Find out more about the creation of the legendary wamasu, terror of Black Marsh, in our new inside look at The Elder Scrolls Online development.
We held a vote on Facebook to find out what creature you wanted to see featured in this Creating ESO, and the wamasu crushed both the guar and the clannfear. Let’s take a closer look at the dangerous reptilian from the depths of Black Marsh and learn more about what it takes to create effects for creatures in ESO.
When we design any enemy, we first look to the lore for direction. The wamasu has never appeared in an Elder Scrolls game, and it’s rarely mentioned in existing lore, so we had some freedom to define and flesh out this intimidating foe. Our concept artists came up with a wide variety of thumbnails and ideas and worked with Bethesda Game Studios to finalize the art and design direction for the wamasu. Below, you can see some of these concepts for the wamasu and its eggs.
Once the concept was finalized, Figure Artists created the model and we worked to get the wamasu into the game. If you want to learn more of the details about how we take a creature from concept to in-game model, check out our article about the ogrim, which covers the whole process. You can see the wamasu as it appears in-game right now below.
Even though the wamasu was in the game, there was still plenty of work to do. One critical step in bringing an enemy to life is adding effects to it and its attacks. To create the effects you see in the game (like lightning, fire, and smoke), Effects Artists first build particle effects in an editor and paint any new textures needed for the final product. Once the first pass is done, they apply the effects to the monster in-game and start working to ensure that they fit perfectly with the enemy, look good in the environment, and are consistent with the game’s style. This often means going back to edit the particle effects and associated textures several times until they look just right. For simple effects, this process can take a matter of hours, but for enemies that need multiple complex effects, it can take a week or more of work.
Legend has it that the wamasu are enormous, frightening creatures with “lightning for blood,” and this mention helped drive the effects for its body and its lethal attacks. Electricity pulses up and down the wamasu’s spine, presenting a clear warning to potential challengers. Effects artists also gave flavor to the wamasu’s attacks. Its roar charges the air with a plasma-like effect, and its savage bite attack also has an electrical element.