Albion Online Private Islands

A couple of you requested that I post a video showing off the private islands in Albion Online. Well here you go!

I think I goofed this part in the video so read on. You can purchase a private island once you have enough silver or gold. You can buy a private island fairly cheap once you have the silver, but it also requires that at the time of purchase you be a premium member. To become a premium member, or get premium status, you pay either gold, silver, or real money. Don’t bother paying silver — it’s ridiculous. Pay gold or $15/month.

Once you have premium status, you can buy the island. As of writing this post, you are NOT required to maintain premium status to keep your island. You just need it at the time of purchase.

Once you have your island you can continue paying gold or silver to upgrade. Upgrading adds more lots for building on the island.

Albion Online Private Island Farming

Depending on what you want to gear your economy or interests toward, you can put anything from crafting buildings to farms to houses on those lots. I’ve gone for an economy build of sorts with farm land, a stables, and a saddler. I want to raise livestock then sell them as mounts — or something.

So what’s the benefit of a private island you ask? Couple of things.

  • Guaranteed space of my own. In the real — open — world, space is somewhat limited. Although the world IS huge, it’s like UO. It’s still finite.
  • Guaranteed safety. I do not have to worry about being ganked. Again, think stepping outside your house in UO when there are gankers about.

What’s the downside? Mainly resources. The real, open world out there has the resources you need. Your private island has T1 resources. It’s more of a place to play farmville safely. I’m a fan.

I’ll develop this character’s island a bit more and showcase it for you in video. I’ll even show a bit of the process I go through to collect resources.

Any questions about Albion Online, housing, islands, crafting, etc? I’m happy to answer. Despite the game not launching (or coming close) until later this year, I am starting to pick it back up and play more. Sorta one of those moth of a flame things for me… it’s beta, but it’s fun.

Want to jump in and play during closed beta? Visit the official site to purchase a founders pack.

Albion Online: The Sandbox You Should Be Playing

Albion Online

Albion Online‘s Closed Beta Test is currently underway and I am playing once again in a world that has captivated my interest since the earliest phases of alpha.  Albion Online is a sandbox game where everything is built by, sold by, destroyed by — and all other by’s you can think of — the players. I feel overwhelmed by simply trying to explain the scope of the game, but I’m going to try and touch upon some of the features that I think are worth showing off.

Albion Online World Map

Big Open World

The world is really quite big. It’s broken up into starting cities. The one you start at seems to be random, but you can travel between them by paying for a ship to sail you. They are located in the bottom of the green safe areas as seen above. The green areas are completely safe areas where you can’t be ganked. The yellow zones are areas where players can flag themselves as hostile and attack anyone. However, if you die you do not lose your just — just durability on it. The red zones are FFA gank and be ganked, lose ALL your stuff, etc.

The world is crucial to the game’s economy and PvP. Players can select lots and build on them. Lots are available in cities and all over. The resources scale in tiers; Green areas you’ll have lower level resources and they level up as you move out.

The world feels large and separate because everything is localized. Your bank in Kingsmarket won’t be accessible in Queensmarket. If you collect 500 wood logs, spend the time refining them, and then sail away… you better be willing to go back and get those resources. This makes local economies important, local crafters important, etc. Players on one side of the map feel like they truly are a world apart — if you read this blog often you know that’s something I absolutely love.


Soooo Many Skills! Specialization Matters. Crafting Matters.

Simply put, there are a freak-ton of skills in Albion Online. Want to use heavy armor? Wear it and you’ll earn points by simply having it on and hunting. Want to make Bows and specialize into the best bow maker out there? Then make bows. It’s all really that simple.

Specializing takes time. Earning points by doing activities related to the skills you are trying to earn generates “fame.” Chopping a tree may earn you 15 fame, but you need 10,000 fame to advance to the next tier. That’s a lot of trees. Crafting a Bronze Tier 3 Breastplate may generate like 60 Fame, but when you need 2,000 fame that’s also a lot of breastplates. Good news is that most of the stuff I’ve made — actually all of it — has sold on the marketplace (auction house).

The weapons and armor you use are entirely up to you. Mix an match magical spells with plate armor, or bows with light armor, etc. All of the armor types come with different enchantments and benefits, so it’s up to you on the type of character you want to make. I think I’m leaning toward a caster in plate.

In terms of crafting, I want to make heavy armor (so I can use it and sell it) as well as some of the bigger weapons like swords, axes, and shields. Seems like people will be using a lot of these. And since it’s like UO where you lose your stuff when you die — and it breaks pretty fast — there will always be a demand for GOOD crafted items.

Build a House, Farm, City, Shop

You guys know me and my love of claiming a place and calling it my own. In Albion Online you can purchase (lease/rent) a plot of land out in the shared open-world, or you can purchase a private island (if you purchase while a premium member (stays if you unsubscribe)), where you can place your own buildings or farm, etc.

