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Volcano area concept art by Ricky Ho.[1] [2]

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.[3]Jeffrey Bard

Alpha-1 Oasis environment preview.[5]

This is a second one of two of the large water oasis areas that we incorporated into the tropics biome.[6]Michael Bacon

There are approximately 18 biomes (environments) in Ashes of Creation.[6]

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 really just got a contrast of different biome types.[7]Michael Bacon

List of biomes

Underrealm biomes

Alpha-0 Underrealm environment.[10]

Underrealm environments are vast.[11]

  • Caravans should be able to operate as they do above ground.[11]
  • If there's insufficient room for Dragons, another mount type may be utilized.[11]
  • Burrowing mounts are being considered as an alternative to flying mounts in the Underrealm.[12]

One of the important aspects of color play is going to be the distinguishing factor between different Underrealms and the regions that exist in the world: Their color influences set them apart from different regions.[13]Steven Sharif

Seasons above ground will affect the Underrealm.[11]

  • This will not be a one-to-one correlation: for example, it won't snow in the Underrealm.
  • Tunnel flooding and other effects will be related to the weather above ground.

The seasons above ground will inform what happens underneath. I mean, it's not going to be a direct one-to-one correlation right, not like it's going to be raining in the underworld, but you will see the effects from above happen down below: You might find tunnels being flooded.[11]Jeffrey Bard

Points of interest

Alpha-1 preview pirate themed dynamic point of interest.[14]

This is actually a dynamic POI. This one will evolve as players evolve the node that it's attached to. So this is its final state.[14]Jeffrey Bard

New points of interest (such as dungeons, world bosses, and corrupted areas) spawn as nodes develop.[15][16] This content adapts to the node progression of the zone it is in.[14][17]

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 academic 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.[18]

List of notable points of interest

info-orange.pngThis section contains potentially outdated information from Alpha-1 testing.


200 foot tall Pyrian statues in Alpha-1.[24]

Landmarks are scattered throughout the world, allowing players to judge their position on the map.[24]

From a lore perspective these statues have been around for a long time; and they are representative of the civilizations that existed once on this world before.[24]Steven Sharif

Major visual landmarks. You can look all the way across the horizon have an idea where you're going or where to meet friends or where to meet just based on these huge landmarks in the world.[24]Mat Broome


Ashes of Creation Seasons in the Riverlands.[25]

Part of the triggers that can create seasonal change is not just time related for each of our biomes, but they are also indicated by events that occur on the server. Whether that be certain raid bosses forming, or a relic being acquired by a particular node and being activated to change potentially the weather out of a winter state into a spring state: and the reason why a node might have interest in doing that of course is because weather and the seasons also affect skills and abilities.[26]Steven Sharif

Seasons affect different zones (environments/biomes) based on their location in the world.[27][28]

  • A majority of environments will experience either two or four seasons, excluding corrupted areas, which is considered a "season" itself.[29]
  • Some biomes will have seasons that are less (or more) temperate. For example: Northern, Southern and Tropical regions.[30] Other biomes will have fixed climates.[31]
    • Biomes that are affected by seasonal cycles may experience drastic visual differences between seasons.[27]
  • Events may radically change the current season a zone is in, or elongate it.[32][33] This includes weather changes.[28]
  • There will also be magical seasons where you might be in a tropical zone and suddenly it's snowing.[30]
  • Items, crop cycles, buildings, and crafting mechanics might gain certain buffs or debuffs in certain seasons.[32][34][28]
  • Ocean and underwater areas will not have seasonal changes.[35]
Winter might have a spawner that activates on a road that spawns at large fallen tree and players who see that will have an opportunity to go up and exert some type of one-time action that helps in removing that tree and it might require X number of people to do that before the tree gets removed; and that as an example is not beneficial for the transit of goods because as caravans require- well they don't require but they move better on roads and if that tree were present let's say blocking a road that led to a bridge per-se that they would have to off-road.[28]Steven Sharif
  • Different seasons may affect access to various roads.[32][33][28]
    • Pathways that are open during summer may be closed during winter.[28]
    • Seasonal affects may cause obstacles or blockages to the transit of goods via caravan.[32][33][36]
    • Water turning to ice in winter, enabling players to walk over the water but blocking access to what is underneath.[28]
      • Ice will make roads bumpy and slippery.[37]
    • Seasonal flooding is something the developers are talking about internally, but will not be present in Alpha-2.[38]

