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Depiction of a mayor.[1]

Mayors have a unique ability to elicit change within the node proper, either through the destruction of certain buildings that have been constructed previously, because there's a limited number of slots that buildings can be constructed within, or the kickoff of additional projects, or the certain types of policies that can be enacted, like... the changing of a tax rate. They all have a unified source of energy requirement and the energy requirement is a mandate.[2]Steven Sharif

Mayors are chosen through different election methods according to the node's type.[3][4]

  • Previous mayors won't have any special system driven bonuses to help them get reelected.[7]
Q: What stops a player from renouncing their node citizenship of an enemy node then bidding on your economic node mayorial election just to grief it after they get elected?
A: That sounds like a strategy! There are obviously going to be certain mechanics that when a mayor engages with its node, requires buy-in from the citizenship. So, the mayor is going to have a certain amount of mandate energy and that mandate energy can be spent on promoting certain policies, electing certain buildings to be constructed, choosing, certain trade agreements and alliances; and many of those things require the citizenship to buy in, through either voting or engaging with those systems to determine whether or not the mayor can successfully do those things. So there's a bit of a relationship between what the citizenship wants and what the mayor wants.[8]Steven Sharif
  • Players will be able to view a historical listing of mayors of a node.[10]

Mayoral abilities

Alpha-2 Node Defense Mayoral ability provided by Scientific nodes.[11]

Different node types have different mayor abilities that can be used in different scenarios. What you just used is the war ability afforded to a Scientific node; and those abilities give a very large mitigation and damage buff to the players within your range when you use them.[11]Chris Justo

Mayors are granted special high-effect abilities based on their node type that can be used during specific events, such as node sieges and wars.[11][12][13][14]

Skill Icon Description
Node Defense Node Defense Icon.png Apply Node Defense to all citizens in a large radius.[15]
Node Physical Power Node Physical Power Icon.png Apply Node Physical Power to all citizens in a large radius.[16]

Mayoral leadership powers

Alpha-1 Empyrean city node information panel.[17]

The government has a lot of say in the direction of the node's development. Directing assets, building projects, tax allocation, defensive ability etc. Players have the ability to not only create these cities, but they have the right of self-governance.[18]

Mayoral leadership powers are granted to mayors via the use of mandates.[2][9]

We don't want mayors running around in Ashes of Creation just perma flagging the whole world into a state of PvP, well it's going to cost you some resources to do that.[33]Chris Justo
  • Mayors will have an emblem generation suite that allows them to create their node flag.[43]
There definitely are differences... Some of the things that mayors can do are more universal, but then some systems have very specific if your node has a certain dominant race, or your node is a certain type, or it's in a certain biome. So there's even differences between where it is too.[44]Chris Justo
  • Some decisions require the mayor to be present in the ZOI of the node. Most do not.[45]
  • If a mayor does not make certain decisions within a set period of time then the system will make a decision for them.[46][47]
Q: The idea behind all these nodes are awesome, but I wonder how it will actually play out in the live version. The problem is having player run or the problem with having player run towns is that people come and go in video games. So, will towns die out etc?
A: We incorporate as part of those designs certain fail-safes, certain protections, certain automated progression that takes over when some of those decisions are lacking or are not made; and those decisions can be defaulted. Now, of course, that would have a deleterious effect on the direction that a particular node might want to go, because they're going to be doing default behaviors, or default actions, as opposed to something that might be in line with the strategic objective of that particular node, or the specialization that the node has previously been attempting to do. But that is why we have a regularly recurring election period where players can take the reins of power and can elect someone else to come in and participate and and re-right the ship, so to speak. So it is absolutely a component of having player-driven mechanics that there is an opportunity for things to be less than ideal, or less than strategic when certain bad-faith actors or people leave, but there are safeguards in place.[46]Steven Sharif
  • Mayors cannot de-rank their node to avoid war.[48]
info-orange.pngSome of the following information has not been recently confirmed by the developers and may not be on the current development roadmap.
  • Choosing a node name from a predetermined list.[49][50]
  • Guilds do not control nodes.[51][52]
    • Guilds hold separate roles in the direction of the node than the roles held by private citizens.[18]
    • Only a certain number of guilds may participate in these roles.[18]
    • Separate guild roles are reserved for small, medium and large guilds.[18]

