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Racial architecture of the same Village (stage 3) node on different servers. Dünir Dwarven influence (top). Kaelar Human influence (bottom). Alpha-1 Non-NDA screenshot.

The layout and architecture within a Node’s development area are determined by influential race. For example, a stage 3 Node with the majority of player contribution being Py'rai would have a Py'rai village with Py'rai architecture. Most NPCs would be Py'rai elves, and offer questlines within the Py'rai narrative.[1]Margaret Krohn

Each player’s contributed experience is flagged with their character race and other identifiers. When a Node advances, the race with the highest experience contribution determines the Node’s style and culture. This style and culture change can happen at every Node Stage. For example, if a Node advances to Level 2 - Encampment Stage and 51% of all experience was earned by Ren’Kai players, the Node will be a Level 2 Ren’Kai Node. If that same Node advances to a Level 3 - Village Stage Node, but the Py'Rai contributed 62% of all the experience earned, then the Node will be a Level 3 Py'Rai Node.[2]Margaret Krohn

Node layout and style is determined by several factors:[3][4]

  • Environment (biome) and location of the node.[5][3][4]
    The way that the node system is built is that they can exist across a spread of 18 biomes, but at the same time have to represent the cultural influence of these cultures that are intrinsically a part of a specific biome.[5]Steven Sharif
    • Nodes will adjust the local topography to fit the aesthetic and mechanical requirements of the node.[6]

Currently the way that the platform system is set up, is it's capable of adjusting the topography of the node's footprint, regardless of the surrounding terrain. So the reason for that is we want to have flexibility in the presentation of the node's layout and how it is essentially both from an aesthetic standpoint as well as a mechanical standpoint with node sieges- how it's constructed and that construction should have the ability to take on a variance of different types of topography. So it shouldn't be dependent on the surrounding area. Now that's not to say that the surrounding area isn't going to have some influence over. So for example... we're experimenting a little bit with the platform tech and putting up a node up against the side of a mountain or on the edge of a cliff or something that has a beautiful vista. Those are things that we're going to test out obviously as we continue to work on the node tool and how that platform system works, but the idea is to have the node independent of the surrounding terrain.[6]Steven Sharif

Some parts are determined by the area it's in. Some parts are determined by the type it is. Some parts are determined by the race it is; and then the rest of it is determined by the mayor.[4]Jeffrey Bard

All nodes whether they're associated with a castle or associated with normal node structure has cultural influences that replicate over to the buildings that are produced and the NPCs that are present.[12]Steven Sharif

  • The rest is determined by the node's mayor.[4]
    • It should be possible for a node to complete several building projects within a mayor's one month term in office.[13]
Q: How long would you say it will take players on average to fill slash build up a node completely from wilderness to metropolis?
A: It's one thing to get a node to a certain level: it's another thing to develop the node; and I can't really give you an on-average expectation, because there's a lot of variables at play. There's how many citizens does the node have attracted to it; what's the type of traffic that the node is attracting to it based on things like its tax rates, or the specialization that it chose to spec into, based on the building types it's chosen to build. All of those things are variables that can affect the quote-unquote "average build-out time" of a particular node. So it's kind of difficult to give you an average when there's so many variables along those lines. But the idea is that if there is a particular project that players are interested in in developing based on the node stage, that they would have the ability to complete several of those projects as within a single term of a mayor; and a term of a mayor is one month.[13]Steven Sharif

Node buildings

Constructible node buildings

Node governments decide the location and types of constructible node buildings to be constructed within sectors of a node.[16][17][18]

These are buildings that the mayor has agency over determining whether or not they should be a constructed project. Constructible buildings can be selected at open plots that are gained as the node advances. If they elect to begin construction of one of these types of buildings- one of which is the marketplace- it'll grant certain trade benefits as well as some stalls that the citizens may participate in.[19]Steven Sharif

The government decides how to specialize their node. Once they choose certain things they won't be able to choose other things.[16]

  • Node buildings live within a "tech tree" based on the stage of the node. Each stage offers stronger services to the node but must satisfy prerequisites for the building construction.[20]
  • Different governments may change the buildings within a node.[16]

And there could be regime change... If somebody doesn't like the fact that a market was built and they want to re-elect a new government next cycle, they can do so... and that market could be destroyed and a new building take its place.[16]

When the building types are determined, the community will then need to bring resources into the node (using caravans) and come together to construct the buildings (via quests and the like).[16]

Unique node buildings

Each node type has a unique node building associated with it that can be activated at the Village stage of node advancement. The unique building plays a central role in the progress of civilization for a server.[23]

Freehold buildings

Freehold buildings can be placed on a freehold plot.[25][26]

Buildings will require blueprints and materials.[27]

