Nodes

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Encompassing each server are carefully placed points of development called Nodes.[4]

Nodes are a pre-set location, wrapped in a zone of influence, in our world that can form into towns of different sizes. These sizes range from a small camp to a sprawling metropolis. The size of the towns depends on the contribution by players and how far they’ve advanced the Node. Players do not create the footprint of a Node, but within that footprint they do have the ability to own land. Players who are part of the government for a specific Node will have the ability to modify building types and services further, but for the most part, a Node will grow along its own specific path (think about this more as NPCs building these towns out, rather than PCs individually putting buildings and walls up). A Node’s contribution area is larger than the actual town itself, allowing for players to adventure while building upon the town. We call the contribution area the Node’s “Zone of Influence,” and it’s the area where players help to advance the Node they are in.[6]

There are four types of node in Ashes of Creation: Divine nodes, Economic nodes, Military nodes and Scientific nodes.[1]

Node types are predetermined based on their location.[7]

  • Players will be able to identify the type of a node at its first stage of development (Expedition).[7]

Nodes exist all throughout the world and the location of said node will determine its type; but this type will be... seen at the first stage of development when the first stage when a node propagates real-time assets in the world; is basically these NPCs, these merchants that come into an area and they offer services and/or you know of stores or whatever the deal may be. You will see the flavor of the node from those merchants. So if it's a military node you'll see military people. If it's... an economic node you'll see merchants. If it's a scientific one you'll see scholars; and if it's a divine one you'll see priests and clerics. So players will have a very firm understanding of which node is which type in order to know how they want to progress.[7]Steven Sharif

Zone of influence

Nodes are pre-set locations, wrapped in a zone of influence (ZOI).[6]

Every node is given purview over a predefined geographic area called a Zone of influence (ZOI). Player activity within the ZOI is weighted and counted toward a particular node’s advancement.[6]

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.[6]

By undertaking familiar activities, such as questing, gathering and raiding, players have agency in determining which nodes in the world will develop.[8]

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 .[9]Jeffrey Bard

Up to one fifth of the world will be encompassed within the ZOI of a Metropolis. The many vassal nodes within a ZOI's "border" could end up looking like a country or nation.[10]

Zones of influence connect fully across the world without any gaps.[11]

There is not a space where you will move in to do something and no node will get that experience.[11]Steven Sharif

Node advancement

Citizen and non-citizen player activity (questing, gathering, raiding, etc.) within a node's ZOI counts toward that particular node’s advancement (progression).[4] There are six stages of node advancement.[4]

  1. Expedition (Few hours)
  2. Encampment (Many hours)
  3. Village (Few days)
  4. Town (Many days)
  5. City (Few weeks)
  6. Metropolis (Many weeks)
Conceptual illustration. Nodes that are in the ZOI of more advanced nodes have their progression capped by the more advanced node.[12]

The advancement of a node unlocks its unique content, which comes at the cost of locking out an increasing ring of neighboring nodes from progressing to the next stage.[13]

  • Nodes advance to the first stage quickly. This enables NPC services such as vending or banking items.[14]
  • The more advanced the node is, the larger its ZOI becomes.[1]
  • 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.[12]
  • A node does not receive XP from the nodes within its ZOI until these nodes have reached their cap.[12]
  • Players are moved to safety if they intersect with newly spawned assets during node advancement.[15]
  • Citizens of one node can contribute to the advancement of other nodes.[16]
  • The exact percentage of advancement from obtaining items or killing monsters is not going to be explicitly known to avoid "gaming" the system.[17]

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.[17]Steven Sharif

Trophy park

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.[18]

  • Server announcements and achievements are designed to encourage groups to experience new content.[18]

Zones and progression

Dungeons, World bosses, Mobs, Quests, Events, and other content within a node's ZOI will have a diverse level range; but will scale with the advancement of that node.[19]

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.[20]

Node atrophy

Nodes will experience atrophy and will require continued player activity in order to grow. If a node loses too much activity, then it may result in a PvE siege against that node.[21]

Storyline quests

Storyline quests can have multiple stages. These quest stages can actually be failed.[22]

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.[22]Steven Sharif

Node development

Racial architecture styles in an Alpha-0 village node. Empyrean Elven influence (top). Kaelar Human influence (bottom).[23]

Node layout and style is determined by several factors:[24]

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.[24]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.[27]Steven Sharif

There is an attrition mechanic that affects experience and influence to curb a single race from dominating the entire world.[28]

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.[28]Steven Sharif

Node buildings

Node governments decide the location and types of node buildings to be constructed within sectors of a node.[30][31][32]

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).[30]

The government decides how to specialize their node. Once they choose certain things they won't be able to choose other things.[30]

Different governments may change the buildings within a node.[30]

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.[30]

Pre-defined parameters limit the number of buildings at in-node locations.[31]

Racial quests

Quests may be based on a character's race.[33]

Different quests may relate to who the primary cultural contributor is to a node. This won't lock out content, but will add flavor to the quests.[33]

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.[33]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.[28]Steven Sharif

Node benefits

Different types of nodes have specific ultimate bonuses.[1]

Player housing

Player housing comes in the form of Static housing, Apartments and Freeholds.[1]

Player housing Type.[1] Availability.[1] Limit.[38]
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.

