Ashes of Creation Nodes
A Reactive World – Nodes
Hello everyone and welcome to Ashes of Creation’s first developer journal, our way of peeling back the curtain on the design process and giving you some insight into our game’s planned features. It is our hope that through these developer journals we can convey some of our game’s primary mechanics as well as give our community a true transparent window to watch our development . Ashes of Creation has been a labor of love for us here at Intrepid Studios and though we are still early into the production cycle, we are thrilled to finally start bringing our project into the public’s eye! Thus without further ado let’s dive right in!
What is Ashes of Creation?
Ashes of Creation is an upcoming MMORPG set in a world of high fantasy where player’s choices will shape and define the world around them. Veteran gamers may find themselves very familiar with the above game terms, but just in case there is any lingering confusion let’s take a moment to define them. MMORPG (or MMO for short henceforth) is simply an online multiplayer game where thousands of players can experience the world side by side, and with high fantasy as a setting we’re talking about a world where magic and mythic creatures abound, think swords and dragons. For the most part the previous two terms are pretty straightforward and gives players a baseline for what they can expect out of Ashes of Creation. What isn’t immediately clear however is the phrase: “…shape and define the world”? For this, as well as the primary focus of this particular dev journal, I’d like to introduce our “Nodes.”
What are “Nodes”?
When it comes to how MMO’s have been traditionally designed, most gamers are familiar with two distinct types of gameplay loops: the “theme park”, and the “sandbox”. The vast majority of MMO’s we’ve all seen come and go in the gaming industry have been of the theme park variety – these games put the player onto a specific path, guiding them along, with plenty of pretty sights in between the same old quest hubs, very little in divergent paths, virtually no freedom in player progression. Recently the MMO genre has seen some games of the sandbox nature come onto the scene, but despite the ultimate freedom the sandbox affords players, many are left wanting more, as there is by definition no pre built world content, no human touch, just the vastness of the “sand” for lack of a better term. Thus many MMO players often find themselves caught between the repetitive rock of the theme park or the vast dead spaces of the sandbox’s hard place. This chasm between the state of MMO gameplay loops is where we intend to inject Ashes of Creation’s Node system.
So what exactly are Nodes then? Players in Ashes of Creation will find themselves thrust into the forefront of an inhospitable world filled with bountiful undiscovered treasure and ancient evils lurking just over the horizon. The very first pioneers into Ashes of Creation will find the wilderness a bleak reality, but even the harshest environments can be tamed. This is where Nodes come into play. Encompassing the entirety of our world’s playable areas are carefully placed points of possible development, which we call Nodes. These Nodes in their undeveloped form will not be visible to the players at first. However, as our intrepid players venture out into the wilderness with a variety of quests and tasks from their starting zones, these nodes will begin to absorb the activity in its radius zone of influence. In practice this will look like a band of friends completing quests or fighting monsters for sweet loot, searching for treasures, or delving into a dungeon.. progressing their characters as all MMO players are familiar with, but critically they will also be progressing the world around them.
Every Node in our system operates as a kind of sponge, with each Node given purview over a predefined geographic area. Within this space (which we call a Node’s “zone of influence”) the Node tracks all player activity . This activity is then weighted and counted towards that particular Node’s own advancement track. By undertaking familiar MMO gameplay mainstays (questing, gathering, raiding, etc.) players will have agency in determining which Nodes in the world will develop.