Ashes HQ

Development Update: May 27, 2022

Discussion & Outline Summary

Community & Reminders

  • They are spotlighting 1 YouTube comment per development update. 
    • The comment led Steven to talk about potential admirative tools that aid with large raid and party communication. Most of these features will be live for A2.
  • Cosmetics swapping over on June 8th, 2022, 11AM PST.
  • Dev Discussion on RNG is still open on the forum for feedback, the next Dev Discussion will be on Time Dedication.
  • The Content Creator Program is still open for applications.

Studio Update

  • The studio has been on a hiring extravaganza. Five new people started the past week (Monday May 23rd). 
  • Wall mounts and design is almost done in the studio.
  • Dev Diaries will be returning soon. 

Environment Update

  • The environment team has developed biomes that permanently change dynamically, effected by in-game system, it can change the economy and rotations of goods in the world, and skill interactions, and many other design related things within the game. The synergy of looks and gameplay is what they are looking to achieve.
  • Alpha 2 Seasonal & Weather Systems Preview 
    • What was displayed was the tech for A2, this means there is still a way to go from a quality perspective, a performance perspective, and a detail perspective. 
      • What is required to transition into between seasons:
      • Terrain materials which will accept snow at a different rate
      • Particle effect that moves with the character camera
      • Volumetric Fog that appears at different rates
      • Volumetric Clouds (in the sky) which reflect to seasonal changes
      • Wind factor which varies between seasons which includes the creation of dust devils, or snow drifts.
      • Rain will usher in springtime. 
      • Particle effects can range between precipitation like snow, rain and hail to bees and butterflies, and leaves in the fall.
      • Flowers appropriate for each season were created. Using Wales as a baseline.
      • Ambient sounds change
      • Animal’s shift (like seasonal coat color mounting) depending on the time of the year
      • Foliage bloom during spring, and decay in fall. 
      • Visibility distances may change depending on weather effects like rain, snow or fog. 
    • Triggers that cause seasonal changes are not just time related, but can also be event related on the server, like raid bosses appearing, or relics being acquired or activated. This would be of interest to players because weather and seasons affect skills and abilities, crops and gatherable, vehicles, mounts and ships, creatures, loot tables, creature behavior, resistances, weaknesses, or synergies and even targeting (AoE range).
    • Currently seasons are on a 1-week timeline (this may be changed to 2 weeks) and transitions are set for a few hours. The transitions are meant to be almost invisible to the naked eye. 
    • Currently geographic locations also play a factor, such as raining more often during the winter vs snow in others. 
    • Unreal Engine 5 has enabled more detailed transitions such as allowing the snow to build up more quickly on flat services and fill in crevasses later or saturating the earth as it melts creating dynamic puddles.
    • Weather affects the economy in many ways, not just by limiting the types of gatherables during specific seasons, but also large impacts like freezing rivers which would disable merchant ships trade routes (although this is still discussion and not implemented yet), or a mountain pass that is closed to caravans during the winter.
  • Weather and Season Systems Q&A
    • Will the vegetation spawn be static, or will it look different after every iteration as seasons change?
      • Steven believes that they unmask certain vegetation on certain cycles or certain seasons, in order to get some variance. 
    • Does the system affect node resources?
      • It may not directly affect certain resources, like veins of ores, but there may be blockages to cave networks that house those resources. It may directly affect other resources like herbology, or other plant based gatherable. Crops may need to be planted to ensure they can mature to the gatherable stage before a weather system adversely affects the crops. But not every biome will experience the same type of effects of the seasonality of the world, like the desert biome may not have snow in the winter, but it may have much stronger winds that could damage crops. 
    • Will there be animals that are more likely to come out during different seasons?
      • Absolutely, seasons and weather affect various spawners in given areas.
    • Follow up question: Does this allow for herding of animals.
      • Leashes are relevant and as such herding into different areas are not planned. However, there is the concept of herds, an example Steven gave was a specific herd of golden sheep, that occasionally spawns on a specific hill only during springtime that could be harvested/gathered. 
    • Is the grass going to move out of the way, or look like it was stepped on?
      • There will be player collision with plants, but this may not be on each individual blade of grace. There are also footprints and footsteps which can be seen on snow.
    • Can we get snow effects on our armors in the winter?
      • There are performance implications when trying to show weather effects on armors, the team is looking into it, but performance is paramount.
    • The Capital city of the Aela empire prior to the exudes was shown.

Character Art Update

  • The Kirin seasonal (Summer and Winter) variations were displayed 
  • Cloak of the Seaside Maw (April 2019 – May 2019)
  • Royalty outfit – Braver of Worlds Kickstarter 
  • Forest Druid 


  • Will PvP activities with deactivated death penalties reward players with any experience? 
    • Yes, there will be a diminution reward on that experience over a period of time but you can gain experience through participating in PvP events.
  • What changes are you discussing/implementing internally with regards to combat that will make the combat in Alpha 2 different from the combat in Alpha 1? 
    • There are too many to list, but Steven listed a few:
      • Additional archetypes
      • Additional functional ability support
      • Augments systems 
      • New protype root motion / split motion for basic weapon attacks
      • Expansive itemization table
  • When it comes to your system for Ship Hijacking, how can we take control of another player’s ship, and do we get to keep that ship? 
    • Yes, you can hijack it and destroy it, but you cannot keep it. This will be expanded on in the future. 
  • A Verra year cycles every 4 weeks in real time and 1 hour in game might be 15 mins in real life according to the wiki. Does that mean there’ll be 4-day cycles within a real day? 
    • Those numbers may change but the change is meant to harmonize with the harvestable and crop mechanics so that there is a relative cyclical influence on the in-game material economy.
  • What if any effect will biomes and the change in weather have on dungeons, raids, and other non-instanced events and their loot? 
    • Weather events can affect skills and abilities, it may restrict access to particular areas, it may affect the mechanics of the boss (the types of skill trees it favors). But probably not the loot tables, since they are predicated on the monster type you kill, and the monster type is predicated on the season, or advancement of story arcs and nodes. 
  • Can a corrupted player use the family summons system to call their family?
    • Steven did not want to comment on this just yet as it is still a work in progress. This will get tested out in A2.
  • How will ground target spells work underwater?
    • Prototyping was done a few months ago from the design team, template-based abilities may have a scrollable wheel to change 3D space for the effect, but they are aware this may be cumbersome to use and thus it is still a work in progress.
  • When a player goes to hire NPC’s to guard their caravan, do they hire generic NPC titles like Warrior/Archer/Mage/cleric, get a random assortment of NPC’s or actually get to hire Archetyped NPC’s like Tank/Summoner/Cleric? 
    • The caravansary building or the barracks may have upgrade paths for the node to invest into that gives a great selection of roles that you can hire for your caravan or for quality of items for the guards that come as mercenaries might have available to them. There are “Hero Mercenaries” which are the top of the unlock path, which are named people, only available for certain caravans.
  • Is enchanting itself an artisan profession itself or something else entirely?
    • Enchanting is not an artisan profession. It is created by a few different professions which participate in the creation of enchantment scrolls. These scrolls will primarily be interfaced with the Scribe profession, but once the scroll is created it will be in the open market and players may use them to enchant weapons and such. 

Outline Contributors: Skylarck The Botanist, Simurgh

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