Ashes of Creation livestream Q&A notes!

Below you can read through the interesting answers from the team, during the latest Ashes of Creation stream.

When are we going to be able to upgrade out packs on the website?
  • Steven: Our web dev team is currently working on that functionality. Our expected delivery date is around the 26th of January, give or take several days, in case there's some unexpected testing areas that need to be addressed. I would safely say that around the end of this month you'll be able to see the upgrade paths for the pre-order packages.
  • In addition, you will also see the add on functionality available if you are a Kickstarter backer or summer campaign backer; you will have the ability to purchase the Cosmetics that are present in these pre-order packages, independent of having to purchase the package itself.
  • The Cosmetics that are offered are themed on a monthly basis. These cosmetics that are currently in the packages have been on a little bit longer than a month, because we haven't had those functionalities in place, but we expect once the functionalities are in place for upgrades and add-ons done, there will probably be a 1 to 2 week period where those cosmetics remaining in place before the next months cosmetics come into place. Jeffrey: Make sure to go shop
On the last Alpha zero stream the quick time event bar was not present. Can you share an update on your thinking of this mechanic? Is it still there, has it evolved, or was it removed?
  • Steven: With regard specifically to the the quick time event that was present in the Pax demo, We explain that it is an iterative process on an idea, a mechanic, that we were exploring, and a heavy portion of that mechanic relies on a UI representation that feels good. The basic concept is that there is a skill quotient to that aspect of combat and how that is portrayed is a UI dependent aspect. We did not have time to iterate on the UI for that mechanic come this last alpha 0. What we did is we widened the success range on those combo systems, so that it was not really, I mean it was a pseudo skilled timed thing.
  • Akil: We basically took the minigame out because we couldn't get it to a fun place in time. It is now kind of in its most basic boiled down form, where it's got a little bit of a cadence to it. You can tap. You can generate focus. From here we'll look at ways in the future to take that and make that more interesting, more fun, and more engage
  • Jeffrey: It’s going to be a core loop of ours and we really want to spend a lot of time massaging it. It’s different now at Alpha 0, it’s going to be different at our next milestone. It’ll continue to change. You’ll continue to see it evolve until we land on exactly what we want.
  • Steven: The most important thing with regards to it changing is that change is really going to incorporate feedback from the community and these different testing phases. We implement those out and see, ‘How fun is this?’, ‘Is this a good mechanic?’.
Will there be cute Pixie and Fairy pets? Fae themed staffs with lanterns maybe?
  • Steven: I think a safe answer to that is yes there are going to be cool / cute / Interesting pets that are available and some may feel very Fae like
Is Alpha 2 the only persistent test, or will the betas also have persistent servers? I understand this will come with regular character wipes and no transfers.
  • So persistent for us means that we're going to keep those servers up all day and night until launch. A2 persistence doesn't mean that there will not be character wipes, that there will not be testing wipes that are done. Will betas have persistence? I don't know yet. Probably not, I would say that they will have periods of access points and then that period will close. Another aspect to A2 was our promise that past launch the A2 servers will be the public test servers. Those are what we will spool up again when we want to implement patches, updates, and we will allow people to go there for testing and stuff like that.
During your last live stream.. aka "pew-pew fest," I was left with the impression that ranged attacks are highly "preferred" at the moment; is there going to be a "balancing" aspect integrated into the gameplay for those of us that like melee?
  • Akil: We’re not going to balance anything, that's my goal, No balance. If there appears to be a preference to ranged attacks, it is not intentional. We would like combat to feel balanced and fun no matter what range you play at. We want there to be a reason for you to be at ranged. That is an ongoing thing we will do all through Alphas, all through betas, once we go to live. We will continue to do that like balance is something that it just never stops. It is the game from now till 50 years from now.
According to blog entry, "Players will be able to buy food and drink from the tavern, some of which will be supplied by the tavern owner or other patrons that they get their menu from." Does this mean that players will have an effect on the dishes served in a tavern? For example, every tavern will have some basic food, and special dishes with limited quantity will only pop up in case players supply the tavern with certain meat/vegetables/spices/etc?
