|1. Origins / Overview|
|2. Nodes / World Events / Politics and Housing / Sieges|
|3. Player versus Player / Caravans, Trade, and the Economy / Storytelling|
|4. Seasons and Weather / Combat / Characters and Classes|
|5. Monetization / Referral Program / Funding and Kickstarter / Closing Thoughts|
Seasons and Weather
That’s right – in addition to weather cycles, the game has actual seasons. The current plan is for an in-game season to progress once a week during scheduled downtime, meaning you’ll see a full year cycled over the course of about a month. We’ve even seen in-engine concepts indicating that some of the game’s creatures will change their appearance according to the season.
Best of all, the changes aren’t just cosmetic. While we don’t yet know the full extent of the impact, we do know that it will have some effect on the terrain (the lake in the above video freezes over, snow is said to block certain passages), it will vary by zone in accordance with biome, and that it will have some effect on crop rotations in the game’s farming system (of which we know little more than that it exists).
I want these cycles to affect a wide array of mechanics, including; NPC generation, boss content, dungeons, drop tables, Node progression, combat, skill use, gatherables, trade routes, NPC appearances, and weather. How you approach the world will depend on the world’s mood at that time. Certainly you might re-consider your approach to that dungeon if it’s fall rather than spring.
It’s all part of the game’s broader commitment to immersion as a core pillar of its design philosophy, and while it’s not something I’ve never thought I needed before now, I’m certainly not going to say no when I’m offered it. These types of systems can make a big impact on your ability to lose yourself in a virtual world, so as long as they aren’t coming at the cost of core game systems, I’m fully on board.
Which brings us to combat, somehow relegated to here, all the way back on page 4. The truth is, we don’t know all that much about the specifics of combat yet, which is decidedly odd consider some of the things we do know – like governmental procedures for different metropolis types. All things considered, it’s probably because it takes a lower level of technical preparedness to do sweeping shots of cities while talking about conceptual systems than it does to show off a combat system that actually looks good, but still, I’d definitely like to know a lot more than we do.
What we do is that the game uses some sort of tab targeting system with action elements like dodges, positional attacks, targeted skills, i-frames (skills which grant invincibility), and if the dungeon gameplay test video at the top of page 3 is any indicator, skills with a high level of environmental interactability. You can see a tiny bit of combat in the video above, but remember that even though the art assets are pretty amazing, this is still pre-alpha footage, so it’s better to go in with pre-alpha expectations.
Where exactly this falls on the great spectrum of MMO combat systems remains to be seen, but I think the general expectation is that we’ll see something that plays similarly to Guild Wars 2. However, whether or not that expectation is actually anywhere in the ballpark remains to be seen.
Characters and Classes
Ashes of Creation’s character advancement system is a fairly traditional vertical leveling affair, with players choosing from one of eight staple fantasy archetypes to begin their journey: Fighter, Tank, Rogue, Ranger, Mage, Summoner, Cleric, or Bard. However, it’s not without its own twists on the formula.
At a certain point in their primary archetype’s progression, players will be able to add a second subclass from any of the remaining archetypes, enabling them to augment their original archetype’s skills with effects from their secondary one.
A fighter has a skill called “Rush”, that allows him to rush towards a target and upon reaching the target, deals x damage with a chance to knock the target down. If that fighter were to choose Mage as his secondary archetype (Spellsword), he would gain access to certain augments that he could apply to his primary skill tree. Let’s use his Rush skill as an example; As a Spellsword, he could choose to apply a teleportation augment to the Rush skill, which would allow the skill to now teleport you to the target, eliminating the charge time on the skill. Each skill in the primary tree will have several augment options from your secondary tree.
In total, this results in 64 unique combinations of classes, though the degree of variance we’ll see subclasses creating between those combinations is unknown at this time.