Albion Online is Going Free to Play Next Month

Next month Albion Online is going free to play after spending nearly two years behind what they call a $30 paywall. They said this in the FAQ section of announcement answering the question, Why are you making this change now? Here is the full text of their answer:

Overall, the game is doing very well. We have a fully staffed development team of 35 people, just released our sixth major post-release update, and have a stable and growing player population.

However, we’re also convinced that Albion Online can be taken much further. Our mission is to bring back that old-school, hardcore MMORPG feeling, to as many players as possible.

In today’s world, a 30-dollar paywall – the price of our cheapest game pack – is a massive deterrent for trying out a new game, especially one as unconventional as Albion Online. We believe that by removing the initial paywall we will be able to grow Albion Online as a game and continue to further expand our development team to bring you even more content updates and exciting new features going forward.

Ultimately, we believe this step will help us realize our long-term vision for the game.

As a thank you to their loyal players they’ll be giving anyone who has redeemed a starter pack before April 10th an exclusive Specter Wolf mount, 1,000 gold, and 3 days of claimable premium time. Starter packs will continue to be available until April 10th, and are in fact, discounted for the remaining time they’ll be available.

Premium status which can be bought with in-game currency or real money will remain the same. The only thing being changed is that barrier of entry wherein you must buy the game.

All of these changes take place on April 10th at 10:00 UTC. If you’d like to learn more about Albion Online going f2p you can find more information in the official announcement linked below.

 

Source: Official Site

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Albion Online Talks Guild Warfare Season 4 Rewards

Bringing your guild into a fight against other guilds should be rewarding, and Guild Warfare season 4 in Albion Online looks to be precisely that. At least, if you’re the sort who would like to have a glowy rhino mount or want your guild commemorated in an in-game statue.

guild warfare season 4

For this season, guilds who make it to at least bronze rank will be eligible for unique rewards like the War Rhino epic mount pictured above. This big stompy friend exists in Tiers 5-8 and boasts high damage resistance, and will only be issued as a season 4 reward.

The end of season 4 will introduce the Conqueror’s Hall, a new shrine in the heart of Caerleon where monuments to the top three guilds of each season will be enshrined, including winners of the first three seasons. Winning guilds will get to customize their monuments, selecting which character will represent their guild.

Just bear in mind that to be eligible for the Guild Warfare rewards, you’ll need to have Premium status and be an active guild member for at least 75% of the season.

In order to drum up engagement, everyone who logs into Albion Online between now and September 26th will receive 7 days of free Premium and a 25% boost to gathering, crafting and PvE Fame earnings.

Our Thoughts

We have to admit, having your guild immortalized in an in-game statue is a pretty cool perk for being tops in the MMO’s Guild Warfare. Also, the mount for bronze tier is definitely nothing to sneeze at. Good luck to any guilds that take part in this season!

Source: press release

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Albion Online has a Retrospective and a Raffle for its First Anniversary

Albion Online has turned one year old and its already walking on its own two legs, bless. To celebrate the Albion Online one year anniversary, the team at Sandbox Interactive are looking back at the year that was and holding a celebratory raffle for players.

albion online one year anniversary

The retrospective look at Albion Online’s first year is pretty darn comprehensive, taking fans through launch on July 17th of last year and the features added with the Joseph and Kay updates. The post then, naturally, looks to the future of its next year, noting features of the upcoming Merlyn update and other updates that will hopefully bring different types of players together.

“Now that the community has somewhat consolidated and we have a clear idea of which players are sticking with Albion and why, it becomes easier to develop directly for these players,” said director Robin Henkys in the post.

As for that whole raffle thing, there’s a Gleam giveaway link set up just for that. Fans have the chance to win themselves a Legendary Pack for the game and a signed Merlyn update artwork poster as the top prize, with other prizes like additional packs, a signed LandFall book and 10k in-game Gold up for grabs. The contest will run for the next seven days at the time of this writing.

Our Thoughts

While we’re all thinking back on the past year of Albion Online, why not take a moment and check out our own writer’s take? And if you’ve got thoughts about where this sandbox stands, feel free to share them with us in the comment section below.

Source: press release

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What’s Going on With Albion Online?

