- It is about mythology and discovering what truths mythologies are talking about and finding out what really happened on this world so long ago; and that's part of that discovery process; and we want people to feel that throughout the game, not just in terms of lore but in terms of the world itself. – Jeffrey Bard
Story arcs drive one or more storyline quests within the game. Story arcs branch into different stories with multiple possible endings depending on the quest objectives that players complete during each chapter.
- It is possible for some storylines to relate to a darker/evil path, if a character should choose.
- We're keeping lore very close to the chest and the reason for that is because it is very rich. It is diverse. It will have applications outside of just the MMORPG. We intend to take it much further, but I want it to be something that the players get to reveal themselves, that's not just handed to them and then the experience is lost. They should feel when they're experiencing this that it relates to them on a personal level. – Steven Sharif
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 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, referred to as Rivers of Essence.
- The higher up you go in these planes, the closer to the source of the Essence you really are. And that's where you can see stronger manifestations of the magical aspects of the Essence. – Steven Sharif
- Plane of the gods (Celestial plane). This is where the Gods exist, and is the most connected to the Essence.
- Ethereal plane.
- Material plane. This is where Verra exists.
- 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.
- 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
Souls (also referred to as Mortal coils) 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.
- 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
- The Essence is so powerful it flows through the planes almost like a river. Soul conduits help to maintain or even exaggerate this flow.
- 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 each other- 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
- 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.
- One of the great differentiators between mortal divine races and the gods is that aspect of mortality. And one of the ways that the divine races were created in order to interact with the Essence was through the use of a mortal coil; and that mortal coil was malleable. Your soul was malleable. It could change to adopt a greater connection with the Essence around one particular school of magic perhaps, or one type of magic that you might use Essence for. And the more you experienced that, the more adept you became with utilizing that magic. And that's because your coil would start to mold itself to best facilitate that flow of essence: whatever school of magic you were manipulating with it. – Steven Sharif
- 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.
- When you have the story of the original Ancients, the predecessor race to the divine races, their coil began to warp and change to best facilitate Essence through the use of corruption and corrupt magic, because it was in their history that they learned the most powerful use- or at least what they believed was the most powerful use of Essence was, through corrupt magic. And that's what allured them towards it. So to give you better context about why that conduit is so important is as your base character, as your core archetype continually learns and manifests things in the world of Verra through the use of the Essence. It will continue to shape and change its conduit towards that purpose. – Steven Sharif
- Now, how does the soul act as a conduit to the other races, to the other realms? Remember, that Essence is like a river that flows through the plains; and when it touches mortal coils that use it in a certain way, it has reverberations throughout the river that is felt across the plains. And that's how important the divine races are when it comes to the war over their soul, so to speak, is what impact it has across the universe. – Steven Sharif
- During the Apocalypse, The Ancients created monstrosities and perverted nature with corruption, which is the negative aspect of The Essence.
- Shape-shifting (changeling) is done so through the Essence by focusing on that specific type of magic.
- Corruption is a representation of The Ancients' magic: The Ancients hatred. The Ancients desire to strike back at the creation of what their the gods who banished them to the void have tried to accomplish on Verra. And so corruption is this influence of The Essence that permeates around locations in the world and tries to pervert what that creation really is. – Steven Sharif
- Corruption was brought to Verra by the Harbingers, which are comet-like celestial bodies powered by a very strong source of magic.
- Corruption in the world manifests as a result of player activity.
- Events and story arcs can lead to the spreading of corruption that players will have to fight back against.
- Corruption is present in corrupted areas/zones that evolve with node progression and story arcs.
- Corrupted areas do not confer corruption onto a player. Only PvP related activities lead to player corruption (in the flagging system).
- Corrupted resources are variations of resources that are only available in corrupted areas or during certain story arcs.
- What does corruption do as it seeps in through the world? It seeps in a way that's responsive to player progression. So as the nodes develop, as the world becomes more civilized by society, going out and standing up these cities and these nodes and whatnot, corruption responds to that. It is an equal pushback that it's trying to achieve. And it's up to players to thwart the advancement of that corruption through achieving certain story arc quest lines, through killing certain bosses, through, participating in content that relates to that corruption seeping into the world. But corruption is not all bad, because corruption changes spawners and it changes populations and it changes resources that become available- unique resources... So there is a relevance- meaningful component of why that corruption would want to be interacted with from the player's perspective. But it's a push and pull situation. That's really what corruption is intended to provide, push and pull between the advancement of society and what was there that's more feral. – Steven Sharif
- Corruption is intended to spread through wilderness areas in the world. It will not impact the freehold system.
Pantheon of gods
The ten deities within Ashes of Creation formed a pantheon of gods that existed in a realm outside of the material plane. There was a celestial struggle among the gods that fractured them into good and evil. Some gods influence the corrupt side of beings that exist in the Universe. It is possible through questing and player decision to join or worship those gods.
- The gods are an active part of the story; and each of the cultures have their own interpretation of the whims and desires and focuses of the Gods. – Steven Sharif
- The Others are three of the ten gods who embraced teaching all facets of The Essence (both good and evil) to The Ancients, and elevating them to the plane of the gods.
- The Seven gods' opposition to the Others resulted in a great celestial battle. The Seven were able to defeat the Others, banishing them and the Ancients to The Void. They went on to create four divine races and split their qualities between them.
- The Gods are capable of reaching into the material plane through the souls of their divine beings. In the case of The Seven these are the four great races and their descendants.
There were these pantheon of gods that existed in a realm outside of the material plane that Verra exists in and they were really beings of what's called The essence. The essence is essentially this almost metaphysical energy or life-force that can be manipulated to create magic and/or what we would we would view as magic; and different planes have different degrees of strength when it comes to their proximity to the essence. The material plane is not the highest on that on that scale of being close to to the essence; and the gods exist on a plane that is the most connected to the essence. – Steven Sharif
- Goddess of Love.
- Goddess of Creation.
- The Phoenix is the celestial avatar of the Goddess of Creation.
- Goddess of Fate (Norlan).
- God of Hope (Resna).
- God of Truth (Shol).
- The sphere of influence of the three "Other" gods has not yet been revealed.
- The Ancients learned from The Others how to use The Essence to achieve immortality. This was a pure form of immortality, more akin to the godhood that exists among the Pantheon. This immortality prohibited them from encompassing undeath in the manner of King Atrax.
- The Ancients were imbued with all of the traits of the Gods, whereas the four parent races of Verra had those attributes spread amongst them.
- King Atrax unwittingly alerted the Ancients to the location of Verra in his efforts to discover and exploit The Essence.
- The Ancients arrived at Verra through the Harbingers, which are comet-like celestial bodies powered by a very strong source of magic that essentially acts as a bridge between The Void and the Material plane where Verra exists.
You're going to see lieutenants, captains, generals, and raid bosses and they're all going to take different forms because their whole perversion of Essence through the corruption is to take creation on the material realm, that the Pantheon of good Gods did, and twist and bend it to the corruption that exists within the Essence, because they view that as a more powerful form, a more raw and arcane form of what magic is meant to be used for. There's no point in these false constructs of morality when utilizing and harnessing the power that comes from the Essence. That is a social construct that was created by inferior gods, according to the Others; and it limits the ability of their creation to really capitalize on what the Essence is to be used for in its pure, innate nature. – Steven Sharif
- The Ancients' race exists in a caste-oriented system because the Essence has a profound effect biologically, physically, and visually on the appearance of the creatures that are manipulating it and are corrupted by it.
- Grunts are the peons or soldiers on the front lines who are specifically geared toward combat, or magic utilization, or specific environments or climates.
- Lieutenants have wing structures and more asymmetrical appearances.
- Captains and generals are also ranks in the caste system.
