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Progression occurs through a variety of pathways.[1]

Multiple playstyles should be relevant and viable. Additionally, you have a spread between casual players and hard-core players; and most of us exist somewhere on that spectrum. The progression path in a society or religion is more conducive to the time we have to play. Whereas, someone else may be playing several hours a day, and they have a better opportunity for the raid/level progression that might require some more dedication. So we want to have these different progression paths available to accommodate the different times in our lives that we have to play the game. And all of those types of progressions will make us relevant in some way shape or form to the general world.[5]Steven Sharif

Having the ability to gain power at a sacrifice... That's a way to kind of reach a horizontal type of progression. It may not be entirely, because there could potentially be a meta if balancing isn't done correctly; but the objective there is to make sure we have both vertical and horizontal progression in the game.[6]Steven Sharif


Alpha-1 early iteration of the level-up effect by Jim Sanders.[7]

One of the cool abilities we all love seeing and gives us a major dopamine response is when our character levels up.[7]Steven Sharif

Leveling won't follow a traditional linear path, although classic mechanics for leveling exist.[8] Experience (XP) is gained through a variety of activities:[9]

A character's level will be visible to other players.[10]

There will not be level boosts or auto-leveling.[11]

As part of our ideals as a game we're not going to give boosts away. We're not going to auto-level up a character. You have to spend time acclimating yourself to what this game is, to what the world that you're part of is; and that's an investment- a time investment; and that plays towards our ideas of risk-versus-reward; and I've always said our game's not going to be for everybody and that's okay.[11]Steven Sharif

There won't be any damage dampening due to differences in levels in either PvP or PvE.[12]

If I have a skill that does a thousand damage to a target of equal level I don't want my skill to do zero damage to a target that's five levels above me.[12]Steven Sharif

End game

There is not going to be a typical end-game in Ashes of Creation.[13]

Part of the whole experience with nodes is that there is no real end-game, in that the world is constantly shifting every day. Month one is going to be really different from month two; and that's for the level 50s and level 1s.[13]Jeffrey Bard

We want the game to be a living game, which means that all content should be relevant at all times. I’d say that we try to make as little distinction between the leveling up experience and the end game experience as possible. The whole journey is important to us, in order to maximize the fun people have during different stages of the game.[14]Sarah Flanagan

Level cap

The level cap at launch is expected to be approximately level 50.[15]

  • The developers anticipate max level should be attainable in approximately 45 days if you play roughly 4-6 hours per day.[16][17]
  • Alpha-1 has progression to level 15.[18]

Lower level characters will have usefulness in mass combat (such as Node sieges) that is not directly dependent on their level, such as manning siege weapons, helping repair fortifications, bringing proximity-based buffs to key positions, using stealth or scaling walls. These types of things are relevant to the tide of battle and do not require the player to be max-level or have high combat stats.[19]

The idea is not to be a game where somebody can essentially no life for a week and be max level. The idea is to incorporate some significant chunk of time but still respect the casual player, because you know the way we respect the casual player is not everything is driven in our game through the adventuring progression line. Not everything is driven through your class level per-se. There's a lot of different progression paths that are available and make you relevant within certain systems and mechanics within the game; and some of those paths are more casual friendly and some of those paths are more hardcore friendly. So with regards to the adventuring class, the idea is to make sure that investment needs to be pretty significant and that the reward then is respective of that investment.[16]Steven Sharif


Repetition will not be part of progression in Ashes of Creation.[20]

  • There will be no "grindy" quests.[20]
  • There will not be repetitive quest lines through a single dungeon to obtain gear.[21]
  • The aspiration is to have more things to do in the game than a player has time to do.[20]

AFK leveling

W Ashes of Creation nie będzie levelowania AFK .[22]

Chcemy by ta gra była grana. Jeśli są rzeczy, które możesz robić nie grając ale ciągle progressować to zrobiliśmy coś źle.[22]Jeffrey Bard

Mentor program

There will be a mentorship program where upper-level players are able to benefit from partying and/or helping lower level players; and getting them situated in the game.[13]

There will be activities that are present for higher level players to mentor lower level players. Let's say you have a friend who joins later on and you still want to do things with them, there will be things to do. Will he be able to enter a dungeon of your level and participate? No, because we don't want to inflate or deflate characters and manipulate that type of skill or power. We want that to be something that makes sense for them in a progression standpoint.[24]Steven Sharif

