- Caravans are for the transfer of personal goods, supplies for castles and nodes, as well as quests.
- Caravans can transport goods for more than one player.
- 1 Caravan types
- 2 Caravan inventory
- 3 Caravan construction
- 4 Caravanserai
- 5 Initiating caravans
- 6 Trade routes
- 7 Caravan PvP
- 8 Caravan destruction
- 9 Artisan supply chain
- 10 Castle nodes
- 11 Caravan skins
- 12 Zergs
- 13 Artwork
- 14 Community guides
- 15 See also
- 16 References
Quest driven caravans
- These are initiated by players with a diverse choice of routes and launch windows, making them difficult to zerg.
- Initiating a caravan from one node to another will create a PvP objective that players will need to defend while it moves along its chosen route to the selected destination.
- Node-based caravan stats and capabilities scale with their node's advancement.
- Roads will upgrade as nodes advance. Different roads will dictate the speed and type of caravan required (off road vs on road).
The caravan system is designed to be initiated by the player. Which means, information of the caravans launch time and route, should be a closely guarded secret. Routes will also be diverse, and the world is large, so it might behoove you to scout the route ahead before a launch. Fast travel in our game is also limited, which means unless the guild had knowledge of your plans before hand, it is likely that they will be unable to organize and travel to a location. As far as mass guilds securing trade routes, there is always a bigger fish in the pond. Also caravans will have limitations on carrying capacity and launch windows that will segment mulitiple caravans by several minutes, which would space out the caravans, making it difficult to "zerg" a defense. – Steven Sharif
Personal (Self-directed/player driven) caravans are initiated by the player, who essentially "becomes the caravan". These are land-based and water-based (naval caravans) that the player drives and directs.
- These are currently designed for a single driver.
- Personal caravans can be launched from any point of storage.
- Personal caravans are capable of transitioning to/from naval caravans.
- Personal caravans will come in varying sizes and capacities.
- By default player caravans will have a racial appearance that influences the types of animals that are moving the caravan.
- Naval caravans are capable of transitioning to and from land caravans at the point of intersection of land and ocean.
- These caravans will come in varying sizes and capacities.
- By default naval caravans have a racial appearance. Players will be able to apply caravan skins to change this appearance.
- Naval caravans can not be hijacked. The cargo on a trade ship will be similar to caravans in that the ship must be destroyed in order to capture the loot from its wreckage.
Personal inventory limits are tied to a backpack. Material and gatherable items are subject to quantity rather than weight limits. Caravans and Mules are intended to be the primary mode of transportation of goods beyond these limits.
- Mules can carry roughly 10 times more than backpacks. Caravans can carry roughly 10 times more than mules.
- Caravans will have carrying capacity limits and customizable stats, such as defensive points, speed and number of hired NPC guards.
- Inventory expansion and weight management training certificates are available in the Galleria at City stage economic nodes.
- A player's inventory has sections for different types of items. Quest items for example will not fill a player's regular inventory capacity.
- We want you to know where the things are; and then the meaningful aspect of that thing is traveling to those locations to access some of those things, particularly as it relates to materials and raw gatherables. – Steven Sharif
- The stacking limit of potions might be one hundred. The stacking limit of food items might be 999 or 1000.
- The higher quality the crate, the greater its capacity.
- Crates will be required to transfer supplies between caravans and storage points.
- Crates are a potential design idea that will undergo testing and iteration during Alpha-2.
- Transported goods by caravan require crate capacity first and then can translate into storage capacity within a warehouse inventory management system or a personal inventory bag management system. – Steven Sharif
- Caravan components obtained from caravan builders will have stats according to the skill of the artisan.
- Armor rating (damage mitigation).
- Hit points.
- Number of hired NPC guards.
- Mounts bred through the Animal husbandry profession can be applied as certificates toward the construction of caravans.
- Caravan owners can allow designated players to reserve space within their caravan via a UI present at a node's Caravanserai building. This also allows players to request insurance from the caravan driver, if this option is enabled by the caravan owner.
- There is a system driven way for players to co-op caravan trips; and essentially you have the driver or the owner of the caravan preps the caravan for launch at the caravanserai, which is the node building that launches the caravans, and he can make a selection to allow designated players or members of his party to reserve space within the caravan; and they may then upload their goods into the caravan at the caravanserai by interfacing with the UI there; and there can even be an agreement for insurance should the caravan be destroyed. Let's say you find a driver who's run many successful missions and you're confident in their ability to deliver you may not ask for insurance; but if this is a new person who doesn't have an established reputation on the server for being a successful caravan driver then you can request insurance; and that's an option that the owner of the caravan has to enable; and when you interface with that UI window there will be the amount of insurance that will be placed in escrow and given to you should the caravan not make it to its destination, or should the caravan's goods be lost. So there is mechanical systems in place to provide that type of interaction. We feel that interaction is good, it's fun; it helps encourage the social interaction that's important to an MMORPG but also it provides an outlet for players who may not wish to actually drive a caravan or launch a caravan or own a good caravan to transport their goods to piggyback with other players. – Steven Sharif
Quest driven caravan initiation
- The resources it will carry.
