Ashes of Creation is set in a world known as Verra, and Verra is a very complicated place. Most players want to dive right into character systems and mechanics, but with all the unique mechanics found in Ashes of Creation, it is important for players to understand the basics of the world systems before trying to understand other concepts like races, classes, and skills. To understand Ashes of Creation, you must understand the basics of the world, especially the Node System.
From a purely mechanical perspective the world of Verra is 1200 km² with some as yet unknown quantity of Underrealm. The world itself is broken into 750 km² of Lakes, Rivers, and Oceans and 450-480 km² of land, including the new islands of Sujoma and Peligora. There have been some changes with the map, the continent of Elyrium has been rotated slightly from the previous version of the map.
As far as what people want to know about how big the world will feel. To travel from the North to the South of either of the main continents will take about 50 minutes by mount or 75 minutes on foot as the crow flies. This means that there may be some geographical hurdles that slow down the travel. We were also told that it will take roughly 5:00 minutes to travel from the center of one node spot to the center of another Node spot.
Biomes, Climate, Seasons, and Weather
The world of Verra is going to be divided into more than eighteen different biomes. Currently we know the current breakdown is as follows
- Corrupted Areas
- Flood Plains
- Snowy Mountains
- Volcano Area
Not all of the biomes on verra will be a one-for-one translation to Earth biomes, as this is a high fantasy world, many of the areas will be infused with magic. The Corrupted Areas and the Underrealm are two such examples of this High Fantasy influence on the Biomes. Unlike most games where the environment is just scenery, in Ashes of Creation the Biomes are going to be significant. Not only will different biomes have different items that can be gathered and harvest but combat abilities will be affect by the climate and weather of the Biome. This means that weather will also be a determining factor on how combat skills function.
Additionally, Intrepid Studios wants to have seasons in the game which will affect the environments in weather and climate. These seasons shifts will also change the items that are obtainable in the area. Currently seasons are set to be on a one-week rotation, so a real-world month will equal a full seasonal rotation in game. This will mean players will have to constantly be thinking about both their logistics supply (Crafting System) as well as their builds (Combat System) as the seasons change.
Castle and Economic Regions
Verra is divided into five static geographical regions. Right now, the map we have does not show these regions, but we know the regions are fixed and static. Their size and location are not influenced by player actions and they cannot be moved, bent, twisted, or destroyed. This is not to say the people inside these regions are not influenced by player actions. The seat of power in each region is the regional Castle and the castle is ruled by a player character (PC) Monarch.
The Monarch is the leader of the guild in control of the castle at the end of each four-week siege cycle. Whether you like it or not, you will be living in a region ruled by a PC Monarch. The Monarch has some governmental powers including the ability to levy taxes on all Nodes in the region. Most of this tax money goes to the Castle and Regional Development, but a small portion of it can be removed by the Monarch and devoted to any endeavors the Monarch chooses.
Overlapping with the Castle Regions are Economic Regions, and since they overlay the castle region they are also fixed and static geographic regions. While we do not know everything about them, we do know that they operate hand in hand with the Castle Regions and represent the zone that the king has economic control over.
All of the castles are going to have proper names. So far we know of a Dünzenkell castle named Milnar, and an Aelan castle named Korgan.
Zones of Influence
What came first, the chicken or the egg? A timeless riddle that applies to Ashes of Creation in regards to the Nodes and Zone of Influence relationship. For educational purposes I’ve chosen to present Zones of Influence first.
A Zone of Influence (ZOI) is a geographical boundary tied to a Node, or more accurately tied to a spot where a Node may develop. At launch none of the Nodes will be developed, they all begin at level zero. When the game begins there will be 85 ZOI in the world. Previously 100% of the world was governed by a ZOI, however with the August 2022 updates, there have been some changes to the ZOI. One of those changes is that there is now International Water which is a PVP flagged zone. These International Waters may not be governed by Zones of Influence.
While inside a particular Zone of Influence, anything you do that accumulates Experience Points (XP) for your character also generates XP towards the development of the Node. Inside each ZOI are two or three different locations where a Node may spawn if all the proper conditions are met. Once a Node spawns inside of a ZOI those other locations become inert and can not spawn a Node.
