Environments

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Volcano area concept art by Ricky Ho.[1] [2]

We are a high fantasy game... That means that outside of the traditional sorts of environments you're going to start seeing some pretty crazy and wild stuff that will also change based on seasons.[3]Jeffrey Bard

Alpha-1 Oasis environment preview.[5]

This is a second one of two of the large water oasis areas that we incorporated into the tropics biome.[6]Michael Bacon

There are approximately 18 biomes (environments) in Ashes of Creation.[6]

We just wanted to represent just about every biome type under the sun really and just have enough diversity over the world that like when you went from area to area you know, you really just got a contrast of different biome types.[7]Michael Bacon

List of biomes

Node influences

Racial architecture of the same Village (scena 3) node on different servers. Dünir Dwarven influence (top). Kaelar Human influence (bottom). Alpha-1 Bez umowy NDA zrzut ekranu.

The layout and architecture within a Node’s development area are determined by influential race. For example, a stage 3 Node with the majority of player contribution being Py'rai would have a Py'rai village with Py'rai architecture. Most NPCs would be Py'rai elves, and offer questlines within the Py'rai narrative.[10]Margaret Krohn

Each player’s contributed experience is flagged with their character race and other identifiers. When a Node advances, the race with the highest experience contribution determines the Node’s style and culture. This style and culture change can happen at every Node Stage. For example, if a Node advances to Level 2 - Encampment Stage and 51% of all experience was earned by Ren’Kai players, the Node will be a Level 2 Ren’Kai Node. If that same Node advances to a Level 3 - Village Stage Node, but the Py'Rai contributed 62% of all the experience earned, then the Node will be a Level 3 Py'Rai Node.[11]Margaret Krohn

Node layout and style is determined by several factors:[12][13]

  • Environment (biome) and location of the node.[14][12][13]
    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.[14]Steven Sharif
    • Nodes will adjust the local topography to fit the aesthetic and mechanical requirements of the node.[15]

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.[15]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.[13]Jeffrey Bard

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.[21]Steven Sharif

  • The rest is determined by the node's mayor.[13]

Climate

Pre-alpha winter wonderland environment.[22]

If a particular region moves into a season and that week you can't grow a particular type of good, but another region halfway across the world can grow that good; and you talk about moving those goods across regions so that they're relevant to either craft workbenches or you can sell them in the local economies: That is a major indicator of movement of goods and movement of goods carries risks; and risks can create political foes and friends... Something as simple as just a climate can have cascading consequences across the entirety of the game.[23]Steven Sharif

Some environments (Biomes) have fixed climates and others are variable.[24]

  • There will be dynamic weather that varies in intensity.[25]
    • For example: Drizzle to/from storm, or Blizzard to/from snow.

There are climate effects that occur from a buff standpoint. They can also affect skills like, let's say you're using a frost bolt in a winter climate. There's the ability for those effects to be enhanced and/or stronger in those climates.[27]Steven Sharif

During those weather events, the area of effect that the event is occurring in will likely have its climate descriptor overridden by whatever the event is specifically. So tornadoes might be windy, blizzards might be cold. And if an arctic dragon comes into a temperate climate it brings the cold weather with it; and that can be interacting with skills and abilities or other functions like farms.[26]Steven Sharif

Seasons

Ashes of Creation Seasons – First Look (Pre-alpha).[28]

We want to really make the environment immersive and actually affect gameplay.[29]Steven Sharif

Seasons affect different zones (environments/biomes) based on their location in the world.[23][29]

Winter might have a spawner that activates on a road that spawns at large fallen tree and players who see that will have an opportunity to go up and exert some type of one-time action that helps in removing that tree and it might require you know X number of people to do that before the tree gets removed; and that you know as an example is not beneficial for the transit of goods because as you know caravans require- well they don't require but they move better on roads and if that tree were present let's say blocking you know a road that led to a bridge per-se that they would have to off-road.[29]Steven Sharif
  • Different seasons may affect access to various roads.[20][32][29]
    • Pathways that are open during summer may be closed during winter.[29]
    • Seasonal affects may cause obstacles or blockages to the transit of goods via caravan.[20][32][34]
    • Water turning to ice in winter, enabling players to walk over the water but blocking access to what is underneath.[29]
      • Ice will make roads bumpy and slippery.[35]

Seasonal changes

Seasonal change teaser.[23]

