World manager

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The World manager is an algorithm in Ashes of Creation 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.[1]

A world manager is a technical term to define a server process that lives alongside the game server; and when the game server needs to do things- communicating with other game servers within that grid- it tells that manager and that manager sends it down to the appropriate server.[2]Steven Sharif
  • Prices of glint.[3]
  • A heatmap of experience being gained to apply to node advancement.[3]
    • 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.[4]
    • 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.[5]
  • Transit of resources and goods between regions to drive quest rewards for nodes.[3]
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.[3]Steven Sharif

Node advancement

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.[7][8]

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.[9]

  • Nodes advance to the first stage quickly. This enables NPC services such as vending or banking items.[10]
  • The more advanced the node is, the larger its ZOI becomes.[11]
  • 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.[12]
  • Certain quests, such as story arcs, may not be able to be turned in after a node has advanced.[15]
  • 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.[4]
    • 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.[5]
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.[4]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 close together and spanning their territories in opposite directions: The Tale of Two Cities thing.[5]Steven Sharif
  • A node does not receive XP from the nodes within its ZOI until these nodes have reached their cap.[12]
  • Citizens of one node can contribute to the advancement of other nodes.[16]
  • Node experience gain opportunities will be equitable across the four node types.[17]
    • The exact percentage of advancement from obtaining items or killing monsters is not going to be explicitly known to avoid "gaming" the system.[18]
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.[18]Steven Sharif

Node advancement spawns a series of animations and visual effects (within the footprint of the node).[19][7]

  • Players within the node are teleported to a safe location, likely a respawn area near the node.[19][20]
  • Supplies will spawn around the node and system driven caravans are spawned to bring these supplies into the node. These caravans are not able to be attacked.[19]
  • NPCs will begin construction activities.[19]
  • Players outside the node will see the new facade of the node pop into existence as the node advances in stage.[19]
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.[7]Margaret Krohn

Vassal nodes

Vassal node structure.[21]

This vassal mode structure tells you what it looks like for a sovereign at a level six metropolis stage; and what it can control at a maximum vassal network is two level five nodes, of which a level five node can control one level four and one level three as direct vassals; and then the four can control a three; and every three can control a one or a two. Now if the three gets removed through siege, the one or the two is removed as well. So that's an important distinction between the three's vassals, which technically isn't really a vassal relationship because there's no citizenships possible. Those vassals don't exist between three and X, but they do exist between four and three, five and four, and six and five. And what this also allows is that because there are 85 nodes that are within the world, we have a buffer zone of about 20 nodes that lives in a max server state. So if you had maximum five metropolises form in a world, you will have a number about 20 nodes that can live alongside those metropolis networks; and when or if a metropolis falls, that extra cushion of nodes around the five metropolis structures allows for the map to be redistricted in a way that is unique. It doesn't mean that one of the fives is just going to pick up where the last six left off and form the same exact metropolis structure. From a territory perspective it has ancillary nodes to play with and expand towards that redistricts the map, so that if a metropolis falls there's a significant difference in the layout of the world and the layout of these almost nation-like territories.[21]Steven Sharif

Village (stage 3) or higher nodes enslave nearby nodes, converting them into vassal nodes.[22][14]

There is a layer of intricacy between how the neighboring nodes advance and what potential parent structure they have in the vassalship tree.[23]Steven Sharif
  • Vassal nodes gain benefits from their regent node (also referred to as sovereign node or parent node) even if the node type of the parent is different to the vassal.[24][25]
It is not a bad thing to be vasseled, it is a good thing to be vasseled. It brings many benefits from the Sovereign, which is the ultimate parent of that vassal network down to the vassal node itself; and it allows that vassal node to even live outside of its normal mechanics. You get to adopt some of the benefits that the node type of your sovereign is, even if your node type as a vassal node isn't the same.[25]Steven Sharif
  • Regent nodes collect taxes from their vassal nodes. These taxes cannot be taken by the mayor or other players.[27]
  • 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.[27][22]
    • 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.[7]
When the vassal reaches its cap it overflows experience up to the parent; and so it can be very good early on for parents to get vassal nodes that are very productive- that have a lot of traffic.[27]Steven Sharif
  • Vassals are subject to the government, alliances, wars, taxes, and trade of their parent node, and are able to receive federal aid from them.[22]
  • Vassal nodes cannot declare war on their parent node or any of their vassals.[22]
  • Citizens of vassals are bound by the diplomatic states of the parent node.[22]
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.[7]Margaret Krohn

Adjacent nodes

Adjacent nodes (Neighboring nodes) starting from Expedition (scena 1) may block (lockout) the growth of their immediate neighbors.[13][14]

