Points of interest

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

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.[1]Jeffrey Bard

New points of interest (such as dungeons, world bosses, and corrupted areas) spawn as nodes develop.[2][3] This content adapts to the node progression of the zone it is in.[1][4]

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.[5]

List of notable points of interest

info-orange.pngThis section contains potentially outdated information from Alpha-1 testing.


Volcano area concept art by Ricky Ho.[11] [12]

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.[13]Jeffrey Bard

Alpha-1 Oasis environment preview.[15]

This is a second one of two of the large water oasis areas that we incorporated into the tropics biome.[16]Michael Bacon

There are approximately 18 biomes (environments) in Ashes of Creation.[16]

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.[17]Michael Bacon

List of biomes

Starting areas

Alpha-1 early preview starting area.[20]

There is no railroaded driven theme park experience here. You will have the opportunity to create your own destiny in that regard, which means you don't have to necessarily follow the quest line nor do you have to participate in events or experiences around the starting area. Now it may be more beneficial to do that; and in that regard I guess there could be a meta around doing that, but you could branch out proceed to other areas and do different content.[21]Steven Sharif

Starting areas (starting zones) are located in the ruined cities of the four ancient races of Verra.[22]

  • Starting areas include expeditionary NPC settlements that serve as initial quest origination points.[23] Lore-wise, these settlements represent scouts that were sent ahead of the main expedition back to Verra.[30]
    • These settlements are designed to acclimatize new players entering the world.[30]
    • While it may be advantageous to do so, there is no requirement for players to play through any specific starter zone content.[21]

A problem that a lot of MMOs have is that those starting areas become just vacant of players and it's so sad because the greatest aspect of an MMO is that community that you get to experience, so one of the great things about the node system is that it really works from new player acquisition standpoint, where these nodes tend to develop larger near the starting location areas around the world; and it brings these players back to those locations if they're citizens and want services within those cities. So, as new players enter the world they're going to actually be surrounded most likely by more population because people are coming back to those larger nodes.[31]Steven Sharif

Alpha-1 starting area

Alpha-1 alpha island starting area.[32]

There's been some significant lighting changes here in this area. There's been some work on the foliage, on the trees that are available, toned down some of the ruins, rearranged some of the tents and it's starting to look pretty good.[32]Steven Sharif

The Alpha-1 starting area was set in the ruins of a Pyrian divine gateway to the south of alpha island.[33]

Alpha-2 starting area

You'll be seeing more as we get closer to Alpha Two but this will give you a little bit of insight to the capital city of the Aelan empire prior to the Exodus. This is one of the starting areas that players enter into. This will be this one of the starting areas in alpha 2.[34]Steven Sharif


Road blocked by an environmental hazard due to a caravan event in Alpha-2.[36]

Our road system in-game is essentially driven by pre-placed routes that lead to this main artery of what was once the ancient highway system of Verra; and from there there are roads that become exposed when nodes advance; and we call those veins. They come off the main artery and then as nodes advance there are points of interest as Jeff was discussing earlier. These POIs that exist around the world and some of them share coverage with multiple nodes, but depending on which node advances to the stage that activates the point of interest it'll create these capillary roads so to speak that then stem off of the node itself. So you go from the main artery ancient road that's large- that runs through different zones and whatnot- and that breaks down into the veins that lead to the specific encampments and villages and towns that then spawn off separate capillaries that lead to the points of interest in these areas that are hunting grounds. Those are not exposed initially and they come online as players advance the world.[37]Steven Sharif

Roads adjusting to adjacent node progression.[38]

As nodes advance, these pre-laid road spots that exist connecting every possible route between certain node structures is going to adjust and adapt, both its material presentation, the type of roadwork that's present: It'll move from dirt road type, to perhaps a brick road, to perhaps some super ornate beautiful metropolis style road that will adjust around the world according to how these node structures begin to populate and advance.[38]Steven Sharif