These are just teaser images but wait until you see the video about this tech and how seasons are introduced within the world. It is something that I think is going to be a very staple and unique aspect of the Ashes of Creation MMORPG. Its world is going to be seeing the drastic differences that are introduced visually for each biome in each environment when these cycles of seasons are introduced.[23]Steven Sharif

Seasons change on a weekly basis during scheduled downtime.[36]

  • Each month in real-life will effectively be a full seasonal rotation in the game.[36]
  • Environmental seasons are not to be confused with PvP seasons, which last for six months.[37]
In Ashes of Creation the world will change on a regular basis. Zones will progress in a seasonal cycle, which will alter the very nature of the environment around you. Snow may block pathways that are accessible in warmer months, spring may encourage creatures otherwise unseen to come to the surface, and fall might be the only time that certain crops thrive. This cycle can then take in the state of the world’s Nodes and shift depending on their progression.[34]

Day and night cycle

Early Alpha-1 dynamic lighting example.[38]

This has been some of the work done on the dynamic aspect of not just the clouds and the skyline, but also the different times of days that will be experienced through the world... We are not going with a 'baked' lighting aspect; we're going with a dynamic lighting aspect. So it can be a little bit costlier, but at the same time it really adds a type of mood that you would come to expect with the aesthetic you are seeing here in a game like Ashes of Creation.[39]Steven Sharif

There is a day/night cycle in Ashes of Creation.[41][42]

Fifteen minutes may be one hour in game time.[45]

Darkness

Pre-alpha Mage's detection utility skill casts light and reveals magical explosive hazards.[46]

Darkness as an environmental obstacle is being considered as part of the game mechanics.[47]

How deeply we take this though is really going to come down to how much fun it actually is, which we’re still in the process of discovering. As long as we can nail some interesting mechanics, and it’s not more frustrating than fun, make sure you bring your torch.

Artistic style

Ashes of Creation will have a higher graphical fidelity than most western games. It will not be too stylized or "cartoony".[48]

We can push the limits a little bit on the graphical fidelity, especially using Unreal Engine 4... My desire was not to see very cartoony games. I'm not a big fan of highly stylized art.[48]Steven Sharif

Alpha-1 environment

Map of Alpha-1 testing zone.[49][50] Kredyt obrazu: Axiom: Angelcry

The Alpha One map including nodes, dungeons, quest givers, POI, teleporters, and camps will be explorable! Note that this is only a small portion of the world of Verra.[51]

Alpha-1 testing tropical zone featuring a war beast and a tribe of pigmy goblins.[52]

This is a rather large tropical area; and what we use some of the creatures for is kind of like establishing character for different parts of this tropical place. So that even though it's the same biome, it feels different when you are going from place to place based on what's there and how those things are interacting with the environment.[53]Jeffrey Bard

Alpha-1 testing takes place in a zone to the north west of the world map.[54] This zone has many islands and a mainland area.[55]

Elements

There will be elements (such as Air, Fire, Water, Lightning) in Ashes of Creation each with their own resistances.[65][66][67]

  • Other elemental influences may include Darkness, Light and Planar.[67]
  • Elements may have more influence in certain seasons and climates. For example, frost abilities may be stronger in winter. This affects both PvE and PvP.[27][68]
  • There may be ley lines and strong magical places in the world that change or alter the way spells work.[69]

We've discussed a little bit about how the seasons and biomes will react with different types of skills. Like if you have a fireball and it's summer it might be a little bit different. If it's winter and you have a frost ability it might be different.[68]Steven Sharif

We want to get a nice spread of abilities that that are influenced by what's going on your zone.[68]Jeffrey Bard

Landmarks

200 foot tall Pyrian statues in Alpha-1.[70]

Landmarks are scattered throughout the world, allowing players to judge their position on the map.[70]

From a lore perspective these statues have been around for a long time; and they are representative of the civilizations that existed once on this world before.[70]Steven Sharif

Major visual landmarks. You can look all the way across the horizon have an idea where you're going or where to meet friends or where to meet just based on these huge landmarks in the world.[70]Mat Broome

Underrealm

Alpha-0 Underrealm environment.[71]

One of the aspects of the Lore behind the Tulnar was that in the pantheon of gods that exist- having foretold the future through the Goddess of Fate to the Goddess of Creation- these areas in the Underrealm were created in to allow for refuge for which the gods knew would be left behind that couldn't make it to Sanctus. So that was a pre-thought there in the creation of the Underrealm to facilitate that realm where refugees could seek.[72]Steven Sharif

