March 29th Livestream Transcription
– Intrepid answers node questions from the community and discusses advanced mechanics relating to nodes.
Stream begins with no audio and Intrepid attempts to communicate using sign language. Introductions going around. Discussion regarding their trip to GDC 2019 (Game developer’s conference), which is primarily a business to business expo. Lots of back to back meetings. Steven hints at some of these discussions being revealed in the future. Contest plans for the community are also in the works. Hiring is going well and the next hiring phase has just begun, with 17 positions requiring to be filled which can be found on their careers page.
Nodes Information: Nodes developer diary being shown – Can be seen here. Future developer diaries will show things more in-depth, the next planned dev diary is the housing system. The goal is to show who is behind the scenes in development and how these systems work behind the scenes, however we cant go too in-depth as it is a competitive market. Usually companies stick to what has been proven as they have to answer to investors and boards as they dont want to take the risk, hence why we are able to innovate and work on things that have not been tried before. Developers usually record things as they are working on them so that we can grab these and use them for our dev diaries series.
Earlier in a segment we had stated that losing a siege would cause a node to delevel or be destroyed, however with the design changes, we’ve decided that when a node loses a siege it is destroyed all the way down to level 0. This is stuff that will require testing and there’s always room for changes, which is the entire point of testing.
Content Creator QnA
Q: Members of guild A are citizens of both Node A and B, and the mayor of node A wars on node B, are the citizens of node A now at war with themselves?
A: There’s various agencies that have hierarchy. Guilds, node citizenship, etc. All these affiliations have a hierarchy, your citizenship is your greatest superceding relationship. If you are part of a guild, and there’s members part of multiple nodes – the members of the node will be first and foremost citizens of a node that defend it.
Q: Will there be a way to see what type of node you are contributing to starting out?
A: When a node first starts out, there will be indicators of what node type it is such as the NPC’s that arrive etc. there wont be any map indicators. But you will have to get it to level 1 to see what type it is, not level 0. Your activities as a player dictate what you will see.
Q: If a metropolis locks out its surrounding vassal node at stage 5 and later it is destroyed in a siege, which of it’s surrounding nodes is chosen to level up to 6?
A: There is a hierarchy that exists within a node structure and if relationship is removed after a siege 2 separate “nations” they compete for stage 6 going forward. Nothing happens immediately, they have to earn that experience and it becomes a race. A race influenced by events and experience by players. For example, if there’s 2 neighbouring stage 4 nodes, those 2 stage 4 nodes are going to be at odds at one another until one hits stage 5. Achievements towards raid bosses, events, etc. all of these hinder or boost node growth. While there are no factions in game, there’s pseudo factions/agencies for players to align with.
Q: What will you if a server merge is needed?
A: As a contingency we have 2 scenarios, where 1 server becomes the dominant server and the other merges into it. The second is that the two populations will join a new server as a fresh start where you keep all progression of character/gear etc, but the nodes will be all level 0. These are the two server merge ideas we currently have.
Q: Given that the world size is 480sqkm with 103 nodes, can you tell us the approx amount of land each node has?
A: Dont want to give out that information and want it to be more immersive and not mechanical. There is obviously an amount of area covered by a node, it is large, it goes from small to big, but we dont want to give out direct information like that. We want you to see your actions change the world and react to that change. However not knowing everything at the start is a key part of the exploration experience.
Q: Since we know that nodes offer class and augmentation services for players, will these services be gated behind node level, will players have to travel to other nodes?
A: There will be world development that is necessary for certain progression. Destruction and Enhancement each has its own benefits, the idea is to place incentives in each category. Regarding the second half, that is related to citizenship, you basically can choose to give up citizenship at one node for another to get the benefits you want. And these benefits are set by players and mayors of the nodes where they have progression points. So as a citizen you might have to travel to a different node to access certain things or progress.
Q: What are your thoughts on node degradation lengths? How long will it take to degrade and will higher levels take more to degrade?
A: Yes. We want players to be active and doing things to help the node. Player activity will relate to what is going on the server, the amount of activity will dictate advancement rate etc, it will vary from server to server.
Q: Can we get a clarification on how underrealm nodes interact with server nodes? Can there be 5 underrealm metros and 5 above ground?
A: Only 5 can exist across both at the same time. If you are in the underrealm, the effects of your node will bleed into the nodes above ground. In the past we mentioned that they would be independent of each other, but we now want them to work together with each other. We want to include influence of the underrealm on the land above ground in terms of flora/fauna etc. We want to capture high fantasy setting.
