When I first heard about Albion Online I was pretty excited, I’m not going to lie about that one. Honestly, who wouldn’t be? MMORPG’s had never quite been what we envisioned them to be, even in the days of Everquest. We wanted a world we could live in, work in, and control, without having to go outside and actually work at something in real life. Is that really too much to ask?
When Albion Online finally entered Closed Beta, I explored the world and I have to say, I was pretty happy with it, other than a few caveats that they seem to be addressing in the new Galahad update.
Welcome to Galahad
I love Albion Online. Ever since it was brought up as an idea, I loved it. I think I was searching for ‘Ultima Online clones’ when I first came across it, and for everything that’s great about it, the opening months of the Beta certainly had some problems. Other than the little things, and the fact that the entire world was modular, the one thing that really stood out was the city atmosphere.
It was clear that the developers just wanted to get the game out there, and who could blame them? We were after them like starving children chasing a bowl of porridge (Please, Sandbox Interactive, may I have some more?). That said, some of the problems don’t really lie with the developer.
There are many things that could have been improved upon, and one of them is the cities. Those who spent more than 10 hours in the game probably noticed that every single city was strikingly similar. Well, that’s interesting, isn’t it? You’d be trudging through a snow-covered tundra, fighting outlaws, mining stone, and trying to warm your hands up before they succumb to frostbite, and then you travel into a nearby city…and for some reason, it resembles the kind of place you would find in a temperate zone.
Do you remember that video someone posted a while back where a guy on a cruise ship could see night and day at the same time because he just happened to be at the right spot? Apparently, all of Albion is the right spot.
The Galahad update finally fixes this issue. The cities are now actually designed correctly for their respective biome, and the buildings have been redesigned too – finally, right? User comments have been especially positive, though some bordered on pretty funny if you want to be perfectly honest.
Changing the World
Not surprisingly, with the changes to the cities came changes to the rest of the world, and it’s looking pretty promising so far. The visuals have been changed entirely, and you have more routes to travel through the world.
For example, while mountains now make the world impassible, you can use secret passages to move around the world, though sometimes they might not be as safe as they seem at first, and in a game where you can actually lose all of your stuff when you die, do you really want to risk it? Going the fast way might not be worth losing all of your founder rewards, and we can pretty much guarantee that you’re not going to be equipped to find your gear unless you have a stash of backup armor somewhere close.
A Royal Start
One thing that Sandbox Interactive have been steadily improving on is the beginner experience. When I joined the game for the first time there wasn’t much in the way of help; I was pretty much naked on a shore with no tools and I had to figure out how to harvest, how to craft, and how to make myself a little less naked.
Over time they’ve improved on this, and it looks like, with the Galahad update, there will finally be proper starting towns. New players will start on the royal island, which is literally a pie chart shaped island where each slice of ‘pie’ contains its own biome. On the outer edges of each biome, you have a starting town to match, ensuring that players will get to have a different starting experience each time.
In addition to that, each city on the Royal Continent plays a different role in the economy, which encourages trade between them. As you already know, trade is a huge part of Albion Online and they are essentially striving to get us away from the old stereotype of combat only MMOs. Many sandbox titles have tried to be different but they either end up entirely boring or rushing right back to the combat stereotype once you hit the endgame.
Guardians = More Teamwork
If you’ve already played the game then you know about the resource tiers. Rather than allowing every player to have a go at the highest level tiers, they’ve introduced Guardians to stand watch over Tier 6 hotspots. There is a different guard for every biome and according to the developers, they really shouldn’t be underestimated.
So, in other words, you’re going to have to get a raid group together if you want the higher level resources which amps up the teamwork needed and possibly makes higher level crafting a bit more annoying.
Whether or not you like this idea will obviously depend on whether or not you find yourself in a good guild that can help you take on the guardians and access the Tier 6 resources.
Go on an Expedition
The world of Albion Online is huge, especially with the Galahad update. This is probably going to scare some people away. Between work, school, and building ships in bottles, some people just don’t have time to start running across the continent looking for an adventure. I’ll admit, Albion is a world made for living in, but sometimes you have to live in the real world. It kind of sucks being an adult, doesn’t it? Expeditions allow you to go on short adventures, either on your own or in a group, and while they offer diminished rewards they’re still pretty fun, and that’s what counts.
The outlands have been redesigned entirely and is now set around various hubs, each of which suit a different level of guild. Basically, Sandbox Interactive is trying to force guilds of similar or equal strength to settle next to one another, though whether or not it will work remains to be seen. The game itself is always going to be pretty brutal, but they are definitely doing their best to make sure it has a semi-level playing field.
Basically, Sandbox Interactive is trying to force guilds of similar or equal strength to settle next to one another, though whether or not it will work remains to be seen. The game itself is always going to be pretty brutal, but they are definitely doing their best to make sure it has a semi-level playing field.
There are so many different things that I could touch on regarding the Galahad update, from altars, to gatherer gear, to the destiny board changes, even the complete reworking of the UI – it’s all important, but you’re going to figure out all of that when you log in next. The last thing I want to cover is home bases, which are maps designed for specific factions. If you’re more into PVE than anything, then this is probably the spot where you want to be. Your home base will have two raid bosses, a daily boss, and a weekly boss. One thing to remember is that in your home instance, you won’t be the only one who wants to fight the boss and gain the recognition for doing so. It makes for some pretty good competition, even if you’re not standing in a PVP zone – which many people won’t.
The last thing I want to cover is home bases, which are maps designed for specific factions. If you’re more into PVE than anything, then this is probably the spot where you want to be. Your home base will have two raid bosses, a daily boss, and a weekly boss. One thing to remember is that in your home instance, you won’t be the only one who wants to fight the boss and gain the recognition for doing so. It makes for some pretty good competition, even if you’re not standing in a PVP zone – which many people won’t.
The Big Picture
Basically, Albion Online is getting closer to the vision people had in mind when it was first announced, but the big question is whether or not it’s something that we can get into. Here’s the thing with MMORPG’s, there are SO many of them and there are only so many hours in the day. How do you choose the one you want to jump into? More importantly, how do you choose the one that you want to stay in for the long haul? We would all love to get neck deep into
Here’s the thing with MMORPG’s, there are SO many of them and only so many hours in the day. How do you choose the one you want to jump into? More importantly, how do you choose the one that you want to stay in for the long haul? We would all love to get neck deep into SWTOR, FFXIV, and WoW, but the truth is, there isn’t enough money or time.
So, here’s the million dollar question: is Albion Online going to be a game you can really sink your teeth into? Is it going to be the next MMORPG to create memories that are going to last a lifetime? It’s really hard to say at this point, but what we can say for sure is that Sandbox Interactive is trying, and they’re not doing a bad job of it.
For those of you who haven’t jumped in yet, the official release date for Albion Online is July 17, 2017, at which point they will commence the final wipe. At that point, everyone will start fresh and the world will be new again. Those who are joining us for the very first time will never have the privilege of knowing the pre-Galahad world, but like all alpha and beta users of ages past, we can sit around and fondly recount the stories of how our founder rewards were ganked in an unbalanced, pre-Galahad beta world. Exciting times for sure.Related: Albion Online, Article, MMORPG, Sandbox, Sandbox Interactive, Update