- Large raid bosses and/or world bosses are monolithic in their appearance and unlike what standard creatures look like. These are huge, imposing creatures.
The gods... wanted to represent their qualities, their characteristics, their attributes within creation with the creation of something, so they started with a race that are now known as The Ancients; and they imbued them with all of their qualities. Essentially now that that turned out to be a mistake because with those types of qualities all in one species there was a a pride that happened- a desire to become more; and that led a little bit of conflict between the Ancients; and actually there was a partition created between some of the gods within the pantheon that embraced the idea of introducing the Ancients as part of essentially their plane of existence and teaching them the ways of the Essence, in all of its facets: not just what can be used for good, but also what could be used for evil as well. And three of the gods split off and went against the quorum that was established about not interfering with the Ancients after they started this down this road of learning more of the essence and how to manipulate it; and these three gods are known as The Others. So the others really embraced teaching the Ancients knowledge of the essence that they had learned through their eternal existence; and this caused a celestial battle to occur; and the pantheon of the Seven were able to defeat the others; and they banished the Ancients and the Others from the material plane and from the plane of the gods to the void which is the furthest from being connected to the essence. – Steven Sharif
- Religion is intended to be a motivator, not an aesthetic.
- Choosing a religion enables players to walk a light or a dark path through their choice of questlines and other actions.
- There will be questlines. There will be certain actions that players are capable of taking to perhaps pursue the darker side of this metaverse so to speak. – Steven Sharif
Sometimes games in the past have tried to shy away from heavy emphasis on religion because of the parallels that can occur between what is in the real world and this fantasy realm. I don't really subscribe to that theory. I think that religion plays a very significant role in the story of what Ashes of Creation is about and it is very much this almost monolithic idea of good vs. evil; so that is really at the crux of what the overarching narrative will be in the game; and I'm not trying to pigeonhole players into "everyone has to be good", like I said earlier there will be opportunities for players to deviate from that, should they so choose to roleplay in that regard. – Steven Sharif
- The progression of the Tulnar- while they are still the staples of what were once the primary deities of the good pantheon remained for the Tulnar, over the time they existed and evolved into the society that they are at the return to Verra. It's much more similar... to the way the Creole religions advanced, with using components of Christianity as well as Voodoo and other smaller, more "paganesque" religions; and incorporated them into one. To that degree, you can correlate the way that society around the Tulnar has this almost combination of what were pagan beliefs from the minor races as well as the introductions of the major beliefs and religions from the major races, because they all came together in the Underrealm and survived in that regard. So you’re gonna see naturally a combination of those two things. – Steven Sharif
Orders of the Seven
- The Order of hope is an Aelan human order based in the capital city of Aela. The patron deity is Resna.
- The Order of fate is a Kaivek orc order headquartered in the capital city of Ren. Patron deity is Norlan.
- The Order of truth is a Pyrian elven order headquartered in the capital city of Amera. Patron deity is Shol.
Within the temples of the seven there exist different levels of organizations that call on only the most devout followers to serve. Depending on the follower's skills, services could mean many things. For those among the followers who hold a certain set of skills, there are the orders of the seven. Each of the orders answers to a different hierarchy within the various grand temples of the seven that are found throughout Verra. – Steven Sharif
- Even though these orders are from different temples and religions of the primary gods, their goal was to work together to subvert the aspirations of The Others and The Ancients and those who seek to pervert The Essence through the means of corruption.
- Even though they have different focuses and reasons why their followers worship specific gods, at the end of the day, they're all a Pantheon of good. So there's a reason for them to work together to subvert the goals and/or aspirations of the Others and the Ancients. And those who seek to pervert what the Essence is capable of through the means of Corruption. – Steven Sharif
- There are key individuals within the Lightpact and within the religions that have a longer objective that ties into the overarching metanarrative, in terms of the reason for the return to Verra.
- Standing against the heralds of corruption, the Lightpact once carried the hopes of all Verrans on their shoulders. Their flames would ultimately be dashed on the rocks of betrayal and destruction. Corruption, death, and evil now grasp and consume the light that once led the way. With the re-emergence of the Divine Gates, will the beacon of faith be set ablaze once more?
Verra is a world with rich and diverse cultures. Much of its important history has been dominated by the major races. Humans of the coast and plains, Orcs within the hills and the marshes, Elves in the forest and the riverlands, and the esteemed Dwarves of the mountains. The major races have held dominance through countless wars and skirmishes between the lesser races of Verra. Decades may pass between these flareups of violence. There are many minor races on Verra. Some of the minor races exist in makeshift villages or tribes if you will. Some of the major villages among the minor races are comprised primarily of the Giants, less reputable sects of Human, Gnomes, and Halflings. The Halflings are not Halflings in a traditional sense but actually half-bloods of different races. – Steven Sharif
Wandering the darker places in the world lie truly sinister abominations of creation. The great churches of civilization often dispatch heroes of the state to eliminate these threats to mortals. There currently exist four great nations on Verra. This is 25 years roughly before the fall: The Aelan Empire, Pyrian Kingdom, the Kaivek Protectorate, and the nation of the Dünzenkell. There was not always only four great nations. Long ago the races were more divided into many nations and city states. – Steven Sharif
In the 7,000 years of recorded history, wars upon wars were fought. Some for land, others for resources, many for beliefs. Royal houses stood and fell over the years. Some now long bereft of lordship. Many city states exist in Verra. Some self-governed bastions of democracy and republics alike. Others are vassal states at the behest of their benefactors. – Steven Sharif
- The Riverlands biome was the ancestral home of the Aelan and is the present day home of the Kaelar.
- Following The Great War of the Undying with King Atrax, the Aelan people would form the Aelan Empire.
- Hundreds of years before the first Harbinger appeared in the Verran sky, under the rule of King Fentis Lyneth VIII, there lived a great Aelan explorer named Doren Greyshore. Doren sailed the first ships to the shores of Erinthia, where he established one of the wealthiest guilds the 10 seas had ever seen: The Greyshore Company. Their motto - to this day - still holds true: "The sails of diplomacy are driven by the winds of trade, within the seas of opportunity."
Deep in the mountains of Verra legend tells of a forge created by the gods, from whence all Dwarves are originated. Fabled to be the first created of the major races, the Dwarves are said to have arrived on the continents with ships made of stone and steel. Dwarven smiths and craftsmen are found far and wide across Verra. The center of the Dwarven race is the nation of Dünzenkell, found deep in the northern mountains. Dwarven society tends to be heavily matriarchal and their clans existing under the oftentimes eldest matriarch. Dwarves are closely connected to one-another by alliances forged between family guilds. The Dwarven child is marked at a young age with his or her guild sigil. Some dwarves banished from Dünzenkell or having chose to walk a path alone will often have their sigls burned from their skin. – Steven Sharif
The Dünzenkell nation, deep within the mountains of Verra exists the oldest nation in the world. The Dünzenkell have been known as many names over the ages, but only one name has graced the highest mountain, within which their capital has stood since the beginning of recorded history: Dün. The Dwarves of the Dünzenkell rule through a council of guilds. A royal family is chosen once every 200 years by this council to rule. Currently the right to rule falls on the shoulders of King Grimlay. It has been nearly 400 years since a king has lead the Dünzenkell. Traditionally this role falls to the matriarchs of the family. Expeditions are often sent into the Underrealm from Dün; and there many believe lies the source of secrets among the Dwarves and their success with mastering artisanship. Untold magic lies deep within Verra. It's source not known to many. Dünzenkell has long benefited from this source though. It has fueled the expansion of the Dwarven kingdoms throughout the northern mountains. – Steven Sharif
During the great calamity that befell Verra, the inhabitants of Dünheim elected to remain in their mountain keep. This didn't work out well for them. In the wake of the destruction many artifacts and treasures were left behind.
