While the Echo has been quiet for the last few months the Soulbound Studios team have been exactly the opposite. They have all had their noses to the grindstone. Hopefully, you have been following the comprehensive updates they have released on their progress. So comprehensive in fact there was little for me to add. (That and I had my hands full with a new addition to the family!) However, over the last couple of weeks the team have been dropping information on the Tribes we will see in the game and with that has come juicy lore which I am going to compile and speculate on here! This first article just rounds up the basics about the Tribe system and looks at the impact of player actions on their lore and culture.
Names, Locations and Religions
There are eight tribes which will be available to play at launch. Each has a primary biome that they will be based in and a religion they historically follow. The eight initial tribes, their biomes and religions are:
Neran – Grasslands – Virtori
The Neran are the most similar to Humans and have no single distinct adaptation. Instead, they are the most flexible able to survive in many different biomes and able to learn different skills quickly. They are a jack of all trades masters of none.
Hrothi – Mountain Steppes – Virtori
The Hrothi are a strong stocky stubborn people with a defined moral code and the ability to hold a grudge. They value wisdom and time above all else and are master craftsman with a focus on masons, smiths, jewellers and scribes. Many of them stay in underground cave systems, though some live on the steppes around the entrance so these systems.
Brudvir – Alpine Forests – Faedin
The Brudvir are a visually impressive tribe both tall and muscular. As well as being physically adapted to the cold climate their culture of pack mentality and smaller settlements also lends itself to the lack of cultivatable crops. They do have ample meat though being brilliant trackers, hunters and animal tamers. They are also well known for their carpentry.
Kypiq – Broadleaf Forests – Faedin
Friendly and generally welcoming the Kypiq are the smallest of the races. They live in the forest making their homes in the trees, which are also their source of food so they are incredibly protective of their biome. They avoid using force but instead use their sharp minds with great skill at engineering and tinkering.
Janoa – Tropical Rainforest – Faedin
‘The Hunt’ is the focus of much of the Janoan culture, earning trophies and showing your achievements. They are camouflaged to their jungle home and their long reach and poison resistance make them top predators. As well as hunters they also have a focus on alchemy and shamans.
Dras – Swamplands – Followers of the Two-Fold Queen
The swamp did a lot for the ghoulish Dras, it made them very resistant to poisons, toxins, and all known diseases. Their ability to eat and drink anything while getting full benefits is also a trait of the biome. Alchemy is a common trade, along with mining bog iron, cultivating toxins, and farming insects.
To’resk – Freshwater Wetlands – Qindred
The To’resk have a profound sense of caution and patience due to the environment they live in trying to kill them on a regular basis. They are calculating and opportunistic firmly believe in taking care of their own but also believe in tolerance and perseverance, this makes them excellent negotiators and diplomats. Their biome also lends itself to agriculture, both above and below the waterline, as well as water focused crafts such as shipwrights.
The Waerd – Semi-Arid Desert – Followers of the Two-Fold Queen
A collective society The Waerd act as one. Their settlements have all the benefits of a family, including bolstering each others skills, and also share all their resources amongst them. They are masters of disguise and working in the shadows, their combat is focused off the battlefield and in more subtle ways. They have a strong focus on schools and teaching which means they take on a huge range of skills as well as being sought out as tutors by other tribes.
The are another four that we will encounter in our explorations of the world but information on them will be limited until we discover them:
Yoru – Tundra – Atheist/Agnostic
Owem – Savanah – Atheist/Agnostic
Erishé – Arid Desert – Qindred
Mydarri – Saltwater Mangroves – Atheist/Agnostic
Struggling to work out how to say some of those? Don’t worry they did provide pronunciations in this update.
Culture and Lore
This is the important part! If you are not going to bother reading anything else remember this.
All the information we have been given about the tribes is their culture and history at launch. After that, it will change, it will develop, and it will be different on every server.
This fact is the reason I am making an introductory post about Tribes at all. I could have just jumped in with the information but I think this is something that needs to be understood up front. The culture of the tribes two years down the road could look quite different from the information we have here, and also quite different from the same tribe on another server. Even immediately after launch, we could well see differences appear as somethings will be able to be changed straight away, though others will take longer to adjust.
While things can and will change, after all the world is just a canvas for players to paint their stories, you might not want to jump straight to wanting change. These cultures give an opportunity for interesting stories, for conflict, for pushing you out of your comfort zone and embracing a playstyle you might not have expected. Explore what it is like to play in a way you have never done in an MMO and really push the genre forward.
In the end, it is a balance. Soulbound Studios are creating cultures that will give us an interesting world and will work before launch to make those cultures ones we want to embrace, but it is our choices as players that will determine how much of the culture we have been presented survives.
We do want people to come into launch feeling like the rules and the cultures we have established for the tribes are valuable and viable and playable. But at the same time, we do want to give players the control they need the domains and settlements that are specific to them. [YouTube – Q&A]So get ready to embrace those cultures, but don’t get too attached!