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Ashes of Creation to Change Theme Park and Sandbox MMO Gameplay with Node System

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Intrepid Studios' upcoming Unreal Engine 4 MMORPG Ashes of Creation wants to bring a change to the root of theme park and sandbox MMOs, with what they call the Nodes. The developer believes that in terms of gameplay, current themepark MMOs are at its core all about repetition, while sandbox MMOs always end up a vast but dead world with no human touch.


 
Nodes are their solution to the problems the current MMORPG genre has. So what are Nodes? According to the developer:

Players in Ashes of Creation will find themselves thrust into the forefront of an inhospitable world filled with bountiful undiscovered treasure and ancient evils lurking just over the horizon. The very first pioneers into Ashes of Creation will find the wilderness a bleak reality, but even the harshest environments can be tamed. This is where Nodes come into play. Encompassing the entirety of our world's playable areas are carefully placed points of possible development, which we call Nodes. These Nodes in their undeveloped form will not be visible to the players at first. However, as our intrepid players venture out into the wilderness with a variety of quests and tasks from their starting zones, these nodes will begin to absorb the activity in its radius zone of influence. In practice this will look like a band of friends completing quests or fighting monsters for sweet loot, searching for treasures, or delving into a dungeon... progressing their characters as all MMO players are familiar with, but critically they will also be progressing the world around them.

The Node system is the backbone of many of the game's systems. A Node tracks all player activity within the particular area this Node covers. As a Node develops and progresses, it generates contents, and there are 6 stages of Node development: Expedition, Encampment, Village, Town, City, and Metropolis. From a few hours to a few weeks, each stage will last a certain amount of time, but the more advanced stage the Node is in, the longer time it takes to develop to the next stage. "At every stage, the game radically changes for that region. Allowing paths to be taken by the players that dictate the world’s development around them," says the developer.
 
Do you think this system will make the game world a truly living one?

Source: Dev blog
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