Points of interest

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Alpha-1 preview pirate themed dynamic point of interest.[1]

This is actually a dynamic POI. This one will evolve as players evolve the node that it's attached to. So this is kind of its final state.[1]Jeffrey Bard

Alpha-1 preview pirate themed dynamic point of interest flythrough.[1]

One of the core functions of these points of interest across the world is that dynamic level up. As the world grows, these points of interest grow: Additional buildings will spawn, additional monsters and leaders, and quest hooks. All of these things start to grow with the world.[1]Steven Sharif

New points of interest (such as dungeons, world bosses, and corrupted areas) spawn as nodes develop.[2][3] This content adapts to the node progression of the zone it is in.[1][4]

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.[5]

World map

Ashes of Creation map.[6] The circles on the map are divine gateways that are located in the ruined cities of the four great races of Verra. The diamonds are the starting settlements for the returning races.[7]

If you have tuned into our live streams and update videos, you may have caught glimpses of Verra. The world is very large and meant to hold around 10,000 concurrent players. With elaborate trade routes and sea-play, the Verran landscapes must provide complex obstacles and intricate passages between its regions. Alpha One will be the first test phase in the actual world map of Verra. For the first time ever, our community will step foot on the world we hope you'll call home.[6]Steven Sharif

The original Ashes map from my pathfinder world of Ashes made 10 years ago. Obviously some adjustments had to be made for the mmorpg. But the main two continents and their points of interest have a lot of the same.[8]Steven Sharif

The world of Verra features an in-game viewable world map. This map is not randomly generated, and begins covered in a fog of war.[9] Players will not be able to see the world until they have explored it or gathered information about it. The world is also full of imperfect information, which will require the player to act on it for verification.[10]

For example, you may hear a rumor in a tavern that tells you the location of a cave full of weak Kobolds, but this was not accurate as the rumor was started by well-equipped bandits in order to waylay overconfident adventurers.[10]

When information is gathered, or the player has successfully explored an area, points of interest are marked on the map.[5]

  • These points of interest are determined by Node progression; and not every server will share the same map, as player decisions will vary server to server.[5]

In addition to node progression being a factor on map generation, zones in Ashes of Creation will cater to all levels.[11]

The map will have geographical choke points (such as Mountains) that are not traversable by players.[12]

Even though we're an open-world that doesn't mean that from a design perspective, especially with the way our economic systems work, that we will want to create Geographic choke points.[12]Steven Sharif

Starting areas

Alpha-1 early preview starting area.[13]

There is no railroaded driven theme park experience here. You will have the opportunity to create your own destiny in that regard, which means you don't have to necessarily follow the quest line nor do you have to participate in events or experiences around the starting area. Now it may be more beneficial to do that; and in that regard I guess there could be a meta around doing that, but you could branch out proceed to other areas and do different content.[14]Steven Sharif

Starting areas (starting zones) are located in the ruined cities of the four ancient races of Verra.[7]

  • Starting areas include expeditionary NPC settlements that serve as initial quest origination points.[15] Lore-wise, these settlements represent scouts that were sent ahead of the main expedition back to Verra.[21]
    • These settlements are designed to acclimatize new players entering the world.[21]
    • While it may be advantageous to do so, there is no requirement for players to play through any specific starter zone content.[14]

A problem that a lot of MMOs have is that those starting areas become just kind of vacant of players and it's so sad because the greatest aspect of an MMO is that community that you get to experience, so one of the great things about the node system is that it really works from new player acquisition standpoint, where these nodes tend to develop larger near the starting location areas around the world; and it brings these players back to those locations if they're citizens and want services within those cities. So, as new players enter the world they're going to actually be surrounded most likely by more population because people are coming back to those larger nodes.[22]Steven Sharif

Alpha-1 starting area

Alpha-1 alpha island starting area.[23]

There's been some significant lighting changes here in this area. There's been some work on the foliage, on the trees that are available, toned down some of the ruins, rearranged some of the tents and it's starting to look pretty good.[23]Steven Sharif

The Alpha-1 starting area is set in the ruins of a Pyrian divine gateway to the south of alpha island.[24]


Alpha-1 early preview roading.[25]

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 kind of 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.[26]Steven Sharif

Roads in Verra are both pre-generated and player influenced.[26]

