I have followed Albion Online for a very long time. Having played in the earliest stages of Alpha, and now in the Closed Beta, I can say that I have always been excited about the prospects of a game that comes close to creating a modernized version of Ultima Online with just enough EVE to make things interesting. The one thing keeping Albion Online back in the mind was their F2P model; however, all of that is about to change now that Albion Online is official not going F2P at launch.
Stefan Wiezorek, Founder/CEO of Albion Online, posted a rather shocking road map that included the following details:
- The closed beta will be extended until at least 1st August 2016
- The game will not be free to play at launch
Here’s their reasoning behind the massive change of direction:
Making the game ready for a free to play model would take up significant development time which we would much rather use to make a better game. Free to play would also create a lot of risks for the game – spamming, botting, world too small, etc – which we do not want to take if it can be avoided.
Some people may be worried about the Founders Packs that grant access to the game immediately (you can literally play now) and whether or not they should purchase them or wait. Stefan says that the Founders Packs will be retired and new “starter packs” will be added, but at a lesser value as not to diminish the value offered by the current packs. Sounds fair.
All of the details can be seen by pressing the expand button below. I’m going to discuss a few of them.
Significantly increasing the world is awesome. Albion Online already features a large world, but given the style of game where large zerg guilds can take over territory, and where end-game zones become very PvP oriented, it’ll be nice to have more room to spread out.
Following in Ultima Online’s footsteps with a reputation and crime system makes me extremely happy. I love the idea of consequences for acting like a criminal. I’ve written before on Virtual Worlds and Social Consequence; this is right up that alley.
Lots of QOL improvements, even to the economy, will be great. I think the change to add a training mode will definitely make people less inclined to flood the market with too many of the same goods. Since the economy is already entirely player driven, this will mean a better return for those serious about crafting rather than simply skilling up. Adding a PC HUD will be awesome too since right now it shares the same HUD as what they were shooting for on mobile devices.
The Future of Albion Online & F2P
Let’s make sure we read this carefully. They said Albion Online won’t be F2P “AT LAUNCH.” That definitely means they can, and probably will, make the game F2P down the road. Some people are already putting on their tin foil hats saying this is an opportunity to hook the suckers willing to pay, etc. I don’t believe that to be the case. I think they are feeling the same burn everyone is feeling right now in the F2P industry, and if they are set on making the game they said they want to make then it only makes sense to go with a different business model. Albion Online’s roadmap and F2P are diametrically opposed.
I am now 100% more excited about playing Albion Online when it launches. I’m a little disappointed about having to wait so much longer. August 2016 at the earlier? Ouch. Albion Online requires so much time and commitment, which I love, but do not want to invest heavily in when I know that it’ll all be wiped clean. My stance for now will be to dabble in it on occasion while waiting for major patches. When they patch, I’ll try them out. I still have a few things I need to do like finish my farm. I enjoy that regardless of a wipe.
If you’re looking to try out Albion Online, give it a shot.