Buy orders

Alpha-2 Buy orders.[19][53]

Buy orders are instrumental in the activities that a node participates in.[54]Steven Sharif

Alpha-2 Node treasury work-in-progress UI showing a buy order for a node commodity used in building a Smithy.[55]

We're gonna build a Forge today, or a Smithy- we renamed it: it's not a forge anymore- and we need bins of stone for it.[55]Chris Justo

Buy orders are the primary way for a node to generate node commodities that can be spent on construction, upgrades, and maintenance of node service buildings.[19][20]

When selecting specific types of buy orders that require certain material components in order to fulfill, you will have a wide array of material choices to make: either those that are relevant locale to your node placement or those that are across the world; and there is a variable in payment that the mayor has access to in setting and how they'll be rewarding players. So you need to make sure that you're incentivizing players who are making those large transits across the world to actually take that risk and bring those materials to you.[57]Steven Sharif
Once a material gets sunk into the buy order, the player receives the benefit of the node currency, which right now is a bound currency that's used to purchase a number of different types of vendorable items that exist within nodes.[54]Steven Sharif
  • If a mayor does not create buy orders, they will auto-populate after a set period of time based on node activities.[58]
If the mayor is not making these decisions, buy orders will populate based off of activities that the node have available to them after a set period of time. So that the bad faith mayor is not depleting the node potentially of its resources that players can still interact with.[58]Steven Sharif
  • Players will be able to view buy orders that are listed at nodes around the world.[60]
Those of you who are traders and are interested in actually capitalizing on the supply and demand of nodes and their competing interests and what they're trying to accomplish will have an opportunity to move those goods around the world: Take that risk potentially, but receive a high reward as a result.[60]Steven Sharif
  • There are some safeguards and clamps that limit how much Mayors can manipulate the buy order system.[61]
Q: What prevents a mayor from manipulating buy orders to offer very high rewards for very low returns?
A: The mayor does have the ability to influence what those purchase prices and buy order types are. That's a power that comes with being elected or winning the the election result. Now, what you do is going to determine if you stay in office, probably depending of course on the election type. But there are some safeguards with regards to how much the player can manipulate options- and there are also clamps on setting purchase prices and whatnot.[61]Steven Sharif
A buy order is strictly material-based and you don't accept a buy order and then go do it. It is something that you can just check your node UI or you can check the nodes around you to see what they have active and you can just go do it and come back; and participate or fulfill these buy orders. Whereas, a commission is- a mayoral commission is more like a quest. It's something you pick up and then it tracks your activity while you have it.[62]Chris Justo

Mayoral caravans

Mayoral caravans (also referred to as Trade caravans) are launched by Mayors to obtain needed resources from other nodes.[64][65][63]

  • Players can participate in helping to defend the caravan if they wish.[65]
Mayors who need certain resources that either they don't have enough of, or that they're prospectively investing in: they will initiate a mayor request, and any node that sees that request on the mayoral caravan drop-down menu will have an opportunity to attempt to fulfill the trade request. In order to fulfill a trade request, a node must have a certain level of relationship with that requesting node. At a minimum it has to be a trade agreement relationship; and then there's a limited number of those trade relationships that you can have; and that scales up to eventually alliance perspective. And then, once the node requesting mayor accepts a potential fill order, then a system spawned caravan is generated and the transit is completed. Players can participate in helping to defend that or not.[65]Steven Sharif

Mayoral commissions

Alpha-2 Mayoral commissions board outside City hall in the Miraleth node.[66]

Mayoral commissions serve as a strategic decision base for the mayor. What issues am I facing? What issues do I believe I will face? How is this aligning with my strategy? And then how will my citizens help me help participate in accomplishing these goals so that I'm best set strategically for what I intend to do with those commissions?[67]Steven Sharif

Alpha-2 Mayoral commissions UI panel.[68]

