Open world

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Alpha-1 open world dungeon entrance.[1]

80% of the content that will exist in Ashes of Creation is open-world and there's a specific reason for that. So because of the way that friendships and or enemies are forged in the game and people have the opportunity to create their own friends or foes. We want that to play out from a contesting standpoint as well. So a lot of these hunting grounds or raid bosses that people are going to have opportunities to kill, they're going to be essentially contested potentially by your your enemies that you've created in the game or you can work together to create alliances in order to defend those contested zones.[2]Steven Sharif

Ashes of Creation will be a seamless open-world experience.[3]

  • No loading time or loading screens between regions.[3]

There will be open world dungeons and raids. The aspiration is to maintain the open world feel while being able to capitalize on the benefits of instanced mechanics.[4]

There will be some open dungeons that have bosses at the end of the dungeons. There will be some open dungeons that just have a multitude of dungeon bosses, not necessarily world raids or something; and there will be lots of different rooms and they'll be progressive in the sense that in the earlier parts of the dungeon they'll be lower level and then at the later parts of the dungeons deeper down they'll be higher level and more difficult; and that creates again I think an ecosystem of where players across a multitude of levels have an opportunity to coexist within certain areas of the world; and that's good from a social dynamic. It's good from a recruitment dynamic. It's good from just a liveliness and relevance of particular areas. So that you don't end up with these locations that once you pass a certain level like it's empty.[5]Steven Sharif
  • Instancing is only going to happen in certain dungeons where the desire is to have greater narrative appeal.[6] Outside of these and arenas there will not be too much instancing anywhere else.[3]
  • There will be an 80/20 split between open world vs instanced encounters.[2][7][8]
  • There is no instancing in Alpha-1.[9]

We're probably going to do instancing only in certain dungeons and in arenas. You probably won't see instancing too much anywhere else. What you see is gonna be what you get.[3]Jeffrey Bard

The PvP flagging system presents an opportunity for open conflict.[10]

Q: When you reach the bosses in [open world] dungeons can you be jumped?
A: For the most part if there are bosses at the end of dungeons, it is possible for you to get jumped.[5]Steven Sharif


Battlegrounds are where PvP battles occur in the open world.[11] These are open world PvP zones that flag players as Combatants (purple).[12]

Non-combatant (green) players entering an open world battleground are automatically flagged as combatants and remain flagged for a period of time after leaving that battleground.[17]

Death penalties do not apply to objective-based events (such as caravans, guild wars, and node sieges).[18]

Our castle system, our sieges against nodes, the caravan system, battlegrounds that exist, guild wars: We want there to be a meaning to this conflict. We want players to actually have some skin in the game when it comes to participating in PvP.[19]Steven Sharif

Hunting grounds

Hunting grounds are open-world PvP corruption-enabled areas that encompass most of the map.[20]

One of the interesting components of Ashes of Creation and our flagging system is that it presents the potential for two conflicting parties to have open conflict in the open world over pretty much anything that they may want or disagree with; and if that pertains to a hunting ground, not just the caravan or the castles or the nodes or whatever, it can exist in that area.[10]Steven Sharif

Outside of PvP for certain things like caravans, sieges of nodes and/or castles is that you're going to have those open-world hunting ground fights that may occur. You're going to have resources fights that may occur. You're going to have political fights that may occur between members of guilds; and we're taking the guild politics to a whole new direction in regards to playing those conflicts out.[22]Steven Sharif

Our PvP mechanics follow a flagging system, as well as static PvP zones at certain points of interest; fight for control over cities, castles, caravans, or hunting grounds. Our PvP is designed to offer the players a well-balanced and fair world to shape through the pen, or sword should they choose.[23]


Volcano area concept art by Ricky Ho.[24] [25]

We are a high fantasy game... That means that outside of the traditional sorts of environments you're going to start seeing some pretty crazy and wild stuff that will also change based on seasons.[26]Jeffrey Bard

Alpha-1 Oasis environment preview.[28]

This is a second one of two of the large water oasis areas that we incorporated into the tropics biome.[29]Michael Bacon

There are approximately 18 biomes (environments) in Ashes of Creation.[29]

We just wanted to represent just about every biome type under the sun really and just have enough diversity over the world that like when you went from area to area you know, you really just got a contrast of different biome types.[30]Michael Bacon

List of biomes

Points of interest

Alpha-1 preview pirate themed dynamic point of interest.[32]

This is actually a dynamic POI. This one will evolve as players evolve the node that it's attached to. So this is kind of its final state.[32]Jeffrey Bard

Alpha-1 preview pirate themed dynamic point of interest flythrough.[32]

One of the core functions of these points of interest across the world is that dynamic level up. As the world grows, these points of interest grow: Additional buildings will spawn, additional monsters and leaders, and quest hooks. All of these things start to grow with the world.[32]Steven Sharif

