Albion Online extends beta test, nixes free-to-play for launch

Major changes are afoot at Albion Online — and some might not make fans of the cross-platform sandbox too happy.

Sandbox Interactive announced today that it will be extending the closed beta test at least through August 1st, 2016 and will not be pursuing a free-to-play business model for the launch version. “Making the game ready for a free-to-play model would take up significant development time which we would much rather use to make a better game,” the studio posted. “Free-to-play would also create a lot of risks for the game — spamming, botting, world too small, etc. — which we do not want to take if it can be avoided.”

The shift away from F2P and the longer development period does have an upshot, namely more stuff that will go into the finalized product. The team shared a list of improvements planned for the coming year which include a much larger and more detailed game world, zone reworks, an Ultima Online-inspired PvP reputation system, fishing, and something called “expeditions.”

To make the wait for launch a little more tolerable, you can check out a player video of Albion’s solo dungeon experience below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fzo0xMCIsRU

Source: Road to release. Thanks to everyone who sent this in!
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66 Comments on "Albion Online extends beta test, nixes free-to-play for launch"

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Walah
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Walah

“world too small”
What does that mean? I can understand the botting and spamming, but that’s interesting.

Walah
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Walah

XanadoX overpopulation? Blasphemy

dorn2
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dorn2

JoshuaSKI dorn2 TimothyTierless 
It doesn’t have skills, it doesn’t have taming, it doesn’t have an endless list of quirky things like barding and multiple magic systems.  I could go on and on and on actually.  It’s not like UO at all.  It has housing and top down combat but really it’s nothing like UO.

JoshuaSKI
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JoshuaSKI

Per Larggson Actually the game is fully functioning. It just needs to polishing here and there. maybe a few more features added. Its much like UO but with a new take on how to handle zones and such. Its nice and it will make it. DayZ will also make it eventually after they actually finish the chernarus map. As for Sota. Well that was a waste of time and hasnt seen any good updates.

JoshuaSKI
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JoshuaSKI

dorn2 TimothyTierless Actually as a old time OU vet here. Its liek a mixture of UO/SB/TL2. And when I say that I mean like uo by ALOT and they are on a path that will bring in more UO PvP mechanics to the game.

Doran7
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Doran7

I actually don’t mind too much… I expect I am going to spend more money on this game ..because I like it. Taking more time and adding more to the game is a very good idea.   I look forward a few more guild tools, slightly expanded questing, improvement in guild battling, territory ownership improvement, and cleaning up of some bugs.  Free to play will eventually come but they are right to cater to their paying supporters first.

SkyyDragonn
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SkyyDragonn

Right. Using predatory and ethically grey monetization techniques is totally legit and consumer conscious. The industry has been abusing psychological traits/weaknesses for over half a decade now. Somehow some people seem to think its perfectly okay. For a example lockboxes (legalized gambling) in games with younger demographics. Totally not predatory right?

RaimoKangasniemi1
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RaimoKangasniemi1

I would say abandoning F2P is a wise decision. The game is high profile enough to succeed as B2P and whatever more they are planning when it comes to their financial model and this is a kind of game that calls out for a dedicated community, not to the kind of more… fleeting kind of gamers populating F2P games.

GabeNewellFetish
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GabeNewellFetish

SkyyDragonn

Sure they have. They’ve noticed by telling you that you’re “an entitled baby”.

The gaming industry needs its own Ralph Nader.

GabeNewellFetish
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GabeNewellFetish

Per Larggson

I’m okay with reasonably priced founders packs for MMOs. You’re getting a lot of content out of a game, even if it isn’t remotely done. And think about how many people might play so much before launch that they’re done playing it once it launches and never touch it again?

I’m glad any time an MMO goes away from free to play, though. I hate free to play and I hate cash shops. Either stick with just selling me a game *OR* (not AND) sell me a subscription. (Definitely don’t charge me $60-100 up-front plus another $15/mo — that steep up-front price for a game I’ll usually tire of in two weeks is one of the biggest reasons I simply never touch an MMO in the first place).

And yeah, I understand the response to that from many will be “That’s what free to play is for, idiot! You can dip in a toe without an investment!”. Sure, but then if I like it, I am happy to pay the subscription… but if you’re saddling the game with cash shop garbage and free to play garbage, then it’s probably going to have cultivated the type of world and community model that is going to drive me away from wanting to subscribe in the first place!.

GabeNewellFetish
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GabeNewellFetish

Boy, do I regret buying into this game for $30. I did so, because I was looking for a new MMO to sink some time into after pretty much not playing MMOs for about seven years. I’d heard a few comments referring to it as “fantasy EVE-Online” which was right up my alley.

I’ve played about 15 hours so far and at this point, I have:

Chopped down trees.
Mined ore.
Killed wolves.
Hauled rocks.
Chopped down more trees.
Killed an occasional bad guy (so far, there seem to be three types of them).
Mined more ore.
Chopped down more trees.