Unlike Castle Regions, which are fixed and static, Zones of Influence are fluid, allowing them the move, bend, twist, turn, expand, and push against each other. As ZOI are tied to Nodes, most of the details regarding their development is going to be detailed in the various Node sections; however, I wanted to present ZOI before I presented Nodes so you could learn one concept before learning the next one.
Note: Nodes of Stage 0, 1, and 2 do not expand their ZOI when they level. The ZOI surrounding a Stage 0 Node remains that size until the Node hits Stage 3.
The Nodes System in Ashes of Creation is so complex that I have had to break it down into several different videos. So that the new people understand what a Node is we are going to use the term “center of civilization.” Unfortunately, it would be inappropriate to use terms like Village, City, or Town because these terms are specific states of Node development.
In Verra, there are a total of 85 Nodes in the Node system. At any given time 65 of the Nodes will exist inside of the Parent/Vassal System and 20 Nodes will be Buffer Zone Nodes. There are also 15 Special Nodes that function outside of the Node System that are tied to the Castles. As a special note, I am including these Nodes in with “Nodes” for the moment, however, it is highly probable Steven will turn these into named/garrison locations.
When the players first arrive in Verra they will find only the starter areas developed, the rest of the world is a blank slate. As the players move out into the world and start earning XP in those various ZOI the world is barren. Very quickly after arriving in an area, a Stage 1 node will appear and then the world will begin to take shape. As of the August 2022 update there have been a lot of changes to the Node System, which are captured on the Nodes System Page.
Divine Gates and Starter Areas
To have a world with absolutely no starting areas would be impossible for an MMORPG. In order to facilitate the launch and early hours of the game, the world has eight starter camps, two attached to each of the Divine Gates.
Much earlier in development the four divine gates were going to be tied to the races; however, a design change has occurred and players are going to be able to start at any Divine Gate they wish. This also includes the Tulnar. They will not be starting in the Underrealm, instead they will be joining the other 4 races at the Divine Gates.
As of 26 August 2020, we have some new information on the starting areas.
Both the four core races (Dwarves, Elves, Humans, Orcs) as well as the Tulnar have the option of starting either at the Divine Gates or in the Underrealm. Just outside of these divine gates are starting base camps that will resemble what players are used to in MMORPGs. There will be limited services and things to do here to help the players get their feet under them. After that, the players will move around the world and work to develop different Nodes. We do not have confirmation about what services will be available in the Underrealm, but logic dictates it will be the same as at the Divine Gates.
As the world map was significantly changed in August of 2022, we cannot be 100% sure if the Divine Gates and the starter camps are in the same areas as previously indicated. Chances are 3 of them are, with the previously Northeastern camp being moved with the rotation of the Elyrium continent.
Sanctus is where the residents of Verra sought sanctuary back when the corruption came. The Gods opened divine gateways for the Verrans to escape. The 4 core races (Humans, Dwarves, Elves, and Orcs) were able to move a number of their citizens through the Divine Gates to Sanctus before the portals had to be closed. I will be adding a lore background for Ashes 101 in the coming days.
World Size and Travel Time
While we do not have all the information about the world some quick facts are.
- The world is 1200 km²
- There is 750 km² of Oceans, Lakes, and Rivers
- There is 450-480 km² of Dry Land
- The Travel Time from the North of a Continent to the South of the Continent is 50 minutes mounted or 75 minutes on foot as the Crow Flies. Which means this travel time may be slightly longer given geographic hurdles.
- It takes 2:30 to cross a Metro Sized Node on foot; 1:30 if Mounted
- It takes 5:00 running to go Node to Node
As of 29 August 2020 I have a question into Steven about the distances to confirm them.
One major change that came from the August 2022 livestream was International Waters in Ashes of Creation are now PvP Zones. We do not have all the details on the actual mechanics and methods, but while you are in international waters you do not incur corruption for attacking other players, ships, mounts etc.
This does not apply to all water, this is only when you cross from Costal Waters into International Waters. When making that cross over, you will be alerted by you User Interface that you are moving into an active
To give players a conceptual idea of how this is going to work, one of my community members put this image together. It isn’t to scale, but it shows you the difference between Coastal Waters and International Waters. As we get more information on this, I will make sure to update this.