Albion Online Won’t Be Free to Play

Albion Online Not F2P

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:

  1. The closed beta will be extended until at least 1st August 2016
  2. 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.

[su_expand more_text=”View all of Albion Online’s Upcoming Changes” less_text=”See Less” text_color=”#2a2a2a” link_color=”#011948″ more_icon=”icon: file-text-o” less_icon=”icon: eject”]

  • New, Expanded and Immersive Game World
    • Significantly increase world size
    • Make cities and zones more unique
    • More and better dungeons
    • Different biomes (snow, swamp, etc
  • Zone Rework
    • Introduce Reputation and Crime System for yellow and red zones
    • Strongly increase the number of black zones
    • Remove fast travel to non-safe zones
    • Introduce “naked” teleport as an alternative to fast travel in PvP zones
  • PvP
    • Introduce an Ultima Online inspired Reputation and Crime System for yellow and red zones
    • Special perks and titles for virtuous and evil characters
    • Armor System Rework
    • Enchantment Rework
    • Tons of new items and abilities
    • Kill mails
    • Conquerable/Destructible open world structures
    • Improved ranking system
    • Scouting mechanics and items
    • GvG respawn timer
    • Larger variety of Hell Gates and better rewards
  • PvE
    • Allow lower tier mobs to provide fame towards combat progression
    • Increase the number of higher tier mobs
    • Fame bonus for group play
    • Make dungeons and gateway dungeons more rewarding
    • More and better dungeons and boss fights
    • Random spawning of special mobs
    • Armor System Rework
    • Enchantment Rework
    • Tons of new items and abilities
    • Rework faction and mission system*
    • Introduce Expeditions*
    • Introduce unique item blueprints and expedition maps as special drops/rewards*
    • *details to follow in seperate developer update
  • Gathering
    • Introduce special items and abilities supporting gatherers
    • Provide gatherers with better stealth and escape options
  • Economy
    • Remove excess supply of items from the market via training option at crafting buildings.
    • Fast Travel Rework
  • Farming
    • Animal produced fertilizer to increase plant yield
  • Fishing
    • Details to follow in seperate developer update
  • Player Made Open World Structures
    • Details to follow in seperate developer update
  • User Interface and Quality of Life Improvements
    • PC optimized HUD
    • Friends List
    • Repair all button
    • Fast Salvage
    • Shift Click to move items
    • Smart Casting
    • Spell Range/Skillshot Indicator
    • Guild management improvements
    • Improved rights management system for guilds
    • Auto-sort/stack for banks
    • Allow items to be stackable
    • Better “mute” system to combat spammers
    • Outline characters/mobs that are hidden by objects
    • Bank asset overview
    • Transaction Log
    • Improved Mount/Dismount
    • … and many many more


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.

Albion Online Crafting Changes

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

Albion Online Won't Be 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.

  • The time and commitment issue is starting to be a problem for me. I WANT to give my soul to a game like the old days, but it’s just not going to happen. Maybe when I retire? 🙂

  • It has clearly become an issue for me too. I have this backlog of games I want to play that keeps growing each month, but I can’t make more than a dent in it because I want to keep playing EverQuest. EQ takes a solid commitment, but almost nothing on the level of a sandbox like Albion Online.

    I’ve come to understand that I Just have to play what I feel like playing most each and every time I sit down with time to play. That way I can say with confidence that I made the most of my time.

    As far as Albion Online is concerned, that makes me less inclined to play a lot during a beta that will be wiped unless playing would be the most fun or best use of my time — not the case given my backlog.

  • I don’t play betas with wipes anymore for games that I know I want to buy.

    I would rather have an unknown experience as I am not interested in finding the path of least resistance power leveling plan.

    I suppose playing the starter zones with different classes/factions could be worthwhile to get an idea of what you want you launch character to be.

  • I can’t help thinking about the strategy. I don’t think we can criticize anybody too much for wanting to get subscription bucks for doing a lot of work. That’s how it was for a long time. I kinda applaud them for reverting.

  • I actually think they’ll go for an ISK/Token/Krono system (in the form of gold coins) as well. They are already set up for a dual currency system anyway, and it’ll be the smoothest transition into a F2P model.

  • Played the first guild alpha of this way back (2 years ago?), saw enough to keep it on my radar, but seeing as it won’t be coming anytime soon, it will just stay on my radar. Good that they are moving away from F2P though.

  • For someone unfamiliar, with Albion Online, do we know whether, when they say “not free to play” It will be a subscription fee model or up front purchase model? If it is the former I may jump into it now just to check it out, if it is the latter I will probably hold out. By the way, where was the roadmap post that was mentioned? My google-fu seems weak.

    The game does now have my eye in any case. I never got around to Ultima, and have put far too many days and nights into EVE.

  • I linked just about all of the text in my expandable section but you can read the full post here.

    It will most likely be subscription, as that was always going to be an option even in the F2P model.

  • I’m fine with plex type sub/token systems, but any type of cash shop is an instant no-play.

  • I thought Albion Online was going to be a tablet game, or at least cross-platform tablet/PC.

    Is that still on the table?

  • @Simon: Still very much trying to be that. As of now the PC version is their most complete, and they are even making a PC version of the HUD now.

  • @Keen Hmmm…just got a tablet over Christmas, and tried the various game offerings.

    They were good for what they were, but nowhere the complexity of the PC equivalent (at least for RPGs). Card and puzzle games were another story I thought, and delivered the goods.

    How can they make a tablet/PC MMORPG without it being dumbed down on the PC?

  • Good question. It all goes back to the simplicity of the design. Did you ever play Ultima Online? The entire game really could be played with the mouse pointing and clicking. All gameplay is intuitively mapped so that simple screen touching works (will work) in Albion Online. So while inputs may be simple, complexity comes from how these systems and features all interact. So while not complex, there’s depth. This is definitely not something I would call dumbed-down.

    If you think combat will be too dumbed down, check out the most recent build highlight showcasing how a character can be customized and used in combat.