Creative Director's LetterTuesday, December 31, 2019
Glorious Ashes Community,
A new year is upon us! We have made incredible progress during 2019, and learned much since we started this journey together with all of you. I often think back to 2017 when we first started production on Ashes of Creation, and the unbelievable reception we received when we announced the project. So many hopes and dreams by the MMORPG community to create something that answers the call of so many for so long. I can say that everyone here at Intrepid Studios is hard at work bringing those dreams into reality. A world where choice matters, where risk vs reward can be truly felt, and intrusive pay-to-win monetization has no place.
When I set out to create Ashes of Creation, I knew that it would not be an easy road. Nothing worth doing is ever easy. Hard work and dedication are key ingredients to success, but when you surround yourself with passionate people, like so many in our community and in the studio, you make the journey one worth taking.
During 2019, the studio grew significantly and while we still have a ways to go in growth, we are proud to have gained the incredible talents we have this year. The gaming industry can be a turbulent place, and 2019 sure did see its share of turbulence from studios across the industry. In 2020, we plan to continue this significant growth as we will be expanding further to include more passionate professionals to join our Intrepid family.
It takes a lot to build an MMORPG. It takes even more to build an MMORPG like Ashes of Creation and to do it from scratch…with a brand-new studio! There is still quite a journey ahead, but everyday we grow closer. Each day a task is completed, a feature sees progress. Little by little the world we will all eventually lose ourselves in, comes to life.
2020 will prove to be a year of progress and MMORPG testing. Next month, we will begin internal testing of the MMORPG Alpha One client. I am also proud to announce that at the Game Developers Conference in March of 2020, we will be showing off an early look at Alpha One.
A Year in Review
2019 saw a great deal of progress on the project that allowed us to establish foundational systems and services in preparation for smooth and successful Alphas and Betas of the MMORPG. Many of these were tested in Ashes of Creation: Apocalypse, including our matchmaking services, instancing and supporting multiple maps and levels. Early testing of Apocalypse allowed us to hone our networking and architectural redesigns. In our most recent live stream, we showed off some of this rework with footage of a 5,000 simulated player test. We also saw incredible progress with our action combat testing, and recently, in our Phoenix Initiate Castle Siege testing, we deployed objective-based strategy mechanics.
Behind the scenes, we have strongly solidified our platform services from where they were in 2018 - introducing a single sign-on solution for account services and refactoring our authentication and account inventory management. Apocalypse testing also provided us with much needed information on our installer and patcher, allowing us to ensure a smooth experience for Alpha One and beyond. Most importantly, we have further solidified our cloud infrastructure to facilitate the deployment of our game servers across the AWS network. Furthermore, in 2019, we implemented aggressive logging and automated stress testing to ensure that these systems will be ready for an enjoyable experience by our players.
On the content front, 2019 has been a year of intense asset production. Margaret and Sarah have been hard at work showing off some of the team’s creations of the world, the creatures, armors, skills and weapons. Ashes of Creation has an incredible amount of content planned, and we are proud to have some of the industry’s most talented artists on the project. If you have not yet had the chance to check out the Creation and Dev Diaries videos, I would highly advise watching them on our YouTube channel.
Along with the creation of the world, we have been hard at work optimizing the environments and performance of the game through both Apocalypse and our internal testing. We saw great improvements in this area of development during 2019 and expect even greater performance increases with our 2020 testing.
If you have tuned into our live streams and update videos, you may have caught glimpses of Verra. The world is very large and meant to hold around 10,000 concurrent players. With elaborate trade routes and sea-play, the Verran landscapes must provide complex obstacles and intricate passages between its regions. Alpha One will be the first test phase in the actual world map of Verra. For the first time ever, our community will step foot on the world we hope you'll call home.
A Year Ahead
We have a lot of work ahead of us. In 2020, we will be inviting you into the Alpha One test phase where you will get to experience the systems and mechanics of the MMORPG we have all been waiting for. We are excited for all of the data this will provide us with and cannot wait to make the iterations necessary to create the MMORPG of our dreams. The Alpha One experience will not be under NDA, so our glorious community will be able to watch along as our Alpha One testers take their first steps into Verra.
Additionally, 2020 will see the public testing of our Castle Siege mode in Apocalypse, where players will be able to experience our objective-based warfare, siege weapons, and destruction systems that will be employed in the MMORPG.
As we continue development, we will be working to always improve our communication with our amazing community. In 2020, you can look forward to new blogs on classes, node types, freehold buildings and equipment. As well as, more in-depth videos that showcase a whole host of systems our Alpha One players will be experiencing in their testing.
At the start of the project, I decided that it was important to share the process of creating Ashes of Creation with the world. I wanted to share the journey with my MMORPG brothers and sisters… I still do! Over the years we’ve had our stumbles in that commitment, as we’ve tried to find a healthy and sustainable balance. At times we’ve missed the mark on our communication and expectations, but we’ve never stopped trying to reach out and hear from you all. Patience isn't easy, but our paramount goal with Ashes is to create a quality MMORPG game. While we can't show you everything along this journey, we're committed to showing you what we can, and listening to you at every twist and turn.
Everyone at Intrepid is committed to making 2020 the best year yet! We have a lot of exciting announcements coming up this year, and we are incredibly excited to see players step foot into Alpha One. As we continue to build Ashes, I hope that you will continue to follow along with our development, and chime in with your thoughts and ideas about what makes MMOs great. We’ve all had different experiences in the many games we’ve played, and those experiences help form the future of games in our beloved genre. The bonds of friendship we form by being part of communities like the Ashes community can last a lifetime.
I cannot express just how much we appreciate our Glorious community. Your support and commitment to Ashes means the world to every person here at Intrepid! We hope 2020 brings the best life has to give for each and every one of you.
Happy New Years from everyone at Intrepid!