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In an instant, losing everything – Preview of the Albion Online MMO sandbox

To date, Albion Online is perhaps the only worthy and bright representative of the genre of hardcore MMO games with an open world. It literally immediately from the moment of the announcement was able to attract a huge amount of attention, and the secret of unprecedented success lies in the “roots”, since Albion Online follows the path of the legendary Ultima Online.

As the developers of this sandbox were a little-known German studio Sandbox Interactive, which consists of only twenty people, each of whom seeks to revive the once fascinating “Ultima”. The money for the creation of the game was collected on “Kickstarter” and after a short period of time, the authors were able to present a very early version of the game, nevertheless, interesting.

True, not everyone was able to take part in this very early alpha test, or rather only the one who bought one of the three paid packages. Prices, frankly, for which, just sky-high, for example, the most expensive package (“Legendary Package of the Founder”) costs as much as 100 baces. Although, despite the inflated prices, more than 35 thousand people took part in the closed alpha test of the game. And if you consider the fact that it has been going on for more than one month (since November 23), it is safe to say that Albion Online is an exciting game worth not only your money, but also time.

By the way, even the testing turned out to be very successful. I mean that the servers from the influx of players did not fall and normally distributed the load. So, having bought myself the cheapest package, I rushed to explore the depths of Albion, so I am glad to present on a large gaming portal “GameAwards.ru”, a preview of the game Albion Online!

“I am free like a bird in the sky”

How does Albion Online start? I would say – with complete freedom! Albion Online is not a typical game, because here you are not offered a dozen initial tasks. You are not forced to decide on a class in advance or even constantly “crab” for the sake of the 60th level.



The lack of a class system is one of the features of the game. You are not forced to become a magician, warrior or priest in advance. And the equipment here is not tied to the class. For example, you can easily create a wizard with a staff, a shield and dressed in heavy armor. Or an even more brutal option – a priest with a shield and in the same heavy armor. You can even create a warrior mage, just like in some Skyrim.

At Albion Online, everything is possible. Any combinations. Any equipment. In this game you can make any perversions that you have been dreaming of for a long time. In addition, it is important to note that skills are tied to the equipment, since skills are not initially available. It is for this reason that you can cross a priest and a warrior. Or an archer and a wizard. And that’s because you’re just picking up your gear.

In fact, the game without any references to classes and races, again sends greetings to Ultima Online. Linking skills to things at the moment is reminiscent of either Guild Wars 2 or Path of Exile (to whom which game is closer). Now there are more than 50 skills in the game and in the future, you will be much more.



Since each thing has several skills at once, you will have to choose one of them. One thing is one skill. The tree of skills is called the “Tree of Destiny” and it is divided into a variety of details, for example, there is a branch with weapons, armor, resource extraction, etc. Since Albion Online is a very diverse and rich game, here you will find a lot of different weapons, things and resources. Each thing rocks that branch in the “Tree of Destiny” to which it belongs.

In order to master a particular weapon, you need to gain a certain amount of glory, that is, kill the weapon that leads to the desired one, so many times that fame is gained and the long-awaited weapon is revealed. This system resembles a kind of practice, and everything sounds a little more complicated than it turns out to be in practice. In addition, weapons and things can be changed at any time, thereby changing your class at any time. Let’s say you were a wizard in heavy armor, then you can drop the staff at any time and take a blade with light armor. This is done very simply and without any special investments.



If you still have not understood, then I explain in simple words – pumping occurs by performing any actions. For example, again, I repeat, killing monsters or extracting resources, or crafting armor and weapons. Since the branches in the game are very long and very different, each branch has several sections, to reach each of which you will have to, having previously fulfilled the conditions. The simplest example: if you have a second-level sword and want to get a third-level sword, you need to fulfill the condition. After completing it, you are free to create swords of the third level, and your next goal will be the sword of the fifth level. Conditions are very different, so they can relate to both the extraction of resources and ending with the killing of mobs. Even for the extraction of a tree of the third level, you will have to fulfill a certain condition. Moreover, the higher the level, the more complex the condition becomes.



