Preview of environments for Alpha 1 - Livestream July 9th with questions and answers

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!

livestream july.jpg

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.

Steven Sharif said:
You will see footage next stream.
So phase 1 of Alpha 1 is making sure the combat system works in an arena setting. Bang on the servers with connections, people getting in, matchmaking components etc. Going to be their biggest test so far according to Jeffrey. Right now they have about 8000 people with Alpha 1 access. The traditional alpha, with the persistent world, character progression etc, that's phase 2 of Alpha 1. They haven't announced a date for that yet. The first phase with arena and all that PvP focus, is still slated for Q4 2018.

New environment screenshots.

Last month where you can buy Intrepid pack with Alpha 1 access

Steven also again mentioned that you will not be able to buy Alpha 1 Intrepid packs after this month. The target player base for Alpha 1, especially the persistent phase 2 part, is at max 10 000 people, and they are approaching that number now. The reason for this is because they want to focus on one server, and the limit for the amount of concurrent players for their servers at launch will be 10 000 people. So in other words they also want to test that the servers and all mechanics can handle such a number, before advancing in testing phase.

As we heard about in the press release earlier, new developers are on-board, many from Daybreak. Some in Malaysia and France, making their team over 100 in total. Later in the stream Steven answered that the developers in France are working in engineering, and the ones in Malaysia in art. They also got around talking about how there hasn't been lots of new developments lately in the MMO genre, other than the IPs that has been around for a long time such as FF, GW and so on. This is making Intrepid Studios and their Ashes of Creation game one of the largest MMO productions currently in development. It is a rough genre.

An additional 20 developers will be coming for their studio in San Diego, and the search is starting soon.

New environment screenshots.

New environments for Alpha 1 - preview

Even though we didn't get any combat footage this stream, we did get some AMAZING images of new environments that will be in the Alpha 1 phase. You should definitely watch the actual footage of this preview here:

Above are a few snapshots, but they don't do justice to how great that video (with the music) was. The video is all in-game footage. The team is really taking this to the next level in terms of graphical fidelity. No doubt there is a very skilled team at Intrepid working on these environments!

Questions and Answers section
The questions from the stream was taken from the official forum and the QA discord channel. As usual, I'll add the most interesting questions (in my opinion) at the top 1-6, and then the rest. The credits for writing the original Q&A session bellow, goes to @Greypelt from AoC Wiki.

New environment screenshots.

1. Will boats be summoned from anywhere on land, near water, or only in harbors?

Steven: Boats can only be summoned from land. The purpose of that is again that if you win a battle at sea it should be decisive and give you time to accomplish whatever your attempting to accomplish before you can have retribution from the opponents you’ve defeated. Will there be harbors boats can go inside of? Absolutely. Those will be present along the coast. Those can pop up based on a node being developed nearby if its on the coast or the node itself can have a harbor if the node itself is on the coast. There will likely be quests granted from the harbor specifically in regards to the sea and sea content. What you can do in the harbor will be a lot of different things including upgrades to the boat.

Steven: Have we talked about the seamanship progression?

Jeffrey: I don’t think so

Peter: Nice

Steven: I wanted so badly to just talk about it. We can talk about it a little bit right?

Jeffrey: A little. This is all baconconfirmed.

Steven: What are you talking about, I’m talking about it, it can’t be baconconfirmed. One of the ideas we’re putting into our sea content designs, ships will have piloting skills, different classes among the ships, additionally they’ll have utility and weaponry that can be implemented onto the ship.

We were talking about seamanship before the stream cut off. I felt like we were back in our early days of KS. We’ve never really gone down like that. I see everybody is being their mature internet selves with the seamanship stuff. What shall we call it? Your Boatsmanship. Boat Skills.

Part of AoC is that there are many different progression paths. You have your adventuring class, society progression, node progression, crafting progression, weapon progression, boatsmanship progression among the different classes of boats you’ll have in AoC, there are also different components that will exist in the hull of the ship, those components could be weapons, defensive, utility, trade, piloting. Part of the Boatsmanship class is that as you gain experience in handling these different component you will become more adept at using them, which will make you a more sophisticated Mariner on the sea.