- If it is initiated for a specific quest in a nearby node.
- If the goods are intended for trade or warehousing in a regional market.
- The recipient of the caravan (e.g. a Temple within the nearby node).
When you initiate a caravan you're going to be able to determine the resources of the caravan is going to have in it. You're going to be able to determine whether or not this caravan has been initiated for a specific quest in a nearby node. You're going to be able to deliver goods for trade or to just warehouse in a new region, so that you have access to that local market. – Steven Sharif
When you're in a nearby node that you need to drive caravan to... you're going to have an option from the NPC within a nearby node to dictate the caravan launch as a recipient of the temple yeah. – Steven Sharif
Personal caravan initiation
- There will be a delay of one or two minutes while the caravan transitions while a conversion structure spawns. This introduces a small window of vulnerability.
- The conversion structure does not benefit from damage mitigation points of land or naval caravans, so it's a very weak position to be in.
At the point in which your character or model intersects with an ocean it will spawn a conversion mesh or a conversion structure; and there will be a period of time, up to several minutes depending on the capacity of the caravan with the resources and/or materials that is necessary for the conversion to take place; and then the naval caravan will be available; and you can intersect that line again with land to try to convert back to a land-based caravan – Steven Sharif
- Roads for the transit goods via the caravan system.
- You might have a mountain pass and during winter that mountain pass is always closed and so the trade routes on land change with caravans and that's something that can not only exist on a cyclical level but also dynamically based on player activity.
- Economic relationships between nodes established by Mayors or node citizens.
- From a diplomatic standpoint the ability for the mayor or citizens to set up NPC routed trade routes between nodes as a trade agreement or as a diplomatic process. – Steven Sharif
- The largest roads are referred to as arteries. These are remnants of what was once the ancient highway system of Verra.
- As nodes advance smaller roads, referred to as veins, connect the arteries to the nodes.
- Depending on the stages of node advancement, capillary roads will stem off the node to connect to points of interest.
- Roads or pathways are not worn into the landscape by repeated traffic over the same area.
- Pathways that are open during summer may be closed during winter.
- Seasonal affects may cause obstacles or blockages to the transit of goods via caravan.
- Water turning to ice in winter, enabling players to walk over the water but blocking access to what is underneath.
- Ice will make roads bumpy and slippery.
- The location of Underrealm entrances throughout the world is focused around natural geographic choke-points that exist above ground. This provides alternate subterranean routes that can be used by caravans, raids, and other player activities.
- Not all entrances to the Underrealm will be open at the same time. This can shift dynamically (based on node states) that cause different routes to open up, which may be more or less advantageous than other routes.
- Players will not be able to see the exact contents of a caravan before they decide to attack or defend, however there will be some visual hints to the cargo of the caravan, such as gold, silver, or iron visible on top of the caravan.
- Players will be able to state their intentions to attack, defend or ignore via a user interface window.
- The proximity that the UI window appears is determined by the player's performance as either a defender or an attacker in previous raids.
- A group will be required to successfully attack a caravan.
- A caravan will persist in the world for a period of 5 to 10 minutes from the time its owner logs out or is disconnected from the server.
- It's still intended from a design standpoint to be a window that is presented to the player based on proximity; and that proximity it can be greater depending on your performance as either a defender or an attacker in previous raids. – Steven Sharif
- Death penalties (mostly) do not apply to objective-based events (such as caravans, guild wars, and node sieges).
- There is a level of risk that comes with the attacker. We have progression paths that exist for bandits and that exists for defenders; and if you choose to opt into a caravan attack- you sign up for that attack and you fail that attack- it is detrimental to your path of progression down the bandit area. That's one thing: Two is of course you have gear decay. You have degradation that can be suffered if you die. That is a cost. And then you also have a reputation; and if your reputation precedes you when you want to transit goods across the world; and you see somebody who's doing it and you want to participate as a defender or a participant, they might say hey screw you, you were just murdering my people last week and I saw that you're like on the top of the bandit list for killing caravans. So it has repercussions in the sense that it locks you out of certain player groups. It provides decay to your armor. It has deleterious effects on your progression, and the attacking- and the bandit progression of caravan attacks or defense. – Steven Sharif
- A quest system will track a player's successful or failed defenses and attacks. This will provide rewards that scale up over time based on the player's history.
