The return

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Adventurers arrive on Verra through great divine gateways.[1]

For those of you who are unaware of the lore of how you get into the world of Ashes of Creation, essentially actually Verra was your ancestral home and 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.[2]Steven Sharif

The world in Ashes lay devoid of civilization for centuries. Until now.[3] What was once buried has risen again. The gateways have opened, reigniting the link to the ancient world in each of the four once great capital cities of the ancient world.[1][4]

Vast expeditions were sent through the gateways to discover this beautiful and perilous magical realm.[1]

Ancient evils lie in wait for hapless adventurers.[1]

The Ancients exist within the Void until there is a conduit that opens for them to enter into the material plane, so a lot of the Harbingers that still exist on Verra as dungeons essentially is where the Ancients are capable of pushing into the material plane; and they can continue to do so under the guise of the effects of corruption as it spreads; and there are events that lead to the spreading of corruption that players will have to fight back against. These events that occur, players are going to need to participate to keep the intrusion on the material plane back.[5]Steven Sharif

Players arrive in Verra to explore, rebuild and repopulate their place of origin. Ancient treasures and wondrous adventures await those who dare to disturb the dark remnants of evil that inhabit this land.[1]

  • Harbingers that exist on Verra as dungeons are where The Ancients are capable of pushing into the material plane. They can continue to do so under the guise of the effects of corruption as it spreads. There are events that lead to the spreading of corruption that players will have to fight back against. When these events that occur players will need to participate to keep the intrusion on the material plane back.[5]

From now on, the choices of these adventurers will influence how the story unfolds.[6]

I heard a lot of people asking was you know from a technological standpoint where do the people returning stand in relation to what their civilization was before the fall and I think that in some regards they haven't quite even attained what their people were able to achieve before the exodus.[7]Steven Sharif

Verra

The name of the Ashes of Creation world is Verra.[8]

Verra was created to house four separate... divine races and they're called divine races because the remaining seven gods imbued their characteristics within each of these different races. They didn't put all of them into one and make the same mistake. They had focuses really that these races took essentially.[2]Steven Sharif

World map

Ashes of Creation map.[9] The circles on the map are divine gateways that are located in the ruined cities of the four great races of Verra. The diamonds are the starting settlements for the returning races.[10]

If you have tuned into our live streams and update videos, you may have caught glimpses of Verra. The world is very large and meant to hold around 10,000 concurrent players. With elaborate trade routes and sea-play, the Verran landscapes must provide complex obstacles and intricate passages between its regions. Alpha One will be the first test phase in the actual world map of Verra. For the first time ever, our community will step foot on the world we hope you'll call home.[9]Steven Sharif

The original Ashes map from my pathfinder world of Ashes made 10 years ago. Obviously some adjustments had to be made for the mmorpg. But the main two continents and their points of interest have a lot of the same.[11]Steven Sharif

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.[12] 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.[13]

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.[13]

When information is gathered, or the player has successfully explored an area, points of interest are marked on the map.[14]

  • These points of interest are determined by Node progression; and not every server will share the same map, as player decisions will vary server to server.[14]

In addition to node progression being a factor on map generation, zones in Ashes of Creation will cater to all levels.[15]

The map will have geographical choke points (such as Mountains) that are not traversable by players.[16]

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.[16]Steven Sharif

Starting areas

Alpha-1 preview reworked alpha island starting area.[17]

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.[17]Steven Sharif

Alpha-1 early preview starting area.[18]

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.[19]Steven Sharif

Starting areas (starting zones) are located in the ruined cities of the four ancient races of Verra.[10]

  • Starting areas include expeditionary NPC settlements that serve as initial quest origination points.[20] Lore-wise, these settlements represent scouts that were sent ahead of the main expedition back to Verra.[26]
    • These settlements are designed to acclimatize new players entering the world.[26]
    • While it may be advantageous to do so, there is no requirement for players to play through any specific starter zone content.[19]

A problem that a lot of MMOs have is that those starting areas become just kind of 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.[27]Steven Sharif

Divine gateways

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.[2]Steven Sharif

Divine gateways are portals located in the ruined cities of the four ancient races of Verra.[10]

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.[28]Jeffrey Bard

Sladeborne

Pre-alpha Sladeborne NPC race. This was a once-beautiful race of cloud-dwelling bird people who were struck by the great calamity long ago.[30]

Sladeborne are a corrupted NPC avian race in Ashes of Creation.[31][30]

  • The Sladeborne were first revealed as a mob in Alpha-0.[30]
  • When the Apocalypse occurred, the sentient avian races didn't think to go into the Underrealm. Their first inclination was to take to the sky. The Sladeborne race is indicative of what happened to those who chose not to take refuge in the Underrealm.[32]
  • Sladeborne tribes.