Roads in Verra are both pre-generated and player influenced.[37]

  • The largest roads are referred to as arteries. These are remnants of what was once the ancient highway system of Verra.[37]
  • As nodes advance smaller roads, referred to as veins, connect the arteries to the nodes.[37]
  • Depending on the stages of node advancement, capillary roads will stem off the node to connect to points of interest.[37]
  • Roads or pathways are not worn into the landscape by repeated traffic over the same area.[37]
  • The quality, safety, and maximum transportation speed of roads is influenced by node building upgrades, policies, relics, and the level of nearby nodes.[39][40][41]
Q: Could you upgrade roads in the node to upgrade the roads and speeds of caravans?
A: Absolutely. So that buff that you saw is a buff that can be changed in the world based on the world state. Some of those world state interactions include certain types of relics that the nodes which govern your area might have access to and might be actively employing. Some of it might have to do with policies: You might be able to extend the guard influences across the road radius further out for certain nodes if you have certain policies. You might be able to enhance and empower those guards through itemization choices that are granted by building upgrades that the node selects to build.[39]Steven Sharif

Different seasons and events may affect access to various roads.[42][43][44][45]

  • Pathways that are open during summer may be closed during winter.[42][45]
  • Seasonal affects may cause obstacles or blockages to the transit of goods via caravan.[42][43][44][46]
  • Caravan events can cause roadways to be blocked off or hostile mobs to spawn to attack the caravan.[36][43]
    • Obstacles may present barriers on roads that players must remove or bypass to allow transit of goods.[36][42][45]
  • Water turning to ice in winter, enabling players to walk over the water but blocking access to what is underneath.[45]
    • Ice will make roads bumpy and slippery.[47]

Underrealm routes will open or close dynamically (based on node states).[48]

  • The location of Underrealm entrances throughout the world is focused around natural geographic choke-points that exist above ground. This provides alternate subterranean routes that can be used by caravans, raids, and other player activities.[49][48]
  • Not all entrances to the Underrealm will be open at the same time. This can shift dynamically (based on node states) that cause different routes to open up, which may be more or less advantageous than other routes.[48]

Caravan components can be utilized to improve on-road or off-road speeds of caravans.[50]

You will travel faster over roads, but that obviously comes with the increased risk of running into other players or monsters that are blocking the road.[50]Chris Justo

Freeholds may not be placed in close proximity to roads.[51]

Dungeon locations

Dungeons and other points of interest are located throughout the map in-between the 85 node locations.[8]

POIs of this size do not normally attach to just a single node. Usually there are multiple nodes that can potentially influence a large POI. The theming within the node occurs around storylines or NPC spawns and events.[6]Steven Sharif
  • The difficulty level and loot tables of these encounters will change based on this influence.[7][8]

List of notable dungeons

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


200 foot tall Pyrian statues in Alpha-1.[52]

Landmarks are scattered throughout the world, allowing players to judge their position on the map.[52]

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.[52]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.[52]Mat Broome

Notable landmarks

Corrupted areas

Alpha-2 corrupted area in the Riverlands biome.[53]

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.[54]Steven Sharif

Corrupted areas (zones/points of interest) can dynamically evolve with the progression of nodes and story arcs.[54][55][56][57][58][59][2]

  • These are sources of NPC events that players need to address before they grow out of hand.[54][61][59]
    • Players need to participate in these events to stop the spread of corruption and hold back the intrusion on the material plane.[54][60]
    • 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.[62]
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.[62]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.[63]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.[65]Steven Sharif

Underwater nodes

Underwater points of interest that have NPC structures may appear to be like cities, but they will not be nodes.[69]

  • There won't be nodes underwater or in the water.[70]

Economic regions

We want our players to have a reason to explore the wilderness, to travel with purpose, and much of that will be driven by our resource system. Transporting these goods might just be more difficult than gathering them. Our regional market system allows players to participate in creating pocket economies that will reinforce the stability of goods in particular regions. Players will be able to move resources and set up shop in other areas to take advantage of the varied markets. With resources spawning dynamically, certain regions will naturally become important trading hubs for the transportation of goods throughout the world.[71]