The CEO and Founder of Sandbox Interactive, the team behind Albion Online left the company back in April and is now working for HelloFresh in Germany as the Director of Product Development. Stefan Wiezorek started his new job back in May without any public messages saying he would be departing the studio he helped to build. This, of course, raises a lot of questions as usually announcements are made when such a high position is emptied. It isn’t immediately clear on Linkedin who has taken over the CEO position. However, a post on Reddit has revealed that Albion Online Game Director Robin Henkys has taken over the role. Talking further on Reddit it was said that they didn’t go public with this information because there are users who would actively use it to discredit the game. This was also the reason they decided to stop releasing player numbers.

This comes as there has been a lot of concern recently about the state of the game. According to SteamDB, the population of Steam players is in massive decline since it released on Steam in May, 2018. According to the site, at its peak Albion Online had 2,829 Steam players and today it is down to 741. That’s a significant decline in such a short amount of time. SteamCharts shows very similar numbers for concurrent players. Meanwhile, Sandbox Interactive is saying that player numbers are fine. It should be pointed out that Albion Online’s client released first and is where the vast majority of players are. So they aren’t included in those Steam numbers, but there was a consistent decline in users when Sandbox Interactive was still releasing information related to player count.

In the past, you could look at the rankings for every person who had played that week. This meant that the players constantly had an accurate and precise count of how many people were playing Albion Online. However, it was also a disaster for player numbers as people could watch the population decline week after week, snowballing until…at least according to Reddit posts, the population dropped 90%. It was at that point Sandbox Interactive capped the number of rankings that would appear to include just the top 10,000. This change happened six months ago, long before the game was ever introduced to Steam. So there is no way to know what an accurate player count currently is.

On Steam Albion Online has received mixed reviews. Currently, 68% of the 622 reviews are positive. Many of the negative reviews point out that the game is laggy as well as being a grind that just isn’t fun to play. There are also a number of people who accuse the game of being pay-to-win. Positive reviews point out that there are a huge variety of things for you to do in the game, including ganking players in PvP; who doesn’t love to do that from time to time? The sandbox nature seems to be the biggest draw of the game, no need to do quests or follow a main story. If you want to spend your life working with hide, you can do that. They are very straightforward and accepting of the grind in the game and suggest that if you don’t like to grind it isn’t your kind of game.

On Metacritic, it has a Metascore of 72 based on 8 critical reviews of the game. The highest two are scores of 80 and those are from MMORPG.com and Game Revolution. The lowest score of 60 was given by three sites: DarkStation, Merlin’in Kazani, and The Overpowered Noobs. User Score is at 4.6 based on 85 ratings, and 8 of those reviews are a perfect 10 while 29 of them give a rating of 0.

Albion Online hasn’t had it easy. In August it suffered crippling DDOS attacks after it took action against gold sellers in the game. Sandbox Interactive was even blackmailed and served ransom demands! This issue plagued the game for several weeks before it was over. At one point in time emergency teleports had to be added to the main hub because too many people were trying to get in it at once and the entire area is surrounded by PvP maps. All in all, too many people is a good problem to have! In January the development team suffered a round of layoffs. During beta testing, the dev team increased to over 50 people and the layoff saw that number reduced to 31 with additional support from freelancers. This sort of thing is common right after an MMO releases as they brought on more people to get the game out the door and it doesn’t represent anything except the normal development cycle. However, there were many people attempting to claim otherwise.

There is actually a collection of people who go out of their way to make their displeasure about the things Sandbox Interactive does known. They can often be found wherever Albion Online is being talked about calling the developers liars and accusing them of moderating any negative comments about the studio or the game. They claim that the official subreddit for Albion Online is moderated by Sandbox Interactive employees who abuse their moderation powers. To combat this they made a subreddit of their own, which managed to get 79 followers in 7 months. The last post on the subreddit was made a month ago. One of the moderators of that subreddit seems to post about Albion Online on the MMORPG subreddit several times a day.

What should be the takeaway from all of this? Yes, Sandbox Interactive’s CEO left and yes, the game’s numbers on Steam aren’t amazing. That only tells a small portion of the story. Yes, Albion Online is unapologetically a grindy game and thus not for everyone. Albion Online has also had a hard time since it launched and is working with a small, indie team. If you’re interested in trying out Albion Online and deciding for yourself if it’s a game you want to play head over to the official subreddit where you can find trial keys that give you 7 days of gameplay.

