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Node advancement

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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.[1]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).[2] 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.[3]

Node stage.[2] Alternate name.[4] Timeframe to advance.[2] Player housing.[5]
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.[1]Margaret Krohn

Conceptual illustration. Nodi that are in the ZOI of more advanced nodes have their progression capped by the more advanced node.[6] 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.[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.[9]
  • 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.[6]
    • 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.[10]
  • 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 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 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.[6]
  • 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]
  • The exact percentage of advancement from obtaining items or killing monsters is not going to be explicitly known to avoid "gaming" the system.[15]

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.[15]Steven Sharif

Vassal nodes

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

  • Vassal nodes must remain at least one node stage below their parent node.[3]
    • Neighboring nodes lower than stage 3 also block the growth of their immediate neighbors. This is intended to be tested in Alpha-1.[10]
    • Vassal nodes first apply any experience earned to their own deficit (see Node atrophy). It then applies excess experience earned to its parent node.[1]
    • If the parent node advances, the vassal is once again able to advance.[3]
  • 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.[3]
    • 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.[1]
  • Vassals are subject to the government, alliances, wars, taxes, and trade of their parent node, and are able to receive federal aid from them.[3]
  • Vassal nodes cannot declare war on their parent node or any of their vassals.[3]
  • Citizens of vassals are bound by the diplomatic states of the parent node.[3]

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.[1]Margaret Krohn

Zones and progression

Dungeon, Incursioni, Boss del mondo, Mobs, Missioni, 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.[16][17][3]

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.[18]Steven Sharif

World manager

The World manager is an algorithm in Ceneri della creazione 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.[19]

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.[20]Steven Sharif

Nodi

Pre-alpha Metropolis node.[9]

Nodes are a pre-set location, wrapped in a zone of influence, in our world that can form into towns of different sizes. These sizes range from a small camp to a sprawling metropolis. The size of the towns depends on the contribution by players and how far they’ve advanced the Node. Players do not create the footprint of a Node, but within that footprint they do have the ability to own land. Players who are part of the government for a specific Node will have the ability to modify building types and services further, but for the most part, a Node will grow along its own specific path (think about this more as NPCs building these towns out, rather than PCs individually putting buildings and walls up). A Node’s contribution area is larger than the actual town itself, allowing for players to adventure while building upon the town. We call the contribution area the Node’s “Zone of Influence,” and it’s the area where players help to advance the Node they are in.[21]

Encompassing each server are carefully placed points of development called Nodi.[2]

Nodes are the heart of the world, they create the ebb and flow of life. At their core, Nodes are pre-set points in the world, wrapped in a Zone of Influence and surrounded by geographic areas that change over time based upon player participation. The world map is divided into regions, with each region containing multiple Nodes. As a Node advances, it influences the types of content within itself and the surrounding areas. Players do not create Nodes, but if they are a part of the government for a specific Node, they have the ability to influence diplomacy, and modify building types/construction and services within that Node. There will be 103 Node locations at launch, each with its own impact on the narrative and development of the world.[3]Margaret Krohn

Node atrophy

Nodi can delevel based on node atrophy.[1]

  • This is a preliminary design and may change based on testing. This may be changed to an atrophy points system, where accumulated points will progressively disable services within a node. The node may be destroyed (instead of deleveling) if a significant points threshold is reached.[12]

There are intrinsic problems with reducing a nodes level as opposed to removing the node and it may be possible I'm just gonna say now that we don't actually atrophy nodes to delevel but rather accrue atrophy points that must be replenished over time; and if not it begins to disable services and further compound the atrophy problem; at which point when it reaches a certain atrophy point then the node would just disappear.[12]Steven Sharif

  • Nodes accumulate an experience deficit each day based on the node's level. The deficit is subtracted from any experience earned that day. If any deficit remains, then this is subtracted from the node’s experience pool.[1]
  • Mayors are able to initiate quest-driven systems that non-citizens can participate in. The mayor can use a portion of the node's treasury or goods as rewards for quest completion. Players will be able to interface with the node to view the quests that are available to them.[27]
  • Certain flags will appear to notify node citizens if their node has dropped below the required experience for its current stage. After a short period, if the atrophy is not addressed, the Node will then delevel.[1]
  • A node cannot delevel more than a single level at a time.[1]
    • When a Node delevels it enters a safe period, during which the deficit is temporarily reduced to 0.[1]
  • It may be possible through node atrophy for two nodes of the same stage to be adjacent to each other.[12]

Deleveled nodes return to their previous stage.[1]

If a Node delevels, it returns to the previous Stage, but keeps the racial style it had before deleveling. A Node cannot delevel more than a single level at a time. For example, a Level 2 Node would become a Level 1, or a Level 1 Node would become a Level 0. If deleveling would cause a Node to lose its Vassals, it does so. When a Node delevels it enters a “safe period,” during which the deficit is temporarily reduced to 0. Once the safe period expires, the Node can once again begin losing experience based on its deficit.[1]Margaret Krohn

Storyline quests

Storyline quests can have multiple stages. These quest stages can actually be failed.[28]

There will be many different quests that actually have stages of the storyline; and these stages can actually be failed. You can actually fail a storyline; which sucks when you think about it, but at the same time that risk makes your investment that much more important.[28]Steven Sharif

