- I didn't feel that it was necessary to recreate the wheel on races from a fantasy perspective. I'm not sure how much that would add to the flavor of the game. Obviously I think that we're capable of doing unique things within the cultures and I think we are doing that specifically, like an islander dwarf race. I mean that really hasn't been seen before. Or a stargazing noble Vek looking race: Those things are still unique and they still bring innovation to the idea of what these races can be, but at the same time there's a familiarity there that players can feel comfortable with in the traditional fantasy setting. – Steven Sharif
- We can push the limits a little bit on the graphical fidelity, especially using Unreal Engine 4... My desire was not to see very cartoony games. I'm not a big fan of highly stylized art. – Steven Sharif
- It's not to say that people can't do steampunk well. I've enjoyed some steampunk stuff. I'm a very high fantasy oriented type of storyteller; and the inspiration for Ashes obviously comes from my pathfinder campaigns that I ran long ago; and those are always set in a high fantasy world. So it just compromises what I believe is the perspective of the storytelling in the environment. – Steven Sharif
Artistic influences on the races
Character races are super important. These are the choices that we make at the onset of our adventure in an MMORPG: what race- not just mechanically aligns with our decisions, if those races have game mechanics behind them from a stat perspective, but visually and culturally and historically: What are these? What do these races represent? So it's important that visually they're distinct. And everyone's seen fantasy games do Elves, so everyone's seen them do Humans, everyone's seen them do Orcs: There's an established expectation almost behind what these traditional fantasy races represent; and there's a risk, because whenever you're creating a new IP or a new story or a new world- a new Universe; a realm in which things don't have to always be the norm, you can take a little bit of creative liberty to redefine some of the aspects of a particular race; and that can be a good thing, because it's something that is new to players. It's something that is unique to the realm that we're building- the surroundings that you have. So what we wanted to do was push a little bit more on the unique side of what the Py'rai would look like from a visual perspective. – Steven Sharif
- Aelean architecture has a French medieval influence.
- Dünir have a Nordic cultural influence.
- Empyreans have a Greco-Roman imperialistic feeling.
- The Kaelar have a European racial influence.
- The Niküa have a Polynesian influence.
- The Py'Rai have a Navajo Native American influence. Py'Rai architecture has a woodland inspiration.
- Pyrian architecture has a Greco-Roman influence.
- The Vaelune have a Middle Eastern racial influence.
- The Vek have a Mesoamerican racial influence.
You will see in the different races that are available from a player character standpoint a lot of different influences that reflect many cultures in the world: Not just European, not just Africa, not Mesoamerican. These cultures are going to be present in many of the races. – Steven Sharif
Character racial appearance
- We want there to be a lot of room for people to manifest their own identity, to role play how they want to from an appearance standpoint. There's going to be parameters within which you will be able to customize a character. We want the culture and the identity of the races to exist in a range that makes them easily identifiable from other players and other cultures. So, because of that, we have to have a spectrum you can exist on. There will be a lot of hair variants you can do, body art tattoos that you can apply. You'll be able to play with the scales of the facial structure, the bones, the height, width, the body fat percentage. You'll be able to add body hair on different parts of the body. If you want to have hair on your feet, you can dial that up. – Steven Sharif
- Character models are focused on realism.
- A player will see a generic character before customization.
- Character designs will have influences from a wide range of cultures, such as European, African and Asian.
- Lolis will not be in the game.
- Sliders and other controls, such as color palettes, will offer flexibility in customization but there will be limits based on race, gender, and the artistic style guidelines that the developers are adhering to.
