Glorious Ashes Community,
I hope each and every one of you are staying safe and healthy as we enter into spring. We are now well into 2021, and here at Intrepid we are working hard to prepare for our Alpha One this June. As some of you may know, we pushed our Alpha One back 2 months to accommodate some unforeseen work, but I am happy to report that we have made great progress towards further stability and performance optimizations and are looking forward to giving our entire community a peek behind the NDA curtain. Of course, it goes without saying, this is our Alpha One and as such you will not be seeing a finished game, quite the opposite. You will be seeing a work-in-progress, with bugs and still vast optimizations yet to be done. Additionally, many systems and features are still yet to be implemented or are done so in a very core fashion. Regardless, I feel it is important to provide transparency, so the community has the ability to see progress in our development and be part of the process. As you catch footage and streams of the Alpha One, keep in mind that there is still a ways to go before Ashes is ready, and our commitment is taking the time necessary to do you proud, and make a game worthy of the name Ashes of Creation. If you have not already, please make sure you are part of our forums, socials, Discord, and Reddit! That way you can give your valuable feedback and thoughts! <3
I am incredibly happy to announce that the team will soon be returning to our BRAND NEW studio sometime between now and June 15! Furniture installation and final construction are being completed now, and we cannot wait to once again be back in studio together. While remote work has its benefits, there is a collaboration spark that is lost in such a creative environment as game development, especially for a project like an MMORPG with so many moving pieces! Additionally, on-boarding is considerably more complex in a work-from-home environment, and Intrepid still has considerable growth to achieve.
Speaking of growth, we have been and are still continuing to grow! We’ve brought aboard some amazing talent so far this year, and we continue to seek out experienced and veteran developers across the spectrum of development specialties. From Art to Design to Engineering and more, our development team will need to grow by roughly 50% within this year to a target headcount of about 150 full time and on-site. This of course does not include our contractors and external partners that we are leveraging on Ashes of Creation. Once we are situated this summer in the new studio, we will be conducting more aggressive hiring campaigns, including virtual and in-person job fairs. We will also be planning to open more junior and entry-level positions for those of you who may be currently or have recently completed your studies for game development. The future is bright!
During much of the first quarter for 2021, we have done a considerable amount of testing both internally and with our resilient Alpha One Preview testers. In February’s testing we discovered some critical bugs on the networking side, and promptly focused on fixing that up. We have now achieved a more stable and performant test client and will be ramping up testing starting once again on April 19 with our NDA testers in anticipation for the non-NDA testing starting in May and ultimately the Alpha One test beginning on June 1st. Of course, we cannot predict what unknowns can surface as we navigate these testing periods, and part of this transparent development process is setting expectations correctly. Ultimately the whole reason for this early testing is to collect data and to appropriately address issues as they arise. Sometimes this means delaying, and that’s okay so long as you, our Glorious community, are kept up-to-date with our efforts and progress. Our end goal and top commitment is ensuring a stable launch with the features promised, and performance deserving of an MMORPG like Ashes of Creation.
We have also recently completed an update with engines, moving from Unreal Engine version 4.25 to 4.26. We try to keep up-to-date with the latest versions from Epic, and this update went particularly smoothly thanks to the hard work of our engineering and QA teams.
In some of our more recent testing, which was showcased in our February monthly update stream, we successfully conducted stress testing that focused on having hundreds of players and thousands of NPCs within close proximity of one another in which we maintained a relatively decent server-side performance. This will be further tuned and optimized, but it demonstrates a significant milestone in the game’s technical capabilities. As you know, one of our greatest goals is putting the “massive” back in massively multiplayer. This is intended through many systems in the game: raiding, sieges, wars, battlegrounds, naval content, and more.
Last year, I spoke of attempting to incorporate sieges into the Alpha One experience. This has obviously been a goal of mine because it provides considerable data and a consistent event within the world that players can participate in to help stress test the deployment. Well, I am happy to say that it is appearing more and more likely by the day! Initial implementation of the Apocalypse siege code has been migrated into the Alpha One client, and we should begin internal testing next month. I will caveat this expectation with the fact that we are cutting it a bit close from an internal QA standpoint, but I have some confidence that the system will be online and capable of inclusion for the Alpha One test in the month of June. The siege component will obviously not be representative of what the siege system will be at launch, or even in Alpha Two. I will keep you updated on its progress in our monthly live streams.
Lastly, I know that for the past several months we have received a considerable number of requests with regards to opening Alpha One sales again. Well, I am happy to announce that we will be reintroducing Alpha One options sometime in May. More information on this will be posted to our website around the end of April and we will announce this across our socials, so make sure to keep an eye out if you are interested in participating. I do, however, want to give a stern warning - participating in our Alpha One test should not be regarded as playing a game. You are helping to test our work in progress. You will be expected to provide feedback to help us iterate on systems and designs. We love and appreciate our testers and the support they provide Ashes, and each and every one of our Alpha One testers will have a special place in Ashes’ history. So, if you plan to participate, take the commitment seriously and know you have our respect and appreciation. This will not be everyone’s cup of tea.
If you want to help support Ashes of Creation in a less intense way, consider helping spread the word about the project and the fact that we are undergoing some MASSIVE GROWTH at the studio! Share our job postings across social media and tag your favorite MMO devs! We have a lot of seats to fill this year in a brand-new studio that is starting to look pretty spiffy and like a fun place to work! We will be doing a studio tour as soon as possible and cannot wait to start shooting some Developer Diaries again!
We cannot thank you enough for the love and support you have given Ashes of Creation. Everyone at Intrepid is incredibly excited to give you all a taste of the progress we are making in developing one of the most anticipated MMORPGs. We are hard at work to make you proud.
Your faithful Creative Director,