  • The largest roads are referred to as arteries. These are remnants of what was once the ancient highway system of Verra.[26]
  • As nodes advance smaller roads, referred to as veins, connect the arteries to the nodes.[26]
    • Roads will upgrade as nodes advance. Different roads will dictate the speed and type of caravan required (off road vs on road).[27]
  • Depending on the stages of node advancement, capillary roads will stem off the node to connect to points of interest.[26]
  • Roads or pathways are not worn into the landscape by repeated traffic over the same area.[26]

Different seasons and events may affect access to various roads.[28][29][30]

  • Pathways that are open during summer may be closed during winter.[30]
  • Seasonal affects may cause obstacles or blockages to the transit of goods via caravan.[28][29][31]
    • Some events may cause specific roadways to be blocked off.[28]
    • Obstacles may present barriers on roads that players must remove to allow transit of goods.[30]
  • Water turning to ice in winter, enabling players to walk over the water but blocking access to what is underneath.[30]
    • Ice will make roads bumpy and slippery.[32]

Underrealm routes will open or close dynamically (based on node states).[33]

Freeholds may not be placed in close proximity to roads.[34]

Dungeon locations

Dungeons and other points of interest are located throughout the map in-between the 103 node locations.[35]

List of notable dungeons


200 foot tall Pyrian statues in Alpha-1.[36]

Landmarks are scattered throughout the world, allowing players to judge their position on the map.[36]

From a lore perspective these statues have been around for a long time; and they are representative of the civilizations that existed once on this world before.[36]Steven Sharif

Major visual landmarks. You can look all the way across the horizon have an idea where you're going or where to meet friends or where to meet just based on these huge landmarks in the world.[36]Mat Broome

Corrupted areas

Work-in-progress Alpha-1 preview corrupted area on Alpha island by Mia DelCasino.[2]

How the world kind of reacts and changes to the nodes, you see these intrusions of corruption beginning to pervert and infest the lands; and these are obviously going to be sources by which NPC events are driven based on player progression within the world. And these sources of evil need to be addressed by the players, or else they'll grow out of hand.[37]Steven Sharif

All of our POIs and kind of just the world in general can react to the node- we don't have to but we can- and this is one of those places where as civilization grows this will grow kind of in contest with it.[2]Jeffrey Bard

Corrupted areas (zones/points of interest) can dynamically evolve with the progression of nodes.[37][2]

  • Harbingers that exist on Verra as dungeons are where The Ancients are capable of pushing into the material plane. They can continue to do so under the guise of the effects of corruption as it spreads.[38]
  • These are sources of NPC events that players need to address before they grow out of hand.[39][37]
    • Players need to participate in these events to stop the spread of corruption and hold back the intrusion on the material plane.[38]
  • Corrupted areas do not confer corruption onto a player.[40]

There are certain things that can happen, such as the spawning of dragons or hordes of zombies that are going to come out and attack those installations, those nodes, those points of interest; and... communities that don't respond to those in an effective way might see the disabling of certain services, the reduction of certain quest lines for particular organizations. The idea is to keep this as part of a believable living response from world, so those can get pretty significant the bad effects that can happen for the community.[39]Steven Sharif

Underwater nodes

Underwater points of interest that have NPC structures may appear to be like cities, but they will not be nodes.[41]

  • There won't be nodes underwater or in the water.[42]

Economic regions

We want our players to have a reason to explore the wilderness, to travel with purpose, and much of that will be driven by our resource system. Transporting these goods might just be more difficult than gathering them. Our regional market system allows players to participate in creating pocket economies that will reinforce the stability of goods in particular regions. Players will be able to move resources and set up shop in other areas to take advantage of the varied markets. With resources spawning dynamically, certain regions will naturally become important trading hubs for the transportation of goods throughout the world.[43]

Economic regions are static areas defined by geographic points of interest.[44][45]

  • Castle regions are larger and encompass multiple economic regions.[44]
  • Nodes are the glue that hold castle and economic regions together in potential synergy or chaos.[46]
    • Node ZOIs are fluid and change their area based on the progression of the node and its neighbors.[44]
  • Castle regions, Economic regions, and Node ZOI (Zones of Influence) can overlap.[47]

