With the recent news of Amazons New World being delayed until 2021 and many hungry MMO fans being disappointed by this news I decided that today I wanna talk about the upcoming MMORPG that I personally believe to be the most promising, Ashes Of Creation.
Ashes Of Creation is a western made sandpark MMORPG that’s focused on a strong mix of both PVP and PVE content, this game was initially kickstarted 3 years ago but was already fully funded to completion via private investment from the games creative director “Steven Sharif”.
Unlike many of the eastern MMOs that’ve had western releases over the past few years Ashes Of Creation has consistently said from day 1, that there will be no pay to win in this game, due to this the game will operate with a no box cost subscription fee business model with a cosmetic only cash shop.
The thing that makes Ashes Of Creation the MMORPG that I’m personally the most excited for is the sheer scope of the project, this game seems to be combining all the best aspects from all the top MMOs over the past 10 years and combining it into one game with all of that being tied together by the game’s most unique feature: It’s node system.
Throughout the world in Ashes Of Creation there’s points of interests on the map called Nodes, these nodes are basically areas that can progress to different stages of civilisational development as players kill monsters, quest, gather and adventure within that nodes area of influence.
Starting out, day 1 when the game first launches the world will be pretty empty, but let’s say you and a group of friends all decide to kill mobs and gather in a certain area, overtime you’ll be contributing exp to that areas node and a expedition will appear with quests, as more players as drawn to that area it will level up into an encampment with more quests, more NPCs and more opportunity, after that the node levels up to a Village, Town, City and finally a giant sprawling metropolis with more opportunity, world events and quests appearing at each stage of development.
Now that’s a simplified explanation of the Ashes Of Creation node system but on top of that there’s also a lot of variables within this system for example at launch there will be 103 different possible node locations and the location of that node dictates the quests and world events triggered upon development.
At this point you’re probably thinking well what happens when every node reaches its final stage, wouldn’t that become boring? Well due to how the system is designed this isn’t possible.
In leveling up one node you lock out the possibility for adjacent nodes to grow to the same size, to change this and delevel a node so that adjacent nodes can progress, players will need to participate in a PVP node siege to destroy a city for example so the town node near to it has room to grow and different content can then be unlocked, the way this system is designed intends for long term player driven replayabiliy where each server will a different history of development and unlocked content, no two servers will be the same, an MMORPG with an ever changing world.
When it comes to node aesthetics there will also be a lot of diversity here too, as the node will take on the arcatectual appearance of the race that contributed the most to its development, so let’s say a guild of orcs went to an area and contributed the most exp to a node building it up to a town, you’ve then got a town with an orcish aesthetic, maybe a guild of dwarves wanted to develop a node in the mountains, they could eventually have their own dwarven city in the mountains, the aesthetic of the node changes at every level of development based on the race that contributes the most exp to the node.
On top of all this each node in the world will be assigned one of four possible node types which each having unique benefits, you’ve got divine, economic, militaristic and scientific nodes types, Advancing a Scientific node over a Economic node for example will give different building options for players to manage in the node such as libraries, colleges and artisan buildings whereas if they levelled up an economic node they could build markets, stock exchanges and trade focused buildings.
Each node upon hitting the village stage of development will have a 1 week cooldown before node elections begin, in this players can try to become the mayor of the node, as a mayor you get to allocate resources, set the tax rate and initiate quests to advance the node, as well as choose the building projects contained within that node.
The way the mayoral election system is designed is different for each node type, for scientific nodes it’s a popularity contest where you vote another player in, For economic nodes it goes to the highest bidder, for Divine nodes the player with the most node related service quests completed will become the mayor and Militaristic node mayors will be decided via a last man standing battle royale type mini game where players interface through a champion rather than their own character.
Obviously bad mayors will be thing that exist in this game so every month the election process will happen again so that other players have the chance to challenge for mayor.
Other than its node system Ashes Of Creation is also aiming to have a diverse range of content to appeal to pretty much every type of MMORPG player, let’s start with some of the PVP content that will be present in the game.
