albion online

Official Site: Albion Online
Studio: Sandbox Interactive
Launch Date: N/A
Genre: Fantasy PvP Sandbox
Business Model: N/A
Platform: PC

Betawatch: Albion Online prepares for Sir Galahad the Patchly (February 10, 2017)

The extended beta for Albion Online gives the developers time to add more to the game. For example, when the Galahad patch goes live, players will be able to explore completely revamped cities! Not partially vamped, either, they had no vamps before and now they've been re-vamped. (We might not know exactly what that means.) There's also the upcoming expedition system, which is... instanced PvE dungeons, but don't call them that, probably.

Other beta news? Oh, sure, we'll do that for you. Because we're friends and all.

  • The closed beta for Dragon Nest 2 is recruiting now, although there's no word on when exactly it starts. Or much hope for onlookers from this side of the pond, as it really does require Korean players. But it's moving forward, that's something.
  • CBT3 for Revelation Online has come to an end, with the open beta around the corner. How far around the corner? We don't know. Of course, considering that name reservations go live on February 14th, we can certainly speculate.
  • Crowfall was all ready to go with its Templar setup, demonstrating the animations and everything. Unfortunately, you're going to have to wait a little longer, as the planned test on February 10th was cancelled. The sadness, she is overwhelming.
  • Want to see a bit of Ashes of Creation in action? You can check out the first glance inside one of the game's dungeons right now. Per legal agreements, there will be no puns about how the ice-themed dungeon "looks cool," intentional or otherwise.
  • Cloud Pirates is hitting that most special of all times, early access! It even includes a new gameplay mode, so you can't be mad. (Is that how the rules work? You can't be mad if you get extra stuff too? Someone should check on that.)

Rather calm week, yes? Don't blame us, most of us were buried under snow. There's still a nice full list just below, though, but you never know when some of these games might have hopped test phases without us realizing it. We do our best to track the offenders down, but if we miss someone, would you be kind enough to let us know down in the comments? Thanks.

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Albion Online is revamping all of its cities for the Galahad patch

Still keeping an eye on PvP sandbox Albion Online? Sandbox Interactive Game Director Robin Henkys posted a new dev recap video this week that teases the core of the upcoming Galahad patch, due out in March alongside a fresh server wipe.

Henkys explains that the team felt the cities were weak as they were: too samey, not rewarding enough. Consequently, all the cities are getting their own distinct flavors based on their perch in the gameworld and their biome -- from mountains and swamps to steppes and forests.

Check out the whole video for a peek into how the biome cities are taking shape!

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PvP sandbox Albion Online is planning instanced PvE dungeons

If you're wondering how ostensibly PvP MMOs are finding ways to implement PvE in 2017, look no further than Albion Online. Over the weekend, Sandbox Interactive put out a dev blog all about its expedition system, which is basically a dungeon finder by another name.

"Expeditions are instanced PvE missions which can be accessed through the Expedition Master NPC in cities. These expeditions are relatively short, with a successful run taking 20 to 30 minutes on average, and can also be considered fairly safe; if you die, you will be transferred to the start of the expedition without losing any gear, but it will lose durability."

Expeditions can be played solo or in groups of five with multiple difficulties and rewards. Of course, you can't let your guard down, as the missions are timed, and quitting early will set off a penalty timer.

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Make My MMO: Elite Dangerous betas Commanders 2.3 next month (January 28, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Frontier announced that the beta for Elite Dangerous' 2.3 update, dubbed Commanders, will release to Horizons beta players on February 26th. "Elite Dangerous: The Commanders (2.3) will come with features such as Multicrew and Commander Creator, as well as a number of other improvements and changes," the studio declared. "Bring your friends or invite new crew mates to pack that extra punch you might need in key situations, and add more personality to your Commander with an all-new visual upgrade."

Meanwhile, Albion Online is running a tourney this weekend, Shroud of the Avatar released its 38th update, and Worlds Adrift revealed... biomes!

Read on for more on what's up with MMO crowdfunding over the last few weeks and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we've got our eye on!

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Make My MMO: Project Gorgon's new shop, Crowfall's investor tally (January 21, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Project Gorgon opened up a brand-new web store. "Currently, we are listing four crowdfunding packages from our prior Indiegogo Campaign in order to continue to raise funds until we launch on Steam Early Access," Elder Game says. "This will give those who found out about us as our Indiegogo Campaign was closing to donate and get the awesome benefits that come with doing so. The three packages that are being offered are: The Horseback Explorer, Patron, and Duke. We will not be offering a standard Contributor package as we want to encourage all those interested in a standard Project: Gorgon key to purchase directly from Steam once they become available."

Meanwhile,

  • TUG resurfaced after raising millions and a year of rework to say it's now focusing on producing a "minimally viable product."
  • We chatted with the Ship of Heroes team about its development.
  • Descent: Underground's Tenebrae update introduced a brand-new map.
  • The Exiled announced a February 23rd Steam early access launch.
  • Crowdfund platform Fig revealed it has raised nearly $8M in a financing round for venture capitalists.
  • Crowfall's Indiegogo-based equity crowdfunding campaign drew to a close, raising over $668,000 from over 1200 investors.

Read on for more on what's up with MMO crowdfunding over the last few weeks and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we've got our eye on!

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Albion Online previews Royal Continent layout

Say goodbye to Albion Online's Royal Isles -- and hello to the all-new Royal Continent!

In its upcoming Galahad release, Albion Online is wiping out its old archipelago in favor for a map redesign that spans an entire continent and several biomes. "We decided to take the opportunity of the upcoming wipe to also redesign the Royal Isles. We quickly realized we could make a series of significant improvements with relatively little effort on our end, and create a far better Royal Continent without slowing down our overall game development," the team wrote.

