CREATING ESO: THE KWAMA
Get a closer look at the burrowing kwama and find out more about how we bring the creatures of The Elder Scrolls Online to life.
The kwama, which you’ll recognize if you played Morrowind, are insectoid creatures you’ll encounter in three forms in ESO: the scrib, the worker, and the warrior. Kwama are native to Morrowind, where their eggs are an important food source for the Dark Elves. Their burrows, referred to as “egg mines” when claimed and harvested by the Elves, are dug and expanded by the workers as the colony grows. Kwama warriors, the largest of the species, protect the workers and scrib (their larval form) from intruders.
As with any creature that’s been featured in previous Elder Scrolls games, we look at the established lore and appearance when creating our concept art. Once we’ve refined the concept—in the case of the kwama, all three concepts—the creature is ready to be built as a 3D model and inserted into the game. Getting the model from concept art into the game is just the beginning, though.
Animations are important for every creature, and the kwama are no exception. When our animators began creating movement for the warrior and scrib, they had specific goals in mind. For instance, they wanted the warrior to appear twitchy and on edge, always alert for danger and ready to fight off interlopers. Its attacks look powerful and brutish. To create the eight-legged scrib’s scuttling movement, they looked closely at creatures like crabs, spiders, ticks, and mites for inspiration.
Each variation of the kwama has its own attacks, and some of these interact with each other to produce new effects—we call these synergies. The worker can charge and knock a character back, and the warrior unearths a giant rock to launch at its foes. If the warrior lifts a rock out of an area the worker charges through, it creates a swarm of scrib! These combinations play on the natural cooperation between the different kinds of kwama and help them feel like a cohesive group. A kwama on its own may not be a big threat, but they can be overwhelming when they work together.