I was a child when they first appeared in the night’s sky. At first there were three distinct lights. Not quite the brightest in the sky, but they were bright enough. My mother told me that they were a sign from the Gods, that the world was about to change. She had a sense for these types of things. A long line of women in my mother’s family were Oracles. Written on one of the many tablets in the Great Halls of King Grimlaey, is the story of my Great-Grandmother, the Royal Court’s Regent Oracle, and how she foretold the rise of the Undying during the Great War.
As the days grew to months, and months into years, the lights in the night’s sky grew in number. The priests in the temples began to refer to the lights as Harbingers. Upon my graduation from the Master Stonecutters University, the lights numbered 16. Each passing month, the lights grew in brightness and size.
It didn’t take long for things to change in Dünheim. Families that I had grown up with, began to move away from the city in the heart of the Mountain. Travelers became less common, and temple services were filled every day with new converts seeking answers about the Harbingers and what they meant. My mother wanted to leave the city as well, but my father wouldn’t hear it. His auction house is what kept food on the table, and my brothers were both in the Council Guard. There was no way my father was going to be seen leaving the mountain. Honor and respect meant more than life itself, and my father had great pride in my brothers. Despite my mother’s persistence to leave the city, we stayed.
The Kaivek have always adhered to a strict code of tribal loyalty... Roughly thirteen centuries [before the fall], a leader named Ran'Kal united the clans into a nation called the Kaivek Protectorate. Kal taught that all Orcs answer to the protection of the divine order. This teaching expressed the belief that it was the will of the gods that all Orc kind should have superiority over the nations of Verra. For it was only through the unity of the clans that the people of Verra would be lead to enlightenment. It was the teachings of Kal that lead the Kaivek to pursue campaigns of conquest across the lands of Verra. Where the Orcs were once nomadic and divided before Kal, through his leadership they became a powerful nation united in conquest. Trophies of each city conquered is found in the capital city of Ren. [Just before the fall] the Kaivek Protectorate have adopted a policy of peaceful coexistence with their neighbors. Having endured centuries of conflict, leaders rose among them echoing the teachings of peace. These recent reformations have once again begun to lead to a fracturing of the Protectorate. Some unrest among the clans have called for a culling of those who are unworthy of the protection from the divine order. – Steven Sharif
For over 4,000 years the Pyrian royal family of Eradal has endured. The kingdom has seen its share of wars. The kingdom's borders encompass the great forest of Erinthia. The capital of Amera is among the oldest and most beautiful cities in the world. Its royal families can trace their lines back to the days of the Dark Fires. The Pyrian universities of magic and martial studies are unparalleled in the lands of Verra. Many of the citizens of the Kingdom venture out into the lands of Verra wishing to spread their knowledge of art and science to their fellow Verrans. These ventures are often subsidized by the royal households of Pyria for hopes it will foster a better relationship with their Human neighbors. Once a close ally of Aela and the house of Lyneth, the Pyrian Kingdom and Aelean Empire ended one of the bloodiest wars in Verran history. Eighty years have passed since the last bloodshed; and although tensions have subsided among the citizens of the two nations, there remains a heightened level of distrust among the Empire's new rulers and the royal family of Pyria. – Steven Sharif
The Elven race is generally a secretive one and exists within the Pyrian kingdom. Primarily a patriarchal society, Elves tend to keep within the natural borders of their forests. It has only been over the past millennia that the Riverlands have begun to see colonies of Elves exist. Elven scholars, dignitaries and pioneers can often be found in many of the human cities: Though their presence is rarely seen in sites other than archaeological, academic or diplomatic. Rumors do abound throughout the darker circles of Verra that there lies a particular lineage of Elves that exist within the Underrealm of Verra. – Steven Sharif
The ancient capital city of Torall... was the center of one of the greatest and first civilizations of Verra. This was actually a very rare civilization known as the Toren empire. The Torens were essentially half elves. They were a mixture of what was once the predecessor to the Aelan kingdom- the humans, and the Pyrian elves. – Steven Sharif
- The Torens were half-elves: A mixture of what was once the predecessor to the Aelan kingdom- the humans, and the Pyrian elves.
- King Atrax was the last and longest serving ruler of the Toren empire.
The last ruling house of the Toren empire, which oversaw its downfall was the house of Atrax. King Atrax was actually its longest ruler, also its last ruler, and he was a very powerful and advanced wizard for his time. He dedicated the vast majority of his early rule to seeking out artifacts, knowledge, the focal points of essence; and he discovered its purpose as it becomes the manipulating matter behind exploiting magic for any means. He became obsessed with the pursuit of that knowledge as a very accomplished wizard and one of the ways he pursued that ever-longing learning was to try and achieve immortality; and in his pursuit of immortality he discovered that manipulating the life-force of a soul essentially is to greater increase your ability to focus the essence, because each person's soul acts as, in some way shape or form, a conduit of the essence across the plains. So that's essentially how the gods are capable of reaching into the material plane- one of the ways- is through the souls of their divine beings, which are the four great races and their descendants. In his pursuit of immortality he came across some more dark applications of the essence and in doing so- discovering these artifacts along the ley lines that are in Verra- he came into contact with forces that existed outside of the material plane in the void itself. Now these were unbeknownst to him The Ancients as well The Others and manipulating that contact. – Steven Sharif
King Atrax began to manipulate the essence in a way that was trying to capitalize on everlasting life, on immortality. So in doing so he came into contact with the ancients; and the Ancients took advantage of this- was their first contact with any of the divine races actually- and this is what led the Ancients to begin their pursuit of Verra: to start that process of the Harbingers eventually finding Verra and coming to the planet to pervert what the gods- the seven gods- had created through their second creation. Now the Ancients created this contact with Atrax through summoning rituals that Atrax had learned through manipulating the essence; and it was through these contact rituals that Atrax learned how to achieve immortality. But the Ancients were deceptive in actually not informing Atrax how this would deform his conduit, his soul essentially that exists with the Essence. So he underwent a process of essentially lichdom where he was the first lich and the first undead on Verra; and it was from him and his pursuit of immortality that undeath became a reality on Verra; and it was his subjects that suffered as a result of his desire to become immortal. So he began different rituals on his subjects, which allowed the undeath to propagate across the world in his population over time. So he would- before he became a lich he experimented on his citizens; and that's what really was the origin of the undead and this undead the Ancients- one of the unique things about the Ancients was in their first discovery of how they could use the Essence and what the Others taught them was they became immortal themselves. But they became immortal in a more pure form, essentially akin to the godhood that exists among the Pantheon; and that prohibited them from encompassing this undeath component. But they did not teach that to King Atrax. So that talks a little bit about the origins of the undeath on Verra and undeath in general. – Steven Sharif
- King Atrax was a powerful and advanced wizard for his time who dedicated the majority of his rule to seeking out artifacts, knowledge, the focal points of The Essence. He discovered its purpose, manipulating matter and exploiting magic for any means.
- His goal was to achieve immortality; and in this pursuit he discovered that manipulating the life-force of a soul essentially increases one's ability to focus the Essence, as each person's soul acts as a conduit of the essence across the planes of existence.
- In his pursuit of immortality he came across other dark applications of the Essence and in doing so he came into contact with forces that existed outside of the material plane: in The Void itself. Unbeknownst to him these were The Ancients and The Others who began manipulating that contact through summoning rituals that Atrax had learned in his studies of the Essence.
- Through his summoning rituals Atrax finally learned how to achieve immortality. But the Ancients were deceptive in actually not informing him how this would deform his conduit (his soul) that exists with the Essence. Atrax eventually underwent a process of becoming first Lich and first undead on Verra.
- It was from this pursuit of immortality that undeath became a reality on Verra: Atrax had begun different rituals on his subjects, which allowed the undeath to propagate across the world, causing suffering amongst his subjects.