There are bastions that existed of the avian-like races in AoC on Verra before the Apocalypse and before the remaining major and minor races fled to the Underrealm, that held out for a period of time. But there's specific reason why in A0 one of the first races you experienced as monsters or NPCs was an almost humanesque avian bird race. This particular race is I think indicative to what happened to those races because they chose not to go to the Underrealm and there are specific war reasons as to the leaders of those minor races that chose not to do so, which will be revealed in future stories and questlines.[32]Steven Sharif

Player driven narrative

The world of Verra will be the same on each server, but Nodes will develop differently. Different servers will have different narratives. Things that happen on one server may not happen on another.[33]

We want as many people as possible to experience the main server Narrative. These will branch at different scales, but largely at the personal level. Where things change is at the Node level – different parts of the story will be unlocked based on where and when Nodes grow. Unlocking a part of the story in a certain way locks out progression of the story in a different way. You’ll see different antagonists, different NPCs, and different calls to action depending on what’s happening with the server at that time.[34]

It kind of redefines what the players will experience in an MMORPG to come into a wilderness that is devoid of really any structure outside of what the community creates themselves; and then what can be created can be changed, if they want to experience a storyline that's been seen on another server, but you know you're fighting a dragon because you're near a mountain and the other server's fighting a Kraken because they're near the coast and you want to fight that Kraken because of its drop table. If you want to meta it or because you just want that under your belt: to be the server first to take out that Kraken and you have yet to develop the node there, you know it's incumbent upon you to manifest that in the game.[35]Steven Sharif

Storyline quests

Storyline quests can have multiple stages. These quest stages can actually be failed.[36]

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.[36]Steven Sharif

Story arcs

Story arcs drive one or more quest lines in Ashes of Creation.[39]

  • Personal quest lines.
  • Cultural quest lines.
  • Regional quest lines.

All of the events are based around storytelling. All of the the narrative quests are based around storytelling. All the organizational quests are based around storytelling. You know the game is built from a story basically, so we want to make sure that there's context and relevancy for all of the actions that you're doing in the game.[40]Jeffrey Bard

The overarching narrative is that players are the returning children of Verra. They will not be characterized individually as "saviors".[41]

Even player driven mechanics will still have story components. There will be a reason why the player driven mechanic is available or required of the player; so you know every system that's created touches a story.[40]Steven Sharif

Every stage a node develops it's unlocking narratives, storylines, it's changing the spawn population of the area around it, changing what bosses exist, it's triggering events where you may have legendary dragons attack the city. It's basically writing the story of the server based on the actions and determination of the players. So, you may experience a dungeon one month earlier and have a completely different story that relates to this location the next month, because something has changed either geopolitically or from the node standpoint.[42]Steven Sharif

Certain story arcs can be unlocked through the bulletin board system. Certain requirements would need to be met in order to access story arc quests.[43]

Racial quests

Quests may be based on a character's race.[44]

Different quests may relate to who the primary cultural contributor is to a node. This won't lock out content, but will add flavor to the quests.[44]

There might even be different directories of the quest that exist for specific races, and even though you're sharing a quest to kill a boss, if you're human and I'm an elf, I will have a different arc potentially that leads in a different direction than you, even though we took the same quest; and this can relate to who the primary cultural contributor is to a node unlocking different arcs for cultures that share the primary culture of a node - not that locks out content but it gives a flavor in a different direction so that not everything is so cookie cutter.[44]Steven Sharif

Race matters because narratives have paths that also are influenced based on the primary contributing culture to the node... If you're a Niküa and you have you're in a Niküa node that's predominantly Niküa, you're going to have certain services and/or abilities as a member of the Niküa race that other races may not have access to... They may have alternative quest lines, but they won't have specific ones. Now those specific Niküa quests will then relate to the meta-narrative that's present in the world and they'll start to direct some of that meta-narrative; and that'll be beneficial for your kind because it will unlock certain content for your race that other races haven't unlocked yet. So there is an incentive there to see progression along that line now in order to curb the progress of a dominant race.[45]Steven Sharif

Quests that are race specific, title specific, or guild specific will likely be less than 10% of the total number of quests. 90% of quests should be able to be shared by everybody.[46]

World history

The history of each server will be tracked and visible to players.[47]

We're gonna keep track of the history of the world so that we can tell people the story up to the current day. A player who's brand new, who's come in at the six-month mark can take a look at each server, what each server has done, how each server has tackled the storyline; and they can decide for themselves what community they want to join; what version of the world that they want to take part in.[47]Jeffrey Bard

Languages

Languages in Ashes of Creation may refer to:

  • Language-specific lexicons in the game from a lore and immersion standpoint. These do not have real player-to-player implications.[48]

Roleplaying

Backpack sockets (slots).[50]

A big component of the MMORPG that - half of that you know acronym is RPG role-playing game. And in order to role-play you need to be able to represent kind of what your character is doing in that world and you know part of what animation is doing is creating these sockets on the let's say the belt or the back that you know can plug in certain types of props or items that are created by the character team, like Carson, you know might be a scroll tube, it might be a potion, it might be whatever: Those players will have the ability as we've discussed in the past will have the ability to select what they want to be represented in those sockets and then animation will make sure that jibe well in movement.[50]Steven Sharif

There are different systems that allow stories to be told in Ashes of Creation.[51]

