Ashes of Creation Preview: An MMO Built on Choice and Consequence

Ashes of Creation Preview: An MMO Built on Choice and Consequence

The MMORPG is certainly not a dying genre of gaming, especially with the increasing numbers of players who desire online experiences. But the genre can not be said to be thriving entirely either. Old standbys like World of Warcraft are hanging in there, and newer experiences like the Elder Scrolls Online are helping to keep the genre moving, attracting millions of players. But overall, there is a demand for more of these experiences, especially the more emergent types of gameplay that let players control their fates even further. Ashes of Creation may just be that next big thing, as they’ve just recently completed an extremely successful Kickstarter that saw them raise an impressive 3.2 million USD with a bold promise of a world that is completely determined by the decisions of the players. Let’s look into their vision a little bit deeper.

Genre: MMORPG Subscription Based
Developed by: Intrepid Studios
Published by: : Intrepid Studios
Release date: 2018
Platforms: PC

Ashes of Creation Features

  • Choosing your class, race and gear is a good start, but while most MMOs stop there, Ashes of Creation is just getting started. All of civilization is the responsibility of our players, and how that civilization evolves comes down to what our players decide.
  • In order for choice to matter, the world must be capable of change. Ashes of Creation brings to life a world designed around that concept.
  • Players have choices to make, those choices lead to change, and that change has consequence. Day to day, server to server, the world will be in flux, and history will remain where it always should, in the hands of the player.
  • Engage in siege warfare, PvE and PvP combat, set up trade caravans and establish an economy all entirely dependent on the actions of the players.

Story & Setting

In Ashes of Creation, something dark and terrible happened long ago that wiped all civilization off of the planet. As the players you will be repopulating this world, and as a result those dark things are stirring again. This is the only backdrop of the game, as the rest of the story will unfold organically, driven by the choices and outcomes of the players.

The world features a diverse set of biomes designed around the concept of dynamic change. There will be full seasons complete with inclement weather as well as the risk of natural disasters that can level a city. These events will also be different from server to server; a volcano may erupt in one but not the others.


Everything in the game is dependent on what the players choose. Whether it’s a dwelling, marketplace or city, the players are responsible for getting it all going. There are no factions or alliances, just you and your fellow players making choices minute to minute, creating the history of the game. The choices are meaningful, so quests can’t be undone, if a natural disaster happens that impacts things forever.

Open World

The structure of the world is based on zones which feature multiple nodes. As players complete their objectives, their gained experience add to the node, leveling it up as they do. Eventually these nodes can progress to become a village or even a huge city, and players can establish citizenship for players through housing. More activity from players also creates more quests, events and services for players. Everything that springs up will be overseen by the players who will have to form there own diplomatic arrangements. This is extremely ambitious and it will be interesting to see the mechanisms they have in place to prevent chaos unless anarchy is an acceptable outcome.

The world’s NPCs structure develops naturally and players will be able to destroy what they create to make way for new development. Survey and development can happen anywhere in the world, so players can retreat to the solitude of the woods and have their own Walden-like experience or they can choose the urban life and invest in the future of the city. Homeowners can develop their plot of land however they want, whether it’s farming, raising animals or some kind of trade. Specialization will be an option to maximize goals.

In Ashes of Creation you will choose from 1 of 8 races which tie in deeply with the class system giving the race-class mix a lot more nuance. Per Intrepid’s example a dwarven fighter will have a feel that is different from an elven fighter. You’ll be able to choose a secondary class that allows you to further refine your gameplay preference such as a fighter who can use some magic or a ranger who can heal.

As you head out questing, there will be a multitude of different activities you can engage in, keeping in line with what’s expected from an MMO. There will be area quests, public quests and quests that change in real time based on the choices you make. Along the way you will have opportunities to make choices that directly alter the events of the world and change the landscape, including server quests that will allow rivals to compete over the fate of the world. Wow.


Get ready for some siege warfare! Sieges and defense of castles are going to be a prominent feature in the game and will involve hundreds of players on the battlefield with a lot going on, similar to fellow ambitious MMO, Camelot Unchained. Because of how difficult it is to defend or conquer a castle, they will provide some neat rewards, such as letting players exert influence over the nearby lands and to develop unique structures in nearby towns.

When you’re tackling the game’s PvE, you’ll be journeying through a fantasy realm full of beasts from lore full of dungeons and dragons, pun intended. The AI is designed to be adaptive to react to what you do in combat.

There will also be PvP in the game, based off political battles during sieges and during various other open world conflicts. You can choose to impact the outcomes of the world by taking up arms against your fellow players. The PvP will follow a flagging system as well as dedicated PvP zones across the world. You can fight over cities, castles, caravans or hunting grounds if you choose.