- The Ancients had previously learned from The Others how to use the Essence to achieve immortality themselves. Unlike Atrax, they became immortal in a pure form, more akin to the godhood that exists among the Pantheon, which prohibited them from encompassing this undeath component themselves. This pure form of immortality was not taught to King Atrax.
- After his lichdom was achieved Atrax continued to enslave his undead subjects, having them procure ancient artifacts from around the world so that he could further pursue his manipulation of the Essence and magic.
- Following The Great War of the Undying with King Atrax, the Aelan people would form the Aelan Empire.
- Fallow's Hold was commissioned by King Atrax and built by the master builders of the Dünzenkell dwarves with whom he was affiliated.
- Fallow's Hold was originally built as a great vault to house powerful ancient artifacts that were procured from around the world by Atrax's undead slaves so that he could further pursue his manipulation of The Essence and magic.
- Fallow's hold is a very dangerous dungeon with many constantly changing traps.
The ancient civilization of the Torren empire and their capital city of Torall, which houses one of the great dungeons of Ashes of Creation; which is the Fallow's Hold. Fallow's Hold is essentially where many of the artifacts that had a close alignment to the Essence on Verra because of their proximity to these ley lines and these sites that exist throughout the world: They were all brought here to King Atrax even after his lichdom was achieved, because he continued to enslave his subjects, the undead essentially, to procure these artifacts from around the world so that he can continue even in his immortality to learn about the use of Essence and magic and manipulation of it; and he constructed a great vault here through his affiliation with the master builders essentially of the Dünzenkell dwarves to create a massive complex underground from the city of the capital of Torall. Now Fallows hold is a very dangerous dungeon and there are constantly changing traps that exist. – Steven Sharif
The four Ancient artifacts of Verra were originally discovered by King Atrax in his pursuit of the power of The Essence. These artifacts were in close alignment to The Essence on Verra due to their proximity to the ley lines of Essence spread across the world. These artifacts were originally housed in the vault of Fallow's Hold, which is one of the great dungeons of Ashes of Creation, located near the capital city of the ancient Toren empire, Torall. They are now considered relics that can be acquired by nodes and housed in their reliquary.
- The Golden Chalice was believed to bring everlasting life but was actually allowing the corruption of manipulating The Essence to enter the soul through the physical representation of drinking something.
- The Crown represented a direct link The Ancients had into the thought process of King Atrax that the Ancients were able to manipulate.
- The Sword brought unusual power through manipulation of the evil side of the Essence, which is how Atrax maintained his dominance over his people: through physical might, essentially striking down any foe that opposed him among his administration.
- The Staff enabled Atrax to project his magic across great distances, which enabled him to extend his power and manipulation throughout the lands of Verra and allowed him to maintain vigilance over his realm.
Long ago, the world of Verra was besieged by a great calamity (also called the Fall, the Apocalypse, and the Exodus), brought about by the primary antagonists of the world: The Ancients and The Others.
- The apocalypse began with comet-like celestial bodies called Harbingers arriving on Verra. The Ancients flowed out of the conduits that opened at the center of the Harbingers and started conquering the planet.
- Their desire was to pervert the creation of the gods (the Seven) as an affront to their endeavors; and in doing so they created monstrosities by manipulating nature with corruption, which is the negative aspect of The Essence.
- Some unlucky citizens didn't quite make it through the gateways in time and fell back to the planet to fight for survival. This underpinned the lore behind the Ashes of Creation Apocalypse battle royale mode.
Soon after the exodus, the gateways dimmed and became dormant. Centuries turned to millennia, burying them beneath myriad calamities. Over eons, history became legend, then even the great legends were at last forgotten.
- The Ancients and The Others used the Harbingers to travel to Verra, thus beginning the Apocalypse.
- Harbingers exist on Verra as dungeons that the Ancients use to push their influence into the material plane under the guise of the effects of corruption as it spreads.
- The worst thing the Harbingers bought to Verra was corruption, which twists and distorts everything it touches.
- The worst thing that the Harbingers brought was not the Others, but the corruption that they spread. It twists and distorts everything it touches. It whispers in the ears of men, and guides their hands toward terrible ends. There does not seem a means to stop it - our prayers do nothing, our spells are ineffectual. The awful truth is that the Others could simply watch as we burned Verra to ash ourselves.
- 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
Tales of the Homecoming
Written by Kyrie Patrika Arisanna
"Know then that the unforgivable sin of Atrax was his unbridled hubris. In an attempt to unlock the secrets of immortality the Toren king began an obsessive study of ancient artifacts and profane magicks. This drew the attention of the Ancients, a fallen race banished into the Void in ages past. For the first time since their exile, the ancients became aware of the four races created by the Seven to replace them as the Stewards of Creation.
When the ancients saw that these races were growing, multiplying, and conquering the world that had been taken from them, they became envious and spiteful. In a fit of pique they unloosed the Harbingers -- great balls of ice, dust, and corruption from the heavens -- and hurled them upon the face of Verra.
As Verra fell, the Seven activated the divine gateways. These ancient portals transported the four races to safety on the tellurian, non-magical world of Sanctus, to await the day they could safely return to Verra."
-- Minerva Arisanna, Purian Emissary of the Lightpact THE BOOK OF THE VERRAN EXODUS
These words were put to parchment over four thousand years ago by my great,great grandmother, Minerva Arisanna. I know her only through her writing, and through stories told to me by her daughter, Kyrie Esmane Arisanna, my maternal grandmother, for whom I was named.
My name is Kyrie Patrika Arisanna, Chronologist and Scrivener for the Lightpact. I am eight hundred and sixty-three years old. By Elven reckoning, I am rapidly approaching mid-life, yet Sanctus is the only world I have ever known.
The Lightpact was originally an alliance created by the four races of Verra as we fled the Harbinger Apocalypse and settled on the mundane, non-magical world of Sanctus. In the intervening millennia, tales of our exodus and the legends of Verra have slipped into the realm of folklore and mythology for most of the races. Fortunately thanks to the protracted lifespans and long memories of the Elven races, those teachings have not been lost forever. The Lightpact has endured, and its members have been secretly preparing for the day the divine gateways would finally reopen.
That day has arrived. At long last the ancient pylons -- those enigmatic monuments of sculpted stone that pepper the surface of Sanctus have awakened and paved the pathway home. These living conduits of channeled Essence will transport us across the cosmos and return us to Verra, the mystical world of our ancestors.
This collection of essays is one humble scrivener's admittedly idealistic, but well-intentioned attempt to peacefully chronicle that Homecoming. Upon its completion, multiple copies of this manuscript will be created by Lightpact scribes and read aloud at our arrival encampments across Verra. It is our sincere hope that this might foster cooperation and goodwill between our disparate races, for we are one people in the eyes of the Seven, and Verra is our common birthright.
The Alchemist's Apprentice
I met the most astonishing individual today! Initially, I had set out to speak to Krelzenus Vagesh, the renowned Vek alchemist and inventor. I had heard that he had come through the divine gateway some time before, and I desired to pick his prodigious brain in regards to any discoveries oddities, or inspirations that had surfaced since hi arrival on Verra. I met up with Vagesh at his local market, which would be more aptly described as a makeshift campground. This bazaar featured an odd assortment of dead things, live things, and crude things to make live things dead things.
After making a proper greeting and introduction, I began to interview him from the list of questions I had prepared. At once he stopped me and bade me to follow him to his laboratory. He said he had someone there that was far more fascinating than his old self.
He lead me to his workshop at the edge of the settlement. I was somewhat disappointed to find that it was just another large tent given a wide berth by the other inhabitants of the area. Seeing my disheartened face as he lifted the front flap, he assured me that the facility was only temporary until a more suitable structure could be built.
