Interview: Ashes of Creation on Building Their Virtual World

Intrepid Studios’ upcoming sandbox MMORPG Ashes of Creation is rapidly ascending my personal list of most anticipated titles. With a fairly unique design scheme promising persistent consequence at the very core of the game’s world design, Ashes of Creation is poised to scratch exactly the itch that got me into the genre in the first place.

I was lucky enough to have the chance to talk about the game with studio founder and Creative Directive Steven Sharif back in January when I first encountered the game. Now, with a few more months of development behind us, Steven is back with a lot more details on how exactly Ashes of Creation is building a world of consequence.

The Shift from Leveling Skills to Leveling Characters in MMOs

One of the biggest and most impactful changes to MMORPG design over the last decade is one that’s gotten remarkably little attention: the shift from skill based character progression to character level based progression. This was a shift that brought with it not just significant changes to the way characters are progressed and designed, but a mandate on the types of content that an MMO’s virtual world would offer going forward. As its grip on MMO design coalesced over time, I would argue that this mandate has largely resulted in consequences that did more harm than good.

The Elder Scrolls Online Gets an Expansion

Yesterday the Elder Scrolls Online announced its first expansion, Morrowind. I’ve long had a complicated relationship with the game, having played off-and-on since the very first beta we weren’t even allowed to tell anyone was happening. The relationship meandered off and on since then, from deciding to pass on the game at launch to eventually returning after, against all…

Burnout in Warcraft’s Legion Expansion

The honeymoon is over. I came, I saw, I floundered, and after a few blissful months reimmersed in my old Azerothian stomping grounds, I’ve found myself completely sapped of the will to carry on.

Turns out I’m hardly alone in this. The forums and social media communities have been aflutter with a consternation regarding the current state of the game. There’s been weeping, gnashing of teeth – you know, all the usual stuff. So where’s it all coming from?

The Increasingly Troubling Monetization of The Elder Scrolls Online, Part 2

It’s time for another bout of Isarii vs Monetization, the epic, windmill-tilting saga of one man shouting into a gale force of increasingly common industry practices. Today we return to The Elder Scrolls Online, a game uniquely dear to my heart as the original starting point of this whole internet wordsmithing thing, which has continued its ever-trundling encroachment into a quagmire of whale-hunting cash shop fuckery.

To Corrupt an Ashbringer: A Hidden Artifact Skin Journey

One of World of Warcraft: Legion’s signature features was the introduction of artifact weapons: powerful, lore-steeped items that would grow with players over the course of the expansion, gaining in power and abilities rather than simply being replaced with new drops over the course of the years-long campaign against the Burning Legion. With a weapon system introducing that level of permanence, the need for extensive customization follows, so each artifact weapon comes with a variety of unlockable skins in varying hues. Some feature straightforward unlock requirements: the completion of a quest or the fulfilling an achievement. But others are less straightforward, with even their very existence going undisclosed except to those with the data mining skills to find them.