Racial appearance

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The races in Ashes of Creation are primarily humanoid in appearance. This was mainly driven from a lore perspective as well as savings in animation and character design.[9]

I didn't feel that it was necessary to recreate the wheel on races from a fantasy perspective. I'm not sure how much that would add to the flavor of the game. Obviously I think that we're capable of doing unique things within the cultures and I think we are doing that specifically like an islander dwarf race. I mean like that really hasn't been seen before; or a stargazing noble Vek kind of looking race: Those things are still unique and they still bring innovation to the idea of what these races can be, but at the same time there's a familiarity there that players can feel comfortable with in the traditional fantasy setting.[10]Steven Sharif

Artistic style

Ashes of Creation will have a higher graphical fidelity than most western games. It will not be too stylized or "cartoony".[11]

We can push the limits a little bit on the graphical fidelity, especially using Unreal Engine 4... My desire was not to see very cartoony games. I'm not a big fan of highly stylized art.[11]Steven Sharif

Artistic influences on the races

Character races are super important. These are the choices that we make at the onset of our adventure in an MMORPG: what race- not just mechanically aligns with our decisions, if those races have game mechanics behind them from a stat perspective, but visually and culturally and historically: What are these? What do these races represent? So it's important that visually they're distinct. And everyone's seen fantasy games do Elves, so everyone's seen them do Humans, everyone's seen them do Orcs: There's an established expectation almost behind what these traditional fantasy races represent; and there's a risk, because whenever you're creating a new IP or a new story or a new world- a new Universe; a realm in which things don't have to always be the norm, you can take a little bit of creative liberty to redefine some of the aspects of a particular race; and that can be a good thing, because it's something that is new to players. It's something that is unique to the realm that we're building- the surroundings that you have. So what we wanted to do was push a little bit more on the unique side of what the Py'rai would look like from a visual perspective.[12]Steven Sharif

You will see in the different races that are available from a player character standpoint a lot of different influences that reflect many cultures in the world: Not just European, not just Africa, not Mesoamerican. These cultures are going to be present in many of the races.[22]Steven Sharif

The idea is just to find a base component in the real world as a starting point and then to begin to fantasize.[13]Steven Sharif

Character racial appearance

Facial adjustments in the Alpha-2 character creator (first pass).[23]

There is a great variation that's going to be available from a character standpoint when creating your character, especially around the face. Whether it be the shape of the jawline, the cheeks, the ears, the nose, the lips. You know we want to provide a lot of options and an agency to the player to customize their character appearance.[24]Steven Sharif

Character appearance can be customized in the character creator (CC)[26] and via in-game salons/barbershops.[27][28]

We want there to be a lot of room for people to manifest their own identity, to role play how they want to from an appearance standpoint. There's going to be parameters within which you will be able to customize a character. We want the culture and the identity of the races to exist in a range that makes them easily identifiable from other players and other cultures. So, because of that, we have to have a spectrum you can exist on. There will be a lot of hair variants you can do, body art tattoos that you can apply. You'll be able to play with the scales of the facial structure, the bones, the height, width, the body fat percentage. You'll be able to add body hair on different parts of the body. If you want to have hair on your feet, you can dial that up.[29]Steven Sharif
  • Character models are focused on realism.[30]
  • A player will see a generic character before customization.[31]
  • Character designs will have influences from a wide range of cultures, such as European, African and Asian.[32]
  • Lolis will not be in the game.[33][34]
  • Sliders and other controls, such as color palettes, will offer flexibility in customization but there will be limits based on race, gender, and the artistic style guidelines that the developers are adhering to.[35][36][33][37][38]
There's going to be constraints to the sliders, so that was one of those big questions as work began on the character creator: How much agency do you want to allow pulling like the lower lip all the way down in this weird deformed look, or having like [an] offset cheek that's just asymmetrical to the side of the face. There's not going to be the ability or agency to create those types of weird character things. However you will have the ability to move, slide, change, grow, decrease all those components, but they'll be kept in a more reasonable and presented way in the same sense you won't be able to change the appearance of the dwarven, nor the Dünir or the Niküan races to, in my opinion, create what would be traditionally considered a Loli character.[33]Steven Sharif

