It's been three years since Albion's official launch on July 17, 2017. Since then, the game, game world, and community have grown in ways we never could have imagined. Over the past months, the game world has undergone massive changes, the player base has reached its highest level yet, and there's much more to come with the massive new Rise of Avalon update releasing next month.
Of course, there are also various ingame events taking place to celebrate the occasion, including a Fame Boost and a limited-time classic Keeper dungeon. For more details on these events, click here.
Let's look at some of the major events and happenings of the past year:
Last fall, as Guild Season 7 drew to a close, a new presence began stirring in the Outlands. A mysterious teaser trailer hinted at the form and scale of this new threat, and soon after, its true nature became clear: an ancient force known as the Avalonians had returned to Albion.
The Avalonians were introduced in stages during a unique Standalone Guild Season that brought Avalonian World Bosses, new tools and foods crafted with powerful Avalonian Energy, and even a new mount, the Avalonian Basilisk. As the strength of the Avalonians grew, their intent became clear: to invade Caerleon and reclaim all of Albion for themselves. The season culminated in the chaotic Battle of Caerleon, in which Avalonian Mages and Constructs laid siege to the city before ultimately being driven back.
Check out Equart's video summary of the event:
The end of the Avalonian Invasion corresponded to the launch of the Queen Update in January 2020, Albion's largest content update since launch. First and foremost, the update brought a completely new Outlands continent, shaped by the magic of the Avalonians. Where the old Outlands spread lower- and higher-tier zones across the whole continent, resources and rewards in the new Outlands increased towards the center. Guilds could build their own open-world homes in the form of Hideouts, self-contained underground bases that allowed guilds to claim their own corner of the new Outlands.
With Queen, those looking for a new type of high-level challenge could seek out Elite Randomized Dungeons, where larger groups could face off against mighty Avalonian enemies and claim artifacts needed to craft powerful Avalonian Armors. The update also brought a whole new guild warfare system, where territory control was now determined via massive open-world battles. And those looking for 5v5 combat could battle it out in the new Crystal League, with victors able to claim valuable rewards and boost their territory's tower level.
The Queen Update was by far the most successful Albion Online content update since launch, confirmed by consistent population growth since launching in January, and a record-high of over 500,000 monthly users in April 2020. Nearly six months in the making, Queen was nothing less than a complete revisioning of Albion's high-level endgame, although the new features and systems it introduced affected players of all levels and playstyles.
For us, as the developers of the game, increased player numbers meant increased responsibility to all our players. In addition to creating a dedicated team for performance optimizations, as well as adding new talent to our ever-growing development team.
In April 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic raging and countless members of both the Albion community and greater worldwide community affected, we launched the Staff of Hermes Charity Pack. Included in this limited-time pack were a unique healing-themed offhand costume item and avatar ring, with 100% of the money collected going to the COVID Solidarity Fund.
The response was tremendous: in the four weeks this special pack was available, the Albion Online community came together and raised an incredible €42,644.94. The outpouring of support for this cause was truly inspiring, and the "staffies" sent in by those who had bought the pack contributed to the overall feeling of community and goodwill.
The Season 9 Patch, launched in May, brought far-reaching mobile improvements to the world of Albion. Systems that had previously been designed only for larger screens were completely reworked for mobile devices, and mobile gameplay was improved with everything from context-based cursors to customizable HUDs to drag-cast spells.
In the months since these major changes were implemented, our team has focused on optimizing mobile performance, with a major Android stability fix launched with Queen Patch 16 and further improvements on the way. Mobile optimizations will continue for the foreseeable future, with the eventual goal of releasing Albion Online in both the Apple and Google Play Stores.
With each passing year, the story of Albion gains new depth and complexity. If you're in the mood to reminisce further, you can always revisit our Second and First Anniversary retrospectives for a look at the major events of the first two years.
And finally, as we celebrate another year in the world of Albion, we want to give our most heartfelt thanks to you, the Albion Online community, for your support. We can't wait to see what the coming year (and beyond) will bring to the world of Albion – we'll have more exciting news and previews of upcoming features very soon, and we'll see you ingame when the Rise of Avalon update goes live in August!