PVP content in Ashes consists of open world flagging, caravan pvp, duels, battlegrounds, castle sieges, node sieges, arenas and guild wars.
But before all of you PVE players get scared off at the thought of open world PVP you’ll be happy to know this game has anti grief mechanics in the form of its Corruption System
When it comes to corruption players have 3 states, Green – Non Combatant, Purple – Combatant, Red – Corrupted
I’ve displayed an image on the screen that shows how this system works but from the point of view of a non combatant PVE player minding their own business if another player kills you they will become corrupted and recieve ever growing penalties the more innocent players they decide to kill, eventually corrupted players can drop their items which can be looted by other players, they’ll also lose more experiance upon death and also feel dampening in PVP so they become weaker, corruption gained is also greater based on the level disparity, so a high level player randomly killing a new low level player really isn’t worth it.
Additionally the game will have a bounty system where players with high corruption score will appear on the map for bounty hunters to track down and kill for rewards and NPC guards will attack corrupted players on sight limiting their access to services within nodes
The Caravan PVP system in Ashes is a designed to bring risk vs reward gameplay, due to storage being localised to each node and different areas of the map having harder or easier access to certain resources players will need to transport goods between nodes via Caravans, When a caravan is spawned it will create a moving open world PVP zone, when players approach the caravan they’ll be given 3 options, attack, defend or ignore, caravans can transport goods from more than one player at a time and I can imagine this system alone will bring about the existance of mercenary guilds who attack caravans or defend them when paid by other players.
Castle sieges are a monthly event in which guilds can fight in a 250v250 battle to take control of one of the 5 castles in the world.
Node Sieges are different to castle sieges and are the catalyst for change in the world, Node sieges last up to 2 hours, if a node is successfully defended it cannot be attacked for a certain period of time in relation to the level of that node, a village for example can’t be attacked for another 20 days whilst a metropolis cannot be attacked for 50 days if successfully defended.
Attitionally once a node siege is declared there’s a period of notice where many services in the node are shut down in preperation for war, for a village siege there’s 2 days notice and metropolis there’s 5 days notice, these node sieges can only be declared within a certain period of the servers primetime to give everyone a chance to attend.
If a node siege is successful the node is reset to zero and players with resources stored in that node will lose some of those resources and real space player housing will also be destroyed.
Guild Wars are another seperate pvp system in Ashes Of Creation which basically allows guilds to declare war on each other and recieve certain objectives to meet a victory condition, this system isn’t fully fleshed out as of making this video but it seems like a more in depth version of what Black Desert Online currently has with objective based components mixed into it too.
Guilds can be at war against multiple other guilds at the same time and Guild Wars opertate outside of the games Corruption PVP Flagging system
I think Duels, Battlegrounds and Arenas are fairly self explanitory features that ashes of creation will have that we all like to see in MMOs but overall when it comes to the PVP content this game will have it sounds like everything I’ve ever wanted in an MMO, from the risk vs reward of the caravan system, to node sieges being the catalyst for change in the world, to the prestige of your guild owning one of the 5 castles on the server, it seems like this game has PVP content for everyone from casual to hardcore and everything in between.
PVE content will play a massive role in Ashes Of Creation and features content in the form of Quests, Open World Dungeons, Instanced Dungeons, Open World Raids, Instanced Raids, World Bosses and Monster Coin events as well as all the activities related to the growth of nodes.
PVE Dungeon & Raid content in ashes will be designed for group sizes of 8, 16 and 40 players
This game will feature a mix of both open world dungeons and raids as well as instanced dungeons and raids with 80% of them being open world and 20% of them being instanced.
There will be no group finder in this game so you’ll need to join guilds and find party members via social interaction if you wanna partake in a lot of PVE content.
The way Open World Dungeons & Raids will work is that they increase in difficulty the deeper you venture inside, at the entrace you might be fighting weaker, lower level mobs with fewer mechanics but as you get deeper into the dungeon you’ll fight tougher enemies with more mechanics and better loot.
