Zone of influence
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.
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 . – Jeffrey Bard
Citizen and non-citizen player activity (questing, gathering, raiding, etc.) within a node's ZOI counts toward that particular node’s advancement (progression). 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.
|Node stage.||Alternate name.||Timeframe to advance.||Player housing.|
|3.||Village||-||Few days||Small houses|
|4.||Town||-||Many days||Medium houses|
|5.||City||-||Few weeks||Large houses|
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. – Margaret Krohn
- Nodes advance to the first stage quickly. This enables NPC services such as vending or banking items.
- The more advanced the node is, the larger its ZOI becomes.
- 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.
- 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.
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. – 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. – Steven Sharif
- A node does not receive XP from the nodes within its ZOI until these nodes have reached their cap.
- Players are moved to safety if they intersect with newly spawned assets during node advancement.
- Citizens of one node can contribute to the advancement of other nodes.
- The exact percentage of advancement from obtaining items or killing monsters is not going to be explicitly known to avoid "gaming" the system.
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. – Steven Sharif
- Vassal nodes must remain at least one node stage below their parent node.
- Neighboring nodes lower than stage 3 also block the growth of their immediate neighbors. This is intended to be tested in Alpha-1.
- Vassal nodes first apply any experience earned to their own deficit (see Node atrophy). It then applies excess experience earned to its parent node.
- If the parent node advances, the vassal is once again able to advance.
- 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.
- 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.
- Vassals are subject to the government, alliances, wars, taxes, and trade of their parent node, and are able to receive federal aid from them.
- Vassal nodes cannot declare war on their parent node or any of their vassals.
- Citizens of vassals are bound by the diplomatic states of the parent node.
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. – 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 its racial influence.
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. – Steven Sharif
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.
- Prices of hunting certificates.
- A heatmap of experience being gained to apply to node advancement.
- Transit of resources and goods between regions to drive quest rewards for nodes.
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. – Steven Sharif
- Caravan routes will go underground.
- Node sieges occur in the usual manner.
- There will be underrealm Metropolises.
- A castle's region is 1/5th the game world.
- Castle regions, Economic regions, and Node ZOI (Zones of Influence) can overlap.
- Castle region boundaries are static.
- Castle taxes are carried via NPC generated caravans from the nodes that fall under the castle's purview to one of the castle nodes at the end of each week leading up to a castle siege.
- In addition to taxes, Castles also influence crop yields, resources and events within its region.
- Part of the tax and resources gathered are applied to the castle for improvements.
- The remainder of tax income can be used by the guild for whatever they want.
- When castles change hands (following a siege), some taxes stay with the castle and some stay with the guild.
- Water area is considered playable area, but the exact area of land versus water is not known at this time.
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. – Steven Sharif
- The Alpha-0 map was a 4km x 4km area (16 km2).
- The Ashes of Creation Apocalypse battle royale map was 2.5km x 2.5km (6.25 km2).
- The Alpha-1 map is expected to be 96 km2.
- Node series part I
- Blog - Know Your Nodes - The Basics.
- Ashes of Creation FAQ.
- Interview, 20 April 2018 (7:22).
- Interview, 11 May 2018 (55:16).
- Livestream, 9 July 2018 (39:32).
- Blog - Know Your Nodes - Advance and Destroy.
- A reactive world - Nodes.
- Livestream, 12 December 2018 (14:48).
- Interview, 20 July 2020 (3:45).
- Livestream, 16 October 2017 (50:20).
- Video, 20 April 2017 (0:02).
- Node series part II – the Metropolis.
- Interview, 18 July 2020 (10:04).
- Interview, 8 July 2020 (1:00:15).
- Livestream, 17 November 2017 (55:27).
- Livestream, 26 May 2017 (28:16).
- Interview, 19 July 2020 (19:35).
- Livestream, 15 May 2017 (30:53).
- Interview: Ashes of Creation on Building Their Virtual World, 13 April 2017.
- Interview, 19 July 2020 (1:10:55).
- Interview, 19 July 2020 (1:08:22).
- Livestream, 5 May 2017 (37:52).
- Livestream, 26 May 2017 (31:44).
- Livestream, 26 May 2017 (42:45).
- Livestream, 24 May 2017 (31:39).
- Blog: 10 facts about castle sieges in the MMORPG.
- Livestream, 28 August 2020 (1:39:02).
- Livestream, 30 January 2020 (1:18:12).
- Interview, 17 August 2018 (10:43).
- February 8, 2019 - Questions and Answers.
- Livestream, 31 October 2017 (24:00).
- Livestream, 27 September 2018 (9:08).
- Interview, 19 July 2020 (1:21:49).