Really, it feels like it is more of an idle-clicker for iOS than an MMO. It feels like they should be about to offer me an “auto-clicker” for $1.99 and a coin-doubler for a $4.99.

I really didn’t mind the $30, though, because I got in early and I figure it’ll allow me to enjoy the game post-launch, if things change. Generally, I would rather just pay a monthly subscription if I’m into an MMO, though. (And the best way to make me happy to pay a subscription is to remove the box-purchase, first — I’m willing to spend $15/mo to try your game, but I’m probably not willing to spend $60+tax for the box, then $15/mo, then $xx per expansion).

Also, it would maybe help my impression if they did something about the spam. I have never seen an MMO with this much chat spam — and I spent six years in EVE-Online. How hard is it to at least put in a flood-protect timer? Or filter out URLs? Or prevent someone from spamming the same comment ten thousand times? Chat is literally unusable. Normally, if I see this much spam in an MMO chat, I assume the MMO has been abandoned by the developer.

Also . . . I’d really like to know more about their statement that “Of course, all founder’s will automatically get full access to the game on release as well.” — what does that mean? So because I paid $30 a few weeks ago, i’m going to get to play for free forever? Or…? What?

XanadoX
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XanadoX

I like this game. It has some features others dont, despite the cartoonish graphics (needed to run in android).
It will be good not having f2p players to prevent overpopulation
They have also said that there will be a wipe inside cbt. So it will be cbt 1, cbt 2 and open beta.

dorn2
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dorn2

TimothyTierless 
It’s not like UO.  If you liked UO you should focus your attention on Shards Online.

TimothyTierless
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TimothyTierless

Good, FTP can go herd nerfs. 

Been tempted for so long but never made the dive. Does this “feel” like UO? Is the combat overly simplified?

shadowblender
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shadowblender

CloakingDonkey Per Larggson It’s 5,10,2,8,11,1.

Don’t ask how I got those.

shadowblender
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shadowblender

P2P: same number of players as Darkfall

B2P:  sells some number of boxes and going F2P before the first year.

CloakingDonkey
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CloakingDonkey

Pashgan “grind instead of interesting gameplay.” you could use that to describe literally any MMORPG… it’s just that in this case, it’s not your preferred method of “grinding”

CloakingDonkey
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CloakingDonkey

Per Larggson got the lottery numbers for next week, too? ._.

Per Larggson
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Per Larggson

When people stop buying in to the scam founder packs, the company will announce that they are broke and have no choice but to close the servers. The game will never make it past beta, just like dayz and shroud of the avatar.

karmamule
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karmamule

Zariarn Judging from some of their other changes announced in that post I think they realized they need a significantly larger world with more content to keep people busy for longer, and this delay is more about generating that additional content than actual beta testing per se.

Xephyr
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Xephyr

Buy to play, Subscription, Cash Shop.
Pick 2.

CloakingDonkey
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CloakingDonkey

Zophie Winters CloakingDonkey completely agreed. Best example probably being Archeage, a game that would have done much better in the west had it been the original sub based or at least b2p business model. The aggressive f2p was what drove people away quickly.

CloakingDonkey
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CloakingDonkey

DugFromTheEarth CloakingDonkey Yeah that’d be all nice and well if a game’s success entirely relied on whether it’s f2p or b2p or sub based. That isn’t the case at all however. Wizardry Online – f2p – closed within 5 months. WoW – sub based – still top dog. Albion Online has a following so large that their game world isn’t big enough on one server and that’s just people who spent 35-100€ to get into a beta test… I’m sure they ran the numbers and concluded they can make a non f2p model work.

Also I was talking about forum poster feedback as well btw so your side swipe is highly ironic. I was saying had they announced an aggressive cash shop, the first comment would not have been yours but someone else saying “boo! f2p is literally hitler.”

CloakingDonkey
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CloakingDonkey

PHarryGraham Seeing how the game world is already not big enough for the people who bought into beta for 50€, I’d say they probably have a reason or two to think this will work out for them.

CloakingDonkey
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CloakingDonkey

Damonvile A Dad Supreme Darthbawl I would actually say that’s more of an argument against f2p for niche games. Obviously a game like WoW will always have gold sellers no matter what barrier to entry there is because the pay off is potentially huge. The smaller the game the less likely it is for some russian hacker group to care if they have to jump through a lot of hoops.

CloakingDonkey
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CloakingDonkey

Ironwu as opposed to the glorious recent examples of MMOs that launched f2p and were totally fair? please…

Pashgan
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Pashgan

So effectively the game has been released already since there is no
difference between business models in release and its present state. And
so far it’s small, buggy release with unfinished features and grind
instead of interesting gameplay.How about free 2 weeks trial to their “beta-test”? 8-)

mark16
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mark16

The new business model is going to be buy to play, with founders already considered paying customers.