Jeffrey: Mariner I like that

Steven: Boom, look at that, do it live.

Jeffrey: The idea is that you can spec into, create your own class of what you like to do on the boat and how do you get better at doing boaty things. It’s going to be similar in structure to the artisanship trees. You’ll have your mariner class. You’ll have different trees in the class, whether it’s gunnery, piloting, navigation, repairing the boat, that kind of thing. The more you go out on the sea the more experience you get for it, The more you can spec into that class.

Steven: Boy that was a long question, I forgot that was a question, Was that a question?

Jeffrey: It was a question. I don’t think it started as a question…

Peter: It started about boats in the harbor

2. How will you make instanced raiding competitive compared to games like WoW?

Steven: I think one of the design elements that we’re implementing into our raids is that the raid will not be exactly the same every single time. You're going to have variables that can’t necessarily be pre-planned out. You can pre-plan out for a lot of the raid like how many DPS/healers/support do you need and where will they be positioned. But I think the compelling aspect of Ashes raiding will be the difficulty in achieving this content and having that content change form session to session as well. We want there to be variables that get manifested by what type of node got developed elsewhere. Is he going to have acolytes or cultists, what kit will the boss have, what available skills will he have, what mood is he in? Those are all in the backend of a raid, that you won’t see into the backend, but a lot of those systems are influenced by world development. The raid takes into account to what stage has the world developed. Are there 2 metropolises available in the world? Well let's activate this skill and this skill now. You have 5 metropolises? Then all of the skills have been activated.

Jeffrey: Are they all Economic Metropolises? Are they all Military Metropolises? We can change things based on that stuff.

Steven: It really is a threat assessment from the environment against the players. Whenever you have a player versus environment setting you don’t want a stagnant, overly repetitive environment because it’s lackluster because it doesn’t engage you.

Jeffrey: It goes from being fun to being work

Steven: That’s a good analogy, it becomes a chore, “I have to do this”. A lot of people are thinking, “yeah, but I enjoy getting online with my friends, and being a part of that raid” That’s still going to be the focus and the component of it, except now it’s going to be challenging enough that you have to pay attention and come prepared and be ready to experience a new thing.

Jeffrey: The hope is that when we get to that point, there will be no such thing as the phrase “We have it on farm”

Steven: I know every single large guild raider is like “But I like having things on farm” Well if you want to have it on farm, it’s going to be very difficult.

3. Can we get clarification that citizenship will only be gained through housing? A simple yes or no will settle the debate.

Steven: I’ll give you a yes or no, but hold on. Early on, we stated that in order to become a citizen you will need to own a home, and that home can either be a freehold, static house in the node, or an instanced apartment. I do not know if we will stick to that. It depends on testing. There may be in addition to owning a home, there may be a number of citizenship tickets that a node has granted at a certain stage, that don’t require homes.

Jeffrey: It depends, we want these places to be populated, and attracted to them, right now we think housing is enough for that, but we don’t want to design ourselves into a corner where we don’t have any other options. The hope is that, yes, citizenship will only be gained through housing, with our caveat that if that doesn’t work well, we will change it.

Steven: That’s the whole purpose of testing. That’s why we test these things. To us on paper, in design, it sounds like it’s fine, if you have 8,000 players on at a time and only 1% can afford or build homes at a time

Jeffrey: and that’s not cool, we want most people to be able to participate in this stuff.

Steven: Sorry I didn’t end up saying yes or no. Soft Yes. Soft Peter.

4. Will KS get the chance to continue upgrading until almost the release of the game?

Steven: We’re going to suspend sale of Intrepid Packs, but will KS and SS backers be able to continue upgrading? That will depend on how much room we have left. There will be a point at which we don’t have enough room, but I’ll make that announcement at least a couple of weeks ahead of time to give you guys a warning.

5. Will there be shipping to Europe soon on the merchandise shop?

Steven: The tough thing about shipping is that we don’t set the shipping rates, and we don’t feel comfortable charging the shipping rates that UPS or Fedex or whoever charges, they’re really high, and although we’ve negotiated with them to bring them down, they’re still really high, so unless we have a distribution node in those territories to ship from and we can ship in bulk to them and they can ship from, which may come down soon, right now we can’t facilitate that and feel good about it.

