NODE SERIES – PART TWO – THE METROPOLISFriday, April 21, 2017
Hi everyone, this is Steven Sharif, Creative Director here at Intrepid Studios. Welcome to part 2 of our Node series. If you haven’t already, I’d recommend you take a look at Part one in our 4 part video series on nodes, it’s a great introduction to the system’s overall purpose and design.
Node Series – Part 1
The Metropolis. The pinnacle of civilization. A symbol of the power and ingenuity of the People. It is wilderness conquered, mastered, and remade in your own image.
The Metropolis is effectively the culmination of the Node system – it’s the biggest thing that players can bring into being, and the final level of civilization’s development on this forgotten world. The Metropolis requires a large amount of resources to develop and maintain, and because of how Nodes relate to one another, there can be no more than five in existence at any time.
So you might naturally ask, what does it do?
To answer that question, we need to know what civilization offers in general. Every stage of a Node’s development comes with additional services and benefits, and these services really start to pick up at stage 3, the village stage. One of the foremost services that a Node offers is housing, and through that, citizenship, and citizenship is a big deal. There are three primary means of acquiring housing, the first is our in-node housing.
It’s here that players can begin buying static housing. These buildings belong to the Node, and as a Node levels up, this housing levels up with it. A player will be able purchase a small one room house, at the village stage. When the Node advances up to a town, so does that house. The owner enjoys the benefits of a suddenly larger home – his property size increases, his house is located more toward the center of town, and the square footage of his home has gone up considerably. There’s new property available at the Town Stage, but this new property is more akin to what was available at the previous stage, small and modest. Now when the Node advances up further, this time to a Metropolis, this all happens again. The player’s house, already sizable, grows into a mansion, The number of mansions in a metropolis will be the same number of small homes that were available in this metropolis’ village stage. Only those houses that existed at the Village level will ever become these main street mansions. So effectively at each stage the node advances, you will see the existing homes advance as well. This makes getting in early for a node, pretty important. And introduces a real estate aspect to owning in-node property. I know what you’re thinking, and the answer is yes, you CAN sell these properties.
These in-node housing options are at a premium, and we expect these to be hotly contested. But if you want to be a citizen and there are no more in-node housing spots available, you do have some options! For instance, at the Town stage and above, your Node’s politicians will have the option to open up instanced apartments. These are internal only spaces, which can be decorated to your desire. Different price points will offer different sized apartments, and apartment rentals will also offer citizenship. They won’t have external spaces to build out, and they aren’t quite as prestigious as in-node housing, but they’ll still offer some housing functionality to those who really want to be a citizen of a specific node. The prices for these apartments will fluctuate depending on the number of units already sold in the city.
The final type of housing available are our freeholds. These pieces of property can be built anywhere within a Node’s Zone of Influence, and only after a Node reaches stage 3, the Village stage. These are sizable plots of land that all sorts of structures can be built on. Inns, taverns, forges, smelters, lumber yards, mills, stables, are all things that you might find on a Freehold. These plots of land are where a player can really get creative with their buildings. Because they’re built within a Node’s Zone of Influence, they grant citizenship as well! The larger the Node, the bigger its Zone of Influence is, which means more Freeholds can be built!
As you may know, nodes have 4 different types, Scientific, Economic, Militaristic, and Divine. These types unlock different buildings at each level of Node progression, contributing progressively larger benefits at each stage of a nodes development. At the Metropolis stage, these benefits are so wide reaching that a Scientific Metropolis is going to feel very different from an Economic Metropolis and a Divine Metropolis will feel very different from a Militaristic Metropolis. Not only will these cities feel different, but the regions these giant cities belong to will feel different as well.
Different types of Metropolises will have specific ultimate bonuses. For example, a Scientific Metropolis will offer fast travel to Nodes within its zone of influence, this is big because there is very little fast travel in the game.. A world with even just one Scientific Metropolis will feel and act much differently than a world without it. Similarly, an Economic Metropolis brings world changing functionality to the table. Normally markets are local, and players can buy from and sell to only those players who are in the same Node. Economic Metropolises break that convention, and they have the capability to build a market that integrates with all the Nodes in their zone of influence, providing for a far larger market than any other Metropolis could hope for. Divine and Militaristic Nodes also break world convention in one way or another – in other words everything changes once a Node reaches the Metropolis level.
Along with those benefits, node type also determines the type of government that a Node has. The most traditional government comes from the Scientific node, which allows the citizens to come together and choose their leaders. The Divine type, allocates its leaders through service oriented quests, quests that directly help others and their Node, quests that prove their faith and dedication to the node. Economic type governments are run by an Elite Oligarchy. These positions can be bought and sold, so if you want to rule an Economic type Node, make sure your coin purse is heavier than your competition. Finally, the Militaristic type is rule by combat. Whoever are the last ones standing have proven their worth to lead, by iron fist and sharpened blade. These warriors can only be removed from office by citizens who are better and more bloodthirsty than they.
Once a leader is chosen, they have a lot to do. Outside the basic services that a Node provides, leaders must choose what other service buildings to construct, which means they should have a clear plan for what they want to accomplish during their tenure. Some buildings might simply provide a zone-wide bonus to their citizens, others might provide expanded markets, some may increase a Node’s ability to defend against a siege. There is only so much space for these kinds of buildings, so the leadership will need to choose well in order to keep their citizens happy. Along that same line, leaders will need to tax their populations to provide these services, to construct these buildings, and to keep Node atrophy at bay. Too much and their populations will abandon them, too little, and the Node will decay and de-level. Savvy leaders can supplement their Node’s income with trade routes and trade agreements with other Nodes (be sure to provide some armed escorts for those caravans!),. Absentee leaders need not apply, as every leader can be replaced in the next election cycle.
Citizens and only citizens reap the reward of the Metropolis, gaining the benefits that their taxes pay for. Additionally citizens can gain titles according to their position within society. Most of these are reserved for those who have been with the Metropolis longest, but late comers can earn their way to the top with enough effort and guile. Only Citizens can participate in government, and the different election processes. If their leaders have built marketplaces, Citizens can set up shop there by purchasing time from the city, and paying taxes on the goods they’ve sold.
In Ashes of Creation, what is built can be destroyed, and Metropolises are no different. But we feel that the effort to destroy something must be equitable with the effort to build something. Because of this, the higher level a Node is, the more difficult and challenging the task of initiating a siege is. That means that sieging a Metropolis will be an act of epic and world shattering proportions. The success or failure of that siege will be written into the history books and likely impact every person on that world. Should it succeed, the Metropolis will be deleveled, or even destroyed, erasing the global benefits that it once provided while at the same time opening up the opportunity for another Node to take its place. Maybe one of a different type, maybe one lead by a tyrant, or maybe none at all. Should that siege fail, that means that the hopes and dreams of the attackers (who should be legion in number) have been thwarted, and the status quo will endure.
As I said in the beginning, Metropolises are the pinnacle of civilization. They represent this through their size, through their systems, and through their citizens. Their weight is felt across the world, and once one is established everything will change. For the better, or for the worse? Well, that’s up to you.
I hope you have enjoyed this overview of the Metropolis. We have so much to share with you about Ashes during our development. Everyone here at Intrepid Studios is so appreciative of the support that you have shown us, and it means so much to have you with us along the way. Please subscribe to our social media outlets, and make sure to register on our website for updates.
Our Kickstarter begins on May 1st, we look forward to building Ashes of Creation into the MMORPG that we can all be proud of.