The mentorship program provides individual quests that can be initiated by the mentor based off of what node that they are part of. So these are like quests that are determined by either certain buildings and/or organizations or the mayor; and there are specific ones that are available for mentors to provide mentees; and they can also participate in some of those quest lines as well: Whether that be leading your mentee through a dungeon or providing a location for them to arrive with you at, or escort quests for the NPC caravans. These types of things, when done together with your mentor, will provide benefits both for the mentor and the mentee as well, so you're incentivized to participate with new players.[23]Steven Sharif

Level scaling

Levels, stats, or skills will not be scaled to allow low level players to participate in encounters with higher level players.[25][13]

Class progression

  • The player can then augment their primary skills with effects from their secondary archetype.[26][27]
    • Each skill in the primary tree will have several augment options from the secondary tree. This is an example of horizontal progression.[27]
    • Augments to primary skills can fundamentally change the way the ability works - adapting what the ability once did to incorporate the identity of the secondary archetype/class.[14]

If a Fighter were to choose Mage as a secondary archetype, the fighter would become a Spellsword. This combination opens up augments that can be applied to skills in their primary skill tree. Fighters have a Rush skill that allows them to rush towards a target; and upon reaching the target, deal an amount damage with a chance to knock the target down. A Mage's escape augment could be applied to the rush skill, which would now teleport the player to the target; thus eliminating the charge time on the skill.[27]

Class progression does not relate to a player's artisan progression.[34]

World events do not directly impact class effectiveness but there may be ancillary effects in terms of availability of equipment, enchantments or tattoos.[35]

Classes by archetype combination

With 8 Archetypes to combine, players may choose from 64 total combinations to create their class.[26][29][31]

Bard Cleric Fighter Mage Ranger Rogue Summoner Tank
Bard Minstrel Soul Weaver Tellsword Magician Song Warden Trickster Songcaller Siren
Cleric Scryer High Priest Templar Oracle Protector Shadow Disciple Shaman Apostle
Fighter Bladedancer Highsword Weapon Master Spellsword Hunter Shadowblade Bladecaller Dreadnought
Mage Sorcerer Acolyte Battle Mage Archwizard Spellhunter Shadow Caster Warlock Spellstone
Ranger Bowsinger Soulbow Strider Scion Hawkeye Scout Falconer Sentinel
Rogue Charlatan Cultist Duelist Nightspell Predator Assassin Shadow Lord Shadow Guardian
Summoner Enchanter Necromancer Wild Blade Spellmancer Beastmaster Shadowmancer Conjurer Brood Warden
Tank Argent Paladin Knight Spellshield Warden Nightshield Keeper Guardian

Class abilities

Alpha-1 preview primary skills.[36]

If from the eight archetypes whatever you choose as your secondary, you're going to receive a choice of augments that relate to some core ideal of that class. You know like a tank is about controlling the battlefield, is about surviving. The mage is about dealing damage and elements and ability in AoEs. The rogue is going to be about stealth and critical damage. So those augments are going to to play towards those identities.[37]Steven Sharif

The idea behind the system is that you're kind of skirting the line through these augmentations of your role, right. We have the traditional holy trinity that's present in class designs for MMOs and it's often that those either are not deviated at all or completely deviated from entirely. The augment is to kind of offer a balance between that where you still maintain the semblance of that trinity system while offering the opportunity to customize your play experience towards one of the other angles in the triangle.[38]Steven Sharif

Primary skills (class abilities) are based on a player's archetype.[27] Players can personalize their primary skills with augmentation from a secondary archetype.[26][27][39]

The design behind augments is to not just change the flavor so that it reflects the secondary archetype, but it also fundamentally changes the core components of a skill.[40]Steven Sharif

  • Each secondary archetype offers four different schools of augmentation.[26][41] Each augment school affects a primary archetype's skills in different ways.[42]
    There's going to be a certain threshold at which you can no longer augment your active abilities based on the decisions you've augmented previous abilities, so you'll have to pick and choose which ones you want to apply the augments towards; and certain augments will have more expense required on the skill point side.[43]Steven Sharif
  • Choosing the same primary and secondary archetype increases focus on that archetype.[44]
  • Augments to primary skills will fundamentally change the way the ability works: Adapting what the ability once did to incorporate the identity of the secondary archetype.[14]
  • Changing the augmentations on your skills will require you to go to a NPC in a Village node or higher.[46]
  • Some spell colors and general FX change based on augments.[47]
    • Active skills could look totally different after an augment gets applied.[48]