The game really needs some major content updates, pretty much the ones they listed. So it’s probably a good thing they’re pushing out the close beta more.

solipsis
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solipsis

so what’s the new business model? B2P please

cures
Guest
cures

no way anyone is doing all the grind again after such a long cb.
wish i wouldnt have bought so early.

dewdodu
Guest
dewdodu

Ironwu I don’t agree with the idea that subs makes more money, heck if anything the market have shown the exact opposite, when a game like Champion Online or LOTR gets a 10x jump going into F2P. Also there’s not much indication it would even go with the subscription model and honestly with a game that will such simplistic micro(that it can could be played on mobile) I seriously doubt it would be anything except for B2P.The game could be interesting if they could actually pull off the empire building idea, and if fails the whole thing falls apart.

Therefore, I am willing to at the time give them the benefit of the doubt that they are sincere in actually trying to keep the integrity of the game intact with this decision rather then think its some weird cynical long con that honestly make no sense. I have always assume the F2P conversions is the developers throwing in the towel and to their sad surprise find it to be massively profitable. Like if you spent 6 years trying to write a novel that don’t sell well and find in an effort to feed yourself write low effort smut only to make more money after two week from the smut then the entire lifecycle of your magnum opus.

mmonerd
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mmonerd

They have make sure they sell enough copy to stay afloat. It has potential but this sudden change in pay model can cause serious game design problem.

Fearum
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Fearum

PHarryGraham Learn what? If you make a shit game that people won’t play it even if its free?

Blackomen
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Blackomen

Ironwu This is “EXACTLY” what will happen.

Zariarn
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Zariarn

TehAcidBaron Zariarn I totally understand the reasons behind betas and such.  I, however, don’t think 10-12 month closed beta is necessary unless you’re behind the curve in the development process.  Doesn’t matter to me anyways.  It’s not on my watch list.

Dezmo
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Dezmo

Jacra There are no subscriptions. It will have packs to purchase to get started that I assume will come with credits and premium for a certain time period. In other words b2p.

PaganRites
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PaganRites

I’m totally fine with Albion not going F2P.  F2P beings more issues than it’s worth.  Good decision imo.

Defector1980
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Defector1980

I’ve been interested in this. It has a UO vibe, not in small part because of the art style and isometric view. I’m suffering from Early Access burnout, though. I’ll wait until it launches before I try it out.

SkyyDragonn
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SkyyDragonn

Essentially the entire MMO industry for the past 5yrs. Yet hardly anyone notices or seems to care that the industry has turned so predatory towards the consumer.

IndigoSalma
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IndigoSalma

Well F*** you.

Mikey Moo
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Mikey Moo

Bye.

Ironwu
Guest
Ironwu

Translation:   “We will sell the client and subscriptions to the suckers until that revenue stream dries up.  Then, we will go Free-To-Play with an aggressive Pay-To-Win Cash Shop and get even more suckers to shell out money.”

Jacra
Guest
Jacra

The subscription-only model makes it actually more interesting to me. I prefer not to have a micro-transaction run game and a community which is not full of people who just randomly can remake accounts if they act badly.
Currently not willing to pay for another Early Access but once it is available for open testing … definitely interested to give it a try.

Zophie Winters
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Zophie Winters

CloakingDonkey “Might as well make the choice that’s better for the game” – So true, it’s better to make the payment model work for the game, than to make the game work for the payment model.  The worst is when publishers seem to have no confidence in the game supporting the payment model, and they change the entire spirit of the game because they’re trying to shoehorn it into one payment model or another.  I think that’s where many of the biggest mistakes end up coming from that drive customers away, and it’s good to hear that their main focus is on the quality of the game itself.

DeadlyAccurate
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DeadlyAccurate

PHarryGraham P2P works fine as long as the publisher isn’t expecting WoW-like subscriber numbers.

borghive
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borghive

Fun game, has it issues, but has been decent so far.

Vagrant Zero
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Vagrant Zero

Damonvile A Dad Supreme Darthbawl  No, what he’s done is say that you crafted a totally separate argument and proceeded to nullify the argument you created while not actually addressing his at all.

We call that straw man round these here parts.

TehAcidBaron
Guest
TehAcidBaron

Zariarn

Any bug, exploit or feature that does not work creates a lot of discontent in guilds, this discontent can even mean entire guilds packing up and leaving as seen before in games as darkfall, guild PvP based mmo’s rely heavier on this than others since it’s all tied together.

If you want to get a head start on the mechanics with your guild it is a must to test these games, knowledge is power and that allows you to speed up a lot of processes prevent mistakes other will make and be the first in the more dangerous zones to farm materials and that leads to your crafters supplying groups of people with higher end gear you need to carve that part out for yourself as a guild or be forever behind.

Damonvile
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Damonvile

A Dad Supreme Damonvile Darthbawl and all you’ve done is say my hypothetical argument is better than yours. It doesn’t actually prove anything.

Hanthos
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Hanthos

I may have to start paying more attention to this one.

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