These are much like regular commissions that I think we've shown off in the past. The difference here is the Mayor is picking which ones are going to be available to players and when enough players complete them, the node gets a reward.[69]Chris Justo

Mayoral commissions are simple types of quests with singular objectives that are able to be initiated by mayors.[69][19][23][21]

  • There are a limited number of commission slots available to be set by the mayor at any one time.[69][70][23]
    • The list of commissions available to the Mayor resets daily. Completed commissions will go on cooldown and won't be able to be selected again until the cooldown period has ended.[71]
    • More mayoral commissions will become available as the node progresses; and the commissions that are available will change based on how the node is built.[69]
  • Important commissions, such as War Preparations, will require large numbers of dedicated players to successfully complete.[72]
  • Mayoral commissions can be conducted by both citizens and non-citizens, but only citizen contribution will generate mandates for the node.[70][23]
Q: Is participation always going to be greater for larger nodes by default, or can a small node with close to 100 participation still greatly benefit from them?
A: That's gonna come down to what commissions the mayor is initiating. Level three nodes aren't going to be initiating mayoral commissions that require thousands of players to participate, because they don't have access to those; where Metropolises that have a huge citizenship base will get access to those kinds of commissions. So the rewards will be proportionate to the node level and the expected amount of citizens.[74]Chris Justo

List of mayoral commissions

Quest Level Duration XP reward Currency reward
Building Foundations 1 1d 0h 0m 0s 300 5
Foraging Ahead 1 1d 0h 0m 0s 300 5
Goblin Gatherings 1 1d 0h 0m 0s 300 5
Prudence and Preparation 1 1d 0h 0m 0s 300 59
Studying Undeath 1 1d 0h 0m 0s 300 58
The Price of Progress 1 1d 0h 0m 0s 300 55
War Preparations 1 1d 0h 0m 0s 800 1525

Node policies

Node policies.[19][36]

Nodes have a number of slots that they get to employ as Government policies that are enacted and chosen by the mayor and voted on by the people; and certain policies get unlocked by certain happiness states of the factions within the node; and those happiness states are predicated across different achievements that can happen in the world story arcs that get finished; bosses that get killed around you; new buildings that get constructed: Lots of different things can contribute to that happiness value: Number of citizens; number of citizens you've had leave; number of houses that might have been foreclosed upon. There's lots of different things that influence it, but when the happiness is met at a certain point- and even without that happiness you can still have policies that you get to enact regardless. You may choose policies that do certain things for the node; and this is a big strategic decision that the node has to almost agree on because it's voted on by the citizens within a short time period, but elected by the outstanding mayor; and when you deploy a policy it confers benefits to the citizens, or to the area, or to specific buildings, or to the mayor.[37]Steven Sharif

Node policies affect a variety of node functions, such as taxes and fees, building and zone buffs, and node-to-node reputation activities, such as trade agreements, and node wars.[19][36]

  • Mayors propose node policies that are voted on by citizens within a 24-hour or shorter time period.[19][36][37][24]
    • Policies are voted in if the majority of voters approve of them.[75]
    • Mayors can utilize their available mandates to bypass policy votes.[19][36][2]
    • Mayors may also be able to take emergency actions depending on certain predicates that get met. This might allow them to reduce the voting threshold or voting time for policies.[75][37]
  • There are a limited number of policy slots available to be proposed.[19][36] Some policies occupy multiple slots.[37]
  • Node policies that are deployed will provide benefits to various aspects of the node, its citizens, its ZOI, its vassals (in some cases), specific buildings, and to its mayor.[75][37]
    • Certain policies may affect the visual appearance of the node.[76]
Some of the benefits you can receive by being a vassal of a certain parent is access to a policy that your node not might not normally have access to; and in fact you can also unlock an additional policy slot based on certain conditions that the parent or Sovereign node may have access to in their reliquary, or in their achievement systems, or in policies that they've elected. Some policies occupy multiple slots and it's almost like a card structure. You have each of these policies that live on a card and you get to select that card- throw it into the slot it goes out to the citizens to vote on within the 24-hour or sometimes shorter period. The mayor has emergency actions they can take right depending on certain predicates that get met and if an emergency action occurs they may be able to spend their influence as mayor within their term to set up a policy for a vote within an hour's period of time; and citizens in that way they can sneak it through a bit.[37]Steven Sharif