Primary skills in Alpha-2 are expected to be very different to those in Alpha-1.[50]

The ability list in Alpha One is nowhere near what the ability list will be, especially from like a level/progression standpoint. So you can expect it to be incredibly different.[50]Steven Sharif

Skill points

Alpha-1 preview skills user interface.[51]

This is where players allocate skill points into either their active skills, their passive abilities- which can augment their usage of weapons and armors and health regeneration and passive stats and stuff like that-- but on the weapons side of things, that's where you will spec into certain types of procs based off of weapon groupings. So we've talked a little bit about this in the past: If you have a dagger, daggers might have a chance to proc a bleed on your weapon attack and that would synergize with an active skills' ability like let's say Backstab that does additional damage if the target is under a bleed effect. Now we have said in the past that players will be able to allocate skill points into their active skills that are more geared towards either action combat or tab targeting.[52]Steven Sharif

Players receive skill points as they level. These can be used to level up skills (increase their rank) within their active, passive or combat/weapon skill trees.[53][54][55][30]

  • It will not be possible to max all skills in a skill tree.[30]
  • In terms of skill progression, players can choose to go "wide" and get a number of different abilities, or go "deep" into a few specific abilities.[56]
  • Players are able to reset and reallocate their skill points.[28]

Making active skills capable of receiving additional skill point allocations and unlocking additional features so that from a player agency standpoint it's going to be up to you whether or not you want to be more diverse but less depth- wider and not taller, in some of these skill choices. Or if you want to be very very tall, that's going to be something that is up to the player in that regard.[57]Steven Sharif

Universal skills

Outside of class-specific skills there may be a subset of universal skills, such as active block and dodge.[49]

Outside of your class-specific skill tree, there's going to be a subsection of a few skills that are universal, like active block, like dodge; and I think what we're going to do- or at least what we're going to be discussing here- is those universal skills will have progressions that might align with your passive tree; and you can spec skill points into progressing additional features of those universal abilities that you will have access to. So I think that's probably going to be the direction that we're going to take.[49]Steven Sharif

Gear progression

Weapons will have their own progression paths and their own applicable types of skills.[59][60]

Q: Are weapons balanced towards a proficiency system (i.e. the longer I use a sword, the better my damage will be), or will it be a normal RPG stat system with no long-term scaling?
A: We will not be using a proficiency system as described, but players will have passives available in their skill tree that will increase effectiveness of certain weapons. Becoming a master of swords will be something that is possible, just not in that particular manner.[14]Sarah Flanagan

Ashes of Creation is all about providing many progression paths... The reason why we don't like the term endgame is because with the amount of progression that's available with the amount of diversity and player agency that impacts the world... We kind of want the weapon system [to] add an element of that as well... You can determine special effects that proc from currently the combo system; you can determine ancillary effects that proc based on enchantment types; you can power stone weapons to add different either elemental types of damage and/or energy that kind of play rock-paper-scissor with player defenses ... and then you can skill tree out how those effects that are granted ... you can make them better you can branch them off into a different direction.[61]Steven Sharif

Gear enhancement

Gear enhancements (power stones/runes) can be applied to weapons to add elemental or energy types of damage.[61][63]

We are very likely going to have a rune system and then we'll have the ability to sort of enchant weapons outside of that too... That's not always going to be like a vertical progression... Some of it's going to be giving up something to get something else; so maybe I do less physical damage but more magical damage, that kind of thing.[63]Jeffrey Bard

It's not as though you're going to necessarily acquire these once and then you're set for your PvP enchantments, but instead you'll have to continually perform month after month in order to keep having those slotted enchantments.[65]Steven Sharif


There are two types of enchantments for items: Vertical and horizontal.[67]

When it comes to over-enchanting things, what we're going to do likely is have a safety- and this is something obviously it needs to be tested- but we're going to have a safety period of enchantment you know like in Lineage 2 I think you could enchant plus four or something. And so we're gonna have a similar system where you can enchant safely and then when you start to take risks, that percentage of potentially damaging your item either through the decay system or completely disabling it through the destruction system will be a risk that's present.[69]Steven Sharif

