The Node System
Nodes are a pre-set location, wrapped in a zone of influence, and can form into towns of different sizes. These sizes range from small camps to a massive metropolis. The size of the towns depends on the contribution by players and how far they’ve advanced the Node. Players do not create the footprint of a Node, but within that footprint they do have the ability to own land. Players who are part of the government for a specific Node will have the ability to modify building types and services further, but for the most part, a Node will grow along its own specific path (think about this more as NPCs building these towns out, rather than PCs individually putting buildings and walls up). A Node’s contribution area is larger than the actual town itself, allowing for players to adventure while building upon the town. We call the contribution area the Node’s “Zone of Influence,” and it’s the area where players help to advance the Node they are in. Nodes are the heart of the world, they create the ebb and flow of life. At their core, Nodes are pre-set points in the world, wrapped in a Zone of Influence and surrounded by geographic areas that change over time based upon player participation. The world map is divided into regions, with each region containing multiple Nodes. As a Node advances, it influences the types of content within itself and the surrounding areas. Players do not create Nodes, but if they are a part of the government for a specific Node, they have the ability to influence diplomacy, and modify building types/construction and services within that Node. There will be 103 Node locations at launch, each with its own impact on the narrative and development of the world.
Node Advancement and Identification
Nodes level up from players gaining exp and contributing to the node. As the node levels up, its Zone of Influence increases in size, encompassing the zones of influence from other nodes. The architecture of the node is determined by the race that contributed most towards the node. Node layout has some procedural generation to it.
Wilderness [Stage 0]
All nodes start at level 0. In this stage, the Development Area is empty and uninhabited.
Expedition [Stage 1]
When a Node becomes an Expedition, a small group of NPCs and their compatriots will show up. These NPC’s help the player identify what kind of node it is. The Development Area feels temporary at this level, reflective of what a group of people would carry with them – tents, campfires, etc.
Once an Expedition becomes an Encampment, the group of NPCs grows in number, and more semi-permanent structures are in place. The Development Area feels a little more lived-in at this level, occupied with what people could build with wagons and simple tools – larger tents, smokehouses, and buildings constructed from local materials.
Village [Stage 3]
At the Village Stage, the camp becomes a small frontier town. There are some permanent structures in place at this level, as well as the beginning of local Government. This includes mayoral elections. The Development Area feels permanent and lived in. You’ll find buildings developed with more advanced materials, features such as stone and mortar, fences, and other common structures. The Village Stage will also unlock a Unique Building that grants a special utility to its Node Type – Military, Economic, Divine or Scientific; we’ll share further details on those buildings in future entries in this series that cover each specific Node Type.
Town [Stage 4]
When a Village becomes a Town, there are even more permanent structures, and a continued established local government. The development area feels well lived-in and developed at this point. Societies and Organizations begin to patronize the Town with ranking structures for players to participate in.
City [Stage 5]
From a Town, a Node can change into a large City, which feels alive, bustling with development, and features the accommodations of a major player hub. The City Stage is populated with every major element of civilization, from guild halls to grand temples. Major embassies from other Nodes will also be present if diplomacy prevails. Relics can begin to appear within the vaults of these cities.
Metropolis [Stage 6]
The final form of the Development Area is the Metropolis. At this stage of development, the Node is massive. This Metropolis will act as the central hub for all things in its region. Every organization and religion in the world will be represented within the city limits. Exchanges and markets will connect the world, while mansions and businesses will thrive within the Metropolis’ walls. The Metropolis will house a unique and powerful ability called a Superpower that is determined by its Node Type – Military, Economic, Divine or Scientific; we’ll share more details on each of those Node Types in future entries in this series.
Zones of Influence (ZOI’s) & Vassal Nodes
Once a node reaches level 3 it enslaves the surrounding nodes, turning them into 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. This means a node can be both a Parent and a Vassal at the same time. 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 and cannot declare war on their Parent Nodes.
ZOI’s likely irregular shapes in the game
Divine Nodes focus on faith, religion, and augments. They have unique NPC’s (Priests), unique buildings (Temples), and their superpower is unknown.
Military Nodes focus on combat and class training. They have unique NPC’s (Guards), unique buildings (Barracks), and their superpower is the Bounty Hunter System.
Economic Nodes focuses on trade. They have unique NPC’s (Merchants), unique buildings (Emporium = Auction House), and their superpower is Linked Economy (linking of two node auction houses together).
Scientific Nodes focus on artisans and construction. They have unique NPC’s (Scholars), unique buildings (Academy), and their superpower is Teleportation (fast travel between the parent node and vassal nodes).
Nodes are run by a (player) mayor. The mayor of a node can decide what buildings are built ad are also able to set taxes for the nodes citizens. The mayors are able to utilize these funds and assign them to projects which further develop the nodes. Mayors can also declare wars on other nodes and send caravans to other nodes for trade. Mayors can be elected once a node reaches level 3 and these elections can happen once every 30 days. Each node type has a different method of election and are quest completion (Divine), arena combat (Military), bidding wars (Economic), and democratic vote (Scientific).
Node Destruction & Atrophy
Nodes require a certain amount of resources to keep their level. Nodes that don’t meet their upkeep get de-levelled (may be changed based on testing). Nodes can be sieged by warring nodes and nodes that are successfully sieged are destroyed and revert back to level 0. Once a node survives a siege it cannot be sieged again for a set number of days. The current set times for this are Village (20 days), Town (30 days), City (40 days), and Metropolis (50 days)