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Author Topic: Albion Online - now with First Review/Impressions  (Read 1029 times)
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rittchard
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« on: July 02, 2015, 08:42:17 PM »

I thought I started a thread on this a long while ago but it didn't appear in the search results.  So anyway....

http://albiononline.com/

This is a sandbox/PvP/town-builder that's multi-platform (PC and mobile). No classes, skills are based on what set of equipment you choose to equip, but the catch is that it's full loot PvP so you could effectively lose your custom build if you aren't careful. Hopefully the exact gear itself won't dictate the gameplay as much as player skill and player alliances/guilds, etc.

I got an extra day off today so it seemed like a good day to try it out.  They have just gone into their second Summer Alpha, which I believe is PC/Mac only right now. From what I've heard, iOS will require 2GB RAM, which means iPad Air 2 only at the moment, and likely should include iPhone 6S later this year. I suspect that's why they aren't bothering to test until the hardware catches up.

Early impressions are mixed, seems more crafting/gathering focused, but that could just be because I am so green. The graphics engine is pretty old school, I guess that's what it needs to be to support cross platform. That said, there does seem to be something oddly addictive to it. Systems are fairly simple but appear to branch out and allow for a lot of gameplay freedom. I can see how playing with a guild/friends could be a lot of fun, building up a city, etc. No idea how PvP plays out, I'm still deep in the newbie area.

I never played Ultima Online but I get the sense a lot of the influence comes from that game, so those of you old school folks might want to take a look if you get the time.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2017, 09:10:25 PM by rittchard » Logged
rittchard
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« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2017, 12:04:53 AM »

Looks like a good time to jump in if you are interested in this type of game.  They just completed their "Final Beta" and apparently completed a major update leading into final release this summer in July:

https://albiononline.com/en/update

It looks like they've added a lot in the year and a half since I last tried it, I'll check back in if I get a chance to try it out again.  If anyone else jumps in, please post and let me know.
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Punisher
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« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2017, 02:44:42 AM »

Quote from: rittchard on July 02, 2015, 08:42:17 PM

but the catch is that it's full loot PvP so you could effectively lose your custom build if you aren't careful.
This means I'm out. I don't have a whole lot of time to allocate to a game like this, and having my hard earned stuff taken, would piss me off and force me to quit.
Just not a fan of PvP in these types of games.
I do play some, but not as much as I do other types of games.
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rittchard
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« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2017, 06:18:11 PM »

A few of us are slowly getting into this game, exploring and learning at a pretty casual pace.  We started a Wanderers guild and have... THREE whole members lol (a few more pending once we get on at the same time).  Just post your game name here if you want to join up.

As mentioned above, release is not till this summer but it's the type of game where it's definitely an advantage to learn the core systems early.  Minimum price of entry right now is $30 if you are interested.  

There's a beginner's guide here, which might help you decide if you are into this type of sandbox, player economy environment:

https://albiononline.com/en/news/beginner-guide

As for Punisher's comment, while it is definitely marketed as a "hardcore" PvP game, it's also surprisingly pretty casual friendly.  If you keep to the early parts of the world and your own private island, I believe you can completely avoid PvP if you so choose and still have a good time in the game doing crafting, gathering and/or PvE content.  Because items are all crafted and not based on randomized drops, losing your gear is not as big a deal as it would be in a traditional game like WoW.  

I've already played about 10 hours and I'm still deep in the non-PvP zones.  I suspect it will be a while before I venture out, but it would certainly be nice to have a few more friends to join up with when I do get there.   Tongue


Edit: also note this game is intended to be cross platform on iOS and Android, and I believe it plays fines on any number of Windows tablets.  Hoping it turns into a big crossover kind of game.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 06:20:13 PM by rittchard » Logged
Harkonis
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« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2017, 11:01:28 PM »

I played for a few days last week.  grind seems pretty massive and so do travel times.
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rittchard
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« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2017, 06:09:37 PM »

I tried playing on a Windows tablet last night - it's a Chinese tablet running Windows 10 with an M3 processor, so a step above an Atom.  Ran completely smoothly at 1920x1080, but I was alone.  I like that the game interface has been designed with touch in mind (but not necessarily compromised).  I died a few times due to some stupidity and impatience, but I was able to kill quite a few mobs using the touch interface.  Next up I will try playing on an even cheaper Atom tablet to see how it plays.

Regarding "grind" I suppose it's similar to any game of this type that doesn't have traditional quests per se (though I might argue even a game like WoW is also a grind, just a different kind).  The nice thing is that every action you perform contributes to your character's overall progress, and you can choose to focus on a few particular aspects (or not), it's all up to you.  You aren't really forced down a particular path, and you can always switch to something else if you get bored without losing anything. 