  • Horizontal enchantments are more situational. For example: I'd like my sword to do force damage instead of holy damage because the monsters I tend to fight are incorporeal.[67]
    • This doesn't make the item more powerful, but instead more applicable to different situations, and less so to others.[67]
    • This type of enchanting assumes no risk, just time and effort.[67]

Enchanting services are sold at player stalls.[71]

Enchanting does not increase an item's level requirement.[64]

You don't really push a particular item's level requirement or the identity of that item. You can enhance it, you can add enchantments to it, but it's still the item it is.[64]Steven Sharif

Power creep

Power creep is a balance issue... When it comes to gear progression specifically, the idea is to create an open market that is not heavily dependent on soulbound items; and having many item sinks and gold sinks within that economy that allows for the potential degradation and loss of assets within that closed economy; and not introduce items from the market that companies put in from a pay-to-win perspective or from a pay-to-convenience perspective that undermines the economy that players have built. That is a huge mistake that companies have made in the past and that lends to the imbalancing of what designers maybe have actually balanced well.[72]Steven Sharif

Pet progression

Combat pets will be levelable and will have gear available to them.[73][74]

Artisan progression

Players must choose a path in the artisan skill tree for each character.[76] Within each of the three parent artisan paths (Gathering, Processing and Crafting) there are different professions. A character may only ever master one of these parent paths.[77][78][79][80]

  • It is possible to master multiple professions (but not all) within a parent artisan path, but this will be a long and labor intensive feat, requiring many resources.[77][80][81]
    • A player may only master a profession if they have achieved the artisan path mastery.[82]
    • Based on testing, it may be decided to limit profession mastery certificates to a capped value.[82][83]

Gathering is a parent artisan path, along with processing and crafting. Within each of the three parent paths lies different professions. You may only ever master one parent path. But you may spend time mastering each profession within the parent artisan path.[80]Steven Sharif

Becoming a master Crafter or a master Processor or a master Gatherer should be a significant time investment and resource investment; and because of that it should also be something that when you achieve that status it's like people on the server know who you are.[84]Steven Sharif

Artisan progression within the artisan tree occurs based on experience (repetition of tasks) within a branch and also via achievement of certain benchmarks within each branch.[85]

  • Players can dabble in all professions at a "beginners" level before they decide to master a particular pathway.[86]
  • Choosing a specific path in the skill tree allows the player an opportunity to specialize in a certain area. This encourages player inter-dependency, enhancing the artisan experience.[87]
  • Masteries aren’t just about making an item. They grant many things, including titles, access to items, bargains, and quests. [88]

Players will have the opportunity to kind of dabble in all of the professions at a very beginners level and then you know that kind of gives them an understanding of what that profession feels like and then allows them to kind of pinpoint the direction that they want to go in to master particular professions.[86]Steven Sharif

When we reference not being masters of all that doesn't mean you're not a master within your own one of the three artisan types, which is you know crafter or gatherer, processor. You will be a master of one of those, you will not be master of the other two.[79]Steven Sharif

Artisan tools

Alpha-1 tongs "prop" used by Blacksmith NPCs.[89]

Gathering requires the creation and use of harvesting tools that enable the gathering of resources.[90][91]

  • Progression in the gathering artisan class unlocks higher level harvesting tools that enable gathering of higher level resources.[92]
  • Tools will have durability and tool lifespans.[7][93]
    • The amount of usages of a gathering tool increases as the gatherer becomes more proficient in the gathering artisan tree.[7]
    • Tools may become non-repairable, requiring re crafting.[93]
  • Artisans will not need to rely on other trees in order to make their tools.[90]

Tools do advance within the artisan tree, so your ability to either gather, process or craft will require the equivalent tools necessary at that stage of crafting in order to accomplish the task at hand. So, you could not mine copper and mithril with the same tool.[91]Steven Sharif

Gathering tools for Mining, Herbalism, Lumberjacking, and Fishing are associated with a resource tier. For example: A tier 2 axe can gather tier 1 and 2 lumber and no higher.[94]

Tool rarity Resource tiers Vendor price Vendor location
Common 1 10g Alpha-1 starting area
Uncommon 1 - 2 100g Expedition (stage 1) nodes
Rare 1 - 3 500g Encampment (stage 2) nodes
Epic 1 - 4 2000g Village (stage 3) nodes

