Ashes HQ

Development Update: April 29, 2022

Discussion & Outline Summary

Community & Reminders

  • They are spotlighting 1 Youtube comment per development update. 
    • The comment led Steven to explain that certain cosmetics will only be in-game achievable.
  • Cosmetics swapping over on May 11th, 2022, 11AM PST.
  • Dev Discussion on Hair Styles is still open on the forum for feedback.

Studio Update

  • The studio is growing. Since the start of the year, they have hired 23 people to the team. 
  • Internally they are on the final stages of getting graphics/photos up before recording videos of the studio/team.
  • IS completed their first internal milestone of the year in April. Not much details on it, but it will be discussed in the next few months during live streams. 

Design & Engineering Update

  • Node team have been modifying the node layout to facilitate building creation/location, this includes Nodes at level 4 and 5.
  • Work on nodes include having variable topography across a node. 
  • The AI system of the nodes have had a significant amount of work put into them in order for the creatures to be able to weigh certain actions within their behavior trees.
  • Combat has been a focus during the last several months. Example: new animation sets for dual wielding daggers for the assassin class. This has been in order to flesh out the major revamp they have been working on for the combat, since most of the feedback from A1 was with respect to combat. 
  • They are waiting for combat to be able to set the precedent before releasing any new information on it, because they are aware how critical the combat system is to the game itself.
  • A lot of work has gone into mount (navigation) controls (including flight and gliding controls), buoyancy of ships, vehicle movement physics (siege weaponry) which will all be seen in A2.
  • Itemization and crafting have had significant work in order to properly represent their true form in A2. This includes additional gameplay layers for crafting/processing. One layer includes surveying. Which is a component of gather which looks at land management, such as when you are draining resources from a specific location, what type of effect that has on the land, and at what pace can you harvest resources without having deleterious effects on the land. These deleterious effects may have impacts on future resource gathering for some period of time and causes the movement of the players that are gathering these goods from the environment that they cannot always just do some in one particular area as the land management begins to degrade. This will encourage movement across the world to new areas that might not be as perturbed.  
  • There has been considerable amount of work that has come out of the design team with respect to service building, node superpowers, relics, the reliquary system and the upgrade paths available for each service building. 

Event Systems

  • Events are ways to introduce content in a progression-based way, where the world is reacting to player activity.
  • In the event system there are certain predicates that must be satisfied before a particular event can begin. These events are very wide ranging in what they could be, such as a plague, a natural disaster (forest fire or volcanic eruption), a response from a NPC faction or species of monsters (like goblins sieging a node).
    • Goblins, like other creatures, have social organizations amongst themselves, with varying identities depending on the type of goblins. 
  • There is always a world clock in the background that needs to be managed, or else the world will affect your day-to-day activity which will force you to respond.
  • One of the most common events are calendar events that can be server wide, based on the duration of a real world or in-game holiday. This does not mean they are out of immersion; they will be contextualized within the world of Verra. 
  • Some events that spawn can lead to node attacks; enemies can have certain hate lists on certain buildings that a node may have access to when they attack a node. That building choice might relate to something that is indicative to that storyline for that event, or it could be something that is pivotal to the defense of the city in order to weaken them for potential player attacks afterward which will direct the enemies to a specific building to attack depending on the reason for their attack.
  • POI events tell the story of the specific location, and its importance within Verra. These may be precursors to node attacks themselves, it could address the story of nearby threats as antagonists to civilization in general. 
  • Enemies can only grow stronger as the node grows, becoming outputs for the exiled or rivals of the existing order. These enemy outposts may have influential inhabitants of the world. You might have a leader of the speakeasy which may have information that if you do not address could be shared with your enemies causing other triggered events.
  • There may be PvP driven events within ‘battlegrounds’, i.e. small skirmishes that may lead to a war. There may be capture points during node and castle fights where there are concurrent running objectives during an event where the player must dispatch groups simultaneously in order to address the objectives in order to complete one type of event or success condition. 
  • Notifications are sent to players for players to opt into some events. However, they may not be normal notifications such as a UI window popping up on the screen, rather there might be trees falling in the forest which may require investigation. If no one investigates the ‘notification’ what was a local event may turn into a regional or even global event which have visual cues that are difficult to miss, like a massive blizzard which destroys crops, roads, and caravans. 
  • There are also event levels. Content is scaled with the level of the content that triggers it. For example, if an event takes place in a zone which has a population of average level 25 then one of the trigger conditions might be that 10 monsters of level 25 have been killed recently in that zone and the level 25 event will then spawn additional content designed for level 25 players. These events are not always going to be endgame, they are going to be appropriate for the content in which the predicate system is informing, but they could also be something completely top level that is introduced at a lower-level area which will bring player traffic.
  • Events are driven by a state machine. There are 5 types of states that exist for events: In progress, active, inactive, on cool down, disabled. This informs what types of elements and what stage of activity things are coming online based on what event state is currently active 
  • There are world conditions like levels, season, calendar, service building activation, relics, completed raids, and can all inform events to trigger.
  • If those things are triggered (or ignored), other events may have cooldowns, or concurrent events may trigger. 
  • This type of system is only one of the many ways the world interacts with the players, there are many other systems that will feel immersive, organic and reactive to player agency within the world. 
  • In-game events may not be perfectly cyclical in Verra like they are in the real world. (Example: Christmas happening once per 4 seasons in the real world, but not necessarily once per month for Verra (since seasons are weekly in Verra).