6. Will there be different levels of Caravans?

Jeffrey: Yes

Steven: Not only are there levels of caravans, but there are also components to caravans that can be higher level, different strengths, greater power, different materials used to create them, different chassis, caravans are sort of like a character.

Jeffrey: You’ve got to build it the way you want to.

7. Will we have a crosshair for action combat? A reticle?

Jeffrey: It’s funny that you ask that

Steven: Very funny because currently

Jeffrey: We have a reticle

Steven: When we’re testing out the action combat

Jeffrey: We found out it was necessary for a lot of the stuff we were trying to do, you really need to know where your stuff is going.

Steven: One of the things we’re discussing with regards to when we take the action combat and bring it into the AoC combat as a balance between tab targeting and action, will we have a reticle hotkey that brings you into the reticle?

Jeffrey: It’ll probably be on a case by case basis in terms of what you have slotted. We want it to feel really smooth. We don’t want you to see a reticle at all if you're doing tab targeting. We want it to be there when you need it.

Steven: Even giving the player the option to just play in reticle mode all the time if they want.

Jeffrey: The main thing is trying to make sure the stuff doesn’t get in the way while you're playing and that it feels natural and good.

8. Given that cosmetic items are going to be available from the cosmetic store, will there be a way to craft cosmetic items and costumes that look better than cash shop items?

Steven: Absolutely

Jeffrey: Better is in the eye of the beholder. It’s not like we’re going to put more look into the visuals of one or another, it’s just going to be items that are different.

Steven: The Important thing is that the cosmetic shop is not intended to be an area where cosmetics in the game that are achievable aren’t good looking and the only good ones are from the cosmetic shop. The plan is that Cash shop items will be limited in quantity, limited in time for purchase, they will be unique, there will also be extremely difficult cosmetics to earn in game as well as unique cosmetics that look unique / better to varying degree. There are a LOT of cosmetics available in game because that is a very fun aspect of MMO play. That’s Roleplay.

9. At what stage does a Node begin to inhibit the development of neighboring Nodes, 3 or 4? Soon after we return to Verra and develop all Nodes to level 3 are there any gaps between their ZOI’s where Freeholds cannot be placed?

Steven: Nodes begin to influence their neighboring nodes at level 1. Will there be gaps between ZOI’s? No, ZOI’s connect fully across the world. There is not a space where you will move in to do something and no node will get that experience.

Jeffrey: That doesn’t mean that there won’t be nodes that are stuck at level 0, that will still happen.

Steven: Will there be areas where Freeholds cannot be placed? They cannot be placed on Roads, inside of dungeons, or Points of Interest, but generally they’re very open world. It’s not going to be like other games where there is a designated square where all housing must go for the zone. It’s going to be more freeform than that. Outside of specific terrain actors, POI’s or roadways pretty much you can place it down.


10. With KS we earned social organizations such as the Thieves Guild. Are these planned to be NPC managed, and players simply do a quest chain or pay a membership to be included, or will they be player run with members being able to elect leaders and direct the organization as they see fit?

Steven: To start they will be NPC run, and they will always have an NPC component to it’s direction. However, there will be ranks that certain members on a server can obtain, which will give some direction ability over the organization and what it’s directives are.

Jeffrey: It will always be keyed to that specific organization too, so it won’t be like the thieves guild starts doing magey things, they will retain their identity, you won’t necessarily be able to make quests that go outside of that identity, but you can focus other players quests and stuff.

Steven: That’s a cool component, being a driving, directing force, even though your choices are restricted within that identity.

11. Can dead players be made into Undead by Necromancers?

Steven: No

12. Will the AoC tree in the logo that looks like a phoenix be in the game? If so what significance does it have?

Steven: Lore question, can’t answer that one

13. Can a faster growing node ZOI start to take over a smaller nodes ZOI?

Steven: Larger nodes can and will engulf lesser nodes if they’re within. We have a very specific algorithm that dictates how that progression will work, it’s not something we’ll reveal, but if you have a map that say has a node in the center, and as Jeff described there are two smaller nodes a size 3 and size 4, our Algorithm takes a few things into account before determining in what direction that node will expand and take over.

