Albion Online Shards Online

Albion Online Final Beta Review

I read an article about World of Warcraft a few months ago titled “We’re not Heroes Anymore.” If you’ve been with WoW from the beginning then you probably have some inkling as to what this is about. If you haven’t, then understand that MMOs have lost the element of surprise. There was a time when games like WoW just didn’t hold your hand and everyone had a purpose. Everyone meant something to the world, but today you just pay your $14.99 and follow the storyline. If you get stuck, you go to the Wiki.

Everyone is pretty much capable of the same achievements, which makes it less of an adventure and more of a roller coaster. I really missed that in MMOs. I missed the uncertainty and struggle that came standard with older MMOs, many of which I can’t even remember. The point is, we’re not heroes anymore; virtually anyone can accomplish the same tasks, making much of the game a moot point whether it’s WoW, Everquest 2, or Final Fantasy 14.

When Albion Online came about and we were offered the chance to be heroes again, and you can bet I jumped at the chance. Now, having been in this game since the early beta, I can tell you that a number of things have changed, and they only serve to make the game better. The HUD has been rearranged, first of all, placing the action bar at the bottom like a more traditional MMORPG, but it doesn’t really change the pacing of the game, which is a good thing. The Albion Online final beta has been pretty amazing so far, and while we won’t go into every single mechanic, we are going to tell you why it’s different from other MMOs you’ve played and even advise you on how to get started when this thing goes into open beta.

 

Getting Started in the Albion Online Final Beta

The game is pretty polished at this point, and one thing they’ve (sort of) added is a tutorial. When I played in the previous beta the game was actually pretty unforgiving in terms of telling you where to go and what to do. Now if you’d been paying attention to any of the launch videos and press releases then you were well aware that Albion Online is a crafting game. Sure, it has quite a bit of combat – there are plenty of dungeons and critters to slaughter in the overworld, but at the heart of the game you have crafting and it’s fantastic.

Let’s just say that in Albion Online you originally started out in a fairly out of the way area of the world map with no clothes on and you had to figure out what you were going to do for weapons, armor, and even money. If you poked around enough you would figure it out, but if you give up easily on things the game would seem way too hard. I, for one, was a fan of this approach but I guess the developers decided at some point they should appeal more to the masses, which is where the idea for a tutorial was born.

Well, it wasn’t much of a tutorial…in fact it was basically every other ‘quest’ or leveling activity in the game with the word ‘tutorial’ in front of it. No one’s complaining here, trust me, but I had to mention it as a point of humor. The tutorial, such as it is, teaches you how to make basic tier 1 clothing and weapons. This gives you the ability to survive in the world, at least to some extent. Once you complete the tutorial you will have your basic weapon and you can move on to the real world, and in all honesty, the tutorial takes all of three minutes to complete if you’re taking it slow, so don’t worry.

 

Albion Online Final beta

In the Real World – Surviving in the Albion Online Final Beta

If you take nothing else away from this article, then take this: start slow in the Albion Online Final Beta as well as the full release. The land of Albion is huge and it is definitely interesting, but there is no reason for you to try exploring the entire thing in a single session. When I started out in Brentwood, I simply collected all the resources I could to continue crafting and get my skill up until the area could no longer sustain me – it took a while.

In comparison to the previous betas, the zones have gotten a bit bigger in the Albion Online final beta so you not only have more to explore but heading out into the wilderness is a much greater risk in a game that does not take death lightly.

In terms of things to do, there are quests in the Albion Online final beta, most of which are offered at outposts in the world. The majority of them are fetch quests that actually make sense given the state of the world. For example, you might be sent out to take down members of opposing factions to quell their numbers, and in doing so you will be given a silver reward along with the experience toward your next advancement. Unlike most games, the quests are timed and if you run out of time you’ll have to start over again, so do keep that in mind.

 

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Your World, Your Rules

First and foremost, the Albion Online Final Beta is a sandbox game, which means you’ll have the ability to do virtually anything you want, and we’re not joking when we say that. If you’re feeling industrious you can set up your own network of shops and crafting stations, charging players a premium to use them. It’s a great way to make money and if you’re industrious enough you could end up owning half of Albion, or more than half depending on how far you want to take it.