On a semi-related note, I noticed while playing on the tablet I was much less conscious of any "grind" aspect.  There's something just much more relaxing to me playing games on a tablet, which I guess is why I gravitate that way more and more.  I realize it's totally a psycholigical thing, but somehow the smaller the screen, the more I'm willing, and even inclined, to do repetitive tasks.  I play tons of different tap/idler games - but only on my phone or iPad mini.  So I'm thinking crafting or gathering would be the perfect thing to do in this game when I'm watching TV or just want to check out mentally.  What's cool is that I can actually progress my character in a hardcore game while playing in a very "softcore" way.  I've been anticipating this kind of convergence and game scaling for a long time, this is the first game I've seen that really seems to provide that.
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Harkonis
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« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2017, 11:53:01 PM »

The way the game is setup actually forces you to focus more than you might be realizing.  Not sure how far you have played, but Tier 3 gets slow and Tier 4 is downright grind central.  If you get bored or disappointed in what you are playing, sure you can switch.  Now you have to do that same grind to get Tier 3 or 4 in that equipment.  Crafting is also a crazy grind. 

The grind might not really be a bad thing since the game wants an economy that works and you probably have to have the item destruction for crafting to work and you probably need crafting to be a huge grind or everyone would do it.  Not sure the progression to bigger better weapons needs the same grind though since you are still limited by funds to buy gear or crafting to make it. 

Have you bought your island, mount and started farming yet?  more grinds.

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rittchard
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« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2017, 08:31:25 PM »

Quote from: Harkonis on March 22, 2017, 11:53:01 PM

The way the game is setup actually forces you to focus more than you might be realizing.  Not sure how far you have played, but Tier 3 gets slow and Tier 4 is downright grind central.  If you get bored or disappointed in what you are playing, sure you can switch.  Now you have to do that same grind to get Tier 3 or 4 in that equipment.  Crafting is also a crazy grind. 

The grind might not really be a bad thing since the game wants an economy that works and you probably have to have the item destruction for crafting to work and you probably need crafting to be a huge grind or everyone would do it.  Not sure the progression to bigger better weapons needs the same grind though since you are still limited by funds to buy gear or crafting to make it. 

Have you bought your island, mount and started farming yet?  more grinds.


I think the intent is to have players "find their way" in the game and do what they want to do.  This can mean any number of things.  If you are in a big guild, things can be theoretically organized to have different players specialize and then others contribute as they can.  In a small guild you'll still likely have to pick and choose what to specialize in.  It boils down to focusing on what kind of gameplay you like.  If you enjoy gathering and crafting, yes there will be a ton of gathering and crafting to do to advance to higher tiers.  But hopefully you're doing that because you like it.  If you just want to kill stuff, you can focus on just killing mobs and then use silver to buy equipment upgrades.  PvE in a group is much more efficient, btw, so if you were only soloing that might change your impression a bit.  We grouped up last night for like half an hour and I got from Tier 3 to 4 in healing.  I thought it was going to take me weeks but with the group it just flew by and it was a ton of fun.  So part of it is the learning process.  If you recall early SB it seemed like everything was a major grind, but we eventually figured out more optimal ways to do things.  Not that I anticipate "afk leveling groups" but I do believe as we experiment and learn we're gonna get better.  That's part of the fun for me. 

I will say the game definitely has an "old school" vibe, and you can see influences from Shadowbane, Guild Wars, Star Wars Galaxies and probably Ultima Online.  There's little hand holding and no traditional questing so you have to make some significant choices.  That said, it still feels fresh to me and honestly it's the most fun I've had in an MMORPG in a really long time.  I'm also really looking forward to being able to play this game on an iPad (maybe even on the phone?); for me that could be a game changer.
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rittchard
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« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2017, 09:09:57 PM »

Early Impressions, aka Welcome to My New Addiction

This is likely one of those games that you either "get," or you find just isn't your cup of tea, for whatever reason.  The problem is that once it "gets" you, it starts to sink its teeth into you deeper and deeper, and every door seems to open another that you want to peek -and then dive- into.  If you are an obsessive completion-ist, enjoy micro/macro-managing, or have ADHD, or worse like me, have all of these attributes, this can be decidedly bad news.  Hark mentioned a "crazy grind" and while that's really not a mis-representation, it's certainly an interesting one given that this game seems tailor designed for a Young Hark ninja  You will start to crave the next unlock in the same category, or covet the one next door thatís teasing you.  You'll see someone using skills that you didn't know existed and want to try them yourself, which means it's time to re-think your character again.  In some sense the game is the ďgrindĒ and the ďgrindĒ is the game.  Itís up to you whether you want that to have a negative connotation or not.

There are a ton of interwoven sub-systems going on to effectively create a complete sandbox environment.  The more important thing is that these developers have paid a lot of attention to detail, so it's not just a bunch of features slapped together for the sake of it.  Every cog in the wheel has its place, and the player is given full reign to figure out his place in the grand scheme of things.  Little details like the way a given resource (including on a mob) becomes more or less plentiful the more or less it is accessed, are essential to making the game (grind) fun.

The core of it all starts seemingly simply with resource gathering, crafting, and PvE.  Then you add character development, farming, building, and PvP systems.  Each piece is its own system and gets more and more complicated as you get into it.  And each piece has different elements to it and interweaves with the others to some extent. 

