Node governments

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Alpha-1 winner of Mayoral election.[1]

Node governments are chosen from a node's citizenry when a node reaches Village (stage 3).[2]

Positions within a node's government are attained through titles that grant special access to NPCs in the node.[3]

There are a lot of things that you can strive for within [a node] that grant you that special treatment.[3]Steven Sharif

Node elections

Once a node has reached Village stage there will be a one week cooldown period before node elections begin.[7]

  • This cooldown period allows players to establish citizenship at the village; which may require them to relinquish previous citizenship at another node.[7]
  • Following the initial cooldown, there will be a one week election process, then from that point on, elections will follow a monthly cadence.[7]
  • Node sieges may not be declared for 21 days following a node advancing to any stage.[8]
    • This was previously stated to apply only to nodes advancing to Village (stage 3), not higher stages.[9]

The village stage is a unique stage because that's when the government system comes online and all other stages past village there will have already been a cadence for the election system and it will follow that cadence, but after the initial village stage is completed there will be a one week period where players have an opportunity to establish citizenship at the village that also provides for the cooldown time that is- that would be present on players leaving another node to kind of participate in in this particular node leveling up. But that after that one week period then there will be a one-week election process and then from that point moving forward will be the one month cadence that the node experiences elections on.[7]Steven Sharif

Node elections occur on a monthly basis.[7][10]

Node governments and mayors are chosen through different methods according to the node's type.[14][15]

City hall

City hall is a government building within a node.[25]

We want the City Hall to be the place where big decisions are made for each Node. It should be where the “ruling class” comes together and decides what to do (these decisions can quickly make them the “old ruling class” too).

Mayors and node governments use City hall to visualize and control activities within their node. These capabilities will also be available via mobile/web inteface.[4]

Players can interact with the node board to get a list of its citizens.[11]


Mayors are leaders of a node's government who control the development of that node.[4]

  • Coordinate the transfer of needed supplies with citizens operating caravans.[28]
    • Mayors must communicate what resources are necessary for a particular node then motivate the citizens to fulfill those needs.[28]

Only node citizens may be elected mayor.[12]

You may only ever be a citizen of a single node at a time.[12]Steven Sharif

Mayors gain new powers and responsibilities as their node advances.[15]

The mayor is made aware of what scroll has been generated if their node is the one that's named on the scroll.[32]Steven Sharif

Mayoral caravans

Mayoral caravans are launched by Mayors.[33]

Leadership powers

Depiction of a mayor.[34]

The government has a lot of say in the direction of the nodes development. Directing assets, building projects, tax allocation, defensive ability etc. Players have the ability to not only create these cities, but they have the right of self-governance.[2]

Government officials have wide-ranging leadership powers.[35]

  • Declaring war on another node and rallying citizens to the cause.[31][25]
  • Mayors are able to initiate quest-driven systems that non-citizens can participate in. The mayor can use a portion of the node's treasury or goods as rewards for quest completion. Players will be able to interface with the node to view the quests that are available to them.[44]
  • Governments may be able to choose a node name from a predetermined list.[45][46]
There are levers and dials that are present to both the owners of Castles as well as the elected officials of Nodes that during their administration they have the ability to impact and influence the region around them.[47]Steven Sharif

Guilds do not control nodes.[48][49] Guild leaders (kings and queens) can become mayors of nodes.[12]

  • Guilds hold separate roles in the direction of the node than the roles held by private citizens.[2]
  • Only a certain number of guilds may participate in these roles.[2]
  • Separate guild roles are reserved for small, medium and large guilds.[2]
Guild’s also hold separate roles in the direction of the node, than the roles held by private citizens, and only a certain number of guilds may participate in these roles. Separate guild roles are reserved for Small size guilds, medium size guilds and large size guilds.[2]

Node policies

Example node policy.[30]

Nodes have a number of slots that they get to employ as Government policies that are enacted and chosen by the mayor and voted on by the people; and certain policies get unlocked by certain happiness states of the factions within the node; and those happiness states are predicated across different achievements that can happen in the world story arcs that get finished; bosses that get killed around you; new buildings that get constructed: Lots of different things can contribute to that happiness value: Number of citizens; number of citizens you've had leave; number of houses that might have been foreclosed upon. There's lots of different things that influence it, but when the happiness is met at a certain point- and even without that happiness you can still have policies that you get to enact regardless. You may choose policies that do certain things for the node; and this is a big strategic decision that the node has to almost agree on because it's voted on by the citizens within a short time period, but elected by the outstanding mayor; and when you deploy a policy it confers benefits to the citizens, or to the area, or to specific buildings, or to the mayor.[30]Steven Sharif

Node policies are unlocked by various activities within a node that either increase or decrease the "happiness state" of the node.[30][31] High levels of happiness will unlock more policies. Low levels of happiness might even disable certain NPCs or services within a node.[50]