- There's going to be constraints to the sliders, so that was one of those big questions as work began on the character creator: How much agency do you want to allow pulling like the lower lip all the way down in this weird deformed look, or having like [an] offset cheek that's just asymmetrical to the side of the face. There's not going to be the ability or agency to create those types of weird character things. However you will have the ability to move, slide, change, grow, decrease all those components, but they'll be kept in a more reasonable and presented way in the same sense you won't be able to change the appearance of the dwarven, nor the Dünir or the Niküan races to, in my opinion, create what would be traditionally considered a Loli character. – Steven Sharif
- The Vaelune have an interesting lineage and there is some influence there that when the Vaelune step through the portal, some portions of their body begin to exhibit this almost essence-like rupture in the skin; and you guys are going to see some examples of that in the future; and it is a bit of some Jinn influence in their lineage as a race that sets them apart from their Kaelar counterparts. – Steven Sharif
Dünir dwarven appearance
- Female Dünir beards will not match that of the male. It will be more of a braided option that is not as voluminous.
- Body hair may also be a character customization option for female Dünir.
- The developers updated the Dünir dwarves' design to have a more stout traditional fantasy appearance based on feedback from Alpha-1.
- The horns are a unique feature of the Py'Rai, but it may be possible to remove them.
- Py'rai will be capable of having brown skin.
- They are the tallest race in Ashes of Creation.
- They are considerably taller than their human counterparts.
- Red or green skin tone is selectable via the character creator.
- The Vek are taller than the Dünir but appear shorter than the Kaelar and Vaelune due to their stature.
The Tulnar race does not have sub-types. Instead, players will be able to significantly customize the appearance of Tulnar characters based on three base influences; or blend between these different influences.
- Simian (or mammalian).
- There are feline and bestial components that can be scaled up when creating a Tulnar character but Tulnar do not equal furries.
- Catgirl and Loli Tulnar are not able to be created.
- Tulnar do not equal furries, but there are definitely some bestial components that you can scale up when you're creating your Tulnar character, so you could max that setting I guess. Whether or not that would give you what you would think of as a furry, I guess it's going to be up to your interpretation of what a Furry is. – Steven Sharif
- The Tulnar do not have avian characteristics. The sentient avian races (such as the Sladeborne) did not take refuge in the Underrealm.
- Q: Will character creator allow us to make Tulnar that might look somewhat like Kobolds from Pathfinder or DnD?
- A: I wouldn't say exactly, but there's definitely elements of Kobolds that you could incorporate in a character creator with the Tulnar, yes. – Steven Sharif
- Mammalian Tulnar may have snout features, fur and inverted knees.
- Reptilian Tulnar may have more circular eyes and head shape, and scaly skin.
Weapon and armor appearance
- The customization of equipment per race is really focused on Armor sets not Weapon props. Weapon props will, from a model standpoint, will translate pretty one-to-one across the races. – Steven Sharif
- Racial appearance of gear is focused on Armor. Weapons will not change in appearance but will scale in size based on race.
- Let's say for example you have the Eagle set or something, right: The Eagle set has in art, it has a thematic design that's going to include certain attachments to the armor. It's going to include color palette and theme. It's going to have some aspects to it that define it as the Eagle set, right. When a Elf wears the Eagle set or when an Orc wears the Eagle set, you obviously have two different cultures there; and you don't want to stomp out that culture by assigning a de facto 'This is the Eagle set and this is how it looks on everybody.' What we want to have is cultural influences play a role in showing how that set looks. – Steven Sharif
- When you say, what if I'm an Orc but want to look like an Elf and I want my Eagle set to be the Elf representation? Well the issue becomes there that Orcs have a different organic model. You know, their body is different than that of the Elf. So, from a scope-creep standpoint, it's one thing to add different influences that represent the cultures that are donning the armor; it's another thing to adapt each influence as a matrix that can be worn pretty much by everything. From a scope perspective, that's a very difficult task for the character artists to tackle. So instead what we've done is, in order to facilitate a variety of cultural representation between the races but allow for the sharing of assets like different armor sets, we give different representations of those armor sets to each race. – Steven Sharif
- Racial skins transform the race of the character to that skin. The original racial appearance of the character is entirely replaced.
- Racial skins can be toggled on and off.
There are plans to create other racial skins.
- Some potential future ideas include undead and werewolf (lycan) skins.