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Merlyn Update to Bring Faction Warfare to Albion Online

If the prevailing wisdom of most PvP sandbox MMOs is to be believed, the lyrics of Edwin Starr’s classic song is “War! What is it good for? The lulz!” To maybe alleviate that a tiny bit, the Albion Online Merlyn update will be offering faction-based warfare to the game along with related new rewards.

albion online merlyn update

Faction warfare lets players join with one of five factions based on the five major cities of the Royal Continent, essentially granting them the ability to engage in open-world PvP without fear of a hit to their reputation.

Merlyn will also introduce faction outposts that players can attempt to capture, which can grant your faction additional resources. Of course, capturing an outpost isn’t a simple matter and will require players to take down a powerful faction-specific Champion. There will also be trade caravans that can be run to get more faction resources, but these run deep into enemy territory and so will require guile and stealth.

Naturally, joining a faction has its own series of rewards, namely in the form of faction points. These points can be used to get rewards like faction resources that can be used to substitute for crafting materials, new stat-boosting capes, and faction-specific mounts.

The Merlyn update will also feature a redistribution of resources across the game world, a new dungeon, new UI improvements, and a host of other fixes. All of these updates will arrive to Albion Online on July 31st. A synopsis page can be found here and a video with director Robin Henkys discussing faction outposts and faction rewards is below.

Our Thoughts

Bringing faction mechanics to the open world PvP of Albion Online sounds like it’ll be a shot in the arm to the game’s battling, but we’d love to know what any Albion Online fans think of this upcoming update’s features. Sound off below in the comments!

Source: press release

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Albion Online Arrives to Steam May 16

Pretty much as simple as that, really. The calendar date for the Albion Online Steam release has been confirmed and that date is Wednesday, May 16th, with a little celebration being prepared for players of the sandbox MMORPG regardless of platform to mark the occasion.

albion online steam release

When Albion Online lands to the Steam platform, it will naturally arrive with a number of Steam features such as achievements. These achievements aren’t going to be limited to Steam users, however: all players of the MMO will be able to earn these new achievements in the native Albion Online client for the hunters out there.

As a way to celebrate the potential influx of new players, Albion Online will be boosting Fame gains for an entire week from May 16th through May 22nd, with all Fame-earning activities – gathering, crafting, mob killing and the like – raking in 25% more Fame during that time period.

A trailer heralding Albion Online’s imminent Steam launch has been attached to the announcement, which you can see below.

Our Thoughts

We do hope that this move to the Steam platform will do what the devs of Albion Online want it to do, which is to draw in more new players. Will you be among those making your first steps to this particular sandbox MMORPG, or is the launch on Steam not enough to draw your interest? Feel free to tell us your thoughts in the comments.

Source: press release

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Albion Online Reveals a Lancelot Mid-Season Update

Sometimes, you can’t really wait on the next regular patch cycle to twist a few knobs and make some changes. This is the thinking behind Albion Online’s upcoming Lancelot mid-season update, which is going to spring some important tweaks to the sandbox MMORPG a little earlier than usual.

lancelot mid-season update

Guild vs. Guild has gotten some particular focus in this update. The cost of buying runes, souls and relics is going to see a significant reduction; activation times of siege camps will happen twice a day, with half of the camps becoming active during each period; and Siphoning Mages will spawn less frequently and will no longer provide a bonus to the next GvG battle if they’re placed before the start of a GvG battle. There will also be a GvG training mode option, letting players set up cost-free, consequence-free skirmishes to practice their skills.

In addition to these adjustments, the next update will bring the ability to re-spec training masteries and a variety of combat balance changes, with particular focus on buffing under-utilized base-level and lower-level Artifact Weapons.

The mid-season update for Lancelot is set to arrive on Wednesday, May 2nd. A more in-depth rundown of the planned adjustments can be read on the Albion Online website.

Our Thoughts

Seems like GvG is a popular pastime in Albion Online, considering the speed with which the devs are looking to apply adjustments. If you’re a player of this sandbox MMO, we’d love to know your thoughts on whether these adjustments will be positive or not.