14. Will A1 have set time slots or will it be open testing?

Steven: It will have both time slots as well as long period testing that we’d like to test the server.

Jeffrey: We’ll probably start with time slots first until we get stability worked out, then we’ll go into longer form.

Steven: Our goal is to have several weeks of consistent play at the end of that testing that we can bang our chests about.

15. Post-Siege, will we be seeing rubble or will it be neat and tidy?

Jeffrey: You’ll probably see rubble for a while, but it can’t be persistent in that sense.

Steven: It’ll probably be at the end of the first week where they have time to get the node progressed.

Jeffrey: At some point we have to clean it up or it will get really messy, really fast. There will just be disaster everywhere.

Steven: There will likely be a period of time at which you will likely see rubble following a siege, and that period of time will likely end once the first weeks task is complete for the guild who owns the new castle or the existing incumbent guild, to develop that Node A in the triad node.

Jeffrey: I think they were talking about all the nodes

Steven: Oh I was thinking castles, I’m sorry

Jeffrey: Timing of that, not quite sure, but we do want people after a big event like that has happened to see the aftereffects of something like that. We’ll persist it for some unknown amount of time.

16. When a node devolves will we see evidence of it at one time being greater?

Jeffrey: That would be harder to do. I don’t know that we would do that. Obviously that would be rad, but it would be tough to make happen.

Steven: It’s not in the script at the moment. That could be an issue.

17. Can we have more info on Head-start? Will you sell them seeing as how they are not KS exclusive?

Steven: We had a 2 day headstart in the KS packages where nodes are disabled from development. We don’t have more info on headstart for now, I’m not sure if you’ll ever see them again. We will see on that.

Jeffrey: Probably much closer to launch.

18. How much of the map can we expect to be classed as hunting grounds? How much will be Corruption Enabled?

Steven: Classed as Hunting Grounds? How much? A good percentage? As in like there are monsters here? Most of it.

Jeffrey: Most of it. I feel like the question was going for something else, but I’m not sure I understand it.

Steven: How much of the map will be corruption enabled? All of it?

Jeffrey: You can get corruption anywhere. Maybe ask another question, I don’t feel like I’m getting it.

19. Will there be Wind, Water, and Nature Growth Magic? Is it possible to create a class fully using one of these elements?

Steven: Yes. Will there be elemental magic? Definitely.

Jeffrey: Of those specific elements we’ll probably have Air and Water. Nature might be something different.

Steven: There will be those forms of magic, can you create a class fully using one of those elements? No probably not fully, but you could assign augments per se.

Jeffrey: Mostly you could probably do it. There would be some hoop jumping. You’d have to be careful about what you were choosing.

Steven: You could do it.

20. Will Achievements be locked by character, account, or both?

Jeffrey: Probably a mix of both

21. Do you plan to launch a server in South America?

Steven: We have plans to address the launch in communities and regions that warrant it through following and participation. The answer is tentatively yes, because currently our traffic does show a large support of Brazilian followers.

22. With gathering and crafting, I assume there will be mechanics in place where only things can only be found in wild undeveloped nodes, such as a quest for rangers and druids to assist the wildlife instead of civilization? A freeholder in the middle of a dozen wild nodes they gather in could easily be forced out of an area and constantly have to move shop without a way to maintain the wild state?

Jeffrey: Not really, not like that

Peter: If you want one destroy a node

Jeffrey: That’s kind of where you’d have to go with that

23. Will you be able to mail resources across nodes?

Steven: You will not be able to mail resources

Jeffrey: If you want to give it to one of your friends you're going to have to get on your horse, or start a caravan, or walk it personally

24. Will there be gifting in the store soon?

Steven: No not soon. I don’t know if we’ll allow for gifting. It’s scary because it helps facilitate RMT. We’ll see. I’m kind of conflicted on that

Jeffrey: We’ve had a lot of conversations on that

25. Will there be glow in the dark dyes?

Jeffrey: There can be. Like something that glows in the dark like a light stick.