Additionally something you need to bare in mind is that all of the PVE content that’s avalible in Ashes depends on the location of the nodes that the community decides to develop, one server may have access to completely different raids and dungeons to another server purely because their nodes developed differently in different locations.
So unlike other MMORPGs the end game PVE content really isn’t a linear progression, it can’t be a linear progression because different raids and dungeons will be locked or unlocked depending on where nodes are developed and what stage they’re at, so in a way It could also be in a PVE players best interest to participate in a PVP Node Siege to reset the node that unlocks a certain raid, so that another node can be developed which unlocks a different raid.
A fun unique piece of PVE content I think a lot of people will enjoy in Ashes is its Monster Coin system, this is an event that spawns either randomly or following the advancement of a node in which a horde of NPC monsters will spawn and attack the node, during this time players can use an item called a monster coin which they can recieve as a rare drop in game to turn into a monster and assist the NPCs in the attack of the node against other players, During a monster coin event the node can’t be destroyed but buildings, services and NPCs can be disabled for a period of time.
Quests in Ashes Of Creation are divided up into three catagories, Events, Tasks, and Narrative Quests.
Events are things that happen in Ashes as a result of the development of the world, successfully completing an event will have positive consequences such as buffs and failing events will have negative consequences such as natural disasters or node services being unavalible for a period of time.
Tasks are quests without excessive amounts of text and story around them such as collect X resources to help build a blacksmith for the node.
and Narrative Quests are more traditional story quests than can be personal to your class, race or the region of the world you’re in with some of these story archs being locked behind further development of the nodes.
If I was a roleplayer Ashes Of Creation is without a doubt the MMORPG I’d be looking forward to the most, this game is being designed with so many great RP features to really add that extra level of immersion.
First let’s talk about the extensive player housing system
This game will have 3 types of player housing, Instanced Apartments, Real Space Open World Freeholds, and Static Housing within nodes.
Each of these 3 types of player housing become avalible once a node reaches village stage or higher.
Instanced Apartments become avalible in a node if a mayor decided to construct apartment buildings within at an empty plot, these work similar to the housing system in BDO where you approach an apartment door and you’ve got a list of options for whos apartment you want to visit.
Static Housing within nodes are real space player houses that players can buy that will be visible to everyone, you’ll be able to decorate the front of your house with yard orniments, seemlessly enter and exit and see your house grow from a small cottage to a mansion as the node levels up.
Free Holds are large real space player housing plots that can be situated withing the zone of influence of a node, but not actually inside the node, think of static housing as buying a town house that grows in size overtime but freeholds as owning a set size plot of land in the countryside.
Freeholds are roughly half an acre in size and due to limited space in the world players can only own one of these per account, whereas apartments and In node housing are limited to one per server.
There are many buildings you’ll be able to place on your freeholds such as blacksmiths, stables and other stuff related to crafting, roleplaying and other life skill related content players might want to partake in.
Each of these three forms of player housing will allow players to decorate them with furniture, some of which is functional and others just cosmetic.
if a node is destroyed players will lose their housing, however a template will be mailed to them so they can load the layout of their housing hassle free when they find a new home.
As with every good Roleplay MMO Ashes Of Creation will feature a wide range of Races,
Currently the game is planning on 9 playable races each of which have different cultures which will be reflected in the appearances of nodes that they contribute to the most.
You’ve got two different variations of humans, dwarves, elves, orcs and a race called the Tulnar which live underground.
Different races will have different racial abilities and each race will have different base stats, however there will be no gender lock for any of the races and every race can play as every class.
Other nice RP features the game will have include an extensive emote system with interactable furniture, the ability to lean against scenary, sit on benches and dance with other players.
You’ll be able to play Parlor games with other players inside of taverns, some being dice games others involving cards.
You’ll be able to join different types of social organizations in the game such as the scholar’s academy, thieves guild or traders company
And there’ll also be a marriage mechanic in the game that may unlock special quests and further functionality with player housing.
