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A city is the fifth stage of node advancement.[2]

From a Town, a Node can change into a large City, which feels alive, bustling with development, and features the accommodations of a major player hub. The City Stage is populated with every major element of civilization, from guild halls to grand temples. Major embassies from other Nodes will also be present if diplomacy prevails. Relics can begin to appear within the vaults of these cities.[3]Margaret Krohn

Node advancement

Conceptual illustration. Nodes that are in the ZOI of more advanced nodes have their progression capped by the more advanced node.[4] 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

Citizen and non-citizen player activity (questing, gathering, raiding, etc.) within a node's ZOI counts toward that particular node's advancement (progression) to a higher node stage.[3][6]

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

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.[7]

  • Nodes advance to the first stage quickly. This enables NPC services such as vending or banking items.[8]
  • The more advanced the node is, the larger its ZOI becomes.[2]
  • 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.[4]
  • 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.[11]
    • 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.[12]

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 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.[11]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 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.[12]Steven Sharif

  • A node does not receive XP from the nodes within its ZOI until these nodes have reached their cap.[4]
  • Players are moved to safety if they intersect with newly spawned assets during node advancement.[13]
  • Citizens of one node can contribute to the advancement of other nodes.[14]

Node experience gain opportunities will be equitable across the four node types.[15]

  • The exact percentage of advancement from obtaining items or killing monsters is not going to be explicitly known to avoid "gaming" the system.[16]

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.[16]Steven Sharif

Vassal nodes

Village (stage 3) or higher nodes enslave nearby nodes, converting them into vassal nodes.[5][10]

  • Vassal nodes must remain at least one node stage below their parent node.[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

Node layout and style

Racial architecture of the same Village (stage 3) node on different servers. 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.[5]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.[3]Margaret Krohn

Node layout and style is determined by several factors:[17][18]

  • Environment (biome) and location of the node.[19][17][18]
    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.[19]Steven Sharif
    • Nodes will adjust the local topography to fit the aesthetic and mechanical requirements of the node.[20]

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.[20]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.[18]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.[26]Steven Sharif

  • The rest is determined by the node's mayor.[18]
    • It should be possible for a node to complete several building projects within a mayor's one month term in office.[27]
Q: How long would you say it will take players on average to fill slash 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 kind of 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.[27]Steven Sharif

Racial influences

Alpha-1 Village node layout.[28]

We have essentially sets that exist across all races; and each race that dons those armor sets is going to have their own racial influence on the presentation of those particular sets. So that's something that's unique in how each of the races get diversified. Additionally, the more that one particular race contributes to a node's development, it's going to manifest in that particular node's architectural influences. You're going to see the architectures of those races become manifest within the nodes as well: That's another way that we diversify each race and we present each race's culture in the game as through those architectures, through those props that exist, through the tailoring of the armor sets that the NPC might wear, to the different factions that exist. Factions will have their own affiliation with different races as well. Each race will also have some different nomenclature when it comes to the lore, or comes to locations in the world. They're going to have their own language influences as well: The way they speak is something that's going to be distinct between races; when you have dialogue trees with particular NPCs. So all of those things really go into setting an immersive world where the cultures have their own identity.[21]Steven Sharif

Cultural influences manifest in many ways, from node and gear aesthetics to NPC languages and lore.[21][29][3]

  • Gear appearance of certain armor sets is influenced by the player's race.[21]
  • Node layout and style is influenced by the race that contributes the most to that node.[21]
    • Benefits may apply to citizens of the dominant culture but can also apply to mechanics of the node, which can also be of benefit to members of other races.[29]
    • There are attrition mechanics that affects experience and influence to curb a single race from dominating the entire world.[30]
  • NPCs will react differently to different character races.[31]

There is an attrition and that attrition on experience and influence is heightened based on the performance of the race in the world. So if all these nodes are Orc nodes then their attrition rate is very high to compete with the cultural establishment of new nodes because they have more influence in the world and a popular opinion is against them in their outlying regions that they do not have influence in.[30]Steven Sharif

