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Massively OP Podcast - Summary

My (MooseKnee10) Paraphrasing of the Massively OP PodCast ft. Steven

Any statements that are italicized are my comments.


§  What is Ashes of Creation?

  • It is a High-fantasy, Open-world, Non-faction Based MMO where player’s decisions and actions have tangible meaning in the world. The game is focused on the Node System that collect players’ activities and decisions. Our goal is to get back to that Massive feeling (of MMO) that MMOs have been lacking recently.

§  What do you like best about some other MMOs you’ve played?

  • Steven is a huge fan of the non-faction based MMOs due to their allowance of creativity as a player. He also enjoys Open-world environments, specifically in MMOs.
    • Enjoys non-faction based, open-world, politically engaging MMOs
  • Top 3 Favorite MMOs: “Tough question…”
    • Lineage 2 – due to its versatility
    • Archage – due to some great ideas, base design and philosophy
      • Disliked the implementation of the monetization tactics that they used.
    • Aion

§  What’s the office environment like there at Intrepid?

  • The office is relatively quiet, even though it is an openly creative space due to inter-discussion of ideas. There is a lot of work that is getting done (Steven is surprised with the amount of work being done with a 21 person team in comparison to other projects with similar or larger teams).
  • The team is very passionate and the AoC community has inspired the group. Steven projects a 70 person team possibly in the future (current total is 21 in office and 14 out of office [35 in total]).
  • Steven mentions the visiting packs (10-20 minute long play through with 10 stations) at PAX Prime.
  • The Dev Team is comprised of veteran MMORPS developers with a similar vision and are self-motivated. (7 of 21 are ex-SOB Developers)

§  Why was this Kickstarter such a success?

  • 3.27 Million Kickstarter broke the record for MMORPGs funded through Kickstarter.
  • For Steven, there needed to be certain goals met before starting Crowd Funding (partly because of the Stigma around crowd funding MMOs).
    • Presentable Product (100 minutes of Gameplay time)
    • Constructed Assets, Combat, Environment.
    • Obvious investment of time and money prior to crowd funding.
  • Creating a Compelling Concept/Product that resonates with MMO gamers
    • Mechanics need to be innovative (building the world through node system; living world based on community actions)
    • (Monetization) Principles that resonate with the community
      • Lack of P2W and Cash Grab tactics.
  • He believed it was the “Perfect Storm” of circumstances due to recent experiences with MMOs. He personally experienced, as an avid MMORPG player, the feelings of disappointment and this was a motivating factor.

§  What did you learn from the Kickstarter process?

  • “I personally learned that sleep is overrated.”
  • The most important thing that was done differently is transparency and communication with the player community.
    • Typically AAA companies feel like they don’t have to be transparent due to inherited community from other development projects.

§  Why did the web store take so long to start up?

  • Kickstarter has a minimum 14 day time period before they give the final list of processing to Intrepid. We wanted a buffer between receiving that list and the start of the store to allow previous backers the opportunity to up their pledges.
  • Almost 70% of Public Traffic to the AoC Website comes from outside of the United States. (Reasoning for allowing PayPal funding)

§  Will the store post totals? Why no stretch goals?

  • I didn’t include this portion because we have Post Totals available now.
  • No additional Stretch Goals due to “Feature Creep” that can strain the Development Process of the game.

§  Will there be continued fundraising?

  • “There will not be additional Crowd Funding… we may release additional items or virtual goods that may be limited time or quantity, but (we do not intend to do additional crowd funding.)”

§  Have you done anything to mitigate complaints about the affiliate system?

  • A large portion of a game’s development can be contributed to Influencers, Add Space, Commercials, Video Streaming Adds
    • Rewards program capitalizes and democratizes what already exists in the industry. (Large influencers make “deals” with other companies, Steven wanted this process to be available to the whole community)
    • Free To Play is appealing, but it comes with P2W. He wanted to allow players to play for free without going down the P2W monetization gimmick.
    • Link to Referral Page

§  How much of the game is playable right now?

  • He said that the live plays have been the game as it is, no gimmicks or tricks. Even if you only see a small part of the world, the functionality we have seen is there.
  • Mentions the PAX Prime visiting pack. The following are examples to be shown:
    • Crafting, Node System, Class Progression, Caravan System, Gathering, Boss (mechanics). (All these are possible and subject to change)

§  Will we start getting blog posts again?

  • “Sometimes I wish there were 35 hours in a day!”
  • We began writing the next Blog that should be coming up shortly.

§  How do you time nodes so they don’t feel too quick or too static?

  • “You want to find a balance between those two extremes and I think that our system works off of population metrics, both in a server and in a zone.”
    • The system will adjust the cycle that the node advances based on the population metrics. (Includes natural attrition rates such as bosses)
    • Each node level will relate to the amount of content unlocked around said node.

§  Will it give me a history of the node development if I am gone for a week or two? Such as drastic changes. – Justin Pod Cast Host

  • “No, it will not give you a history of the node.”

§  What is the roadmap for this year?

  • Alpha 0, which is after the friends and family Alpha, that should be out before the end of the year.

§  How will you wrangle a contentious community?

  • “That’s a great question.” Lol
  • I would characterize our game as PvX game due to our heavy emphasis on the inter-connectivity/inter-dependency of the aspects of the game.
    • A balance should be attainable due to the need for PvPers to unlock certain content for PvEers and vice versa. There should be a mutual need between the groups.
  • “[The community] is very welcoming already.” 
  • There will be standards of behavior (there already are moderators on the Forums and Discord) in the game.

§  What traditional MMO systems and features are you rethinking for Ashes?

  • The crafting system will be different compared to other MMOs. It will focus on three different paths (Gatherer, Processor, Item Creator). The standard systems prevalent in other MMOs (being a master of everything) will be lessened due to a dependency on fellow players.
  • Adventuring Classes interacting with your secondary class and other classes in the game will be different. An augmentation system that takes the flavor of the secondary class and applies it to your primary class along with a social augmentation can alter your skills. (Horizontal Progressions that allow for vast customization)
  • Animal Husbandry (Mounts and Pets) through genetic combinations, time based breeding, etc. can create unique and possibly “legendary” mounts/pets across different servers.

§  What will the housing system be like?

  • (Anxiety about “Land Rush”) – Justin Pod Cast Host
  • Steven believes that because tangible housing is throttled behind development of nodes, Land Rush will not be an issue. Also, tangible housing is not permanent due to the possibility of Nodes being sieged down.
  • With Static Housing, there will be a limited amount of housing which will cause some to not partake in housing for a node. This incentivizes either development of the node for more housing or sieges upon the node.
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