Trade routes

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Mayoral caravan launched by a mayor to establish a trade route with another node.[1]

For example: this node over here might have access to cotton as a resource and when that node processes that cotton it might be some very nice type of linen that only that node, or very rarely nodes would have access to. So when you initiate a trade route, you're bringing its supplies that the mayor has requested because they're trying to build, let's say a specific type of service building, or they're trying to unlock a blueprint that they have access to now to build up their node.[2]Steven Sharif

Trade routes in Ashes of Creation refer to.

  • Roads for the transit goods via the caravan system.[3]
    You might have a mountain pass and during winter that mountain pass is always closed and so the trade routes on land change with caravans and that's something that can not only exist on a cyclical level but also dynamically based on player activity.[3]
From a diplomatic standpoint the ability for the mayor or citizens to set up NPC routed trade routes between nodes as a trade agreement or as a diplomatic process.[2]Steven Sharif


Road blocked by an environmental hazard due to a caravan event in Alpha-2.[6]

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.[7]Steven Sharif

Roads adjusting to adjacent node progression.[8]

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.[8]Steven Sharif

Roads in Verra are both pre-generated and player influenced.[7]

  • The largest roads are referred to as arteries. These are remnants of what was once the ancient highway system of Verra.[7]
  • As nodes advance smaller roads, referred to as veins, connect the arteries to the nodes.[7]
  • Depending on the stages of node advancement, capillary roads will stem off the node to connect to points of interest.[7]
  • Roads or pathways are not worn into the landscape by repeated traffic over the same area.[7]
  • The quality, safety, and maximum transportation speed of roads is influenced by node building upgrades, policies, relics, and the level of nearby nodes.[9][10][11]
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.[9]Steven Sharif

Different seasons and events may affect access to various roads.[12][13][14][15]

  • Pathways that are open during summer may be closed during winter.[12][15]
  • Seasonal affects may cause obstacles or blockages to the transit of goods via caravan.[12][13][14][16]
  • Caravan events can cause roadways to be blocked off or hostile mobs to spawn to attack the caravan.[6][13]
    • Obstacles may present barriers on roads that players must remove or bypass to allow transit of goods.[6][12][15]
  • Water turning to ice in winter, enabling players to walk over the water but blocking access to what is underneath.[15]
    • Ice will make roads bumpy and slippery.[17]

Underrealm routes will open or close dynamically (based on node states).[18]

  • 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.[19][18]
  • 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.[18]

Caravan components can be utilized to improve on-road or off-road speeds of caravans.[20]

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.[20]Chris Justo

Freeholds may not be placed in close proximity to roads.[21]

Trade agreements

Mayors can enter into trade agreements with other nodes to facilitate trade between the nodes.[22][1][23]

  • There are a limited number of trade agreements that a node can have.[22]
info-orange.pngSome of the following information has not been recently confirmed by the developers and may not be on the current development roadmap.
Mercenary guilds will be a viable way forward for different organizations. I think there will be a lot of business to be had with that; and one of the systems in our trade agreements is creating an escrow for those particular type of arrangements that we're looking into.[26]Steven Sharif

Mayoral caravans

Mayoral caravans (also referred to as Trade caravans) are launched by Mayors to obtain needed resources from other nodes.[27][22][1]

  • Players can participate in helping to defend the caravan if they wish.[22]
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.[22]Steven Sharif

