Cultural influences manifest in many ways, from node and gear aesthetics to NPC languages and lore.
- Gear appearance of certain armor sets is influenced by the player's race.
- Node layout and style is influenced by the race that contributes the most to that node.
- NPCs will react differently to different character races.
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. – Steven Sharif
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
The idea is just to find a base component in the real world as a starting point and then to begin to fantasize. – Steven Sharif
Racial weapons and armor
Weapons and armor are not race locked, but armor will take on a racial 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
- Racial appearance of gear sets is tied to the character model of that race.
- 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. – Steven Sharif
Node layout and style
Node layout and style is determined by several factors:
- Environment (biome) and location of the node.
- 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
- 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.
- It should be possible for a node to complete several building projects within a mayor's one month term in office.
- 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. – Steven Sharif
NPC racial interaction
NPCs are going to react differently to different tags on a character.
The race of a NPC influences its language and nomenclature in terms of its dialogue tree.
Storyline quests can have multiple stages. These quest stages can actually be failed.
- The ability to retry a failed quest depends on Node progression.
- Quests involving citizens from multiple nodes are unlocked based on the alliances and other relationships between the nodes and their progression.
- Quests may differ based on the stages of nearby nodes, seasonal influences, and events such as world bosses.
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. – Steven Sharif
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.
- 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.
- Certain calendar events will incorporate the cultural identity of the various character races.
- 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. – Steven Sharif
- Seasonal events in-game may not exactly align with real-world seasons due to the different in-game seasonal cycle.
- 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. – Steven Sharif
- Holiday events are not going be "campy" or immersion-breaking.
- We have a lot of ideas on how certain real-world holidays can be contextualized within the game world and seem fitting. – Steven Sharif
Events may bring seasonal change.
- A raid boss, such as a winter dragon, may appear because a node has developed to Town (stage 4). This may bring an eternal winter that affects crop rotations until it is killed.
- ↑ Livestream, June 26, 2020 (45:32).
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Livestream, March 31, 2022 (4:57).
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Interview, February 7, 2021 (33:00).
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Blog - Know Your Nodes - Advance and Destroy.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Interview, May 11, 2018 (1:00:19).
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 Podcast, April 23, 2018 (29:56).
- ↑ Livestream, February 25, 2022 (49:42).
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Interview, October 20, 2018 (3:47:17).
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 Interview, May 11, 2018 (1:03:21).
- ↑ Podcast, May 11, 2018 (31:35).
- ↑ Livestream, September 30, 2022 (1:08:24).
- ↑ Livestream, February 25, 2022 (44:28).
- ↑ Livestream, October 16, 2017 (15:58).
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 Podcast, May 11, 2018 (31:35).
- ↑ Interview, May 11, 2018 (1:04:27).
- ↑ Video, September 30, 2020 (2:44).
- ↑ Livestream, September 30, 2020 (47:47).
- ↑ Livestream, July 26, 2019 (54:06).
- ↑ Livestream, May 26, 2017 (44:11).
- ↑ Livestream, May 26, 2017 (20:46).
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 23.2 Podcast, August 4, 2018 (53:43).
- ↑ Livestream, October 28, 2022 (1:41:06).
- ↑ 25.0 25.1 Podcast, August 4, 2018 (55:17).
- ↑ Blog - Know Your Nodes - The Basics.
- ↑ 27.0 27.1 27.2 Livestream, October 30, 2020 (39:17).
- ↑ 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 28.4 28.5 Livestream, September 27, 2018 (53:06).
- ↑ 29.0 29.1 Livestream, February 25, 2022 (41:00).
- ↑ 30.0 30.1 Livestream, February 26, 2021 (1:12:18).
- ↑ Podcast, April 11, 2021 (29:47).
- ↑ Interview, May 11, 2018 (54:34).
- ↑ Livestream, May 26, 2017 (21:23).
- ↑ 34.0 34.1 34.2 Podcast, April 11, 2021 (23:36).
- ↑ 35.0 35.1 Interview, May 11, 2018 (47:27).
- ↑ 36.0 36.1 Livestream, July 29, 2022 (1:13:09).
- ↑ 37.0 37.1 37.2 Interview, October 20, 2018 (2:36:25).
- ↑ Livestream, July 25, 2020 (1:50:20).
- ↑ Livestream, March 26, 2021 (1:12:51).
- ↑ Types of Events on Verra.
- ↑ 41.0 41.1 41.2 41.3 Livestream, April 29, 2022 (36:51).
- ↑ 42.0 42.1 Interview, October 20, 2018 (7:31).
- ↑ 43.0 43.1 Livestream, May 10, 2017 (40:36).
- ↑ 44.0 44.1 Livestream, April 29, 2022 (38:05).
- ↑ 45.0 45.1 Livestream, April 29, 2022 (50:49).
- ↑ 46.0 46.1 Livestream, May 8, 2017 (20:27).