Aelan appearance

Vaelune have Jinn influence in their lineage, which manifests as an essence-like rupture in their skin after stepping through the divine gateways.[7]

Dünir dwarven appearance

Facial hair is characteristic of the Dünir, not the Niküa.[29]

  • Female Dünir beards will not match that of the male. It will be more of a braided option that is not as voluminous.[29]
  • Body hair may also be a character customization option for female Dünir.[39]
  • The developers updated the Dünir dwarves' design to have a more stout traditional fantasy appearance based on feedback from Alpha-1.[40][41]

Niküa dwarves have a "halfling" appearance.[40][41]

Pyrian appearance

Py'rai male in-game footage.[42]

From a character customization standpoint, these will be adjustable: Their length, their size, their width, their color, whether or not they'll have features like flowers that can bloom on the actual antlers, if they have buds, how do those antlers interact with climates as you move into them, do they bloom?[43]Steven Sharif

All Py'rai will have antlers, but their length, size, width, color, and other components can be adjusted via the character creator.[43][44]

  • The horns are a unique feature of the Py'Rai, but it may be possible to remove them.[45]
  • Py'rai will be capable of having brown skin.[46]

Ren'Kai Appearance

Ren'Kai are large and 'buff' in appearance.[47][49]

Vek are "goblinesque" in appearance and have a somewhat "contorted" stature.[48][49]

Tulnar appearance

Tulnar character model concept art of the three base influences.[52]

There's a number of minor races and major races that all sought refuge within the Underrealm and we talked about how this particular player character race was going to have a pretty unique approach when it comes to character customization because with that background there comes different species influence in the race itself and we want players to be able to dial up or down those influences as they see fit between the humanoid, the simian or mammalian, and the reptilian influences; and as you dial those things up, your base body- if it exceeds a certain percentage threshold- will assume the form and stance of one of three primary types of influences that exist for the Tulnar. And now what you're going to see is those three distinct influences and you can be of course a hundred percent in one if you wish and you'll be very similar to what you're going to see here from the concepts; or you can mix-and-match and you can blend between the different influences.[53]Steven Sharif

The Tulnar race does not have sub-types, instead, players will be able to significantly customize the appearance of Tulnar characters based on three base influences; or blend between these different influences.[53][54][55][56][57][58]

Races are primarily humanoid in appearance.[9]

  • There are feline and bestial components that can be scaled up when creating a Tulnar character but Tulnar do not equal furries.[33][55]
  • Catgirl and Loli Tulnar are not able to be created.[33]
Tulnar do not equal furries, but there are definitely some bestial components that you can scale up when you're creating your Tulnar character, so you could max that setting I guess. Whether or not that would give you what you would think of as a furry, I guess it's going to be up to your interpretation of what a Furry is.[55]Steven Sharif
Q: Will character creator allow us to make Tulnar that might look somewhat like Kobolds from Pathfinder or DnD?
A: I wouldn't say exactly, but there's definitely elements of Kobolds that you could incorporate in a character creator with the Tulnar, yes.[60]Steven Sharif
info-orange.pngSome of the following information has not been recently confirmed by the developers and may not be on the current development roadmap.
  • Mammalian Tulnar may have snout features, fur and inverted knees.[61]
  • Reptilian Tulnar may have more circular eyes and head shape, and scaly skin.[61]

Weapon and armor appearance

Armor racial appearances in early Alpha-1.[62]

Violet light and myself are wearing exactly the same armor set right: Same stats, same everything, but it drops for her it looks one way, it drops for me it looks another way; and... a small part of that is gender, but then the other part of it is race. So because I was a Vaelune in that playthrough my armor was in the Vaelune style; and when she picked it up it was in the elven style because she was an elf. So that kind of gives you an example of sort of the breadth of looks that we're going for and how we kind of try to capture like who you are as as a character and kind of allow you to kind of build your look that way.[63]Jeffrey Bard

Dünir and Empyrean racially styled armor concept art by Keith Kovach.[64]