Stepping in, my eyes had to adjust to the very low light of the interior, provided by only a few flickering candles. After a moment I could vaguely make out a shape moving about, here and there, sniffing and what sounded like an occasional licking and tasting of objects in the dark.
"Tish, we have a visitor," Krelzenus said in a gentle, calming voice to the creature.
The figure stopped momentarily, uttering a simple "Hejo" in what sounded like a purr, or perhaps a hiss, and then continuing on with its activity.
"Hejo?" I asked Vagesh curiously.
"Yes, it seems to mean 'hello' in the Tulnar Language. A combination of the Common 'hello' and the old Orcish greeting 'vajo.'"
"Ah yes, 'vajo' meaning 'no harm', correct?"
Krelzenus nodded cheerfully, obviously a little impressed with my limited knowledge of an old Orcish dialect.
Turning back toward the creature in the dark that I no knew as Tish, I called out my own little "Hejo!" I heard a slight wuffle of what I took as positive acceptance.
"Tish seems to have quite a talent for alchemy. Her knack for ingredient selection, measurement, mixing and brewing appears to be highly instinctual and productive! Without any instruction at all she whipped up quite an array of potions, poultices, and powders!"
"Simply marvelous!" I exclaimed. I leaned forward to get a better look through the obscuring darkness. As I wrapped my fingers around one of the two small candlesticks, an appendage shot out of the dark to slap my hand away.
"No touch!" I recoiled instantly from the reprimand, struggling to comprehend what had struck me. I could not deduce through the darkness and with the speed of the strike whether it was a hand, or paw, or claw, but I could tell that it was small, about half the size of my own.
"She doesn't like it when you touch her things while she is experimenting, and for a good reason. Some of the mixtures she has created have reacted quite explosively when touched with flame," Vagesh informed me apologetically.
"How old is she?" I asked, fascinated.
"About five years old, or so. Truly a prodigy," Krelzenus beamed. "Also quite resilient, too. I've seen her ingest holly berry, mistletoe, oh, and nightshade without even the slightest signs of discomfort. She does much of her experimentation by smell and taste."
Still stunned by the revelation of her very young age, I inquired whether her dietary fortitude was part of her phenomenal talent, or a trait of her Tulnar biology.
"I do not have enough evidence to say one way or the other, but I have observed others off her family eating spoiled meat and a wide variety of wild mushrooms without so much as a belch. If not indicative of Tulnar as a species, at least I have theorized it runs in her family."
"Fascinating..." I hummed.
"You talk to much! You go now! Can't make with talking!" Tish hissed at us.
"Apologies, Tish!" Vagesh called as he ushered me out quickly.
"It is well to keep her happy. She can throw quite a tantrum when she's frustrated... or tired," he said as he instructed me outside. "Apart fromt hat, I am highly intrigued with the alchemical possibilities she could uncover, and upsetting her would likely cause her to depart."
"So much potential for the future of this new world," I nodded.
I said my goodbyes to the Vek, assuring him that I would return in the future to see what amazing creations Tish had conceived. He shook my hand enthusiastically and ducked back into the tent without so much as a backward glance.
When the sun sets behind the canopy of the Crystalbough forest, it becomes difficult to tell where the sky ends in the treelines begin. Under the branches, rustling with leaves of orange and yellow despite the seasons, motes of essence-charged pollen flutter through the air like fairies, flickering white. For three days, I rode the path that wove through diamond-white trees between Oleander Reach and Mariam amongst these woods and found myself captivated time and time again.
One unusual evening, while I updated my notes on the banks of an unmarked creek, I spied a peculiar, overlarge stag as it emerged from the golden brush. As it bowed its head to zip from the stream, its conutenance was reflected in the prismatic light from the essence-charged stone bed beneath the surface-- and I saw the face of something else entirely. It was angular, drawn into a point of the nose, with eyes set too far down the sides. A kirin. As it drank, its antlers-- thicker than a buck's and shaped more like branches-- crackled with the raw energy of its sustenance, and I could see the essence arcing between the prongs.
I stood, entranced by its otherworldliness and the grace of its motion. Drawn forward by some inexplicable urge, I'd only taken two steps before an unfortunate footfall cracked a crystalline twig. The beast raised its head, looking directly at me-- and in a blink it shattered into an ephemeral, shimmering mist that retreated across the water.
"Gods be damned!" A voice boomed and sent a flurry of small, white birds into the ochre clouds overhead. The gruffness of tone alerted me to look for a Dünir, and my instincts were true. She pushed through the copse out onto the bank just past where the creature drank, holding her thick arms out wide in a gesture of pure exasperation.
"Why'd you go and do that?" The arch in her brow conveyed her dismay, and as she approached, the water pooled on her eyelids, belied the depth of her frustration. She had golden hair, the color of the leaves of the trees here, though it was wild and in desperate need of a brush and oil. Her beard was neater and woven into short braids at her chin with flowers worked in, and though wayward strands poked out here or there, it seemed more from circumstance than negligence.
I had at first assumed she was a hunter and started to apologize for startling her quarry, but found that notion subverted as she lifted what looked to be a small golden orrery whirring in rapid circles. It shook her arm to the elbow as she held it in the direction that the mist-creature had retreated. The odd device slowed until it stopped, and she fell to her knees in consternation.
She interrupted my apology: "Months wasted. I'll have to start all over again." Carefully she packed the device into a satchel at her hip, and looked over at me with sagging shoulders.
I stood there for a while, unsure of what to say. I felt bad to have startled her prey, but something was strange about this turn of events. While it was true I'd never before seen a kirin, in all my readings of them I'd never encountered anything about them wielding essence with such intention. The hunter seemed to notice my confusion, and as she stood, she concealed the wiping of her eyes in part of the motion of dusting the forest's detritus off her knees.
"You didn't know. I understand." She drew in a long breath, and then exhaled, forcing much of the tension from her posture. "You didn't know, and most importantly, tlegi, you still don't, so i'm going to let you all look here."
I admit I winced at the word, reminded of my early misstep. "Twig"-- a reference to how easily the Empyrean Glitterwall formations broke in early conflict between our peoples during the initial struggles for resources on Sanctus. It's a tale for another time, but our military manuals were worthless after we lost access to magic, needing to be rebuilt from the ground up. This would have been more generations ago than even her eldest relative's great, great, grandparents would recall.
"That's you," I replied, making an effort not to sound so dry. I've readied my pen and notebook, asking if she cared to enlighten me further.
"How could you know? It's clear you're new to these parts, or you'd have come more prepared. You're lucky, in fact, you started the bastard the way you did. It could have killed you with a wink or a sneeze." She straightened herself up, which brought her to approximately half my height, and held out a calloused hand for me to grasp. As I did so, she introduced herself. "Aeri Goldmane. On account of my hair." She ran through it with a quick comb of her fingers.
I wondered how often she'd said that line as I returned my own introduction. "How is it that it takes months for a hunter to track a kirin in their native woods?" I asked perhaps, less kind with my tone here than I should have been, but Aeri seemed too distracted to take offense.
She pulled the device back out of her pouch and held it aloft in nearby pockets of air seemingly at random. "Not just a kirin, tlegi, but the kirin. One of the first ones, older than the apocalypse. A Bodabodaga. Most powerful being in these woods, it's true, though you wouldn't know from how flighty he is."
Never have I heard of it, I wrote it down to verify another time. I confirmed to her, somewhat wryly, that I had not understood the gravity of my mistake until just now. She continued as though I hadn't said a thing.
"The thing is, you can't just hunt a Bodabodaga. They survived by becoming essence itself. They break apart, you saw it. Bringing them back from that requires precise ritual, and I'll be honest, I tried a whole lot of things to make it happen before, and didn't take the best notes, so I have no idea how to recreate the feat."
