One of my on-going complaints in any sandbox game with open-world PvP is that things tend to always swing in favor of the PvPers. Despite there being multiple ways to play the game, whether it be crafting, gathering, PvE, or PvP, things tend toward balancing in the PvPer’s favor.
Albion Online is/was no different. I’m really not that interested in the PvP. I want to go out into the world, gather lots of resources, farm, make things, and participate in the economy or the building side of the game. That’s how I want to experience the game. For the most part, the game accommodate someone like me doing nothing else but what I want to do. However, since most of the materials from mid to end-game are all in open-pvp areas, I would have to deal with the gankers taking my stuff.
That’s starting to change, or at least become easier for gatherers and a tiny little bit harder for PvPers.
Albion Online’s new gathering gear provides gatherers various abilities to flee from gankers, in addition to making them look cool (who wouldn’t want to look the role?), and a bonus to how much they can gather.
Now gatherers can escape during these “PvP” (predator vs. prey) encounters. Here are a few of the options:
Harvester Cap: Magic Pollen
Throw out magic pollen which will confuse all enemies around you, making them walk around randomly. Using this spell will also turn you invisible. This invisibility breaks if you receive damage or if you damage someone else.
Harvester Garb: Spirit of Vengeance
Apply a shield to yourself, which absorbs damage and lasts for several seconds. As long as the shield is active, your gathering speed is increased. If the shield gets prematurely destroyed it explodes, rooting and dealing damage to all enemies around you.
Harvest Workboots: Ethereal Path
Dash towards a target location. During the dash, you are invisible and immune to forced knockback effects. After you arrive at the targeted position, your move speed and maximum load are increased for several seconds.
See more on the official site for Albion Online gathering gear.
At the mere thought of their prey doing anything but rolling over and dying, PvPers are raging hard. PvPers do that. Most are entitled and like to pretend that PvP is the only way to play; Anyone else is just there to support their activity.
Technically, the devs really haven’t even gone far enough. There’s still very little chance a gatherer has to actually escape. This is a step in the right direction, but merely a step. Most of us gatherers are on oxen. We are 200%+ encumbered without our ox, and these abilities aren’t usable mounted. Therefore we can escape a few feet before having major issues. These also do very little to stop the pvpers from stunning us to death.
I appreciate the steps, but hope to see more taken to make gathering even more on EQUAL footing with the PvPers. I believe gatherers should have a 50/50 chance to ‘win’ (and a win means escape) a “PvP” — predator vs. prey — encounter.
Albion Online recently updated to the Galahad update about a week or so ago. As you can see from the image above, TONS of people are playing.
I last played about a year ago. Yep, I just checked and it was almost this time last year exactly that I played. I've played on and off now since about 2013... crazy to think it has been that long.
Last year I made a post about several improvements I would like to see them make to the game. Among those changes were chiefly:
I was extremely pleased to see that the Galahad update addressed at least the first and last of my big issues.
When dismounting from an Ox (or horse, etc) now places a ring around you where the weight capacity bonus of your mount still applies to you. That means I can be carrying thousands of stones on my ox and upon dismounting to harvest a tree, I won't be stuck unable to move.
Armor now makes TONS more sense. All heavy armor is plate. All light armor is cloth. All medium armor is leather. Within the tiers there are still variations, but those are now (mostly) all spell-based benefits rather than stats.
I like what they've done with armor. Wearing light armor makes you do up to 50% more damage. Wearing heavy armor reduces your damage but significantly increases your staying power because you are more tanky. It's a give-and-take system. There isn't a 'right' answer that I can see. If you go glass canon you'll blow up 1-3 people before you're dead. If you go heavy you'll last but might not blow people up.
The map of the world has also changed significantly. It's no longer laid out so that the further north you go the more PVP'ish it gets. It's a little more natural and centralized. Resources in the world are also divided by type so that deserts have skinning and ore, forests have trees and stone, etc. This makes it so that you have to travel some, and perhaps there will even be some semblance of an economy.
The Founder's Packs will soon be replaced with Starter packs. Why should you buy a Founder's Pack? Well, you get to play right away, you get premium status (bonuses to everything), and you get gold which are like EVE and WoW tokens that can be exchanged for in-game silver.