Seasonal changes

Right now we're getting some rain which will usher in springtime and so you'll see all the flora that's growing up right now out of the ground.[39]Brian Gans

Seasons change on a regular basis, but may also be triggered or elongated by certain events.[40][41][42]

  • Each season will be approximately one or two IRL weeks long.[40][41][42]
They might last longer if you don't deal with the dragon, or if you keep that relic active, but these on a cycle on a cyclical perspective as a normal season transition might be exist within a one week timeframe right and then it transitions over a period of hours.[41]Steven Sharif
  • The final duration of seasonal cycles is subject to testing during Alpha-2.[43]
The weather systems, the season systems, that's going to be a obvious point of testing for Alpha 2 of course. We're going to play around with the different cycles and and times and how they impact the economy, the rotation of resources, the movement of goods: all of those things play into the purpose- one of the purposes of having seasonal systems. So that is something that we are going to play with during our Alpha 2 testing and will land on what feels both most comfortable- is visually appealing, but also has the impact on the economy that we desire to see on the design side.[43]Steven Sharif
  • Environmental seasons are not to be confused with PvP seasons, which last for six months.[44]
In Ashes of Creation the world will change on a regular basis. Zones will progress in a seasonal cycle, which will alter the very nature of the environment around you. Snow may block pathways that are accessible in warmer months, spring may encourage creatures otherwise unseen to come to the surface, and fall might be the only time that certain crops thrive. This cycle can then take in the state of the world’s Nodes and shift depending on their progression.[36]


Alpha-2 dynamic weather change caused by the Beneath the Stone Shadows event.[45]

Since you instigated this event, which changed the weather, that will also now influence spawns nearby. You could potentially be spawning- well you are spawning side quests that relate to the rain, changes in enemies that relate to the rain, and that's driven on player action. So it is like a feedback loop.[46]Skott B

Some environments (Biomes) have fixed climates and others are variable.[25][31][3] Dynamic weather of varying intensity can be triggered by certain events.[46][25][32][47]

During those weather events, the area of effect that the event is occurring in will likely have its climate descriptor overridden by whatever the event is specifically. So tornadoes might be windy, blizzards might be cold. And if an arctic dragon comes into a temperate climate it brings the cold weather with it; and that can be interacting with skills and abilities or other functions like farms.[48]Steven Sharif
There are climate effects that occur from a buff standpoint. They can also affect skills like, let's say you're using a frost bolt in a winter climate. There's the ability for those effects to be enhanced and/or stronger in those climates.[51]Steven Sharif
They affect crops and gatherables, vehicles, and mounts, ships, creatures; and loot tables change: their behaviors might change. Resistances and weaknesses or synergies might be relevant in certain seasons or weather systems. Targeting might change the AoE radius might grow for a fire effect if you're in the middle of summer, or it might shrink if you're in the middle of a storm.[26]Steven Sharif
  • Some weather conditions can be hazardous to mobs and players.[45]
Weather events and encounters themselves can include hazards that can appear and shake things up. They can also help too, if you can kite enemies into the lightning strikes or whatever.[45]Skott B

Artistic style

Ren'Kai architecture concept art.[52]

Part of the biome that the Ren'Kai are accustomed to is a more swamp or marsh oriented, so they have these almost stilt-like foundations on some of the assets because they're intended to sit above that marsh.[52]Steven Sharif

Ashes of Creation will have a higher graphical fidelity than most western games. It will not be too stylized or "cartoony".[53]

We can push the limits a little bit on the graphical fidelity, especially using Unreal Engine 4... My desire was not to see very cartoony games. I'm not a big fan of highly stylized art.[53]Steven Sharif
It's not to say that people can't do steampunk well. I've enjoyed some steampunk stuff. I'm a very high fantasy oriented type of storyteller; and the inspiration for Ashes obviously comes from my pathfinder campaigns that I ran long ago; and those are always set in a high fantasy world. So it just compromises what I believe is the perspective of the storytelling in the environment.[54]Steven Sharif
We do not use AI for production, except in unique internal cases when communicating fast reference material.[55]Steven Sharif

Node development

Racial architecture of the same Village (stage 3) node on different server realms. 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.[56]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.[57]Margaret Krohn