"You spent months on this and have no idea how to force it back to corporeality?"
She snapped a sharp look at me but sent her braids wobbling. "Well, I'm not scientist or a mage! That's the business of your kind!" And my handwriting is too messy to bother with notes anystone."
"And the device you use?"
She glanced at it, then pulled it to her chest and wrapped her other arm around it. "Ah. I see now." Narrowing her eyes, she slowly backed up to the brush behind her. Though the creek passed between us, she seemed convinced I might lunge for it. "Just stay right there. And don't try to follow me. Now that you know the stakes, I won't be as forgiving if you ruin it again."
In bewilderment, I lowered my book as the dwarf picked her way back into the woods without taking her eyes off me, I returned to my perch beside the stream to record the events of the evening before night had fallen entirely.
The Verdant Keeper
The Verdant Keeper... are a sect of people that keep track of all the things that are necessary to have successful crops and to grow things and to make sure that the cultivation of these things allows a society or civilization to keep growing. So in the transition from Verra to Sanctus these people had to relearn how to grow things without magic. There were druid like people before and now we have to go to this place where there's no magic to support those things. So they spend their time learning about the world and learning about it in sort of a scientific way and keeping track of all of these seasons of the different years, of the decades, of the centuries that go by to sort of create a map for themselves and for the civilizations that they support: Kind of a means to be successful in growing crops and keeping people healthy and happy. – Jeffrey Bard
As the months come and go, and the hand of winter looms over the land, various farmers of Verra take time to celebrate the fortune granted to them by the Verdant Keeper. Hearths are stoked, candles are lit, and fragrant delicacies are prepared. A massive celebration of food and drink takes place, marking the culmination of their hard work and preparation for the harsh, cold months to come. Should the celebrations go well, they say the Keeper will bless the next spring with a brand new harvest, ready to be plucked.
The Wreckage of Carphin
- Carphin was one of the 5 main city states of the Aelan people that would form into the Aelan Empire following The Great War of the Undying with King Atrax.
- It was a focus of the mages and study of the Aelan Empire. Carphin was a city that had a great mage population, so it had a university there. And things went bad there in the last days of the fall. They made some desperate measures in a really awesome quest series that Scott's written up. – Jeremy Gess
- We've talked a lot about how corruption- this red influence and the use of how this evil-esque type of magic influences the world around you; and this is a great example in the city of Carphin where you can see how a variant of that corruption- blood magic variant has its own style guide, its own indication of what is going on in this area... In Alpha-1 you saw a few of that- a couple places for the corruption influences back in '21, but it's a large part of how these zones adapt and can change around. Corruption is always trying to encroach on civilization. – Steven Sharif
The Tower of Carphin
The Tower of Carphin is part of the University complex that was initially brought to the Aela Humans by the Pyrian Elves following The Great War of the Undying. The Elves helped establish and teach the humans how to master The Essence and learn advanced magic.
- The story behind the tower at Carphin is that it is actually a part of the University complex that was initially brought to the Aela humans by the Pyrian elves; and they helped establish and taught the humans how to master The Essence and how to master magic; and this was one of the great universities of the Aelan Empire, so a lot of the experience and encounters there are going to be arcane in nature. They're going to be representative of that Essence magic and it's going to have some powerful foes. – Steven Sharif
Statue of Dean Dahrin Lemonte, part of the Oren family.
Symbology on the main doors with the lion head representing the humans and the gryphon head representing the elves.
Laria Lemonte, Head Mistress at Carphin University, was one of the most important mages in the Aelan Empire at the time of the fall. Heeding advice from an unknown origin, she engaged in desperate and dark acts in a fruitless attempt to save the Aelan capital city Aela from destruction.
- The blood sacrifice of Veric Pulsifer began a ritual that led to the mass killing of the residents of Carphin, turning them undead.
- The unknown voice who was aiding and abetting her pursuits was the same Ancient that perverted King Atrax from beyond the void.
- The corrupt mist flowing from the tower did delay the legions of the Ancients in their progress toward the capital until they constructed an apparatus to allow them to cross the river.
Ashes of Creation Apocalypse lore
- Some unlucky citizens didn't quite make it through the gateways in time and fell back to the planet to fight for survival. This underpins the battle royale mode.
- Certain citizens are fighting for control over Castles that they believe to be last bastions of defense against the forces of corruption. This underpins the castle siege mode.
- The last stand against the forces of corruption takes place in the horde mode.
Initially you're playing the Battle Royale you're a part of the last group of survivors to try to leave Verra. And as you're leaving you get cut off. The slipstream ends and you start falling back to the planet. Now the activities that occur and the fighting amongst yourselves is a result of the influence of corruption: Corrupting your soul basically; and as we move into the Castle Siege mode that's where you see the survivors now trying to seek refuge in some of the last defendable bastions of of society. So you're fighting over those for your families and your friends to get into that keep to try to ride out the storm so to say; and that's what the Castle Siege is predicated on. Then moving into the Hordes is this is now the final showdown. How long can you last? And that's the narrative behind Apocalypse as a whole. – Steven Sharif
- Chapter 1 is called The Exodus. It takes part in the initial stages of the fall and sets the scene for upcoming chapters.
What happened before you came back? What did your ancestors have to go through? What did these civilizations have to endure? ... You get to experience the world of Ashes of Creation. You get to take a peek under the hood of the art assets and the style that that art will be when you play the game; and at the same time while you're doing all of that and we're hitting the servers with as many people as possible, we are continuing production and implementing new art; and we are updating those those chapters of this story; and that's what each season so speak is called for us is a chapter. In fact the first chapter of Apocalypse will be titled the Exodus. So chapter one is the Exodus and players will have an opportunity to earn unique rewards in each chapter. So that chapter's period of time is roughly ten weeks- between eight and twelve. We'll see how those go, but right now it's set for ten weeks; and every ten weeks you're going to see an introduction of new content. – Steven Sharif
- The Tulnar is a combination of four major races and many minor races that were left behind on Verra after the apocalypse.
- They're a combination of the leftover races, not just the leftover major race populations, but the leftover minor races as well; and that's what gives them their attributes that are bestial, or reptilian, humanoid; and that players can use sliders to influence the visual representation of. But in a similar fashion, their cultural markers are also going to be a combination of different influences, so they're very differently constructed culture than what is found in the other eight races. – Steven Sharif
- Tulnar stands for "the forgotten".
- Tulnar are not restricted to the Underrealm (there are no factions).
- Tulnar eat many things!
- The Tulnar religion is a combination of religious beliefs of the major races as well as pagan beliefs of the minor races that evolved over time as they coexisted together in the Underrealm.
- The Tulnar are descendants of the Divine races. They have souls and these souls act as conduits for The Essence.
- Were the Tulnar a result of corruption in their creation, or was it purely a crossbreeding between the multiple minor and major races that existed in the Underrealm during the after the apocalypse? They are not a result of corruption. So there is no corruption that was that was taken into account during their creation. – 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.
- The Underrealm is estimated to be not too much bigger than 100 km2 in area. It is not contiguous space across the entire map. There will be areas that are obstructed by chasms or other features.
- 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. – Steven Sharif
- 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.
- The Underrealm is intending to be bespoke segments of Underrealm territory that are available around areas of choke-point in the world map that are above ground, which are provided for caravan transit across the world. So those caravans as they're approaching these choke-points on land, they will have alternate route options to go down into the Underrealm and to try to traverse that space, as opposed to the choke-points. – Steven Sharif
- 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.
- There will be bodies of water such as rivers and lakes in the Underrealm that house unique species of fish.
- There won't be boats and other water vehicles in the Underrealm.
