Nodes are the heart of the world, they create the ebb and flow of life. At their core, Nodes are pre-set points in the world, wrapped in a Zone of Influence and surrounded by geographic areas that change over time based upon player participation. The world map is divided into regions, with each region containing multiple Nodes. As a Node advances, it influences the types of content within itself and the surrounding areas. Players do not create Nodes, but if they are a part of the government for a specific Node, they have the ability to influence diplomacy, and modify building types/construction and services within that Node. There will be 103 Node locations at launch, each with its own impact on the narrative and development of the world. – Margaret Krohn
- Players will be able to identify the type of a node at its first stage of development (Expedition) based on its NPC population.
|Divine nodes||Faith and skill/equipment augment focuses||Priests|
|Economic nodes||Trade and merchant focuses||Merchants|
|Military nodes||Combat and class training focuses||Guards|
|Scientific nodes||Artisan and construction focuses||Scholars|
For example, if a level 4 Scientific Node is destroyed, it will become a Level 0 Scientific Node. It will never be any other Node Type other than a Scientific Node. The location of these Types relates to the influences of the area around the Node. – Margaret Krohn
- 1 Node benefits
- 2 Zone of influence
- 3 Node advancement
- 4 Node development
- 5 Player housing
- 6 Node citizenship
- 7 Node sieges
- 8 Node government
- 9 Underrealm nodes
- 10 Coastal/island nodes
- 11 Underwater nodes
- 12 Relics
- 13 Sharemarkets
- 14 Internal conflict
- 15 Artwork
- 16 See also
- 17 References
- Divine node benefits are not known at this time.
- Economic metropolises enable marketplaces that integrate with all nodes in their zone of influence. They also have more versatility in player stall options.
- Military nodes enable Bounty hunters and reduced duration of corruption.
- Scientific metropolises offer fast travel to nodes within their zone of influence.
Unique Building per Node Type
- Each Node Type has a Unique Building associated with it that can be activated at Level 3, the Village Stage.
- Some utilities can only be used by Citizens of the Node.
Unique Scientific Buildings
The Library - Level 3 Village Stage Records the history of the server. Players can use the Library to access information:
- History of narrative events and when they occurred
- Locations and last known quantity of gatherable resources
- Locations and inhabitants of new Dungeons or POIs (Points of Interest) that have spawned
- Runic Power Stones for armor
- Common armor and weapon recipes (Level 25 and under) 
The College - Level 4 Town Stage At the Town Stage, the Library becomes the College. In addition to previous abilities the College adds more services, including:
- Component identification for non-Legendary item deconstruction
- Certification of Tier 1 Building Schematics
- Unique and Rare drop information for surrounding areas
- Concentrated Essences for the creation of armor Enchantment Stones
- Runic Power Stones for weapons
- Common armor and weapon recipes (Level 35 and under)
- Common glyphs for the creation of accessory Enhancement Scrolls 
The University - Level 5 City Stage At the City Stage, the Scientific Node’s Unique Building becomes the University. In addition to the previous abilities the University adds even more services:
- Component identification for Legendary item deconstruction
- Certification of Tier 2 Building Schematics
- Concentrated Essences for the creation of weapon Enchantment Stones
- Runic Power Stones for accessories
- Common armor and weapon recipes (Level 45 and under)
- Certification of Freehold Adjacency Bonuses for building
- Common glyphs for the creation of armor and weapon Enhancement Scrolls
- Artisanship Mastery qualifications 
There are several great universities across the world of Verra during this time period in particular [25 years before the fall]. Most of them convene a Council of Knowledge, they call it. The Council of Knowledge consists of the greatest minds from each nation. They really don't recognize borders or politics for the most part. Unless their governments try to meddle in their affairs of their pursuit of knowledge. The greatest and most respected elders in the ways of magic - which is basically learning how to manipulate what's called the Essence: That's from where all magic flows - and understanding how the Essence exists in parity with your Life Spark and the world around you: The Universe itself. The greatest of these wizards are found in the Pyrian kingdom; and they are solely in pursuit of knowledge as we read earlier with regards to the Pyrian Elves. – Steven Sharif
The Academy - Level 6 Metropolis Stage At the Metropolis Stage, the Scientific Node’s Unique Building becomes the Academy. In addition to the previous abilities the Academy adds new services:
- Components for Legendary item repair
- Certification of Tier 3 Building Schematics
- Concentrated Essence for the creation of accessory Enchantment Stones
- Common armor and weapon recipes (Level 50 and under)
- Legendary glyphs for the creation of armor and weapon Enhancement Scrolls
- Profession Mastery qualifications
- Relic and Legendary Crafting Benches
- Legendary Freehold Schematic Certificates 
Zone of influence
Each Node can form into towns, but are limited by their neighbors. The Nodes have different levels of advancement. There can only be so many of each level. Think of this as advanced settlements needing more elbow room. Nodes encompass more land as they grow and will require more effort to be sustained. This system is a main driver for change in the world because it creates scarcity. As Nodes advance in stages of growth they will lock out neighboring Nodes from progressing, and will absorb their zones of influence.