  • Yes, characters will have a defined region of agency over what is available in the different taverns, whether they be taverns located within the city, or taverns located on a freehold, and those could be tied to supply quests, that are then done by the players. They could also be regionally determined availability, based on what resources are there. If your a tavern owner on the western side you might have different grains/spices/meats/mead there. Then over on the other side of the world, there might be taverns with completely different things, and those foods have different effects.
Is there any plan to make Bear McCreary's soundtrack available outside the game? Many, like myself, are huge fans of anything he does and would love to get our hands on it?
  • I know I’ve expressed this on multiple occasions not just to the community but also in my discussions with Bear, I usually lead with, ‘Did I mention I’m a great fan”. Yes, that is the intent. Bear is a phenomenal composer. He is unbelievable in his artistic expression and music. For me, personally, music plays such a pivotal role in the immersive factor of a game. Being able to lose yourself in the world has such such musical implications for me. Bear, being the amazing artist that he is, I got an awesome gift from Bear last week. It came in the mail. He sent me these gummy bears. One, I love gummy bears. Two, I noticed the gummy bears didn’t say ‘gummy’ on the front they just said ‘Bears’. We fully intend to utilize Bears amazing talent when it comes to the immersive quality of our game.
Are there any plans to offer some sort of mobile tie in with the game? What I mean is some way to see character information, node information, perhaps track sales of your merchandise or manage your guild/alliance/etc.?
  • Before we spoke about having certain types of services and/or mechanics that are available in game and translate well to a mobile application that you are capable of influencing while not in the game but elsewhere, like in a meeting, whatever your doing, having that authority over certain mechanics that translate well. We want to implement that.
If I own an open world player home in a mountain somewhere next to a peaceful river, will me and my (in game) wife Gretchen be susceptible to griefing or PKing by other players? If so, do I have the option as a tax paying homeowner to obtain or hire protection through mercenaries, bodyguards or perhaps guard dogs?
  • I believe we’ve mentioned before if your on your property or in your home you don’t have to worry about being PKed, your safe inside. Inside. Inside. If your around your home or freehold then that is a part of the open world, and depending on the proximity of that location to a node, might determine whether there are patrols of relevant NPC guards that might not enjoy that type of behavior among players, and might intercede. Whether or not you can purchase/hire/rent/deploy guards just as an all-time status around your freehold, I don’t believe that’s an intention. You can always ask another friend. Reliance on community and friendship. That’s an MMO staple.
Will there be a wide variety of tame-able animals to use as combat pets?
  • Akil: Probably, at the simplest level what I can see us doing is, if you can tame something, and it'll fit a creature template, and even though you've got a certain creature, you can tame, it can be a wolf, it can be a dog, it can be anything in the world. We just kind of like balance it so it just looks like whatever you just tamed and it looks like whatever you just tamed but it has the behaviors of a real pet. That is something that's not super complicated, easy to balance, but beyond that say you could tame anything, I think that's cool, but it's a whole set of other difficulties. I’d love to see it. It’s something we can shoot for without it being a reach.
Could you please allow us to tame many, many, mounts, so we can choose everyday which mount we want to use?
  • Steven: You're going to be able to have many different mounts to choose from. You can deploy them as you wish. You can breed them as you wish.
  • Akil: Are we going to limit that somehow?
  • Steven: There may be there may be some type of mechanic that that requires infrastructure to house a greater number of mounts but it is going to be big, definitely at least one per day of the week.
What kind of things would we be able to climb in the game since the days of EverQuest I've always wanted to climb the trees and just wait. Either to wait to escape a predator, or wait for something to come to us?
  • Basically he wants to be a drop bear. Climbing is problematic in a lot of different ways. Especially when it’s open like that. It's something we would love to do. It would add a lot of variety to your gameplay, but the difficulty in implementing a system that is so broad that it's something we really have to take a look at. There is definitely going to be scenarios in which climbing is present. Whether or not it will be as freeform as, I just choose any tree I want, or any cliff I want, and I can just climb it probably not.
In any of the alphas or betas will we be able to test siege mechanics?