Owning property in a major city is a nice touch. There are stalls where you can purchase existing a lumber mill or a blacksmith or any number of well-desired properties. You can set a usage fee or tax so that anyone using your station will need to pay a fee that goes right to you. That’s pretty cool. Granted, when people jack that tax up to 999% it’s a bit of a douche move.


Some Downsides and/or Hurdles

There’s still work to be done on the chat interface which is honestly pretty bad still. Having to deal with the spam is outrageous. I haven’t figured out yet how to leave the global chat where everyone is spamming non-stop.

Playing alone will be tough. Due to the amount of specialization and features available for guilds and large groups of players, Albion Online is meant to be played with friends. If you are alone, be prepared to eventually hit a slight wall.

Premium Membership & “Cash Shop”

Right now you can technically earn a premium membership in-game, but that would take like 80,000+ silver for 30 days. That’s…. steep. If you want to jump into the closed beta you can purchase one of the founders packs and get in right away. The rewards are AMAZING at the Legendary level. You’ll get an Ox and a Horse. The Ox alone — which I have yet to purchase in-game — will be able to carry lots of resources for you. I’m hoping to get one soon.

If you have any questions about the game please let me know! Albion Online is fun enough that it’ll be a go-to game for me to play in addition to whatever else I’m playing. I find the farming and gathering fun enough to just go out and hoard resources.

If you want to join me in-game, check out the official website. If you end up becoming a founder send me a message ingame. You can find me somewhere near Kingsmarket gathering materials preparing to start my farming empire.

P.S. I have about 4 videos currently recorded in editing. I’ll get those up on Youtube. I also want to showcase more of my private island, crafting, pve, etc., in screenshots. Stay tuned!

Star Wars: Battlefront Beta Impressions (PC and PS4)

I got my hands on both the PC and PS4 beta for Star Wars: Battlefront last night! I played for about 4 hours between both systems, and definitely have some thoughts on what is easily one of my more anticipated games of the entire year.

Sorta “Meh” Sorta “Woah”

My first impressions were actually a bit flat. For the first half hour I was thinking along the lines of, “aw crap… this is it?” The graphics are gorgeous — especially on consoles which surprised me — but the gameplay was a huge letdown from what I was expecting.

Over the next few hours my opinion started to take on a little more shape. I unlocked a few more weapons, played several rounds of each mode, got to pilot all of the vehicles, etc. I really, really like the system of picking up tokens or powerups around the map to spawn vehicles. This is a brilliant alternative to camping vehicle spawns. Basically, you run around playing and there will be these faded blue hologram looking tokens that you pick up and suddenly you realize you can take control of a Snowspeeder or an AT-ST, or a TIE Interceptor, or become Darth Vader, etc.

Speaking of Darth Vader, the 40 player mode has the hero characters as tokens. I saw Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker running around the map all willy-nilly throwing their lightsabers, force jumping around, and basically slaughtering everyone. I was spawn camped by Darth Vader — that wasn’t very fun.  The heroes do have this sense of “WOAH” and are incredibly powerful. Vader threw his lightsaber 50 yard to kill me. I was too impressed to be pissed off.

The maps in the beta are really bad. I think this is where most of my “meh” comes from. The Hoth battle mode is a tiny map with a rather boring mechanic of having to either turn on or off these stations that call in Y-Wings to bombard AT-ATs lumbering toward the Rebel base. The other mode was way too deathmatchy for me and felt really small as well.

I wish the maps were larger, and the objectives more open or involved or something. I went in expecting Battlefield maps, but found myself in a relatively tiny map with boring, one dimensional objectives. They only feel larger because there’s this absolutely stunning and gorgeous skybox. They nailed the atmosphere.

Unlocks are decent, albeit a little simple. You rank up, earn credits, and buy unlocks as they become available. I don’t know if what we’re seeing is the beta version of the unlock system? I hope there’s more to it like some of the more involved Battlefield unlock and customization systems. Right now it’s more like you reach rank 4 and get the next blaster.

One of the best features is the party implementation. You can form a party and even choose one other person to be your partner. Graev and I formed our party and partnered each other allowing us to share our primary “hand” cards. Basically the secondary weapons like Thermal Detonators and sniper rifle cool downs.

Battlefront on PC vs PS4

Going in I thought I would be all about PC master race, but I enjoyed the PS4 version more. Battlefront controls beautifully on a console. On the PS4, the graphics and performance were beautiful 60fps and smooth. The controls were mapped perfectly — best flight controls I’ve experienced. The interface was 100% identical to the PC interface, so I’m betting consoles are the primary platform. There wasn’t a dedicated server browser either. You pretty much just chose the mode you want and clicked join. It found a server for you.

