First of all, we want to wish everyone a happy New Year and thank you, our brilliant community, for supporting us in 2016. Whether you stuck with us from the start or joined throughout the year, without you we could not be where we are today.
The past year has been a wild ride for us, with a lot of exciting changes happening. Let’s have a look at what happened in 2016!
We started the year with Brutus, our second Closed Beta content update. Not only did this update bring an abundance of quality of life improvements, it also introduced two new Undead dungeons for adventurers to explore.
In March, Cador came along with a variety of PvE changes. Not only did the Heretics receive their revamp, the Albion armor system got overhauled and a variety of other features such as toolkits got introduced to the game.
Bringing the Closed Beta to a close, Darian brought a bunch of smaller (but important!) changes to the game, such as the study feature, 12 new weapon spells and the Morgana faction rework.
In high spirits, we kicked off Albion’s ambitiously named Final Beta on August 1, 2016. Featuring a complete new world, beautiful new biomes, the reputation system and much (much!) more, this update was by far our biggest feat so far.
Elaine followed roughly two months after the start of Final Beta. The majestic highlands biome was added to the game, which included the return of the Keeper faction. To top it all off, a total of 36 new Artifact weapons and equipment were added to the game as well.
Our most recent update, Faye, added the forest biome to the game and marked the completion of our five biomes! We also added a bunch of other features, such as persistent mounts, guard towers and the return of yellow and red zone GvG!
Right now we are focusing all our efforts on the next major update, Galahad. Stay tuned for more information in 2017!
Aside from pushing out updates, we find it very important to give you more insight into what we do and why we are doing it. Our various developer videos are the perfect means for that!
Starting in March 2016, the Developer Talks came to life. These videos feature in-depth discussions on a given subject, with our very own game designers telling you all you need to know.
Additionally, we also started Community Q&A videos. Here, Community Manager Christoph Hombergs has collected your most pressing questions and sit down with Game Director Robin Henkys to answer them one by one.
On November 25, we kicked off a new video series: Development Recaps, where Robin Henkys lets you know what is happening at the Sandbox Interactive studio in straightforward and mostly unedited video blogs.
The world of Albion grew exponentially this year, as we expanded on the story behind this mysterious land.
First of all, we released a detailed Lore page on February 16, shedding light on the historical timeline of the world and the story behind the various factions of Albion.
Shortly after, the first Albion Online tie-in novel “Landfall” got published! Written by accomplished UK author Peter Newman, the story follows the experience of several characters as they arrive on the shores of Albion, similar to your experience when you first start playing Albion Online. Where do you go? What do you want to do? Who are your friends and who your foes? “Landfall” can be purchased both as paperback and e-book!
In April, we delved even deeper into the world of Albion with our Faction Lore Videos. So far, we have featured the Heretics (both those on the surface as those hiding in the mines) and the Keepers, with more to come!
This year, we also tested out several community events. The first one being the Castle Event, which lasted the entire month of June. The goal was for guilds to hold as many castles as possible, in order to obtain their guild logo in game. Red Army and Prime both won a guild-exclusive logo, with 12 others having their logo implemented in the game for everyone to use.
On July 17, we concluded the Closed Beta with a bang! And what better way to do that than whacking some Community Managers? In our End of the Beta Party, the ENVY alliance escorted CMs Talion and Axolotl as they travelled across the Western Continent, while the rest of the server was challenged to kill either Community Manager. However, as Talion was being brutally murdered, a ferocious Earthmother appeared and smacked down everyone as equals.
As winter drew near, we kicked off a variety of the Winter Holidays Events. In game, Uncle Frost made his return (this time dropping an exclusive mount-item) and Fireworks and Snowballs are being sold at the vanity merchant. We also had our first player-driven event (in collaboration with the Sandbox Interactive community team): Hide and Seek!
Albion has not only grown in content, but also in playerbase. We ended 2015 with an impressive 60,000 players, and are very proud to say we are currently at a stunning 200,000 Founders!
As Albion Online grew bigger, so did our team! Over 20 new passionate employees started working for Sandbox Interactive, each bringing their own talents and skills to Albion Online.
There is still so much more that happened in 2016! For instance, we held two successful AMA (Ask Me Antyhing) on Reddit, where the Albion team answered all your questions and concerns in real-time.
In August, we visited the biggest gaming convention in the world: gamescom. It was a brilliant experience where we got to meet several of you, our lovely players, as well as promote Albion Online to the rest of the gaming industry.
We also upped the quality and quantity of our Community News, with a variety of event reports, guild spotlights, war reports and more!
2017 promises to be the biggest year for Albion so far! Right now we are heading full steam towards the next major content update, Galahad. This update will arrive in the first quarter of the year, wipe the entire server clean and introduce a brand-new world layout, major improvements to PvE and more!
Galahad will be one of the last steps before we release Albion later in 2017. Stay tuned for more information!
We certainly are ready for 2017 and cannot wait to start the year together with you, our ever-supporting founders. Thank you for your continuous support and feedback and we wish you all a great 2017 with lots of memorable experiences in Albion!
- Your Albion Online Team