  • Absolutely. It’s going to be a big system though, it’s going to need a lot of banging on. Siegeing mechanics there's a variety there between the different things that are siegeable, such as castles, or nodes and those are two very different design scenarios, but they share many of the common engineering development that requires the number of players on the team, the faction between attackers and defenders, putting them all in a zone, how many participants. We need to test that. There are a lot of moving parts. We need to test that with as many people as we can, as many times as we can, for as long as we can.
What kind of siege weapons will be used in game? Craftable, bought from npcs, limited to carrying certain ones?
  • All of the above. Part of this endeavor of sieging a player held location or non-player held location is time to prepare, and that includes gathering and crafting these these Mega Weapons, or collecting the resources Weather it be gold or specific Quest items to purchase from NPCs. Obviously we want choice to be a factor so you're not going to be able to carry a trebuchet in one hand and a Ballista in the other.
Is there a limit to the number of taverns that can be in a node ?
  • Yes. There is going to be defined parameters for in node building locations, and once that defined limit is reached, then presumably you can’t have more taverns.
Lore question: Is Steven the only person thats working on the lore for this game or is there a small team under Stevens guidance and painting his vision of Vera ?
  • Steven: There are different parts to the lore. There is the origin story, the story of the fall, the overarching story of deliverance/return, and then each of those fall into a subset of different; personal quest lines, cultural quest lines, regional quest lines. Jeff has been working a lot on those with regards to A0 will continue to do so as we move into the broader category of the world itself for A1 and A2.
  • Jeffrey: For the most part Steven is the guy who comes up with the story, and I write it. That's kind of how it usually works. He’s the creative director, it's his idea. It's a lot of talking with Steven and trying to pull things out of his head. It’s a collaborative effort, but Steven generally drives it. Steven is not capable of writing it all.
  • Steven: There is a lot. Part of my approach towards the grand idea of the world of AoC is a very collaborative kind of focus from people of different walks of life, that have different experiences, because they might be able to relate in ways that I might not be able to. Jeff, Akil, Joshua, Peter, the team in general, get input in our meetings on the direction of certain things. That's important to me because from a director's perspective, I can hear these things and pull the best parts from everything and form these overarching narratives.
  • Jeffrey: Anything creative, critique is how you make things better. That’s a lot of what we do.
How does water get into the underrealm? Will there be little holes for rain and potentially for players to fall through?
  • There actually are holes that will be present in the ceiling perhaps of some of the great big Caverns that exist in the world, whether or not a person falls into it, it’s up to them. Aquifers, running water underground, it’ll just be there.
Is there any reward for being an alpha zero tester such as a badge or title?
  • There is indeed a reward for being an A0 tester. They are twofold. One there will be a badge we’ll implement on the forums eventually. The second thing is, a funny thing that happened early on in the testing. For a technical reason, some of the players coming into A0 would get stuck at a certain loading screen. A very specific loading screen. It was very beneficial for us to get the players stuck there, because it illuminated an issue that needed to be fixed, which is the purpose of testing in the first place, but as a compensation for just this interesting loading screen issue, I decided that we would create a house decor item of this particular thing that they could put on the mantle of their home, so they could always remember this. Just to give some insight into what it was, one of the loading screens was a countryside that you could see with a volcano in the background and a large windmill near the front. As it was then aptly then named ‘The Windmill Boss’ it grew bloodier by the day for certain testing phases. These particular A0 testers will receive a windmill decor item that will sit on a mantle in the home. You’ll also get our thanks. Eternal thanks.
Any ETA on a page on the website or page that will contain info on the skills for classes. A more visual graphic to help others somewhat theorycraft their hopeful classes?
  • Jeffrey: That will come eventually
  • Akil: It will probably be pretty close to launch. Late, late beta, when things are pretty final. We’ll probably have something internal for beta testers, when we let them into beta.
With the additional hiring, Are you on schedule for how far you wanted to be in production, maybe ahead or behind ?
  • Steven: I would say as an initial response to that I am extremely comfortable and happy with where we are at the moment.
