- Players will not be able to kill non-combat NPCs such as quest givers and vendors.
- During sieges or during monster events those venders, the non-combat NPCs, are usually provided for through a particular building type, unless they're general NPCs. If they're general NPCs currently, I think what we're doing is we're despawning them if they're not combat-oriented and if they are a service building like a constructible, if that building becomes damaged, then the NPC is disabled post the event, or post the siege until the building is repaired; but they're not present to be killed as part of the siege event. If they're a combat NPC, such as a mercenary or like a captain of the guard whatever: they're present, they can be killed and they have ramifications for doing so. – Steven Sharif
- Some NPC movements and behaviors are dictated by time of day or other rotational cycle, others will be static.
- Where we place the NPC rotations that are relevant- those would be rotations that exist perhaps within an hour, not so much within a day so-to-speak. So there might be five minutes of some changing of an organization's acolytes in a temple or something; and that might be because obviously there's a quest related to that rotation. – Steven Sharif
- NPCs will behave differently based on a player's reputation. Otherwise, branching dialog trees are not currently planned for NPC interactions.
- Q: Can you influence NPCs or mobs when interacting with them by using your knowledge of their unique personalities/routines/lore or general knowledge of the world state?
- A: We haven't planned for any type of branching dialogue personalities that give insight to those types of things and I don't believe that's planned for our narrative design, no. There is however some potential faction-based reputations that can be had and those reputations might send the NPCs down different behavior trees; and that is something that is incorporated. But if I understand the question correctly it's more along the lines of catering specific dialogue responses that will send down different dialogue branches and that's not planned. – Steven Sharif
There will be a mix of different monsters and difficulty levels throughout the world that are tied to the development of nearby nodes. As nodes advance, mobs will present new and increasing dangers that players can participate in.
- In the world naturally there will be locations that are going to have a mix of different levels of monsters and difficulty levels; and then those spawn tables relate to the development of nearby nodes. So as nodes develop they'll be changing the spawn tables around them to reflect their further development in the world, presenting new and more difficult dangers that the players can participate in. – Steven Sharif
- Not all creatures are immediately hostile to players. Some creatures may hunt other creatures.
- We've talked about this a little bit in the past when talking about taming and/or certain types of like creature gatherable resources there are herds that exist out there. There are big game that exist out there, where they're not going to aggro and attack you per-se. Also lower level monsters and certain type of like social monsters may not attack you off the bat. – Steven Sharif
- We will have flying monsters but essentially what that means is there's going to be rotations either in the behavior tree that might make them inaccessible to targets, or they might do some like swooping attacks; they might come and land on the ground and fight you. But generally monsters are going to be accessible from on the ground, so we're not creating content for the limited number of individuals who are going to have access to a flying mount. – Steven Sharif
- Certain world bosses and elite monsters will path/roam throughout the world. Other mobs will have leashes that will cause the mob to reset if it moves too far from its point of origin.
- Leashes are relevant. There's other gameplay implications that happen when you're able to actually move populations around. We don't want to really give that to the players perspective. – Steven Sharif
- In general, mobs will not leave footprints or cause screen-shake; but larger monsters and bosses may do. Screen shake will be customizable in user interface settings.
- There is something to be had there about those types of screen-shake effects. We want them to be present when we're emphasizing certain things, but we don't want them to be a nuisance, or annoying, or too plentiful; and having screen-shake apply to every step would probably be too abundant. Will players have control over those on-screen type effects? Yeah I think so. I think that's something we want to provision as a customizable option for players to be able to turn off, because it can be somewhat nauseating for certain groups of people and a distraction from what's happening in the world. – Steven Sharif
- Animated Armor Mobs
- Caravan masters
- Commodities vendors
- Construction foreman
- Elder dragons
- Haunted Armor
- Hired NPCs
- Living statues
- Mercenary NPCs
- NPC guards
- Naval NPCs
- Player stall NPCs
- Quest givers
- Requisition agents
- Siege NPCs
- Tavern NPCs
- War Beast
We've mentioned this before about what the cosmetics do, but all of those pre-order pack items allow us to create the world. They're the NPCs in the world. They help us make NPC variants. The clothing and costumes are costumes that we'll be putting on NPCs. You're actually helping us create the world. – Margaret Krohn
NPC racial interaction
- 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
- Node-related NPCs
- Higher tier node NPCs (such as NPC guards) may be available when certain service buildings (such as the barracks) is upgraded by the mayor, or when the node achieves certain relics, or specific node policies are enacted.
- Mercenary NPCs can also be hired ahead of certain events.
- Player-hired NPCs
- NPCs that exist on freeholds may be available when certain freehold buildings are upgraded relating to artisan progression.
- There will be different costs associated with hiring higher tier NPC assistants.
- NPCs hired by players are able to be customized via the character creator. Node-related NPCs are not able to be customized.
- Those are specific types of NPCs that have specific functions; and for example, on the freehold, we've always talked about in the past having certain NPCs that are capable of rotating crops or planting and/or watering, doing certain process-oriented functions that are available to the user to acquire. We still have those plans. Those plans will follow a similar pet system functionality, core system functionality, where they'll have actions that can be dictated by the user. – Steven Sharif
- Q: How advanced is it going to be? How advanced is going to be the system of hiring and customizing?