Node layout and style is determined by several factors:[58][59]

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.[60]Steven Sharif
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.[61]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.[59]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.[66]Steven Sharif
  • The rest is determined by the node's mayor.[59]
    • It should be possible for a node to complete several building projects within a mayor's one month term in office.[67]
Q: How long would you say it will take players on average to fill/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 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.[67]Steven Sharif

Coastal and island nodes

Pre-alpha naval concept.[68]

There will be healthy amounts of sea content within the coastlines of the continents that does not fall into the "open sea" area.[69]Steven Sharif

There will be nodes along the coast and on islands.[70]

  • These nodes will have specific water oriented influences, services, and questlines, that relate to the seas.[70]
    • There is a healthy amount of sea content within the coastlines of the continents that does not fall into the open sea area.[69]
  • The open sea does not contribute to the advancement of coastal nodes, even if it falls within the ZOI of the node. This is subject to change during Alpha-2 testing.[71]
  • Coastal nodes change the spawn tables of the nearby water content and can also trigger specific events.[72]
We've gone back and forth a little bit on whether or not the design intent for sieging of nodes is intended to include, for certain nodes, the naval component. The concern there was that it would be a difficult thing to balance around that particular node having accessibility from the water for those types of defenses. So what we've presented as an opportunity where harbors are the focal point of those naval interactions; and during sieges you are aware that nodes have certain objectives, which have ramifications and can influence the outcome and/or the ongoings of a particular against a node. And if one of those objectives is a naval objective, because that node might own a harbor, which is a point of interest that gets adopted by a node which advances far enough around it. So you might have one harbor and five nodes that can own that harbor. And the first to hit the village stage adopts the harbor. Then that can become an objective point during a siege that has naval interaction. So that's the direction we've moved towards, rather than allowing the naval component to interact directly with sieging the node itself as opposed to being a part of the objective-based gameplay that exists for a node siege.[73]Steven Sharif

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.[70]

Underrealm nodes

Underrealm nodes and nodes directly above them are considered adjacent but do not exist in the same ZOI.[79][80][81]

  • There will be "bleed over" between underrealm nodes and surface nodes in terms of influence and interaction.[80]
    • There may be visual cues above ground that indicate influence from underrealm nodes in that area.[80]

That might be a little bit of a departure from our design in the past. I know originally like two-plus years ago we were discussing how those would be independent of each other, but I think as we further defined the layout of the world map itself it made more sense for those to have some interaction and influence that's combined.[80]Steven Sharif

Destructible environments

Destructible environments is a core element of how players interact with the world, in Ashes of Creation.[86][87]

  • Buildings, siege weapons and other structures (such as walls and gates) during events, such as sieges that have been damaged or destroyed will be able to be repaired or re-crafted.[88][89]
  • Destructible props in the open-world will typically respawn after 10 minutes.[90]
  • The terrain itself is not destructible.[88]



