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In-Depth Suggestion: Animal Husbandry Implementation

AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
In case the design team has not yet finalized the system for Animal Husbandry, please allow me to share my vision which came to me as I was waking up this morning.

Design Specification Goal: To create a secondary 'economic factor' on the 'input' side of the Animal Husbandry profession

Core Assumptions:
#1. Each mount has some number of attributes, genetic expressions, using sliders or discrete values.
#2. There is some limit on how often and how quickly a breeding pair can have a youngling.
#3. That the goal of the design is to maximize player agency while retaining rarity.

These are currently as I understand things to work in Ashes of Creation.

Secondary Assumptions:
#1. The goal of design is to allow players to specialize and learn
#2. A throttle on the number of mounts of a specific level or rarity is a design goal, secondary to just limiting breeding rate.

Core Premise:
Assume that for a given breeding pair there are two 'feeding troughs' allowing for some number of items, for sake of argument, 10.
Assume that each item left in the trough will be eaten at some interval, for sake of argument, 15 minutes real time. When all are consumed, breeding of the pair begins.
In this suggested system, each item has an epigenetic expression factor effect on the creature, moving the sliders relative to the calculation for the youngling.

A player owns two grey horses. We consider their sliders to be halfway between 0 (white) and 10 or 20 (black). In a randomized or true genetic system, the player simply breeds these and hopes for a 1 in 4 chance of black. This quickly leads to 'volume' being the point of the activity.
In the suggested system, the player feeds each horse some herb or root intended to move the slider toward the 'black' side. The rarity of the required item would be tied directly to the rarity of the desired trait. The youngling now has the maximum chance of being black through entirely 'economic driven' means, however two white horses (assuming 20 as the maximum) cannot produce a black foal, even with some randomization added at the end in the output. You could, however, get them to have a grey one, with similar effort to 'having two greys have a black foal'.

Intended Result Main Concept:
The result is a change from volume of number of younglings, to volume of trade. Items can also be tied to locations and nodes, to make it rarer to find X attribute in Y geographic location, without literally 'importing the correct breed'.

Assuming that total number of younglings possible from a given adult is also limited, this causes breeding to be a long term thing, especially if randomization for extremely rare mounts is moreso related to 'reaching a specific attribute configuration and then having a small but reasonable chance'.

Additional complexity can be added by making some items have a 'negative' effect on some other attribute, such as ability to learn a specific skill, or weight. If the herb used to move the slider toward 'black' also moved the 'weight' slider toward 'lean', the breeder would need to first get black horses, then breed those together while feeding an item that moved the 'weight' slider toward 'muscular', in order to get a large black charger type of horse. Alternately, they would need to find a rarer variant of the item that did not do this.

Similarly, a player with a higher level in the Husbandry profession could expect to either have somewhat more direct control over sliders, or to see specific multipliers applied to the items placed in the feeding troughs, allowing them to more rapidly shift expression, so that they could 'get to black horses faster from grey baselines found in the wild', with less cost, without locking players of lesser mastery from being able to do the basics for any attributes they had interest in.

Economic driving factors are then twofold on the 'input' point. Players seeking adults with good attributes for their aims, to make it less costly in items, and players seeking out items for the purpose. If attributes are generally 'good either way' or 'better toward the ends of the sliders than the middle', this driving force continues either way. A black Charger is not a potential parent for a white 'dancer', at all, there is simply not enough 'space in the feeding trough' to easily influence both attributes before breeding.

Other thoughts:
While this removes the random element, my experience with certain ... other games... has led to the conclusion that the market and, in fact, the process of breeding itself, becomes less personal, less interesting, and more frustrating, with high levels of it, even 'those that match standard simple genetics'. Players simply invest more and more time into the process, with little direct interaction or control, in one such other game, forcing the developers to either make it easier to cause people to not give up, or shift the overall paradigm.

This economic factor also serves partially as a limiter that is more easily shifted by the development team if needed, by simply tweaking the availability (via gathering or droprate) of specific items used to influence the epigenetic expression. It furthermore opens up many more uses for items that might otherwise be overly similar.

Downsides (designer only):
The communication of information to the player about what items will have what effects, as well as the storage of all the related information, particularly if it is added to items that already exist (e.g. types of meat having different effects on a lizard), would have a relatively significant UI overhead if done as part of a simple menu tooltip, and players may not appreciate having this information stored in a 'Husbandry Encyclopedia' or similar.

Higher level Husbandry characters and alts would also be more limited, which is two sided. Competition for feed, imports, and rivalries, could become quite heated, which might not fit the overall vision, even with the Core Assumptions.

Anyway, thanks for your time reading all this, dreamed it up (probably literally) and needed to get it out. I'm like that a lot so expect this sort of thing occasionally.

All 'rights' to all concepts and related implementations above are immediately transferred to the ownership of Intrepid Studios for use or modification as they see fit, in perpetuity. (I don't think things on forums normally require the intellectual property transfer language, but I'm used to using it, and I don't actually know, anyone who does know, I'd appreciate it if you told me)
Sorry, my native language is Erlang.


  • Interesting idea, for sure. Would give it a more "scientific"/"methodological" approach than simple Trial And Error. Although, it may be that the Trial And Error part comes with trying to find out which food has which effect.

    As for the UI/"Husbandry Encyclopedia", pretty much everything will be on the wiki as soon as it's discovered, so the community will likely make its own.

    "Competition for feed, imports, and rivalries, could become quite heated, which might not fit the overall vision"
    It most certainly would fit the vision. This game's all about competition for resources.
    This link may help you:
  • maouwmaouw Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited April 2021
    I agree with davey!

    And your comments about the dev side of having essentially recipes related to breeding - yeah that is big load of design if it's going to use raw materials that can be found naturally in the world. Plus we don't know for sure what kind of genetic system they're aiming for. That said, I love when we are given limited control over RNG effects!

    In terms of UI (and disregarding the fact that the wiki will eventually know everything), I think something as simple as "Your quarrior Brady greedily gobbled up the cabbage leaves you fed him" / "Your quarrior Brady did not seem interested in the carrots you fed him" is a fun way to hint at what to feed different animals.
    I wish I were deep and tragic
  • QuarantineQuarantine Member, Leader of Men, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    Super cool ideas that I would personally love to see!
  • tautautautau Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    In addition to some traits, such as color, having sliders, perhaps we should have other traits based on recessive genes.

    A color trait based on a slider could provide a mount from white to black, with gray or tan being most common.

    A trait based on a gene could be a yes or no depending if both parents carry that gene. For example, perhaps all tamed cats have a slashing attack. But there is a 20% chance of a cat also having a bite attack gene which can be from strength 5 to 25. If you tame a momma and pappa cat which both have that bite attack gene, then several kittens in each litter will as well. The player can selectively breed the kittens with the strongest bite attack until virtually all of them have a strong bite, maybe even greater than 25!

    Now you can sell them for top dollar, since you have the best attack cats on the server. But the breeder is smart, he only sells male bite attack cats. This way it is much more difficult for others to breed strong bite attack cats...the kittens bred from other momma cats only have low strength bite attacks, if they have a bite attack at all.

    Replicate this with hippo mounts, hawk pets, wolves and other tamable creatures and you will become the breeder that everyone on the server comes to and you can trade your animals for the best armor and weapons, trade for good apartments at nodes, trade for stock in growing nodes, buy guards for your node's name it!

    So hopefully AoC has someone with some genetics training doing the breeding coding. I'll bet a trained eagle against a parrot that they do.
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