Alpha-0 Underrealm Sharptooth cat mob concept art.[71]

We plan to have the Underrealm really pervasive throughout the game itself, a part of the open world. It will introduce some unique elements such as the type of monsters you see, the type of crops you can grow and houses you can have.[73]Steven Sharif

The Underrealm is a rich environment where bio-luminescence abounds in the fauna and flora that exist here. These deep caverns and underground valleys provide new destinations for civilization to develop. Bringing the node system into the depths of the world may awaken darker creatures than the surface.[74]

  • The Underrealm is estimated to be 100 km2 in area.[75]
    • The underrealm is not contiguous across the entire map. There will be areas that are obstructed by chasms or other features.[76]
    • The location of Underrealm entrances throughout the world is focused around natural geographic choke-points that exist above ground. This provides alternate subterranean routes that can be used by caravans, raids, and other player activities.[76]
    • Not all entrances to the Underrealm will be open at the same time. This can shift dynamically (based on node states) that cause different routes to open up, which may be more or less advantageous than other routes.[76]

The expansiveness of the Underrealm itself is quite large. It does persist across across a lot of the playable game area that's above ground. So there are alternatives in the Underrealm for passages and traversal throughout the world.[77]Steven Sharif

We've also talked about node states affecting what openings are open and what things are closed. So not all entrances to the Underrealm will be open at the same time. So that configuration can shift and different routes will open up and be more advantageous than other routes.[76]Jeffrey Bard

Environment

Alpha-0 Underrealm environment.[71]

Underrealm environments are vast.[78]

  • Caravans should be able to operate as they do above ground.[78]
  • If there's insufficient room for Dragons, another mount type may be utilized.[78]
  • Burrowing mounts are being considered as an alternative to flying mounts in the Underrealm.[79]

One of the important aspects of color play is going to be the distinguishing factor between different Underrealms and the regions that exist in the world: Their color influences set them apart from different regions.[80]Steven Sharif

Seasons above ground will affect the Underrealm.[78]

  • This will not be a one-to-one correlation: for example, it won't snow in the Underrealm.
  • Tunnel flooding and other effects will be related to the weather above ground.

The seasons above ground will kind of inform what happens underneath. I mean, it's not going to be a direct one-to-one correlation right, not like it's going to be raining in the underworld, but you will see the effects from above happen down below: You might find tunnels being flooded.[78]Jeffrey Bard

Coastal and island nodes

Pre-alpha naval concept.[81]

There will be nodes along the coast and on islands.[82]

  • These nodes will have specific water oriented influences and abilities, services, questlines, that relate to the seas.[82]
  • Coastal nodes change the spawn tables of the nearby water content and can also trigger specific events.[83]
  • Harbors in coastal nodes will have quest lines that relate to the ocean and nearby islands.[83]
  • It may be possible to siege a coastal city by sea.[84]

Island chains are part of Ashes of Creation naval content.[85][86]

Underwater

Underwater content will be accessible, not cumbersome.[89]

Treasures may be obtained through fishing and by exploring naval content.[91][92]

Underwater nodes

Underwater points of interest that have NPC structures may appear to be like cities, but they will not be nodes.[93]

  • There won't be nodes underwater or in the water.[82]

Foliage

Environments 3D renders.

Foul and ravenous spirits have been bound to these stinking flowers[95]

House plants may be available as housing decor items.[96]

  • The developers have discussed potentially adding mechanics to potted plants that yield unique items if the plant is properly maintained.[96]

One of the big directives for the environment team- and I know Mia has been amazing in this regard- is each of the biomes really need to have a a fairly eclectic selection of plant life, of vegetation, of foliage. These help to create the atmosphere that you are really immersed in this different climate zone and that that's obviously something that we as players enjoy when we get to see a significant diversity of plant life, because it does lend itself to the immersive nature of the world.[97]Steven Sharif

Destructible environments

Destructible environments is a core element of how players interact with the world, in Ashes of Creation.[99][100]

We want destruction to be a very core element of how players make their way through the world.[100]Steven Sharif

There will be ways to repair destructible structures (such as walls and gates) and also repair (or re-craft) siege weapons that were damaged during sieges.[101]

Artwork

Videos

See also

References

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