The Essence

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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.[1][2][3]

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.[1]Steven Sharif
The essence is a stream that exists across all planes of existence, but it exists at different levels of strength essentially at different levels that can be utilized; and the void is the furthest... There is a very minute amount of essence that can be found within the void. However the planes of existence that are in Ashes of Creation- they are connected across bridges created by the essence. So these ley-lines in a sense that exist within the different planes provide conduits of access and on Verra, which was a planet that was made after the ancient- the celestial battle.[3]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.[1][2]

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.[2]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.[1][2]
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.[2]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.[1][2]
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.[1]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.[4]
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.[1]Steven Sharif
  • The Tulnar have souls and these souls act as conduits for the Essence.[5]
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.[1]Steven Sharif
  • Shape-shifting (changeling) is done so through the Essence by focusing on that specific type of magic.[7]

Corrupted Essence

Corrupted Essence (commonly referred to simply as Corruption) is a negative aspect of The Essence that was spread by The Ancients during the Apocalypse.[6][9]

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.[10]Steven Sharif
  • Corruption was brought to Verra by the Harbingers, which are comet-like celestial bodies powered by a very strong source of magic.[11][3]
  • There are events that lead to the spreading of corruption that players will have to fight back against the intrusion.[13][16][19]

Schools of magic

Different schools of magic exist within Ashes of Creation.[20]

There are a lot of different schools of magic... whether it be transformation, summoning magic, arcane magic, elemental magic, blood corruption, regular corruption, chaos, electricity. There's a whole bunch of influences that exist across the player abilities, but also across the environments and the POIs and unique to each of the cultures.[20]Steven Sharif
  • The developers adhere to a style guide for each school of magic.[20]

Origin Story

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.[25]Steven Sharif

Pantheon of gods

"Planetarium" concept art by Ryan Richmond.[26]

The beginning of the creation of the universe that exists within Ashes of Creation was a result of a group of god beings. There were ten of them and there was a celestial struggle in this universe that resulted in a fraction of those gods. And there exists within this story two components of good and evil.[27]Steven Sharif

The ten deities within Ashes of Creation formed a pantheon of gods that existed in a realm outside of the material plane.[3][28] There was a celestial struggle among the gods that fractured them into good and evil.[3][27] Some gods influence the corrupt side of beings that exist in the Universe.[29][3] It is possible through questing and player decision to join or worship those gods.[30][31]

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.[32]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.[3]
  • 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.[3][27]

The Gods are beings of The Essence, which is a metaphysical energy or life-force of sorts that can be manipulated to create what could be viewed as magic.[3]

  • 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.[4]

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.[3]Steven Sharif

The Gods in Ashes of Creation represent different aspects of the Universe, and feelings as well.[33]

Each god... has a specific realm that they relate to in the world and its creation.[27]Steven Sharif

We have a very rich lore on the pantheon of gods, but it's something that I want to make sure players discover in-game, not told about.[33]Steven Sharif

The Ancients

A Lieutenant of The Ancients 3D render.[29]

This is one of the lieutenants that exists of the Ancients; and you can see they have an almost alien look to them and that is because they have deviated over such a long period of time from their original creation, which looked something very very different: more akin to the Elven and Human races that we have now. But over time through their manipulation of the Essence and the corruption that has ensued within their race, they have taken the form that you can see.[40]Steven Sharif

Suffering Wanderer 3D render.[41][42]

You're going to see really kind of a dark, more insidious creature that's present as the primary antagonist within the storyline of Ashes of Creation. You know they don't have the typical physical attributes you come to expect from a bipedal species like eyes and a mouth, but more you know something alien- that exists something that is just not natural in its appearance.[19]Steven Sharif

The Ancients (the original creations of the Ten gods) and The Others (the banished gods) are the primary antagonists in the lore who defiled and perverted all of creation.[29][3][43]

  • 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.[44]

If the Verran races were combined they’d be the ancients.[47]Steven Sharif

  • 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.[29][3]

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.[7]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.[48][7]
    • Grunts are the peons or soldiers on the front lines who are specifically geared toward combat, or magic utilization, or specific environments or climates.[48][7]
    • Lieutenants have wing structures and more asymmetrical appearances.[48][7]
    • Captains and generals are also ranks in the caste system.[7]
    • Large raid bosses and/or world bosses are monolithic in their appearance and unlike what standard creatures look like. These are huge, imposing creatures.[48][7]

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 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 kind of 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 kind of 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.[3]Steven Sharif

Mana

Resting and mana regeneration.[49]

As you know, a classic MMO thing to do is to sit and rest as you get your resources back.[50]Steven Sharif

Mana is a universal resource/energy in Ashes of Creation that keeps corresponding stats for mana pool, consumption and regeneration relevant.[51][52][53]

Mana management I think, not just for mage players but for really every class, is a relevant resource mechanic that they have to take into consideration when they're utilizing their rotations; and there are going to be abilities that will sap your mana faster than others; and they're going to be situational. Now, with that blanket statement of mana is always relevant, there is also going to be mechanics and/or class energies and abilities that you can spec into to help mitigate that. There's itemization that you can utilize from a set bonus perspective, or certain types of weapons and tattoos that you can acquire. There are certain enchantments that you can acquire that might reduce the cost of mana use, that might increase your amount of regeneration, that might increase your mana total pool. There are even specs that you can build towards if mana management is your issue. So we want to make it a compelling case that you need to think about mana use because you don't just want to go 100% all the time with no downside to that. That's a very boring type of interaction.[51]Steven Sharif

Visuals

See also

References

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  45. steven-ancients-1.png
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