The Royal Continent will be the starting point for all players in the game. The landmass is designed as a pie, with a metropolis hub at the center and six "slices" containing their own biomes and main cities. The end result, the devs said, is a map that offers better progression and is more space efficient.

You can take a look at the work-in-progress map after the jump!

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Albion Online on buffing tanks and gear for gatherers

Albion Online Game Designer Michael Schwahn has a long-form dev recap out that should satisfy both the visual and auditory learners out there in our audience as it comes in both YouTube and blog flavors.

Schwahn focuses on combat specifically, explaining that while crafting and the economy feed back into the game's combat core, gathering had been left in the dust. "To change this and give the gatherers the love they deserve, we are introducing new equipment that can only be unlocked purely by gathering," he says. "Each resource type will have its own equipment set consisting of four pieces: helmet, armor, shoes and a backpack. That is a total of 20 new pieces gatherer gear!"

So there you go, combat gear for picking flowers. I can hear the wolf rage already.

There's also a bit about gear from Royal Expeditionary Forces, dealing with overpowered zergs and crowd control, mobility mechanics, and class balance.

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Perfect Ten: Mobile MMOs coming in 2017

This past year, we couldn't seem to go a week without bumping into news of some new mobile MMO or a tablet spin-off of some existing franchise. It seems as though the mobile market is still blowing up, and MMORPG developers are looking for a way to take advantage of the popularity and market penetration that these devices offer.

What does this mean? It means that in 2017, we have a whole lot of games heading our way. With any luck, some of them might unseat the low-quality half-breeds that seem to make up a bulk of the existing mobile MMO library and set a higher standard for fun and engagement.

Let's take a look at about two dozen mobile MMOs we could be getting in 2017 -- and which ones might be the new contenders for our undivided attention. Unless we mention otherwise, these titles will be coming out for both iOS and Android platforms.

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Make My MMO: Refunds for Hero's Song (January 7, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, refunds continue for Hero's Song, which was canceled the day after Christmas with the promise to reimburse all those who backed the game through Indiegogo or on Steam early access. A new Indiegogo announcement from John Smedley yesterday says that Pixelmage has finished processing all pending requests -- manually -- and will soon begin mailing checks. "On the PayPal front we're awaiting having our PayPal account authorized to do this," he writes, suggesting that will be resolved early next week.

Meanwhile, take note, future MMO devs: If our readers are any indication, Kickstarter is probably not going to be your ticket to cash in 2017.

Read on for more on what's up with MMO crowdfunding over the last few weeks and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we've got our eye on!

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Betawatch: Crowfall claims 2017 (January 6, 2017)

Here we are, in 2017! It seems a lot like 2016 and things are still kind of awful. On the bright side, David Bowie hasn't died again. Also, Crowfall has proudly proclaimed that this will be its year. So far, the year has consisted of answering player questions and passing a crowdfunding goal, but it probably will include more than that. The year is young.

Other beta news? Yes, there's been a little bit while developers get back from the holidays.

Of course, there's a list down below. Same list as last year, really, we haven't had enough time for any huge shakeups. If something is on there which ought not to be, though, please do let us know down in the comments.

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Albion Online looks at the year in review and the year to come

A lot has happened in the past year for Albion Online. Yes, the game is still in its test phase, but it's a test phase that's adding lots of new features on a regular basis and continually expanding and developing. The most recent post on the official site recaps the five large patches added to the game over the past year, along with a number of development discussions and an ever-expanding library of game lore.

Thus, the plan for 2017 is naturally for the team to sit around and do nothing. Just kidding; the game's next update, Galahad, is being worked on now, with the patch planned for early 2017. It's going to wipe the world and present players with a whole new world, one of the last big steps before the game launches later in 2017. So sit back and enjoy the ride, although "the ride" will include re-leveling once the next patch wipes everything and has you start over.

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Make My MMO: Shards Online's January alpha, Star Citizen's Star Marine (December 24, 2016)

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Shards Online announced it'll kick off its alpha early in the new year, on January 13th. "Based on the feedback we've received from our current playerbase, there are a few things that need to happen before we can consider ourselves ready for Steam," says Citadel's Derek Brinkmann -- and those include a bigger world map, tamed mounts, the archery skill, modding, and dev tools.

And last night, Star Citizen dropped 2.6 Star Marine for backers, along with the surprise announcement that it's been using Amazon Lumberyard for over a year now.

Meanwhile,

  • Former City of Heroes community member Je Saist has set up a GoFundMe to help him pay off medical bills accruing as a result of his early onset glaucoma diagnosis.
  • John Smedley told Redditors that "money is tight" for Hero's Song.
  • Project Gorgon pulled in over $17,000 from its Indiegogo campaign.
  • Grim Dawn rolled out its 1.0.0.7 patch, which includes a massive outdoor "Aetherial roguelike" dungeon.
  • Elite: Dangerous raised £46,813 during its recent charity livestream.
  • Descent: Underground announced its Avalanche update and GOG launch.
  • Wild Terra updated with its Christmas event this very weekend.

Read on for more on what's up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we've got our eye on!

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Albion Online discusses reworking the shape of the world

It's a known fact now that Albion Online will remain in beta into 2017, but perhaps you're not entirely clear on why that's the case. The latest development video with game director Robin Henkys discusses one of the major areas that the development team is working on: Reworking the game's world. While expanding the world after launch isn't all that difficult (and is, in fact, something that is easy to speculate about), changing the shape of the world won't be possible after launch, meaning that the team has to get this right pretty much right off the bat.

Henkys explains that the team is following three core principles for the world's design. The world has to be a believable fantasy world, it has to be an eventful world where players can take part in a variety of activities, and it has to be strategic and support tactical thinking. Check out the video just past the break for more specific details and to understand how the game's world is meant to fulfill each principle.

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