Ashes HQ

Development Update: Sept 30, 2022

Discussion & Outline Summary

Community & Reminders

  • They are spotlighting one Youtube comment per development update.
    • The comment led Steven to explain that MMO players either have a group or don’t at the start and so Ashes wants to provide avenues to socially connect people by creating challenges that require a group effort to overcome. MMOs by definition are Massively Multiplayer and that means that it’s not a solo game, but it doesn’t mean that Ashes won’t offer gameplay that is solo-centric, it lives in addition to what the social aspect is of MMOs. In order to have this, they have quest lines that are devoted to solo gameplay and hunting grounds, amongst other things. But from a content perspective Ashes is going to fulfill the solo gameplay as well as the group and social experience, and a lot of times those paths diverge only to come back together, that process will be seen throughout the leveling. There will be lots of opportunities from dialogue, in-game chat, citizenships, and social organizations, that can create pseudo factions that can give you an into other players without the strong bonds that typically come from guild-oriented organizations. 
  •  There will be an AMA with Steven in October.
  •  Cosmetics swapping over on October 12th, 2022, at 11 AM PST.
  • Dev Discussion on Gathering and PVP is still open on the forum for feedback.

Basic Ranged Weapon Attack Update

  • Senior Designers Trad and Jeremy were present in the video.
  • The video takes place in the Aelune ruins in the Riverlands.
  •  They are trying to make Verra feel like a living and breathing entity that players can interact with.
  •  The Quick Shot ability was shown, it has three charges with each shot doing more damage than the last.
  • The Snipe ability is a press and hold ability that roots the player in place. The longer the charge, the more damage is dealt.
  •  Prior to the fall of Verra, the minotaurs were a chaotic nomadic race that benefit when the player races left for Sanctus. Since the departure of player races, they have gotten stronger and found some assistance from powerful entities. They are excited to enact some revenge on the player races, which in their lore and oral histories tell of the people that hunted them down.
  • The Terragore is a clan/tribe of Minotaur. One class of Minotaurs seen in the video was the Shaman (Raincaller) which evokes water abilities (attacks and shields).
  • Carphin, a formerly great city of the Aelune and now a cursed dungeon are seen in the distance. It was a focus of the mages of the Aelune empire, Carphin used to be a city that had a great mage population and even had a university. Things went bad during the last days of the fall and made some desperate measures (which have their own very unique quest system). The dungeon itself is very large and can support many groups to be within and fight.
  • Steven displayed two different weapons, the first was the longbow, which has a little bit slower of an attack but more power.
  • There is contextual behavior with the longbow, for each of the basic attacks, based on if you tap or hold the button down, similar to the snipe ability. This charge is currently just a damage increase but later on, it may provide a status effect.
  • The last ability shown was Air Strike. It is an ability to move your character (though the air) in the direction you are facing, and shoots three projectiles down to the ground as you are in the air, which all do area of effect damage and roots the enemies hit (slows down the enemies).
  • They also not only displayed the tab target basic range weapon attack but also the action combat as well. In the reticle-based mode, the targeting plate (at the top of the screen) can be slightly greyed out, this is to demonstrate a soft lock target vs a hard lock target.
  • When are you not hard-locked onto a target you can be soft-locked onto a target, where the target is chosen based on where your camera is, and attack that target. If you were to actually select a target, you can take the reticle off of the target but maintain that target as the main target, thus having the targeting plate a solid color.
  • The second type of weapon displayed is the short bow. The short bow is meant to be a lot more acrobatic, it can be used more freely with movement, with a higher rate of fire, but less powerful. Giving the player the ability to decide on their own play style. The abilities are the same regardless of the type of weapon (short bow vs longbow).
  • Each weapon will have its own unique skill tree associated with it. This will differentiate them not only in terms of feel but in terms of mechanics. An important part of Ashes is the ability to customize the character how the player wants so customized builds are part of that individuality. Weapon choice will be incentivized by play style, abilities, archetype, and the target enemy.
  • Ranged Combat specific Q&A
    • What are the advantages and disadvantages of using action combat vs tab targeting?
      • The hybrid combat is meant to offer the player to either utilize tab targeting or reticle-based action camera mode, there are benefits to each and both provide what they feel most comfortable as. All of the attacks are going to be stat opposed unless they are templated attacks, in which case there will be certain bonuses or stronger applied chances for certain types of CC effects to be applied, or potential evasion and accuracy aspects will all be part of testing in Alpha 2.
    • How do you see people using the auto attacks vs the abilities?
      • Auto attacks in other MMOs serve as a filler between rotations and during cooldowns. That is not the intent of Ashes of Creation. AoC has separate and bespoke weapon skill trees that you develop over time when you gain experience when using that particular weapon type. Those skill trees provide a lot of versatility in both horizontal and vertical progression. The weapon skill trees are meant to provide a lot of synergy between your rotational abilities and the weapon type you have chosen. As you progress you will be able to influence things like the number of attacks, speed of those attacks, prox that occur on those attacks, status conditions that can be applied to the target based on the basic attacks, and then when you see those things happening on the target, that’s when you use certain rotational ability in your class kit to compliment that prox effect.