Player housing

Player housing Type. Availability. Starting count. Ownership limit.
Apartments Instanced.[2] Village stage and higher.[32] 50.[33] One per character per server.[34]
Freeholds Open world.[2] Village stage and higher.[2] Ample.[33] One per account.[34]
Static housing In-node.[2] Village stage and higher.[2] 8.[33] One per character per server.[34]

Real estate

Players buy the deeds for housing from the node itself.[35] Players can also buy and sell properties from other players.[2]

  • Housing will have a base price that scales with the number of citizens in the node.[36]
  • The developers are considering an auction-based method for listing new properties that become available for purchase when a node advances.[38]
    • A grace period will occur before the housing becomes available for auction.[38]
    • Bids will then be accepted starting at a minimum reserve value that is based on the number of citizens in that node.[38]
    • At the end of the auction, the highest bidder will win the house.[38]
  • Static housing and apartments can be listed and sold to other players.[39][40]

There's no cap essentially in player originated sales. Those are determined essentially by supply and demand as it is within the game and there's no artificial barrier to how high that demand can go.[41]Steven Sharif

  • Housing ownership can default back to the node if the owner fails to pay their property taxes. A balance and penalties will be charged to the new purchaser of the home in the manner of a "foreclosure process".[36]
  • Players will not be able to exceed their allotment of housing in the game.[44]

This will allow players to transfer real property goods. This includes ... static housing, this includes apartments that they may own; and they can sell those because those will have a limited and finite quantity.[44]Steven Sharif

Rental and leasing concepts are currently under consideration.[44]

Some concepts that we have is going to be rental or leases that could be had allowing players to kind of lease a property for a period of time where they will have control rights over utilizing storage based on the area, controlling the furniture or access point; all that kind of stuff.[44]Steven Sharif

Housing benefits

Player housing offers a number of benefits:[39][45] Each different type of housing offers different benefits.[41]


Caravans facilitate the transfer of goods for players wishing to turn a profit.[53]

The caravan system is an open world PvP system that revolves around opportunity and risk. Caravans facilitate the transfer of goods for players wishing to turn a profit.[53]

  • Caravans can transport goods for more than one player.[57]

Node sieges

Node sieges (Pre-alpha footage).[59]

As some areas in the world grow, others will fall. This is the foundation of the living, breathing world that is Ashes of Creation, where players will have the ability to make important decisions that matter in the longevity of an area becoming a city, or whether to siege a rival town. Rise above the ashes, create the world around you, and be a part of the story that unfolds because of your actions and decisions.[3]Margaret Krohn

Node sieges enable players to destroy nodes.[3] This paves the way for new development and access to the locked content in surrounding nodes. Due to this dynamic, political strife and intrigue play an important role in the structure of the world.[6]

Sieging nodes will not be an easy task for the attackers. Cities and metropolises will have a considerable defensive advantage.[6]

If you own a home in a node and you don't want to see that home destroyed, you need to defend that city![60]Steven Sharif

The majority (~80%) of content in Ashes of Creation is open-world but there may be instanced battles within castle and node sieges where specific groups can participate in small, short-duration objective-based battles for specific waypoints.[61]

Death penalties do not apply to objective-based events (such as caravans, guild wars, and node sieges).[62]

Trophy park

info-orange.pngSome of the following information has not been recently confirmed by the developers and may not be on the current development roadmap.

Trophy park is an area within Town, City or Metropolis nodes that has available spots for trophies. These trophies show the character names of players who are the first to complete world bosses and dungeon bosses that were spawned as the result of the development of that particular node.[63]

  • Server announcements and achievements are designed to encourage groups to experience new content.[63]

Monster coin events

Elite monster coin events occur for nodes that exist between the Village and Metropolis stages. This level of event would include something along the lines of a dungeon level bosses and mobs coming into the world to pillage and destroy specific centers of activity.[64]

Epic monster coin events are of truly fitting proportions. These events occur randomly in the world as well as in realms where nodes have advanced to the City and Metropolis stages of development. This would be a legendary boss awoken from their long and deep slumber: A mighty dragon perhaps, whose sole purpose is to plunder to punish those who have summoned his malice and hate.[64]


