NPC guards

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Guard uniform.[1]

NPC guards will kill corrupted players on sight.[2]

  • NPC guards are capable of being killed, but they have high skill levels, damage mitigation, and power levels.[3]
Guards are capable of being killed. However, that is a very tall barrier to surpass; meaning that their skill level is relatively high. Their damage mitigation, their output, and power: those things are very difficult to overcome. But they can be killed; and again you can upgrade guards through policies, through upgrades within the barracks structures; and you can even place mercenaries and guards ahead of certain events.[3]Steven Sharif
info-orange.pngSome of the following information has not been recently confirmed by the developers and may not be on the current development roadmap.

List of NPC guards


Good actions, such as completing buy orders, commissions, and caravan trips, can cause a character to gain positive node reputation. Bad actions taken, such as failing certain quests, may result in gaining negative reputation. This reputation is gained or lost on a per-node basis.[9][10][11]

Whether you're a citizen or not, you can establish reputation within a node; and the way you establish that reputation is by completing buy orders, completing commissions and quests, and even completing caravan trips there or out of there. Different interactions that you would do with the node can yield you reputation within that particular node.[9]Steven Sharif
  • Negative reputation may open up certain quest lines that the darker, seedier side of the world are interested in.[11]
The more good aligned or civilization building aligned tasks that you complete, you get higher positive reputation. But if you get low or bad reputation you could be deemed enemy of the state of a node. You could be deemed a bad actor and it might raise prices for you, but it also might open up certain quest lines that the darker, seedier side of the world are interested in.[11]Steven Sharif

Certain NPCs and node vendors will react differently to player characters based on their reputation within the node or with "factions" within the node (such as social organizations).[12][13][11][14]

Node reputation is a separate mechanic that also deals as a predicate for the vendors that you have access to as a player. And so you can establish that node reputation by doing certain activities within the node, by progressing within certain social organizations, or certain religions within the node; and then that predicate serves as your access either to items granularly within a vendor's access table, or to just vendors as a whole. It just depends; and there's different thresholds you have to meet across different vendors.[10]Steven Sharif
info-orange.pngSome of the following information has not been recently confirmed by the developers and may not be on the current development roadmap.
  • NPCs will add a player to their hate list if that player heals, buffs or otherwise assists any player on their hate list.[15]

NPC race

Depending on the cultural influence of the node activates certain types of quest lines and/or sponsors. Some of those are shared, some of those are general. Some of those relate to a progression path that is a first time user experience. Those will be constant across all culture types. Some of them, however, are predicates that spawn when certain story arcs and/or events, or commissions or buy orders become present within the node; and those might change based on the cultural influence of the node. So there is a separation between those populations.[18]Steven Sharif

NPC perception

NPC perception is intended to have different sensory types, ranges, and angles.[20][21][22]

  • NPCs will have varying fields of view. Some will have the ability to perceive sounds.[20][21][22]
We are talking about things like unique abilities played by characters that extend the perception radius, or sounds and different types of walking that are angular from the mob's perception perspective to be unique, different types of creatures that might be of three-dimensional in space, whether it is in water or birds in the sky that have a downward cone angle type perception as well. Those are things we want to do, but we haven't yet spent the time on the AI behaviors there.[21]Steven Sharif
Q: How far away from hostile targets will be before they act aggressively towards us? More specifically, will creatures watch us murder their friends in the open world with no reaction, will they try to kill us in retaliation, or will they run away in sheer terror?
A: Obviously as MMO Gamers we're accustomed to the concept of social aggro. When I hit a target out in the field, they're going to aggro other creatures nearby. We have similar functionality. Obviously however we also have this concept of a more puzzle-oriented level design, where you have different patrollers that might be moving around the world. So that dynamic is always changing the creatures that are near each other might be something that you need to be cognizant of as you begin to navigate those areas. And there might even be certain faction types, where you may have dedicated aggro social tags between certain creature types; and that might be like goblins with their goblin dogs. They could be far away but they send off an alert to those nearby enemies when you aggro another target. And then you also have these perception radiuses; and there's a number of different perception radius types that we incorporate as part of our AI. Those things might be a forward-looking perception cone that represents sight-based perception; and then you might also have a rear perception radius that might represent kind of sound; and those perception types might even interact with unique stats. So, as a Rogue you might have a stealth ability, or as a Ranger you might have camouflage ability: Those are going to dampen those stats which are checked by those perception radiuses; and then you might even have different creature types that fly above the battlefield, or beneath the battlefield, and they may have downward cone type angles. The whole idea is that that navigating the world should be like a puzzle as you move throughout.[20]Steven Sharif
  • NPCs in certain encounters may be aware of their local environment and can seek cover behind obstacles, for example; but this will not be prevalent in general AI designs.[23]