Policies are unlocked by various conditions within a node.[19][36][37][24]

There's a lot of different things that policies can influence; and policies exist within certain denominations. You have some policies that might be reflective of the culture that the node is representing; and you get access to those cultural policies. You have some policies that might become available because you've constructed a certain building type and now you've attracted a guild of NPCs that are weapons smiths. You might have some policies that are social organizations representative- you only get to build one social organization or Temple: which religion does the node follow. All of these are customization points that the city gets to choose and now you as a citizen get to identify the city that best aligns with your progression within the game and your game style and gameplay.[37]Steven Sharif

Node elections

Alpha-1 node election user interface.[79]

The village stage is a unique stage because that's when the government system comes online and all other stages past village there will have already been a cadence for the election system and it will follow that cadence, but after the initial village stage is completed there will be a one week period where players have an opportunity to establish citizenship at the village that also provides for the cooldown time that is- that would be present on players leaving another node to participate in in this particular node leveling up. But that after that one week period then there will be a one-week election process and then from that point moving forward will be the one month cadence that the node experiences elections on.[80]Steven Sharif

Once a node has reached Village (stage 3) there will be a one week cooldown period before node elections begin.[80]

  • This cooldown period allows players to establish citizenship at the village; which may require them to relinquish previous citizenship at another node.[80]
  • Following the initial cooldown, there will be a one week election process, then from that point on, elections will follow a monthly cadence.[80]
  • Node sieges may not be declared for 21 days following a node advancing to any stage.[81]
    • This was previously stated to apply only to nodes advancing to Village (stage 3), not higher stages.[82]

Node elections occur on a monthly basis.[80][83]

Node election types

Mayors are chosen through different methods according to the node's type.[3][4]

Node taxes

Alpha-2 Node treasury work-in-progress advanced node taxes UI.[94]

As the node levels up, you're gonna get access to deeper controls on the taxes, so that you as a Mayor can incentivize players to come to your node to do certain things. If you're a node that loves smithing, you're probably going to want to lower your taxes on artisanship to incentivize players to be here. But then you might want to drive up taxes on other avenues that players aren't necessarily coming to your node for, but are using out of convenience.[94]Chris Justo

Mayors are able to set a generalized node tax rate as well as overrides for different activities within their node. Mayors gain additional taxation controls as their node advances.[94][25]

Regent nodes take a cut of taxes from various activities that occur within their vassal node structure.[102][103]

  • This tax doesn't necessarily impact the individual citizen, because citizen's tax levels are determined by their node, but the node's finances are affected by the taxation levied by its parent nodes.[103]

When a node reaches stage 3 (Village) and a player run government has formed, all player housing will pay taxes.[104]

Maintaining businesses requires licensing and payments to the node your Freehold is associated with. This permitting system allows for a certain number of buildings to be constructed on a Freehold. Permits can be obtained from the same node the Freehold was certified from, and buildings that require permits will have an additional upkeep cost.[105]

City hall

Winstead Village (stage 3) node town hall in Alpha-2.[107]

We want the City Hall to be the place where big decisions are made for each Node. It should be where the “ruling class” comes together and decides what to do (these decisions can quickly make them the “old ruling class” too).[34]

Town hall (also called City hall) is a default service building that comes pre-built with nodes.[108][19][53][34]

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

Node politics

There won't be a civil war mechanic within nodes but there will be scope for internal political conflicts; such as undermining the current leadership and disrupting trade.[109]

We want consequences to matter and if that person got elected then you need to work within the means of the mechanics to get them unelected.[110]Steven Sharif


See also


  1. mayor-tweet.png
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Livestream, August 31, 2023 (31:44).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Node series part II – the Metropolis.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Blog - Know Your Nodes - The Basics.
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  6. 6.0 6.1 Interview, May 11, 2018 (50:05).
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  15. Node Defense Description.png
  16. Node Physical Power Description.png
  17. Livestream, December 12, 2018 (14:48).
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