    • Will rangers be required to carry arrows?
      • Ashes will not track ammunition in the game. However, there is a conversation about unique buffs that can be applied to the weapons that are on a per instance basis of the attack. For example, you might have a quiver that you can activate on a cooldown, that quiver might apply some sort of effect on the basic weapon attack, or potentially even some sort of consumable that applies it to your melee weapon. Steven likes these because they add an element to horizontal gameplay depending on the adversary you are facing or the challenge you are up against.
    • Are bows hit scan or projectile based?
      • They are projectile based. You can notice that when switched to the action combat reticle mode, Steven was able to fire the bow as a blind fire without a target. That is one of the differences between tab and action combat mode.
    • If a ranger doesn’t have a bow equipped, will they still be able to use the Air Strike ability?
      • Some availability will require that certain pieces of equipment are equipped.  That is true for shield bash requiring a shield to be equipped. As part of the Ashes of Creation paper doll, there is a melee main hand and off-hand and then a ranged slot as well, you don’t need to switch between weapons per say, if you execute an ability that requires a ranged weapon but you have your melee weapon out, it will automatically swap to the ranged weapon and then back to the melee weapon for your basic attack should you choose. You can select which weapon you want to have available for your basic attack and can swap between those two, even in combat. In a siege, if you are on top of a wall, you may acquire a target through a tab that you see but is just out of range and free fire at them (in action), if they move into that area they will be impacted by the projectile.
    • Can you swap in between your combos?
      • You can always weapon swap in combat, but you will not be able to armor swap in combat.
    • How is a melee supposed to catch up with a ranger if they are running away from them at full speed?
      • It depends on the melee user, obviously different class kits will provide different gap closers, different mobility skills, lockdowns, and chains to pull back. That is part of what an MMO is, you have a rotation sweet, and depending on what type of challenges you face will help determine which of those rotation you spec into from your skill tree. If you are having problems with rangers because they are constantly getting away then it’s probably a good idea for you to spec into the ability that locks the target down, that gives you mobility, or allows you to zone control within the battlefield.
    • Do you have to have a target in your crosshairs to use Snipe or Quick Shot?
      • For abilities, it depends on the ability, if the ability requires a target, yes you will be required to have a target, even in the action mode. If the ability is a templated attempted, such as a line attack or AoE or a cone attack, those will not require you to have a target, you can fire those anticipating movement of an individual.
    • What are the differences between the short bow and the long bow?
      • The cool thing about Intrepid’s approach within Ashes of Creation is that weapons aren’t just stats. They have different feels, as was demonstrated in the melee video (with the great sword and the daggers) as well as the range video (longbow vs short bow). These changes can be pace, speed, critical rate, critical damage, base damage, separate affect (like charge up), and different root motion. Because each weapon type has an associated weapon tree for progression, they want each weapon group to feel distinct in the way they play. Because of that, it touches on a lot of different aspects of combat.
  • Ashes of Creation leans more towards tab targeting, but that doesn’t mean there is not a play style of action that provides the user some benefits to it. There are some downsides to it as well such as if you are in a massive brawl, the ability to choose targets that are far in the back line might be more advantageous for action users because they will be able to click, but the reaction time to acquire a target for a curser vs a reticle is much faster and less cumbersome because it doesn’t require as many actions on behalf of the user, such as finding the came plate, clicking on it to activate the target, whereas with a reticle option all you need to do is orient the camera to the target and fire the attack. 

Character Art Update

  • Najash Tribe snake folk
    •  The world is rich with history and lore, and part of it is enemy factions. The Najash originate from a deep city that was destroyed but preserved under a significant amount of magma.
  • Living Statue Knight (in pieces and as one)
    • The living statuses were once protectors that got turned into adversaries that will be faced as you progress through the ruins of the ancient world. There movement is meant to look cumbersome/stop motion because of that.
  • The Zombie Shambler
  •  Ghostly Armor Folk
  •  Sable Tooth (cub) (October 2020 – November 2020)
  • Terragore Raincaller
  •  Shield and Spear
  • Empyrean Male and Female T-Pose
  • Kaelar concept Art for the Male and Female
  •  Niküan Male and Female concept art

Studio Update

  • Work is continuing towards Alpha 2
  • There were a few higher this month but still many open positions.
  • There will be another significant hiring push at the beginning of the year.
  •  Steven is very happy with the state of development right now saying that they are in the best place they’ve been since starting the journey.