There's a lot of different things that policies can influence; and policies exist within certain denominations. You have some policies that might be reflective of the culture that the node is representing; and you get access to those cultural policies. You have some policies that might become available because you've constructed a certain building type and now you've attracted a guild of NPCs that are weapons smiths. You might have some policies that are social organizations representative- you only get to build one social organization or Temple: which religion does the node follow. All of these are customization points that the city gets to choose and now you as a citizen get to identify the city that best aligns with your progression within the game and your game style and gameplay.[30]Steven Sharif

The mayor is able to assign policies to policy slots within the node that citizens are then able to vote for within a 24-hour or shorter time period.[30]

  • Node policies that are deployed will provide benefits to various aspects of the node, its citizens, its ZOI, its vassals, specific buildings, and to its mayor.[30]
  • Some policies occupy multiple slots.[30]
  • Mayors may be able to take emergency actions depending on certain predicates that get met. This might allow them to reduce the voting time for policies to an hour.[30]
Some of the benefits you can receive by being a vassal of a certain parent is access to a policy that your node not might not normally have access to; and in fact you can also unlock an additional policy slot based on certain conditions that the parent or Sovereign node may have access to in their reliquary, or in their achievement systems, or in policies that they've elected. Some policies occupy multiple slots and it's almost like a card structure. You have each of these policies that live on a card and you get to select that card- throw it into the slot it goes out to the citizens to vote on within the 24-hour or sometimes shorter period. The mayor has emergency actions they can take right depending on certain predicates that get met and if an emergency action occurs they may be able to spend their influence as mayor within their term to set up a policy for a vote within an hour's period of time; and citizens in that way they can sneak it through a bit.[30]Steven Sharif

Node layout and style

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.[15]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.[51]Margaret Krohn

Node layout and style is determined by several factors:[52][53]

  • Environment (biome) and location of the node.[54][52][53]
    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.[54]Steven Sharif
    • Nodes will adjust the local topography to fit the aesthetic and mechanical requirements of the node.[55]

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.[55]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.[53]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.[47]Steven Sharif

  • The rest is determined by the node's mayor.[53]
    • It should be possible for a node to complete several building projects within a mayor's one month term in office.[61]
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.[61]Steven Sharif

Cultural influences

Alpha-1 Village node layout.[62]

We have essentially sets that exist across all races; and each race that dons those armor sets is going to have their own racial influence on the presentation of those particular sets. So that's something that's unique in how each of the races get diversified. Additionally, the more that one particular race contributes to a node's development, it's going to manifest in that particular node's architectural influences. You're going to see the architectures of those races become manifest within the nodes as well: That's another way that we diversify each race and we present each race's culture in the game as through those architectures, through those props that exist, through the tailoring of the armor sets that the NPC might wear, to the different factions that exist. Factions will have their own affiliation with different races as well. Each race will also have some different nomenclature when it comes to the lore, or comes to locations in the world. They're going to have their own language influences as well: The way they speak is something that's going to be distinct between races; when you have dialogue trees with particular NPCs. So all of those things really go into setting an immersive world where the cultures have their own identity.[56]Steven Sharif

Cultural influences manifest in many ways, from node and gear aesthetics to NPC languages and lore.[56][63][51]

  • Gear appearance of certain armor sets is influenced by the player's race.[56]
  • Node layout and style is influenced by the race that contributes the most to that node.[56]
    • Benefits may apply to citizens of the dominant culture but can also apply to mechanics of the node, which can also be of benefit to members of other races.[63]
    • There are attrition mechanics that affects experience and influence to curb a single race from dominating the entire world.[64]
  • NPCs will react differently to different character races.[65]

There is an attrition and that attrition on experience and influence is heightened based on the performance of the race in the world. So if all these nodes are Orc nodes then their attrition rate is very high to compete with the cultural establishment of new nodes because they have more influence in the world and a popular opinion is against them in their outlying regions that they do not have influence in.[64]Steven Sharif

Constructible node buildings

Node governments decide the location and types of constructible node buildings to be constructed within sectors of a node.[68][69][70]

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.[71]Steven Sharif

The government decides how to specialize their node. Once they choose certain things they won't be able to choose other things.[68]

  • 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.[72]
  • Different governments may change the buildings within a node.[68]

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.[68]

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).[68]

Node sieges

Node sieges (Pre-alpha footage).[74]

As some areas in the world grow, others will fall. This is the foundation of the living, breathing world that is Ashes of Creation, where players will have the ability to make important decisions that matter in the longevity of an area becoming a city, or whether to siege a rival town. Rise above the ashes, create the world around you, and be a part of the story that unfolds because of your actions and decisions.[51]Margaret Krohn

Node sieges enable players to destroy nodes starting at Village (stage 3).[51] This paves the way for new development and access to the locked content in surrounding nodes. Due to this dynamic, political strife and intrigue play an important role in the structure of the world.[75]

