PAX West 2018 Panel Recap - Lots of Alpha 1 info and gameplay video! Alpha 1 Phase 1 will feature 3 battlegrounds!

Main headlines
  • Over 100 people are working on the game right now in their developer team, and this is expected to grow to 200 people before the end of this year.
  • New gameplay video showcasing the new action combat system
    • Castle siege mode is shown
    • Horde mode - city siege is shown
  • Alpha 1 Phase 1 stress test phase begins this week! A selection of Alpha 1 backers will be drawn randomly.
  • Alpha 1 backers will be testing each of the 3 battleground modes first for about a month, but then anyone with a registered account can also test the battlegrounds!
  • Alpha 2 confirmed to begin in Q3 2019
  • 40 000 signed up for alphas and betas
The team: Akil Hooper (lead technical designer), Jeff Bard (lead game designer), Steven Sharif (CEO, creative director), Mat Broome (lead character artist), Micheal Bacon (lead environment artist).

Alpha 1 Phase 1 details

Several aspects will be tested and worked on during Alpha 1 Phase 1, outside of the action combat mechanics, such as making sure the server can hold that many people online at the same time. So some aspects of Alpha 1 Phase 1 is as an extension of Alpha 0, where they want to get a huge amount of players in one area to test their servers, as Jeff Bard mentioned during the panel.
The destructible buildings wasn't originally planned for Alpha 1 Phase 1, but the panel talked a bit about this suddenly getting added, as the work was finished faster than anticipated (work on the backend etc.)

Some of the things that will be present/tested:
  • Character creation suite. This was on the road map for Phase 2, but Steven said during stream that this was in fact planned for Phase 1.
    • Build a character (that you can take with you when the game launches)
  • Earn cosmetics (that you can take with you when the game launches)
  • Building a home, with furniture etc. (that you can take with you when the game launches)
  • New UI
  • Matchmaking process
  • Arena system. (The arena system will persist post-launch as well so this will be an all-action based arena that exist side by side with ashes of creation as a mode)
  • Testing of the server architecture
  • Production of more skills
  • Projectile based system
  • There will be buildable buildings, which can be customized with a variety of modules.
    • Destructible buildings!
  • 3 castle sets.
  • New account management system launches on October 5th.
Alpha Phase 1 - Battlegrounds in 3 different modes!

Last man standing mode.
  • 100 players.
  • Various weapons and skills will be available for testing. There will be unique elements to certain skills/weapons, that interact with the terrain from a offensive or defensive standpoint.
  • Build buildings, watch-towers, defensive structures etc.
Castle Siege mode. Testing to begin at the end of December 2018.
  • Objective based:
    • Defenders must protect key strategic objectives to maintain advantage.
    • Attackers must destroy key strategic objectives to swing the battle in their favor.
  • Class kits:
    • Choose your class wisely - class synergy will be important.
  • Takes place in and around a large destructible castle.
  • 100 vs 100 players.
  • Siege weapons that is deployable, and can be piloted by players.
  • Guild mode:
    • Invite up to 20 of your guild mates to a match
Horde mode - city siege. Testing to begin at the end of March 2019.
  • Co-op objectives:
    • Work together, and react to the world around you to keep the Horde at bay.
    • Wave-based progression.
  • Each wave is more difficult than the last.
  • Monster coin implementation:
    • Join a game as part of the Horde, and slay as many players as you can!
  • Boss mechanics/Boss battles:
    • Fight legendary creatures that will require skill and strength to overcome.
  • Merchant systems:
    • Earn coin and upgrade your character to ensure success.
Alpha 1 Phase 2 (Q2 2019)
  • Action combat system integrated with the tab target system
  • Progression to level 20.
  • Nodes will be fully featured and progress to level 3
    • Includes declaring citizenship, housing, shops, governments, freeholds!
  • 4 out of 9 races available.
  • All 8 base-class archetypes available.
  • 25% of the total world map implemented.
  • Concurrent server population: 1500.
  • 2-3 servers.
Alpha 1 Gameplay Video

The gameplay looks amazing! Expect a dedicated article on breaking down this video soon!

Alpha 2 (Q3 2019)

Testing to begin in Q3 2019! More details coming soon, but will be a much closer to a complete product.

Customization and design

During the mid section of the stream they talk a lot about how many customization options there are in the game, for you to be able to make your character feel unique. There will be tons of different aspects that you can define, so that you can make the character look exactly like you want it. Currently there are 21 sets in the game, but this will naturally expand. The progression from start to finish will be visible though, even if you can customize the low level gear, as the high level gear will look amazing. Sadly we were not shown any pictures of this.

A lot of talk about the design, how Intrepid works as a team, which was really interesting. The panel laughed when talking about how Steven will come up with all these cool ideas "hey guys let's get these projectiles to bounce off when you take up your shield and hide behind it to block etc" that he wants to see in the game, and engineering doing a great job at making those ideas come through. The team pressed that Steven is a fan first, and that really shows during this process. We are in good hands!

Heard during panel
  • "I had no idea it was this big" - Jeff Bard.
No don't think dirty.. He mentioned this during the talk about their trip to Gamescom 2018, in which the team was surprised on just how gigantic the convention actually is!

Questions from the audience

Question: How will raiding be balanced around both action combat and tab target, without making one superior to the other?

Steven: We know that balance is probably the most difficult process. So many players, so many class combinations, unique skill tree choices and so on. Short answer: Testing. We have a lot of testing for this. Also this is why we are opening up for everyone during Phase 1, as we want that player input. We want to see every possible combination of skills, from an action standpoint. We have 40 000 signed up for alphas and betas. We want the testing phase to give us a lot of data.

Akil: It will be perfectly balanced. *team and audience laugs*. (Is that a Thanos reference?? 😅 *Tex) No bards!
We want to build lots of nobs into the system, lots of places where we can tune and balance the system. For example, balancing someone who can dodge, doesn't have too much advantage over someone who can tab target. We will find out it after testing.

Jeff: We are trying to make two different philosophies make sense. We want the two, both pure tab targeting, and pure action combat, to both fill a role and make sense.

Question: How in-depth to you plan on having the character creator, in terms of templates etc?

Mat: Going from bestial to pedestrial, all of it.. Just when you look at all the modular pieces of the character. Hair, region of the face.. Etc. Super complex.

Steven: It is going to be very in-depth.

Jeff: We will probably have some presents, to make it faster to go into the game, but you'll have all the dials you expect and then some!

Some of the art shown during the panel

Full stream videos:

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Mother of Yatas
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3 February 2018
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