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.

[su_lightbox type=”image” src=”” class=”pointer”][/su_lightbox]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!

  • You make this game sound amazing. Now I really want to try it, only problem is I am one of those players who will probably hit a wall being solo, but I think I will give it a go any ways as it sounds fun.

  • So many big guilds out there are recruiting people. You can easily join one of them and avoid hitting that wall. Or, if you’re like me, join up with 5-10 friends and have fun! Form alliance with other guilds like in UO, EVE, DAoC, etc.

  • I probably will find a guild, unfortunately most of the people I use to play MMO’s with are either too busy with real life anymore and don’t game at all anymore, or absolutely hate MMO’s and won’t even bother with trying any of them anymore lol.

    Not sure if there is enchanting, but if so I definitely want to be a weaponsmith/armorsmith/enchanter in heavy plate fighting with enchanted equipment but no actual spells, or as close as I can get. If I have to go into spells for temporary enchantment spells instead I might do that.

  • I like that map. Reminds me of allods online where there was a clear progression of safe zones.

    But the whole relying on crafting for the best loot thing…meh. I get that you crafters like it, but all the rest of us don’t like to be dependent on you squirrelly dudes for our gear. We also feel largely unmotivated because anybody can stand around in the safe zone and achieve gear nirvana by buying it.

    So you add that to a pvp game and your market is really limited.

  • Be careful with the “play with friends” line because people like me who prefer to play by myself with other people around see it and immediately want to turn away. I understand what you mean though, that the game requires cooperation of a guild in order to advance past a certain point.
    I really like the art direction they took and also like how it’s cross platform on one mega server. I’ll probably check it out once more of the bugs have been worked out.

  • This really does look interesting. In some ways, it gives me an Eve Online vibe in terms of the sheer amount of cooperation required, the safe zones, and potential for players to shape the world. The nice thing about Albion is that it looks a lot less spreadsheet-intensive. =)

  • @Sanz: Yep, very similar map concept. Just a quick note, you can’t achieve best gear without actually using gear to level up your ability to wear better gear. For example, I can’t equip T2 Plate armor without having first gone out and done enough skilling up using the T1 stuff. That means no one will achieve gear nirvana without having played the game.

    @Jeff: A lot of EVE players came to Albion Online. I think this is …. EVE light. As you said, no spreadsheets needed here.

    @Rorik: I gotta be honest and say it’s more fun with friends. Can you play alone? Yes, absolutely. You get your own island. You can venture out and craft quite a bit. Eventually though… cooperation is so important.

  • I’m so hyped for this game! I wish I could play now.. Hopefully I won’t miss too much of it when I come back. I’ll be back in 2017 from Africa. Any idea when launch is?

  • What Ald said. I would have tried this but going back to that perspective would be like watching movies on the 12″ black and white tv set I used in college.

    Also what Sanz said re crafting. And I like crafting. I’ve played several MMOs that began with strong adventurer/crafter interdependence and they all moved away from that model because it suits crafters but adventurers hate it. I think spaceship games like EVE attract an entirely different audience to fantasy games which is maybe how it sometimes works in an SF setting (EVE/SWG) but I can’t think of a fantasy-based game that’s made it work yet, can you? Fantasy tends to attract people who want to go out and kill stuff and steal treasure. Going shopping as a game model doesn’t really do it for people like that.

    And also what Rorik says to a degree, although your gloss on that suggests that would be a minor problem at worst. I do hink it’s entirely unreasonable to expect to be able to solo all the things in an MMO so as long as you an solo enough of the things to keep yourself amused that should work for most.

    Anyway, its all moot. Not going to be playing Albion Online with that overhead at-an-angle view.

  • This is great. I’ve been waiting for an excuse to pull the trigger on Albion. See you in game.

  • @Bartillo: I thought of you while playing. I think you’ll really enjoy it. 2017 man… that’s so far. Stay safe, have fun, work hard in Africa! I hope all is going well for you and your group.

    @Wonderwyrm: I said the exact same thing in my video I shot first coming into the beta. They changed it quite a bit from its alpha state. You can see those screenshots in my alpha post. But yeah, it looks very similar to PoE excite that PoE has a lot of webbing and cross-over whereas this one is a pretty straight shout outward from the center.

    @Bhagpuss: RE: Fantasy game making this work = Ultima Online. Worked amazingly. It all comes down to personal preference. If you hate the isometric view then it’s never going to work. If you don’t like the UO style of gathering materials and grinding out crafting then the game and your preferences are inherently a mismatch.

    @Ald: For whatever reason, isometric view is either a “I love it” or an “I hate it” thing. Personally, I love it. 😛

    @Endolith: Great! See you in-game. 🙂

  • Really hope I can make a character besides a muscle bound Disney Prince. Still the other features a lone will make up for a limiting art style.