  • Sieging nodes will not be an easy task for the attackers. Cities and metropolises will have a considerable defensive advantage.[75]
  • There will be systems that mimic some of the mechanics of sieges, but there won't be practice sieges.[76]
If you own a home in a node and you don't want to see that home destroyed, you need to defend that city![78]Steven Sharif

Node wars

Node governments may declare war on another node and rally citizens to the cause.[25]

  • This mutually flags the citizens of the warring nodes, including their allies, as combatants.[80]
  • Vassal nodes cannot declare a node war on their parent node or any of their vassals.[15]
  • Node wars can be declared at any time, but the objectives will only spawn during server prime-time.[81]
    • Players can kill each other at any time during the war (not only during server prime-time).[81]
We have conditions that you can set between nodes with regards to either nodes being friendly with each other and acting trade alliances, or they can declare war on nodes similar to how guild wars may function in different games, where those citizens become hostile to each other based on the player government that's elected in the particular node. So those systems all kind of cater to allowing a conflict that's meaningful and that also provides a non-imbalanced relationship between stronger guilds and not as strong guilds.[82]Steven Sharif

Node politics

There won't be a civil war mechanic within nodes but there will be scope for internal political conflicts; such as undermining the current leadership and disrupting trade.[83]

We want consequences to matter and if that person got elected then you need to work within the means of the mechanics to get them unelected.[84]Steven Sharif

Trade agreements

Node governments can enter into trade agreements with other nodes. Each node entering into the agreement can designate caravans with materials to be sent to the other; improving the economy of both nodes. This gives experience to all involved, contributes to the node’s growth and helps to construct buildings.[25]

Mercenary guilds will be a viable way forward for different organizations. I think there will be a lot of business to be had with that; and one of the systems in our trade agreements is creating an escrow for those particular type of arrangements that we're looking into.[85]Steven Sharif

Trade routes

Mayoral caravan launched by a mayor to establish a trade route with another node.[33]

For example: this node over here might have access to cotton as a resource and when that node processes that cotton it might be some very nice type of linen that only that node, or very rarely nodes would have access to. So when you initiate a trade route, you're bringing its supplies that the mayor has requested because they're trying to build, let's say a specific type of service building, or they're trying to unlock a blueprint that they have access to now to build up their node.[86]Steven Sharif

Trade routes in Ashes of Creation refer to.

  • Roads for the transit goods via the caravan system.[87]
    You might have a mountain pass and during winter that mountain pass is always closed and so the trade routes on land change with caravans and that's something that can not only exist on a cyclical level but also dynamically based on player activity.[87]
From a diplomatic standpoint the ability for the mayor or citizens to set up NPC routed trade routes between nodes as a trade agreement or as a diplomatic process.[86]Steven Sharif


Mayors are able to set tax rates for their node.[37]

Mayors/Node governments allocate resources, taxes, and quests to help develop node defenses.[27]

  • Tax money only goes toward funding node development. This gold cannot be withdrawn by the mayor or any other player.[90][43]
  • Taxation rates scale based on when a player joined a node as a citizen. The goal is to exert financial pressure on node populations by making taxes increasingly expensive as nodes advance, rather than putting in place hard population caps.[91]

Parent (Sovereign) nodes take a cut of all taxes from the housing and any services that occur within their vassal node structure.[90][92]

  • This tax doesn't necessarily impact the individual citizen, because citizen's tax levels are determined by their node, but the node's finances are affected by the taxation levied by its parent nodes.[92]

When a node reaches stage 3 (Village) and a player run government has formed, all player housing will pay taxes.[93]

  • A player's tax charge will be determined by the number of structures built on their plot.[43]


See also


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  8. steven-siege-lockouts.png
  9. steven-mayoral-siege-cooldown.png
  10. Government2.jpg
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  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 12.6 12.7 steven-kings-and-mayors.png
  13. 13.0 13.1 Interview, May 11, 2018 (50:05).
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Node series part II – the Metropolis.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Blog - Know Your Nodes - The Basics.
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  26. Livestream, December 12, 2018 (14:48).
  27. 27.0 27.1 siege equipment.png
  28. 28.0 28.1 Livestream, June 30, 2017 (53:57).
  29. Interview, October 20, 2018 (2:36).
  30. 30.00 30.01 30.02 30.03 30.04 30.05 30.06 30.07 30.08 30.09 30.10 30.11 30.12 30.13 30.14 30.15 30.16 30.17 Livestream, August 26, 2022 (1:12:40).
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  34. mayor-tweet.png
  35. government.jpeg
  36. assassination.jpg
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  39. 39.0 39.1 steven-tavern-games-2.png
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  43. 43.0 43.1 43.2 Tax spending.png
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  45. node naming.png
  46. Livestream, May 19, 2017 (36:05).
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  48. Livestream, May 19, 2017 (36:09).
  49. steven guild leader mayor.JPG
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  76. Twitch Bustin - Practice Sieges?
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  89. Kickstarter - We Just Broke $1,500,000!
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  93. House Tax.png