A small group of our community is dedicated to playing the game when it releases in June/July (whenever it is?) and would love to have more people join us. We are mostly devoted crafters with desire to build up our island, make cool stuff, and PvP when it makes sense. We'll join an alliance in-game at launch and have lots of fun.
If you would like to join us, feel free to comment or join us in Discord. We will get you invited and help you get started.
Our community had some great discussion on the topic of PvP tonight and I feel a little inspired to write on our conclusions. We really really, really do not like PvP designed to eff (other words were used) up other people’s experience in the game. Let me elaborate. In Albion Online the guilds that own the black zones own the best zones. Contrast that to UO where the “best” guilds (read: largest) could own areas of the map, but people can still go somewhere else and truly not be locked out entirely from something they need or want to do.
No PvP system should ever allow players to completely lock other players out of content essential to their basic gameplay or enjoyment. No PvP system should ever promote players being trolls. If people are PvPing to be trolls, and they’re being successful at it, then the game lacks the basic design elements which would negate players having control of their ability to be trolled. In UO, if I was being killed in a cave then I could go find another cave. Someone could be a troll all they want and I had the control to go somewhere else. If I kept going back then it’s my fault. But take away the options and give me only one cave and suddenly the PvP exists only to be a troll and I have no control over being trolled other than logging out. Logging out is not an acceptable gameplay feature.
PvP should exist as a wing or an extension, and never a roadblock. PvP should not cut people out of PvE or Crafting if they do not participate in PvP or belong to the big guilds who dominate PvP. I have always been a proponent of the philosophy that the best PvP games have the best PvE, and they can and should be completely separate from each other. For example, Dark Age of Camelot. When done right — and not ruined by imbalance — they can even influence each other, but rarely intersect.
One of my continuing complaints about Albion Online is that I can never be the best crafter — ever — if I am not in the biggest guilds. By not being in the biggest guild, I will be destroyed by the PvP roadblock. I will never have the best resources. I will hit a wall. That wall is unacceptable.
I’m having a great time in Albion Online. Our K&G Community Guild has our own island which is built up with higher-tier crafting and refining stations. My own personal island is now level 6/6 with four full farms. We’re starting to identify the strategies we will use at launch to propel ourselves in a great direction.
The more that I play Albion Online, the more I do see the potential for issues down the road with certain mechanics and features. Other features I simply would change to make them better. I’m keeping a running list of changes and would like to share two of my most-wishes for things.
Everyone can eventually master everything. Just a few months after the launch of closed beta there are already people wearing tier 8 gear, riding the best ox, the best horse, and doing the top-end things in the game. That part is fine, but what do these people do next? They start to master the other trees, and eventually specialization is pointless.
One of Albion Online’s greatest lures for me was the idea that it would take a LONG time to master everything, thus dissuading people from being able to ‘do it all.’ I think that “long time” hasn’t panned out quite as I would have liked.
As an alternative, I’d like a hard cap implemented. Players have to choose which direction to specialize because they would have a finite amount of points. The Learning Point system could be altered such that it’s a pool of points to unlock sections of the tree, and those points would not regenerate.
Another alternative would be to lock people out of sections of the skill tree upon advancing in other areas. For example, the more skill you gain in wearing plate the less you are able to gain in crafting plate.
I’m a gatherer. Essentially all of my guildies have been gatherers for two weeks. All we do is gather materials. We’re weird like that. In UO we were gatherers too. We gather up lots of materials, then we use them to craft. Across our dozens of hours of gathering we have noticed a few annoyances with how transport oxes work.
In order to use a transport ox to lower your weight encumbrance you have to use it like a mount. However, when dismounting you can essentially be so overloaded you can’t even move. When dismounting you are also given a penalty to ability cooldowns so that when dismounting you can’t use any abilities for what feels like 20-30 seconds. This penalty makes sense for normal mounts because of PvP implications. It’s better that way. But for gathering, when dismounting and 500% encumbered unable to move, having a bear eat you sucks.
I propose a system similar to UO’s pack mules. Let the ox follow behind. The ox would be vulnerable to attack from NPCs and players. When it dies, it drops all materials like a player’s corpse. That way the player who is gathering doesn’t have to mount and dismount regularly in order to move about — an act which felt unnatural anyway to have your ox disappear into your pocket then pop out magically. Mounting up for 2 feet to jump node to node also feels unnatural.
