Posted by Eltharyon 3 months ago (Source)
Dear Albion Community,
Now that we have just released Oberon, our sixth major post-release content update, along with the massive announcement that access to Albion will become free, we think it is time to update you with our latest thoughts on Albion and the Roadmap for beyond the Oberon update!
Our vision for Albion remains unchanged: We want to deliver a flourishing player-driven economy
which offers interesting and varied opportunities for crafters, traders and gatherers, and we want to deliver exciting, full loot PVP
between individual players as well as on a large scale between guilds and alliances. In short, we want to deliver the best Fantasy Sandbox MMORPG
experience out there.
We feel we’ve already come a long way since we started on this journey, but there is still a lot to do. Improvements can yet be made on every aspect of Albion Online, from its accessibility for beginners to convenience for long-term players. Most importantly, most activities in Albion, from gathering to castle conquest can still be significantly improved.
To choose which improvements we should focus on, we’ve collected vast amounts of feedback in surveys, read countless forum threads, and held in depth discussion on key community topics. With the input you provided we developed a new roadmap for Albion, which will guide the next months of development.
With this roadmap we want to achieve two primary goals:
- Substantially improving the Outland layout and gameplay for all player groups, and, in particular, making it possible for smaller guilds to establish their own Outland presence
- Improve the quality and variety of activities available to players of all experience levels
If you’re interested to learn how we mean to achieve these goals, please join us in the next paragraphs as we’re going in depth with the proposed changes and improvements!
The Future of Guilds, Alliances and Outlands
The most universal feedback we received focussed on limiting the influence of large alliances and the ability of new guilds to compete in the territory ownership gameplay in the Outlands.
Based on this feedback, we’ve devised a series of changes to the Outland gameplay which we intend to be rolling out one after another to observe the impact of each change as we move forward. We’re kicking off this series of changes with the release of the new Portal System.
The New Portal System
On April 10th, we’ll be rolling out the new Portal system. This will provide each of the Royal cities with their own access point to the Outlands (read more about it here
). The changes to the portal system will be accompanied by changes in the respawn system which aim to restrict the ability of large alliances to be omnipresent in the Outlands.
We expect these changes to break the dominance of Caerleon as the focal point of all activity. Guilds will choose a city to base themselves from and Alliances will be made locally rather than globally as guilds will fight locally over control of a section of the Outlands. This will make Albion feel more like a living and breathing world again, where location really matters and guilds become the more important than Alliances once again.
After the portal rollout, we want to focus on improving the ability of smaller guilds to establish themselves in the Outlands. Territory warfare is highly competitive and territory space very limited. To bring the experience of living in the Outlands to a new level and to make it accessible to more players, we’ve come up with the Hideout concept.
Hideouts are player-built underground bases, which you can freely build pretty much anywhere in the Open World. Essentially, guilds can place the entrance wherever they like and guild members can use it to enter the hideout. On the inside, they can build buildings, store items and do most things a home territory allows. Of course there will be ways to attack and remove unwanted hideouts (we’re currently planning to resolve attacks as a 5vs5 GVG battle scheduled from the local watchtower territory), but this will be difficult and there will be limited incentive to do so, allowing weaker guilds to co-exist with stronger guilds in the Outlands. If you really want to make sure the bullies leave you alone you can pay a tribute to the local landlord, which we intend to support with a rent feature.
We’re extremely excited about the opportunities the hideouts afford to smaller guilds and for the extension of the Outlands! This feature allows all different sizes of guilds to try living in the Outlands and it also allows us to take the next step: expanding the size of the Outlands and developing an entirely new map.
A New Outland Map
Once we have delivered Hideouts and we’ve observed the impact of the portal changes, we plan to take a huge step to conclude these core changes: the complete overhaul of the Outland map. Our vision is for the Outlands to become one large continent that gets successively more dangerous and rewarding the closer you get to the center. Only the edges of the Outland Continent would be easily reachable from the Royal Continent. Guilds will likely rely on Hideouts to establish themselves deeper inside the continent. This would allow them to make their fortune way beyond the reaches of those guilds who choose to base themselves in the Royal Cities.
As we’re reworking the map, we’re also planning to make significant improvements to it. We plan to make it less symmetrical, contain more strategic objectives and in general be far more varied than the current Outland structure, adding new choices and a new level of strategy to Outland conflicts. We even hope to include an all new exciting center area of the map which we’ve dubbed “Avalon”.
For a first glance of what that new map could look like, check out the graphic below!
Reworking the map is of course an opportunity to also rework a lot of the activities taking place in the open world. Whilst we’re working on the above features, we want to make significant improvements to Albion’s various activities!
The Future of Open World Content
In an open world sandbox MMORPG, content can get repetitive and stale very quickly. Our strategy to tackle this is based on two core concepts: randomization and diversity
A first step in this direction is our new random dungeon feature: instead of grinding the same content over and over again, each dungeon is not only different from the other, but has a chance to contain special rare rooms, events, mobs and reward. Now that the foundation for this system is set, we can add to it and expand it, making sure that it always stays exciting.
We plan to build on the established ideas to improve the various forms of open world content which already exist at this stage- and also to introduce entirely new forms!