Peter: Kind of like the under realm vegetation

Steven: Like Emissives?

Jeffrey: Almost certainly, We love Emissives

26. Do you guys take Interns?

Steven: We have taken interns. I think we’ve had a total of four or five.

Jeffrey: All local, we tend to shop locally. There’s a whole process for it.

27. Will there be an in-game event for Steven’s Birthday?

Steven: Maybe we should have a sandal cake in game

28. Can you tell us anything about Daybreak and Planetside?

Steven: No, we suggest you ask Daybreak

29. How are you planning to balance the 64 classes?

Jeffrey: With some Dice, let em fly

Steven: Roll it …. Some people will think that’s true.

Jeffrey: It’s not easy man. It’s a lot of different things to look at. We’ve tried to constrain ourselves with the augment system to kind of baseline power so it doesn’t get out of control, but it’s a lot of work, a lot of excel tables, a lot of playtesting.

Steven: We’ve said this in the past, our balance formula is around group vs group, not 1v1, we have a paper rock scissors balancing scenario, it’s understood that some classes will be the bane of others and visa versa. It’s going to be conditionally set for you and the encounter your experience, to determine your efficiency.

Jeffrey: The goal is to make sure that the mage ball doesn’t happen. Balanced parties are king.

Peter: If class distribution is relatively equal that’s fine.

30. Will it be easy to get lost in the AoC world?

Steven: Yes, it’s our goal from an exploration standpoint. Jeff is huge on wanderlust.

Jeffrey: I’m the guy that’s going to be out there wandering, I’m not going to be worrying about leveling up nodes, I just want to explore.

31. Will it be possible to destroy the entire server?

Jeffrey: Like you trip over it?

Steven: Like Verra explodes. Server Reset. You beat the game.

Jeffrey: I’ve been arguing for this as something I want to do in an MMO, an MMO that actually has a win or loose condition. It’s something I want to build one day. But not this day.

Steven: That’s tough, because you're like the little guy who’s working so hard to make it work, and now you're floating in space

Jeffrey: Well you start over again and try to win next time

32. Will you release a Pathfinder or DnD AoC campaign?

Steven: I think I might have mentioned in the past wanting to stream a DnD/Pathfinder session where I DM it for the other devs and it’s in the AoC world either before or after the fall or a mix. I’d love to get the communities feedback on this. If you think it’s a good or bad idea let me know. Part of being able to trickle out some lore instead of giving you the grand overview giving you the perspective of people in that story.

Through a DnD or Pathfinder campaign with the devs. I thought it could be a cool idea to run that campaign and do a session every couple of weeks or so where I have all the devs go on a list of participating, if you die you're out and have there be rewards and artifacts within the campaign where if a dev finds it, it’s like a real life reward like 1000$ bonus, I think that’d be cool. It might make it a little cutthroat. But at least it would be cool for the viewers to root on some devs. Let me know if you think that’s something we should do.

33. Will there be ghost towns? For example, when a node is destroyed will its inhabitants become undead?

Jeffrey: That’s pretty rad, but I don’t think that’s going to happen

Steven: First, there will be ghost towns in the sense that undead and ghosts exist,

Jeffrey: They might have towns

Steven: Both corporeal and incorporeal undead, they will be in the game, but they will not be the result of a node being vanquished.

Jeffrey: We will keep track of those events so you can check out the history of what happens in the world. You can see that node was sieged at this time, got destroyed this time.

34. How will the freehold blueprints work? Some kind of Minecraft building system?

Jeffrey: Not like Minecraft, a little bit similar to Minecraft, it’ll be more like Tetris. Where you have different buildings have different shapes.

Steven: You're talking about the adjacency bonuses. The Freehold Blueprints themselves

Jeffrey: Just placing the plot? Just how you’d picture it probably

Steven: Additionally, how you find those blueprints. You can purchase them from certain merchants, you can acquire them through acquisition inside of societies or religions, you can be granted them from progress in quests, you can find them as drops, you can craft the blueprints, there are a lot of different ways to get the blueprints.

Check out the full streams here, they are split in two halves.

That is all. Thank you guys for reading!
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