ASHES OF CREATION

Metagaming • Last Updated 2022-9-22 • Read Time 12min • Discord

Services We Can & Should Develop Before Game Release
AoC will not allow add-ons, which is a good thing imo, but it also means certain things will need to be tracked manually to keep a large alliance running efficiently. Below are some things we can create web services for before or right on launch.

Map Side-Tracker: Since the in-game world map will start with a fog-of-war and map information gathered in-world will be innacurate, a secondary map out-of-game for tracking relevant points of interest, guild buildings, resources, and meeting/raid locations will be useful.
Professions Needed: Jobs and activities that require skilled labor (and their level) being listed for a guild will make it easy to determine where gaps exist and what is worth spec'ing into to help the guild or the node and turn a profit.
Item Request List: Items and gear requested by members for personal projects; higher rank in the guild and higher node contributions will give priority to requests.
We can also list resources needed for guild projects and resource redistribution (EVE Online has proven redistributive systems are more successful).
BIS Chart: Listing, categorizing, and rating all gear and slotable items as well as min-max statistics for best possible builds in mid and end game.
Mount Chart: Which mounts move fastest on land versus water, deal the most damage, and so on.
Ship Chart: Best boat builds for transport, sieges, etcetera.

We will also add notes as the game develops like:
• It is 500 gold to register a guild and you need five people present to start one.
• It costs 20k gold for the three basic utility buildings in a village.
• It costs 1k-25k gold to buy a house in a village.



The Map Meta
There are 85 nodes (plus 15 castle nodes) to choose from on a server, and for staging a metropolis (level 6) node you would probably want to choose one with harbor access since harbors allow for extra commerce, additional travel routes, direct access to ocean content, greater military projection, and thereby a means to control an entire coastline on top of your node's regular ZOI. You would also probably want to avoid picking a node that is along the outer perimeter of the world since those nodes are the furthest away from all other nodes and take the longest to get to. Nodes with direct access to many biomes are also preferable since this allows a greater variety of resources and mobs to be collected. Regardless of the exact node placements, which will change with development and have changed drastically since the maps below were made many months ago, this analysis still holds true, making it relevant for node choices and freehold placements.

There is a large unknown variable that would effect your decision, which are the node types; they are predetermined and not decided by the players. Which nodes have which types are not currently known. Despite this, we still believe the economic nodes are likely to be the best for ZOI control since they grant the greatest economic opportunities — you can better fix prices on items, acquire special items easier, and if well-coordinated, arm your guildmates better via controlled item distributions. The second best will likely be the scientific node since it also offers a lot of economic opportunities as well as fast travel, which would allow for rapid long-range deployment of combatants. Different candidates for ideal metropolis placements are shown in the map below with pros and cons weighed underneath.


The world map has changed drastically since the above graphic was made.

A is in the direct center of the world, and while this allows boat access to the greatest number of nodes anywhere else on the map, it is probably a horrible place to try to build a metropolis. This is because it can also be directly seiged by boat from the greatest number of nodes on the map, it only has access to one biome, its biome is flat plains which allows for incredibly easy staging of land-based siege weaponry, is likely to be a highly contested area since again it is the center of the world, and if all that wasn't bad enough, the second map below shows that it only shares a border with two other nodes, making its ZOI incredibly inefficient.

B, C, & D are seemingly stronger option than A since they share borders with more nodes, including the beginner spawn areas, have direct access to more biomes, their bays have clear means to blockade unwanted vessels from entering, and their immediately surrounding biomes are forest (except for D), which will likely make it more difficult to stage siege weapons. However, being next to beginner spawn areas will probably make them more regularly contested nodes, and their bays can just as easily be blockaded by enemies from the outside.

E is an exception to the perimeter rule since it has lots of natural protection (it is surrounded by mountains), the forested area will likely make it hard to stage seige weapons, its bay can be easily blockaded and controlled, it shares a border with five nodes (if you count the island node), and is otherwise in the middle of the continent. The downside is that it is a perimeter node, so it's harbor is far from everything else, and lacks biome diversity (direct access to only two biomes if you don't count the ocean). Since originally writting about this, this area of the map has been drastically changed and no longer exists, RIP.