Processing requires blueprints for the construction of buildings that are needed to process resources.[90]

Legendary items

There is a small RNG chance of looting rare and legendary items or crafting materials from mobs based on the level, status and type of mob. This also applies to harvesting resources with a gathering profession.[95]

At each stage from Gatherer to Processor to Crafter you are required to have certain prerequisites before those elite types of materials can be essentially gathered, processed, or crafted.[97]Steven Sharif

The amount of effort needed and interdependencies across the different types of players – between raiders and PvPers and crafters and even role players and the taverns and businesses: the processors and gatherers – all of those systems will likely have a component that lends toward creating or crafting that legendary item... We want to stay away from the highly RNGd system, and instead take our multiple progression paths that we are offering the players and put the construction components for achieving these legendary items within them so it encourages communities to work together because it's going to be difficult for just one person by themselves to gather everything. Not to say that they couldn't in an economic sense, by buying those components, that's possible. But achieving them from a time investment standpoint we want it to be considerably less RNG focussed.[98]Steven Sharif

Discovery of legendary items will unlock further chapters of the Lore.[101]

There are absolutely legendary items and they're not items that are attained easily nor are they granted out in a volume. There might even be items that are single items that will exist on the server at any given time.[102]

A legendary weapon is easily distinguished by its visual appearance.[98]

It will be a very ornate and detailed weapon, more so than any other weapon or piece of equipment in the game. It will also include some awesome looking effects that won't too gaudy, you know they won't be too bright and shiny so that it doesn't look good, but they will be subtle and people will notice it and know wow that guy has this weapon.[98]Steven Sharif

Legendary items are not intended to be temporary.[103]

The fact there is only one of them... or very very few of them depending on what it is. I think that in and of itself is a balance component right and you need to make sure that the players who are striving for those legendary things and who are devoting the time energy, resources in order to achieve them are accurately rewarded... We do not intend on having legendary items that are temporary.[103]Steven Sharif

Religion progression

There are player progression paths within a religion.[105][106]

  • Players may follow only one religion at a time.[105][106]
  • Religious progression is based on quests that are only offered to followers of that religion.[105]
  • Religions have a ranking system based on a player's performance in these quests and the number of quests completed.[105][107]
  • Changing religion will cause loss of progress in a player's previous religion.[105][106]

It depends on their dedication to the religion itself; their performance when it comes to certain religion's religious objectives; their contribution to the development of that religion within the world. There's a lot of different markers that we use at each stage to determine how they progress within the religion.[108]Steven Sharif

Mariner classes (Naval progression)

info-orange.pngSome of the following information has not been recently confirmed by the developers and may not be on the current development roadmap.

Mariner classes (also referred to as boatsmanship classes, boatsman skills or seamanship) contain different skill trees arranged in a similar manner to Artisan classes. As a player gains experience in these different skills they become more adept at using them.[110]

You can spec into and kind of create your own class based on what things you're doing on the boat... It's gonna be very similar to in structure to like the artisanship trees, so you'll you'll have your mariner class: You'll have different trees in that class.[110]Jeffrey Bard

Node stages

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.[111]Margaret Krohn

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.[112]

Node stage.[113] Symbol Alternate name.[114] Timeframe to advance.[113] Player housing.[115]
0. Wilderness -
1. Expedition Expedition symbol.png Crossroads Few hours -
2. Encampment Encampment symbol.png Camp Many hours -
3. Village Village symbol.png - Few days Small houses
4. Town - Many days Medium houses
5. City - Few weeks Large houses
6. Metropolis Metro Many weeks Mansions

Node progression

Conceptual illustration. Nodes that are in the ZOI of more advanced nodes have their progression capped by the more advanced node.[116] 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.[112]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) to a higher node stage.[111][113]

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.[111]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.[117]

  • Nodes advance to the first stage quickly. This enables NPC services such as vending or banking items.[118]
  • The more advanced the node is, the larger its ZOI becomes.[119]
  • 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.[116]
  • 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.[122]
    • 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.[123]

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 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.[122]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 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.[123]Steven Sharif

  • A node does not receive XP from the nodes within its ZOI until these nodes have reached their cap.[116]
  • Players are moved to safety if they intersect with newly spawned assets during node advancement.[124]
  • Citizens of one node can contribute to the advancement of other nodes.[125]

