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Zone of influence

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Nodes are pre-set locations, wrapped in a zone of influence (ZOI).[1]

Every Node is given purview over a predefined geographic area called a Zone of Influence (ZoI). No matter where you go in the world, whether you’re questing, gathering, or raiding, you’ll be helping determine which nodes will develop, and what Zones of Influence will expand. Any area that a Node controls is considered its Zone of Influence, including Vassal Nodes, and all Vassal Nodes exist within the Zone of Influence of their Parent Node.[2]Margaret Krohn

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.[1]

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.[1]

By undertaking familiar activities, such as questing, gathering and raiding, players have agency in determining which nodes in the world will develop.[3]

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 .[4]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.[5]

Zones of influence connect fully across the world without any gaps.[6]

There is not a space where you will move in to do something and no node will get that experience.[6]Steven Sharif

Node advancement

Illustration of node advancement from Expedition (stage 1) to Metropolis (stage 6).

Nodes advance by collecting experience from the actions of players nearby. As players complete content inside of a Node’s Zone of Influence (the area around the node), they contribute that experience toward the Node’s development. The experience given to the Node may then be modified based on certain Events and Accomplishments. When a Node reaches the experience required, it undergoes the process of advancing to the next stage. There are a few exceptions where a Node cannot advance even though it has the required experience - most commonly, a Node can not advance if a Node is a Vassal of another Node and would advance to the same stage as its Parent Node.[7]Margaret Krohn

Citizen and non-citizen player activity (questing, gathering, raiding, etc.) within a node's ZOI counts toward that particular node’s advancement (progression).[8] 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.[2]

Node stage.[8] Alternate name.[9] Timeframe to advance.[8] Player housing.[10]
0. Wilderness -
1. Expedition Crossroads Few hours -
2. Encampment Camp Many hours -
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.[7]Margaret Krohn

Conceptual illustration. Nodes that are in the ZOI of more advanced nodes have their progression capped by the more advanced node.[11]

Beginning at Node Stage 3, when a Node advances, it enslaves nearby Nodes and makes them into its Vassals. Vassal Nodes are owned by a Parent Node and must always be at least one Node Stage below the Parent Node. This means that the Vassal Node cannot grow until the Parent Node advances in stage. Vassal Nodes give excess experience to their Parent Node, and are able to have their own Vassals, as long as they fit within the Parent Node’s Zone of Influence. They are subject to the government, alliances, wars, taxes, and trade of their Parent Node, and are able to receive federal aid from them. A Vassal Node cannot declare war on their Parent Node or any of its Vassals. Citizens of Vassals are bound by the diplomatic states of the Parent Node.[2]Margaret Krohn

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.[12]

  • Nodes advance to the first stage quickly. This enables NPC services such as vending or banking items.[13]
  • The more advanced the node is, the larger its ZOI becomes.[10]
  • 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.[11]
  • A node does not receive XP from the nodes within its ZOI until these nodes have reached their cap.[11]
  • Players are moved to safety if they intersect with newly spawned assets during node advancement.[14]
  • Citizens of one node can contribute to the advancement of other nodes.[15]
  • The exact percentage of advancement from obtaining items or killing monsters is not going to be explicitly known to avoid "gaming" the system.[16]

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.[16]Steven Sharif

Vassal nodes

Nodes greater than stage 3 (Village) enslave nearby nodes, converting them into vassal nodes.[2]

  • Vassal nodes must remain one node stage below their parent node.[2]
    • Vassal nodes first apply any experience earned to their own deficit (see Node atrophy). It then applies excess experience earned to its parent node.[7]
    • If the parent node advances, the vassal is once again able to advance.[2]
  • 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.[2]
    • 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.[7]
  • Vassals are subject to the government, alliances, wars, taxes, and trade of their parent node, and are able to receive federal aid from them.[2]
  • Vassal nodes cannot declare war on their parent node or any of their vassals.[2]
  • Citizens of vassals are bound by the diplomatic states of the parent node.[2]

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.[7]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.[17][2]

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.[18]

Underrealm nodes

Underrealm nodes and nodes directly above them are related but do not exist in the same ZOI.[19]

Castle regions

Castles have direct power over the Nodes that belong to it, but also have soft power across the entire region it belongs to. All Nodes belonging to that region pay fealty to the Castle in the form of taxes paid directly to the Castle. The Monarch sets the rate, and can use those proceeds to upgrade defenses, maintain the Castle’s direct Nodes, or provide buffs and benefits to the citizens of that region, as the magnanimous ruler that you are.[23]

Guild castles influence a castle region around them.[24]

Guild castles impose a tax on all revenue for the nodes within its region.[29]

  • In addition to taxes, Castles also influence crop yields, resources and events within its region.[30]
  • Part of the tax and resources gathered are applied to the castle for improvements.[31][32]
  • The remainder of tax income can be used by the guild for whatever they want.[33]
  • When castles change hands (following a siege), some taxes stay with the castle and some stay with the guild.[34]

World size

480 km2 (square kilometers) is the approximate world size at launch.[36]

480 square kilometers; which is which is pretty large comparatively to other MMORPGs out there. Now that does not include the lapped spaces: So that is the Underrealm and the portion of the world that it encompasses, which could probably easily take up an additional hundredish square kilometers I would imagine.[37]Steven Sharif

See also

References