S was a perfect area in our analysis. It had direct access to four different biomes (five if you count the water content), shared a border with five other nodes (six are in its ZOI if leveled up all the way), had lots of natural protection from the mountains and forest, making it difficult to stage a seige, was not near a beginner spawn area making it less likely to be regularly contested, had access to a very long waterway that was also incredibly easy to defend since there were many points that could be blockaded, and the land directly northeast of it was a chokepoint between the two halves of the continent, making it likely that a land blockade would be possible there as well. But since the map change, this area no longer exists.
   However, the alternatively marked node directly to the northeast still exists and has harbor access to the open ocean for the entire north-west quadrant of the map. That node would make a great metropolis with all the same pros as the original S.
   Another alternative is the marked peninsula south-west of S. It gives access to a very long coastline as well as more of the open ocean. The downside here is that there is only one biome type and as the node map below shows, the harbor for the node is likely to be placed on the island rather than the peninsula, making it so that you can only access the node by boat. While this is a great position for commerce, it is not great for defense since it can be accessed via boat on all sides and by many surrounding nodes. But if you just want to make money, then this island area looks very promising.



Additionally, there are six levels to node development (not including the default zero-level) and only by the third level is there player housing. AoC public docs say the third level will take a few days to advance to. The goal for whatever initial node is picked would be to also develop and ally/vassal all surrounding nodes immediately, trying to develop those all to level 3 within a week of launch. This is due to how housing costs will work, where the later in development you become a citizen of a node, the higher the taxes will be for you. You would want lots of guildmates in on surrounding nodes early on, giving them more influence over those nodes in the longrun. There is an atrophy or de-leveling system for nodes that may make this impossible to accomplish without a very large starting force.



Spies, Subterfuge, & Interdiction
Intelligence gathering will likely be hugely beneficial in this game since things like node sieges will halt trade on the stock exchange of the effected node, allowing for economic sabotage. Having a well-connected and active spy network will mitigate most major threats and allow for internal manipulation of surrounding guilds/nodes to ally with you rather than war with you. You can acheive this by having one alt character per member account used to infiltrate guilds/alliances the primary guild is in competition with.

A way to stop the same strategy from working on your own guild is to regularly schedule meetings for members (at varying locations and days of the week) that they are required to be in-game for, but then occasionally and without warning use the meetings to instead launch sieges or raids with all members present. This ensures high turn-out and participation but does not directly tip-off potential spies from competing guilds/nodes as to when they will be hit or what your plans are before the plans are executed.

Taverns will be real social hubs in AoC, with gambling and mini-games (blackjack and hookers), as well as localized and private chat, so they can probably be used for meets and trading that you want to keep out of public view.

As for interdiction operations, meaning inturupting supply lines, caravans are an obvious mechanic that can, and are designed to, be attacked. However, because this is a built-in mechanic that lots of players are incentivized to join and defend from attack, it might not be valuable to attack a caravan. Conversly, if the incentives for attacking a caravan are higher than defending it, then caravans will just never be a good option for delivering goods netween nodes. Either way, it will be valuable to look into pirate activites on the high seas. Sacking transport ships and offering protection services for boats will likely be very lucrative. Controlling boat movements along a coastline will also function as a softpower influence over the caravan trading for the nodes connected to that coastline since they won't be able to do any major importing/exporting from their harbors and will be forced to use caravans that will in turn be more vulnerable to attack than normal. There will probably be naval guilds entirely dedicated to performing the activities just described.



Party Structure Meta
We believe rapid partying might be important to make parties work efficiently in AoC. Rapid partying into preset member configurations gives you an advantage since having a full well-rounded party in 10 seconds lets you attack or respond to an attack while your enemy is still trying to form their own parties. But it takes a little practice to work smoothly. Even if it's not that advantageous, if you want to be a large and influential guild you will probably have to recruit players that are willing to volunteer exorbitant amounts of time and stay very active, so if you have those kinds of players there is no harm in also teaching them how to rapidly party-up.

There are three basic unit types — healer/buffer (Cleric and Bard), tank (literally the Tank), and DPS (all other classes). Parties in AoC come in sizes of 8 maximum, and the ideal configuration from the information known so far seems to be 1 Cleric and 1 Bard (healer and buffer), 2 Tanks (damage sponges), and 3 support (Mage, Summoner, Rogue, Fighter, or Ranger) that are dedicated to playing mid-field, meaning they help keep heat off the healers/buffers as well as work on dealing damage, with the last slot being any class working on top of the others, providing redundancy in the structure. This also applies to raid groups, where you would likely want to keep the same ratio for their ideal configuration.

If there are not enough healers/buffers and there are still leftover players, they could form an auxilary party that acts as a compliment to the lead party.



Miscellaneous
System requirements are currently listed here.

As the servers for AoC are based on timezones as well as geographic regions, the majority of people playing with us will most likely be west-coast North-Americans. For this reason I propose we start a server alliance called the Greater Western Co-Prosperity Sphere (GWCPS), which serves as a reference to both WWII and EVE Online, many of whose players are likely to migrate to AoC.