Node experience gain opportunities will be equitable across the four node types.[126]

  • The exact percentage of advancement from obtaining items or killing monsters is not going to be explicitly known to avoid "gaming" the system.[127]

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.[127]Steven Sharif

Vassal nodes

Village (stage 3) or higher nodes enslave nearby nodes, converting them into vassal nodes.[112][121]

  • Vassal nodes must remain at least one node stage below their parent node.[112]
  • 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.[112]
    • 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.[111]
  • Vassals are subject to the government, alliances, wars, taxes, and trade of their parent node, and are able to receive federal aid from them.[112]
  • Vassal nodes cannot declare war on their parent node or any of their vassals.[112]
  • Citizens of vassals are bound by the diplomatic states of the parent node.[112]

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.[111]Margaret Krohn

Adjacent/Neighboring nodes

Adjacent nodes (Neighboring nodes) starting from Expedition (stage 1) will block (lockout) the growth of their immediate neighbors.[120][121]

Node layout and style

Racial architecture of the same Village (stage 3) node on different servers. Dünir Dwarven influence (top). Kaelar Human influence (bottom). Screenshot from non-NDA Alpha-1 preview weekend testing.

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.[112]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.[111]Margaret Krohn

Node layout and style is determined by several factors:[128][129]

Currently the way that the platform system is set up, is it's capable of adjusting the topography of the node's footprint, regardless of the surrounding terrain. So the reason for that is we want to have flexibility in the presentation of the node's layout and how it is essentially both from an aesthetic standpoint as well as a mechanical standpoint with node sieges- how it's constructed and that construction should have the ability to take on a variance of different types of topography. So it shouldn't be dependent on the surrounding area. Now that's not to say that the surrounding area isn't going to have some influence over. So for example... we're experimenting a little bit with the platform tech and putting up a node up against the side of a mountain or on the edge of a cliff or something that has a beautiful vista. Those are things that we're going to test out obviously as we continue to work on the node tool and how that platform system works, but the idea is to have the node independent of the surrounding terrain.[131]Steven Sharif

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.[129]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.[136]Steven Sharif

Racial influences

Alpha-1 Village node layout.[137]

What has kind of been unlocked is the ability to do things more dynamically and more procedurally so that when a node spawns there is the opportunity to have different layouts and have different buildings and have different architectures; and each node starts to feel like its own place, so it's not the same node over and over again. Now we've got a node that kind of evolves and changes depending on where it's at and what the environment is and what race has procced it.[128]Jeffrey Bard

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.[138][111]

  • These benefits apply to citizens of the dominant culture but they also apply to mechanics of the node and can also be of benefit to members of other races.[138]
  • There is an attrition mechanic that affects experience and influence to curb a single race from dominating the entire world.[139]

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.[139]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.[140][141][112]

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.[142]Steven Sharif

Guild progression

Guild progression occurs through participation in different systems.[143]

Guild progression grants skill points that the guild can allocate to unlock aspects of their skill tree, such as passive skills, augments and membership count.[143][145][146]

  • Passive abilities increase certain stats relating to a guild member's ability to perform in combat or in other aspects of the guild, such as the economy.[143]
  • Augments may apply at the upper tiers of guild progression.[143]
    • This applies to guilds that have opted for the non-expansive member route.[143]
    • It benefits guild members with a classification of officer or knight.[143]
  • Guild members do not need to be citizens of the same node in order to benefit from passive skills and augments.[147]
  • Guild size can be traded off for guild progression.[143][148]
    • The higher the guild's member cap, the fewer available skill options will be available to that guild.[149]
    • Guild alliances may be a key part in creating a larger "guild".[148]
  • Guild halls can be unlocked at a certain stage of guild advancement.[145]
  • Guilds cannot respec their skill points once allocated. This is subject to testing.[150]

As you're leveling up the guild and you're getting these points to either allocate towards expanding the guilds member count or allocate towards adding certain passive abilities that your guild members can gain by being guild members. You're also going to see as you're leveling up the guild through different type of quest-based, participation-based, node-based, organization-based systems and ways that those quests hook into the world. You're also going to see perhaps some augment abilities at the upper tiers of the guild levels become unlocked for certain members that have a classification of officer or knight, will have access to those different types of augment abilities that might get unlocked should you go down the non expansive member lane; and the idea there is to offer these benefits to smaller groups.[143]Steven Sharif