  • Basements in freehold buildings are to be decided.[28]

Freehold buildings will not change in terms of footprint (within a specific tier of that building) but may increase in height.[29]

  • Certain buildings will have multiple tiers, with different footprint sizes. For example: Small, medium, large, to mansion-sized homes.[29]
    • A mansion sized home may occupy up to 50% of a freehold plot.[29]

Freehold building architecture is based on the blueprint for the building.[30]

  • Cosmetics can also be applied to a blueprint based on the type of building.[30]
  • Players are not locked into any particular race for freehold blueprints.[31]

The way we look at it is the freehold is your space so we want you to be able to make it look the way you want it to.[30]Jeffrey Bard

Artistic style

Ashes of Creation will have a higher graphical fidelity than most western games. It will not be too stylized or "cartoony".[32]

We can push the limits a little bit on the graphical fidelity, especially using Unreal Engine 4... My desire was not to see very cartoony games. I'm not a big fan of highly stylized art.[32]Steven Sharif

Artistic influences

Character races are super important. These are the choices that we make at the onset of our adventure in an MMORPG: what race- not just mechanically aligns with our decisions, if those races have game mechanics behind them from a stat perspective, but visually and culturally and historically: What are these? What do these races represent? So it's important that visually they're distinct. And everyone's seen fantasy games do Elves, so everyone's seen them do Humans, everyone's seen them do Orcs: There's an established expectation almost behind what these traditional fantasy races represent; and there's a risk, because whenever you're creating a new IP or a new story or a new world- a new Universe; a realm in which things don't have to always be the norm, you can take a little bit of creative liberty to redefine some of the aspects of a particular race; and that can be a good thing, because it's something that is new to players. It's something that is unique to the realm that we're building- the surroundings that you have. So what we wanted to do was push a little bit more on the unique side of what the Py'rai would look like from a visual perspective.[33]Steven Sharif

You will see in the different races that are available from a player character standpoint a lot of different influences that reflect many cultures in the world: Not just European, not just Africa, not Mesoamerican. These cultures are going to be present in many of the races.[43]Steven Sharif

The idea is just to find a base component in the real world as a starting point and then to begin to fantasize.[34]Steven Sharif


See also


  1. Blog - Know Your Nodes - The Basics.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Blog - Know Your Nodes - Advance and Destroy.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Livestream, October 30, 2020 (39:17).
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Livestream, September 27, 2018 (53:06).
  5. 5.0 5.1 Livestream, February 25, 2022 (41:00).
  6. 6.0 6.1 Livestream, February 26, 2021 (1:12:18).
  7. Livestream, March 31, 2022 (4:57).
  8. Podcast, April 11, 2021 (29:47).
  9. Interview, May 11, 2018 (54:34).
  10. Livestream, May 26, 2017 (21:23).
  11. Podcast, April 11, 2021 (23:36).
  12. 12.0 12.1 Interview, May 11, 2018 (47:27).
  13. 13.0 13.1 Livestream, July 29, 2022 (1:13:09).
  14. Livestream, March 28, 2020 (1:16:03).
  15. Video, March 23, 2020 (0:24).
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 Livestream, May 19, 2017 (33:57).
  17. 17.0 17.1 Livestream, January 20, 2018 (38:17).
  18. Livestream, 2018-04-8 (PM) (51:49).
  19. Interview, July 8, 2020 (55:05).
  20. Livestream, March 31, 2022 (1:13:00).
  21. Livestream, July 30, 2021 (1:10:09).
  22. Livestream, September 1, 2018 (36:28).
  23. Know Your Nodes: Economic Node Type.
  24. Ashes of Creation Store: Velkor's Eye.
  25. Node series part II – the Metropolis.
  26. Livestream, May 24, 2017 (9:58).
  27. stevenclarification.png
  28. Livestream, June 28, 2019 (1:09:22).
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 Interview, July 8, 2020 (45:23).
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 Livestream, August 28, 2020 (2:14:06).
  31. Livestream, May 26, 2017 (44:11).
  32. 32.0 32.1 Interview, October 20, 2018 (2:17:43).
  33. Livestream, February 25, 2022 (49:42).
  34. 34.0 34.1 Interview, October 20, 2018 (3:47:17).
  35. dunirinfluence.png
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 Interview, May 11, 2018 (1:03:21).
  37. Podcast, May 11, 2018 (31:35).
  38. Livestream, September 30, 2022 (1:08:24).
  39. Livestream, February 25, 2022 (44:28).
  40. py'rai archetecture.jpg
  41. Livestream, October 16, 2017 (15:58).
  42. 42.0 42.1 Podcast, May 11, 2018 (31:35).
  43. Interview, May 11, 2018 (1:04:27).