Source: press release

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The post Albion Online Reveals a Lancelot Mid-Season Update appeared first on MMOGames.com.

Albion Online Announces its Arrival to Steam

Sandbox MMOs are always better when they’re full of new people, so the announcement of an Albion Online Steam release is certainly not a big surprise. Sandbox Interactive has revealed their intentions to bring their game to the platform at some point in the not-too-distant future.

albion online steam

The reason for Albion Online’s arrival to the platform is pretty transparent: they want more players. “We think this is the right time to open the game up to the broader Steam audience,” said game director Robin Henkys in a statement. “New players will not only make the world of Albion Online more populated and vivid, but also allow for new economic opportunities, more PVP matches, and new social connections.”

The recently-released Lancelot update has put the MMO in a place where it can take on fresh arrivals or even draw in players who prefer to get their games through Steam specifically according to the announcement.

The announcement does not provide any hard calendar date yet, but the game’s Steam page is live if you’re looking to have it added to your wishlist in the meantime.

Our Thoughts

Yeah…yeah, that makes sense: get your sandbox MMO to as many people as possible to make it as populated as possible. We certainly hope that the arrival of Albion Online to Steam will bring in that influx of fresh players the devs (and hopefully the players) are looking for.

Source: press release

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The post Albion Online Announces its Arrival to Steam appeared first on MMOGames.com.

Latest Albion Online Dev Video is All About Fishing

With the incoming Lancelot update to Albion Online, players will get to throw out a line and see if they can’t reel in a tasty (or lucrative) catch. In the latest video with game director Robin Henkys, Albion Online fishing is the chief subject, detailing how it works and what layers await those who are ready to start.

albion online fishing

According to Henkys, the idea behind adding fishing is to introduce a fun activity that lets players wind down after their labors in-game while also being deep enough for players to get wrapped up in and integrate neatly into the economy of Albion Online. Examples of such depth for fishing includes a fishing journal for player houses, a fishing Destiny Board, and even a fish boss monster that players can defeat and then craft into a trophy.

From the minigame involved in hooking a fish, to crafting elements, to how much players can fish in a given area, it’s all covered in a nearly 10 minute-long video full of fishy goodness that can be watched below.

Our Thoughts

This definitely isn’t just some tacked on tertiary activity, by the sounds of it. Fishing in Albion Online appears to be a significantly deep system with its own form of progression and benefits. Here’s hoping that the fisher-minded players of this sandbox don’t find themselves locked in battle with a catch and then pounced on by others.

Source: press release

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The post Latest Albion Online Dev Video is All About Fishing appeared first on MMOGames.com.

Albion Online’s Lancelot Update Reels In a Release Date

Alright, there’s fishing in the upcoming Albion Online Lancelot update, which explains the whole “reels in” reference in the headline. There’s also a variety of other adjustments, new items and other features in the update as well, so please read on and don’t hit me for that headline, okay?

albion online lancelot update

So, yes, Lancelot will let players of the sandbox MMO cast a line into the waters of the world and snag some fish. Fish can be sold or used as ingredients for food, and players can even find “boss” fish or sunken treasures. The types of fish are also different based on biome or saltwater vs. freshwater.

If PvF (that’s player versus fish) isn’t your thing, Lancelot is also introducing several improvements. Guild masters will now be able to have more control over their members with new tools to assign roles, track resources and set member permissions. GvG is also seeing some changes such as Rogue Mages that can be placed in enemy territory to siphon energy.

Lancelot is also bringing new roaming mobs to the game’s landscape, level 3 artifact armors, some new 2v2 PvP Hellgates, a tier 6 group expedition, and a number of improvements to the MMO’s servers in an effort to reduce lag.

All of Lancelot’s features – fish-related and otherwise – are arriving on March 12th. More details can be read here while a trailer full of PvF can be seen below.

Our Thoughts

Get hooked, indeed. Fishing in a sandbox MMO always seems like a pretty dangerous proposition, but then again having another resource to sell isn’t all that bad. We hope that players of Albion Online like all the things that the Lancelot update will bring.

Source: press release

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The post Albion Online’s Lancelot Update Reels In a Release Date appeared first on MMOGames.com.