Loot tables

Q: Can only one gathering artisan harvest resources from a single boss, or can multiple different artisans harvest different parts from a boss for different resources? For example, a lumberjack gets a special wood from Tumock's tree weapon, while a herbalist gathers the flowers from that same tree.
A: We don't have the concept of harvesting from bosses. NPCs follow a reward table format, where those reward tables are global. They're not unique to particular players. So, once the NPC is vanquished, you have access to the loot container that is its corpse; and it has a static value of either materials or items that get dropped; and whatever the party loot settings are that you might be a part of, or if you're a solo player you will be able to recover those things.[48]


Currency concept art.[50]

The economy is usually something that happens in the background of other games. From day one we knew that the economy was going to be something really important to us.[51]Jeffrey Bard

The economy in Ashes of Creation is regionalized.[52][53][54]

Economic systems require scarcity. And in a game, all scarcity is artificially created in an attempt to simulate supply/demand structures or as we would call them points of player friction. You may progress within your processing profession by being a member of a guild or family of a person who owns a freehold and has setup the infrastructure necessary for t4-5 processing. With the intent that players will be able through effort to find a way of progressing and accessing late game processing. If that is not the case through testing then we will adjust the designs as necessary in order to achieve the systems.[68]

Population based scaling

The prices that NPCs sell items for will scale based on the economic activity on a server. Prices will rise to combat inflation and fall as a population diminishes.[69]

The node system allows the developers to scale the experience needed to level a node and the attrition that affects a node based on activity.[69]

Things that NPCs buy and sell scale based on the economic activity that exists on that server... As inflation rises, prices rise and everything ends up being equal, even though there might be a couple of extra zeros. So that can go up and it can also go down so as a population leaves, things become less expensive and players don't have to do as much to earn that. On the other side of things we look at the node system and the node system is set up in this really flexible way that allows us to scale the experience needed to level a node and the attrition that delevels a node to scale based on activity too. So it's just a matter of adjusting a couple of constants and that goes up and down and the server can watch it and change those on the fly as it needs to.[69]Jeffrey Bard

Adaptive content

Alpha-1 preview pirate themed dynamic point of interest.[70]

This is actually a dynamic POI. This one will evolve as players evolve the node that it's attached to. So this is its final state.[70]Jeffrey Bard

New points of interest (such as dungeons, world bosses, and corrupted areas) spawn as nodes develop.[71][72] This content adapts to the node progression of the zone it is in.[70][73]

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 academic 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.[74]

See also


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  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Wywiad, 2020-07-18 (10:04).
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Wywiad, 2020-07-08 (1:00:15).
  6. Video, 2024-02-29 (33:57).
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 Blog - Know Your Nodes - Advance and Destroy.
  8. A reactive world - Nodes.
  9. Video, 2017-04-20 (0:02).
  10. Npc vending.jpg
  11. Node series part II – the Metropolis.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Transmisja na żywo, 2017-10-16 (50:20).
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 steven-quote-neighboring-nodes.png
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 jahlon-steven-vassal-nodes-quote.png
  15. Transmisja na żywo, 2024-02-29 (53:58).
  16. node xp.png
  17. Transmisja na żywo, 2021-09-24 (1:21:23).
  18. 18.0 18.1 Transmisja na żywo, 2017-05-26 (28:16).
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 Transmisja na żywo, 2022-10-14 (55:13).
  20. Transmisja na żywo, 2017-11-17 (55:27).
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 Transmisja na żywo, 2022-08-26 (1:07:34).
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 22.5 22.6 22.7 Blog - Know Your Nodes - The Basics.
  23. steven-vassals.png
  24. Transmisja na żywo, 2023-08-31 (52:56).
  25. 25.0 25.1 Transmisja na żywo, 2022-08-26 (1:04:35).
  26. steven-stream-clarifications-august-2022.png
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 Transmisja na żywo, 2022-08-26 (1:10:16).
  28. Video, 2023-01-27 (16:44).
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 Wywiad, 2020-07-18 (27:11).
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  47. Video, 2022-05-27 (2:21).
  48. 48.0 48.1 Transmisja na żywo, 2024-02-29 (1:22:09).
  49. Podcast, 2018-08-04 (1:44:54).
  50. Ashes of Creation Press Kit.
  51. Video, 2017-04-30 (8:02).
  52. economic-regions.png
  53. economic-regions1.png
  54. 54.0 54.1 54.2 Unreal Engine Interview, 2017-05-23.
  55. Transmisja na żywo, 2022-05-27 (1:00:23).
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  59. steven-auction-houses.png
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  68. steven-freehold-scarcity.png
  69. 69.0 69.1 69.2 Transmisja na żywo, 2018-06-04 (39:15).
  70. 70.0 70.1 70.2 70.3 70.4 70.5 70.6 Transmisja na żywo, 2021-03-26 (50:33).
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  74. 74.0 74.1 74.2 74.3 MMOGames interview, January 2017
  75. steven-pois.png
  76. steven-dungeons.png
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  78. jindrack-pois.png