We have essentially sets that exist across all races; and each race that dons those armor sets is going to have their own racial influence on the presentation of those particular sets. So that's something that's unique in how each of the races get diversified.[65]Steven Sharif

Weapons and armor are not race locked, but armor will take on a racial appearance.[65][66][67]

The customization of equipment per race is really focused on Armor sets not Weapon props. Weapon props will, from a model standpoint, will translate pretty one-to-one across the races.[68]Steven Sharif
Let's say for example you have the Eagle set or something, right: The Eagle set has in art, it has a thematic design that's going to include certain attachments to the armor. It's going to include color palette and theme. It's going to have some aspects to it that define it as the Eagle set, right. When a Elf wears the Eagle set or when an Orc wears the Eagle set, you obviously have two different cultures there; and you don't want to stomp out that culture by assigning a de facto 'This is the Eagle set and this is how it looks on everybody.' What we want to have is cultural influences play a role in showing how that set looks.[68]Steven Sharif
When you say, what if I'm an Orc but want to look like an Elf and I want my Eagle set to be the Elf representation? Well the issue becomes there that you know Orcs have a different organic model. You know, their body is different than that of the Elf. So, from a scope-creep standpoint, it's one thing to add different influences that represent the cultures that are donning the armor; it's another thing to adapt each influence as a matrix that can be worn pretty much by everything. From a scope perspective, that's a very difficult task for the character artists to kind of tackle. So instead what we've done is, in order to facilitate a variety of cultural representation between the races but allow for the sharing of assets like different armor sets, we give different representations of those armor sets to each race.[70]Steven Sharif

Ashes of Creation Apocalypse modular armor

Kaelar base level Ashes of Creation Apocalypse robe set.

You can kind of start to see like some of the components that we put together that we can mix and match and kind of make new armors from. This is kind of like the base chassis for all of that.[71]Jeffrey Bard

Your base look for the character can be pretty boring, but what Steven gave us a challenge with from day one was to make sure even the base look, the t-shirt and pants, looked amazing... This is your zero character, if you will... Then you can go in and customize everything from the shoulder pads to the elbow pads, the belt that goes around them; do you want duel belts, you want to harness the clothes in the front. So every piece you see on here you can actually customize that at the front end. So what we do is we scale that up from zero, ten and twenty... We scale it up and we customize it; and then I want to really stress that each one of those looks as you progress is different. We're not just repurposing the same armor pieces. We're making unique sets that complement each other as you progress.[71]Mat Broome

Ashes of Creation Apocalypse will have three different armor themes: Plate, leather and robe.[72]

You can actually have three different types of themes: You have plate, you'll have leather and you'll have robe. So for every armor set that we're showing at each one of those tiers, you're actually gonna have nine unique looks to pick from.[72]Mat Broome

Racial skins

Racial skins enable a player to change their character's racial appearance.[73][74]

  • Racial skins transform the race of the character to that skin. The original racial appearance of the character is entirely replaced.[75]
  • Racial skins can be toggled on and off.[74]

You're changing your race over to that, which means that you won't look uniquely different if you were a Vek angel or a Human angel.[75]Steven Sharif

Racial skins are not costumes. This means that armor and character customization is possible on these.[76]

  • Skin color customization.[77]
  • Racial skins appear along with any costume appearances.[78]

There are plans to create other racial skins.[79]

  • Some potential future ideas include undead and werewolf (lycan) skins.[80]

Racial influence on node development

Racial architecture of the same Village (stage 3) node on different servers. Dünir Dwarven influence (top). Kaelar Human influence (bottom). Alpha-1 Non-NDA screenshot.

