ASHES 101 - CARAVANS
Dropped Items: Upon death a normal player only drops gatherable items. A corrupted individual has a RNG chance to drop gear including weapons and armor.
Gatherable: Things that you harvest from the world via the Gathering profession, or things that are dropped from monsters (pelts, furs, tails, bones, etc)
Raw Material: Synonymous with gatherable, and often used interchangeable
Disclaimer: In this section I will use the phrases dropped items or dropping items. This is in reference to the key term Dropped Items. The average player cannot drop gear (armor or weapons). Instead they only drop a percentage portion of the gatherables they have in their inventory at the time of death. Corrupted players do have a chance to drop armor and weapons. For more on corruption see the PVP section on Corruption.
What are Caravans?
Caravans are open world rolling PvP Zones that allow players to move large quantities of goods from one-location to another. Caravans do not fall under the purview of the corruption mechanic, meaning that anyone can attack a caravan without suffering from any negative consequences applied by the game. This does not mean there aren’t any consequences for being a known brigand, but those consequences will come from player driven decisions not from the game itself.
Player Carrying Capacity and the World
The world of Ashes of Creation is intended to be large. Not only is the world deliberately set to be 480 km² with an additional 100 km² of Underrealm, but the travel time between any two points on the map is intentionally long. With the exception of some options at the Scientific Metropolis Nodes, there is no fast travel in Ashes of Creation. Even with the limited fast travel available, the distance the size of the world mechanic is not circumvented because the carrying capacity of individual players is limited. Where in other games you can head out into the wild and mine for hours and come back with 50,000 Iron Ore in your backpack this will not be occurring in Ashes of Creation.
We do not have any concrete example of what the carrying capacity of an individual character are, but the x10 and x100 numbers are confirmed and accurate. So, these are all my conceptual examples and should not beaken as anything official from Intrepid Studios.
An individual player may have a carrying capacity of 100 Ore. With a specialized Mining Backpack this could be increased to say 150 Ore. Needless to say this is a small amount of ore.
A player while out in the wild will be able to spawn a mule and load it up with Iron Ore and increase his base carrying capacity by a factor of ten, so this means the player would be able to go out and gather 1,000 ore. While this is much better than only being able to farm 100 per trip it comes with certain risks. That mule is now a walking target that can be killed for the gatherables it holds inside. While the individual killing the mule would still be subject to the corruption mechanic, the mule’s owner would be in a situation where his haul is now laying on the road available for looting.
A mule works for working out in the wilds and bringing the materials back to a point of storage, however, in order to move large quantities of goods across the world you will want to move things with a caravan. Caravans hold ten times the amount what a mule can hold which is 100 times what a player can hold. So in this case, the caravan would hold 10,000 Iron Ore, which is quite a haul considering that you can move in one caravan trip what it would take 100 manual trips or 10 mule trips to move.
Why would you use a caravan?
As stated the biggest reason you would use a caravan is as a time saver. Unless you really want to spend the time making 100 trips back and forth manually or 10 trips back and forth with your mule you are going to want to use Caravans as a time saver. There is also the added security that comes with Caravans given that NPC guards can be hired to escort the caravan and players can be rewarded for escorting and defending the caravan to its final destination.
NOTE: As it stands right now guards can be included with personal caravans (rolled into the certificate) as well as Node driven Caravans (hired). As we learn more details about this mechanic this will be more refined.
As discussed in the Nodes section, when a Mayor of a town is trying to construct a building project, raw materials are going to be needed in bulk. These will, no doubt, require caravans.
Types of Caravans
Caravans come in two types, Node Driven Caravans and Personal Caravans.
Node Caravan - These travel along selectable (but pre-set) routes from one Node to another
Personal Caravans - These travel along free-form routes from any point of storage to any point of storage.
Both types of Caravans have a level associated with them.
Node Driven caravans have their level determined by the Node they are launched from. The higher level the Node the more options there are for the Caravans. We do not know if the caravans launched are all identical, or if you have a selection option, or if you order a Caravan off the menu and pay for the services you want.
Personal caravans on the other hand are constructed from player crafted parts. Players get to choose what wheels, chassis, steeds and other parts they include when they go to get their Caravan Certificate stamped. These components affect the speed of the Caravan, the capacity, the hit points the armor rating and what guards are included. An interesting, yet relatively unknown part, of the Caravan system is that when launching a personal caravan, the individual’s hitpoints and the caravan’s hitpoints become one, and the player assumes the defense mitigation and mobility of the caravan. How this is going to play out in deployment is still yet to be demonstrated.
How Caravans Function
Both Node Driven and Personal Launched Caravans operate under the Attack/Defend/Ignore mechanic for PvP. What this means is when you encounter a Caravan in the world you will be presented with a choice of if you want to attack the caravan (without corruption penalty),if you want to help defend the caravan (and earn a reward) or if you want to simply ignore it and go on your way.
When and if a Caravan is destroyed it does not drop the items loaded into the caravan, instead, it drops redeemable certificates which can be redeemed for the items on the caravan. Originally, these certificates were to be taken to the point of origin for redemption, however, since a personal caravan can be launched from the storage at a freehold, we have learned the certificates can be taken to any node inside the same economic
region the “origin” freehold is in for redemption.
When it comes to rewards, there are two types. One is generated by the system, including on personal caravans as they are in fact caravans. The other is a reward that is offered by the
Intrepid Studios is still working on the mechanics for what happens when a caravan is destroyed. One option is the components of the caravan will drop into the wreckage and become lootable by anyone. Another option is that the components can only be recovered by the owner of the caravan.
What is an Economic Region?
If you noticed the term economic region in the above description and you are unsure what it is, do not worry. This is a term that has been used a few times in discussions with Steven, but he has not yet explained what he means by this term.
Brigands/Highwaymen and Defenders trees
It has always been known that when encountering a Caravan players would receive a reward if they helped to defend it. What we have recently learned is that there will be Brigand/Highwaymen and Defender trees. There will be advancement in these, similar to what we heard about the seamanship skills. These will increase the rewards and give access to additional quests.
As this is new material, we have very little information about it.
There has been a lot of discussion about certificates being claimable anywhere, this will not happen due to it being a way to bypass the traveling requirements. All I need to do is find a zone with a cheap raw material I need, load it up into a caravan, have some friends destroy that caravan and then run the certificates to where we need the raw material. As this would bypass the entire purpose of caravans and the world being large, you won't see it added as a possible mechanic. Ironically, Steven confirmed as much during my interview with him on 15 April 2019.