We had the chance to experience the first build of the Ashes of Creation Alpha last weekend before it goes into its month-long Alpha one phase later today.
Before we get into the test itself, it is important to remember that this is a very early version of the build and was by no means a content test.
Alpha one has lifted the NDA on the game, and developers are ready to show off the state the game is currently in.
Ashes of Creation is still very incomplete, although that is why we are seeing an early alpha test. Intrepid Studios are listening to the players first and have released the build early to get thoughts from both players in the Alpha and fans consuming content while they wait for the game.
If you have any feedback for the developers, you can post them on the forums here.
Servers, Responsiveness, and Gameplay
I had always planned to not include too much about the responsiveness of the game, as I played from Australia, I am always going to have high ping connecting to an American server.
But I feel like this needs to be said. The responsiveness of the game, whether that be in combat or out, the game plays extraordinarily well for an early alpha version.
I know others had problems but for me it was tolerable and time will tell how well it performs.
The only time that lag would affect me was running away from enemies, I would sometimes get hit from a greater distance than I should of, but that is something I can live with for now.
I decided to test the Mage class, as I thought melee might not be the best experience with the ping I had.
Gameplay is in an okay state for an early access build, having the tab targeting system is a very welcoming experience as you don't see it in too many MMOs today, outside World of Warcraft of course.
I am not a fan of the action combat system so I can't comment on how that plays out for people.
It can sometimes be confusing who you are targeting mainly because the small circle around the enemy is often hidden behind the environment, and there are no health bars above the target's model (this could just be my WoW habits coming out).
The UI is very static currently, and I hope to see some sort of customization added to personalize your screen.
The World, Quests, and Gathering
The world was okay, as I thought it would be extremely basic, but there was a lot to explore, and the dungeons I entered were decent.
All content is in the open world, and bosses and dungeons are expected to be explored in a party.
I feel dungeons will expand once there is more content added such as quests and maybe some more unique named NPCs to defeat and loot.
Questing took a bit to get a feel for, as I first thought that there were just hardly any quests in the game, but they are all just spread out on random NPCs with no indication that they are there.
The map does not work well, there is no waypoint system, and quest locations can sometimes be wrong or just not there at all.
Gathering needs some big updates before I would be happy with its state.
One of the first quests you accept is a quest from the blacksmith to go out and find materials to create a weapon for your class.
I was tasked to gather 24 pieces of wood, and after searching many different forests, you can sometimes go without seeing a tree that is able to be cut down for 15 minutes.
Considering there are so many trees around and they all look the same, why aren’t there more interactable trees?
There are also different tools that are required to gather different ranks of materials, so if you only purchased the basic 10 gold pickaxe, all you can mine is stone, which can sometimes be a problem as there are a lot of materials that require higher tools right from the start of the game.
The Node System
The server I was playing on was disappointing as we were unable to advance the first node to a Village.
For the test we had increased rates to experience these systems over the weekend, however, mine was still unable to reach the village (stage 3).
I believe you require a village to purchase mounts, so I spent my weekend running around on foot.
I created a character and ran to the same node on a different server that had a village, so it was definitely possible, but I’m not too upset as the test was only for the weekend and I’m excited to see how the 30-day alpha plays out.
Issues and Thoughts
Ill quickly express some issues I encountered with the game, although it is more feedback than complaints as the game is not expected to have these things solves so early in development.
The respawn rate of some creatures can be very fast (instant in some cases), especially when exploring a dungeon.
As I touched on before, there were not a lot of quests and no real direction of how to progress, I appreciate this will be fixed in time, although it is worth noting early on that this is the case.
Classes and the skill system feel a bit basic and there isn’t much of a decision to be made as you just earn points and put them into the skills you want, including passives.
We had access to 2 points per level, which I would assume was accelerated to experience the game and more skills.
Weapon progression also was not part of this test.
Animations are surprisingly well animated for this early on in development, and I look forward to the final product.
There were a few bugs here and there but nothing outside of what is expected from a game this early on.
Looting basically is not in the game. Once a mob dies, you can go over to the corpse and press “E” but there is no window that shows what you received, although you did not receive anything anyway, because there are no items on NPC loot tables.
I would like to see loot added into the game as quickly as possible. Loot is one of the main reasons people play an MMO in the first place.
I am excited to see how the month-long Alpha plays out and see servers progress more naturally.
There was a lot to cover as you would expect from an MMO, but these are my initial thoughts, without writing a 10-page report on the first 3-day Alpha build.