The main thing that differentiates us from other MMOs is that we have a living, breathing, reactive world... Our world is separated into zones, which are then separated into what we call nodes. Nodes are sort of invisible zones of influence that listen to everything that a player does; so as players gain experience from killing things, gain experience from doing quests, gain experience through crafting things, the node is also gaining that experience. Once a node gains enough experience it levels up and then starts to attract NPCs to it . – Jeffrey Bard
Citizen and non-citizen player activity (questing, gathering, raiding, etc.) within a node's ZOI counts toward that particular node’s advancement (progression). Nodes have seven (7) stages of advancement, with experience thresholds for each stage. When a Node reaches the experience required for its current stage, it advances to the next stage.
|Node stage.||Alternate name.||Timeframe to advance.||Player housing.|
|3.||Village||-||Few days||Freeholds, Static housing|
|4.||Town||-||Many days||Freeholds, Static housing, Apartments|
|5.||City||-||Few weeks||Freeholds, Static housing, Apartments|
|6.||Metropolis||Metro||Many weeks||Freeholds, Static housing, Apartments|
The Development Area of a Node is where civilization will appear as the Node advances. As the Node Stage increases, different buildings, NPCs, and services will become available in the Development Area. The higher the Node Stage, the more complex and populated the Development Area becomes. Development Areas will also vary depending on the Node Type - Economic, Military, Scientific, or Divine; we’ll go into further details on each of those Node Types in future posts in this series. – Margaret Krohn
- Nodes advance to the first stage quickly. This enables NPC services such as vending or banking items.
- The more advanced the node is, the larger its ZOI becomes.
- Less advanced nodes (referred to as vassal nodes) that fall within a more advanced node's ZOI can still gain XP, but must remain at a lower advancement stage than the dominant node.
- A node does not receive XP from the nodes within its ZOI until these nodes have reached their cap.
- Players are moved to safety if they intersect with newly spawned assets during node advancement.
- Citizens of one node can contribute to the advancement of other nodes.
- The exact percentage of advancement from obtaining items or killing monsters is not going to be explicitly known to avoid "gaming" the system.
Different people have different resources invested in nodes progressing and it would be a little "gamey" if you could know exactly what was necessary at that point because that would disincentivize people from participating. – Steven Sharif
- Vassal nodes must remain one node stage below their parent node.
- Vassal nodes give excess experience to their parent node and may have their own vassals; so long as they fall within the parent node’s zone of influence.
- If a node is capped and is both a vassal and has its own vassals, any experience earned from itself or its Vassals is first applied to its own deficit. Experience beyond that is then sent to its parent node.
- Vassals are subject to the government, alliances, wars, taxes, and trade of their parent node, and are able to receive federal aid from them.
- Vassal nodes cannot declare war on their parent node or any of their vassals.
- Citizens of vassals are bound by the diplomatic states of the parent node.
If a Node is a Vassal Node and is capped from advancing further, it first applies any experience earned to its own deficit (see Node Atrophy section), and then applies excess experience earned to its Parent Node. If the Parent Node advances and the Vassal is able to grow, it becomes uncapped. If a Node is capped and is both a Vassal and has its own Vassals, any experience earned from itself or its Vassals is first applied to their own deficit. Any experience beyond that is then sent to its Parent Node. – Margaret Krohn
Zones and progression
Dungeons, Raids, World bosses, Mobs, Quests, Events, Resources, Narratives and other content within a node's ZOI will have a diverse level range; but will scale with the advancement of that node and it's racial influence.