- The caravan defender role is going to have its own progression questing and rewards associated with it that are going to attract a certain subset of players and then you know vice-versa wise we're going to have incentives that appeal to the more highway brigand type players; and you know you might not always be on one side or the other: that might change depending on what your interests are in the at the time. But obviously you know those types of systems need to have robust you know consequential type rewards and benefits associated with them in order to compel the player; and that's something obviously we're going to test in alphas and betas and see how performant it is in actually attracting players to participate and make sure it's not just one-sided so-to-speak. – Steven Sharif
- Varying tiers of mercenary NPCs may be unlocked based on the investment made in their progression. Highest tier NPC mercenaries are referred to as heros.
- Mayors are able to allocate treasury funding to hire mercenary NPCs to defend their node during sieges.
- Nodes can invest in upgrade paths that give a greater selection of roles and quality (gear level) of NPC mercenaries used for caravan defense.
- NPC mercenaries can be hired to participate in castle sieges based on the allocation made by the governing castle and how successful they have been defending their castle nodes.
- These mechanics are subject to change based on testing and priorities.
- Players can assign mercenary NPCs, but won't micromanage them, in a similar manner to pets.
- There are mercenary NPCs that can be assigned to players. We've discussed about that before and those will follow generically... a kind of pet system even you know adopted majority of the pet system with the added bonus of kind of objective based points of interest that you can assign them to. But we don't want to inundate the field with these mercenaries they'll be kind of few and far between. They'll be assigned specifically like let's say for example you know as the mayor of a node during a siege you'll be able to assign these two specific players that are citizens within your node and then they'll have those they'll spawn during the during the node siege; or vice versa and the castle siege you know guild leaders can assign mercenaries that are available based on the progress of those subsidiary nodes around the castle siege whether or not you have those available to your defense or your attack. – Steven Sharif
Performance in various PvP systems (such as Caravans, Arenas, Guild wars) is measured over the course of 6 month PvP seasons. At the end of each season, a player's cumulative score may unlock various rewards.
Gear enhancement rewards
We are very likely going to have a rune system and then we'll have the ability to sort of enchant weapons outside of that too... That's not always going to be like a vertical progression... Some of it's going to be giving up something to get something else; so maybe I do less physical damage but more magical damage, that kind of thing. – Jeffrey Bard
- Progression in various PvP systems will unlock enchantment stones that grant temporary PvP-focused benefits to gear (via a socketing system). Performance is measured over six month PvP seasons.
It's not as though you're going to necessarily acquire these once and then you're set for your PvP enchantments, but instead you'll have to continually perform month after month in order to keep having those slotted enchantments. – Steven Sharif
If a caravan is destroyed (becomes a wreckage) it will drop a portion of the goods it was transporting. The remainder of the caravan's goods are sunk (lost) when the caravan is destroyed.
- Anyone may loot the caravan's wreckage.
- Caravan components may also drop when a caravan is destroyed. These components may be salvageable by the caravan owner or by other players, in the case of high grade components.
- Caravans drop certificates for heavy goods that are redeemable at the origin node for a portion of the goods.
The caravan becomes a wreckage upon destruction and that wreckage is an interfaceable item that players can come up to and they can receive certificates for a portion of the goods inside the caravan. Now the idea with that certificate is that it must be taken back to the point of origin, or at least a region within that point of origin. We'll see about that last part because there's a few things I want to test in the Alpha from a gameability standpoint. The reason why for this is because what might happen is you may have some type of collaboration within a guild to kind of game that system. Hey I'm gonna reach this caravan just to the border of the region and then we're all destroy it, collect the goods and take it to you know that region's warehouse; and have to skip out on the last half of the way. So it must successfully reach its destination before the goods can be considered a part of that region. – Steven Sharif
Artisan supply chain
Artisans within Ashes of Creation must choose a path in their artisan skill tree. This inter-dependency establishes a supply chain from raw materials to finished product. Each stage of the chain may require caravans to transport goods from one artisan to another.
- Obtaining raw materials:
- Refining the raw materials with the Processing profession.
- Crafting the finished product using its crafting recipe.
As a crafter you're going to want to know where certain recipes can be fulfilled; which nodes have the capability of creating what you've processed material that you've gathered for; and then you're going to want to plan out your route to either transit the goods there or make sure that you're situated in the area so that you can go out collect and build in that area as well. So there's a lot of planning that's going to be necessary. – Steven Sharif
- Castle nodes exist outside of the node system. They are independent of anything that's happening outside in the world with other nodes shutting off certain nodes from progressing.
- Castle nodes are excluded from the normal Citizenship, Zones of Influence, Freeholds, Node governments, and Social organizations systems.
- Castle nodes cannot exceed stage 3 (Village).
- Castle nodes are always military node types.
