Date: May 30, 2021
The fan community has been deliberating on the progress of Ashes of Creation so far: to re-cap, Alpha One is meant to be a test of the server stability and basic mechanics, and players didn’t get a chance to experience a lot of content, which brought us a few underwhelmed comments and some have been worrying about when the game will actually get released. Regardless of that, I think we can all agree that Intrepid is doing an amazing job communicating with and taking feedback from the community.
If you don’t quite get what we are talking about, just watch yesterday’s livestream (or any of them, for that matter). With Kevin McPherson, the lead programmer, as one of the speakers the stream almost felt like an investor’s call at times — many development-related fixes and project plans going forward have been shared with us in an impressively technical language.
Talk about being spoken to as if we understand what they are talking about! Those of us who do must certainly appreciate how open the developers are on the upcoming changes, from the weapon attack animations to UI optimizations.
Which is cool, sure, but does this say anything about the game itself? Well, it kind of does, actually.
The developers have pointed this out themselves, but a lot of these changes are happening in response to the community feedback. And this goes way beyond bug fixes — specific skill balances, weapon attack shortcut, player combat animations, siege repairs, even payment methods — many of the features are introduced because of community discussions, and certainly all of these are being shaped by how the current testers are interacting with the game elements.
So, while a few players have been left feeling like they paid for Ashes of Creation alpha just to test basic bug fixes, many others are appreciating observing players shaping the game in real time every time they log into the server. With numbers of players being more manageable at this point in testing, the developers have been very responsive to feedback, even if the process of development is very slow and it will be a while yet until we see some of the features being implemented.
During the livestream we have been reminded that Ashes of Creation, unlike some of the other MMOs we have seen out there, is being created completely from scratch. The team hasn’t been able to re-use fundamentals and assets from any other projects, so putting together the build we see today has taken a tremendous amount of effort.
Alpha One and Alpha Two testers will kind of walk on a wet asphalt — it will be quite awkward at first, but their steps will be permanently etched into some of the features that will stay with the game through its eventual release. Okay, maybe that analogy isn’t the best, but you get what I am saying. It’s wet clay right now, and we are all shaping it together, like in that iconic sexy pottery scene from Ghost with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze — okay, okay, I will stop.
Steven Sharif made sure to explain that the alpha testing periods will be crucial to the decisions made behind the scenes. Player feedback for the alpha, from Discord messages to player reviews uploaded to the web (due to the verbal NDA being lifted), is being gathered and then summarized for the team to orient the development process.
Perhaps that’s not quite enough for you to spend a few hundred dollars to participate in the alpha — and that’s entirely reasonable. There is one more avenue Intrepid gets their feedback from, and it has been around for a long time now: the forum discussions!
In our previous news update we noted how interesting the community discussions are on the forums, and the devs will be continuing the trend, prompting conversations about AoC’s environment and people’s fondest guild memories. All of these will be shaping in-game features, as well as events and integrations! So, keep an eye out for topics you care about.
Speaking of conversations — how are you feeling about Intrepid’s open communication with the players? The progress on the game and the feedback of alpha players? Are you participating in the testing, thinking about participating sometime, having reservations about participating? Let us know in the comments below!
(And remember to join our Discord server afterwards to continue hanging out and chatting with us :D)