Overall from a roleplay perspective it seems as though there’s gonna be more than enough choices and customization in Ashes Of Creation that each players journey in this game is completely unique and It’ll have all the immersive social elements that can help bring people together in an MMO.
Professions & Life Skills
Professions & Life Skills in Ashes Of Creation are referred to as Artisan Classes, these are split into 3 different trees, Gathering, Processing & Crafting
Gathering professions consist of Fishing, Herbalism, Lumberjacking, Mining & Animal Taming
Processing professions basically refine raw material via the use of certain freehold buildings such as forges to process ores into bars, lumberyards processing logs to planks and so on
Crafting Professions consist of Alchemy, Armor Smithing, Black Smithing, Carpentry, Cooking, Jewel Crafting, Scribing, Ship Building, Siege Weapon Building and Weapon Smithing.
In this game each character will only be able to truly master one profession, you’ll be unable to master multiple, you’ll still be able to progress multiple professions but not to the extent of mastery, this is to create the need for community interaction and create a sense of identity.
Crafting in Ashes Of Creation is being designed so that it won’t become irrelivent like in other MMOs, Crafted gear will be on par with the highest tier drops from raid bosses and due to being limited to mastery of only one artisan class guilds will have to organise a multiple people to meet their crafting and gathering needs to initiate sieges, complete projects and contribute to the node.
Personally the profession I’m most excited for is animal husbandry, as you’ll be able to breed different animals together to create some really weird and wonderful mounts.
Classes and Combat
The class system in Ashes Of Creation is quite interesting and leads to a lot of variety, First you’ll start out by picking a Primary class Archtype between Bard, Cleric, Fighter, Mage, Ranger, Rogue, Summoner and Tank, eventually as you progress with your primary class you’ll get to choose a secondary class out of the same 8 options I mentioned previously, so choosing to be a Mage then Fighter for example would give you the overall class of Battle Mage, with this system there’s a possibility of 64 different class combinations which are displayed on screen now.
Ashes of creation will be designed around the trinity system of tank, healer and DPS.
You will not be able to change your classes primary role however with some effort you will be able to change your secondary role.
Weapons and armor will not be class locked but some classes will obviously be more efficient with certain types of armor and weapons.
And when it comes to the games combat system it will use a Tab Target / Action Combat hybrid system.
The way this will work is that each class will have a two catagories of skills, tab taget skills and action combat style skills, players can choose to have up to 75% of either tab targeting abilities or 75% action combat abilities but not 100% either way, personally the way I’d imagine this will play out will be something close to guild wars 2 or Archeage however the action side of this combat system is still in development as of making this video so it’s hard to say how the complete system will actually feel.
Adventure and World
When starting out in Ashes Of Creation you’ll first make your character, choose your primary class then you’ll be given the choice to spawn at one of 4 divine gateways in the world, each race does have their own starter zone and starter quests but they won’t be super mandatory to do, more of a recommendation, there’s nothing stopping you as an elf spawning in the dwarven starting area to level with your friend.
The World Size in Ashes is planned to be truly massive, aproximately 480 square kilomiters in size at launch including both water and land content as well as a diverse range of biomes ranging from Deserts, Swamps, Planes, Forests, Snowy Mountains, Tropical Islands and everything in between, This game will be fully open world and also feature underground zones knows as The Underealm
Ashes Of Creation will feature an in game viewable world map however starting out much of it will be covered in a fog of war until areas have been explored and uncovered.
Additionally there will be some zones in the world that will experiance all 4 seasons which will bring about their own events, buffs, debuffs and farming challenges, Seasons will rotate once each week will a full 4 season rotation passing by every 4 weeks.
When it comes to levelling the max level will be 50 and it’ll take roughly 45 days of playing 4-6 hours per day for the average player to level from 1-50 so definetly more on the hardcore side of things in that regard.
