In Zao, characters can also earn the tibia account right to wear a new outfit. Both the overall theme of the update and the war system inspired Jan to design the impressive warmaster outfit: “I wanted to take the opportunity to create something that goes along well with that, something Tibia Gold to go to war with, that looks cool in an epic battle. I love those huge battle scenes where armies of well equipped warriors with little flags on their backs charge at each other, some smashing into each other wildly, others forming a disciplined phalanx with their naginatas, order amongst all this wild chaos, no fear…glory!” So it seems that the Samurai Tibia Items theme was an easy choice.
Nevertheless, the whole design of Zao took quite some time. The steppe, for example, should have a really vast feel to it and it took several weeks until both the content team and Jan were happy with the colour palette of the area, especially with the buildings. The original colours were much more greyish-brownish mixed with green and purple, but it just looked boring somehow and it was not until red and black contrasts were added that all were finally satisfied with the overall look of the area.
Jan mentions that the request for a steppe- or savannah-like environment came from the content team and was flying around as an idea for a very long time: “We felt that this would give us a very interesting mix to work with in addition to the corruption theme and a shot of visually Asian looking influences and also allow us to create something new and different to the existing areas in Tibia. The pool of environment graphics in Tibia is vast and can already be combined in many different ways to achieve all sorts of atmospheres, but we expanded on that a great deal again with this update with reusable more generic floor textures. Even the rather big landmark stone dragon statue that can be found at the big gate can be put together in different ways.”