Following the release of the group randomized dungeons in Oberon, we plan to introduce a larger variety of randomized dungeon content playable in different group sizes
. As our top priority, we’re already working on an entire set of randomized dungeons aimed at solo and small group play
. These dungeons will finally offer good quality solo open world PvE. Beyond these, its an obvious extension to include some randomized dungeons which also specifically support larger group play.
In the end, we plan to cover the entire range of group sizes and difficulty with randomized dungeon content
- each type with their own unique special rewards and challenges.
The cool thing about this is that you will be able to pick your challenge based on your skill. We’re already seeing a lot of players on the test servers finding ways to play the randomized dungeons on their own- the additional types will just add to the variety of choices available to you.
In addition to “classic” PvE dungeons, we also plan to introduce “Resource Dungeons”. These dungeons will exist in different sizes (and of course resource type) and will be particularly interesting gathering locations. Though some of them may just contain plain resources, many will have their resources guarded by mobs. This encourages players to cooperate, clearing resource dungeons to gain access to resources for their guild (or to make a shared profit). Again, the different sizes available to you should make for interesting choices.
PvP Hotspots / Open World Objectives
In a larger, more believable game world where your location matters and where there is a greater sense of distance, we must make sure that players are continuously encouraged to interact and fight with each other as opposed to just sitting in “their” respective zones.
The best way to achieve this is to “pull” players towards hotspots - specific places or events which attract a lot of attention. There are a lot of these already in them game, such as PvP chests, castle fights, war camps or world bosses.
However, we believe that we can drastically improve the existing systems by reviewing when they spawn, how they are announced and what rewards they provide. We also think, we can still add far more interesting types of PvP hotspots.
One particular type of additional PVP hotspot we have on our list are PVP dungeons. These are essentially non-linear randomized dungeons with multiple entrances in different regions and with high level rewards.
Other new Activities in this category include community favourites like the 20 vs. 20 Hellgates and Outland Outposts as well, of course.
Our goal here is that for whatever group size and time of the day, if you want action, you can easily find it.
Improved Faction Warfare
Once we have completed the Outland changes and content improvements described above, we want to focus on the Royal continent and give it a much clearer role in the game.
Our new Outland system will make sure that guilds of all sizes and skill levels will be able to find their niche in the Outlands, hence, the Royal continent no longer needs to be an entry point for Outland gameplay - which has, admittedly, never really worked out as intended.
Instead, we want to optimize the Royal continent for what it already does best: allowing less organized players and small groups to experience the joys of full loot PvP in a player driven game world.
A cornerstone of this is our faction warfare system, which we want to significantly build on and expand, with the goal of giving each faction a true identity and encouraging players to make long term commitments to their respective factions and giving rise to much deeper gameplay. Our role model for the experience here would be the famous Realm vs. Realm battles from games such as Dark Age of Camelot.
In addition to everything mentioned above, we have an endless list of improvements at hand which we will continue develop on while working on the key topics mentioned above. This list is by no means exhaustive, but some highlights include changes to the GvG system and new player customization options.
GvG System Changes
As an additional measure we want to shake up the GvG system a bit, to make sure that more GvGs happen, and more players take part in it, while at the same time increasing the volume of open world PvP happening as well. To achieve this, we will allow guilds to earn a GvG attack on a territory in the open world by doing a certain amount of damage to the territory tower at a specific point in time, while also giving the territory owner an option to pacify the tower such that there is no need for 24/7 guard duty. This system will not only give rise to lots of open world action, but also allow an aggressor to trigger GvG attacks - provided that they have a strong open world presence - at multiple enemy territories, hence making it harder for single GvG teams to hold a large number of them.
We will combine this with reducing the different peak times that territories can have (for example, by moving all 19, 20 and 21 peak time territories to a 20 peak time) such that individual players - even if they have multiple alt accounts - have a harder time to dominate GvGs.
Player Customization Options
Many of you have been asking us to include a customization system for your characters and we finally have a customization concept we’re happy with. There are three types of customization we want to support for now:
- Character Customization: The ability to change the appearance of your character after creation (including introduction of new hairstyles, beards, etc.)
- Wardrobe: We’re planning to add a “Wardrobe” feature, which allows you to customize your appearance by “overriding” your current looks with a more spectacular outfit. This override would by default be visible in safe zones and invisible to others in dangerous zones, though players can change this setting at will.
- Mount Skins: Finally, we want to add the ability to customize your mounts. Each skin would work on a particular category of mount (so others can still recognize your Oxen, although it may be a tricked out Spectre Oxen) and will allow us to reward you with cool mount skins in future Adventurer Challenges.
Congratulations if you made it this far through our plans, we hope you’re as excited about the changes coming to Albion as we are!
As always, we are constantly reevaluating the game in close collaboration with you, the players. This also means that all of the above plans are subject to change and modification, based on what we learn along the way. Our ultimate goal is and will always remain the same: for Albion Online to be the ultimate hardcore sandbox MMORPG that will also be doing well 5, 10 or 15 years down the road.
Robin ‘Eltharyon’ Henkys