Node development

Alpha-1 Village node layout.[30]

Even at the stage 3 development as a village, it's a fairly sizable layout; and part of these layouts include essentially static in-node housing for players to be able to purchase.[30]Steven Sharif

Racial architecture styles in an Alpha-0 village node. Empyrean Elven influence (top). Kaelar Human influence (bottom).[31]

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.[3]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. Cultural influences bring more than just the aesthetic and storyline changes - benefits are granted to the dominant culture within that Node’s Zone of Influence.[1]Margaret Krohn

Node layout and style is determined by several factors:[32]

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.[32]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.[35]Steven Sharif

There is an attrition mechanic that affects experience and influence to curb a single race from dominating the entire world.[36]

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.[36]Steven Sharif

Taxation

Mayors/Node governments allocate resources, taxes, and quests to help develop node defenses.[38]

  • Tax money only goes toward funding node development.[39]
  • Taxation rates scale based on when a player joined a node as a citizen. The goal is to exert financial pressure on node populations by making taxes increasingly expensive as nodes advance, rather than putting in place hard population caps.[40]

Parent nodes take a cut of all taxes from the housing and any services that occur within their ZOI.[41]

  • 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.[41]

Player housing

Pre-alpha Empyrean freehold homestead.[42]

Players will have the ability to survey and develop land anywhere in the world. Be a pioneer deep in the wilderness, build the home of your dreams, and work the land to cultivate resources and supplies. Alternatively, stick with civilization and safety in numbers – purchase a home within the confines of a village and watch your investment grow as that village turns into a city. Homeowners in our game will have the ability to develop their plot of land as they see fit. Focus on farming, animal husbandry, or own your very own smithy. You’ll be able to specialize your land to maximize your profits or your comfort – be sure to choose wisely.[43]

Player housing comes in the form of Static housing, Appartamenti and Freeholds.[9]

Player housing Type. Availability. Limit.
Appartamenti Instanced.[9] Village stage and higher.[45] One per server.[46]
Freeholds Open world.[9] Village stage and higher.[9] One per account.[46]
Static housing In-node.[9] Village stage and higher.[9] One per server.[46]

Read more...

Trophy park

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.[47]

  • Server announcements and achievements are designed to encourage groups to experience new content.[47]

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.[48] This content adapts to the development of the zone it is in.[49]

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.[50]

See also

Riferimenti

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 Blog - Know Your Nodes - Advance and Destroy.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 A reactive world - Nodes.
  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 3.12 Blog - Know Your Nodes - The Basics.
  4. Livestream, 2018-12-12 (14:48).
  5. Interview, 2020-07-20 (3:45).
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Livestream, 2017-10-16 (50:20).
  7. Video, 2017-04-20 (0:02).
  8. Npc vending.jpg
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 Node series part II – the Metropolis.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 jahlon-steven-vassal-nodes-quote.png
  11. 11.0 11.1 Interview, 2020-07-18 (10:04).
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 Interview, 2020-07-08 (1:00:15).
  13. Livestream, 2017-11-17 (55:27).
  14. node xp.png
  15. 15.0 15.1 Livestream, 2017-05-26 (28:16).
  16. Interview, 2020-07-19 (19:35).
  17. Livestream, 2017-05-15 (30:53).
  18. Interview: Ashes of Creation on Building Their Virtual World, 13 April 2017.
  19. Interview, 2020-07-19 (1:10:55).
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 Interview, 2020-07-19 (1:08:22).
  21. Node series part I
  22. Ashes of Creation - Screenshots.
  23. Blog: 10 facts about castle sieges in the MMORPG.
  24. castle nodes.png
  25. Podcast, 2018-04-23 (15:14).
  26. Interview, 2018-08-24 (3:44).
  27. 27.0 27.1 Interview, 2020-07-08 (1:04:05).
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 Interview, 2018-10-20 (2:36:25).
  29. Livestream, 2020-07-25 (1:50:20).
  30. 30.0 30.1 Livestream, 2020-06-26 (45:32).
  31. Livestream, 2018-02-09 (33:50).
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 32.4 32.5 Livestream, 2018-09-27 (53:06).
  33. 33.0 33.1 Interview, 2018-05-11 (54:34).
  34. Livestream, 2017-05-26 (21:23).
  35. 35.0 35.1 Interview, 2018-05-11 (47:27).
  36. 36.0 36.1 Interview, 2018-05-11 (1:00:19).
  37. Livestream, 2020-03-28 (1:03:38).
  38. siege equipment.png
  39. Tax spending.png
  40. Interview, 2020-03-27 (0:30).
  41. 41.0 41.1 Interview, 2018-05-11 (57:02).
  42. Video, 2017-05-25 (1:07).
  43. About Ashes of Creation.
  44. Livestream, 2018-05-04 (32:46).
  45. Steven Sharif - Clarification points from today’s stream.
  46. 46.0 46.1 46.2 Interview, 2018-05-11 (50:47).
  47. 47.0 47.1 Podcast, 2018-08-04 (1:35:58).
  48. Livestream, 2017-11-17 (36:22).
  49. 49.0 49.1 49.2 49.3 49.4 Livestream, 2017-11-17 (18:29).
  50. 50.0 50.1 50.2 50.3 MMOGames interview, January 2017