At first glance, it may seem that the system is too complicated and too tedious, but in fact it is just new in modern MMO games. Yes, and it is closer to reality, because how can you achieve a successful possession of the sword, if not constant training with it? Although if you get tired of pumping with a sword, you can always, for example, start training in the possession of a bow, spear, axe or staff.

Staying anywhere

The main advantage of Albion Online is that the game is cross-platform. It will be released not only on Windows, Linux, but also on iOS and even Android. Of course, you need to understand that in order to sit in some toilet and play a game, you will need good system requirements. For example, playing on Android now we can say with confidence that no large-scale PvP battles shine, since the problem lies not only in the small interface (where just even the ability to press qualitatively and in a timely manner will not work), but also in the fact that such fights will be held with constant nerves.

But overall a great idea. Because to get resources, kill some Bosses, build houses and even run from location to location – it will be comfortable and convenient. For example, you go to the subway to work, go to the game and collect fruits on the farm, or run to get a stone that will be required in the future to build a house, or generally feed bulls and horses in a timely manner.



But it is also impossible not to mention the fact that on Albion Online there is only one north, so perhaps there may be problems with the load when the game begins an open beta test, or the game gets to the release (and it’s no secret that they appear in pairs even now, although the gameplay is not particularly affected). And yet, do not be afraid of this and even if there is such news, since the team involved in the development of the game, as mentioned above, consists of twenty people and, nevertheless, they perfectly cope with optimization.

Either way, a cross-platform game is a great solution. The game in the future will clearly become incredibly massive, and this is a very big plus, since players will be happy not only with new faces, but also with constant wars, a developing in-game economy and new lands.

My home is my fortress

Another curious and fascinating detail of Albion Online is the construction of its own housing. Moreover, the construction is extremely simple and understandable: you take some free plot of land and lay the foundation of the future structure there. Construction requires resources, since it cannot appear “from nothing”, so it will be necessary to extract the resources of different shooting galleries. Resources, in turn, are divided into eight shooting galleries. These shooting galleries include not only, for example, stone and wood, but also things. The higher the dash, the better the thing, the resource. The same goes for buildings, so the better the construction, the better the resources will be required.

So, you can decorate your home in every possible way, for example, by making chairs, a table and hanging the head of some animal. Moreover, all the things that will decorate your home give a unique bonus. Basically, this applies to trophies, so if you get one, do not rush to sell it, it will still be useful to you.



By the way, all the tasks that can be built are divided into types: residential buildings, industrial and military. In addition, each player will be allocated his own land, where you can move. This land will be located on a special island, where other players will not be able to get. It is there that you can engage in farming, animal husbandry and other things absolutely peacefully, in complete safety. If you wish, you can bring a friend there, but no one is able to arrange pogroms and robberies on such islands, so even if the game is sharpened strictly on PvP wars, you will still have a peaceful piece of land.

In addition, you can build your buildings in cities. For example, if you built a forge in the city, you can receive the rest of the players, giving them a place where they can create higher shooting range resources and equipment, of course, giving some of your silver for providing them with such a place and services. Previously familiar merchants and blacksmiths in games, albion Online has the same players as you, so you will have to interact with them in every possible way. But everything is not as easy as it may seem at first glance, since each player will have subordinates who perform a variety of tasks. For example, the forge itself does not work, so there is your ward, who, like you, wants to eat and receive a salary, so part of the income will have to go to him, otherwise your forge simply will not work. Almost the same applies to the allocated lands, because there you can also hire special characters who will also want to eat and have a mood, depending on which their performance will be taken into account. That’s just the goals and opportunities are different for everyone, for example, someone works in a forge, and someone walks, gets you a stone.



Overall, Albion Online is so limitless that you’re capable of creating entire settlements and even cities by renting land and manufacturing. Each thing and building is created exclusively by the players themselves. Of course, for any building, and even more so for a city, resources will be required, which will have to be extracted not only from animals and ordinary stone blocks, but also from mines, and even PvP zones.

For Honor and Resources

Each piece of Albion Online content is built exclusively around battles between players (in other words, around PvP), so the entire foggy Albion was divided into different types of zones: green, yellow, red and black. Green areas are the safest zones. In them you can not beat the rest of the players, and after dying at the hands of some aggressive opponent (mob), you can be resurrected on the spot, losing only a small amount of money. And although it is safe here, you will not get much of the resources, because you will get the resources of a maximum of the fourth shooting range (and there are only eight of them).