- A: Relatively advanced. I think there's a few paths that you can take when it comes to training up those types of NPC aids. What things that they can do. I think there's going to be different tiers and costs associated with higher level assistance on the freehold. But the same is true for mercenaries that nodes can hire, or castles can place with regards to sieges and/or wars and/or events. Like you have a very base functioning level of mercenaries with set of equipment and skill rotations and behavior trees that are possible at a fundamental level. And then as you upgrade the node's barracks, as you might upgrade- you might achieve certain Relics that you gain or enact certain policies that allow you to dial up the stats of those mercenaries. The same thing is true for the NPCs that can exist on freeholds, except those might be more predicated to service buildings that relate to artisanship. And that might be one of the reasons why it's beneficial to own a freehold in one particular node versus another- is based off of what amenities are now available to your freehold as a result of that node selection. – Steven Sharif
List of hired NPCs
Based on node type and progression, players will be able to hire NPCs to work as farmhands on their freehold farms. Players will be able to command these farmhands in-game as well as potentially offline via an application (mobile app) or web interface.
- 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
- Tavern NPCs sell food, drinks, and other crafted items that have been made for that tavern. Consuming these items will grant buffs for a period of time, providing the character remains in proximity to the tavern.
Player stall NPCs
- Player stall NPCs may be an "image" of the player.
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 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
- NPCs will have voice acted audio greetings.
- Narrated quest lines are not currently planned for launch. It has been stated that adding voice acting into the game at a later point will be a fairly cosmetic change.
- Certain bosses and creatures will have voice lines along with other audio cues.
- AI voice acting is not currently planned.
- Is it difficult to add voice acting later? No, it's definitely not... It's a fairly cosmetic change. – Steven Sharif
- Voice acting is a fun luxury to have, but it is not only a costly one, but it is also one that takes a lot of logistics. – 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
2023-09-13 2023-09-04 2020-11-09 2020-08-01 2020-08-01 2018-04-29
- Livestream, February 28, 2020 (47:45).
- Livestream, July 31, 2020 (1:54:45).
- Interview, February 7, 2021 (31:37).
- Interview, July 9, 2023 (1:32:45).
- Livestream, March 31, 2022 (1:13:00).
- Interview, July 8, 2020 (57:46).
- Livestream, November 22, 2019 (17:59).
- Podcast, April 11, 2021 (15:55).
- Livestream, July 28, 2023 (1:19:55).
- Livestream, February 24, 2023 (1:22:04).
- Livestream, December 23, 2021 (1:26:36).
- Livestream, March 26, 2021 (54:26).
- Livestream, July 31, 2020 (1:45:40).
- Livestream, June 26, 2020 (1:14:42).
- Livestream, May 26, 2017 (24:33).
- Video, May 31, 2023 (4:17).
- Video, May 31, 2023 (5:01).
- Livestream, June 25, 2021 (1:28:02).
- Interview, September 10, 2023 (28:15).
- Livestream, May 27, 2022 (1:00:23).
- Livestream, January 27, 2023 (1:10:12).
- Livestream, May 31, 2023 (43:04).
- Livestream, May 31, 2023 (40:52).
- Video, June 30, 2022 (24:18).
- Livestream, May 31, 2023 (45:26).
- Livestream, May 28, 2021 (1:49:24).
- Livestream, April 30, 2021 (6:46).
- Types of Events on Verra.
- Podcast, April 23, 2018 (29:56).
- Livestream, March 31, 2022 (4:57).
- Interview, July 9, 2023 (1:35:28).
- Livestream, February 28, 2020 (47:45).
- Interview, July 9, 2023 (1:37:34).
- Livestream, January 29, 2021 (1:11:29).
- Livestream, October 30, 2020 (1:04:59).
- Livestream, August 28, 2020 (1:41:24).
- Livestream, June 26, 2020 (59:11).
- Livestream, November 22, 2019 (1:14:23).
- Livestream, June 4, 2018 (14:13).
- Livestream, May 10, 2017 (16:36).
- Livestream, November 17, 2017 (11:00).
- Livestream, May 9, 2017 (28:57).
- 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).
- Video, March 31, 2022 (18:47).
- Livestream, May 31, 2023 (58:25).
- Livestream, May 27, 2022 (1:18:09).
- Livestream, April 30, 2021 (1:01:10).
- Livestream, May 10, 2017 (35:16).
- Livestream, August 31, 2023 (1:06:01).
- Livestream, February 28, 2020 (1:14:38).
- Livestream, November 17, 2017 (29:45).
- Livestream, June 4, 2018 (29:28).
- Livestream, February 25, 2022 (1:03:32).
- Interview, October 20, 2018 (2:22:09).
- Livestream, 2018-04-8 (AM) (25:12).
- Forums - Livestream Q&A - May 31, 2023.
- Livestream, 2018-04-8 (AM) (24:14).
- 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).