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Divine gateways

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Empyrean divine gateway concept art.

When you play the MMORPG you're going to be stepping through what are called these divine gateways from a planet called Sanctus and Sanctus was really a safe haven that was forethought by the Goddess of Fate and Creation as a sanctuary to provide the people of Verra who could survive the fall, the apocalypse, the exodus essentially.[1]Steven Sharif

Divine gateways are portals located in the ruined cities of the four ancient races of Verra.[2]

Where players start, they enter this portal from another world called Sanctus. Sanctus is a place of no magic, low technology; and players are the first expeditioners that are coming through this portal into the world of Verra.[9]Jeffrey Bard

Starting areas

Alpha-1 early preview starting area.[10]

There is no railroaded driven theme park experience here. You will have the opportunity to create your own destiny in that regard, which means you don't have to necessarily follow the quest line nor do you have to participate in events or experiences around the starting area. Now it may be more beneficial to do that; and in that regard I guess there could be a meta around doing that, but you could branch out proceed to other areas and do different content.[11]Steven Sharif

Starting areas (starting zones) are located in the ruined cities of the four ancient races of Verra.[2]

  • Starting areas are located near one of the four divine gateways where players spawn into the world.[2][12]
    • The Tulnar have a starting area without a divine gateway.[5][7] They have the same option of starting at any of the divine gateways as other races.[6]
    • Starting areas have some distance between them.[5]
  • Starting areas include expeditionary NPC settlements that serve as initial quest origination points.[12] Lore-wise, these settlements represent scouts that were sent ahead of the main expedition back to Verra.[14]
    • These settlements are designed to acclimatize new players entering the world.[14]
    • While it may be advantageous to do so, there is no requirement for players to play through any specific starter zone content.[11]

A problem that a lot of MMOs have is that those starting areas become just vacant of players and it's so sad because the greatest aspect of an MMO is that community that you get to experience, so one of the great things about the node system is that it really works from new player acquisition standpoint, where these nodes tend to develop larger near the starting location areas around the world; and it brings these players back to those locations if they're citizens and want services within those cities. So, as new players enter the world they're going to actually be surrounded most likely by more population because people are coming back to those larger nodes.[15]Steven Sharif

Alpha-1 starting area

Alpha-1 alpha island starting area.[16]

There's been some significant lighting changes here in this area. There's been some work on the foliage, on the trees that are available, toned down some of the ruins, rearranged some of the tents and it's starting to look pretty good.[16]Steven Sharif

The Alpha-1 starting area was set in the ruins of a Pyrian divine gateway to the south of alpha island.[17]

Alpha-2 starting area

You'll be seeing more as we get closer to Alpha Two but this will give you a little bit of insight to the capital city of the Aelan empire prior to the Exodus. This is one of the starting areas that players enter into. This will be this one of the starting areas in alpha 2.[18]Steven Sharif

Tulnar starting area

Points of interest will exist that represent Tulnar npc structures. In the similar fashion that the starting areas around divine gateways will include expeditionary npc settlements not tied to the node structures but serve as initial quest origination points.[12]Steven Sharif

Tulnar have a starting area that does not involve a divine gateway.[5]

  • Points of interest exist that represent Tulnar NPC structures in a similar fashion to the starting areas around divine gateways.[12]
Tulnar have the same option of starting at any of the divine gateways. Their civilization, though within the underrealm, has also begun to explore the surface.[6]Steven Sharif

Unlike the other races, the Tulnar won’t be returning to Verra. Instead they will be returning to the surface from the Underrealm for the first time in generations.[20]

World map

Updated Ashes of Creation map.[21][22]

The new world map in all its 1,200 square kilometer glory. So you're gonna see some names here- a little bit of a reveal of some of these locations in these areas- and you're also of course seeing similar biomes that are present as well. But more importantly what you are seeing is the orientation of these continents and these islands that are facilitating specific types of inter-continental trade gameplay; and they support the relevance of these caravans moving across the land mass to locations that will now incorporate these harbor areas, which aren't identified on the map here... But the important part was providing a lot of coastal naval gameplay between these zones and trade routes between land base.[22]Steven Sharif

Alpha-2 work-in-progress map UI.[23]

The world of Verra features an in-game viewable world map. This map is not randomly generated, and begins covered in a fog of war.[24] Players will not be able to see the world until they have explored it or gathered information about it. The world is also full of imperfect information, which will require the player to act on it for verification.[25]

For example, you may hear a rumor in a tavern that tells you the location of a cave full of weak Kobolds, but this was not accurate as the rumor was started by well-equipped bandits in order to waylay overconfident adventurers.[25]
  • Not every server will share the same map, as player decisions will vary between servers.[31][32][27]
Even though we're an open-world that doesn't mean that from a design perspective, especially with the way our economic systems work, that we will want to create Geographic choke points.[34]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.