- There will absolutely be Underrealm lakes and rivers. Those will be locations and very important ones for unique material goods like certain types of fish that players will be able to go down and fish with. But there will not be the use of boats and vehicles within the water- water vehicles of the Underrealm, at least not for launch. – Steven Sharif
- You are returning to a world that has essentially been destroyed and left untouched for many millennia, and as a result those old capital cities are essentially the ruins of which you're returning to; and the new cities that you are developing- the node structures that exist- these are brand new cities. They might be couched within ruins of old empires so to speak, but they will not be representative of the old capital cities. – Steven Sharif
Vast expeditions were sent through the gateways to discover this beautiful and perilous magical realm. 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.
- Players start in Verra a few short months after the very first expeditionaries were sent through the divine gateways when they opened from Sanctus.
- The Ancients have been on Verra for a long time prior to your return; and it's important to note that players who are starting in the world of Verra, they're coming in actually a few short months after the very first expeditionaries were sent through the Divine gateways when they opened from Sanctus. And the early days on Verra with the return were not super easy. They were difficult. There were struggles with the food supplies. There were a little bit of mutinies that occurred. There were certain artifacts that were found by some of these NPCs that were your predecessors in the return; and some of them decided that they would be better off on their own, or that they had a more powerful thing or creature that they could follow and be rewarded from. – Steven Sharif
- 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 occur, players will need to participate to keep the intrusion on the material plane back.
- From now on, the choices of these adventurers will influence how the story unfolds.
- I heard a lot of people asking was, 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. – Steven Sharif
- 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
- The Sladeborne were first revealed as a mob in Alpha-0.
- 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.
- 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. – Steven Sharif
- There is of course a meta-story. That meta-story gets informed by regional stories and regional outcomes; and depending on how players progress within their personal stories, that could be either racially based or could be their class-based. They could be a per-node basis. All of those things support a grand structure of the meta-narrative. – 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. – Steven Sharif
- Personal or class-based activity.
- 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 every system that's created touches a story. – Steven Sharif
- If there are too many other major arcs happening at the same time in the same zone, a story arc may need to wait its turn, even if conditions are right for it to be unlocked.
- Story arcs drive one or more storyline quests within the game.
- Story arcs can branch into different stories with multiple possible endings depending on the quest objectives that players complete during each chapter.
- The developers will try to ensure that story arcs in future expansions flow on from existing story arcs, regardless of the different possible outcomes.
- There will be a variety of different types of story arc content at different scales, with different cooldowns to suit different types of players in the game.
- We must provide enough of this content at varying scales such that it isn't worthwhile or economical to control every single story arc in the world. Some will be smaller in scale and production value, and thus, will move faster and have shorter cooldowns before they're reintroduced. – Skott B
- Corrupted resources are variations of resources that are only available in corrupted areas or during certain story arcs.
- Mayors require certain resources.
- Buildings are required within a node.
- Social organization tasks need to be completed.
- Players can progress each chapter by completing story arc quests within the timeframe that each chapter is active.
- Story arcs can branch into different stories with multiple possible endings depending on the quest objectives that players complete during each chapter.
- You can't really farm the quests in any meaningful way, because once you've done the quests in a chapter, that's it until the next chapter. Whether 1000 people participate or 10, the chapters will stay active for the same length of time, and as long as you participate in the clearly-marked time frame in your quest journal, you're good. The only thing that a concentrated effort can help with is influencing the narrative paths through the arcs. – Skott B
- These quests stages can be failed. The ability to retry a failed quest depends on Node progression.
- 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. – Steven Sharif
- Quests may differ based on the stages of nearby nodes, seasonal influences, and events such as world bosses.
- Quests involving citizens from multiple nodes are unlocked based on the alliances and other relationships between the nodes and their progression.
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.
- The overarching narrative of Ashes of Creation is that players are the returning children of Verra but they will not be characterized individually as "saviors".
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.
It 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'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, it's incumbent upon you to manifest that in the game. – Steven Sharif
- The history of significant narrative events on a server, including when they first occurred and who participated in them, is canonized in libraries.
- It is possible for some storylines to relate to a darker/evil path, if a character should choose.
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. – 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. – Steven Sharif
- Racial and geographical influences on nomenclature in the lore.
- Localization/Internationalization of the game client for specific regions.
- 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. – Jeffrey Bard
- Scribes may be able to collect and record information about the events of the world as they see it from their point of view.
- The history of significant narrative events on a server, including when they first occurred and who participated in them, is canonized in libraries.
- There is a method by which we create a canon for the server of events. Those canons are usually going to be immortalized through systems like the library, which recounts certain types of events that happen on a server; and recount perhaps the members who participate in those events- immortalize them over time as the first-time defeaters, first-time accomplishers- that perspective. – Steven Sharif
- Locations and last known quantity of gatherable resources.
- Reports of information to the library may expire after a period of time (say one week). After which new reports will be required to update the existing information.
- You'll get that shroud of war functionality for the week after a report but if it doesn't receive a follow-up report after that expiration period then it will not be updating real time. – Steven Sharif
Characters entering into the world of Verra are empowered with the spark of life that comes from the Goddess of Creation. This spark houses a portion of what represents their mortal coil/soul and their conduit to The Essence. When a character 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.
- The ash pile conveys the location of the body, so that the character may be selected for resurrection.
- The ash pile is also interractible to allow players to loot any dropped items.
- This effect applies to players and not mobs.
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. – Steven Sharif
- 2018-02-24 Video - Alpha-0 Dünheim Dungeon Lore
- 2019-05-07 Video - Ashes of Creation Lore of the Hippogryph
- 2019-06-22 Blog: A Fell Venture (Creation of the Fellbeak Macaw)
- 2019-07-30 Blog: Rocky Beginnings (Creation of the Quarrior)
- 2019-08-09 Blog: A Noble Steed (Creation of the Horse)
- 2019-11-02 Extra Life Livestream
- 2020-11-08 Extra Life Livestream
- 2021-11-06 Extra Life Livestream
- 2022-11-05 Extra Life Livestream
- Ashes of Creation Press Kit.
- Interview, 2016-12-7.
- Livestream, January 18, 2018 (39:08).
- Video, April 5, 2018 (37:13).
- Livestream, April 7, 2023 (58:39).
- Video, March 31, 2023 (14:20).
- Video, March 31, 2023 (12:47).
- Interview, October 20, 2018 (2:36:25).
- Livestream, May 26, 2017 (15:37).
- Video, April 5, 2018 (37:50).
- Video, July 29, 2022 (1:58).
- Livestream, November 3, 2018 (0:00:39).
- Livestream, April 7, 2023 (16:42).
- Podcast, November 15, 2020 (36:29).
- Livestream, November 8, 2020 (0:00:00).
- Livestream, November 8, 2020 (00:49).
- Podcast, November 15, 2020 (40:24).
- Livestream, November 8, 2020 (9:51).
- Podcast, November 15, 2020 (42:22).
- Video, March 31, 2023 (9:32).
- Ashes of Creation - A world with consequences.
- Livestream, March 31, 2023 (54:22).
- Week 1, entry 1.
- Interview, July 9, 2023 (47:05).
- Livestream, March 31, 2023 (53:30).
- Livestream, March 26, 2021 (22:53).
- Livestream, November 8, 2020 (12:47).
- Video, March 31, 2023 (3:32).
- Video, March 31, 2023 (1:22).
- Video, April 5, 2018 (35:01).
- Livestream, June 25, 2021 (1:32:24).
- Livestream, March 31, 2023 (59:10).
- Video, March 31, 2023 (16:42).
- Interview, July 9, 2023 (49:48).
- May newsletter.
- Livestream, May 26, 2017 (10:58).
- Livestream, November 8, 2020 (11:48).
- Podcast, November 15, 2020 (20:04).
- Livestream, 2018-04-8 (AM) (16:50).
