Nodes are the central building block for Ashes of Creation, and seeing them level up or level down is a big element of what makes the game feel dynamic, as outlined in the most recent development diary. But there’s more to it than just pumping resources into a node arbitrarily. You level up a node by doing things in the area of influence for that node, with your character’s culture also being tracked to determine the dominant look of that node as it advances to the highest stage and gains lesser vassal nodes around it.
Of course, the leveling process can work in the other direction as well. Nodes can be downgraded based on experience deficit alone if players simply avoid the node itself, but larger nodes can be outright brought under siege and destroyed. Check out the full development rundown to get an idea of how nodes operate, both in development and in demolition. Which is a good thing, since we were promised more posts like this when the game’s alphas and launch were delayed.