- Each of the dedicated castle nodes is barren at the start of the castle ownership period.
- The guild must develop those nodes to enhance the defenses of the castle.
- It will be possible, but very difficult for a single guild to fully develop these nodes. They will likely need assistance from the broader community.
- Mercenary NPCs of different types and strengths can also be hired to participate in castle sieges and defend caravans during these events based on the allocation made by the governing castle and how successful they have been defending their castle nodes.
Once the castle is owned by a guild that's when the supporting castle nodes start to come online and spawn each week prior to the fourth week castle siege. They'll have to form alliances, they'll have to get support, they'll have to get resources, they'll be able to allocate funds that have been collected through taxation in order to strengthen the defenses as well as hiring additional NPC mercenaries. – Steven Sharif
- Levelling castle nodes is a hastened process compared to regular nodes.
- At the end of each week leading up to a castle siege there is a period of time in the weekend where NPC generated caravans start moving toward one of the castle nodes carrying castle taxes from the nodes that fall under the castle's purview.
- During this time it is incumbent upon the owning guild, its allies, and citizens of the nodes to escort these caravans to the castle node.
- The enemies of the guild have incentive to attack these caravans to reap the rewards from the caravan and to sabotage the tax collection, which will reduce the defensive capability of the castle nodes and hence the castle itself.
- Citizens of nodes that fall under the purview of the castle are automatically registered as defenders of these caravans and may not participate in attacks against them.
- Completing these quests unlocks services and functions that are useful to the occupying guild and its allies as well as boosting the defenses the castle.
- Only members of the occupying guild are citizens of these nodes.
- This citizenship is different to normal node citizenship. Castle nodes don't operate like normal nodes.
- The skin changes the appearance of an in-game mount and in-game caravan that are hooked up to each other.
- The caravan and mount components of the skin are not able to be utilized separately.
- Building, ship, caravan and mount cosmetics require an in-game item to be obtained first to apply the cosmetic.
You'll need your own creature and caravan hooked up to each other, and then the caravan cosmetic skin goes over all of them to make it look like what's pictured. you're not able to split out separately that caravan mount skin, hence why you'd want the separate mount skin if you wanted to ride it independently. – Sarah Flanagan
List of caravan skins
Encounters are designed to have meaning in terms of how boss skills and abilities relate to group compositions, tactics and strategies. Zerging is not experiencing content. There are different ways to make a fight more difficult for larger sized groups without relying solely on stat buffs or making the boss a "damage sponge".
- Raid and dungeon bosses have specific mechanics and abilities that players need to learn and react to. Zergs that are not aware of these mechanics or react to them appropriately will be wiped.
- There may be environmental hazards and AoE effects that cause more damage based on the number of players present.
- There is a give-and-take for guilds that want to see a larger number of members as opposed to a more focused group that may be a part of an alliance.
We're very cognizant of the fact that we don't want to see zerging be a mechanic that's utilized by guilds to accomplish content or just to steamroll over sieges... There are specific mechanics that we are working on that will be seen through the testing phases that relate to a degree of understanding of certain systems that can't just be overrun with numbers. – Steven Sharif
The best way that I found in games I played previously to take down a zerg is to cause drama from within... It's that conflict inside of the politicking that happens in that big organization. If we provide opportunities for division to occur then it also provides stability to keep a server healthy away from that zerg mentality also... If we approach the castle siege and we've destroyed the walls and we're in the throne room and we're about to cast on the penultimate thing and I at this time am just so excited from what's happening that I'm like "screw it I'm gonna go for it". It's gonna be mine. I'm gonna take the taxes for the next month. I'm gonna take all the gear from the castle. I'm gonna take everything... We kind of want that political intrigue to be present in the game. – Steven Sharif
Objective-based game play helps to balance the zerg mentality.
I always feel that if you balance based on groups that in your balance focus is to incorporate features that play well from a player versus player perspective as well as a player versus environment perspective: Having support classes, having DPS and tanks that can obstruct movement and/or create you know bottlenecks on the field and stuff like that. I think a well-rounded raid it will perform better against a non well-rounded raid, however then you incorporate the second aspect of numbers; and that's where again mobility, organization, leadership tactics. Having objectives in gameplay that make those important helps to balance the zerg mentality that a lot of guilds can tend to have. – Steven Sharif
- There may be instanced locations within castle and node sieges where specific groups can participate in certain objective-based waypoints.
Zerging is always a problem in a lot of these MMORPGs where you really can't control the number of participants in certain open-world systems; and in that sense instancing is a great tool that designers can sometimes use to curate a particular number of participants that you want. But the predominant amount of content within Ashes of Creation, over 80% of which is is open-world content, so instancing is very limited. – Steven Sharif
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