You have the option of buying your own personal island and the same goes for guild halls – everyone contributes to the building and upkeep, making the guild more than just a collection of people who raid every now and them. Everyone has a purpose, and everyone makes a difference within the guild. This world is not shaped by the developers so much as it is the players, and that makes it one of the most unique MMOs we’ve ever seen.

 

Your World, Their Rules

Albion is a living world and walking through it definitely has consequences. You could choose to stay within the safe zones and you might be perfectly fine for your life within the game, but if you really want to have an adventure then you’ll want to step within the PVP zones – and you’ll definitely want to bring a friend with you. When you die in this game you lose everything you were wearing and everything in your inventory, and if you spent any time crafting then you’re definitely going to be feeling the pain of that loss. The worst part is that any player who kills you can loot your corpse and literally steal anything you have on you, including your mount.

Let’s examine this for a moment. As a top tier founder, I have quite a few items that are important to me, including a tier 3 mount that allows me to zip around the map regardless of how encumbered I am. If I die by the hand of another player, I’m going to lose that mount that came with the $100 founder package and no, the developers will not replace it. The game is not quite in open beta yet, and I’m not sure if it will be wiped again.

That being said, I can just imagine someone less laid back than me actually losing all of their founder gear and having to traipse across the map trying to get it back. I’m picturing some guy breaking down the door of a player house demanding to know where his founder’s pants are, and the idea still makes me laugh. Of course while that is all pretty terrible, it opens up an avenue for many different stories, all player made. If the game keeps going in this direction, I almost feel as if we’re going to see story arcs between players unlike any we’ve seen since the days of Meridian 59 and EverQuest.

 

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The Final Beta

The Albion Online final beta has as number of improvements, one of which is the addition of the Highlands Biome. This is a pretty cool area that brings us a new terrain to explore along with the Keepers of Albion, who will fight to protect their land at all costs. There have also been numerous fixes to the landscape, the creatures, and the weapon system – it’s not a whole new game but it has definitely been given its fair share of improvements.

If you’ve been looking for a new game to challenge you and bring back that nostalgic sandbox feel then you really need look no further than Albion Online. The final beta is in full swing and finally, at long last, you can be a hero again.

 

Gameplay 9/10

This is a game modeled after the old school isometric RPGs like Ultima Online and Lineage – it’s definitely not for the faint of heart, but (unlike other games that try to bring back the ‘glory days’) it doesn’t fall into the trap of being unnecessarily difficult. The interface is presented with a pretty solid flow and players both new and old to the isometric format will quickly find themselves at home here. The only thing that they might take issue with is the game’s tendency to screw you over after death. If you’re okay with that, then this might just be your new home.

 

Innovation 8/10

At first glance the game doesn’t’ seem to have done anything terribly new but once you get into the meat of the thing you’re going to find that it has actually done quite a bit. The ability to own plots of land, build castles, and own private islands makes everything a little bit more interesting and it really makes the game world feel as if it’s yours rather than a product of the developer’s imagination, and that, to us, is absolutely priceless.

 

Community 7/10

I’m not going to lie; while the game itself is pretty amazing the community itself sometimes leaves something to be desired. I saw quite a bit of toxic activity in the chat, but for every bit of toxicity there were just as many people being helpful, which is always a good sign.

Graphics/Sound 9/10

The graphics are very basic, but that’s perfectly fine as they are optimized for tablet play. As one of the only cross platform MMORPGs, I would say that simplistic graphics are actually okay.

 

Value for Money 10/10

For the lowest founder package, you get quite a game. There’s a lot to do here and there’s even a decent community if you overlook the typical toxic behavior that you would find in any MMORPG. Here in the Albion Online final beta, many issues have been fixed and quite a bit of functionality has been added. I can’t wait to see where they take this next.

 

Overall 9/10

 

Pros:

+Graphics look Great
+Fun Crafting System
+Lots of Players

Cons:

-Slow Character Progression
-Old School Mechanics can be Frustrating
-Grindy

 

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About Rissa Trent

Karissa Leanne was born a boy in Ohio, and she recently discovered the character creator IRL. She grew up on a farm, playing shareware games like Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Operation Comat, Solar Winds, and Kingdom of Kroz. Later she would dabble in Real Time Strategy games, and eventually left home to go on a cross country adventure of self discovery where she found out absolutely nothing. Today she works as a copywriter and games journalist.