ALBION ONLINE DETAILS THE ARTIFACT SYSTEM

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When Albion Online‘s final beta kicks off on August 1st, players are going to deal with Artifacts. They’re the most powerful items in the game, the sort of equipment that people tell stories about, and they’re explained in depth in a video just below. Each Artifact comes with important stats and spells embedded therein, making them major increases to the power of any character in the game. But you won’t find them by simply wandering the world and smacking things… at least, not only by doing that.

Artifacts are crafted using pieces of weapons and armor that have a great deal of power associated with them, so it’s not a matter of just killing a boar and looting a sword from it. The video explains that you’ll instead find a blade, which you can then bring back to a crafter, who can in turn make the blade into an Artifact. The final test will have 18 available Artifacts, but the plan for the launch game is to include 81 of these powerful items. Check out the full video for more details on the system.

ALBION ONLINE SIX MONTH ROADMAP

Drawing inspiration from Ultima Online, the small team at Sandbox interactive continues to impress as Albion Online development moves forward. Now that their month long Closed Alpha testing is complete, the development team has reviewed all feedback and metrics gathered and straightened their focus a bit more with their latest 6 month roadmap.

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For those that may be unfamiliar with the title, Albion Online is a single server, cross platform (Mac, Linux, Windows, iOS, and Android) sandbox title that encourages customization through a “no class restriction” character system, fully player driven economy, and open world PvP combat. Since the entire experience takes place on one server, players can jump from device to PC and continue their travels.

Several new features, and improvements on existing features, are part of the latest roadmap. This includes farming. Players can tend their own crops and livestock and use the spoils to gain buffs, required crafting materials, and even raise mounts. PvP seige camps will be replacing neutral castles so that guilds without a castle of their own can move in, take over, and launch their own offensive against neighboring guild castles. Mob difficulty will also be adjusted on the PvE front so that monster strength scales based on the number of players attacking it.

That’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg though as new solo content, a “soft” death for new players, and a new mission system are all on the drawing board. Check out the extensive roadmap and we’ll keep you posted when the next Alpha test has an official date. If you are curious though, the current schedule has the next Winter Alpha scheduled as mid/late January.

I Loving Albion Online for the five reasons

In many ways, Albion Online feels like a game that was made for me. I like to think I’ve been a pretty vocal supporter of the “sandbox” style of MMORPGs of the years, trumpeting how their open-ended nature often gives rise to far more interesting interactions between players rather than the typical fare you see when playing your average MMO. Most online games regulate player interaction into a dirty corner of their theme park, hiding it under a tarp and only letting it out after sundown as an attempt to scare away those few stragglers still wandering the park. You maybe chat to your guild, run a dungeon with a few strangers (one of whom will quit the very first time you wipe on a boss), and the rest of your time is spent the same way you would spend it in a shopping mall: desperately trying not to make eye contact with anyone else while all navigating cruelly narrow corridors.

But Albion Online is a bit different, it doesn’t just relish in player interaction, it enforces it so brutally and mercilessly that unless you’re some kind of masochist you wouldn’t dare think of playing the game without a guild at your back. I like that. I like that a lot. I also like other things about Albion Online, so many, in fact, I decided to type up a few.

Specialization is the Name of the Game

In Albion Online, there is no such thing as being a jack of all trades. Sure, you could try, but you’ll more likely end up being this amorphous blob of not overly useful abilities and skills that no one will want to really spend a lot of time with. Abandoning the tired philosophy of player levels, Albion Online instead introduces a system called a “Destiny Board” which helps guide your time in the game.

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So if you spend a lot of time chopping down trees, eventually that branch of the Destiny Board will begin to fill in. But what Albion Online does that I love is make the board so diverse and each branch requiring such an investment, that is really becomes impossible to do everything. Instead, you’ll need to narrow down and focus on only a handful of pursuits.

Now, this idea isn’t entirely original, but Albion Online takes it even further. Not only are things specialized, they’re like, uh, super specialized. Even as a crafter, expecting to be able to make every type of item is incredibly naive. You’ll eventually have to focus on just a handful of items, like making bows or hammers or leather armor. This idea also extends to everything else in the game, like different types of armor, weapons, farming, and gathering. You’ll only really be able to focus on a small slice of the Destiny Board, which really sets the stage for the next big element of Albion Online that I am enjoying.