  • If I were to give a general response to that without eliciting hope for an earlier delivery date, then was estimated in our Kickstarter, I would say that I would feel we're slightly ahead or are in a better position than I anticipated we would be in at this point. That would be my my general response. I'm very, very happy with where production is. I'm grateful that we were able to get hundreds of players in Alpha 0, actually testing in a game environment and collecting good information from that. I feel good about where we're at.
What role would you like bards or summoner's of any class combination to play within a party ?
  • Jeffrey: Summoners are kind of your Flex guy. They fill the hole that your party may not have filled. They can do things, maybe not, they can shift their roles easily. Support; Bards specifically, will be more of a force multiplier. They will make the party as a whole better, that's kind of roles that they play. Remember our parties are fairly large, support is going to have kind of this pretty intense multiplicative effect, and then whenever you're not able to get that full party in a Summoner is always going to be a good person to bring.
How will you deal with gold sellers? How will you handle player-to-player trading ?
  • Steven: How we deal with gold sellers: There will be a lot of security features in place that collect user data and flag for inspection certain unusual data that may not be normal. We’ll have a heat map there.
  • Jeffrey: A live heat map
  • Steven: Live heat map. Gold sellers will be banned and there will be report player functions available in game to also drive that to our attention. What was the second part of that?
  • Jeffrey: Will there be player to player trading
  • Steven: Yes, absolutely.
  • Jeffrey: That’s a core component.
Will AoC have a system in place to prevent Bots from winning the game?
  • Akil: yes
  • Jeffrey: Bots will not win, they may try but they will lose.
  • Steven: We will smite them in your honor.
How many different weapons will there be with all the classes or will there be only one weapon for each class?
  • Jeffrey: So weapons are agnostic of class. I always forget how many weapons there are, I want to say 12:
  • Akil: 15 if you want to count offhand shields and stuff
  • Jeffrey : It’s around there, there is a good amount of magical weapons, one hand weapons, double weapon
  • Akil: There's some some kind of funky stuff, where a halberd is the same weapon to us as a Spear, because you can attack the same way. We'll get like multiple weapons out of a single weapon.
For players that get into the alpha or beta of the game is there an NDA that prevents streaming during those times ?
  • Steven: There will not be an NDA present for Alpha 1 or 2 or the beta's. As matter of fact, in our next A0 phase, which is going to be coming up at the end of this month, I am very, very likely going to be removing the NDA, so that participants of that phase are capable of streaming and doing some content creation around the current state of our testing phase. I've discussed this before with you guys as a community; that there are great upsides to this type of transparent development and then there are also some downsides to it. With that in mind, I am still of the opinion that it is more beneficial for us as a studio, for us as a community, and as a new IP project to be transparent in the development of Ashes of Creation and have trust that our community and those who see it, will see it for what it is, an iterative process that is very early in development. A lot of that polish aspect to it comes pretty late in the production process. I think that this is the way gaming companies should operate. As our genre grows, as a community, it is something to say that studios like ours and other MMORPG creation studios have more to benefit from the input of their audience, by showing them these things through the iterative process.
  • Jeffrey: Especially as huge a game as an MMO. There is no way for us to know whether something is good or not, unless we give people exposure to it.
  • Steven: I came into this venture, purely as the perspective of a gamer, and it was my my dream, my passion, to start a studio, and to implement some of the key components of an MMORPG that I felt other companies were lacking. Now having been here for just over two years and being at the state we’re at, sometimes it's possible to get stuck in that perspective of developing the game, and you may lose out on the perspective of what was previously there. A gamer, I’m always a gamer at heart. I think it’s just a better environment, if the community has a hand, a voice, in seeing what's going on, and being able to communicate with Developers.
  • Jeffrey: Their part of the board. It seems silly to me that you wouldn’t do it that way. You guys are the ones that will be playing it. You are the ones who are going to be consuming it. We're only 25 people here. There's so many more of you guys, so it gives us a better perspective.
  • Steven: Look forward to the end of this month. You'll start to see some content created around the alpha zero experience and keep in mind that there is trust on behalf of the studios with you, that you will take it for what it is, which is a very early iterative process of Ashes of creation
Credits for putting together this list goes to Mykkala.
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