World manager

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The World manager is an algorithm in Ashes of Creation that controls dynamic world elements. It acts as both a throttle and an incentive system for various activities to ensure certain parameters are within acceptable thresholds.[1]

For example if you know iron is being used as a raw resource for a specific crafting path that might drive up the price of mithril or silver; and that will incentivize the market to course correct a little bit. The idea is to provide soft incentives that help to alleviate the demand and also to prop up the supply that might not be present from the economic systems.[2]Steven Sharif

Node advancement

Illustration of node advancement from Wilderness (stage 0) 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.[3]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).[4] 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.[5]

Node stage.[4] Alternate name.[6] Timeframe to advance.[4] Player housing.[7]
0. Wilderness -
1. Expedition Crossroads Few hours -
2. Encampment Camp Many hours -
3. Village - Few days Small houses
4. Town - Many days Medium houses
5. City - Few weeks Large houses
6. Metropolis Metro Many weeks Mansions

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.[3]Margaret Krohn

Conceptual illustration. Nodes that are in the ZOI of more advanced nodes have their progression capped by the more advanced node.[8] ZOIs will likely be irregular shapes in the game, the circles depicted here are just for the purposes of illustration.

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.[5]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.[9]

  • Nodes advance to the first stage quickly. This enables NPC services such as vending or banking items.[10]
  • The more advanced the node is, the larger its ZOI becomes.[11]
  • 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.[8]
    • The vassal system begins when a node hits stage 3 (village), but neighboring nodes lower than stage 3 also block the growth of their immediate neighbors.[12]
  • The territory expansion algorithm takes into account the nearest coast, neighboring nodes, and the heatmap of players in surrounding areas over the last weeks or month.[13]
    • Due to the way the progression algorithm calculates territorial (ZOI) expansion during node advancement, there is a small possibility that two nodes of the same stage end up being close to each other.[14]

The way that the algorithm expands the territories takes into account a few things: One it takes into account the coast like where's the closest coast. Two it takes into account the neighboring nodes so it can take over and essentially vassal state those nodes, but what's more important is essentially the initial population based on like how players choose their races. Because we have nine different races and four different starting points that branch out, each server's population density is going to dictate essentially the first few nodes that are that are highly populated and then that initial seed is what's going to determine the node structure as it moves inland into the into the world essentially; and based on the performance and successes of different sieges will determine which nodes that got locked out from the previous the initial advancements what nodes can now be available to advance further. So I really think that with so many variables that are present in the equation of how nodes advance and stay existing with the more variables you have, the higher likelihood there is for there to be a significant diversion in world progression.[13]Steven Sharif

Normally the algorithm that's applied to the node territorial expansion will prevent significant nodes from being in close proximity to each other... There could be a perfect storm where all of the the algorithmic progression of territory leads to having these nodes very close to each other because there's certain requirements that should that need to be available to satisfy node vassal takeovers; and it's possible that two nodes would never take each other over as vassals and end up kind of close together and spanning their territories in kind of opposite directions: The Tale of Two Cities kind of thing.[14]Steven Sharif

  • A node does not receive XP from the nodes within its ZOI until these nodes have reached their cap.[8]
  • Players are moved to safety if they intersect with newly spawned assets during node advancement.[15]
  • Citizens of one node can contribute to the advancement of other nodes.[16]
  • The exact percentage of advancement from obtaining items or killing monsters is not going to be explicitly known to avoid "gaming" the system.[17]

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.[17]Steven Sharif

Vassal nodes

Village (stage 3) or higher nodes enslave nearby nodes, converting them into vassal nodes.[5][12]

  • Vassal nodes must remain at least one node stage below their parent node.[5]
    • Neighboring nodes lower than stage 3 also block the growth of their immediate neighbors. This is intended to be tested in Alpha-1.[12]
    • Vassal nodes first apply any experience earned to their own deficit (see Node atrophy). It then applies excess experience earned to its parent node.[3]
    • If the parent node advances, the vassal is once again able to advance.[5]
  • 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.[5]
    • 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.[3]
  • Vassals are subject to the government, alliances, wars, taxes, and trade of their parent node, and are able to receive federal aid from them.[5]
  • Vassal nodes cannot declare war on their parent node or any of their vassals.[5]
  • Citizens of vassals are bound by the diplomatic states of the parent node.[5]

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.[3]Margaret Krohn

Loot tables

Monsters drop hunting certificates, Items and crafting materials rather than gold.[19][20]

A wolf is not going to be carrying a sack of gold. It may instead drop "pelts" that can be traded for gold.[20]
  • Hunting certificates will also drop on a character's death.[19]
  • Hunting certificates can be traded with hunter NPCs within nodes.[19]
    • The level of the node and the distance of the node from the drop will determine the value of the certificate. Certificates redeemed from distant economic regions via the caravan system will provide higher returns (4 to 5 times greater in some cases) than certificates collected from the same region.[2][19]
    • The value of the certificates are also calculated (by the world manager algorithm) based on the volume of certificates being redeemed in each region.[2]
  • Hunting certificates can also be stored within node warehouses.[19]

