Content Type: Gaming News
Date: December 12, 2020
(Quick answer: Ashes of Creation Alpha-1 map will be 100 km2, but the world at launch could be anywhere between 480 and 580 km2! How come? What can we expect of this massive size? Continue reading to learn more!)
At a certain point in time we decided to look at MMORPGs in square kilometers. The Elder Scrolls Online rocks a whopping 400 km2 map area, how big is yours? How about 950 km2, n00bs? Yeah, try taking on the king of all MMOs, the World of Warcraft!
Let’s be honest, however, what do the bigger numbers matter if the vast landscape is but a texture desert? Many of us are familiar with the idea of traversing a massive map in an MMO or even a single-player RPG, only to see copy-paste hills, trees, poorly designed grass, and clip-through butterflies.
Now, think to your best D&D or Pathfinder campaigns instead — a world that might fit on a college-ruled sheet of paper full of folds and smudged pencil, but is populated with exciting stories and things to do. When having a blast of a time with your friends, what did it matter how many square kilometers the total area was?
Surprise-suprise, TTRPG gaming is how the world of Ashes of Creation has been born: with Steven Sharif and his Pathfinder campaign from a decade ago. He shared the beautiful hexagon version of the map with the fans on Discord on December 2019:
Those who are familiar with how much work goes into GM prep, you know how incredible a campaign map like this is. The framed piece of art practically radiates game master’s love and hundreds of hours of player fun. Is it just me, or do you also want to gently poke those 3D textures and objects?
Steven told us that, obviously, some adjustments had to be made for the map’s new medium as an MMO. The “main two continents and their points of interest,” however, should have a lot in common with their Pathfinder campaign origins.
How awesome is that? The world of Verra being born and developed by a passionate group of geeky friends coming together for weekly meetings, led by an equally invested GM. With so much of the map being done, developers could have just programmed in a few hundreds of square mileage onto the map and populated it with player-controlled nodes and it probably would be exciting enough for Alpha as is.
However, it doesn’t seem like the developers are taking an easy route. The Alpha-0 map, with the island that we saw on developer livestreams earlier this year with many of the features and environments showcased was a mere 16 km2!
So much map material to work with, so many features, and the developers focused on just a small area to get everything right! I don’t know what your guys’ take is on that, but I think that’s the best approach a game developer can take with a project of this size.
Alpha-1 is planned to be 100 km2, a 6.25x increase in size from Alpha-0 that will likely be already massive enough for players to spend an entire month exploring the map (which is likely to be the case).
We talked about the importance of density of content, but for comparison — Skyrim’s map is just 37 km2 (and think of how many hours you sunk into that game!). Oblivion’s map is 41 km2, and Vanilla WoW was 207 km2.
Finally, let’s get to the mind-blowing part: as of February 2019 the Ashes of Creation world is planned to be 480 km2 at the time the game launches!
Technically, this is bigger than The Elder Scrolls Online at this moment! I am saying “technically” to be fair: the massive figure includes water, which is a part of the playable area. Oh, but-but! An additional 100 km2 might be added by the Underrealm, the deep underworld taken up by caverns and bio-luminescent flora and fauna.
Yes, 480 – 580 km2, dear fans! Yes, that is absolutely massive for even an MMORPG game, and depending on how tightly the map is populated, this can amount to at least a couple months worth of exploration! (Should it be encouraged, of course.)
With the landscape heavily controlled by player actions, the map could actively change depending on events and seasons, adding a dynamic element to the already massive area.
Of these nodes, you will get to see 9 in Alpha-1, in areas where there would be 18-20. (Of course, we all know the price of joining Alpha-1, so the reduced amount probably shouldn’t be an issue for those of you participating.) However, their zones of influence will be enlarged compared to what we will see at launch, which means that there will be more nearby activities which will count towards advancing the node’s level.
At launch, Ashes of Creation should have 103 regular nodes and 15 castle nodes, making it 118 nodes in total. Lots of opportunity for bustling player activity!
What are your thoughts on these numbers, AoC fans? Sounds exciting? On the other hand, maybe a little troubling due to the ambitious scope and the potential reliance on player activity for things to do? Think it’s a good idea for the game launch with a map already this massive?
Let us know in the comments below!