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 an approximately 80/20 split between open world vs instanced encounters.[4][5][2][6][7]

  • Around 80% of the content is open-world, where healthy competition is an instigator for player friction; for potential cooperation; for the ability to yield alliances; and the political theater that comes with it. This is an intended part of the PvX design of Ashes of Creation.[4][8][5]
In situations where we want to contain a particular type of raid, we will utilize instancing; and that can protect certain engagements with certain bosses. But that's really more on the 20% of the scenarios will have instancing protection like that. Around 80% of the content is open-world, where competition is- healthy competition is an instigator for soft player friction; for potential cooperation; for the ability to yield alliances; and the political theater that comes with it. So that's an intended part of the PvX design of Ashes. It's a core philosophical point. And just to be clear, that is not for everyone. We are not trying to make a product that appeals to every MMO gamer. That's impossible; and so we've been very upfront and forthright with what we are trying to accomplish and what our core pillars of philosophical design are.[5]Steven Sharif
  • Castle and node sieges may contain instanced locations where specific groups can participate in certain objective-based waypoints.[9]
  • Dungeons and raids will maintain an open world feel while also capitalizing on the benefits of instanced mechanics.[10] Instancing is only going to happen in certain dungeons where the desire is to have greater narrative appeal.[5][11] Outside of these and arenas there will not be too much instancing anywhere else.[3]
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.[12]Steven Sharif
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 and corruption system is in place to safeguard against griefing without limiting opportunities for open conflict.[14][5][15]

  • Healthy competition is seen as an instigator for player friction; for potential cooperation; for the ability to yield alliances; and the political theater that comes with it. This is an intended part of the PvX design of Ashes of Creation.[14][5]
  • This friction presents an opportunity to engage in the political aspects of the game, which is the lifeblood of what keeps players interested and invested in the game.[14][5][12]
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.[12]Steven Sharif
Q: In an open world dungeon, what prevents others from just waiting until you're at the boss and then killing you and taking your boss's loot? What prevents mega guilds from just owning an area and preventing you from accessing or enjoying it?
A: In a majority of cases, we do not want to prevent another group from engaging potentially in PvP. We disincentivize it by creating safeguards within the flagging system that make that decision very concerning for the people that might go corrupt; and if you're in the large enough group of numbers I doubt you're going to experience that unless there's some rivalry between guilds. In which case there's apparatuses like Guild Wars that are more opt-in. You can drop guild tag if you want. But anyways, the competitive nature of this environment is a PvX element.[5]Steven Sharif


The Event system will also create a variety of PvP situations in the open world. From small skirmishes that lead into sieges to battles over capture points during a node or castle siege, PvP objectives will play a crucial role in determining the tide of battle.[16]

The majority of Ashes of Creation players will experience PvP through opt-in objective-based battlegrounds (also called sanctioned PvP events).[17][18][19][20] These are high risk and high reward encounters that do not utilize the corruption system.[19][21][22]

The majority of PvP that players will encounter- the vast majority- will be through consensual systems, meaning opt-in systems like sieges, like caravans, like wars, or going out into the open sea. These are conscious decisions that players will make knowing the risk profile- assessing that- and they will opt-in to those things..[19]Steven Sharif
  • Sanctioned PvP events allow players to join different teams during the event.[17][18][19]
There are going to be events with sanctioned PvP, where there are multiple team options to join.[17]Clayton Stamper
In a sanctioned event- sanctioned meaning that this is something you have the option to opt-out of. That's a castle siege, that's a node siege, that's a caravan, that's a guild war, that's a node war. You can drop your citizenship. You can drop your guild tag. You can drop participating in one of those things. In any of those types of opt-in and opt-out events, the death penalties do not exist. These are sanctioned. They're intended to allow people to engage in PvP. Now if I die to an NPC while I'm out hunting, or if I die to another player through the flagging system, those are where death penalties come into play; and that's where debt experience can be earned; and that's where corruption can be had. So it's important to separate those two realms.[18]Steven Sharif
During PvP events such as caravans, guild wars, and sieges, the death penalties are disabled between participating characters on opposing sides. Attacking and killing players on the opposing side doesn't trigger the purple and red flags, nor does dying drop any resources or loot. However, you can't hide in this state as a Red corrupted player either. If you are Red, you'll still be Red in the siege or caravan and open to anyone to kill you and drop your loot, regardless of the side you are on. Being Red trumps everything.[25]
We will have limited functionality where players can spectate from either ghost camera from fixed positions at certain battlefields; some of which might include castles.[35]Steven Sharif
We will have certain systems that won't lend well to streaming, because certain systems have a requirement of secrecy and/or at least some level of strategic ambiguity. So players need to be conscientious of that fact when they're intending to both stream and play Ashes of Creation. Those are things that we cannot solve because intrigue is an intrinsic part of the game.[36]Steven Sharif
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.[37]Steven Sharif