The economy of the game is tied to the local region. There will not be a global auction house and resources are not unlimited so trade will be in important backbone of the game’s economy. Some areas will be flush with resources and in need of others so trade routes will have to be set up  along with defense of transports. What happens along these routes will affect the nodes and the regional economies, creating pocket economies across the land. This sounds cool as what’s happening in one corner of the world may be completely different to another area. There are bound to be some major hubs that develop from all of this.

Caravans will be what facilitates the trade of goods and will offer an opportunity for players to make profit by initiating caravans between cities, which will require defense as the caravan route creates a PvP around it. This allows for some emergent heist PvP that can let players loot the caravan. Keeping these caravans secure will be crucial in developing cities. They are toying with the notion of making transporting the resources more difficult than actually harvesting them which seems like a tenuous balance to strike.

Crafting and gathering of these resources will be the basis of these transports. This all comes from the farming that players do, both of the land and of treasure and loot across the world. Once you harvest resources, you’ll be able to engage in a versatile crafting system that lets you personalize your items to reflect your desires and playstyles.

Ashes of Creation is one of the most promising MMOs to be unveiled. But as always with MMOs, managing promises and execution are going to be crucial. And that’s before you introduce the human element of thousands or millions of players. With this much freedom, the player population is going to require some responsive support to keep the game balanced. They certainly raised the hopes and resources to do so. If they can nail it and fight the disillusionment that is creeping through MMO fans, it will be an impressive achievement for the genre and will attract a ton of players looking for the next big MMO experience.

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Editor at Fextralife. I look for the substantial in gaming and I try to connect video games to the emotions and stories they elicit. I love all things culture and history and have an odd fondness for the planet Jupiter. I think my dogs are pretty awesome too.

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5 comments on “Ashes of Creation Preview: An MMO Built on Choice and Consequence”

  1. Avatar EldritchImagination says:

    Every day, real life becomes more and more obsolete.

    This sounds like something that will turn out really really good, or really really bad, and it will depend on how well they can create and manage such a supposedly choice filled world. By the look of it, it sounds like they’re trying to make an artificial "real world" so to speak.

  2. Avatar qeter says:

    "i’m commander shepard and this mmo will have choices that matter."

  3. Avatar Nahztek-Shadowpath says:

    Ok, so I have a year to get a new PC. Fair enough.

    Really though, I won’t buy into their hype yet. MMO devs typically make big promises that they don’t keep, and generate unrealistic hype. By the time they announce all the cut and simplified features, enough people are already determined to get the game.
    Boxes sale, forums explode, and the genre never moves forward.

    I noticed a few ticks that the main dev had when explaining certain features. Most noticeable was when he was describing how many different ways players can handle situations. He’s trying to make it sound limitless. When there is really just 2 or 3 choices.

    And the blonde guy. I wouldn’t trust that guy for anything. He had sensationalist eyes and his voice stayed in ‘salesman’ mode.

    I know I sound jaded. But I played MMOs for years and don’t really trust the people who make them.

  4. Avatar Fallenangel700 says:

    I’m sorry, but this sounds like it’s going to be a flaming train wreck. Have any of you played a multiplayer sandbox game like this? It works when it’s small, with a handful of people that want to build things. But then more people show up and that’s when the greifers start flooding in. People who will destroy everything they can get their hands on just to laugh at the people who made it. Giving players this much choice is only going to result in them choosing destruction.

    For example, those trade caravans. It sounds like it’s going to be hard work to defend them. There’s probably not going to be a lot of people wanting to protect them because of how hard it is, but there will be hundreds who want to raid them simply because they get to steal things. And boom, there goes the economy.

    And then there’s what Nahztek is talking about and how a lot of this is probably going to get cut. Sorry for the negativity, but I don’t see this working very well.

    Hey, I got an idea out of this though. Maybe a Bandit Sim MMO would be really popular and fun.

  5. Avatar EldritchImagination says:

    I’m very much with Fallen and Shadowpath on this. I’ve noticed that a lot of RPGs want to sell themselves on choice matters philosophy, but having choice in the game is not a success in itself. Especially in a multiplayer game, it needs to be well balanced the player can’t do something that makes everything fall apart. This reminds me of this review this one guy gave for Ark: Survival Evolved


    If it’s anything like Ark, it can set up a situation that leads to massive imbalances between different kinds of players.

    As for the potential to cut content, well, I remember how much No Man’s Sky was supposed to be a free, player defined universe with "infinite" variety that will take players "millions of years" to see it all, and how much you were supposed to do.

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