Dev Blog - Elves

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Devblog - Elves

Ellesmera is an iconic place, isn't it? Because of the Tree of Life, located in the heart of the city, the players can make their first contact with the Elves. It is undeniable that the region is beautiful ー which is precisely why we decided to do a rework of the creatures that live there. Let's check out the creative process behind this rework?

Thinner and generally shorter than humans, the pointy-eared Elves are the guardians of Cielo's Forest. Although they maintain peaceful relations with the human, they still see them as a brutish people, since the relationship between the two species eroded due to the deforestation practiced by the early human settlers.

Elven society worships a deity known as Wellspring and considers their forests sacred, since they draw their power from the trees. With vast kingdoms deep within the forest, the longest-lived Elves prefer to avoid conflict and war. However, despite their peaceful nature, they are skilled in fighting and sorcery, and quickly turn into fierce warriors whenever their homeland is invaded!


Elf Commoner

Elven Commoners don’t enjoy fighting, preferring to pursue other interests—tending their beautiful gardens, making art and music, hunting and storytelling. Despite their peaceful nature, the common Elves will readily band together to defend themselves and their beloved forests from all threats.


Elf Bowman

Elves are the most talented archers in Ravendawn, bar none. With their super-sensitive hearing and eyesight, an Elf Bowman can track a moving target through the woods and put an arrow through its eye. With their sentry posts high up in the tree canopy, Elven Bowmen are excellent at staying hidden if they don’t want to be seen.


Elf Druid

With flowing green robes and tattoos like grasping vines, Elven Druids are among the most important members of Elf society. Earth magic glimmers in the crux of their wooden staves, gifts from the Elderwoods. Druids can communicate with the trees themselves, coaxing their roots and branches into specific shapes, crafting pathways and buildings high in the forest canopy. The command over their environment gives them special powers—Druids are able to bind their foes with tree roots, and shoot deadly earthen projectiles from their staves.


Elf Swordman

Never mistake an Elf’s slender frame as a handicap to their fighting ability—lithe and light-footed, Elven Swordsmen take their martial art seriously. Though their protections are low, an Elf’s slight figure allows him to dodge attacks as he strikes back with the smoothness of water. Their swords are genuine works of art, forged for strength, beauty, and a sharp edge.


Elf Assassin

While some may claim that the Elves are slow to adapt and resistant to changing their ways, the Elf Assassin is, perhaps, the best example of the contrary. Although stealth was not foreign to Elvenkind, they did not believe killing a man in his home was honorable. That was the case until the conflicts with the humans began as Ravendawn was settled. Faced with a cunning and physically stronger foe, the Elves had to adapt. They would use the ambition and greed of Mankind against them by assassinating the right people and offering their unparalleled skills to power-hungry rival nobles. The game of politics is not only won through wars and diplomacy; one can simply remove the players while the pieces remain…


High Elf Champion

For ages, the title of Champion has been reserved for the most feared and respected warriors among Elvenkind. The order of High Elf Champions has a long history, tracing back to their ancient, lost homeland. It’s an honor only granted to those who have proven unmatched martial prowess. It was only after the eruption of the everlasting conflict between the Elves and the dreaded dragon Vermurat that the title gained a new, darker meaning. Tasked with slaying all followers of Crowfell’s tyrant, an initiate is recognized as Champion once they have dispatched dozens of the Dragon’s servants.


High Elf Guardian

Each Guardian is bonded to a High Elf Priestess for life, continuously honing their skills with a blade to ensure no harm befalls their Priestess. This bond grants the Guardians powerful blessings—increased attack and protection, and the ability to heal. With brilliant crimson armor and a golden sword, High Elf Guardians are elegantly clothed, but many overconfident warriors have been deceived by their pretty appearance… Guardians are among the deadliest fighters in the land.