We don’t have a strictly level 25 zone. Instead, that zone might have some level 10 creatures near the road, some level 20 creatures deep in the forest, and some level 30 creatures up the mountain. These ratios will change based on the Nodes that inform them, becoming generally more dangerous as the Node grows. All this civilization attracts the attention of Things-That-Should-Not-Be. This does not mean that wilderness areas are safe, by any means. Some may be safe-er, but all will have dangers that even the most experienced traveler needs to watch out for.
All Nodes have an experience deficit that accumulates daily. The deficit is based on the current level of the Node; experience earned is applied to the deficit, then any excess is added to the Node’s experience pool. At the end of the day, any remaining deficit is subtracted from the Node’s experience pool. If the deficit would cause the Node to drop under the required experience for its current level, certain flags will appear to notify the citizens that all is not well in their Node. After a short period, if the atrophy is not addressed, the Node will then delevel. – Margaret Krohn
There will be many different quests that actually have stages of the storyline; and these stages can actually be failed. You can actually fail a storyline; which sucks when you think about it, but at the same time that risk makes your investment that much more important. – Steven Sharif
Trophy park is an area within Town, City or Metropolis nodes that has available spots for trophies. These trophies show the character names of players who are the first to complete world bosses and dungeon bosses that were spawned as the result of the development of that particular node.
- Server announcements and achievements are designed to encourage groups to experience new content.
- Location of the node.
- Node type.
- Race that contributed most to the node's advancement.
- The rest is determined by the node's mayor.
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. – 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. – Steven Sharif
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. – Steven Sharif
- Guild halls
- Royal stables
- Scholar's academy
- Static housing
- Thieves' guild
- Trader's company
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.
There might even be different directories of the quest that exist for specific races, and even though you're sharing a quest to kill a boss, if you're human and I'm an elf, I will have a different arc potentially that leads in a different direction than you, even though we took the same quest; and this can relate to who the primary cultural contributor is to a node unlocking different arcs for cultures that share the primary culture of a node - not that locks out content but it gives a flavor in a different direction so that not everything is so cookie cutter. – Steven Sharif
Race matters because narratives have paths that also are influenced based on the primary contributing culture to the node... If you're a Niküa and you have you're in a Niküa node that's predominantly Niküa, you're going to have certain services and/or abilities as a member of the Niküa race that other races may not have access to... They may have alternative quest lines, but they won't have specific ones. Now those specific Niküa quests will then relate to the meta-narrative that's present in the world and they'll start to direct some of that meta-narrative; and that'll be beneficial for your kind because it will unlock certain content for your race that other races haven't unlocked yet. So there is an incentive there to see progression along that line now in order to curb the progress of a dominant race. – Steven Sharif
|Apartments||Instanced.||Town stage and higher.||One per server.|
|Freeholds||Open world.||Village stage and higher.||One per account.|
|Static housing||In-node.||Village stage and higher.||One per server.|
- Freeholds are limited to one per account.
- Freeholds are approximately half an acre in size. Expansions and upgrades are available as node progression allows.
Buying and selling (Real estate)
- In-node housing will be at a premium, and is expected to be hotly contested.
- Citizenship tickets may also grant citizenship to certain node stages. This mechanic will be decided based on testing.
We want these places to be populated and people to be attracted to them and so right now we think housing is enough for that. But we don't want to design ourselves into a corner where we don't have any other options, so the hope is that yes citizenship will be only gained through housing; with our caveat that if that doesn't work well we'll change it. – Jeffrey Bard
- A player can only claim citizenship to one node at a time.
- Only one citizenship may be declared per account, per server.
- This may have changed to one citizenship per account.
Your account is bound to one declared citizenship per server, which means that if you have two alts and your main character on one server you may only be a citizen of one node between those three... If you have an alt on a different server, it could be a citizen of a node as well. – Steven Sharif
Changing citizenship has a cooldown of two weeks.