Economic regions are static areas defined by geographic points of interest.[72][73][74]

  • Castle regions are larger and encompass multiple economic regions.[72]
  • Nodes are the glue that hold castle and economic regions together in potential synergy or chaos.[75]
    • Node ZOIs are fluid and change their area based on the progression of the node and its neighbors.[72]
  • Castle regions, Economic regions, and Node ZOI (Zones of Influence) can overlap.[76]

The whole map would be under the influence of 1 of 5 castle regions. However, castle regions aren't the only TYPE of region - there are also economic regions, among other things.[73]Sarah Flanagan

Castle regions


Guild castles influence a castle region around them.[77]

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 its racial influence.[83][84][85]

  • Portions of the spawn tables (for mobs and resources) are static and other portions are dynamic and adapt to node development.[86]
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.[87]Steven Sharif

Event levels

The level of a particular event can be based on the level of the content that triggers it, or it can be set to a higher level in order to drive traffic back to lower level zones.[88]

For example, if the event takes place in a zone that has a base population of let's say average level 25, then one of the trigger conditions might be that 10 monsters of level 25 have been killed recently in that zone and the level 25 event will now spawn additional content designed for level 25 players. So these events aren't always going to be end-game they're going to be obviously appropriate based on the content in which the predicate system is informing, but they also could be something completely top level that is introduced at a lower-level area and brings population traffic of the players back to those types of things.[88]Steven Sharif
  • The more players participating in an event the more challenging the event will become and the higher the rewards will be for completing the event.[89][90][91]

Node simulation

Simulation of node interactions.[92]

This representation does show 111 nodes as part of this particular simulation. I'm not sure what the tick frequency is on this video. It might be something on the magnitude of like every second is probably 12 to 24 hours. So over time you start seeing these larger node systems building up to eventually where you might see Cities and Metropolises after some period of time; and what this allows the design team to do from a tools perspective, as they simulate this idea of how the world is going to progress, is it gives an opportunity to see strange happenings or something that we couldn't necessarily predict but was a possible outcome based on the variables present.[92]Steven Sharif

The developers have created a simulation of node interactions in preparation for Alpha-2 deployment of the node system.[92]

You can show the initial territories on the Verran map of what these particular nodes have governance over, or their Zones of Influence as we like to call them... As the simulation of this begins to advance and nodes begin to expand their territory and they begin to take over nearby nodes as a result of their of their growth, you start to see these power level ratings that are applied here on specific nodes that determines what type of takeover power it has and and what it pushes back against for other nodes that are looking to take over new territory as they advance.[92]Steven Sharif

  • It also simulates events, such as NPCs attacking and disabling certain node buildings and services. Failure to successfully respond to these will reduce the node's "health ticker", which will slow down the XP gains from the node.[92]

It also simulates events: So each of these nodes will have a health ticker: when that health ticker is impacted it'll stop gaining power or gaining or slow down in its gaining of experience; and that's because certain events can affect a node by disabling certain services, disabling buildings. Players don't respond to that horde of zombies that have come out of the nearby ravine then those zombies can attack stables, they can attack service buildings, and prevent particular types of quests or activities and services from happening until it's repaired.[92]Steven Sharif

  • Node sieges are simulated, with successful sieges destroying the nodes, and where unsuccessful sieges won't destroy the node but may result in disabled buildings or services, similar to events.[92]

It simulates the sieges if a particular node has a certain frequency that's set where we want to see randomization of how nodes get affected by sieges. Sometimes they'll be destroyed in the simulation. Sometimes they'll have disabled services again, similar to an event, because they didn't succeed necessarily at sieging the node but they did succeed at disabling some of the buildings as part of that siege.[92]Steven Sharif