  • The official site won’t tell you the cost of premium status, saying you have to purchase it in game with their gold currency. Can you post the prices for the various duration? I’ve played games that I liked and worked well with this kind of mechanic, but the deliberate dodge of not posting that information on the website makes me a bit leery.

  • For purchasing a premium status in-game it comes out to be like $15 for a month. They are aiming to make the entire game be “subscription-lite” so that you can play without one, or essentially pay monthly to have one. When I get home from work I’ll screenshot the cost of premium status in gold and silver (gold being premium currency, silver being normal in-game currency).

    To see the cost of founders packs, click “founders pack” on the left side of the shop page to see the founders pack prices.

    Legendary: $99.95
    Epic: $49.95
    Veteran: $29.95

  • I played the beta and although the sandbox genre has always been iffy to define at best i just don’t think adding a semi decent crafting system and not having “quests” the entire game constitutes it being a sandbox. The restrictions to the world/tiles are maddening, you are stuck with 4 ways in and out of tiles and paths with very little variation in tile layout, the constant inability to transverse terrain and move around the map made me want scream.

    But as they very clearly intended for it to be a Mobile game i suppose the restrictions are required.

  • It is fun so far. My Doom-Mindâ„¢ warns me though that it could quickly crumble if they swing towards P2W just like Archeage did.

    But I’m a complete and utter realistic pessimist. So everything is doom and gloom. We’ll see!

  • @Rawblin: They are fairly serious about no pay-to-win. It would radically alter their current business model and implementation in the game. Certainly a death sentence for them.

    @Whorhay: Here you go on the prices:

    To put that into a little bit of perspective in terms of silver… I’ve earned about 20,000 without trying too hard in ~10 hours played on this character.

  • Did they announce that the current Closed Beta will be wiped before release day?

    I’m not against paying to join before the mass, but I’ll never do this if my progress will be reset at launch. Not enough time to play = no time to lose.

  • @Carl: Yes, there will be a wipe at the end of closed beta. I do not know if there will be an open beta (I assume there will be) or if they will wipe after the open beta if there is one. All I know for 100% certain is that there WILL be a wipe and any gold spent will be refunded.

    Also important to note: Premium status is PER CHARACTER , and NOT per account. Huge deterrent to making multiple characters will not completely disallowing it like SWG did.

  • While I love the idea of a localized resource system I am definitely taking a wait and see approach with this one. The main thing that concerns me is the game is made for pc AND mobile platforms. I am not against mobile gaming in general but I think it is a very different experience. If the claims are you can play the game the same on mobile as you do on pc than I have to wonder what compromises have been made on pc to make the mobile platform identical. There is no mention of combat in your article and from what I can gather from the few videos I have watched it looks like arpg style click combat. If I am mistaken or understating it please correct me.

    Regardless, I look forward to your videos once they are up so I can get a better impression of just what the hell this game is!

  • It’s not mobile per se. It’s just tablets, and that version is not ready yet. The UI is mobile-friendly. On PC you can press hotkeys like A, W, Q, etc. But there are also big circles on the right screen that you could touch to activate abilities.

    It’s very similar to action RPGs. You click on the enemy to go up and attack, and your character now auto attacks. Press a hotkey or click/touch an ability to use it. Abilities are on refresh.

    I’m a slacker with those videos. The past few days have been crazy busy for me. I have to get them edited and uploaded, but they are recorded.

  • I really prefer these kind of isometric action rpg games with a gamepad, I wonder if they will add support for them at some point. (obligatory: no joy2key and/or the steam controller are not the same as proper native gamepad controls)

  • @Jenks: I don’t see this one working well with a gamepad. It’s more like DIablo’s combat than something like the oldschool Gauntlet Legends. Targeting is only done by clicking on the enemy, so I don’t know how to program that into a gamepad.

  • The combat is almost exactly like League of Legends or Heroes of the Storm. I do not know if there are actually “skillshots” where you need to aim an ability though. Everything I have seen in my limited experience so far requires a target and then just aims on its own.

    But its click to move, qwerdf for abilities. Feels very very familiar and fine if you have played a MOBA.

  • Keen! Awesome you also found this little Gem, I have only been playing for a few days, I’m at tier 3 and this game seems fun! I also come from the disaster that is archeage, looking to fill my Sandbox void with Albion online.

    I haven’t even touched on getting my own plot yet or even attempted Pvp, so its going to be interesting to see how this game shapes up

  • @Joy-Energiser: I think the PvP feels closest to Ultima Online. If you’ve ever played UO you’ll pick up on that.

  • Thought they were going to add races down the line?

    Everything I read they seem to be doing lots of cool stuff right, even with limited options definitely seems worth it. Gonna wait for launch though.