You can declare citizenship to only one node and when you declare that citizenship. Let's say for example, one guild perhaps wanting to kind of take all their members and have them all declare the same citizenship to a location. The longer a node exists the higher the prize it is to take and some systems with regards to crafting progression and/or rewards and bonuses or the reliquary that we haven't really touched on a lot, those systems are going to be so enticing that from an incentive standpoint it will compel other groups to either potentially break alliances or siege the city in order to take the goods that are potentially in it. So, from an incentive standpoint we have that at play. Additionally, we don't have a cap per-se that we've announced yet on the citizenship aspect of being in a node, but we do have soft caps. It becomes costlier the higher number of citizens each time one new person wants to join to be part of a node. So, there is sort of a soft cap on how many citizens one node can have and it might be that not all in the guild can participate in that area. So, there's kind of a natural divide: A pseudo faction, so to speak between who is a part of that node and who is not. – Steven Sharif
Node sieges enable players to delevel a node (reverse its advancement) and to ultimately destroy that node entirely. 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.
Sieging nodes will not be an easy task for the attackers. Cities and metropolises will have a considerable defensive advantage. Automatic PvE sieges may be initiated against nodes that are not continuously active.
- There will be spoils from successfully sieging a node.
Nodes can be destroyed starting at Level 3 - Village Stage, and are destroyed through sieges... If a siege is successful, then the Node is brought down to Level 0, anyone who was a citizen of that Node is no longer a citizen, and any Freeholds owned by the citizens of the Node are destroyed. Destroyed Freeholds are subject to material loss, and blueprints for them are mailed to the player to utilize for future placement in order to allow the player to keep their Freehold’s layout and structure. – Margaret Krohn
- Nodes can delevel to stage 0 (wilderness) after a successful siege.
- A node cannot delevel more than a single level at a time.
If a Node delevels, it returns to the previous Stage, but keeps the racial style it had before deleveling. A Node cannot delevel more than a single level at a time. For example, a Level 2 Node would become a Level 1, or a Level 1 Node would become a Level 0. If deleveling would cause a Node to lose its Vassals, it does so. When a Node delevels it enters a “safe period,” during which the deficit is temporarily reduced to 0. Once the safe period expires, the Node can once again begin losing experience based on its deficit. – Margaret Krohn
Impact on freeholds
- Players and their allies may defend their freehold for this period of time.
- Structures and guards may be obtained to defend freeholds during this period.
- Different races becoming primary contributors.
- Design elements determined by different governments.
- Reactions and interactions with other nodes in the world.
- Divine node governments are chosen from citizens via service oriented quests that prove faith and dedication to the node.
- Economic node governments are able to be bought and sold by citizens with the most money.
- Mayors of military nodes are chosen from citizens through last man standing (gladiatorial arena style) combat.
- Scientific node governments are elected democratically.
- Coordinate the transfer of needed supplies with citizens operating caravans.
- Other leadership powers.
- Declare war on another node and rally citizens to the cause.
- Enter into trade agreements.
- Directing assets.
- Defensive ability.
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. – Steven Sharif
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.
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. – Steven Sharif
- Guilds hold separate roles in the direction of the node than the roles held by private citizens.
- Only a certain number of guilds may participate in these roles.
- Separate guild roles are reserved for small, medium and large guilds.
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.
- 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.
- Progression pathways within alliances.
- Guilds sharing common services with alliance members.
- Alliances can toggle relationships with nodes.
Content that revolves around alliances specifically and progression within the development of that alliance; and the ability to share some common services between guilds that are part of that alliance. I think that additionally allowing alliances to toggle certain relationships with nodes as an interaction is beneficial. That's going to provide an interesting dynamic for players who are either members of the particular node that has the relationship established or members of the Alliance. So I think that obviously building systems is is about creating the channels by which these players can form bonds and the more layers you have around those you know channels of bonding between the different guilds or players, the more sustainable that relationship. – Steven Sharif
- Caravan routes will go underground.
- Node sieges occur in the usual manner.
- There will be underrealm Metropolises.
- These nodes will have specific water oriented influences and abilities, services, questlines, that relate to the seas.
- It may be possible to siege a coastal city by sea.
- There won't be nodes underwater or in the water.
- The value of stocks is influenced by world events and the performance of nodes, Social organizations or guilds.
- There is no regulatory commission to restrict the purchase and sale of stocks.
- Node series part II – the Metropolis.
