Dozens of new MMORPG’s are released every single year, but every once in a while you get that one that you just didn’t know you needed. Albion Online is such a game, in my opinion, and it stands apart from the crowd for a few reasons. First of all, it’s not really trying to reinvent anything, and secondly it is one of the first truly cross platform MMORPG’s. By this I mean a game that will run on Mac, Windows, Linux, and a variety of tablet devices, and the best part? It doesn’t require you to connect to a different server for each operating system.
Now I personally haven’t seen proof of this, as the Android versions seems to be on the fritz for anything lower than a Galaxy S5, but there IS an Android client and many users claim that it works quite nicely. To make it even better, the game has very low system requirements, and can run on anything from your run of the mill potato to the highest end gaming rig. The fact that it looks pretty doesn’t hurt either. So, what is it exactly that sets this game apart from all the other MMO’s on the market aside from the impressively innovative cross platform compatibility? Well, to start, it’s not exactly smooth sailing at the beginning.
Starting out in Albion
The story of Albion is told mostly through contextual clues, namely in the loading screens between areas which go by far too fast for anyone to actually read. In the beginning, all you know is that you’ve been deposited onto the shore, in the wilderness, and you have very little on you. It doesn’t start you out with a sword, you’re not a great warrior, and any veteran of the MMO world will notice that when they created their character, they weren’t presented with the opportunity to choose a class. The truth is that there ARE no classes in Albion Online; you simply build your character as you go along.
The one thing you did get to choose in the beginning were the types of rags you would be wearing in the beginning, so as you crawl onto the shores of Albion practically naked and clueless, you have some choices to make. You could go exploring and become hopelessly lost, or you could attempt to do a bit of grinding. Now in the beginning no one is going to give you a quest, so you’ll have to walk around and figure things out the hard way. In this case, you can use the beginner tools you somehow wave to kill a bit of wildlife and chop down a few trees, and once you get that done, you’ll be ready to visit a crafting station.
When you Play the Game of Crafts
Albion is a crafting game; there’s no way around it. Sure, if you have the money you’ll be able to buy already-crafted items, and honestly I think the economy relies on players being lazy somewhat, but it’s a case of not having the money to buy the items unless of course you want to utilize the game’s gold-buying system. Oh yes, that’s right, you can actually buy your way to the top in Albion, and you’re not going to be banned for it because they literally implemented the feature themselves. Yes kids, gold selling is legal, go wild.
Crafting come in several tiers, the first being Tier 1, and I guarantee the first thing you’re going to do is harvest some ‘rough logs’ and then move on to killing the local wildlife, which probably consists of a few rabbits at that point. Once you learn to skin and collect an adequate number of resources, your best bet would be to head north where you’ll learn to craft, and of course, make yourself some decent clothes. You’ll even be able to make some basic weapons.
But I Don’t want to be a Warrior!
Okay yeah the first thing you’ll probably find yourself making is a basic sword and shield, at which point you’ll likely notice you can increase your stats by performing certain actions. For example, you can attack wildlife to raise a skill, or you can craft to raise your crafting skills. The more you perform an action, the more experienced you will become in it and the higher your ranking. Remember, higher ranking and skill means access to higher tiers of crafting and better equipment. In other words, you can get better at the game by simply performing the in-game actions…which is the same as any other game, so I don’t even know why I’m pointing that out. We’re way off track here.
Anyway, as you get better at crafting you’ll have access to other equipment, namely the mage equipment which allows you to cast spells. Oh! I may have forgotten to mention that you don’t learn skills as you progress. In fact you don’t even level up, so there’s that. All of your skills are tied to the armor you craft or buy, so fire spells, frost spells, or even combat arts are tied to your equipment, and when you do your crafting, you can select which skills you would like to imbue onto your armor. So, with that being said, don’t lose your armor.
Understanding Equipment Perks
You would do well to make sure that you craft more than one type of armor as they all have different perks. For example, of the perks allows you to move faster while another allows you to carry more items in your inventory (weight reduction). That said, you could make one set of armor for fighting, and one set for gathering. Of course, you have to be very careful with your gathering, especially if you are running through a PVP zone. It can all get pretty nasty, and your equipment perks may be the difference between survival, and starting over completely naked somewhere. In other words, the game definitely places a lot of emphasis on you making your own decisions rather than handing you…well…anything.
In a game that is pure PVP you would expect the community to be pretty toxic, but that actually isn’t the case here. Everyone is pretty helpful, at least in world chat, though you can expect some of the more toxic players to be standing in the PVP zones waiting for you to walk by. Oh yes, something I forgot to mention earlier, when you die, you lose all of your equipment. The person who attacked you can take everything you had on you and run off into the wild blue yonder – including your mount, so don’t get too attached to it.
As you can probably imagine, traveling around and exploring on your own can get a little hairy, which is why it is strongly recommended that you get yourself into a good guild where you can contribute and make sure your back is covered when you decided to venture outside. In the early levels, exploration won’t really be a problem, but as you move forward, well, let’s just say it sort of turns into Game of Thrones.
In the Albion community, player contribution is a must for a few reasons:
Buildings/Land: In Albion you can buy plots of land to build your own economic structures from which you will earn money, but you won’t be alone in maintaining it. You will find that other players can actually contribute their own resources to make sure your building continues to operate, even in your absence. Why would they do this? Mostly because it is within their own best interest. For example if they happen to be walking about and need to refine their ore, and your smelting station is the only one in sight, they’re obviously going to need your service. If your building isn’t in good repair, they’re going to have a problem. This is a great example of the community helping itself out while promoting a good work ethic.
Guild Matters: Helping your guild is synonymous with helping yourself out in this game, and with that being the case, you might want to consider looking into private islands. Why? Because private farms can hold up to five farms when they’re properly upgraded, and the food grown on them can help your guild. In order to survive, a guild is going to need food for buildings, wood from trees, ore from nodes, etc. Typically, a guild will be unable to survive on its own, meaning you will need to spend a bit of time farming if you want to properly contribute.
One thing I did notice between the closed alpha and closed beta was the addition of quest NPC’s. They don’t exactly give you earth shattering quests, but rather delivery missions that yield experience points as well as tokens to prove that you completed the quest. The other function that these seem to serve is to push you further into the game world by giving you notices of transfer which enable you to speak with NPC’s in other areas. Before you set out further, however, do make sure you have the skills required to complete the collection quests that you are going to be given. The game really doesn’t hold your hand in that area. Quest NPC’s can be found on the area map by looking for the black exclamation points.
Albion is a fun game; there’s no other way to put it, but is it the game for you? Well, there are a plethora of things to do in the game, but there are also no shortcuts. There is no fast travel between towns, and the economy really depends on the players. Personally, I think this is the best thing ever; a real world with real consequences unlike most other MMORPG’s. If you have the time to dedicate to it, then you should absolutely go for it. If you need something a little more streamlined to fit in with your real world obligations, then you might want to look at something a bit simpler. Also, if you currently live in a medieval world, you might want to skip this one because it would be kind of like playing real life, except with magic.
+Easy to Learn
-High Death Penalties
-Hard to Progress
Related: Albion Online, Beta, MMORPG, Preview, Sandbox Interactive