Mercenary NPCs

Mercenary NPCs can be hired to participate in node and castle sieges.[25][26][27][28]

  • 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.[29][30][26][27]
  • Players can assign mercenary NPCs, but won't micromanage them, in a similar manner to pets.[28]
There are mercenary NPCs that can be assigned to players. We've discussed about that before and those will follow generically... a pet system even adopted majority of the pet system with the added bonus 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 few and far between. They'll be assigned specifically like let's say for example 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 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.[28]Steven Sharif

Siege NPCs

Siege NPCs, NPC guards, and mercenary NPCs serve as defense points during sieges and other events.[32][33]

  • Only combat NPCs are killable during a siege. Non-combat NPCs, such as merchants, will despawn and will respawn if the siege is unsuccessful.[32][34]
  • Mercenary NPCs can be hired in advance.[32] They are intended to be a significant presence but not the main line of defense in a siege.[35]

Siege objectives

info-orange.pngSome of the following information has not been recently confirmed by the developers and may not be on the current development roadmap.

Each node has a number of districts, depending on its stage.[36]

  • Districts are taken by defeating a "raid boss" guard NPC in that district.[36]
  • If attackers take over a district, they gain that district as a respawn location.[36]
  • Attackers can kill the quartermasters to increase the respawn times of the defenders while reducing their own respawn times.[37][36]

Defenders can assault the outposts of the attackers to hinder them.[36]

  • Destroying the headquarters of the attacking army is a victory condition for the defenders.[37][38]

Attackers may not be capable of deleveling a node. Instead they may carry out precision attacks to disable specific service-oriented buildings within the node. These buildings can be targeted with siege weapons and bombs.[39]

As the attackers are sieging a city they have obviously a win condition- a win objective- but additionally there can be casualties from a structural standpoint during that process. So let's say if the... attackers were to not succeed in completely destroying the node they could still affect damage across multiple types of buildings that are present within the node, which disables services for that those citizens and also will require some type of reconstruction effort on behalf of the citizens.[40]Steven Sharif

Artificial intelligence

Jermaine Torment of Illwind boss mob.[41]

You can see how we utilize some of the different armor pieces- you've probably seen some of these pieces on different outfits like that toast Corvid Castigator cloak is on him.[41]Margaret Krohn

Ashes of Creation utilizes an adaptive artificial intelligence (AI), meaning different encounters with similar mobs and bosses will yield different player experiences.[42][43]

  • Some NPC AI behaviors may be randomly selected at the time of initial engagement causing them to make decisions dynamically during an encounter.[42][44][45][46]
    • Higher frequency of AoE attacks depending on how many players are participating.[44]
    • Unlock rage, recovery effects and buffs.[47][44]
    • Supporting other monster types or classes nearby.[47]
    • Additional adds and add classes.[44]
    • Some NPCs may attempt to seek cover behind obstacles during encounters.[23]
  • NPCs performing "idle actions" to make the world seem more alive has been discussed by the developers but is not confirmed.[48]
Part of the NPC encounter design is not always going to be the same behavior tree. There will be purposefully behaviors that exist for the boss that are rolled at the time of the initial engagement; and so that is in an effort to keep things emergent, to keep things different, to try to not keep a static monotonous engagement idea.[42]Steven Sharif