Tonight I’m going to record both versions and upload the video(s). I’ll shoot you guys a link in the comments or maybe make another post. Edit: Video is now available below.

Overall Impressions of Battlefront

I had fun; I can check that box, but something is still missing… The maps were small and boring in terms of what was involved despite having gorgeous graphics, amazing atmosphere, and capturing a realistic Star Wars feel. I hope more maps, modes, and features unlocked in the full version will give the game what it needs.

Rainbow Six Siege Closed Beta Impressions

Rainbow Six Siege Closed Beta

Holy smokes… I haven’t played a Rainbow Six game since like the Rogue Spear days. Anyone else remember the old school multiplayer platform? I think it started with an ‘M’ or something; Gamespy might have bought them. Anyway, wow, long time ago. Okay wait all of that might have been a lie — I think I tried one of the Rainbow Six games a few years ago like Ghost Recon or something. Does that count? Anyway…

I got my hands on a key for Rainbow Six Siege closed beta on the PS4. Graev got one too so that means we were able to play together in multiplayer (there is no campaign) and shoot some terrorists! Woot. The terrorist hunt modes have always been my favorite. Something about coming up on an embassy with terrorists hiding inside and having to storm the place and use strategy and planning makes for a great experience. I’ve always loved teaming up with four players going against AI.

Terrorist Hunt is back in R6S, but I feel like it’s missing a bit of the strategery that made the older games in the series more memorable. I haven’t seen a hostage rescue mode yet, which is one of the things I also loved from past games. There’s a mode where players go head to head against each other and one team defends while the other attacks. The act of having to do one or the other makes the matches feel way more real and involved than a simple deathmatch where you just roam the map trying to kill each other.

The maps are well-made, though, and I really like the destructible environments. Shooting through walls is satisfying. Repelling — holy crap it’s AWESOME! Going up, down, changing positions, etc., are all superb. Things like drones can be used to sneak around and drive under doors, taser people, etc. Wall defenses can be put up to reinforce structures from collateral or direct damage. Suffice it to say, lots of gadgets are cool in R6S

The system of unlocking “characters” so to speak is done by earning points while playing. Point gain is faster on harder difficulties, but so far it seems pretty slow. Oh, and characters are also classified as attackers or defenders for obvious reasons of being a terrorist or CT and having to defend and keep people out vs. having to break your way in.

Shooting mechanics are okay. R6S as a shooter in general isn’t anything to get uber hyped up for in terms of advancing the genre TOO far ahead from where we’re already at — especially in terms of graphics which are just ‘okay’ at best on PS4 — but the gameplay in general is nice.

My worst experience was definitely with load times. They are abysmal. Combine that with people purposely team killing and you get what amounted to 20 minutes of load screens with less than 5 minutes of play for me and Graev last night.

Check it out if you can. It’s worth playing for a couple of hours during this beta (which ends Oct 4) if for no other reason than the cool stuff like rappelling.

Thoughts on the Destiny Beta

I haven’t followed Destiny very closely at all, so when I started the beta I was pretty much going in blind. I do remember being excited about what I saw at the last E3, but now the hype has kicked into overdrive and September 9th can’t come soon enough.

I’m not entirely sure how you would classify Destiny as a game. Destiny is obviously a first-person shooter first and foremost, but the game is also heavily invested in several different kinds of online components. Destiny is not a MMOFPS, or at least I wouldn’t consider it one. Some people think that any game that has massive amounts of people playing online makes it an MMO but from my understanding it has always been about massive amounts of players actually playing together. You can’t really win here because there a lots of people on both sides who insist their definition is correct, but I’m getting a little off track here. Destiny is what I would consider a Persistent Online World, or I guess a POFPS. You can go to a social area and visit shops and so on and you are there with several other people but it seems pretty obvious that the area is instanced. When you are out doing story missions or just exploring there also seems to be a smaller smattering of players but that’s actually a good thing since a very crowded zone would pretty much ruin this kind of game.

So when I first started out I had to create a character. Of the three races and classes I went with Exo Hunter, which is pretty much a robot stalker-y type. Each character class gets their own set of abilities. I was able to throw a fire grenade and a throwing knife along with summoning a powerful fiery pistol as a sort of ultimate ability. I don’t know exactly what other classes can do but I’ve seen some interesting stuff like weird shield things and powerful ground-pound moves so I imagine it’s stuff like that. It actually reminds me a lot Borderlands in many ways but there seems to be a whole lot more depth here. I’m not entirely sure how their level system is going to work but it seems that pretty much every time you level up you get a new ability or passive. It doesn’t really look like a talent tree but each ability has a progress ring around them. How exactly you unlock these abilities is something I’m not too sure of. It might be straight progression based or maybe you need to do certain kinds of actions. [Read more…]