Time has finally come to release more concrete information about FOnline: Ashes of Phoenix’s content and future development steps.
So first, let it be known that the open beta test will start around January 10th, 2014. We’re working hard in order to meet that deadline and have a stable release and we’ll keep you informed of the progress.
What’s the goal of this beta test and how long is it going to last?
We’re cordially inviting all interested players to come and test the game in its first advanced state of development. There is no other goal for you other than having fun with your friends exploring Phoenix and giving us as much feedback as you can. There will be a lot of bugs to be found and fix so please don’t hesitate to report them.
As we developed the game, we realized that its gameplay and mechanics are different from everything we know and that we can’t always clearly foresee all potential consequences of all the mechanics working together as a whole. Every player will react to the game systems and challenges differently and it is very important for us to observe the game in progress in order to ensure that we’re going in the right direction. The first phase of this open test on our side will be bug fixing and tweaking the systems so that they fit to your taste and to our long term vision. Then, as soon as the game is stabilized properly, a second phase will start during which we’ll finalize and implement all the more advanced mechanics we have in store. All in all, this beta test should last around 6 months maximum, though this is of course subject to change.
What does Ashes of Phoenix have to offer?
For people who don’t yet know anything about AoP, we advise you to first have a look at the game description and FAQ.
Building a proper changelog based on FOnline servers or even on Fallout games wouldn’t be possible as too much has changed. Of course, it is still a FOnline game, with its cruel world in which anything can happen anytime. It also still is a Fallout game, inheriting many of the concepts that contributed to make Fallout a so famous franchise. Every single mechanic has been reviewed, reworked and enhanced to accomodate the multiplayer aspect of the game. In fact, we went further, building a new world with its own background and its protagonists, trying to deliver an experience that is brand new, yet inherits the spirit of Fallout. Here is a general list of some of the game’s features:
A new region of the Fallout world to explore
As the name says, the game takes place directly around the ruins of Phoenix, Arizona. This vast American city is the main location of the game, and the Wasteland’s local organizations have gathered and are prepared to conquer it. The headquarters of those factions constitute the second-biggest locations of the game. You can find more information about Phoenix over there.
An advanced system of factions and reputation
Four factions are ready to strike and can be joined by players. Two of them, the Jim & Jack & Joe Lawyer Agency and The Family, have been introduced already. They’re forming the Axis of Order and are each other’s arch enemy. The other axis is the Axis of Technology, composed of the V-Technologists, an organization led by scientists ruling over one of Arizona’s vaults, and the Brahminboys, a proud and powerful horde coming from Texas. Those factions will be introduced further in a future post; for now, let’s just say that they don’t exactly like each other.
As a member of one of those factions, you’ll have the responsibility to lead your people to victory, or at least to assist them the best you can according to your skills and desires. Attacking mates is not advised, as it would severely lower your reputation towards your faction, preventing you from accessing the most important parts of the headquarters. Actually, making friends even outside your own faction would be a smart move since Allies are always welcome in difficult times and trade or military partnerships between factions can be very profitable.
Your faction is able to offer you a lot, anything from weapons, armor and ammunition over to quests and assignments as well as personal spaces can be accessed in your faction’s headquarters. With sufficient reputation, it is possible to become an established arm of your faction by forming a Squad, representing the military strenght of a faction as you fight over territories in the Core and make a name for yourselves. As a rule of thumb, the more work you put in towards your faction, the more offers and rewards you will receive in return.
A completely reworked character system
We reworked the character system from the ground up, with 3 principles in mind; Firstly, every character should be able to become completely independent, preventing the need of creating secondary characters for the sole purpose of supplying the primary character. Secondly, the gap between a low-level and a high-level character has been reduced, putting more emphasis on the skill and choice of items rather than pure time spent grinding xp. Every character will be able to play his role and partake in every activity even with very low levels. Finally, our third goal was to ensure long term customization of each character, offering many different development possibilities without a frustrating maximum level cap. Basically, it will be very much possible to only concentrate on a single character without feeling like you’re missing out on half the game. The following changes, among others, were made to realize those principles:
- The SPECIAL system has been preserved, though modified so that every characteristic impacts other stats way more than how it used to do. Dropping one stat to 1 has now more severe consequences to carefully consider, and optimizing your character now depends more on your taste than just applying a known recipe.