New points of interest (such as dungeons, world bosses, and corrupted areas) spawn as nodes develop.[33][34] This content adapts to the node progression of the zone it is in.[32][35]

Certain dungeons and other points of interest across the map will all be affected by the server’s node development. Some dungeons will only be unlocked if nodes are developed to certain stages. The storyline objectives for players inside dungeons will also be dependent on the story arc paths chosen through the node system. The drop tables in area and dungeons will also be tied into the progression of certain areas. For example, let’s say that the humans have developed a node in Region A, and a storyline has opened up that leads players to inspect the ruins (dungeon) of a nearby area. And let’s say that this node was developed in a scientific (crafting) zone… Well before the node developed, this dungeon was accessible… But now the dungeon has propagated new monster assets that include a drop table catering to a crafting emphasis because of the development of that scientific node. And perhaps, a new boss appears in different rooms of the dungeon that includes different adventure quest starts, like a mysterious item with a storyline that can only be progressed if a node develops to the metropolis stage in a certain region, across the world. Our system is so vast, when it comes to interconnectivity and how the world reacts to the players.[17]

Corrupted areas

Work-in-progress Alpha-1 preview corrupted area on Alpha island by Mia DelCasino.[33]

How the world kind of reacts and changes to the nodes, you see these intrusions of corruption beginning to pervert and infest the lands; and these are obviously going to be sources by which NPC events are driven based on player progression within the world. And these sources of evil need to be addressed by the players, or else they'll grow out of hand.[36]Steven Sharif

All of our POIs and kind of just the world in general can react to the node- we don't have to but we can- and this is one of those places where as civilization grows this will grow kind of in contest with it.[33]Jeffrey Bard

Corrupted areas (zones/points of interest) can dynamically evolve with the progression of nodes.[36][33]

  • Harbingers that exist on Verra as dungeons are where The Ancients are capable of pushing into the material plane. They can continue to do so under the guise of the effects of corruption as it spreads.[37]
  • These are sources of NPC events that players need to address before they grow out of hand.[38][36]
    • Players need to participate in these events to stop the spread of corruption and hold back the intrusion on the material plane.[37]
  • Corrupted areas do not confer corruption onto a player.[39]

There are certain things that can happen, such as the spawning of dragons or hordes of zombies that are going to come out and attack those installations, those nodes, those points of interest; and... communities that don't respond to those in an effective way might see the disabling of certain services, the reduction of certain quest lines for particular organizations. The idea is to keep this as part of a believable living response from world, so those can get pretty significant the bad effects that can happen for the community.[38]Steven Sharif

See also


  1. Livestream, 30 April 2020 (1:05:34).
  2. 2.0 2.1 Interview, 19 July 2020 (11:04).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Livestream, 22 May 2017 (20:59).
  4. dungeon open.png
  5. 5.0 5.1 Podcast, 29 September 2021 (35:17).
  6. Podcast, 29 September 2021 (34:11).
  7. openworldinstancedsplit.png
  8. Livestream, 28 March 2020 (1:48:36).
  9. 9.0 9.1 steven-siege-zone.png
  10. 10.0 10.1 Livestream, 19 May 2017 (24:17).
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 Livestream, 5 May 2017 (14:26).
  12. Livestream, 19 May 2017 (45:14).
  13. 13.0 13.1 Podcast, 11 April 2021 (49:40).
  14. Livestream, 30 April 2021 (41:18).
  15. Blog: Creative Director's Letter, April 14 2021
  16. Livestream, 17 November 2017 (45:19).
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 MMOGames interview, January 2017
  18. Livestream, 22 December 2020 (1:13:51).
  19. Video, 30 April 2017 (5:31).
  20. 20.0 20.1 Livestream, 9 July 2018 (44:56).
  21. Livestream, 17 November 2017 (45:17).
  22. 22.0 22.1 Livestream, 1 June 2017 (35:42).
  23. pvp about.png
  24. Livestream, 24 September 2021 (1:08:43).
  25. steven-volcano-guy-quote.png
  26. Livestream, 1 June 2017 (29:33).
  27. verran-environments.png
  28. Livestream, 25 June 2021 (55:39).
  29. 29.0 29.1 Livestream, 29 January 2021 (21:55).
  30. Livestream, 25 June 2021 (53:15).
  31. Livestream, 28 May 2021 (1:40:47).
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 32.4 32.5 32.6 32.7 32.8 Livestream, 26 March 2021 (50:33).
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 33.3 Livestream, 26 March 2021 (22:53).
  34. Livestream, 17 November 2017 (36:22).
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 35.3 35.4 Livestream, 17 November 2017 (18:29).
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 Livestream, 26 March 2021 (50:03).
  37. 37.0 37.1 Livestream, 8 November 2020 (12:47).
  38. 38.0 38.1 Livestream, 25 June 2021 (1:13:30).
  39. Livestream, 25 June 2021 (1:32:24).