- Divine gateways are where players first arrive in Ashes of Creation.
- Players can choose their starting gateway. This choice is not restricted by their choice of race.
- The divine gateways were created by the Goddess of Creation in response to a warning from the Goddess of Fate that The Ancients and The Others would return from exile and seek retribution for their defeat at the hands of The Seven gods.
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. – Jeffrey Bard
- Starting areas are located near one of the four divine gateways where players spawn into the world.
- Each race has its own starting area.
- Starting areas include expeditionary NPC settlements that serve as initial quest origination points. Lore-wise, these settlements represent scouts that were sent ahead of the main expedition back to Verra.
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. – Steven Sharif
Tulnar starting area
- Points of interest exist that represent Tulnar NPC structures in a similar fashion to the starting areas around divine gateways.
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. 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.
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.
- 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.
The map will have geographical choke points (such as Mountains) that are not traversable by players.
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. – Steven Sharif
- The Verran planet is not flat. You may not see a curvature on the horizon in this, but from a lore perspective the universe in Verra does adhere to some basic physics and laws of physics that we experience in the real world, which means it is not flat. – Steven Sharif
- There will not be world wrapping in Ashes of Creation. – Steven Sharif
- The Goddess of Creation created the planet Sanctus along with the Divine gateways to allow the descendants of Verra to escape their destruction at the hands of the The Others and The Ancients.
- Very little will be revealed about the Sanctus story arc prior to the betas.
A long long long time ago, everybody lived on a planet called Verra. Something cataclysmic happened that forced people from that world to another world called Sanctus. Verra is a place of really high magic. Sanctus is a place with no magic whatsoever. People escaped through these portals into the world of Sanctus. They had to rediscover technology, because so much of their current technology was based on magic, so they had to figure out how to interact with the world. Thousands and thousands of years go by. A long dark age passes. This history that I just told you falls into myth and legend. After this time passes, these portals reopen and the players are going to take the part of people who are coming through those portals once again back to the world of Verra to rediscover that magic, rediscover their history, and try to figure out what happened to this world to force them out of it. – Jeffrey Bard
The story of creation tells us of a race of beings known as The Ancients. Created in the likeness of what was once The Ten. The Ten imbued all of their qualities into one race to have stewardship over all of creation. The power of the Ancients grew and a rift divided the Ten in how to accommodate their new creation. Three of the Ten separated from the others and began to teach the Ancients the Secrets of the Essence. When the Seven learned of this, a great celestial battle ensued. Eons passed and you watched as the fight continued within the celestial kingdom. Some say it was the fight that created the stars and heaven we see today. With every blow between the Ten a star was born. When the battle was complete, the others and the Ancients were banished by the Seven into the Void. The Seven found the error of their ways and decided to split their qualities into four races instead of one; and this is how the Humans, Elves, Orcs and Dwarves came to be. You watch as the Seven created Verra and placed each of the races within their respective locations. As the story came to an end, a dark figure at a distance grew closer to you. Until all you could see was the darkness. And you wake up in a sweat after a nightmare. – Steven Sharif
The essence is a stream that exists across all planes of existence, but it exists at different levels of strength essentially at different levels that can be utilized; and the void is the furthest... There is a very minute amount of essence that can be found within the void. However the planes of existence that are in Ashes of Creation- they are connected across bridges created by the essence. So these ley-lines in a sense that exist within the different planes provide conduits of access and on Verra, which was a planet that was made after the ancient- the celestial battle. – Steven Sharif
The Essence is a metaphysical energy or life-force (Chi) that can be manipulated to create what could be viewed as magic. There are different planes of existence (realms) with varying degrees of strength (of magic), determined by their proximity to the Essence. The planes of existence in Ashes of Creation are connected across bridges created by the Essence.
- The Gods exist on the plane of the gods, which is the most connected to the Essence.
- The material plane is not the highest in terms of proximity to the Essence. Verra exists in the material plane.
- The Void is the plane that is the furthest from being connected to the Essence. Only a minute amount of essence can be found within the Void.
- There hasn't been a definitive understanding of how many planes of existence there are.
Souls acting as conduits is a very integral component of some broader features in the storyline. If you think about souls being a conduit for Essence and you think of the gods as masters of the Essence: If you think of the Essence being separate from the Gods- let's say they're parallel to eachother- one didn't create the other, but they coexist in this almost symbiotic form with one another; almost to the point where their manipulation of the Essence is perfection: They can perfectly manipulate it and lesser beings; and I say 'lesser' in a sense of their alignment or closeness to Essence. They're still perfecting that manipulation and some never achieve perfection almost to the degree of ascendency or enlightenment- Essence being that sort of Chi that exists. In that regard, when a perfect being such as the gods- and I'm not saying 'perfect' as the correlation between sin and not sin, I'm thinking perfect in the sense of how you can control and manipulate the Essence: That control is perfection for them. – Steven Sharif
When you think about souls being a conduit, what are conduits used for? Conduits are passages; they're methods by which Essence can travel between realms, between planes. And there hasn't been any definitive understanding of just how many planes exist. We understand that there is a disparity between the planes when it comes to their connection to the Essence, and because Essence is so powerful; and it flows through these planes almost like a river. You can think that conduits help to maintain that flow and/or even exaggerate the flow; and there might be something at play, that I don't wanna touch necessarily, as to why one would want to create these types of conduits, these souls, this creation on the material plane: Something of significance. – Steven Sharif
Souls are the conduits for the Essence to travel between the different planes of existence. This idea is an integral component of the broader features in the storyline.
- The gods are masters of the Essence, but they are separate from it. One didn't create the other, but they exist together in a symbiotic form; where the gods have achieved an almost perfect manipulation of the Essence and of "lesser beings" who exist further from the Essence.
- The Essence is so powerful it flows through the planes almost like a river. Soul conduits help to maintain or even exaggerate this flow. Detail surrounding this has not yet been revealed but is said to have some significance in the story.
- King Atrax was the first ruler of Verra to discover the purpose of The Essence, allowing the manipulation of matter and exploitation of magic for any means.
- The Tulnar have souls and these souls act as conduits for the Essence.
- Shape-shifting (changeling) is done so through the Essence by focusing on that specific type of magic.
- Any form of changeling or shape shifting that's capable is done so through the Essence. There’s a few ways that a soul can become attuned to a specific type of magic in manipulating the Essence; and overtime as you manipulate the Essence in the same way, your soul can start to develop a tendency to gravitate towards that type of magic. So in that sense- those shape shifters and/or changelings that are capable of changing their form- they do so because they have mastered to a degree that type of magic; and their souls have become attuned to that type of magic. – Steven Sharif
- The Ancients themselves are more sedentary in their physical form and less capable of instantaneous shapeshifting. Their physical manifestations as Lieutenants, captains, generals, and raid bosses were honed over time due to their perversion of the Essence through corruption.
- They are literally bred into a role and that role has perfected over time because through the delineation of specific subsects of the soul of the conduit that this race has, those different castes become attuned to different roles. That's why they are traditionally in a caste society. – Steven Sharif
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