Creative Director's LetterThursday, July 2, 2020
Glorious Ashes Community,
We have passed the halfway point of 2020, and while the woes of our real world ensue, you can be assured that the development for Ashes of Creation is continuing steadily with significant progress. We have been committed to showing this progress through the regular updates on both our social media platforms, as well as through our monthly live streams.
Testing began this last quarter to prepare the Alpha One client for its debut late this fall. We have started to gradually allow the different Alpha One pack holders access into the game in order to test and refine the game for the nearly 10,000 Alpha One participants. If you have yet to take a look at our nearly 2 hours of unscripted gameplay in the Alpha One Preview you can check it out below!
I am happy to announce that we will be expanding the testing group starting in August to include Leader of Men pack holders as we begin to ramp up the testing of Alpha One. Those of you who are Leader of Men pack holders will receive separate emails near the end of July with download links and instructions.
We have also successfully moved out of our old studio! It was a bittersweet moment as we prepare the move into our new studio pending the COVID-19 guidelines (which we hope will be sometime around a late August or early September time-frame.) I will say that our team has done phenomenally in the transition to a work-from-home environment, but many of us are ready to be back in the office together!
While the COVID-19 pandemic has not yet significantly impacted the development schedule of Ashes of Creation, it does present some difficulties in on-boarding additional team members. However, we are working hard to perfect the at-home on-boarding experience, and we are ramping up our recruitment efforts! As always, if you are not connected with us on our social media platforms, please consider following, and helping to promote the studio and project. Every re-post or shout-out helps potentially bring our project to the attention of some talented developers.
Production on the art side continues to move forward as the world of Verra comes more and more to life. As you have likely seen in our last three Live Stream updates, copious amounts of beautiful artwork have been created by our incredibly talented Environment, Character, and Animation teams.
Currently, our art teams are refining their pipelines based on the knowledge gathered during the march towards Alpha One. This process allows us to scale the amount of necessary assets with greater quality and efficiency in order to continue filling the very large world of Verra with a strong visual diversity of NPCs, biomes, and animation sets for a truly immersive experience.
On the engineering side, much of this last quarter revolved around fleshing out the functionality of key systems and mechanics that you have seen demonstrated in some of the gameplay videos released over the past few months. In addition, a strong focus has been made in optimizing server performance, download, and the patching process of the game client. Alongside all of that, they have also been preparing certain systems for scalability testing in the future Alpha One sessions.
The QA team has also been hard at work in cataloging bug reports for the developers to address, stemming from the player testing and automated testing that has been on-going during the year. We cannot emphasize enough how much is learned and discovered due to your help in both the Apocalypse testing from last year, as well as the most recent Alpha One testing that has occurred.
Design has been tirelessly focused on implementation of significant features to the node system, the population of the world, the fleshing out of the archetype's ability system, and the placeholder questing and economy system that will be available in Alpha One. As I mentioned early in the development, many of the Alpha One and some of the Alpha Two content will be placeholder in an attempt to keep the experience of Beta and Launch unspoiled.
As widespread testing begins in late fall, we will be actively iterating on certain systems and mechanics. In particular, combat will have heavy emphasis for data collection and player feedback, so we will be watching closely as you play.
Finally, in March I directed the marketing team to suspend the updates and sale of new cosmetics through the pre-order shop in an effort to respect the difficulties that the pandemic has caused so many of our fellow gamers. Starting in July, we will resume updates to the available pre-order packages with new skins, and you can expect an announcement for those to follow.
As a token of appreciation from us to you, we commissioned an in-game home decor item that all registered users will receive if they were registered before or during this global crisis. Beginning September 7th, 2020, this commemorative decor item seen below will discontinue being granted for newly registered users. I hope that everyone is continuing to stay safe and healthy during these hard times, and remember that you always have a friend in your fellow gaming communities.
I continue to be amazed at both the incredible commitment and dedication from our community, as well as the passion and hard work being put into Ashes of Creation from my incredible team here at Intrepid. I am constantly reading our Discord, forums, Reddit and the content created by the community in an effort to keep a pulse on both player feedback and sentiment.
Both myself and the team have been delighted to see the appreciation from you on the progress updates we have shared so far this year. The greatest goal with Ashes of Creation, outside of our design philosophy, is to make our community proud of the work we are doing. Despite the ebb and flow that happens with the development of projects as large as Ashes of Creation, we know that the destination is what truly matters. Once again, I want to thank you for your continued support and involvement on our journey to make Ashes of Creation a reality.
Wishing everyone continued happiness and health,
And to my fellow Americans, Happy 4th of July weekend,
Your faithful Creative Director,