What are Nodes?
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 [ZOI] and with surrounding by geographical features that change over time based upon player participation. The world map is divided into regions, with each region containing multiple nodes. There will be 85 node locations at launch, each with its own impact on the narrative and development of the world. As a node advances, it influences the types of content available within the node and the surrounding areas. Players do not create nodes or node layouts, but if they are a part of the government for a specific node, they have the ability to influence diplomacy, own land and modify building types/construction and services within that node.
Node Advancement and Identification
Nodes level up from players gaining experience and contributing to the node. As the node levels up to the next stage, its ZOI 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 is procedurally generated.
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 ZOI and it’s the area where players help to advance the node they are in. Node settlement size ranges from a small camp to a massive metropolis.
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 arrive. These NPCs 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 might carry with them (eg. tents, campfires)
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 stage, occupied with what people could build with limited supplies and simple tools (eg. 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, as well as the beginning of local government and mayoral elections. 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.
Town [Stage 4]
When a Village becomes a Town, there are additional permanent structures, and local government continues. The development area feels well lived-in and developed at this point. Social Organizations begin to patronize the Town at Stage 4, with ranking structures for players to participate in for various benefits.
City [Stage 5]
From a Town, a node can advance into a large City, which feels alive, bustling with activities, and features the typical elements 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 (approximately one-fifth of the map). 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.
Zones of Influence (ZOI’s) & Vassal Nodes
Once a node reaches Stage 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.
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 unknown.
Economic Nodes focuses on trade. They have unique NPC’s (Merchants), unique buildings (Emporium = Auction House), and their superpower is Linked Economy (the 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 and are also able to set taxes for the node’s 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)