There are AI systems that don't relate to controlling NPCs.[49]

There are some additional AI parameters that are set that don't relate necessarily to controlling NPCs. There are AIs with regards to the development of the borders for nodes in the direction and also the decisions that are made of which lower nodes to enslave as vassal states. There's AI that relates to a little bit of the stock market that's going to be present in the economy. There's some AI systems that are going to be announced also that are pretty innovative I think with regards to the MMORPG genre and that's going to make the triggered event system very interesting I think; and that's with regards to how nodes develop and the environment reacts to that development by spawning these triggered events of a horde of zombies attacking a city or a legendary raid boss coming out of the mountain. I think there's a lot of opportunity for some of the innovations that's been in the AI sector of game development too to come out in Ashes.[49]Steven Sharif


See also


  1. guard-uniform.png
  2. 2.0 2.1 Livestream, February 28, 2020 (1:14:38).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Livestream, August 31, 2023 (2:08:54).
  4. Livestream, August 31, 2023 (2:06:21).
  5. Livestream, April 7, 2023 (1:19:41).
  6. Livestream, August 26, 2022 (1:17:04).
  7. Livestream, May 19, 2017 (28:04).
  8. Livestream, January 18, 2018 (31:05).
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Livestream, February 29, 2024 (57:27).
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Livestream, August 31, 2023 (1:06:01).
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 Livestream, December 23, 2021 (1:26:36).
  12. Livestream, July 28, 2023 (1:19:55).
  13. Livestream, February 24, 2023 (1:22:04).
  14. npc rep.jpg
  15. Livestream, November 17, 2017 (29:45).
  16. 16.0 16.1 Podcast, April 23, 2018 (29:56).
  17. Livestream, March 31, 2022 (4:57).
  18. 18.0 18.1 Interview, July 9, 2023 (1:35:28).
  19. Livestream, March 26, 2021 (54:26).
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 Livestream, February 29, 2024 (3:12).
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Livestream, November 30, 2023 (1:36:32).
  22. 22.0 22.1 Livestream, June 4, 2018 (29:28).
  23. 23.0 23.1 Livestream, February 25, 2022 (1:03:32).
  24. Livestream, May 31, 2023 (58:25).
  25. 25.0 25.1 Livestream, May 31, 2024 (2:20:00).
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 Livestream, August 28, 2020 (1:41:24).
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 Livestream, June 26, 2020 (59:11).
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 Livestream, November 22, 2019 (1:14:23).
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 Livestream, May 27, 2022 (1:18:09).
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 Livestream, April 30, 2021 (1:01:10).
  31. Livestream, May 31, 2024 (1:46:56).
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 Livestream, August 31, 2023 (2:09:32).
  33. siege success.png
  34. siege npcs killable.png
  35. Livestream, July 28, 2017 (36:51).
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 36.3 36.4 siege more info.png
  37. 37.0 37.1 Interview, July 19, 2020 (37:58).
  38. Livestream, May 19, 2017 (47:07).
  39. Livestream, November 22, 2019 (17:59).
  40. Livestream, November 22, 2019 (15:48).
  41. 41.0 41.1 Livestream, June 25, 2021 (21:24).
  42. 42.0 42.1 42.2 Interview, September 10, 2023 (34:51).
  43. About Ashes of Creation.
  44. 44.0 44.1 44.2 44.3 Interview, June 13, 2021 (22:20).
  45. Livestream, July 28, 2017 (43:57).
  46. Livestream, May 5, 2017 (11:55).
  47. 47.0 47.1 Livestream, July 29, 2022 (1:23:56).
  48. Livestream, 2018-04-8 (PM) (3:56).
  49. 49.0 49.1 49.2 49.3 49.4 Podcast, May 11, 2018 (24:23).