Hunting grounds

You are on the prowl, and notice an unsuspecting player chopping trees. What would you do?[38]

Hunting grounds are open-world PvP corruption-enabled areas that encompass most of the map.[39]

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.[15]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.[41]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.[42]


Volcano area concept art by Ricky Ho.[43] [44]

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.[45]Jeffrey Bard

Alpha-1 Oasis environment preview.[47]

This is a second one of two of the large water oasis areas that we incorporated into the tropics biome.[48]Michael Bacon

There are approximately 18 biomes (environments) in Ashes of Creation.[48]

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.[49]Michael Bacon

List of biomes

Points of interest

Alpha-1 preview pirate themed dynamic point of interest.[52]

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.[52]Jeffrey Bard

New points of interest (such as dungeons, world bosses, and corrupted areas) spawn as nodes develop.[53][54] This content adapts to the node progression of the zone it is in.[52][55]

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.[24]

Corrupted areas

Alpha-2 corrupted area in the Riverlands biome.[61]

We just saw a corrupt zone and that zone becomes corrupt after a period of time in which players are not addressing some issues that arise through certain events or through certain story arcs; and that corruption can spread and corruption changes the spawners for resources and for monsters; and that has a fundamental effect on the resource economy of the game.[62]Steven Sharif

Corrupted areas (zones/points of interest) can dynamically evolve with the progression of nodes and story arcs.[62][63][64][65][66][67][53]

  • These are sources of NPC events that players need to address before they grow out of hand.[62][69][67]
    • Players need to participate in these events to stop the spread of corruption and hold back the intrusion on the material plane.[62][68]
    • If players fail to address these corrupted areas, the frequency of NPC events against their node will increase. These can lead to node buildings and services being disabled, increasing the node's vulnerability to node sieges.[70]
It can be a very detrimental thing if corruption is not addressed; and that's the intent of corruption, is to present a challenge to the players that if not addressed it becomes exacerbated and a problem over time.[70]Steven Sharif
To degree your mortal coil, as we call it, or what some might consider a soul from your character's perspective within this story- can be influenced and can be changed into a shape that's more in tune with corruption; and that's through doing PvP things you can accomplish that.[71]Steven Sharif
When it enters the corruption state outside of weather, in that corrupt state, you will probably see a little bit less of the influence of the season because really it's adopting that corruption, which in-and-of-itself is a season.[73]Steven Sharif