A MMO lives and breathes on its community and we don't really want to give short shrift to any one of those types. All of them are important: the RPers are important, the people who just want to hang out in the Inn and talk are important, they all add to the game and so we want to make sure that we take care of all of them... You can run a business based on RPing.[55]Jeffrey Bard

Respawn lore

First pass (work-in-progress) death animation by Jim Sanders.[56]

Jim and the awesome effects team right now are working on actually putting in place the real death effects and rebirth animation effects; and part of that is on death your body disintegrates into ash and leaves behind a pile of ash which will incorporate some of that material loss that people are talking about. But that will be the interactable- that is that pile of ash.[56]Steven Sharif

As players enter into the world of Verra they are empowered with the spark of life that comes from the Goddess of Creation. This spark houses a portion of what represents their soul and their conduit to The Essence.[56][57]

  • When a player dies they disintegrate into ashes, in accordance with the mythology of the cycle of life, death, and rebirth that is associated with the celestial avatar of the Goddess of Creation, the phoenix.[56]

The reason for why respawning occurs, as you guys know, the avatar of the Goddess of Creation is the phoenix; and the phoenix obviously has some very stable mythological lore to it with regards to the cycle of life and death and rebirth; and that type of thing. As you enter into the world of Verra you are in a way empowered with the spark of life that comes from the Goddess of Creation herself, and in that sense you're able to house a portion of what that represents in your soul and your... conduit to the essence.[56]Steven Sharif

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Unreal Engine Interview, 23 May 2017.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Livestream, 8 November 2020 (0:00:00).
  3. Ashes of Creation - A world with consequences.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Interview, 20 July 2020 (13:33).
  5. 5.0 5.1 Livestream, 8 November 2020 (12:47).
  6. A reactive world - Nodes.
  7. Livestream, 16 October 2017 (17:09).
  8. Video, 4 September 2017 (1:16).
  9. 9.0 9.1 Blog: Creative Director's Letter
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 mapportals.png
  11. original ashes pathfinder map.png
  12. Interview, 22 May 2017 (22:54).
  13. 13.0 13.1 The mighty beard!
  14. 14.0 14.1 MMOGames interview, January 2017
  15. Livestream, 15 May 2017 (30:53).
  16. 16.0 16.1 Livestream, 26 June 2020 (1:25:11).
  17. 17.0 17.1 Livestream, 26 March 2021 (17:23).
  18. Livestream, 28 March 2020 (32:30).
  19. 19.0 19.1 Livestream, 25 July 2020 (1:03:03).
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 steven-tulnar-pois.png
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 Livestream, 16 October 2017 (53:58).
  22. 22.0 22.1 underrealm-gateway.png
  23. 23.0 23.1 tulnar-gateway.png
  24. 24.0 24.1 Livestream, 19 May 2017 (29:25).
  25. 25.0 25.1 starting gateway.png
  26. 26.0 26.1 Livestream, 28 July 2017 (25:20).
  27. Video, 5 April 2018 (40:08).
  28. Interview, 20 April 2018 (5:46).
  29. 29.0 29.1 Livestream, 26 February 2021 (1:06:20).
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 Livestream, 3 September 2017 (15:40).
  31. 31.0 31.1 Livestream, 26 March 2021 (47:14).
  32. 32.0 32.1 Podcast, 15 November 2020 (1:03:17).
  33. Livestream, 19 May 2017 (37:03).
  34. Interview: Ashes of Creation on Building Their Virtual World, 13 April 2017.
  35. Livestream, 22 May 2017 (28:02).
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 Interview, 20 October 2018 (2:36:25).
  37. Livestream, 25 July 2020 (1:50:20).
  38. Livestream, 26 March 2021 (1:12:51).
  39. Livestream, 18 January 2018 (39:08).
  40. 40.0 40.1 Livestream, 30 May 2019 (1:18:16).
  41. Livestream, 17 December 2019 (1:10:30).
  42. Video, 5 April 2018 (35:01).
  43. Livestream, 31 October 2017 (29:50).
  44. 44.0 44.1 44.2 Podcast, 23 April 2018 (29:56).
  45. Interview, 11 May 2018 (1:00:19).
  46. Livestream, 26 July 2019 (1:13:23).
  47. 47.0 47.1 Interview, 20 April 2018 (9:20).
  48. steven-lore-languages.png
  49. What languages will Ashes of Creation be in?
  50. 50.0 50.1 Livestream, 30 May 2019 (1:09:13).
  51. 51.0 51.1 51.2 51.3 51.4 51.5 Livestream, 17 May 2017 (44:42).
  52. 52.0 52.1 52.2 52.3 52.4 Interview, 7 February 2021 (55:22).
  53. Livestream, 29 January 2021 (1:20:05).
  54. Livestream, 28 July 2017 (37:25).
  55. 55.0 55.1 Video, 5 April 2018 (44:06).
  56. 56.0 56.1 56.2 56.3 56.4 Livestream, 26 March 2021 (1:07:33).
  57. Podcast, 11 May 2018 (51:39).