Sanctus

Kaelar divine gateway concept art.

When this creation of Verra occurred, the Goddess of Fate and the Goddess of Creation were very close; and the Goddess of Fate essentially warned the Goddess of Creation- only the Goddess of Creation- that the Ancients and the Others- that they had not seen the last of them; and that there would be a time essentially when those forces would seek out and try to pervert the new creation as essentially a way to thumb their noses at the other gods in retribution for their defeat. So the Goddess of Creation created a separate planet Sanctus that she knew she could bridge with these Divine Gateways at a time when it was necessary for the descendants of Verra to escape their destruction.[1]Steven Sharif

Sanctus is the world where the people of Verra found their sanctuary.[37]

A long long long time ago, everybody lived on a planet called Verra. Something cataclysmic happened that forced people from that world to another world called Sanctus. Verra is a place of really high magic. Sanctus is a place with no magic whatsoever. People escaped through these portals into the world of Sanctus. They had to rediscover technology, because so much of their current technology was based on magic, so they had to figure out how to interact with the world. Thousands and thousands of years go by. A long dark age passes. This history that I just told you falls into myth and legend. After this time passes, these portals reopen and the players are going to take the part of people who are coming through those portals once again back to the world of Verra to rediscover that magic, rediscover their history, and try to figure out what happened to this world to force them out of it.[9]Jeffrey Bard

Sanctus is a key story arc, that will likely have very little revealed about it prior to the Betas.[38]Steven Sharif

Lore

The Essence is a metaphysical energy or life-force (Chi) that can be manipulated to create what could be viewed as magic. There are different planes of existence (realms) with varying degrees of strength (of magic), determined by their proximity to the Essence. The planes of existence in Ashes of Creation are connected across bridges created by the Essence, referred to as Rivers of Essence.[39][40][1]

The higher up you go in these planes, the closer to the source of the Essence you really are. And that's where you can see stronger manifestations of the magical aspects of the Essence.[39]Steven Sharif
The essence is a stream that exists across all planes of existence, but it exists at different levels of strength essentially at different levels that can be utilized; and the void is the furthest... There is a very minute amount of essence that can be found within the void. However the planes of existence that are in Ashes of Creation- they are connected across bridges created by the essence. So these ley-lines in a sense that exist within the different planes provide conduits of access and on Verra, which was a planet that was made after the ancient- the celestial battle.[1]Steven Sharif

Souls (also referred to as Mortal coils) are the conduits for The Essence to travel between the different planes of existence. This idea is an integral component of the broader features in the storyline.[39][40]

When you think about souls being a conduit, what are conduits used for? Conduits are passages: they're methods by which Essence can travel between realms, between planes. And there hasn't been any definitive understanding of just how many planes exist. We understand that there is a disparity between the planes when it comes to their connection to the Essence, and because Essence is so powerful; and it flows through these planes almost like a river. You can think that conduits help to maintain that flow and/or even exaggerate the flow; and there might be something at play, that I don't wanna touch necessarily, as to why one would want to create these types of conduits, these souls, this creation on the material plane: Something of significance.[40]Steven Sharif
  • The Essence is so powerful it flows through the planes almost like a river. Soul conduits help to maintain or even exaggerate this flow.[39][40]
Souls acting as conduits is a very integral component of some broader features in the storyline. If you think about souls being a conduit for Essence and you think of the gods as masters of the Essence: If you think of the Essence being separate from the Gods- let's say they're parallel to each other- one didn't create the other, but they coexist in this almost symbiotic form with one another: almost to the point where their manipulation of the Essence is perfection: They can perfectly manipulate it and lesser beings- and I say 'lesser' in a sense of their alignment or closeness to Essence. They're still perfecting that manipulation and some never achieve perfection almost to the degree of ascendency or enlightenment- Essence being that sort of Chi that exists. In that regard, when a perfect being such as the gods- and I'm not saying 'perfect' as the correlation between sin and not sin, I'm thinking perfect in the sense of how you can control and manipulate the Essence: That control is perfection for them.[40]Steven Sharif
  • The gods are masters of the Essence, but they are separate from it. One didn't create the other, but they exist together in a symbiotic form where the gods have achieved an almost perfect manipulation of the Essence and of "lesser beings" who exist further from the Essence.[39][40]
One of the great differentiators between mortal divine races and the gods is that aspect of mortality. And one of the ways that the divine races were created in order to interact with the Essence was through the use of a mortal coil; and that mortal coil was malleable. Your soul was malleable. It could change to adopt a greater connection with the Essence around one particular school of magic perhaps, or one type of magic that you might use Essence for. And the more you experienced that, the more adept you became with utilizing that magic. And that's because your coil would start to mold itself to best facilitate that flow of essence: whatever school of magic you were manipulating with it.[39]Steven Sharif
  • King Atrax was the first ruler of Verra to discover the purpose of The Essence, allowing the manipulation of matter and exploitation of magic for any means.[41]
When you have the story of the original Ancients, the predecessor race to the divine races, their coil began to warp and change to best facilitate Essence through the use of corruption and corrupt magic, because it was in their history that they learned the most powerful use- or at least what they believed was the most powerful use of Essence was, through corrupt magic. And that's what allured them towards it. So to give you better context about why that conduit is so important is as your base character, as your core archetype continually learns and manifests things in the world of Verra through the use of the Essence. It will continue to shape and change its conduit towards that purpose.[39]Steven Sharif
  • The Tulnar have souls and these souls act as conduits for the Essence.[42]
Now, how does the soul act as a conduit to the other races, to the other realms? Remember, that Essence is like a river that flows through the planes; and when it touches mortal coils that use it in a certain way, it has reverberations throughout the river that is felt across the planes. And that's how important the divine races are when it comes to the war over their soul, so to speak, is what impact it has across the universe.[39]Steven Sharif
  • Shape-shifting (changeling) is done so through the Essence by focusing on that specific type of magic.[44]