It's not always going to be combat. You could have an economic focus guild. You could have a trade oriented guild; and there's all sorts of things that you can kind of put together and kind of give your guild its own identity.[143]Jeffrey Bard

Social organization progression

A player progresses through a social organization by accomplishing tasks or quests.[151] There are hierarchical paths pertaining to specific questlines for the organization's thematic.[151] These quests will either be cooperative with or adversarial against other nodes based on their mutual war status.[152]

- For example, a Thieves' guild may have objectives and quests toward securing a particular item to enable players to advance within the organization.[151]

Social organizations are going to have questlines that players participate in which some will include sabotage, espionage, intrigue... While it's not necessarily player versus player in the combat sense, it is player versus player in pitting communities in those organizations kind of against each other in a competitive atmosphere, where only some things can be accomplished by certain communities; and not everybody can succeed at a particular task. So, I think that that's a unique way to involve meaningful conflict that doesn't necessarily have to relate to PvP, because obviously we have a lot of PvP systems in the game and and there are many ways for players to participate in player versus player combat; but we also want to make sure that from a progression standpoint, from a system standpoint there are going to be abilities of individuals to follow these questlines, these tasks that will pit organizations against each other, specifically from an organizational standpoint.[153]Steven Sharif

You're gonna see augments being used a lot throughout a lot of our systems. When we're talking about the guild system, when we're talking about social organizations, when we're talking about religions. A lot of those things are going to affect how and what you have available to augment your skills with.[154]Jeffrey Bard

Alliance progression

Ashes of Creation may have specific content that revolves around Alliances.[155]

Content that revolves around alliances specifically and progression within the development of that alliance; and the ability to share some common services between guilds that are part of that alliance. I think that additionally allowing alliances to toggle certain relationships with nodes as an interaction is beneficial. That's going to provide an interesting dynamic for players who are either members of the particular node that has the relationship established or members of the Alliance. So I think that obviously building systems is is about creating the channels by which these players can form bonds and the more layers you have around those you know channels of bonding between the different guilds or players, the more sustainable that relationship.[155]Steven Sharif

Freehold progression

Freehold buildings are able to be levelled up based on the length of time and productivity of the freehold.[156]

We want there to be progression in many systems and part of the freehold progression is that when you establish these base buildings the longer and more productive you are and exist with that freehold, the more opportunity those buildings will have to both level up: offering new bonuses, new abilities, new capabilities; and just surviving in this world is a feat in and of itself, so it's rewarded by allowing progression with those things.[156]Steven Sharif

Freehold professions

Player owned businesses

Shop sign concept art.[161]

Our business owner system... grants players a meaningful existence in the world and rewards them for their persistence, dedication and survivability.[160]Steven Sharif


Taverns provide tiered services.[160]

  • Quests that might only be gathered from the player-owned taverns.
  • Meals that grant buffs for a period of time after a player leaves.
  • Recipes that could potentially be sold to cooking professions, that may only be obtained from a player-owned business in a certain area.

The longer the tavern is in business and the more patrons served, the faster the tavern will level up.[160]

Monster coin progression

There is a progression system that levels a player's monster skills based on how often they participate in monster events.[162]

In Ashes of Creation a large portion of world events revolve around the environment reacting to the player. This means that as players are exploring the world and developing civilization around them the environment is responding to this encroachment by spawning dynamic events and creatures to attack those developing cities. These events occur in 3 different types: the Legion level the Elite level and the Epic level.[163]Steven Sharif

As nodes advance, so does the scale of the monsters.[164] There are tiers of events denoting the caliber of the monsters being spawned.[165]

  • The tier of the monster coin dictates how powerful the monster is.[166]

Ashes of Creation Apocalypse progression

The first chapter of Apocalypse is The Exodus. It takes part in the initial stages of the fall and sets the scene for upcoming chapters.[168]