Q: If im a citizen of a vassal node, why should I remain their and not go to a higher level node?
A: As a vassal citizen, you are contributing to the parent node. You can still go to the hunting area and enjoy the perks of the vassal nodes. There is an up-down relation between the vassal and parent nodes. Citizens of parent nodes can send out certain work orders only to vassal nodes to help support them, like certain questlines, items, weapons, resources. There is a relationship between a Vassal/Parent node. As a vassal citizen you have perks for parent node work orders. Specific resources available in your vassal node, cheaper living conditions/taxes and various other benefits. There’s definitely going to be reasons to be a part of a vassal node.
Q: What kinds of behaviours and habits do you want NPC’s to have in the nodes?
A: There’s a lot of things we want to acomplish with NPC’s and player interaction with them such as questing system feats, social organizations, establishing reputations within the city and special bonuses such as greetings, questlines, cheaper prices etc. All of it contributes to building your node and advancing its legacy. We want to ensure that the city feels alive, with not just player’s but also NPC’s.
Q: Can you provide more info on relations between vassal nodes and parent nodes?
A: We touched on this in the previous question. Is there a way to prevent a vassal node from being vassaled to a parent node? There’s no “You’re not welcome here”. The territory of the node expands based on an algorithm, where nodes want to move towards other cultures which is the backbone of trade and economy, including moving to the coast to move goods around the world. There’s no hard way to prevent others from being parent nodes to your nodes, its meant to be a competition.
Q: For coastla nodes, will they encompass parts of the sea?
A: It will definitely have parts of the water/sea that will be part of the node. There will be international waters and regional waters.
Q: Are there any hidden quests like resurrecting a dragon, like with 5 necromancers being able to do so to defend the node?
A: There are hidden quests, but regarding reviving a dragon with necromancers, currently unknown. There are exploration quests and reaching places first, we want first discovery to matter.
Q: Can we have more details about military node functionality and class combat training?
A: This will be gone over in a blog post/article later. Military nodes augment your combat abilities in PvE/PvP and that ability stays within the ZOI of that node. This encourages those players to focus around that node. Stay tuned for more news.
Q: Will we be able to organize troop positions during assaults like in Total war?
A: Not like total war. We do want raid leaders with player run groups, but no prescribed troop directions. The idea is to have NPC mercs during battles. Castle owners will be able to place merc tags within their castle to summon NPC AI to defend – we want to do something like this, but no confirmation yet.
Q: Will we have the choice where each building will be or is it automated?
A: 2 components. One is procedural that they have no control over which is decided by the procedural tool shown in the nodes dev diary. Second is specific plots that they can build projects on decided by the citizens and the mayor to render those services. Base level stuff comes with the node, specific buildings are decided by the players.
Q: Will we be able to find tribes such as elf tribes that we can create relations with?
A: Yes, there will be minor race NPC’s. There’s a tier of interaction with NPC’s, major such as within cities and minor race interactions such as centaurs and the faye, additionally the antagonist npc interactions such as corruption and ancients. Yes, minor races will exist, regarding trade, it will be related to quest stuff. You wont subjugate their culture and take it all over.
Q: We saw that NPC’s on siege weapons join sieges. Will this happen in sieges?
A: NPC’s will participate in both node and castle sieges, but the extent which they do varies on contribution. Taxes for example can be allocated towards defences which ensures more NPC defenders. Allocations of taxes towards heightened defences, npcs, walls, granting nodes certain war abilities etc. Lots of ways castles interact with nodes. NPC’s cannot interact with NPC”s. Siege weapons are skill based. NPC AI will not be very skillful when it comes to siege weaponry.
Q: Will players be able to steal items from other players?
A: You cannot steal items, there are death penalties and these relate to raw resources. So when a player dies, a portion of your raw resources you’re carrying are dropped. If your freehold is destroyed, there is a portion of your raw resources that are dropped. Same with caravans. But no gear dropping or completed items (unless you are corrupted).
Q: Since religions are part of the node system, will that relate to crusades?
A: In a way, yes. There will be conflict between the different religions and friction between them. One thing that might not be present at launch is how religion relate from a patronship to a particular node and offer incentives for them to co-operate with other nodes that follow the same religion or war on those nodes that dont follow their same religion, so somewhat like crusades, but this might happen for a future expansion.
Q: How can small guilds build up a node like larger guilds?