See also


  1. Livestream, April 30, 2020 (1:05:34).
  2. 2.0 2.1 Interview, July 19, 2020 (11:04).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Livestream, May 22, 2017 (20:59).
  4. 4.0 4.1 Interview, September 10, 2023 (58:47).
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Livestream, March 31, 2023 (1:00:16).
  6. openworldinstancedsplit.png
  7. Livestream, March 28, 2020 (1:48:36).
  8. Livestream, May 31, 2023 (45:47).
  9. Livestream, January 28, 2022 (17:50).
  10. dungeon open.png
  11. Podcast, September 29, 2021 (34:11).
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Podcast, September 29, 2021 (35:17).
  13. steven-siege-zone.png
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Livestream, April 28, 2023 (2:06).
  15. 15.0 15.1 Livestream, May 19, 2017 (24:17).
  16. 16.0 16.1 Types of Events on Verra.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Video, September 29, 2023 (2:59).
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 Livestream, February 24, 2023 (1:29:45).
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 19.5 19.6 19.7 19.8 19.9 Livestream, October 28, 2022 (24:28).
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Livestream, June 30, 2022 (1:14:52).
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Livestream, April 29, 2022 (41:27).
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 Livestream, May 5, 2017 (14:26).
  23. Livestream, May 19, 2017 (45:14).
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 MMOGames interview, January 2017
  25. 25.0 25.1 jindrack-pvp-events.png
  26. Podcast, April 11, 2021 (49:40).
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 27.3 pvp meaningful.png
  28. Livestream, November 17, 2017 (45:19).
  29. Livestream, August 26, 2022 (1:00:14).
  30. Livestream, April 30, 2021 (1:06:41).
  31. Livestream, April 29, 2022 (27:42).
  32. City hall.
  33. 33.0 33.1 Livestream, August 27, 2021 (1:22:56).
  34. Livestream, December 22, 2020 (1:13:51).
  35. 35.0 35.1 Twitch Bustin - PvP Spectating.
  36. 36.0 36.1 Livestream, October 31, 2023 (1:14:00).
  37. Video, April 30, 2017 (5:31).
  38. Twitter - What a glorious day for ganking!
  39. 39.0 39.1 Livestream, July 9, 2018 (44:56).
  40. Livestream, November 17, 2017 (45:17).
  41. 41.0 41.1 Livestream, June 1, 2017 (35:42).
  42. pvp about.png
  43. Livestream, September 24, 2021 (1:08:43).
  44. steven-volcano-guy-quote.png
  45. Livestream, June 1, 2017 (29:33).
  46. verran-environments.png
  47. Livestream, June 25, 2021 (55:39).
  48. 48.0 48.1 Livestream, January 29, 2021 (21:55).
  49. Livestream, June 25, 2021 (53:15).
  50. Livestream, May 28, 2021 (1:40:47).
  51. Livestream, September 24, 2021 (29:33).
  52. 52.0 52.1 52.2 52.3 52.4 52.5 52.6 Livestream, March 26, 2021 (50:33).
  53. 53.0 53.1 Livestream, March 26, 2021 (22:53).
  54. Livestream, November 17, 2017 (36:22).
  55. 55.0 55.1 55.2 55.3 55.4 Livestream, November 17, 2017 (18:29).
  56. steven-pois.png
  57. steven-dungeons.png
  58. Livestream, July 25, 2020 (46:08).
  59. Livestream, April 29, 2022 (40:21).
  60. jindrack-pois.png
  61. Video, November 30, 2023 (29:26).
  62. 62.0 62.1 62.2 62.3 62.4 62.5 Video, November 30, 2023 (32:36).
  63. 63.0 63.1 Interview, July 9, 2023 (47:05).
  64. skotty-story-arc-2.png
  65. Video, March 31, 2023 (1:22).
  66. Video, March 31, 2023 (3:32).
  67. 67.0 67.1 Livestream, March 26, 2021 (50:03).
  68. 68.0 68.1 Livestream, November 8, 2020 (12:47).
  69. Livestream, June 25, 2021 (1:13:30).
  70. 70.0 70.1 Livestream, January 28, 2022 (1:17:12).
  71. 71.0 71.1 Livestream, March 31, 2023 (54:22).
  72. Livestream, June 25, 2021 (1:32:24).
  73. 73.0 73.1 Livestream, March 31, 2023 (58:27).
  74. Livestream, March 31, 2023 (59:10).
  75. Video, March 31, 2023 (16:42).
  76. skotty-story-arc-1.png