It’s Actually Massively Multiplayer

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Lately, I’ve really been feeling like most MMORPGs have been dropping the first and, to an extent, second ‘M’ further and further down the list of priorities. Sure, queueing up for a dungeon using the various group finder tools puts you in a group with other players, but the fact that most games use “cross-server” grouping tools, meaning most of the players you run the dungeon with you will never see again, makes the difference between playing with a group of living, breathing humans and a group of semi-aware game-playing robots extremely slim. If it wasn’t for the fact that the tank keeps trying to rush the group despite the healer’s pleas to slow down, would you even know if those were real people?

Albion Online, by comparison, puts the ‘MM’ in MMORPG right at the front and center. Since specializing is so central to the core progression of the game, you will reach a point where you simply cannot progress without a network of other players willing to help you out. It’s one of the few games I’ve played in the past few years where having a guild actually felt like a requirement and not just a way to alleviate the boredom of grinding.

Though the closed beta is only a few days in, I’m already experiencing how the brutal grind of Albion Online is forcing player communities closer together. Doing anything of note in the game will take you a lot of time, and doing everything of note would take more time than I could ever suggest someone spend on a game. So you have to lean on other players and work together in order to both succeed.

The Map is Massive

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Having a large map isn’t exactly a reason to kneel down and declare any MMORPG “King of All”, but I do appreciate the way the size of Albion Online’s map adds a rather interesting nuance to how you approach the game. Simply put, the territories that span from one coast to another between Albion’s two large continents makes the game world feel positively massive. But the key thing that makes this a good thing instead of a run-of-the-mill feature is the fact that, unlike other MMOs, there is no baked in-game reason to go from one territory to the next. For example, most MMORPGs will feature a chain of quests that conveniently tours you around from location to location on a grand adventure. In Albion, however, you’re merely dropped into one of the few starter towns with nothing but the underwear on your groin and no clue where to go.

The differences between zones are subtle at best, but the way population and harvesting resources works encourages players to fan out and find their own little slice of land to call home. Sure, hanging out next to the big cities is a good idea if you need the convenience of a nearby market, but it also comes with the downside that the nearby hinterlands are all but entirely farmed for useable resources and monsters.

This is a feature I love about sandbox MMORPGs because it inspires you to get out there and find your own place in the world. Unlike most typical MMOs, where you go on your big adventure and then spend the rest of your life sitting in the main city waiting for dungeon queues, Albion Online encourages you to find an area and get comfortable. It’s entirely feasible that players could spend their entirely in-game lives in one region, never venturing to explore others because they’re comfortable where they are.

Gathering is a Chore but has Nuance

Being in closed beta, it’s no surprise that Albion Online is rough around the edges. One of the areas is particularly in need of refinement is gathering. In Albion, how much you are carrying affects how fast you move, so going on farming runs for resources out in the world can become exceedingly tedious when you eventually become so weighted down you move at a crawl. Fortunately, you can ride an ox or a horse to help take some of the burden, but then you’re constantly switching between the two in a way that is painfully tedious. It needs work.

But that said, I’m starting to appreciate gathering in a sort of therapeutic zen way. Unlike the standard method of gathering in other MMOs, where resource nodes magically appear in the world to be harvest, Albion Online treats its resources in a far more realistic way. Simply put, out in the wild everything is a resource in some form. Every tree you see can be chopped down and just about every stone can be cut. But this also comes with the consequences of over-farming a resource since they need time to regenerate in-between being harvested. Like I said earlier, the zones surrounding cities tend to be barren of anything of value as so much traffic is passing through.

This hunt for resources becomes a game in itself, however. I’m almost embarrassed to admit how excited I became when I happened upon a whole grove of untouched chestnut trees one day when I was already overloaded with goods. I hastily ran back to town, unloaded my goods, and returned, half expecting to find the miraculous find already picked clean by other players. When it wasn’t, I happily set to chopping each tree down.