These simple changes are just two ways in which the game could radically be altered for the better. I’m eager to see what changes make it in the next patch. The February state of the game looked like a great start.
One of my favorite features in Albion Online has to be the private guild islands. Guilds like ours are absolutely obsessed with crafting. We’ll spend 10 hours a day gathering resources and have a blast. You may recall how our guild played a recently popular UO shard and was the first to not only get a house, but the first to get a second house, and the first to pretty much GM all the crafts. We’re crazy like that.[su_youtube_advanced url=”https://youtu.be/NR3tugfDmOw” width=”700″ rel=”no” wmode=”transparent”][/su_youtube_advanced]
In Albion Online, we can have our own island away from the chaos of the open-world conflict. Don’t get me wrong, we like the open-world conflict stuff, but losing our guild buildings just doesn’t sound like a lot of fun. At least this way we can have a private island to get us started, then move to an open-world city when we feel like we’re ready — if ever.
Our island is pretty nice. In just a few days we upgraded the island enough so that everyone who is crafting has the buildings they need to craft here in on our island instead of spending their hard-earned silver back in Queensmarket/town. We plan to do the same thing when the game launches in order to take care of our crafters.
So what’s the downside of a private guild island vs. an open-world city in the red or black zones? Open-world cities have a higher return rate on resources, and they are more conveniently located near higher-tier items. The resource return rate is nice, but not a deal breaker for any of us. It’s certainly not worth having to fight other people to have fun on our own terms.
Just like our guild has done in UO and other games, we’ll be hitting the economy hard at launch. Right now we’re experimenting with all of the crafting to identify what we’re most interested in doing at launch. We’ll also have members more interested in combat, and they’ll get all of their gear from our crafters.
Farming to make all of this happen was definitely quite a lot of work. Definitely on the same level as UO, or more. But there’s nothing quite like working hard to build something of your own. One of our members said it best, “I’m just happy that I have an MMO to play again.”
If you have any questions, I’m happy to help answer them. If you’re interested in playing Albion Online, I highly recommend it. Any gold you spend in beta will be refunded to you at launch, and it’s worth familiarizing yourself with the best sandbox in many, many years. Join us, and we’ll be happy to teach you all we know. 🙂
One of the biggest issues with Albion Online, and most PvP-based MMOs for that matter, is that larger guilds have a solid, inherent advantage.
I do not believe in answering this problem by simply saying, “Then join the big guilds.” I’m also not advocating that big guilds not exist. I do believe people should be free to join whatever guild they wish. What I want to see, however, is a bit more equity in the game’s design.
I want to look at a few solutions and their pros/cons.
This is implemented, or at least was last time I checked, in Albion Online. Let’s say you have a battle going on for a guild castle or something. Your guild can have 100 people in it, but the battle for that objective may only allow a 5v5 or a 10v10 or whatever.
On one hand, this equalizes the ability for large guilds to zerg out the little guilds during a territory struggle. On the other hand, it ruins immersion and can cause reverse frustration for people in large guilds never being able to participate. Is that bad? Perhaps not, since it may cause guilds to be smaller in general to avoid sitting out or benching people.
Remove objectives which cause or promote a zerg-centric play-style
Having a very small or limited number of holdings on a relatively small map or concentrated area leads to large groups of people fighting over territory. Promoting, which can really be called ‘rewarding’, groups of people for sticking together in large groups will — obviously — lead to people moving around in large groups. Downside here is that you lose that ‘epic’ sense of battles if you create a world dominated by small encounters.
Decrease Black Zones -> Increase Yellow Zones (Albion Online specific)
The overall point here is that more of the game can take place spread out in an area that isn’t dominated by the 1% rolling around in large numbers. This increases the relatively safer areas where players can still get resources, but not be afraid of losing them when ganked by 100 guys.
Item ‘insurance’ when outnumbered
I think EVE does something like this, right? I may be mixing them up with something else. But what if players couldn’t lose items if zerged? 20 people killing one person? They get nothing. This forces people to want to fight fair fights, otherwise they get nothing. I think there’s merit here, but easily exploited.
Eliminate Guild Vs. Guild altogether and have Realm vs. Realm
This allows for multiple guilds to more easily combine together to fight the other side vs. guilds — run by players — dominating. And that’s really the problem here. People will say, “oh just get 3-4 guilds together to take out that bigger guild!” Yeah, sure, okay. Have you actually tried that? When individual interests are at stake, people stop working together. United interests drive cohesiveness.