  • It simulates what outcomes may happen in the live game as a result of player activity, such as splitting up a particular ZOI across a waterway, or having territories expand out to islands or across continents.[92]

It simulates what players could potentially do as well when the game goes live; and that might include things like splitting up a particular Zone of Influence across a waterway, having your territory expand out to an island, or across continents. These are these are the types of things that we want to see players do eventually obviously but this tool provides the design team the opportunity to see it repetitively and over a fast period of time so they see these different types of outcomes.[92]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.[93]

The majority of Ashes of Creation players will experience PvP through opt-in objective-based battlegrounds (also called sanctioned PvP events).[90][94][95][96] These are high risk and high reward encounters that do not utilize the corruption system.[95][97][98]

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..[95]Steven Sharif
  • Sanctioned PvP events allow players to join different teams during the event.[90][94][95]
There are going to be events with sanctioned PvP, where there are multiple team options to join.[90]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.[94]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.[100]
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.[110]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.[111]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.[112]Steven Sharif


See also


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  2. 2.0 2.1 Livestream, March 26, 2021 (22:53).
  3. Livestream, November 17, 2017 (36:22).
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Livestream, November 17, 2017 (18:29).
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 MMOGames interview, January 2017
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 steven-pois.png
  7. 7.0 7.1 steven-dungeons.png
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Livestream, July 25, 2020 (46:08).
  9. Livestream, April 29, 2022 (40:21).
  10. jindrack-pois.png
  11. Livestream, September 24, 2021 (1:08:43).
  12. steven-volcano-guy-quote.png
  13. Livestream, June 1, 2017 (29:33).
  14. verran-environments.png
  15. Livestream, June 25, 2021 (55:39).
  16. 16.0 16.1 Livestream, January 29, 2021 (21:55).
  17. Livestream, June 25, 2021 (53:15).
  18. Livestream, May 28, 2021 (1:40:47).
  19. Livestream, September 24, 2021 (29:33).
  20. Livestream, March 28, 2020 (32:30).
  21. 21.0 21.1 Livestream, July 25, 2020 (1:03:03).
  22. 22.0 22.1 mapportals.png
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 steven-tulnar-pois.png
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 Livestream, October 16, 2017 (53:58).
  25. underrealm-gateway.png
  26. tulnar-gateway.png
  27. Livestream, August 31, 2023 (15:51).
  28. Livestream, May 19, 2017 (29:25).
  29. starting gateway.png
  30. 30.0 30.1 Livestream, July 28, 2017 (25:20).
  31. Video, April 5, 2018 (40:08).
  32. 32.0 32.1 Livestream, March 26, 2021 (17:23).
  33. Livestream, March 26, 2021 (16:05).
  34. Livestream, May 27, 2022 (1:04:29).
  35. Video, May 27, 2022 (3:46).
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 Video, October 31, 2023 (34:12).
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 37.3 37.4 37.5 Livestream, January 29, 2021 (1:13:04).