Yellow zones are already a little more serious, because they are already allowed to attack other players, and after death you lose not only part of the money, but also a certain margin of safety of equipment. Therefore, it will not be possible to use players as prey, because there is nothing to take from them, only a small handful of silver. In addition, in any yellow zone before the battle, you need to switch to combat mode (which takes ten seconds). And only after entering the PvP mode you can start killing other players, or they will start killing you. “It’s not fair,” you might say. After all, what to do if you are attacked, and you are not in PvP mode, they can kill, and you have nothing to do. This is where the health “buff” comes into play, protecting any player not in PvP mode, but who is under attack. Of course, in these more dangerous areas (compared to green) it will be possible to extract resources much better (as a rule, the resources of the fifth and sixth shooting range), but over time they will no longer be enough.



So you will be forced to go to more dangerous zones – red, and then even black. But in the red and black zones – players lose after death absolutely everything that was with them and even part of the silver. And usually there are some strong clans, or players belonging to the real daredevils. But the risk is justified, because it is in dangerous locations that you can get the most valuable resources that are needed in any aspect of the game. In addition, it is in the red and black zones that the most dangerous mobs live.

Feudalism in all its glory

Another, of course, the main advantage of Albion Online is the mechanics of the war of clans and alliances. Here you will not see banal fights for some glades, or a castle, which this week has already seen a hundred owners. Albion will not only force you to put on the “skin” of a real feudal lord, but also to understand the whole essence of his rule. After all, here you will be introduced not only to the fact that you need to feed your soldiers, but also with the fact that good forges are needed so that fighters do not go into battle with blunt blades and pierced armor. In order to feed the troops, you need meadows, cows, chickens and even fields with wheat, and preferably closer, since it is quite difficult to arrange a convoy in order to carry all this good in the right place. In addition, everyone needs somewhere to live.

It is impossible to build such a thing for your clan in some green zone, where even a beast will not be able to offend you. This will have to be built in dangerous, red PvP zones, where each clan is ready to gnaw a throat over a piece of land. And although there are more than a few dozen such sections in the game, the war is still flaring up in earnest.



And even if you think that you can do without such a guild , you are seriously mistaken. Someday you will reach the limit and someday, in order to rise even higher, you will have to go to the red, or even the black zone for resources. You can safely get something there only with reliable associates, or if you are some crazy daredevil. In any case, all high-level resources are in the red and black zones. Some factions can control chunks of land, thereby providing everyone in the guild with resources.

To be in one of these guilds is not only profitable, but also interesting, because you can take part in wars and even lead a peaceful life, farming for the guild. Taking care of the land, animals and plants is the responsibility of someone in any self-respecting guild. But you know, in any guild there are “black days”, so even in your guild there can be the same “black day”. As a rule, these are the days when wars begin, because during them not only dozens of players die, but also destroy everything that you and your associates have been building for so long, for example, buildings and farms. But to be a loner, or a piece of something more – it’s up to you to decide.



In any case, in general, the mechanics of land acquisition and their arrangement are not bad. Because, for example, even a small group of brave fighters is able to capture the site. Battles take place on equal terms even if you are only thirty people, and a hundred oppose you. The weak side will receive unique bonuses that will help to stay “afloat”. Another thing is when you are attacked for days, and you are not able to defend yourself 360 days a year. Simply put, wars here are really similar to feudal wars.

However, this is not surprising, because everything can happen here: ambushes, espionage, unexpected alliances, betrayal and robbery. Ambushes can set up right on your lands and usually it’s very sad, so much drama at once. Espionage is also a popular method in the game, and very useful, because it allows you to calculate the tactics of the enemy a few steps ahead. Unexpected alliances and betrayal are generally a separate conversation. You never know how loyal this or that guild is to you, because you can always be betrayed and taken away part of the land, after which the union will fall apart, and in your place will come a stronger alliance that will throw you into oblivion for a long month. Robberies are commonplace. But what is most interesting about all these wars is that no one sits “on the throne” forever. Absolutely everyone can overthrow the “king”, it is only important to think tactically and take every advantage.