Remove resources from these areas and simply turn them into e-peen conflicts
This may be my favorite option of all. I only care about this because the resources I want are stuck in the areas where the large guilds are zerging their territories. Take out the resources and let them have a Call of Duty fight. Let them earn combat points from battling it out. Implement a few anti-zerging options, but let the crafters still work hard at gathering materials without having to worry about gathering them amidst the 500 people zerging each other. Otherwise, it’s simply too broken and unbalanced in favor of the zerg.
I’m slacking hard on blogging. Honest truth here is that I have a lot of games I’m enjoying right now. So let’s dive into an adventure log update!
Keen’s Adventure Log,
I’m really drawn into FFE. Graev and I are having a good time taking out Eidolons and building up our characters. This is one of those weird situations where I know there’s no story, I know there’s not true ‘end’ to the game. Things just end when I feel like I’ve gotten the most out of making a character and I want to quit. I’m playing a Dark Knight right now, but I think I want to switch over to Red Mage. Something about chain casting and doing more magic with a balanced sword-wielding class seems fun. I’d feel more useful and less one-trick pony, though a DK’s one trick is to do a ton of damage.
A few of you asked about multiplayer. The multiplayer work where you turn on multiplayer mode in your singleplayer game. You then can choose local co-op or multiplayer co-op. You can make a room and have others join it, or join someone else’s room. These are like lobbies. You can password your room and let your friends join — that’s what we do.
Really, really falling hard for Albion Online. Despite so much about the game being centered around GvG combat and taking territories, I find myself harvesting and crafting. What I’m worried about is the benefit of zerging. Zergs will win everything. Zergs will control the map, and despite it being huge it’ll still be that way. Zergs will feed crafters and outperform a solo crafter, or even a crafter backed by a group of friends or group of 10-15. It’s all about numbers.
The more I play, the more I realize there’s still a ton left to do to fix the balance. I think the devs know this. For example, crafting really is borked. To truly master one line of crafting would take like 2 years, but to get that far in combat takes 2 months. While needing to make crafting easier, they can’t make it something anything can just do on the side, otherwise they’ve ruined crafting. The entire game hinges upon how they balance this out. Please, PLEASE, get this right.
I’m about to upgrade my house and add more laborers. I’ll write up on those sometime here soon.
Every day I come home from work, go to the gym, and then log into EverQuest. It’s my routine. I think to myself, “I’m going to get a group and play!” Then I can’t find a group for 20-30 minutes. I get frustrated. I log off. None of this changes my desire to group. I -WANT- to group. I’m playing a Cleric FFS… It must be my schedule. I’m trying to play around 5:30pm Pacific time. Am I too late? Too early? It’s becoming frustrating enough that soon I’ll come home and go straight to Albion Online or FFE.
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:
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”]
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.
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.
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.
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=”https://www.keenandgraev.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/albion-online-zone-map.jpg” 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Albion Online is a F2P sandbox MMO currently in alpha. We received keys to participate in the alpha test that began this evening which ended up being so much fun that I had to jump on here and share my thoughts. I would have had this post up yesterday evening shortly after playing, but my poor little laptop BSOD’d and I lost the whole thing. 🙁
Think of Ultima Online + a little bit of action RPG and you’ll start to form the foundation of Albion Online. Played from an isometric perspective, Albion Online offers a completely sandbox experience on any device. I was shocked to see that you can play cross-platform on iOS, Android devices, PC, etc.
Players in Albion are able to build structures out in the world. From what I can tell, there appear to be pre-designated spots close to the main city. I haven’t explored far (the world is pretty dang big) enough to see if it opens up to more of a ‘place anywhere’ mechanic. You can place storage buildings to help you store all of your heavy resources (there is a carry capacity), crafting stations, buildings to decorate, etc. Like UO, you are safe in your building unless you built in the guild warfare areas.
Gathering and Skills
From the moment I started playing I realized how much time I could lose to this game. The very first thing I had to do was gather wood, stone, and hides to craft myself some basic tools and armor. I recommend making a shield and adding the Shield Wall spell — great survivability! After crafting my tools I realized that everything in-game seems to be driven by the skill menu. This skill menu is MASSIVE and makes Path of Exile look tame. Continue reading