Read more...

Order of the Steel Bloom

The Order of the Steel Bloom was an order of Knights, specially selected by the wise Aelan queen to carry out near impossible endeavors immediately preceding the exodus.[46]

  • When the divine gateways opened, the Queen ordered her protection to leave her side and make haste to the Brighthold to ensure the success of the Lightpact's crucial mission.[46]

Formed by the wise Aelan queen as she foresaw the impending darkness, the Order of the Steel Bloom consisted of specially selected knights strong of heart and valor. The Order was essential in carrying out nigh impossible endeavors of critical import during the last days of Verra, under the direction of the beloved and revered Lady of the Rose. When the Divine Gates opened, at great personal risk to her own safety, the queen ordered her protection to leave her side and make haste to the Brighthold to ensure the success of the Lightpact’s crucial mission. The Order would not return from the command.[46]

Visuals

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Livestream, November 8, 2020 (0:00:00).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 mapportals.png
  3. Livestream, May 19, 2017 (29:25).
  4. 4.0 4.1 starting gateway.png
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Livestream, October 16, 2017 (53:58).
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 tulnar-gateway.png
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 underrealm-gateway.png
  8. Interview, July 20, 2020 (13:33).
  9. 9.0 9.1 Interview, April 20, 2018 (5:46).
  10. Livestream, March 28, 2020 (32:30).
  11. 11.0 11.1 Livestream, July 25, 2020 (1:03:03).
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 steven-tulnar-pois.png
  13. Livestream, May 19, 2017 (29:25).
  14. 14.0 14.1 Livestream, July 28, 2017 (25:20).
  15. Video, April 5, 2018 (40:08).
  16. 16.0 16.1 Livestream, March 26, 2021 (17:23).
  17. Livestream, March 26, 2021 (16:05).
  18. Livestream, May 27, 2022 (1:04:29).
  19. Video, May 27, 2022 (3:46).
  20. Livestream, May 17, 2017 (5:49).
  21. Blog - Development Update with New Map and Feature Discussions.
  22. 22.0 22.1 Livestream, August 26, 2022 (46:52).
  23. Video, January 27, 2023 (4:39).
  24. Interview, May 22, 2017 (22:54).
  25. 25.0 25.1 The mighty beard!
  26. Livestream, September 29, 2023 (1:14:29).
  27. 27.0 27.1 MMOGames interview, January 2017
  28. Livestream, September 29, 2023 (1:11:22).
  29. Livestream, May 27, 2022 (2:33).
  30. Blog: Know Your Nodes - Scientific Node Type
  31. roshen servers.png
  32. Livestream, May 19, 2017 (37:03).
  33. Livestream, August 26, 2022 (53:26).
  34. 34.0 34.1 Livestream, June 26, 2020 (1:25:11).
  35. Livestream, October 30, 2020 (1:19:13).
  36. Livestream, May 15, 2017 (30:53).
  37. Official Livestream - May 4th @ 3 PM PST - Q&A
  38. 38.0 38.1 steven-sanctus.png
  39. 39.00 39.01 39.02 39.03 39.04 39.05 39.06 39.07 39.08 39.09 39.10 Livestream, April 7, 2023 (16:42).
  40. 40.0 40.1 40.2 40.3 40.4 40.5 40.6 Podcast, November 15, 2020 (36:29).
  41. Livestream, November 8, 2020 (00:49).
  42. Podcast, November 15, 2020 (40:24).
  43. Livestream, November 8, 2020 (9:51).
  44. Podcast, November 15, 2020 (42:22).
  45. Video, October 31, 2023 (5:06).
  46. 46.0 46.1 46.2 46.3 Ashes of Creation Store: Order of the Steel Bloom.