Unlike a lot of modern MMOs flying mounts will be extremely rare in Ashes Of Creation that’s achievable only for guild leaders that own one of the games 5 castles, the mayor of Metropolis nodes, and through legendary limited time dragon eggs that players might obtain from a world boss, It’s unlikely there’ll ever be more than 10 players per server with temporary access to flying and when you consider each server will have a population of between 8,000 and 10,000 players, seeing them will be really epic.
It’s also worth mentioning that fast travel will be extremely limited in this game as the developers want distance to matter, the only form of fast travel that will be possible is if a scientific node reaches the metropolis stage, at that point players can constuct a building that offers fast travel only to nodes within the metropolis’s zone of influence.
But that’s pretty much it for my basic explanation for what Ashes Of Creation is without going super in depth on stuff, next I want to talk about why I believe this is the most exciting upcoming MMORPG and why this game isn’t just a pipe dream, rather something many people including myself will be testing with no NDA before the end of this year.
First of all it goes without says after everything I’ve just explained about the game it will be the most ambitious fantasy MMORPG ever attempted, the game truly will have something for everyone, It’s not a PVP MMO, It’s not a PVE MMO, It’s a genuine PVX MMO that has pretty much everything
Usually when a new MMORPG is announced and they talk about their plans when it comes to game design it’s always vague, there’s a tonne of question marks on many core systems and it doesn’t take long before players can look at the ideas of the developers and straight up say, this is a bad idea, this won’t work, New World has been a perfect example of this since the first time I tried the game in 2018 to recently when it announced its delay.
When it comes to the game design of Ashes Of Creation it seems to me that almost every aspect of the game has been clearly thoughts out and thanks to years of Q&A between the community and developers we have a clear blueprint for how this game will actually playout if you care to read it on the Ashes Of Creation wiki, When it comes to the core game design systems there’s nothing I’m overly concerned about, everything seems to make sense and follow a strong design principal of risk vs reward.
The only real question mark I have about the game is how fun will the combat be? what does their 75% action, tab hybrid combat system actually play like? I think if they can nail that and just follow the blueprint for this game until completion it will be a guarenteed success.
Ashes Of Creation is primarily a privately funded MMORPG made by an MMO fan frustrated by the direction of the genre who was extremely successful in business earlier in life, since I first covered this project in 2017 we’ve seen the studio he created expand to over 100 developers attracting people from Blizzard, SOE, Daybreak Games and more.
This year we’ve seen production for the game ramp up significantly and in recent live streams we’ve seen gameplay sessions of many core systems working such as the mayoral system, early hybrid combat, realtime node development, open world dungeons, a 40 man raid, the caravan pvp system, basic professions and the purchesing of in node player housing.
What’s more impressive is the creative directors comittment to transparency despite the project still likely being a solid 2 years from completion, Sometime this fall we’ve been told that people who have access to the games Alpha 1 test will be able to stream and make content about the game with no NDA, and when you consider that Amazon’s New World still had a strict NDA despite being 2 months out from its supposed release to me that shows a lot of confidence in a product.
Now all of that’s not to say that Ashes Of Creation hasn’t had its problems or drama surrounding its development because it certain has, Releasing Ashes Of Creation: Apocalypse, the battle royal testing environment on Steam caused nothing but confusion to people that were casually following the project and in the past the community went long periods of time without seeing any tangable gameplay due to an issue where large portions of foundation code has to be rewritten essentially delaying the game by a year.
But in 2020 we’ve really started to see this game come together, almost every monthly live stream we’ve been shown new gameplay, we’ve already had players get into the early Alpha 1 client and talk about their experiances thanks to no verbal NDA and community perception of the project as a whole has shifted from extremely sceptical to caustiously optimistic.
Whilst there’s still a long road ahead for Ashes Of Creation I have to say in the 5+ years I’ve been a fulltime MMORPG YouTuber this is the only upcoming MMO that I’ve been able to look at and say to myself “If this game releases it has a real chance of being the next truly successful MMORPG”