The whole map would be under the influence of 1 of 5 castle regions. However, castle regions aren't the only TYPE of region - there are also economic regions, among other things.[45]Sarah Flanagan

Castle regions

Castles have direct power over the Nodes that belong to it, but also have soft power across the entire region it belongs to. All Nodes belonging to that region pay fealty to the Castle in the form of taxes paid directly to the Castle. The Monarch sets the rate, and can use those proceeds to upgrade defenses, maintain the Castle’s direct Nodes, or provide buffs and benefits to the citizens of that region, as the magnanimous ruler that you are.[48]

Guild castles influence a castle region around them.[49]

Guild castles impose a tax on all revenue for the nodes within its region.[53][54]

Castles have the ability to allocate taxes collected from nodes under them toward certain benefits that go back to the node. Or they can be more selfishly governed that treasury more towards the guild that owns it and that obviously is going to have some political implications, because it could- if you're not using it for the benefit of the people in the region they might rise up and help take you out from that that position of owning that castle.[53]Steven Sharif

Zones and progression

Dungeons, Raids, World bosses, Mobs, Quests, 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.[61][11][62]

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.[63]Steven Sharif

Node simulation

Simulation of node interactions.[64]

This representation does show 111 nodes as part of this particular simulation. I'm not sure what the tick frequency is on this video. It might be something on the magnitude of like every second is probably 12 to 24 hours. So over time you start seeing these larger node systems building up to eventually where you might see Cities and Metropolises after some period of time; and what this allows the design team to do from a tools perspective, as they simulate this idea of how the world is going to progress, is it gives an opportunity to kind of see strange happenings or something that we couldn't necessarily predict but was a possible outcome based on the variables present.[64]Steven Sharif

The developers have created a simulation of node interactions in preparation for Alpha-2 deployment of the node system.[64]

You can show the initial territories on the Verran map of what these particular nodes have governance over, or their Zones of Influence as we like to call them... As the simulation of this begins to advance and nodes begin to expand their territory and they begin to take over nearby nodes as a result of their of their growth, you start to see these power level ratings that are applied here on specific nodes that determines what type of takeover power it has and and what it pushes back against for other nodes that are looking to take over new territory as they advance.[64]Steven Sharif

  • It also simulates events, such as NPCs attacking and disabling certain node buildings and services. Failure to successfully respond to these will reduce the node's "health ticker", which will slow down the XP gains from the node.[64]

It also simulates events: So each of these nodes will have a health ticker: when that health ticker is impacted it'll stop gaining power or gaining or slow down in its gaining of experience; and that's because certain events can affect a node by disabling certain services, disabling buildings. Players don't respond to that horde of zombies that have come out of the nearby ravine then those zombies can attack stables, they can attack service buildings, and prevent particular types of quests or activities and services from happening until it's repaired.[64]Steven Sharif

  • Node sieges are simulated, with successful sieges destroying the nodes, and where unsuccessful sieges won't destroy the node but may result in disabled buildings or services, similar to events.[64]

It simulates the sieges if a particular node has a certain frequency that's set where we want to see randomization of how nodes get affected by sieges. Sometimes they'll be destroyed in the simulation. Sometimes they'll have disabled services again, similar to an event, because they didn't succeed necessarily at sieging the node but they did succeed at disabling some of the buildings as part of that siege.[64]Steven Sharif

  • It simulates what outcomes may happen in the live game as a result of player activity, such as splitting up a particular ZOI across a waterway, or having territories expand out to islands or across continents.[64]

It simulates what players could potentially do as well when the game goes live; and that might include things like splitting up a particular Zone of Influence across a waterway, having your territory expand out to an island, or across continents. These are these are the types of things that we want to see players do eventually obviously but this tool provides the design team the opportunity to see it repetitively and over a fast period of time so they see these different types of outcomes.[64]Steven Sharif


Battlegrounds are where PvP battles occur in the open world.[65] These are open world PvP zones that flag players as Combatants (purple).[66]

Non-combatant (green) players entering an open world battleground are automatically flagged as combatants and remain flagged for a period of time after leaving that battleground.[5]

Death penalties do not apply to objective-based events (such as caravans, guild wars, and node sieges).[72]