  38. 38.0 38.1 Livestream, January 28, 2022 (33:25).
  39. 39.0 39.1 Livestream, October 31, 2023 (1:16:34).
  40. Video, October 31, 2023 (28:06).
  41. Livestream, February 9, 2018 (45:48).
  42. 42.0 42.1 42.2 42.3 Video, May 27, 2022 (15:50).
  43. 43.0 43.1 43.2 Podcast, April 11, 2021 (23:36).
  44. 44.0 44.1 Livestream, June 26, 2020 (1:29:06).
  45. 45.0 45.1 45.2 45.3 Livestream, May 8, 2017 (20:27).
  46. Our immersive world - Environments.
  47. frosty-roads.png
  48. 48.0 48.1 48.2 Livestream, October 30, 2020 (1:19:13).
  49. Livestream, August 26, 2022 (53:26).
  50. 50.0 50.1 Video, October 31, 2023 (20:17).
  51. Livestream, May 19, 2017 (32:23).
  52. 52.0 52.1 52.2 52.3 Livestream, August 17, 2018 (10:01).
  53. Video, November 30, 2023 (29:26).
  54. 54.0 54.1 54.2 54.3 54.4 54.5 Video, November 30, 2023 (32:36).
  55. 55.0 55.1 Interview, July 9, 2023 (47:05).
  56. skotty-story-arc-2.png
  57. Video, March 31, 2023 (1:22).
  58. Video, March 31, 2023 (3:32).
  59. 59.0 59.1 Livestream, March 26, 2021 (50:03).
  60. 60.0 60.1 Livestream, November 8, 2020 (12:47).
  61. Livestream, June 25, 2021 (1:13:30).
  62. 62.0 62.1 Livestream, January 28, 2022 (1:17:12).
  63. 63.0 63.1 Livestream, March 31, 2023 (54:22).
  64. Livestream, June 25, 2021 (1:32:24).
  65. 65.0 65.1 Livestream, March 31, 2023 (58:27).
  66. Livestream, March 31, 2023 (59:10).
  67. Video, March 31, 2023 (16:42).
  68. skotty-story-arc-1.png
  69. Livestream, 2018-04-8 (AM) (18:29).
  70. Livestream, 2018-04-8 (PM) (1:01:28).
  71. About Ashes of Creation.
  72. 72.0 72.1 72.2 economic-regions.png
  73. 73.0 73.1 economic-regions1.png
  74. Unreal Engine Interview, 2017-05-23.
  75. economic-regions-static.png
  76. 76.0 76.1 region-overlap.png
  77. castle-influence.png
  78. castle-taxes2.png
  79. 79.0 79.1 castle-region.png
  80. castle-metro.png
  81. Livestream, April 30, 2021 (1:01:10).
  82. castle-taxes.png
  83. Interview, July 19, 2020 (19:35).
  84. Livestream, May 15, 2017 (30:53).
  85. Blog - Know Your Nodes - The Basics.
  86. Livestream, August 26, 2022 (1:28:50).
  87. Interview: Ashes of Creation on Building Their Virtual World, 2017-04-13.
  88. 88.0 88.1 Livestream, April 29, 2022 (44:13).
  89. Video, September 29, 2023 (12:18).
  90. 90.0 90.1 90.2 90.3 Video, September 29, 2023 (2:59).
  91. steven-world-events.jpg
  92. 92.00 92.01 92.02 92.03 92.04 92.05 92.06 92.07 92.08 92.09 92.10 Livestream, September 24, 2021 (30:26).
  93. 93.0 93.1 Types of Events on Verra.
  94. 94.0 94.1 94.2 94.3 94.4 Livestream, February 24, 2023 (1:29:45).
  95. 95.0 95.1 95.2 95.3 95.4 95.5 95.6 95.7 95.8 95.9 Livestream, October 28, 2022 (24:28).
  96. 96.0 96.1 96.2 Livestream, June 30, 2022 (1:14:52).
  97. 97.0 97.1 97.2 Livestream, April 29, 2022 (41:27).
  98. 98.0 98.1 98.2 98.3 98.4 Livestream, May 5, 2017 (14:26).
  99. Livestream, May 19, 2017 (45:14).
  100. 100.0 100.1 jindrack-pvp-events.png
  101. Podcast, April 11, 2021 (49:40).
  102. 102.0 102.1 102.2 102.3 pvp meaningful.png
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  104. Livestream, August 26, 2022 (1:00:14).
  105. Livestream, April 30, 2021 (1:06:41).
  106. Livestream, April 29, 2022 (27:42).
  107. City hall.
  108. 108.0 108.1 Livestream, August 27, 2021 (1:22:56).
  109. Livestream, December 22, 2020 (1:13:51).
  110. 110.0 110.1 Twitch Bustin - PvP Spectating.
  111. 111.0 111.1 Livestream, October 31, 2023 (1:14:00).
  112. Video, April 30, 2017 (5:31).