Racial influences

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Alpha-1 Village node layout.[1]

We have essentially sets that exist across all races; and each race that dons those armor sets is going to have their own racial influence on the presentation of those particular sets. So that's something that's unique in how each of the races get diversified. Additionally, the more that one particular race contributes to a node's development, it's going to manifest in that particular node's architectural influences. You're going to see the architectures of those races become manifest within the nodes as well: That's another way that we diversify each race and we present each race's culture in the game as through those architectures, through those props that exist, through the tailoring of the armor sets that the NPC might wear, to the different factions that exist. Factions will have their own affiliation with different races as well. Each race will also have some different nomenclature when it comes to the lore, or comes to locations in the world. They're going to have their own language influences as well: The way they speak is something that's going to be distinct between races; when you have dialogue trees with particular NPCs. So all of those things really go into setting an immersive world where the cultures have their own identity.[2]Steven Sharif

Cultural influences manifest in many ways, from node and gear aesthetics to NPC languages and lore.[2][3][4]

  • Gear appearance of certain armor sets is influenced by the player's race.[2]
  • Node layout and style is influenced by the race that contributes the most to that node.[2]
    • Benefits may apply to citizens of the dominant culture but can also apply to mechanics of the node, which can also be of benefit to members of other races.[3]
    • There are attrition mechanics that affects experience and influence to curb a single race from dominating the entire world.[5]
  • NPCs will react differently to different character races.[6]

There is an attrition and that attrition on experience and influence is heightened based on the performance of the race in the world. So if all these nodes are Orc nodes then their attrition rate is very high to compete with the cultural establishment of new nodes because they have more influence in the world and a popular opinion is against them in their outlying regions that they do not have influence in.[5]Steven Sharif

Artistic influences

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.[7]Steven Sharif

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.[17]Steven Sharif

The idea is just to find a base component in the real world as a starting point and then to begin to fantasize.[8]Steven Sharif

Racial weapons and armor

Armor racial appearances in early Alpha-1.[18]

Violet light and myself are wearing exactly the same armor set right: Same stats, same everything, but it drops for her it looks one way, it drops for me it looks another way; and... a small part of that is gender, but then the other part of it is race. So because I was a Vaelune in that playthrough my armor was in the Vaelune style; and when she picked it up it was in the elven style because she was an elf. So that kind of gives you an example of sort of the breadth of looks that we're going for and how we kind of try to capture like who you are as as a character and kind of allow you to kind of build your look that way.[19]Jeffrey Bard

Dünir and Empyrean racially styled armor concept art by Keith Kovach.[20]

We have essentially sets that exist across all races; and each race that dons those armor sets is going to have their own racial influence on the presentation of those particular sets. So that's something that's unique in how each of the races get diversified.[2]Steven Sharif

Weapons and armor are not race locked, but armor will take on a racial appearance.[2][21][22]

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.[23]Steven Sharif
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.[23]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 you know 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 kind of 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.[25]Steven Sharif

Node layout and style

Racial architecture of the same Village (stage 3) node on different servers. Dünir Dwarven influence (top). Kaelar Human influence (bottom). Alpha-1 Non-NDA screenshot.

The layout and architecture within a Node’s development area are determined by influential race. For example, a stage 3 Node with the majority of player contribution being Py'rai would have a Py'rai village with Py'rai architecture. Most NPCs would be Py'rai elves, and offer questlines within the Py'rai narrative.[26]Margaret Krohn

Each player’s contributed experience is flagged with their character race and other identifiers. When a Node advances, the race with the highest experience contribution determines the Node’s style and culture. This style and culture change can happen at every Node Stage. For example, if a Node advances to Level 2 - Encampment Stage and 51% of all experience was earned by Ren’Kai players, the Node will be a Level 2 Ren’Kai Node. If that same Node advances to a Level 3 - Village Stage Node, but the Py'Rai contributed 62% of all the experience earned, then the Node will be a Level 3 Py'Rai Node.[4]Margaret Krohn

Node layout and style is determined by several factors:[27][28]

  • Environment (biome) and location of the node.[29][27][28]
    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.[29]Steven Sharif
    • Nodes will adjust the local topography to fit the aesthetic and mechanical requirements of the node.[30]

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.[30]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.[28]Jeffrey Bard

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.[35]Steven Sharif

  • The rest is determined by the node's mayor.[28]
    • It should be possible for a node to complete several building projects within a mayor's one month term in office.[36]
Q: How long would you say it will take players on average to fill slash 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 kind of 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.[36]Steven Sharif

NPC racial interaction

NPCs are going to react differently to different tags on a character.[6]

  • For example, Elven NPCs may interact differently with Humans compared to Elves.[6]

NPC languages

The race of a NPC influences its language and nomenclature in terms of its dialogue tree.[2]

Storyline quests

Storyline quests can have multiple stages. These quest stages can actually be failed.[37]