Loot tables of world bosses or dungeon bosses have a small RNG chance of dropping gear (completed items).[21][22]

Loot tables are disabled for player controlled monsters.[27]

Experience debt decreases the drop rate percentages from monsters.[28]

Population based scaling

The prices that NPCs sell items for will scale based on the economic activity on a server. Prices will rise to combat inflation and fall as a population diminishes.[29]

The node system allows the developers to scale the experience needed to level a node and the attrition that delevels a node based on activity.[29]

Things that NPCs buy and sell kind of scale based on the economic activity that exists on that server... As inflation rises, prices rise and everything kind of ends up being equal, even though there might be a couple of extra zeros. So that can go up and it can also go down so as a population leaves, things become less expensive and players don't have to do as much to earn that. On the other side of things we look at the node system and the node system is set up in this really flexible way that allows us to scale the experience needed to level a node and the attrition that delevels a node to scale based on activity too. So you know it's just a matter of adjusting a couple of constants and that goes up and down and the server can watch it and change those on the fly as it needs to.[29]Jeffrey Bard

Adaptive content

pasted image at 2017 10 26 07 13 pm.png

New points of interest (such as dungeons and world bosses) spawn as nodes develop.[30] This content adapts to the development of the zone it is in.[31]

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.[32]

Raid strategies

Raids will have elements that can be pre-planned.[33]

  • Required composition of DPS, healers and support.[33]
  • Key positioning.[33]

Raids will also have dynamic elements that can change from session to session.[33]

One of the design elements that we're implementing into our raids is that the raid will not be exactly the same every single time. You're going to have variables that can't necessarily be pre-planned out for. You can pre-plan out for a lot of the raid like how many DPS do you need and healers and support; where the key position and all that kind of stuff; but I think the compelling aspect of Ashes raiding will be the difficulty in achieving this content and having that content change from session to session as well. We want there to be variables that get manifested by you know what type of node got developed elsewhere. Is he going to have acolytes or cultists? What will the acolytes have skills [available] to them? What kit is the boss gonna have? What available skill repertoire will the boss be able to [wield]? ... A lot of those systems are influenced obviously by world development. So the raid kind of takes into account at what stage has the world developed: Are there two metropolises now available in the world? Okay well let's activate this skill in this skill. Now you have five metropolises, well now all these skills have been activated. Are there are they all economic nodes? Are they all military nodes? That we can change things based on that stuff. And it really is a threat assessment from the environment against the players.[33]Steven Sharif

PvE difficulty

The difficulty of PvE content, such as raids and dungeons will adapt based on the performance of the raid or group against previous bosses in that encounter.[34]

  • Higher performance in earlier phases will increase the difficulty of subsequent phases of the encounter.[34]
  • The higher the difficulty, the better the loot tables will be.[34]
  • Bosses and mobs will not auto-scale based on group size.[35]

See also

References

  1. Interview, 19 July 2020 (1:10:55).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Interview, 19 July 2020 (1:08:22).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Blog - Know Your Nodes - Advance and Destroy.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 A reactive world - Nodes.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 Blog - Know Your Nodes - The Basics.
  6. Livestream, 12 December 2018 (14:48).
  7. Interview, 20 July 2020 (3:45).
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Livestream, 16 October 2017 (50:20).
  9. Video, 20 April 2017 (0:02).
  10. Npc vending.jpg
  11. Node series part II – the Metropolis.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 jahlon-steven-vassal-nodes-quote.png
  13. 13.0 13.1 Interview, 18 July 2020 (10:04).
  14. 14.0 14.1 Interview, 8 July 2020 (1:00:15).
  15. Livestream, 17 November 2017 (55:27).
  16. node xp.png
  17. 17.0 17.1 Livestream, 26 May 2017 (28:16).
  18. dungeons-leak.png
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 Interview, 18 July 2020 (27:11).
  20. 20.0 20.1 Livestream, 24 May 2017 (44:14).
  21. 21.0 21.1 Interview, 19 July 2020 (8:43).
  22. February 8, 2019 - Questions and Answers.
  23. Interview, 20 July 2020 (21:57).
  24. Livestream, 8 April 2018 (PM) (55:49).
  25. Interview, 18 July 2020 (1:00:15).
  26. Livestream, 25 July 2020 (46:08).
  27. Livestream, 3 May 2017 (35:25).
  28. Ashes of Creation Forums - Former Lineage 2 PvP'er wanting to discuss PvP loopholes.
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 Livestream, 4 June 2018 (39:15).
  30. Livestream, 17 November 2017 (36:22).
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 31.3 31.4 Livestream, 17 November 2017 (18:29).
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 MMOGames interview, January 2017
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 33.3 33.4 33.5 Podcast, 9 July 2018 (22:24).
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 Interview, 19 July 2020 (14:51).
  35. Interview, 19 July 2020 (17:12).