See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Livestream, 28 February 2020 (55:39).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Node series part II – the Metropolis.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 Blog - Know Your Nodes - Advance and Destroy.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Livestream, 16 October 2017 (50:20).
  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. 6.0 6.1 6.2 A reactive world - Nodes.
  7. Video, 20 April 2017 (0:02).
  8. Npc vending.jpg
  9. 9.0 9.1 steven-quote-neighboring-nodes.png
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 jahlon-steven-vassal-nodes-quote.png
  11. 11.0 11.1 Interview, 18 July 2020 (10:04).
  12. 12.0 12.1 Interview, 8 July 2020 (1:00:15).
  13. Livestream, 17 November 2017 (55:27).
  14. node xp.png
  15. Livestream, 24 September 2021 (1:21:23).
  16. 16.0 16.1 Livestream, 26 May 2017 (28:16).
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Livestream, 30 October 2020 (39:17).
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 18.5 Livestream, 27 September 2018 (53:06).
  19. 19.0 19.1 Livestream, 25 February 2022 (41:00).
  20. 20.0 20.1 Livestream, 26 February 2021 (1:12:18).
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 21.5 Livestream, 31 March 2022 (4:57).
  22. Podcast, 11 April 2021 (29:47).
  23. Interview, 11 May 2018 (54:34).
  24. Livestream, 26 May 2017 (21:23).
  25. Podcast, 11 April 2021 (23:36).
  26. 26.0 26.1 Interview, 11 May 2018 (47:27).
  27. 27.0 27.1 Livestream, 29 July 2022 (1:13:09).
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 Livestream, 26 June 2020 (45:32).
  29. 29.0 29.1 Interview, 7 February 2021 (33:00).
  30. 30.0 30.1 Interview, 11 May 2018 (1:00:19).
  31. Podcast, 23 April 2018 (29:56).
  32. Steven Sharif - Clarification points from today’s stream.
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 steven-housing-numbers.png
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 Interview, 11 May 2018 (50:47).
  35. MMOGames interview, January 2017
  36. 36.0 36.1 Livestream, 26 June 2020 (53:41).
  37. Livestream, 12 May 2017 (52:01).
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 38.3 Livestream, 12 May 2017 (55:01).
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 39.3 Livestream, 26 June 2020 (47:32).
  40. Livestream, 26 June 2020 (54:03).
  41. 41.0 41.1 41.2 41.3 Interview, 8 July 2020 (33:34).
  42. Livestream, 26 June 2020 (1:02:12).
  43. Livestream, 26 June 2020 (56:08).
  44. 44.0 44.1 44.2 44.3 Livestream, 30 May 2019 (1:23:41).
  45. 45.0 45.1 45.2 45.3 45.4 45.5 45.6 Livestream, 5 May 2017 (30:53).
  46. Citizenship.png
  47. Interview, 8 July 2020 (40:20).
  48. 48.0 48.1 48.2 48.3 Video, 31 May 2020 (47:32).
  49. Livestream, 26 June 2020 (53:20).
  50. Livestream, 30 October 2020 (44:22).
  51. Livestream, 5 May 2017 (32:11).
  52. Livestream, 29 May 2020 (1:03:35).
  53. 53.0 53.1 About Ashes of Creation.
  54. Video, 16 July 2019 (0:00).
  55. Livestream, 15 May 2017 (45:20).
  56. Interview, 20 January 2017 (4:19).
  57. Interview, 11 May 2018 (28:21).
  58. Livestream, 29 July 2022 (3:21).
  59. Video, 4 December 2016 (0:02).
  60. Video, 30 April 2017 (5:31).
  61. Livestream, 28 January 2022 (17:50).
  62. Livestream, 22 December 2020 (1:13:51).
  63. 63.0 63.1 Podcast, 4 August 2018 (1:35:58).
  64. 64.0 64.1 Livestream, 3 May 2017 (36:25).