Our castle system, our sieges against nodes, the caravan system, battlegrounds that exist, guild wars: We want there to be a meaning to this conflict. We want players to actually have some skin in the game when it comes to participating in PvP.[73]Steven Sharif


See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Livestream, 2021-03-26 (50:33).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Livestream, 2021-03-26 (22:53).
  3. Livestream, 2017-11-17 (36:22).
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Livestream, 2017-11-17 (18:29).
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 MMOGames interview, January 2017
  6. 6.0 6.1 Blog: Creative Director's Letter
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 mapportals.png
  8. original ashes pathfinder map.png
  9. Interview, 2017-05-22 (22:54).
  10. 10.0 10.1 The mighty beard!
  11. 11.0 11.1 Livestream, 2017-05-15 (30:53).
  12. 12.0 12.1 Livestream, 2020-06-26 (1:25:11).
  13. Livestream, 2020-03-28 (32:30).
  14. 14.0 14.1 Livestream, 2020-07-25 (1:03:03).
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 steven-tulnar-pois.png
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Livestream, 2017-10-16 (53:58).
  17. underrealm-gateway.png
  18. tulnar-gateway.png
  19. Livestream, 2017-05-19 (29:25).
  20. starting gateway.png
  21. 21.0 21.1 Livestream, 2017-07-28 (25:20).
  22. Video, 2018-04-05 (40:08).
  23. 23.0 23.1 Livestream, 2021-03-26 (17:23).
  24. Livestream, 2021-03-26 (16:05).
  25. Livestream, 2021-01-29 (55:44).
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 26.4 26.5 Livestream, 2021-01-29 (1:13:04).
  27. Livestream, 2018-02-09 (45:48).
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 Podcast, 2021-04-11 (23:36).
  29. 29.0 29.1 Livestream, 2020-06-26 (1:29:06).
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 30.3 Livestream, 2017-05-08 (20:27).
  31. Our immersive world - Environments.
  32. frosty-roads.png
  33. Livestream, 2020-10-30 (1:19:13).
  34. Livestream, 2017-05-19 (32:23).
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 Livestream, 2020-07-25 (46:08).
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 36.3 Livestream, 2018-08-17 (10:01).
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 Livestream, 2021-03-26 (50:03).
  38. 38.0 38.1 Livestream, 2020-11-08 (12:47).
  39. 39.0 39.1 Livestream, 2021-06-25 (1:13:30).
  40. Livestream, 2021-06-25 (1:32:24).
  41. Livestream, 8 April 2018 (AM) (18:29).
  42. Livestream, 8 April 2018 (PM) (1:01:28).
  43. About Ashes of Creation.
  44. 44.0 44.1 44.2 economic-regions.png
  45. 45.0 45.1 economic-regions1.png
  46. economic-regions-static.png
  47. 47.0 47.1 region-overlap.png
  48. Blog: 10 facts about castle sieges in the MMORPG.
  49. castle-influence.png
  50. castle-taxes2.png
  51. 51.0 51.1 castle-region.png
  52. castle-metro.png
  53. 53.0 53.1 53.2 53.3 Livestream, 2021-04-30 (1:01:10).
  54. castle-taxes.png
  55. Livestream, 2020-08-28 (1:39:02).
  56. castle-power.png
  57. castle-resources.png
  58. castle-taxes3.png
  59. castle-taxes4.png
  60. castle-taxes5.png
  61. Interview, 2020-07-19 (19:35).
  62. Blog - Know Your Nodes - The Basics.
  63. Interview: Ashes of Creation on Building Their Virtual World, 13 April 2017.
  64. 64.00 64.01 64.02 64.03 64.04 64.05 64.06 64.07 64.08 64.09 64.10 Livestream, 2021-09-24 (30:26).
  65. 65.0 65.1 65.2 65.3 65.4 Livestream, 2017-05-05 (14:26).
  66. Livestream, 2017-05-19 (45:14).
  67. 67.0 67.1 Podcast, 2021-04-11 (49:40).
  68. steven-siege-zone.png
  69. Livestream, 2021-04-30 (41:18).
  70. Blog: Creative Director's Letter, April 14 2021
  71. Livestream, 2017-11-17 (45:19).
  72. Livestream, 2020-12-22 (1:13:51).
  73. Video, 2017-04-30 (5:31).