You're going to have an adventuring path and that adventuring path is going to come with weekly quests and daily quests that you can participate in that will be available for the Castle sieges for the Horde and for the Battle Royale; and as you complete these quests you're going to gain experience; and right now you have up to 50 levels, which matches the intended cap for Ashes of Creation. Fifty levels of the adventure path that you can advance in; and as you advance in each of these levels you're going to be unlocking certain assets, such as these weapon skins. Now the great thing about player's progress in Apocalypse is that you will share the same account from Apocalypse to Ashes of Creation the MMORPG and anything that you earn in Apocalypse will be in Ashes of Creation the MMORPG- a unique as a skin exactly: A skin that you will have access to for helping us test write Apocalypse and preparing these different Alpha and Beta stages for Ashes of Creation.[170]Steven Sharif

Ashes of Creation Apocalypse adventure paths

There are adventure paths (also known as Compendiums) in Ashes of Creation Apocalypse (Battle royale, Castle sieges, Horde mode).[167][170]

Ashes of Creation Apocalypse cosmetic rewards

All of the skins attained in Ashes of Creation Apocalypse will be usable in the Ashes of Creation MMORPG.[175]

Progression and experience tracking for participation in Ashes of Creation Apocalypse testing entitled players to earn unique cosmetic rewards. These earned rewards will carry over in player's accounts to live launch of the MMORPG.[176][177]

One of the ways we want to give back to the Community in participating in this testing is allowing for progress, quests, achievements rewards to be gained in Apocalypse... You will have rewards and quests and achievements that you and your participation and your performance in that game, whether it be the Castle Siege, the Horde Mode or the Battle Royale will earn you cosmetics. There will be costumes. There will be mounts to earn. There will be housing and furniture. There will be emotes. There will be weapon variants. A lot of these are what we have in production for our project Ashes of Creation, we apply some variants and skins for and make them only available through participating in helping us test these different game modes. And they will carry over to your account on the MMORPG.[176]Steven Sharif

The account used for Apocalypse is the same account used for the MMORPG. Unique skins earned in Apocalypse will be added to the MMORPG as rewards for helping to prepare for the Alpha and Beta stages of Ashes of Creation.[170]

So it's not that you'll be able to equip necessarily an item at level one. These are all cosmetic skins. Again we are not about the pay-to-win or pay-to-convenience life. What we want to do instead is as you earn, craft, or find equipment in the MMORPG, these skins that you've earned in Apocalypse will be available at certain tiers, levels and/or access points. So for example, we have different grades of mounts right. We have the base one land mounts. We have the the Royal mounts. We have the flying mounts if you're a mayor or King or Queen. We have legendary mounts. These classes of mounts will have available skins associated with those particular classes... If you have the Ramstider skin that you've earned from Apocalypse, you'll be able to apply that to your first land mount, which will probably be earned within the first five levels you'll earn a land mount. However if you have let's say for example the Gryphon, which will be a glideable mount. I'm sorry what's the name of the what's the name of the night one. The midnight- is the midnight bird or something like? The Nighthunter Gryphon. I think that's it. If you have that skin you'll only be able to apply that skin to a Royal mount so you'll still have to earn these things. Remember our position is that of: You need to earn these things in Ashes first. They're not purchasable or earned outside in Apocalypse and you're granted that immediately. These are skins that you apply to the things you earn in Ashes.[179]Steven Sharif

These cosmetics reflect the lore of Ashes of Creation Apocalypse, which is set before the fall.[177]

One thing that we announced to our alpha one backers that I know they love clarity on is that we'll also be including progression and experience tracking for participation and testing that will entitle them to some unique cosmetics as well that reflect on the lore of this setting, which is before the fall. So you'll be able to acquire some armors that reflect some of the ancient cultures of Verra that you will earn and hold for live launch.[177]Steven Sharif

It would be like your ancestors kept these curios for you.[177]Jeffrey Bard

Examples of some Kickstarter rewards will be included in Ashes of Creation Apocalypse.[180]

Basic Axe.png Hallowed Axe.png Arcanic Axe.png Pyroclastic Axe.png Eldritch Axe.png
Basic axe.[181] Hallowed Bronze Axe.[182][183] Arcanic Bronze Axe.[184][183] Pyroclastic Bronze Axe.[185][183] Eldritch Bronze Axe.[186][183]
Basic Thundering Mace.png Hallowed Thundering Mace.png Arcanic Thundering Mace.png Pyroclastic Thundering Mace.png Eldritch Thundering Mace.png
Thundering Mace.[187] Hallowed Mace.[188][189] Arcanic Mace.[190][189] Pyroclastic Mace.[191][189] Eldritch Mace.[192][189]

See also


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