Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Publish And Be Damned : Ashes of Creation

There are precious few AAA Western MMORPGs in development right now. Yesterday there was news on two of them. It wasn't encouraging.

Intrepid Studios, developers of Ashes of Creation, whose Kickstarter I backed, announced a publishing deal for Europe. The game will be published by, who are owned by and currently operate Allods, Skyforge and Revelation Online among others.

The reaction to this has been almost universally hostile. has a very poor reputation with players, it seems, and everyone is wary of the Russians. I wasn't perturbed at first, my own initial reaction being more along the lines of "that's handy - I already have a account so I won't have to make a new one".

The hoo-hah mostly seems to be focused on's rep for encouraging or even enforcing pay-to-win. The ancient incense scandal that blighted Allods' launch seven years ago has not been forgotten or forgiven.

As I recall, that was fixed fairly swiftly but no-one seems to remember that part. I doubt anyone commenting on it has played the game since, either, which is a pity. Allods is still running and has received numerous updates over the years. It's a very good MMORPG. Revelation Online seemed fine when I played it briefly, too. Skyforge I've not tried.

My own equanimity notwithstanding, feelings have been running high and Steven Sharif of Intrepid felt moved to quell the rebellion with an assurance that P2W doesn't feature in AoC's future:

 “I would like everyone in our community to be aware. Intrepid will maintain 100% creative control over Ashes and our partners and shares our vision for Ashes...This means our stance on p2w for the game".️ 

All well and good. Unfortunately he goes on to say

"This partnership allows us as a Studios to focus on the development of the game and allows us to feel comfortable with the level of service that we know and can provide". 

Yes, and, as they say, monkeys might fly out of my butt. All the EU F2P publishers have appalling customer service. Why would you have anything else when you have "customers" who didn't choose you in the first place, have no option to take their custom elsewhere and don't pay you any money?

For me, this is a non-issue so long as the game isn't region locked. I have always preferred to play on U.S. servers if allowed. I feel more comfortable in the culture there and my ping from the U.K. to the U.S. is often as good as or even better than my ping to servers based in the E.U.

The current AoC wiki states that "Regional IP blocks are not currently planned", which sounds reassuring - until you check the provenance of that highly conditional statement. It comes from a developer Q&A from July 2017, in which the reason why IP blocks aren't being planned is also explained. It's because IP blocks usually derive from publishing deals and Intrepid are planning to self-publish.

As a U.K. resident I also have to wonder what effect the Brexit deal (or lack thereof) might have. I can't imagine continued, smooth operation of video games is even on anyone's radar right now, what with the prospect of international flights being grounded, supermarkets running out of food and hospitals out of drugs. I should probably stockpile a few offline rpgs. And maybe a portable generator...

Anyway, it's all a long way in the future. I can't see Ashes of Creation launching before 2020 at the earliest. I'm signed up for beta, which I guess we might get to next year. I'll deal with it when the time comes.

And that ran so long I think I'll split this post in two. I'll get to Amazon's New World tomorrow. (This is what Blaugust does to you. I'm already wishing I'd split the Bless First Impressions posts into four chapters instead of just two.)


  1. "This is what Blaugust does to you. I'm already wishing I'd split the Bless First Impressions posts into four chapters instead of just two."

    I had the same train of thought a couple of days ago. :-)
    It's actually a good thing though, I think, because forcing myself to split topics and keep individual posts shorter might make them a bit easier to consume I feel...

    1. I've been trying to train myself to write shorter posts for years. I always hope Blaugust will get me into the habit but it never does...

  2. also runs Armored Warfare, and I can assure you its the worst possible thing for the game. Your butt-monkey quote is the same thing Obsidian said about Armored Warfare, and now bought them out and kicked them to the curb. The game was already creeping into P2W territory and now its full blown.

    The craziest thing is that the devs just don't get it. In the last Q&A one person raised a concern about the bonus that an in game item had, that this item (which could only be gotten with real money) had a 75% bonus instead the normal 50% bonus. The devs assured him that he shouldn't be worried - the bonus was actually 87% percent. They were worried that he thought he wasn't getting good value on his cash purchase. :-p

    1. I absolutely think Intrepid are kidding themselves if they think they can have the benefits of a publisher without ceding any authority. They may be able to limit some particular aspects though. It's not an encouraging situation, either way.


Wider Two Column Modification courtesy of The Blogger Guide