- NPC guards are capable of being killed, but they have high skill levels, damage mitigation, and power levels.
- 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. – Steven Sharif
- Mayors of nodes can unlock higher tier NPC guards through policies or by upgrading their barracks service building.
- NPC guards may be available for hire to defend freeholds after a successful node siege. NPC guards that permanently exist on a freehold are not a planned feature.
List of NPC guards
Good actions, such as participating in civilization building, may result in a character gaining 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.
- Negative reputation may open up certain quest lines that the darker, seedier side of the world are interested in.
- 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. – Steven Sharif
- Node reputation affects access to certain node vendors, specific goods or services that they sell, and the pricing of those items.
- 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. – Steven Sharif
- NPCs will add a player to their hate list if that player heals, buffs or otherwise assists any player on their hate list.
- NPCs will react differently to different character races.
- Languages will be distinct between NPC races and in the lore.
- Certain quest givers and NPCs may only be present at nodes with certain cultural influences.
- 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. – 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.
The best was Final Fantasy 11 back in the day where you had scent, you had sight, you had magic. Like there's all sorts of different things that you had to like protect yourself against so that certain mobs couldn't see you; and you could maintain that ability to like sneak past easily... It made those monsters unique and gave them character outside of just how much damage they did to me. – Jeffrey Bard
- 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.
- Mayors are able to allocate treasury funding to hire mercenary NPCs to defend their node during sieges.
- Nodes can invest in upgrade paths that give a greater selection of roles and quality (gear level) of NPC mercenaries used for caravan defense.
- NPC mercenaries can be hired to participate in castle sieges based on the allocation made by the governing castle and how successful they have been defending their castle nodes.
- These mechanics are subject to change based on testing and priorities.
- Players can assign mercenary NPCs, but won't micromanage them, in a similar manner to pets.
- 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. – Steven Sharif
- Only combat NPCs are killable during a siege. Non-combat NPCs, such as merchants, will despawn and will respawn if the siege is unsuccessful.
- Upgrades to the node's Barracks may allow a garrison of siege NPCs to be spawned in the event of an attack.
- Mercenary NPCs can be hired in advance. They are intended to be a significant presence but not the main line of defense in a siege.
- Districts are taken by defeating a "raid boss" guard NPC in that district.
- If attackers take over a district, they gain that district as a respawn location.
- Attackers can kill the quartermasters to increase the respawn times of the defenders while reducing their own respawn times.
Defenders can assault the outposts of the attackers to hinder them.
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.
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. – Steven Sharif
- Some NPC AI behaviors may be randomly selected at the time of initial engagement causing them to make decisions dynamically during an encounter.
- Higher frequency of AoE attacks depending on how many players are participating.
- Unlock rage, recovery effects and buffs.
- Supporting other monster types or classes nearby.
- Additional adds and add classes.
- Some NPCs may attempt to seek cover behind obstacles during encounters.
- NPCs performing "idle actions" to make the world seem more alive has been discussed by the developers but is not confirmed.
- 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. – Steven Sharif
- 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. – Steven Sharif
- Livestream, February 28, 2020 (1:14:38).
- Livestream, August 31, 2023 (2:08:54).
- Livestream, August 31, 2023 (2:06:21).
- Livestream, April 7, 2023 (1:19:41).
- Livestream, August 26, 2022 (1:17:04).
- Livestream, May 19, 2017 (28:04).
- Livestream, January 18, 2018 (31:05).
- Livestream, August 31, 2023 (1:06:01).
- Livestream, December 23, 2021 (1:26:36).
- Livestream, July 28, 2023 (1:19:55).
- Livestream, February 24, 2023 (1:22:04).
- Livestream, November 17, 2017 (29:45).
- Podcast, April 23, 2018 (29:56).
- Livestream, March 31, 2022 (4:57).
- Interview, July 9, 2023 (1:35:28).
- Livestream, March 26, 2021 (54:26).
- Livestream, June 4, 2018 (29:28).
- Livestream, February 25, 2022 (1:03:32).
- Livestream, May 31, 2023 (58:25).
- Livestream, August 28, 2020 (1:41:24).
- Livestream, June 26, 2020 (59:11).
- Livestream, November 22, 2019 (1:14:23).
- Livestream, May 27, 2022 (1:18:09).
- Livestream, April 30, 2021 (1:01:10).
- Livestream, August 31, 2023 (2:09:32).
- Livestream, July 28, 2017 (36:51).
- Interview, July 19, 2020 (37:58).
- Livestream, May 19, 2017 (47:07).
- Livestream, November 22, 2019 (17:59).
- Livestream, November 22, 2019 (15:48).
- Livestream, June 25, 2021 (21:24).
- Interview, September 10, 2023 (34:51).
- About Ashes of Creation.
- Interview, June 13, 2021 (22:20).
- Livestream, July 28, 2017 (43:57).
- Livestream, May 5, 2017 (11:55).
- Livestream, July 29, 2022 (1:23:56).
- Livestream, 2018-04-8 (PM) (3:56).
- Podcast, May 11, 2018 (24:23).