- Node series part I
- Ashes of Creation - Screenshots.
- A reactive world - Nodes.
- Blog - Know Your Nodes - The Basics.
- Interview, 24 August 2018 (3:44).
- Livestream, 4 May 2017 (15:15).
- Livestream, 5 May 2017 (16:36).
- MMOGames interview, January 2017
- Node series part II – the Metropolis.
- Blog: Know Your Nodes - Scientific Node Type
- 2018-05-01 Newsletter
- Livestream, 31 October 2018 (52:38).
- Livestream, 3 November 2018 (0:00:51).
- Livestream, 3 November 2018 (00:01:59).
- Ashes of Creation FAQ.
- Interview, 20 April 2018 (7:22).
- Interview, 11 May 2018 (55:16).
- Livestream, 9 July 2018 (39:32).
- Blog - Know Your Nodes - Advance and Destroy.
- Livestream, 12 December 2018 (14:48).
- Livestream, 16 October 2017 (50:20).
- Video, 20 April 2017 (0:02).
- Livestream, 17 November 2017 (55:27).
- Livestream, 26 May 2017 (28:16).
- Livestream, 15 May 2017 (30:53).
- Interview: Ashes of Creation on Building Their Virtual World, 13 April 2017.
- Interview, 20 October 2018 (2:36:25).
- Podcast, 4 August 2018 (1:35:58).
- Livestream, 9 February 2018 (33:50).
- Livestream, 27 September 2018 (53:06).
- Interview, 11 May 2018 (54:34).
- Livestream, 26 May 2017 (21:23).
- Interview, 11 May 2018 (47:27).
- Interview, 11 May 2018 (1:00:19).
- Livestream, 1 September 2018 (36:28).
- Livestream, 19 May 2017 (33:57).
- Livestream, 20 January 2018 (38:17).
- Livestream, 8 April 2018 (PM) (51:49).
- Podcast, 23 April 2018 (29:56).
- Video, 25 May 2017 (1:07).
- Livestream, 4 May 2018 (32:46).
- Interview, 11 May 2018 (50:47).
- Livestream, 12 May 2017 (51:12).
- Livestream, 16 October 2017 (13:25).
- Livestream, 12 May 2017 (52:01).
- Video, 25 May 2017 (0:02).
- Livestream, 5 May 2017 (31:51).
- Livestream, 16 October 2017 (56:42).
- Livestream, 16 October 2017 (56:38).
- Livestream, 9 July 2018 (27:12).
- Livestream, 19 May 2017 (53:24).
- Interview, 11 May 2018 (50:05).
- Interview, 20 October 2018 (2:36).
- Video, 5 April 2018 (41:48).
- Livestream, 26 May 2017 (44:52).
- Video, 4 December 2016 (0:02).
- Video, 30 April 2017 (5:31).
- Livestream, 19 May 2017 (28:04).
- Livestream, 19 May 2017 (29:34).
- Livestream, 18 July 2017 (40:14).
- Livestream, 17 November 2017 (47:10).
- Livestream, 24 May 2017 (52:39).
- Podcast, 11 May 2018 (52:20).
- Livestream, 17 November 2017 (9:49).
- Livestream, 30 June 2017 (53:57).
- City hall.
- Livestream, 19 May 2017 (36:05).
- Livestream, 19 May 2017 (36:09).
- Interview, 11 May 2018 (57:02).
- Podcast, 11 May 2018 (21:07).
- Livestream, 5 May 2017 (37:52).
- Livestream, 26 May 2017 (31:44).
- Livestream, 26 May 2017 (42:45).
- Livestream, 24 May 2017 (31:39).
- Livestream, 17 August 2018 (58:53).
- Livestream, 8 April 2018 (PM) (1:01:28).
- Livestream, 19 May 2017 (37:51).
- Livestream, 17 May 2017 (30:53).
- Kickstarter - We Just Broke $1,500,000!
- Livestream, 8 April 2018 (AM) (18:29).
- Livestream, 5 May 2017 (28:09).
- Livestream, 12 May 2017 (49:50).
- Livestream, 9 February 2018 (29:26).
- Livestream, 17 May 2017 (11:27).
- Interview, 20 October 2018 (5:51).
- Livestream, 24 May 2017 (40:50).