Nodes are a lot of things. We think that some of the features for Nodes got lost in translation last time, so let’s get into it a bit more here! 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.
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.
Nodes are About Community
Nodes are formed through players doing things in their Zone of Influence. If you do something that gets you experience, the Node gets experience too. The main way for players to contribute to a Node is by being active. If players are questing, gathering or gaining experience in any way then the Node grows. Groups of players may move to an area because of a quest and indirectly form a camp, or players may specifically move to an area and aim to form a city! Whatever the motivation, you build through doing. The larger the group, the faster the Node advances.
Nodes are About Story
Everything about our world is reflected by the advancement of the Node system. Where towns form will dictate which raid boss appears, which dungeons are available, which quest lines become unlocked, and how the tale of the server unfolds. This tale can change and grow with the decisions of the community. We want the players to tell a story using the tools we provide. This requires a great deal of content to account for many different possible paths. But it’s worth the work to have a world where decisions matter and watch each server make different decisions.
Nodes are about Choice
There are four types of Nodes, each with a different strength. We will give you the details in the future, but the four types are: Military, Divine, Economic, and Scientific. For example, a Military Node will have combat oriented benefits. Stronger walls, combat buffs for citizens etc. Being a part of these Nodes shape the benefits you receive. If you find the benefits you want aren’t available because another Node is present, you can seek out an area to form one (or seek to destroy an established Node to make room!). Choice, needs, and differing motivations cause strife, which the Node system thrives on.
Nodes are About Power
With choice comes power and responsibility. Choices are great for those who reap the rewards from them, and bad for those who suffer from them. Players don’t own Nodes, the world does, but there are ways to influence them. Players run the government, players conduct trade, and players own the land. Individuals play a role in them, as do guilds. Nodes succeed with more people, much like actual towns. The more citizens they can tax, the more transactions taking place, the more they can do. Being the most popular town is very desirable. Conflicting desires between outsiders and insiders creates strife. We want to allow for a power struggle around the world, where players can become a part of the community they create. In the early part of the game land will be common, but later on availability will decrease. If you can’t advance a new Node to the level you want anymore, conflict will be necessary.
Nodes are a lot of things. Ultimately, Nodes are what you make of them. The first part of this video series will help explain what Nodes are and how players interact with the space around them. Enjoy!