- The Action points system has been modified. All characters now have 100 AP that they can spend on any action. AP regenerate faster if you stand still, slower if you’re moving, depending on your Agility. All the AP costs for performing actions have been modified.
- Skills have been reworked and are now divided in three categories:
1. Combat Skills: Small Guns, Big Guns, Energy Weapons and Hand-to-Hand Weapons. Raising those skills increases your chance to hit your enemies, allows you to shoot farther than what the weapon initially allows, and unlocks weapons perks, bonuses applied to weapons that illustrate your increasing ability to use them efficiently.
2. Secondary Skills: Throwing, First Aid, Doctor, Sneak, Traps and Leadership. Traps also include the ability to pick locks. Leadership is a new skill allowing leaders to see their mates and provide them with passive bonuses. The strength of the effect depends on both their charisma’s. Raising those skills increases their efficiency, and unlocks perks on items associated to them. Healing kits, silent weapons, throwing weapons such as knives or grenades, bear traps or camera sentries and many more items will work better with a greater skill level.
3. Non-combat Skills: Science, Engineering, Persuasion and Outdoorsman. Those skills are involved into crafting as requirements and constitute the general ability of your character to interact with his environment. They cannot be tagged and cannot be raised with skill points obtained through leveling your character. They’ll increase just as you’ll use them. Persuasion involves speech, barter and gambling.
- In general, you’re now able to impact on more of your character’s stats. Stats that were hidden so far are now available to you for a better control and detailed view of your capacities. New stats also appeared, like the Action Point Regeneration and the Bleed Resistance, which protects you against damage-on-time abilities of many weapons.
- All traits and perks have been reworked.
A vast equipment
In post-apocalyptic Phoenix, weapons are everywhere. Every weapon has its own purpose, pros and cons. All weapons from Fallout 1 and 2 are available, as well as most of Fallout Tactics’ weapons. We also included a lot of new realistic weapons with new ones being added in the future as the need arises. Armors have been reworked and now affect the players in different ways and not just in terms of damage protection, so that each armor will have its special role and remains useful for everyone. New models have been added, and all factions have their own set of combat armor. You can get more info about weapons over there.
Many new items have been added to the game and the goal was to give all of them a purpose. At least, those sunglasses you’ll find in an old residence will be worth some cash. Drug items have also be reworked, to make for a more flexible system that benefits every character and not just some.
The main challenge the game has to offer is of course the conquest of Phoenix. 12 of its quarters can be taken by factions and controlled over time for rewards affecting the entire faction. Two dungeons will be available at the beginning of the beta: Phoenix Archives and Hell Hole. Both require nerves of steel and strategy to be completed. Then, players will also have assignments proposed to them, different types of PvE missions adapted to their level. More info about dungeons in that post.
And of course, there is more!
We definitely can’t review every feature of Ashes of Phoenix in one single post, so we’ll mention some more things briefly:
- A tutorial will help you to get used to the gameplay and mechanics, explaining not only the new features of AoP, but also helping those people who have never played the original fallout or any other fonline game. You will also learn more about factions and the situation in the region as you’ll complete your journey to Arizona at the beginning of the game.
- A crafting system will allow you to craft every weapon and armor as long as you have the know-how and the required resources. You’ll be able to obtain new crafting plans from your faction in exchange for relics found in the Wasteland.
- A strong economy will guarantee that caps are worth a lot and are crucial to collect. Drugs and ammunition will have to be bought for caps to make sure that caps remain valuable as the game progresses. Selling tons of cheap crafting components to merchants to strip them from their wealth won’t be possible. Exchanging equipment with other players will be more important than ever.
- The game features a completely new interface with a new Pipboy working as an intel provider as well as an encyclopedia.
- The NPC’s have been reworked to make for a more natural and dynamic experience. Raiders will roam the ruins of phoenix, packs of wild animals will be out for blood in the wastes and friendly travelers might come to your aid.
- The game features many new graphics and models.
- And… yeah, more and more features that are awaiting for you to test them!
If you managed to read so far (and even if you skipped it all and just read the end :p), we thank you for your attention and hope to continue together on this big journey of Ashes of Phoenix. More information will be made available as we getting closer to the open beta so make sure you stick around.
To conclude, we’d like to remind you that our team still recruits motivated people to contribute to development. If you feel interested, have a look at the official thread, which is updated frequently.