Sandbox MMO Albion Online rides out

Albion Online

The fantasy sandbox MMORPG Albion Online [official site] launched this week. It draws inspiration from MMOs like EVE Online and Ultima Online, with headline features including an economy where every item is crafted by players and PvP where people might yoink everything from your corpse. Albion does have PvE with monsters to bash but PvP is the focus, from open-world scraps to full guild vs. guild warfare. It also has no classes, so the way you fight is purely dependent on the gear you’re wearing.

In some PvP areas, you’ll drop all the items you’re carrying when you die, which sounds like it would make those battles extremely tense and potentially very frustrating. I’m not sure I could stand the thought of the warrior that just crushed me running around with my favourite sword.

Away from the combat it looks mind-bendingly vast. Its developers, Sandbox Interactive, say:

“Need a break from fighting for your life, but still want to support your guild? Retire to your own private island off the coast of Albion and build and maintain a farm, including crops and animals, with a whole new set of buildings. Generate food to fuel your guild’s war efforts, or even just sell on the market for a profit!”

Here’s the slightly odd launch trailer, most of which involves you getting grilled at a job interview. It all makes sense in the end.

Richard Cobbett named Albion one of 2016’s most promising RPGs while it was still in beta.

To join the game you have to buy a starter pack here. The more you pay, the more gold you get and the longer you hold a “Premium Status” for, which basically helps you progress faster. The basic package is £23.19/$29.95. Sandbox Interactive had previously planned to make it free-to-play.

25 Comments

  1. Sic says:

    It has nothing to do with the classic Albion RPG from the nineties, right?

  2. Herzog says:

    Anybody from the hivemind diving into this for a review? Inspired by EVE and UO seems to be very interesting.

  3. Christo4 says:

    Call me skeptical, but isn’t the progression rather fucked if it’s geared around you starting with a 30 day bonux xp and whatever else? Not to mention the gold. It feels like you’ll have to buy it again after.
    If they didn’t want to make it free to play in the end, they should have just had a price up-front like Guild wars has.
    To me it seems like it’s just ruining a lot of the starting experience i think. Might be wrong. Haven’t played a proper MMO in ages, but i have played other f2p games.
    Does it have no other microtransactions?

    • Flopper says:

      The only thing you can buy is gold. Gold gets you either premium status for X amount of days or can convert it to silver. It’s pretty much the exact same system as World of Warcraft’s tokens except there’s no sub and it’s all optional.

      You can get everything you buy with real money in game. So it’s not forced to pay to get it. Even the gold is able to be acquired by trading your silver for it to get premium.

      The people crying just took one look at the game and saw you can spend money and assume it’s pay to win. Anyone, even a casual can easily earn enough to get premium status. You can’t pay to progress any of your abilities. Only actually using a weapon and killing things with it makes it progress.

      A bunch of people who never played the game saying you can swipe your card and get top everything. Typical for most new games. Experts who’ve never logged in.

  4. Joshua says:

    They said they wanted to make it free but charge a $30 upfront fee to play, really!?!? Oh not to mention the more you spend, the faster you progress! I bet they also offer microtransactions to take hundreds from you. I hate play to win games!

  5. Faxanadu says:

    I like the art style, but I’m getting an instanced vibe.

    Nobody wants another lobby game like WoW has turned into.

    Player driven is absolutely the key to the next great MMO, but is it almost impossible to pull off? (Not counting EVE, dat sht is just too hardcore.)

    • Flopper says:

      It’s instanced in to zones… But there are no copies of a zone if that’s what you mean by instancing. And it’s one server. So it’s pretty much exactly like Eve. Instead of warping to a new zone you just run to the edge of the map. You can’t cheese and run off the edge of the map if someone is attacking you either. If you’re in combat you can’t zone.

      Everything in the game is player driven. As soon as you leave the first tutorial zone the entire city is player built crafting areas and merchants. There are no PVE merchants. The entire economy is built around players. Not NPCs giving you silver for crap.

  6. 18pd says:

    Given how depressing the vibes are around Eve atm might be worth a look. Shame there isn’t a similar free trial thing.

    • Sound says:

      Depressing vibes around Eve? What do you mean? It’s going strong, and has a promising future, and is unlikely to be de-throned on player-driven content.

  7. Thirdrail says:

    Hardcore PvP plus premium status sure sounds like a deal breaker. Because if premium status doesn’t matter much, then it’s a tremendous rip off at $30 a month, so that seems highly unlikely, and if premium status does matter a lot, then it’s pay to win.

    They’ll probably make a boatload of money though. If that many people play those crazy spam-ad games RPS had the article about the other day, then this should do just fine among the vast audience of people who apparently have more time and money than taste.

    • Zantium says:

      I haven’t played this, I’m just looking at it but I can clarify the premium status/subscription model costs a bit;

      It’s B2P initially starting from $30 but then a month’s subscription (premium status) is $9.95 a month or available in longer periods for reduced cost per month.

      You can also use in game gold (normal silver currency can be converted to gold) to buy premium status just from playing.

      So I think it’s more a pay to grind less/keep your status feature for casual players than a requirement. Still not sure if it’s for me but IMHO the business model seems pretty fair.

      • spagett says:

        I’ve played a bit on and off during the early access phase and started playing again now when it’s released. It is quite viable to sustain your premium membership with in-game currency. And keep in mind that once you’ve leveled up to the point where you can use say, Tier 6 stuff and you lose premium, you can still use them. The only thing that premium gives you is faster progression. Being guild-centered game you’d probably be able to stay non-premium, seeing as others could just craft gear for you if you don’t want to level in crafting.

        Premium mostly benefits crafters, if any, since they’ll be able to progress faster to the higher tier resources = they’ll get that sweet cash a bit faster = sustain premium.

        I myself don’t have a problem with this at all. They can now get money from the premium users and still retain a part of the playerbase that’d otherwise disappear if there were monthly fees.

        I’m not a hardcore player so I can’t say how this affects the upper-most levels of players but from what i’ve seen in the upper-middle tiers, it hasn’t been that much of a problem.

        (Also alot of people flip currencies to sustain their membership so if that’s your thing then, ye, you can do that.)

  8. ludde says:

    Anything with optional “premium account” goes straight out the window.

    It always gets into a pay to win gray area, to put it kindly.

  9. Kitsunin says:

    If there’s only one server, how does the game handle lag and people living in different parts of the world? I assume they must have something to make the game work for folks in the US and EU, but I’m curious what the experience is like for the oft unable to play Australia/South America/SEA crowd.

  10. Rince says:

    PVP-centric?
    Eeeewwww…

  11. Swartan says:

    That is one of the worst trailers ever.A redhead making an interview, i mean seriously?

  12. ye-ole-PK says:

    I have been waiting for this to come out and give it a go. Full Loot PVP is great! Hoping that this will scratch that itch until Crowfall makes it out alive.

  13. Jumble says:

    Wow for a moment I thought the classic Albion RPG was back … So many memories from my childhood :(