High Elf Priestess

The Elves of Ravendawn do not have kings or queens, instead following Priestesses of the Wellspring. Golden feathers crest their crimson robes, and an enchanted breastplate protects them from sorcery. High Elven Priestesses worship the Wellspring and in turn, the deity blesses them with powerful magics. A Priestess’ chants are both captivating and deadly. She can heal all Elves in her vicinity and cause the ground itself to explode. If an enemy makes it past her Guardians, the Wellspring’s servants themselves—the lumbering Elderwood—might come to the Priestesses aid.


Creative Process

In the early days of Ravendawn's development, our objective was to bring life to the diverse landscapes present on the main continent, including Ellesmera. Elves are one of the first families of creatures to be created, along with Vampires, Warhogs and Toads ー even before humans themselves! Yes, they were pretty old!

‘’The rework of the Elves was inevitable, not only because of technical aspects, but also because we wanted to refine their unique design (no, they are not humans with pointy ears!).

A very obvious new feature of the Elves is their proportion when comparing the old versions to the current ones. Not to mention, of course, that the graphic quality itself has been updated to the level we are aiming for with all the sprites within Ravendawn. The difference is also noticeable in the animations, with the 8-frame current motion cycle and the attack animation! A special thanks to the artist responsible for this rework: D0fz!

We usually decide to do a rework when we have a major content update related to a creature or when the sprite reaches a critical level below the average quality because it’s outdated. We are always progressing as a whole, and it is very important for us to guarantee that the game is beautiful from start to finish, regardless of when you start playing it!''

Erick, Lead Artist

Elves are fascinating and powerful creatures that evolve rapidly when in society, even faster than humans themselves. If we could imagine the future of the Elves, what would it be like?

“Elves are beloved creatures by most fantasy fans and especially by the Design Team. This race carries characteristics both from the folklore, on which they are based, and from the hundreds of works in which they have been present over the past decades. While we definitely have an idea of what to expect from them, this is exactly what we have tried to modify for the future of Ravendawn, and players can be sure that our pointy-eared friends will still bring many surprises for their adventures!”

Achilles, Game Designer

The Elves were one of the first creatures to populate Ravendawn, and for the creation of the Ravencards it could be no different: the Elf Druid was the first creature chosen by the team to get a fully illustrated version for a Ravencard!

''Creating this card was a great challenge, as it was the first illustrated Ravencard, which would become a reference for the cards to follow. At that time, we didn't have the final layout of the card defined, but we already had a good idea of its structure. As usual in the development of the illustrations, I received a briefing with descriptions of the character, his characteristics and his habitat in Ravendawn, and possible situations on how to illustrate it. Having the briefing and pixel art in hand, I started sketching some composition ideas, using only lines and a base tone under the character:''

''After presenting the compositions to the team, we decided on the one that was most pleasing and that better fit with the character. Then, we elaborated a bit more on the design to get a better definition of the shapes and proportions until it achieved the final look, which you can check out below, along with all the Elf Ravencards that are ready to be used!''

Bio, Illustrator

But that’s not all! The rework of the Elves goes even further!

We know that sounds play a key role in immersion, working with the graphics to make the players feel that they are in a truly magical and fantastic world. Sounds can increase the impact impression of attacks and spells, and of course this concept is applied to the Elves.

‘’The Sound Design creative process is almost like putting together a puzzle. You can get random objects and record their sounds by yourself, or get pre-recorded ones and adjust them to your liking, trying to match the characteristics of what you're trying to achieve.

In the case of the Elves, for example, it was quite tricky! I wanted to keep them consistent with the other weapon sounds, of course, but at the same time I wanted their weapons to sound lighter, more skillful than the others. With this in mind, I looked for thinner blade sounds and higher pitched sounds, and mixed them with the human sword sounds. This mixture made the sound familiar to the ear, but at the same time fresh and unique to the elves!”

Costa, Sound Designer

We hope you enjoyed learning more about the Elves and the creative process behind the reworking of these creatures! Thanks and see you on the next Devblog!

The Ravendawn Team