Dear Albion Community,
Now that the rush of launch is slowly fading, the time has come to talk about the future of Albion.
First, let me assure you that any remaining connectivity issues are and will always be a top priority. The upgrade to better DDoS protection has led to latency and ping issues which we're now in the process of tackling. We hope to soon leave all these issues behind us and turn our attention to what comes next.
In general we're now starting to transition into our post-launch period, which all in all does not look so different to our development period during alpha and beta: We'll continue to bring regular updates and improvements with the goal of making the game a long term success. We're aiming to bring you 3-4 major updates per year and these updates will consist of a healthy mixture of new features and improvements to existing systems. New features help us drive the game's direction and entertain the veteran players, while improvements will be aimed at increasing overall quality and polish of the game.
Note that we are sharing our current insights and plans with you. These are subject to change based on us constantly reevaluating the game and incorporating feedback from the community.
The first update, internally codenamed 'Joseph', is scheduled to release in late September or early October.
Development on Joseph started before launch, so the decision on what would be the key feature in this update had to be made without knowing what issues would pop up post-launch. Luckily we’re still quite happy with our choice: ‘Joseph’ will bring you the Albion Arena.
Arena Orbs and Caputure Zone Concept Art
The Arena allows players to test and improve their Player-vs-Player skills in non-deadly 5 vs 5 matches that last about 10 minutes. Players can sign up for these matches similarly to how they can sign up for expeditions. Their combat performance will be rated and they will be automatically matched against players who have a similar battle rating. This ensures players of similar skill and gear will be playing against each other. The battle mode in the arena is an all new battle mode based on capturing control points which is aimed at a good mixture of tactical positioning and pure fighting skill. Players who succeed in arena fights will earn 'arena tokens', which can be traded in for reward items at the arena store. These items will be primarily be vanity type items or upgrade items to existing items, so they do not interfere with the crafting economy. The arena is a great addition to Albion Online, as it allows more players to familiarize themselves with the intricacies of PvP and adds a fun and accessible activity for those players who have not yet found a regular group to play with. It is also your chance to build the ultimate arena team and show off your abilities to all of Albion.
New Relic Lockers for Silver Territories
In addition to the arena, Joseph will bring a number of other improvements to the game:
On top of that, Joseph will of course bring countless other minor improvements, various bugfixes, and balance adjustments.
‘Kay’ is the second major update for Albion Online. According to our plans it will follow 3 months after Joseph, so as you can see it’s getting very close to the holiday season. Still, our goal is to get it to you before the end of the year.
For ‘Kay’ we chose to focus on a core aspect of Albion Online: the competition of Guilds vs. Guilds. We want to make sure that more players can meaningfully participate in these activities, and that proper rankings and rewards can be obtained by taking part in them. In addition to that, we want to introduce a mechanism that restricts snowballing.
Guild vs Guild is the focus of Kay
Therefore our key features for Kay will be territory invasions and guild power rankings. With these, we'll elevate the competition between guilds to the next level. Guilds will receive ranking points for holding watchtower territories. These ranking points are used to establish a global guild ranking that shows which guild truly is king of Albion. At regular intervals, this ranking is reset. When this happens, the watchtower territories will be invaded by NPC forces and guilds will have to retake control of them by defeating the NPCs. Because many territories are reset at the same time, this limits the ability of large guilds to take control of too many watchtowers at the beginning of a ranking season. The winner of a ranking season will be known all across Albion, as the time after their victory will be declared the "Age of <Winning Guild’s Name>". In addition, everyone who participated will also have access to various powerful rewards, including some all new and awesome battle mounts. These mounts have abilities which make them extremely desirable to use in large scale battle operations in the open world.
We also hope to include territory raiding in the Kay update. Territory raiding allows players to steal some of the owning guild's reward points income. By killing all the guards in a watchtower territory, thus replacing them with their own 'racketeers' which need to be cleared by the owning guild to return the territory to full productivity. This adds an anytime open-world PvP activity for all guilds, including those who do not own a territory, allowing them to participate in the power ranking. Of course you can always kill another guild's racketeers as well to replace them with your own...
We will significantly increase the performance of large scale battles
The other key topic we’ve identified for Kay is Albion’s performance:
On top of these core topics, there are a large number of additional improvements we want to bring to Albion with Kay. Here are a few examples we’ve already settled on, but this list is far from exhaustive and will be extended as we continue planning and reacting to feedback:
As always, Kay will also include countless other minor improvements, various bugfixes, and balance adjustments as needed.
As previously mentioned, we aim to bring a major update to Albion every 3-4 months so you can expect another Update to hit approximately that time after ‘Kay’.
Note that everything that we talk about below is very much in flow, and subject to major changes or adjustments.
New Tier 6 Expedition coming in Joseph
Since our first two updates will be focussing on the PvP & GvG aspect of Albion Online, we want to focus on the PvE experience of Albion Online afterwards. For this we’re looking into three features right now:
In addition to the PvE focus of the above update, there are other topics we are looking at in particular
The features mentioned above represent only a fraction of the topics we are and will be working on.
We are pleased with how the game has turned out thus far. We consider it by no means the end of the road, but rather as a solid foundation to build on. Albion’s player driven game world, its open structure PvP, its free form player interaction and its large scale guild conflicts all offer vast and limitless opportunities for expansion. The challenge is to decide on which areas to focus first, knowing full well that implementing all the improvements and expansions that would be a great fit for the game will keep us busy for years.
You can expect exciting new stuff to make it into the game with every update that we release while we continue our endeavor to make Albion the best player driven massively multiplayer experience out there.
- Robin Henkys, Game Director