There will be many different quests that actually have stages of the storyline; and these stages can actually be failed. You can actually fail a storyline; which sucks when you think about it, but at the same time that risk makes your investment that much more important.[37]Steven Sharif

Calendar events

Calendar Events can be seen as holiday-related celebrations or other seasonal content. Imagine these Events as things you may experience annually, based on the cultures within the world. Some of these may derive from the seasons, and how the nodes in those areas are affected by them. These will most often be server-wide and provide unique content for a specific duration of time during the calendar year.[40]

Calendar events (seasonal events/holidays) in Ashes of Creation can be in-game events or they can relate to the real-world in some way.[41][42][43]

  • Events are not a direct parallel with real world events. Instead, there will be in-game lore behind seasonal events that can relate to the real-world in some way.[41][42][43]
  • Certain calendar events will incorporate the cultural identity of the various character races.[44]
Part of the things that they're working on is creating a lot of cultural identity for these character races and how we can bring about these calendar events from the perspective of each individual race. That's something that I think is going to be really helping identify or giving identity to each of the character races.[44]Steven Sharif
  • Seasonal events in-game may not exactly align with real-world seasons due to the different in-game seasonal cycle.[45]
Will seasonal events in the real-world align with the seasonal rotation in the game world? And I think in that sense probably not. That's going to require a little bit of suspension of disbelief in understanding that. But it's also fair that in-game events do not need to be perfectly cyclical like let's say seasonal events are in the real world. They could have a non-uniform cycle associated with them... There is something to be said for having that represented in the game as long as it's immersive; as long as it's contextualized within the story and the world and the universe that we've created; and isn't a direct homage to Santa Claus in the real-world, just to use a prime example of something.[45]Steven Sharif
  • Holiday events are not going be "campy" or immersion-breaking.[41]
We have a lot of ideas on how certain real-world holidays can be contextualized within the game world and seem fitting.[41]Steven Sharif

Events may bring seasonal change.[34][46]

See also


  1. Livestream, June 26, 2020 (45:32).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Livestream, March 31, 2022 (4:57).
  3. 3.0 3.1 Interview, February 7, 2021 (33:00).
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Blog - Know Your Nodes - Advance and Destroy.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Interview, May 11, 2018 (1:00:19).
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Podcast, April 23, 2018 (29:56).
  7. Livestream, February 25, 2022 (49:42).
  8. 8.0 8.1 Interview, October 20, 2018 (3:47:17).
  9. dunirinfluence.png
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Interview, May 11, 2018 (1:03:21).
  11. Podcast, May 11, 2018 (31:35).
  12. Livestream, September 30, 2022 (1:08:24).
  13. Livestream, February 25, 2022 (44:28).
  14. py'rai archetecture.jpg
  15. Livestream, October 16, 2017 (15:58).
  16. 16.0 16.1 Podcast, May 11, 2018 (31:35).
  17. Interview, May 11, 2018 (1:04:27).
  18. Video, September 30, 2020 (2:44).
  19. Livestream, September 30, 2020 (47:47).
  20. Livestream, July 26, 2019 (54:06).
  21. Livestream, May 26, 2017 (44:11).
  22. Livestream, May 26, 2017 (20:46).
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 Podcast, August 4, 2018 (53:43).
  24. Livestream, October 28, 2022 (1:41:06).
  25. 25.0 25.1 Podcast, August 4, 2018 (55:17).
  26. Blog - Know Your Nodes - The Basics.
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 Livestream, October 30, 2020 (39:17).
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 28.4 28.5 Livestream, September 27, 2018 (53:06).
  29. 29.0 29.1 Livestream, February 25, 2022 (41:00).
  30. 30.0 30.1 Livestream, February 26, 2021 (1:12:18).
  31. Podcast, April 11, 2021 (29:47).
  32. Interview, May 11, 2018 (54:34).
  33. Livestream, May 26, 2017 (21:23).
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 Podcast, April 11, 2021 (23:36).
  35. 35.0 35.1 Interview, May 11, 2018 (47:27).
  36. 36.0 36.1 Livestream, July 29, 2022 (1:13:09).
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 Interview, October 20, 2018 (2:36:25).
  38. Livestream, July 25, 2020 (1:50:20).
  39. Livestream, March 26, 2021 (1:12:51).
  40. Types of Events on Verra.
  41. 41.0 41.1 41.2 41.3 Livestream, April 29, 2022 (36:51).
  42. 42.0 42.1 Interview, October 20, 2018 (7:31).
  43. 43.0 43.1 Livestream, May 10, 2017 (40:36).
  44. 44.0 44.1 Livestream, April 29, 2022 (38:05).
  45. 45.0 45.1 Livestream, April 29, 2022 (50:49).
  46. 46.0 46.1 Livestream, May 8, 2017 (20:27).