As time goes on, you start to learn your surroundings on a level that supersedes the way you learn your surroundings in other MMOs. You learn where the good pockets of resources are located and you begin to develop an attachment to your surroundings as you begin to understand them better. I think that’s really neat.

The Potential for Politics

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Albion Online still has a long way to go until its mechanics are as in-depth as other sandbox games like EVE Online, but already there is a firm foundation for the same kind of potential that made EVE so awesome to begin with. Past a large wall which extends from one shore to another lies the dangerous reaches of player versus player territory where guilds can capture settlements and wage wars against one another. It’s exciting and dangerous place to be because Albion Online doesn’t mess around with its PVP content. If you die out there in the dangerous areas of the world, you drop everything you have on you.

But the nature of the game also means that guilds will need to work together in order to succeed. Holding a large amount of territory is going to require nothing less than a massive infrastructure and logistical network of crafters, gatherers, and soldiers to defend your kingdom from attack. While the system right now lacks the nuanced features like alliance to alliance standings (so you can easily see who is neutral and who is an enemy) and other features that add more depth to it, the idea is more than solid enough to facilitate the same great intrigue and drama that makes EVE Online such a compelling game to read about.

It’s still got a long way to go but Albion Online is quickly shaping up to be one of the more interesting MMORPGs coming out next year. While it feels a bit barebones in several areas, and others need reworking entirely, the heart of the game is one that I’m pretty excited about. Even typing this, I cannot wait to get back online and see what my guild is up to. Listed above are just a few of the reasons why.

Have you had a chance to play Albion Online yet? Even if you haven’t, what do you think about it so far? Let us know in the comments!

Albion Online Now Gets a New Death Mechanic Similar to Guild Wars 2’s

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A big content update dubbed Cador has been live in Albion Online. An interesting new feature is the new death mechanic which will have a player knocked down first, when their hit points run out first. An opposing player or mob then needs to move in for an execution, resulting in an additional strategic component in battles. This is very similar to Guild Wars 2’s downed state and death.

Other new content includes a new furniture item Repair Kits, with which you can place practically anywhere in the world that will then serve as a convenient repair station. The developer has simplified the armor system to improve the readability so our players more easily know what’s what.


What’s more, there are 2 new types of dungeons: the Mines and the Shanties. They are Heretic-themed and offer the gateway dungeon experience to low-tier solo players and small groups. You can see all new stuff and improvement here.

ALBION UPGRADES ITS PRIVATE ISLANDS, TALKS MAP-MAKING

Albion Online released a couple of dev updates this week. The first focused on private islands, and more specifically, how you can upgrade the number of plots which gives you additional decoration, building, and farming options. During November’s closed beta test, Sandbox Interactive will introduce laborers, which are basically NPC gatherers for hire.

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Also this week, we got a glimpse into the developers’ map-making process, from landscape design to fleshing out the world including NPCs, resource nodes, and more.

New Albion Online Trailer Shows Off New Features

With less than a week to go before the official Alpha test starts for Albion Online, the devs have decided to showcase the latest features coming to the game. Albion Online is a free to play cross-platform sandbox MMO made by Sandbox Interactive. Check out the new trailer down here.
Mounts can now be used by players to help them achieve their goals and travel faster in the world of Albion Online. However, each mount has different abilities players can take advantage of. The horse travels faster, while the oxen can facilitate and transport large amount of goods. Fast travel is also available during the Alpha, which will allow players to travel quickly between regions in the world. Players can fast-travel by means of ships that they can find near harbors. Caution is advised though, as when you travel through PvP conflicted areas, your goods you carry with you can be taken away or lost forever. So be cautious!

Guild Alliances will allow players to bring some serious advantages in the dangerous world of Albion Online. When players decide that they want to reach the top with their guild, they can opt in to become an alliance so they can further spread their influences across the world.
Fight for your right to stay in the city!

Player cities are added to the game, bringing a whole new region for players to investigate and build their homes in. At first, the cities will be empty, allowing players to come in and fight other players for their own piece of land in the city so they build a home. That’s right, players can conquer, siege, and govern in these cities, allowing for a whole bunch a freedom. However, players must watch out for other guilds, who will with no doubt have their eyes set on claiming the city for their own. Be ready at all times!

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