If you are a member of a small guild, and you and your lands decided to be attacked by an alliance of more than a hundred snouts, then, as mentioned above, you will be given unique bonuses. In particular, if the balance, like a black hole, is too different in the sense, then the battle will take place following a five-on-five format. So your small guild, or vice versa, will have to defeat absolutely all enemy fighters in this format. Fights are scheduled for a certain time, so you will not be able to take your small community with all your might. Nevertheless, to defeat, for example, 100 fighters of 5 people in each battle is also not an easy matter, so you have not just to grab the victory with all your might, but also not to lose heart. After all, you always have a chance to win.

Traveling through foggy Albion

Since one server is allocated for the game, there will be only one huge world for absolutely all players. Moreover, in the same world, the system of changing day and night will be involved. In addition, there will be no teleportation in Albion Online, so if you or your allies are planning a raid, then you will have to run to the specified collection point on your two. But not everything is so bad, because you can use bulls and horses to move around, although in the future, most likely, a number of different horses will be added. In addition, it was previously noted that you do not have to buy horses in any store – you have to grow them. It is to grow and feed.

About the cons

Although the game is hardcore + gives a lot of opportunities, it still has its drawbacks. The first of a number of problems and disadvantages is cross-platform. Yes, on the one hand it is cool, because you can even go into the game sitting on the potty, but in fact it falls into a huge problem.



To begin with, I would like to talk about the interface, because of too strong a desire to unify Albion Online for all platforms, there were, for example, large windows with unrealistically huge bags. Skills are not at all unknown in what place, although it would be nice if they stood in such places in which they were convenient to use, and so it is better to use them if you play on a tablet. There is no change of interface in the game. Even icons in other places can not be put, so it becomes damn uncomfortable to play. Only the keys for the quick application of these skills save in this whole situation.

The next problem is that wandering through the woods, objects obscure the character. That is, if you go behind a tree, the hero does not shine through it. And in many other games (and even in “Ultima”), it was not even worth thinking about this. And it’s kind of weird, because you can’t even turn the camera. One could, of course, not cling to this detail at all, if only the most ridiculous deaths did not occur, and it did not take a lot of nerves to find your character, or to get some resource behind this tree.



But most upsetting is the large number of green areas, which contributes to the development of bot breeding. If the system is not changed even more in the direction of PvP in the near future (that is, there will be more green areas), then during the MBT I am sure many players will just tear the hair on their heads due to the fact that green locations will be overflowing with bots. The economy of the game will gradually slide down, because beginners, and ordinary players will not be able to get resources. On the yellow locations, they may also appear, although it will be more difficult there, however, the fact remains that bots will definitely be there if the system does not become more rigid. If someone is going to swear about it now, then just think about how the game will exist next? And by the way, you would be right if you say that there are no bots now, because they will appear immediately after the game goes into free use.

The Bottom Line

Albion Online is a fascinating and interesting sandbox that continues cult ideas. Despite all the “dampness” of this project, it is even now ready to give players exciting adventures. This is definitely one of the most anticipated games of recent years, although with disadvantages. For example, the relatively weak graphical component of the game. But on the other hand, it is silly to judge the game in this regard, since it is also designed as cross-platform. Of course, these are not all problems, but it is important to understand that Albion Online did not even get to the MBT stage, so everything can change for the better. Although it is also impossible to deny that the game will slide into oblivion, for example, into an endless “donation”.

So each of us can soon see the very hardcore game, where the loss of all our property is a common phenomenon. There will be no place for those who expect to see a regular MMORPG, or something like that. It’s a very different game. It’s a very different mechanic. There are different rules. There is finally that long-awaited hardcore and if you once liked Ultima Online, or something similar, then Albion Online will make you feel the atmosphere that you once felt.

The game has incredible potential and therefore has every chance to win a huge audience. And do not be angry that at the moment the entrance to the CBT is very expensive, since the development studio is very small and is engaged in the project on its own, and for this they need resources of various kinds, so the price is quite justified. It’s better to be afraid that they might find a publisher who will start dictating their own rules, and maybe not for the best.


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