, from the ground up, built around a Free-To-Play model. This is not the case with Ashes of...
Good news today! Lately the community has been worrying that we may not be able to chose ourselves what region we want to play on. (as some from Europe might not want to play on EU servers..) Thankfully, today's update from Steven, on the official Discord, puts that to rest. There will be no region or IP blocking. He also confirmed that Intrepid will handle the game client packaging, so my.com won't be doing that either.
Yesterday he also dropped a small update, reassuring fans that the game will stay subscription based, with no box cost, and a cosmetic-only marketplace, the same as in NA.
Today the announcement was made that My.com would take over publishing duties for Ashes of Creation for Europe and Russia via my.com and mail.ru respectively. The duties will include billing, server infrastructure, community and customer service. Originally Intrepid Studios had made public that they themselves were planning to publish Ashes Of Creation in Europe.
The announcement was met with an uproar from the Ashes community. Many European players are already familiar with My.com from recent MMOs like Revelation Online, Warface, Skyforge and many more. From accounts of community members on this site and reports online, the publisher My.com does not have a quality track record. From leaks of customer credit information, to poor customer support and unfinished localization's of launched games.
Steven Sharif founder of Intrepid Studios was quick to defend his decision on discord and other sites. Here is a quote from Steven on the official Ashes Discord.
Intrepid Studios is coming to Europe at Gamescom in Germany (21st August 2018).
Name Reservation will be available sometime during Alpha 1 Phase 2 (Hopefully).
Alpha 1 Testing Phase Breakdown:
The Ashes of Creation Alpha 1 is set to begin during the third week of September and will go on for almost 7 months. The Alpha 1 test will focus on three major tests:
Open world Battlegrounds
Castles and Sieges
City 'Horde' Mode
Open world Battlegrounds:
Offering variable combat modes with testing upto a 100 players. They'd like to provide consistent Battleground testing where players will be able to complete a match and instantly queue up for another to ensure heavy testing of the feature. Focused on Matchmaking.
Castles and Sieges:
The objective is to test stability with upto 200 players to ensure they have the right values and spawn timers for various mechanics.
Finally we got the newsletter from Intrepid, which provided us with some great information. The biggest news is that Alpha 1 phase 1 is confirmed starting week 3 of September! Phase 2 is planned for early Q2 2019.
As announced previously, Alpha 1 sales in the store is closing soon. They have currently over 8500 participants so far, of the cap of 10 000 participants. The last day for Alpha One pre-order packs ends on August 15th, which is also the day the pre-order cosmetics updates on all the packs. So if you want to upgrade your pack to get Alpha 1 access, this is the time.
Phase 1 of Alpha 1, coming in the 3rd week of September, will be focusing on action combat and PvP related mechanics in the game. Testing action, siege systems, adaptive AI in the horde mode and more.
Confirmed so far:
Open World battlegrounds
Castle Sieges (Guild vs Guild)
City Defense "Horde Mode".
More info to be announced at their PAX Panel next month.
Phase 2 of Alpha 1, coming in early Q2 2019, will be the hybrid combat testing...
Intrepid Studios was back with another livestream yesterday, giving us some new info on what they are working on, answering questions from the community, talking about Stevens birthday, baconfirmedTM (patent pending) and more. Also, what's a livestream from Intrepid without some mic static and video/audio problems? Feels like home <3 So let's dive into the details of the stream!
New combat system in the works - will be featured during their next stream
Steven and Jeffrey opened up talking about the team being "knee-deep" in design and implementations of the combat systems, in preparations for Alpha 1. They are trying to make it feel good, be reactive, and making it seem like a an extension of you. Takes a lot of work obviously, but making good progress. Steven did then announce that during their next livestream, we will get live footage! As right now, it is extremely early, and not ready for public viewing just yet, which is fine.
Today Intrepid Studios released a press release, where they now claim to be "one of the largest MMOs in production. Quite a feat! There has been lots of new hires lately (and more to come), some of which are previous Daybreak developers. The list includes senior programmers, engineers, artists and more. Steven Sharif noted that “It’s pretty exciting to watch your dreams become a reality, and at the end of the day, creating an MMORPG that players can be proud of." It is definitely a quality sign to see the team growing larger as we approach Alpha 1.
Michael Roca – Senior Gameplay Programmer (Formerly of Disney, Daybreak, SOE, and EA)
Grat Crabtree – Senior Software Engineer (Formerly of Daybreak and SOE)
Devin Lafontaine – Senior Artist (Formerly Daybreak, SOE, Sigil Games)
Tad Ehrlich – Senior Artist (Formerly, Daybreak, SOE, Midway Games)
Garrett Fern – Senior Game Designer (Formerly Daybreak and SOE)
Zin Chiang – Senior Producer (Formerly Travian Games and Publishing)
Midori Bond – Executive Assistant (Formerly Senior GM and Customer Service at SOE)...