See also


  1. Livestream, September 24, 2021 (1:08:43).
  2. steven-volcano-guy-quote.png
  3. 3.0 3.1 Livestream, June 1, 2017 (29:33).
  4. verran-environments.png
  5. Livestream, June 25, 2021 (55:39).
  6. 6.0 6.1 Livestream, January 29, 2021 (21:55).
  7. Livestream, June 25, 2021 (53:15).
  8. Livestream, May 28, 2021 (1:40:47).
  9. Livestream, September 24, 2021 (29:33).
  10. Ashes of Creation - The visuals.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 Livestream, June 1, 2017 (24:30).
  12. Interview, August 17, 2018 (8:57).
  13. Livestream, January 18, 2018 (14:00).
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 14.6 Livestream, March 26, 2021 (50:33).
  15. Livestream, March 26, 2021 (22:53).
  16. Livestream, November 17, 2017 (36:22).
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 Livestream, November 17, 2017 (18:29).
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 MMOGames interview, January 2017
  19. steven-pois.png
  20. steven-dungeons.png
  21. Livestream, July 25, 2020 (46:08).
  22. Livestream, April 29, 2022 (40:21).
  23. jindrack-pois.png
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 Livestream, August 17, 2018 (10:01).
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 25.4 Video, May 27, 2022 (2:21).
  26. 26.0 26.1 Video, May 27, 2022 (9:34).
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 Livestream, April 29, 2022 (56:24).
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 28.4 28.5 28.6 Livestream, May 8, 2017 (20:27).
  29. Livestream, March 31, 2023 (58:27).
  30. 30.0 30.1 Livestream, September 27, 2018 (41:33).
  31. 31.0 31.1 Livestream, July 18, 2017 (36:47).
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 32.4 32.5 Podcast, April 11, 2021 (23:36).
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 Livestream, June 26, 2020 (1:29:06).
  34. Livestream, July 26, 2019 (1:32:40).
  35. Livestream, September 30, 2022 (1:25:56).
  36. 36.0 36.1 Our immersive world - Environments.
  37. frosty-roads.png
  38. Livestream, June 30, 2022 (1:10:19).
  39. Video, May 27, 2022 (6:33).
  40. 40.0 40.1 Livestream, May 27, 2022 (1:13:39).
  41. 41.0 41.1 41.2 Video, May 27, 2022 (12:50).
  42. 42.0 42.1 seasons.png
  43. 43.0 43.1 Livestream, June 30, 2022 (2:57).
  44. Interview, July 18, 2020 (16:34).
  45. 45.0 45.1 45.2 Video, February 29, 2024 (16:34).
  46. 46.0 46.1 46.2 Video, February 29, 2024 (16:09).
  47. Livestream, July 28, 2017 (41:25).
  48. 48.0 48.1 Livestream, February 25, 2022 (1:05:37).
  49. 49.0 49.1 Livestream, February 29, 2024 (55:34).
  50. 50.0 50.1 50.2 50.3 Livestream, May 27, 2022 (1:14:46).
  51. 51.0 51.1 Livestream, September 30, 2020 (1:04:56).
  52. 52.0 52.1 Livestream, February 25, 2022 (46:17).
  53. 53.0 53.1 Interview, October 20, 2018 (2:17:43).
  54. 54.0 54.1 Livestream, March 31, 2023 (1:17:42).
  55. 55.0 55.1 steven-AI-artwork.png
  56. Blog - Know Your Nodes - The Basics.
  57. 57.0 57.1 57.2 Blog - Know Your Nodes - Advance and Destroy.
  58. 58.0 58.1 58.2 Livestream, October 30, 2020 (39:17).
  59. 59.0 59.1 59.2 59.3 59.4 59.5 Livestream, September 27, 2018 (53:06).
  60. 60.0 60.1 Livestream, February 25, 2022 (41:00).
  61. 61.0 61.1 Livestream, February 26, 2021 (1:12:18).
  62. Livestream, March 31, 2022 (4:57).
  63. Podcast, April 11, 2021 (29:47).
  64. Interview, May 11, 2018 (54:34).
  65. Livestream, May 26, 2017 (21:23).
  66. 66.0 66.1 Interview, May 11, 2018 (47:27).
  67. 67.0 67.1 Livestream, July 29, 2022 (1:13:09).
  68. Livestream, August 17, 2018 (58:53).
  69. 69.0 69.1 steven-stream-clarifications-august-2022.png
  70. 70.0 70.1 70.2 Livestream, 2018-04-8 (PM) (1:01:28).
  71. Livestream, March 29, 2024 (2:26:40).
  72. Interview, July 19, 2020 (48:05).
  73. 73.0 73.1 Interview, July 9, 2023 (1:18:49).
  74. Livestream, October 14, 2022 (58:46).
  75. Livestream, May 19, 2017 (37:51).
  76. Livestream, May 17, 2017 (30:53).
  77. Kickstarter - We Just Broke $1,500,000!
  78. Livestream, 2018-04-8 (AM) (18:29).
  79. Livestream, March 29, 2019 (58:14).
  80. 80.0 80.1 80.2 80.3 Livestream, March 29, 2019 (29:17).
  81. Livestream, May 5, 2017 (37:52).
  82. Livestream, May 26, 2017 (31:44).
  83. Livestream, May 26, 2017 (42:45).
  84. Livestream, May 24, 2017 (31:39).
  85. Video, March 29, 2024 (1:09:52).
  86. Livestream, March 31, 2022 (1:13:00).
  87. Livestream, June 28, 2019 (31:15).
  88. 88.0 88.1 Livestream, March 31, 2023 (1:33:05).
  89. Livestream, May 28, 2021 (1:04:29).
  90. Livestream, March 29, 2024 (2:04:00).