Environment Update

  • The environment team has been working on the biomes and architecture for A2. 
  • The team shared concept art of the Py’Rai archerite within a biome.
  • In-game screen shots were displayed of the Aela runes within the Riverlands.
  • There will be cut scenes to show the story elements of the fall of the world, and as such a deep understanding of the parent races’ architecture needs to be understood. This architecture also influences the 2 subraces of each parent race.
  • The team showed teaser images of the seasons within the world. Next live stream (potentially) a video will be released on the tech used for seasonal effects of each biome/environment. This is not just visual changes, but mechanical variations such as crop growing, which can in turn have profound changes on the economy at a larger scale. 

Character Art Update

  • The team shared multiple artworks including:
    • 3D T-Pose of the Sleepseer’s Raiment cosmetic (Jan 2020 – Feb 2020)
    • Steed of the Frayed Corpse work in progress (Oct 2020 – Nov 2020)
    • Amethyst Boughbite work in progress (Jan 2021 – Feb 2021)
    • Roc Hawk work in progress (Feb 2022 – March 2022)
    • A Scarab mount work in progress
    • Scorpion Boss work in progress 


  • Will the custom text chat command /e, /emote, /me, or some variant of it be in the game for roleplaying? This is different than action emotes or emojis in game
    • Yes, you can chat in the chat box.
  • Can I equip my ship with a ram and plow into other ships (and maybe raid bosses) to inflict damage, while not completely wrecking my own ship?
    • Yes, there might be particular ship components and/or classes that excel at that type of activity.
  • Village nodes and higher-level nodes give out certificates for freeholds to be placed in their ZOI. If I place my freehold in a vassal node, can I get citizenship in the parent node?
    • The intent of the freehold system is to work both scenarios, depending on where you procured the certificate from, as long as in the Parent or the vasal area you could be a part of either, you give the declaration when you lay down the freehold. But that may change as this is currently being worked on by the team.
  • Will there be interactions with pets/mounts, such as petting/hugging/playing with them.
    • Steven would love to have this, a long time ago animation did work on this. In A1 there were animations where riders would pet the horses they were riding. Those would be separate actions that you could potentially do as an additional emote which interfaces with a mount or pet you have active. 
  • Will we be progressing through an overarching story arc and chapters of a narrative, or will it largely be explorative and contained in smaller regional questions dotted throughout the world?
    • Both, there will be a healthy dose of both of those. The approach of the narrative team is that there is a meta story which is influenced by regional stories and outcomes depending on how players progress in their personal stories, which could be class, race or node based, but they all support the meta narrative.
  • Will each node have a complete and unique path for a player to get to max level?
    • The way that the nodes influence spawners around the area, if it was high enough level, it would have relevant experience grants that you could likely just live your life at a particular node. However, that would probably not be the most effective means of leveling.
  • If an economic building is damaged in a monster coin event, will it have economic consequences in regions other than the one within which it was destroyed.
    • Potentially yes, depending on what the service building was that got disabled. For example, if the service building that got disabled was a black smiths building that housed a workbench, which was the only work bench in the region capable of crafting a tier 5 quality equipment, then that would have economic ramification, as those pieces that are already readily available of that same tier would raise in price because there would be a disruption within the supply chain. The supply-demand issues could expand regionally or even globally. 
  • Since you need to be at a port or harbor to summon large ships, if a ship is destroyed while out at sea will a player need to slowly swim back to shore or be stranded?
    • There is no recall ability, there are consequences to you losing the means of your mobility. As such it may take you time to get where you need to go, or suffer experience debt.
  • If a person is a citizen of a node when a siege scroll is dropped on the node, can they move their citizenship before the siege occurs?
    • For the most part, yes, they could do that. There are certain policies that the node could have been active at the time that might exacerbate the penalties for departing the city as a citizen prior to a siege taking effect, but during the declaration period. That is an answer that has a variable component to it.  
  • Can we expect the underrealm and Tulnar starting areas to be more built-up civilizations wise, compared to the other starting zones? Whereas this race has been there the entire time and the others are just now returning to the ruins of their past civilization?  
    • It’s important to note that the Tulnar’s locations within which they took refuge after the exodus, that portion was protected. Steven did not want to answer any more in order to avoid leaking any lore. 
  • Will gliding tier 2 mounts have to sacrifice other stats or ability slots to keep Tier 1 mounts relevant?
    • No, Tier 1 mounts are relevant, and this will be addressed within the stable systems and how mounts are accounted for. Generally, you will have active mounts, the active mounts are determined based on you having that active mount as part of a slot within the stable that you are within the area of. What that means is that mounts are relevant in battle, if you lose your mount in battle, it is a detriment, there are ways for you to bring that mount back there are active potions that you can have available to do fast resurrections to reduce that cooldown potentially and you can also interface with the stable itself if you want to swap that mount out with a different mount. But Tier 1 mounts will have certain types of ability that are specific to the tier 1 mounts and the Tier 2 Mounts will have certain abilities that are specific to the tier 2, in some case those will be horizontal, and others they will be vertical power gain, so it is dependent on the situation. 
  • How do you plan to balance professions to keep them equally useful and relevant at the endgame?
    • Balance is something that is done through testing, through iterations, and through watching player behavior. When it comes to architecting the system itself and identifying areas within which certain professions excel and how they interacting with axillary systems, their interconnectivity across the artisan system as a whole, the important part is to identify how the interconnectivity lives with the other professions within the artisan ship system and what type of reliance you have on particular  professions to complete the path of crafting, or introduction of new items into the economy. One of the things needed to do is not create arbitrary and one-off professions that are not part of that integration and holistic view of the profession system. Right now, there are a total of 22 professions, and there are masteries within only 2 of those to start for any one individual character. That does not mean you cannot meet intermediate professions across the whole, but complete mastery is restricted to only 2 or 3. But this will all be play tested.

Outline Contributors: Skylarck The Botanist, Simurgh

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