Static housing

Mansion stage static housing in a metropolis node.[39]

Static housing provides non-instanced player accommodation within a node, also known as in-node housing.[1]

  • Players are able purchase small one room houses starting at the Village stage (Node stage 3).[1]

Apartments

Apartments are internal only spaces within a node that offer some housing functionality.[1]

Players can purchase instanced apartments within a Town (stage 4 node) or above, if apartment complexes have been developed within that node.[1]

Freeholds

Freeholds are sizable player housing plots that can be situated within the Zone of influence (ZOI) of a Village (stage 3 node) or higher.[1]

The freehold system interacts with multiple other systems in-game.[45]

Buying and selling (Real estate)

Players buy the deeds for housing from the node itself.[34] Players can also buy and sell properties from other players.[1]

  • In-node housing will be at a premium, and is expected to be hotly contested.

Node citizenship

Player housing grants the ability to claim citizenship of a node.[46]

  • Citizenship tickets may also grant citizenship to certain node stages. This mechanic will be decided based on testing.[47]

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.[47]Jeffrey Bard

Citizenship can be claimed for Village (level 3) nodes or higher.[34]

  • A player can only claim citizenship to one node at a time.[48]
  • Only one citizenship may be declared per account, per server.[49]
    • This may have changed to one citizenship per account.[50]

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.[49]Steven Sharif

Changing citizenship has a cooldown of two weeks.[46]

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.[52]Steven Sharif

A player does not need to declare citizenship of any node. These players won't need to pay taxes but will miss out on benefits of citizenship.[53]

Node sieges

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.[4]

Sieging nodes will not be an easy task for the attackers. Cities and metropolises will have a considerable defensive advantage.[4] Automatic PvE sieges may be initiated against nodes that are not continuously active.[21]

If you own a home in a node and you don't want to see that home destroyed, you need to defend that city![55]Steven Sharif

Read more...

Node government

Node governments are chosen from a node's citizenry.[34] The method of choosing the government and its mayor depends on the node's type.[1]

Leadership powers

Government officials will have wide-ranging abilities to influence their node.[58]

  • Mark foreign citizens of other nodes as enemies of the state.[59][60]
  • Declare war on another node and rally citizens to the cause.[59]
  • Enter into trade agreements.[59]
  • Directing assets.[34]
  • Defensive ability.[34]
  • Governments may be able to choose a node name from a predetermined list.[61][62]

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.[52]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.[34]

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.[27]Steven Sharif

Guilds do not control nodes. Guild leaders will likely not be able to be mayors of nodes.[63][64]

  • Guilds hold separate roles in the direction of the node than the roles held by private citizens.[34]
  • Only a certain number of guilds may participate in these roles.[34]
  • Separate guild roles are reserved for small, medium and large guilds.[34]

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.[34]

Node taxes

Mayors/Node governments allocate resources, taxes, and quests to help develop node defenses.[65]

Parent nodes take a cut of all taxes from the housing and any services that occur within their ZOI.[67]

  • 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.[67]

Alliances

Ashes of Creation may have specific content that revolves around Alliances.[68]

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.[68]Steven Sharif

Underrealm nodes

Underrealm nodes and nodes directly above them are related but do not exist in the same ZOI.[69]

Coastal/island nodes

There will be nodes along the coast and on islands.[74]

  • These nodes will have specific water oriented influences and abilities, services, questlines, that relate to the seas.[74]
  • It may be possible to siege a coastal city by sea.[75]

Island chains are part of Ashes of Creation naval content.[76][77]

Underwater nodes

Underwater points of interest that have NPC structures may appear to be like cities, but they will not be nodes.[78]

  • There won't be nodes underwater or in the water.[74]

Relics

Node relic.[79] This is a protective relic that is preventing an attack. Once stolen, it enables a siege against the metropolis.[80]

Relics are achievements for a node that unlock over time. They allow node citizens to craft certain legendary items and progress in certain legendary quest lines.[81]

Sharemarkets

As nodes develop, player governments may open a Stock exchange (also called Stock markets and Sharemarkets) where players can buy and sell shares in Nodes, Guilds and Social organizations.[82][83]

  • There is no regulatory commission to restrict the purchase and sale of stocks.[84]

Internal conflict

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.[85]

Artwork

See also

References

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  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Node series part I
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  10. Interview, 11 May 2018 (55:16).
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  14. Npc vending.jpg
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  16. node xp.png
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  21. 21.0 21.1 node atrophy.png
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  51. citizenship.jpg
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  83. 83.0 83.1 Stock Exchange.jpg
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