System driven caravans

System driven caravans (also referred to as Quest driven caravans) are system spawned caravans that are used for trade routes between nodes.[22][1][28]

info-orange.pngSome of the following information has not been recently confirmed by the developers and may not be on the current development roadmap.
  • These are initiated by players with a diverse choice of routes and launch windows, making them difficult to zerg.[29]
  • Initiating a caravan from one node to another will create a PvP objective that players will need to defend while it moves along its chosen route to the selected destination.[30]
  • Roads will upgrade as nodes advance. Different roads will dictate the speed and type of caravan required (off road vs on road).[11]
The caravan system is designed to be initiated by the player. Which means, information of the caravans launch time and route, should be a closely guarded secret. Routes will also be diverse, and the world is large, so it might behoove you to scout the route ahead before a launch. Fast travel in our game is also limited, which means unless the guild had knowledge of your plans before hand, it is likely that they will be unable to organize and travel to a location. As far as mass guilds securing trade routes, there is always a bigger fish in the pond. Also caravans will have limitations on carrying capacity and launch windows that will segment mulitiple caravans by several minutes, which would space out the caravans, making it difficult to "zerg" a defense.[29]Steven Sharif

Merchant ships

Merchant ships (also called Trade ships) are part of Ashes of Creation naval content.[32][33][34]

A merchant ship interacts with a harbor in a very similar fashion to the way that Caravans interact with the caravansary, but they have much larger capacity and they stop at other harbors in a very similar functionality to the way the caravans stop at caravansaries. Harbors have a disembarkation zone that lives near the harbor. So if you make your merchant ship to that zone as well, it will get guided into the harbor and will be safe. But when you launch that caravan from a harbor it is much like a land caravan. The only difference is that Merchant ships cannot become land caravans. They must stay as merchant ships.[32]Steven Sharif
  • Merchant ships can only be launched and received at harbors in a similar way that land caravans can only be launched and received at a caravansary.[32]
    • Harbors have a disembarkation zone that merchant ships can cross to be guided into the harbor.[32]
  • Unlike raft caravans, merchant ships cannot transition into land caravans.[32]
  • It is possible to launch decoy caravans and merchant ships.[35]

Hijacking ships

Certain ships can be hijacked, destroyed and looted, but the ships themselves cannot be permanently captured.[36][33]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Video, July 15, 2019 (2:12).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Podcast, September 29, 2021 (8:38).
  3. 3.0 3.1 Video, May 27, 2022 (17:15).
  4. Livestream, May 17, 2017 (30:53).
  5. Kickstarter - We Just Broke $1,500,000!
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Video, October 31, 2023 (34:12).
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 Livestream, January 29, 2021 (1:13:04).
  8. 8.0 8.1 Livestream, January 28, 2022 (33:25).
  9. 9.0 9.1 Livestream, October 31, 2023 (1:16:34).
  10. Video, October 31, 2023 (28:06).
  11. 11.0 11.1 Livestream, February 9, 2018 (45:48).
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Video, May 27, 2022 (15:50).
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Podcast, April 11, 2021 (23:36).
  14. 14.0 14.1 Livestream, June 26, 2020 (1:29:06).
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Livestream, May 8, 2017 (20:27).
  16. Our immersive world - Environments.
  17. frosty-roads.png
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Livestream, October 30, 2020 (1:19:13).
  19. Livestream, August 26, 2022 (53:26).
  20. 20.0 20.1 Video, October 31, 2023 (20:17).
  21. Livestream, May 19, 2017 (32:23).
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 22.5 22.6 22.7 22.8 Livestream, August 31, 2023 (2:10:23).
  23. 23.0 23.1 City hall.
  24. Blog: Development Update with Village Node.
  25. Livestream, August 31, 2023 (44:21).
  26. Livestream, 2018-04-8 (AM) (18:59).
  27. 27.0 27.1 Video, September 29, 2023 (2:59).
  28. Livestream, July 28, 2017 (19:43).
  29. 29.0 29.1 caravan zerg.png
  30. About Ashes of Creation.
  31. Ashes of Creation Store: Trader ship.
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 32.4 Livestream, August 26, 2022 (1:26:58).
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 Livestream, 2018-04-8 (PM) (1:20:03).
  34. Livestream, August 23, 2017 (28:22).
  35. Livestream, January 31, 2024 (1:15:05).
  36. Livestream, May 27, 2022 (1:12:33).