  • How will animations while duel wielding weapons of a) a different type (axe and dagger) or b) different weapon speeds?
    • Dual weapons will have their own animation sets. There will be a limited selection of which weapons can be dual weapons. The animation speed will be modified based on which weapon(s) is/are equipped.
  • Summoner has been said to fill in the gaps in a party’s role composition, what exactly does that mean in practice?
    • Depending on the summon that they bring out, they will have a variety of summoning options and they will have supporting abilities that will enhance the role of that summon, or that can hybridize the role of that summon based on the ability they cast on that summon or support by casting on the target. It is something that is flexible based on the summoner. When you choose a secondary archetype as your total class, that will influence which category your summons performs best as a role. If you go for a secondary class selection that is more DPS focused the summons from a role perspective will be a DPS summons, you will still have the flexibility, but it won’t be as strong as if you have selected a support or a tank role and the summons you would have a chose of those secondary choices.
  • In the weather showcase stream, you hinted at weather impacting ships, does this mean that ships can have status effects such as being on fire?
    • Ships absolutely can have status effects, the majority of the time those status effects will be conferred based on weapon types that are being used against the ship, or encounters that the ships are facings (either weather or NPC based). In addition, weather can also affect wind patterns at sea as well. Wind patterns provide the ship’s movement speed for certain advantages and certain directions. This keeps the playing field dynamic; you will not be in a certain area of the sea and always expect that when you turn horizontal in the world you will go faster because based on the weather pattern and the wind that is present that might change from moment to moment.
  • What is the reason for requiring the destruction of the caravan by the attacks, as opposed to the attacker’s gaining possession of the caravan?
    •  It needs to be a bit of an even playing field. Steven has experienced games where you can take control of that particle vehicle, and while you can with ships with caravans they want to emphasize the idea of not necessarily stealing the vehicle but being forced to achieve victory through destruction. When you do you then have the logistical issues of how you will transport those goods on your own rather than servicing the transport of that by just hijacking the opponent. There is also some gamification that can occur if you can just steal those things and take that caravan to a certain location, they need to be “stolen” items for a system and as a result, you need to be able to loot the container and not necessarily turn it in. There is also no means by which a player can turn in another player’s caravan at a caravansary as a pit stop or a final destination, because that would be a stolen caravan. It is to provide some sort of leveled playing field for the caravan users who are transiting around the world and a requirement from the attackers to actually succeed at destroying it rather than ninja looting the caravan per se. But again, that is not to say that with ships, you cannot, they are a different vehicle type and have a different rule set as a result.
  • Will we be able to furnish our ships similar to housing?
    • There are attachments that can apply to the ship and some of those are decorative in nature. There are also slots that have utility aspects to them as well that are decorative. This is more like a figurehead on the boat, as they are trying to stay away from internal compartments in ships because that presents a whole different type of user interface and flow that can be a bit cumbersome, especially in combat and closed spaces.
  • Is there going to be any form of dual specialization allowing us to swap between two setups of skills, talents, augments, etc.?
    • That is a convenience component to the ability to respect, so yes you can save specs so that when you are re-specing you don’t need to go through the monotony of finding specific skills. This will need to happen in town to respect either your primary or secondary class.
  • Will nodes located on islands be easily accessible at the start of the game or will it be races for players to gain access to ships in order to explore potential island node locations?
    • You are able to swim, so you don’t necessarily need a ship. It is the same with all nodes, there are nodes that are going to be located at great distances from the starting locations some of those distances will be separated by water, and if it is a goal for some individual to help seed that nodes progression earlier then what might be located closer to starting areas then they will have to incorporate strategies to direct player movement into those areas so that they get a faster start.
  • Will it be possible for any character to hide their character’s name and guild plate through any means?
    • There are some ideas about disguises for characters that incorporate name plates and guilds, there are also the same discussions for caravans and ships whether or not they are holding a full haul of goods, whether or not they can mitigate the distances between the notification area of a caravan or not. But Steven is not ready to expand on that yet because they have not vetted those designs.
  • By leveling up a pilot mariner class, will two identical ships have different speeds and turning abilities based on their pilots’ level?
    • The benefits of having mariner expertise is not just related to activities you can do on the ship but will also incorporate skills that become available when you are piloting ships as well. There are a few things that the mariner class provides:
      • Interaction with attachments on the ship
      • Driving the ship itself
      • Utilizing the ship’s components (like sails)
      • Repairing ships (speed/when you can do it)
  • Are oceans and underwater areas going to have seasonal changes?
    • Oceans and underwater areas will not have seasonal changes no. 

Outline Contributors: Skylarck The Botanist, Simurgh

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