Racial influence on node development
- The way that the node system is built is that they can exist across a spread of 18 biomes, but at the same time have to represent the cultural influence of these cultures that are intrinsically a part of a specific biome. – Steven Sharif
- Environment (biome) and location of the node.
- Nodes will adjust the local topography to fit the aesthetic and mechanical requirements of the node.
- Currently the way that the platform system is set up, is it's capable of adjusting the topography of the node's footprint, regardless of the surrounding terrain. So the reason for that is we want to have flexibility in the presentation of the node's layout and how it is essentially both from an aesthetic standpoint as well as a mechanical standpoint with node sieges- how it's constructed and that construction should have the ability to take on a variance of different types of topography. So it shouldn't be dependent on the surrounding area. Now that's not to say that the surrounding area isn't going to have some influence over. So for example... we're experimenting a little bit with the platform tech and putting up a node up against the side of a mountain or on the edge of a cliff or something that has a beautiful vista. Those are things that we're going to test out obviously as we continue to work on the node tool and how that platform system works, but the idea is to have the node independent of the surrounding terrain. – Steven Sharif
- Some parts are determined by the area it's in. Some parts are determined by the type it is. Some parts are determined by the race it is; and then the rest of it is determined by the mayor. – Jeffrey Bard
- Race that contributed the highest percentage to the node's advancement will alter the racial appearance of its buildings, NPCs, and props.
- All nodes, whether they're associated with a castle or associated with normal node structure, has cultural influences that replicate over to the buildings that are produced and the NPCs that are present. – Steven Sharif
- The rest is determined by the node's mayor.
- Q: How long would you say it will take players on average to fill/build up a node completely from wilderness to metropolis?
- A: It's one thing to get a node to a certain level: it's another thing to develop the node; and I can't really give you an on-average expectation, because there's a lot of variables at play. There's how many citizens does the node have attracted to it; what's the type of traffic that the node is attracting to it based on things like its tax rates, or the specialization that it chose to spec into, based on the building types it's chosen to build. All of those things are variables that can affect the quote-unquote "average build-out time" of a particular node. So it's difficult to give you an average when there's so many variables along those lines. But the idea is that if there is a particular project that players are interested in in developing based on the node stage, that they would have the ability to complete several of those projects as within a single term of a mayor; and a term of a mayor is one month. – Steven Sharif
Each starting area will have a different quest line that will yield a different type of starting mount. But by default you don't just choose human and here you get a horse, so to speak. Because you can be a human in our game and choose to start in a different racial area- at a different Divine Gateway- and as such then you could follow the quest line that gives you the Orc mount. – Steven Sharif
Racial influence on caravans
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 are initiated from a caravanserai building at a Village (stage 3) node or higher.
- 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.
Racial influence on freehold buildings
- Blueprints specify mechanical properties, buffs, and passive benefits that the building will have. Rarer blueprints will have more powerful effects.
- Some freehold buildings have multiple tiers, with different footprint sizes.
- Blueprints are the vehicle for which unique mechanical properties or in-game properties are delivered to the player. So, buildings can have certain types of buffs and passive benefits that are conferred based on the quality of the blueprint that's been acquired. The rarer the blueprint, the more powerful its effect. – Steven Sharif
- Blueprints can be obtained from multiple sources.
- Blueprints obtained from vendors or as rewards from nodes may take on the architecture of that node. Players may change this appearance by applying cosmetic freehold skins to the blueprint. Blueprints may also be affected by the type of node.
- Blueprints can drop from bosses.
- Scribes can write blueprints with specific unique looks.
- Freehold building blueprints can be sold and/or traded with other players.
- Freehold skins can be applied to blueprints that match the type of freehold building: housing, artisanship, and business.
- We really wanted to build the combat system to- like i said earlier- be as physical as possible. So we have it very animation driven. Everything is handled based on a reference of animation as opposed to nebulous timings, which allows it to feel very impactful and very responsive. – Keenan Reimer
- We're not going to be having I think unique combat animations. However we will have unique non-combat animations, such as your idle, your walk, your run cycle: things that the combat attacks do not have to blend back into. – Steven Sharif
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