Your character - unlike most RPGs, a single character gets access to every skill the game has to offer, whether itís crafting or for a weapon.  Like Guild Wars, your weapon defines what base attack or defense skills you have immediately available to you, limited to 4 primary buttons.  Your armor pieces determine the rest of your active skills, e.g. your boots might offer choices to increase carrying capacity or give you a speed and energy boost.  If you so choose, you can swap gear out and after a short delay, boom - you went from an archer to a cleric.  You can mix and match pieces as you like, so youíll see people wearing plate helms with leather armor and cloth boots to get the exact combination they want.  Itís a really fun system for people who like to experiment and/or min/max for a particular effect.  You may have different sets for different types of PvE and PvP, as well as for gathering and crafting.  There are also single slots for food and potions as well, each of which give different short term benefits.  The caveat is that in order to keep progressing further and unlock higher tiers of a particular type of gear, you have to use them for that purpose.  So for instance if I want to advance my use of cloth hoods, I have to kill a certain amount of stuff while wearing a cloth hood.  Therein lies the grind that Hark mentioned; everything you want to specialize in will require a similar level of effort, along with a base/core that goes up with every action you take.  Of course thatís all in the way you want to think about it.  For those of us that like to create alts, itís practically the same as starting a new character from scratch to try out a different build.  The difference is in this game you can still take advantage of the things youíve already leveled up while trying something new.  So for instance last night I was able to bump my bow/hunter weapon to Tier 3 in about 10-20 minutes, in part because I was wearing Tier 4 armor while doing so.

Resource Gathering and Crafting - this is the heart of the economy, since everything needs resources.  But thatís kind of oversimplifying.  This starts with your basic collect lots and lots of stuff.  You can refine lower tiers of stuff to higher tiers assuming you have the required skill.  And of course the higher crafted items require higher and higher tiers of refined material.  Eventually youíll have to decide how much time you want to devote to doing this, but there are options such as purchasing a laborer to collect for you.  But that opens its own mini-game in that you have to keep them happy to work for you.  Crafting has its own complete set of skills and requirements, and there are so many things to craft itís crazy.  You could focus on a weapon type or an armor class, or even on furniture.  You donít have to craft, but it can be beneficial, particularly if you coordinate and share specialties within a guild.  If you use other peoplesí crafters, you will have to pay for the usage, so you have to decide is it worth the cash to do so rather than spend the time/energy to do it yourself.

Farming/Cooking - this game allows you to purchase your own independent island, and pretty much place whatever buildings you want on it.  Iím lumping a bunch of systems together here.  Throw some farm land down and the game becomes its own little Farming/Cooking Sim, reminiscent of a number of mobile games.  Check back on your crops, (you can even have horses and oxen) while they grow over time, and then harvest them to sell or to cook or to use in potions.   The food you make is required for higher Tier workers to craft and refine things, but different kinds can also be used for player buffs.  You could seriously play this game and never touch PvE OR PvP, just use the market to buy/sell what you need and hang out on your island crafting and making food.  Yeah itís a little silly when I actually write it down, but I got a kick out of harvesting carrots and beans and then making a salad that I can use to enhance my crafting for 5 minutes.

PvE - so you could just avoid combat altogether, but then youíd be missing out on a ton of fun.  The PvE content at first seems a little light, just killing random stuff you see.  But then you notice dots on the map where there are more tightly concentrated batches of mobs, and also small instances with ďbosses.Ē  Thereíre also options to enter an ďexpeditionĒ (closest thing to a traditional quest) which sends you in a randomized map to kill most everything inside.  If you succeed you get a nice cash bonus.  Nothing extraordinary but theyíve done a great job with the details, mixing up mob AI and abilities, and creating details in the maps that can help or hinder you.  Weíve faced mobs with their own pocket healers, a multi-shot stun grenade launcher, mobs with damage shields, and a guy using a whip to pull you into him.  Itís similar to a lot of old school MMO gameplay, but the 2.5D perspective changes things up a bit.  Itís easy to instinctively panic and move to the wrong spot (or even get thrown), thus aggro-ing another group.  Targeting is (intentionally) more difficult (keep in mind it has to work for a tablet too), so working together as a group becomes even more difficult, and critical, for the tougher content.  The large array of different possible character builds/skills keeps things fresh and exciting, particularly when you start to group up and try to synergize with each other (or not).

PvP - after all these hours, Iíve yet to see an ounce of PvP aside from generic dueling in cities.  There are zones which are ďfullĒ PvP as well as others where you have to flag yourself to enable it, but then everyone can see that you are enabled.  And then there is instanced GvG which Iím told resembles Guild Wars arena style matches.  It will likely be a while before I go looking for it, but I suspect it will be a lot of fun, if PvE is any indication.

 As I mentioned above, this game takes crafting elements from a number of games, a skill system and arena combat from Guild Wars, plus a PvP, sandbox, player-driven-economy mentality straight out of Shadowbane. 

I believe the game will be free to play with IAPs when it releases in July.  But due to the complexity and variety the game has to offer, I feel like interested parties would benefit from trying it out earlier to learn as much as they can so as to avoid confusion in the early phase of the game. 

TLDR - if you like sandbox crafting games or have been waiting for a new Shadowbane-like experience without the crashes, come on in.  Or wait until July when itís free.
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