The layout and architecture within a Node’s development area are determined by influential race. For example, a stage 3 Node with the majority of player contribution being Py'rai would have a Py'rai village with Py'rai architecture. Most NPCs would be Py'rai elves, and offer questlines within the Py'rai narrative.[81]Margaret Krohn

Each player’s contributed experience is flagged with their character race and other identifiers. When a Node advances, the race with the highest experience contribution determines the Node’s style and culture. This style and culture change can happen at every Node Stage. For example, if a Node advances to Level 2 - Encampment Stage and 51% of all experience was earned by Ren’Kai players, the Node will be a Level 2 Ren’Kai Node. If that same Node advances to a Level 3 - Village Stage Node, but the Py'Rai contributed 62% of all the experience earned, then the Node will be a Level 3 Py'Rai Node.[82]Margaret Krohn

Node layout and style is determined by several factors:[83][84]

  • Environment (biome) and location of the node.[85][83][84]
    The way that the node system is built is that they can exist across a spread of 18 biomes, but at the same time have to represent the cultural influence of these cultures that are intrinsically a part of a specific biome.[85]Steven Sharif
    • Nodes will adjust the local topography to fit the aesthetic and mechanical requirements of the node.[86]

Currently the way that the platform system is set up, is it's capable of adjusting the topography of the node's footprint, regardless of the surrounding terrain. So the reason for that is we want to have flexibility in the presentation of the node's layout and how it is essentially both from an aesthetic standpoint as well as a mechanical standpoint with node sieges- how it's constructed and that construction should have the ability to take on a variance of different types of topography. So it shouldn't be dependent on the surrounding area. Now that's not to say that the surrounding area isn't going to have some influence over. So for example... we're experimenting a little bit with the platform tech and putting up a node up against the side of a mountain or on the edge of a cliff or something that has a beautiful vista. Those are things that we're going to test out obviously as we continue to work on the node tool and how that platform system works, but the idea is to have the node independent of the surrounding terrain.[86]Steven Sharif

Some parts are determined by the area it's in. Some parts are determined by the type it is. Some parts are determined by the race it is; and then the rest of it is determined by the mayor.[84]Jeffrey Bard

All nodes whether they're associated with a castle or associated with normal node structure has cultural influences that replicate over to the buildings that are produced and the NPCs that are present.[91]Steven Sharif

  • The rest is determined by the node's mayor.[84]
    • It should be possible for a node to complete several building projects within a mayor's one month term in office.[92]
Q: How long would you say it will take players on average to fill slash build up a node completely from wilderness to metropolis?
A: It's one thing to get a node to a certain level: it's another thing to develop the node; and I can't really give you an on-average expectation, because there's a lot of variables at play. There's how many citizens does the node have attracted to it; what's the type of traffic that the node is attracting to it based on things like its tax rates, or the specialization that it chose to spec into, based on the building types it's chosen to build. All of those things are variables that can affect the quote-unquote "average build-out time" of a particular node. So it's kind of difficult to give you an average when there's so many variables along those lines. But the idea is that if there is a particular project that players are interested in in developing based on the node stage, that they would have the ability to complete several of those projects as within a single term of a mayor; and a term of a mayor is one month.[92]Steven Sharif

Racial mounts

Characters are able to obtain racial mounts via a quest in that race's starting area.[93][94]

Each starting area will have a different quest line that will yield a different type of starting mount. But by default you don't just choose you know human and here you get a horse, so to speak. Because you can be a human in our game and choose to start in a different racial area- at a different Divine Gateway- and as such then you could follow the quest line that gives you the Orc mount.[93]Steven Sharif

Racial influence on caravans

Personal (Self-directed/player driven) caravans are initiated by the player, who essentially "becomes the caravan". These are land-based and water-based (naval caravans) that the player drives and directs.[95][96]

Racial animations

Alpha-2 work-in-progress combat animations and decals.[102]

The intensity of those weapon trailings; how they scale based on the type of weapon, the level of weapon, that you have; but not just the trailing on the weapon per-se but also the ground decals. Like for this heavy weapon, that first strike you see that decal in the ground is- I love that look- and even on the backswing when I hit the ground behind me, it's causing that decal.[102]Steven Sharif

We really wanted to build the combat system to- like i said earlier- be as physical as possible. So we have it very animation driven. Everything is handled based on a reference of animation as opposed to nebulous timings, which allows it to feel very impactful and very responsive.[103]Keenan Reimer
We're not going to be having I think unique combat animations. However we will have unique non-combat animations, such as your idle, your walk, your run cycle: things that the combat attacks do not have to blend back into.[104]Steven Sharif

See also

References

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