- Livestream, December 2, 2022 (1:18:26).
- Livestream, 2018-04-8 (AM) (10:02).
- Interview, July 20, 2020 (13:33).
- Interview, October 31, 2018 (6:00).
- Livestream, November 3, 2018 (0:01:18).
- Livestream, November 3, 2018 (0:00:20).
- Livestream, November 3, 2018 (0:06:56).
- Livestream, November 8, 2020 (11:57).
- Livestream, March 26, 2021 (26:31).
- Blog: Creative Director's Letter, January 2021.
- Interview, July 19, 2020 (50:10).
- Livestream, November 8, 2020 (05:31).
- Livestream, November 8, 2020 (10:41).
- Node series part II – the Metropolis.
- Podcast, November 15, 2020 (29:23).
- Interview, July 19, 2020 (23:15).
- Livestream, May 8, 2017 (44:51).
- Livestream, July 30, 2021 (1:13:11).
- Forums - Livestream Q&A 2022-08-26.
- Podcast, November 15, 2020 (31:13).
- Livestream, November 22, 2019 (24:33).
- Ashes of Creation Store: Lore.
- Week 2, entry 1.
- Podcast, November 15, 2020 (25:27).
- Ashes of Creation Store: October cosmetics.
- Livestream, April 30, 2020 (1:00:57).
- Livestream, September 1, 2018 (1:02:18).
- Ashes of Creation race breakdown.
- Kickstarter $2,500,000 New Player Race Achieved.
- Livestream, November 3, 2018 (0:00:54).
- Livestream, November 3, 2018 (0:01:57).
- Livestream, November 3, 2018 (0:02:35).
- Twitter - Capital city of the Aelan empire
- Livestream, February 25, 2022 (41:00).
- Video, March 31, 2023 (12:19).
- Livestream, November 3, 2018 (0:05:24).
- Know Your Nodes: Economic Node Type.
- Ashes of Creation - The visuals.
- Livestream, August 26, 2022 (34:15).
- Livestream, November 3, 2018 (0:00:28).
- Livestream, November 3, 2018 (0:01:29).
- Livestream, February 9, 2018 (13:47).
- Livestream, January 18, 2018 (21:18).
- Dillias diary.
- Livestream, November 3, 2018 (0:02:36).
- Livestream, May 4, 2018 (34:30).
- Livestream, November 3, 2018 (0:00:10).
- Livestream, November 8, 2020 (04:57).
- Livestream, November 30, 2020 (52:56).
- A glorious staff of the Ancients.
- Livestream, November 8, 2020 (07:58).
- Livestream, November 8, 2020 (15:01).
- Unreal Engine Interview, 23 May 2017.
- Interview, April 20, 2018 (5:46).
- Livestream, September 27, 2018 (6:22).
- Livestream, October 31, 2018 (36:59).
- Interview, July 20, 2020 (15:18).
- Livestream, April 8, 2018 (23:04).
- Video, March 31, 2023 (7:41).
- Official Livestream - May 4th @ 3 PM PST - Q&A
- Livestream, 2021-11-6 (part 1) (0:0).
- Livestream, 2021-11-6 (part 2) (0:0).
- Livestream, 2021-11-6 (part 3) (0:0).
- Ashes of Creation Store: Shadeless Tree Tavern.
- Livestream, October 31, 2019 (14:13).
- Blog: Bounties of the Verdant Keeper.
- Video, September 30, 2022 (9:29).
- Video, September 30, 2022 (9:59).
- Video, March 31, 2023 (19:33).
- Video, March 31, 2023 (17:35).
- Livestream, February 24, 2023 (59:05).
- Video, March 31, 2023 (18:39).
- Video, March 31, 2023 (20:02).
- Video, March 31, 2023 (20:28).
- Video, March 31, 2023 (20:48).
- Video, March 31, 2023 (21:07).
- Video, March 31, 2023 (21:51).
- Video, March 31, 2023 (21:30).
- Video, March 31, 2023 (23:50).
- Livestream, February 24, 2023 (1:01:33).
- Twitter - Laria Lemonte is a powerful wizard.
- Transcript, November 5, 2022 (23:09:23).
- Transcript, November 5, 2022 (23:24:07).
- Transcript, November 5, 2022 (23:27:19).
- Livestream, December 6, 2018 (14:32).
- Livestream, December 6, 2018 (28:45).
- Livestream, July 29, 2022 (59:00).
- Interview, October 31, 2018 (5:03).
- Kickstarter $1,750,000 Stretch Goal Unlocked, 13 May 2017.
- Livestream, April 7, 2023 (1:17:59).
- Livestream, March 31, 2022 (1:06:54).
- Livestream, May 30, 2017 (16:51).
- Livestream, May 17, 2017 (5:49).
- Podcast, September 29, 2021 (16:51).
- Livestream, May 26, 2017 (39:34).
- Livestream, April 28, 2023 (1:23:33).
- Forums: Dev Discussion - Dream Nodes.
- Ashes of Creation - The visuals.
- A chat with Ashes of Creation's Steven Sharif, 2017-06-7.
- Livestream, April 7, 2023 (22:48).
- Interview, August 17, 2018 (10:43).
- Livestream, August 26, 2022 (53:26).
- Livestream, October 30, 2020 (1:19:13).
- Interview, October 31, 2018 (5:43).
- Livestream, April 7, 2023 (27:30).
- Transcript, November 5, 2022 (10:46:47).
- Livestream, March 31, 2022 (1:18:49).
- Livestream, December 2, 2022 (1:16:19).
- A reactive world - Nodes.
- Livestream, October 16, 2017 (17:09).
- Livestream, May 19, 2017 (29:25).
- Livestream, October 16, 2017 (53:58).
- Livestream, February 26, 2021 (1:06:20).
- Livestream, September 3, 2017 (15:40).
- Livestream, March 26, 2021 (47:14).
- Podcast, November 15, 2020 (1:03:17).
- Livestream, April 29, 2022 (1:05:37).
- Livestream, March 31, 2022 (1:15:29).
- Video, March 31, 2023 (14:14).
- Video, March 31, 2023 (6:30).
- Livestream, April 7, 2023 (55:22).
- Livestream, March 31, 2023 (1:00:16).
- Livestream, October 28, 2022 (32:52).
- Livestream, June 1, 2017 (37:39).
- Livestream, May 30, 2019 (1:18:16).
- Livestream, May 26, 2017 (15:37).
- Livestream, October 31, 2017 (29:50).
- MMOGames interview, January 2017
- Livestream, March 26, 2021 (1:12:51).
- Livestream, July 25, 2020 (1:50:20).
- Video, March 31, 2023 (28:11).
- Livestream, May 19, 2017 (37:03).
- Livestream, December 17, 2019 (1:10:30).
- Interview: Ashes of Creation on Building Their Virtual World, 2017-04-13.
- Livestream, May 22, 2017 (28:02).
- Types of Events on Verra.
- Interview, July 9, 2023 (59:31).
- Blog: Know Your Nodes - Scientific Node Type
- Podcast, April 23, 2018 (29:56).
- Interview, May 11, 2018 (1:00:19).
- Livestream, July 26, 2019 (1:13:23).
- Livestream, March 31, 2022 (4:57).
- What languages will Ashes of Creation be in?
- Kickstarter packages.
- Interview, April 20, 2018 (9:20).
- Livestream, May 26, 2017 (51:37).
- Podcast, April 11, 2021 (27:34).
- Video, August 31, 2023 (4:01).
- Livestream, September 24, 2021 (51:20).
- Livestream, April 28, 2023 (1:19:56).
- Livestream, March 26, 2021 (1:07:33).
- Podcast, May 11, 2018 (51:39).
- Podcast, April 11, 2021 (34:41).