A: The key point – guilds dont necessarily build nodes. Guilds are a smaller portion of a community. Guilds might explore deeper and establish an encampment, but they wont be able to establish nodes by their lonesome. Nodes will require a lot more effort. What smaller guilds do have is that within the guild progression, they can choose to have more players or have smaller numbers and provide specific skills and abilities, there are unique quests and activites that are tailored to small and focused guilds, also activities that limit the number of participants.
Q: How many buildings can I build on my freehold?
A: Roughly 4-5 (?), but the better way to explain it is that to find efficiency in the space that you have. Placement and finding synergies will be very important to get the best bank for your buck. It’s like playing tetris with buildings, yes.
Q: Will cities have unique names, can we change them?
A: They will not be player created names, but they will be player chosen names based on region etc. Chosen from a list.
Q: You mentioned losing a siege destroys the node, any way to delevel it instead?
A: No. Losing a siege destroys the node.
Q: Since vassal nodes cannot war against their parent nodes, is there no way to cause civil war without renouncing citizenship?
A: No, there is currently no way to do so and there’s no plans to do so. Best thing to do is revoke your citizenship and try to take down that node by joining a different node.
Q: What constraints does a parent node enforce on its vassals in comparison to a free node?
A: A parent and vassal relationship primarily benefits them. The major restrains apply to the mayors and their duties. Most importantly when it comes to diplomacy and tax rates, these get superceded by the government of the parent node.
Q: According to the AoCwiki, underrealm nodes and nodes above them are not related, so how do they relate?
A: We department from prior ideas of shared ZOI, so the wiki will need to update that. Regarding how nodes below/above each other are related – we consider adjacency using 3D as vassal/parent nodes.
Q: Will there be parts of the world outside the node system or spaces between them where actions dont affect them?
A: Coastal areas of the sea fall under ZOI, deep international waters, this is something that needs testing in alpha 2 particularly. But on land no, all falls under the node, regarding sea needs Alpha 2 testing.
Q: Can we get more details on how node progress affects mob scaling?
A: There is a spawn table in the world that spawns monsters. The spawn table has a wide range of difficulties. As the node levels up, it upgrades the spawn table. Traditionally in MMORPG’s you have starter zones and end-game zones, which has a negative impact as players dont visit older areas. This leaves new players entering dead zones. We want nodes to influence areas, with diversification of monsters that can be found anywhere, so when new players enter in, they enter a live-breathing world. A low level player can travel anywhere on the map as there will be paths with relative safety.
Q: Will there be node bound gear or recipies – armor/gear that ties to a node?
A: We havent mentioned this system, but we will have personalized gear that represents a guild, similarly it applies to nodes as well where players can represent the node appearance with the crest etc. However if the node goes away, so does the appearance of that gear.
Q: Are quests geographically limited to the node?
A: No. We want to send you all over the world. There’s going to be local and far distance quests.
Q: WIll nodes near the 3 starting portals have slower progression?
A: There are 4 starting gateways, it’s almost certain that nodes in the starting area will see development faster. There is a chance that one server might have a large portion of the community rush to push a certain node. We want it to feel organic, dont want to bias it. Nodes will rise and fall and that’s okay.
Q: Leadership will be able to customize what gets built, beyond that how different are the metros and what differences will be able to see, canals? Multiple elevations? Or essentially the same layout?
A: Every metropolis will be different, no they wont have the same layout. Geographical markers such as rivers etc will be fixed and wont change on node progression. The procedural process of the node tool allows bridges and canals to be placed randomly each time a node develops. As nodes level, there is a sense of history. A merchant at a spot in level 3 might have a shop at level 5. Each time a node builds in the same spot, it will be different each time. Long defended metros will become an iconic part of the history.
Q: Since node types pre-determined, how will vassal nodes of different types affect their parent node?
A: A level 4 military node will maintain its identity regardless of who it is a vassal to. It only changes when a metropolis exercises their super power which affects things. The idea of parent and vassal nodes, the way it works is, it doesnt restrict vassals, it only benefits them and offers them more. Its meant to offer benefits, not take away freedom. Vassals maintain their identity and obtain benefits of their parent node.
That wraps up all the questions, we’re going to be discussing scientific nodes next followed by the other types, and then delve into governments and player agencies, religions, classes etc. There is going to be – next week, that the next cosmetic set comes out with the Nikua race. Coastal Tribal race (Nikua). Next livestream is still due on last friday but it might change depending on plans. Thank you all for tuning in and thank you for your support!