One of the big selling points for Albion Online right out of the gate was the promise of a game that could be played on pretty much any device in the same world. PC, Linux, mobile devices… same thing, across the board. That goal is getting closer to being a reality with the game’s new closed beta on iOS platforms. If you’ve got the game and either an iPad or an iPhone, you can jump in and start playing.
You’ll need to have at least a starter or founder pack to take part in the closed beta, but assuming you do you can log in and, well… play. It’ll have all of the same features and options as the desktop client, it’ll just be on a mobile device. There are some light system requirements in terms of recommendation, so be sure to double-check your device before logging in and reporting bugs. But, you know, do log in and report bugs.
Earlier this week, we got a tip claiming that the Albion Online team had been severely cut back before Christmas, perhaps as much as 50%, owing to poor performance. Turns out there were some layoffs, but not quite so many, and in fact the studio says it had ramped up studio numbers ahead of launch and is now downsizing to a live team. Moreover, the studio says its playerbase has “stabilized” and is still growing.
Here’s the full statement Sandbox Interactive issued to Massively OP this afternoon:
“Albion Online saw a successful release in July 2017. To get ready for release, during beta testing, our team size almost doubled to more than 50 people. Now that release is behind us, we are reducing the team size to levels similar to those at the start of pre-release beta testing. 31 people in total, supported by talented freelancers, will constantly improve and expand the game. This goes hand in hand with our strategy to fully focus on the game’s original core vision: with the release of our Kay update in December, player numbers have stabilized at a high level and continue to grow. Our next update, Lancelot, will continue on this path and is set to release in March, with further updates to come according to our road map.”
Our sympathies go out to those affected.
This week in MMO crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained fans are stocking up on big bags of popcorn because the announcement has been announced! If you care about the future of the game, you’re gonna want to show up this coming Thursday to hear what’s in store. Hint hint nudge nudge. It’s all teased in the game’s latest backer update, which further covers CSE’s progress on the engine, latency, the UI, tools, networking code, animations, and art.
Meanwhile, we got a personal tour of Ship of Heroes, Project Gorgon gently hyped its upcoming early access, Chronicles of Elyria announced it’s abandoned SpatialOS, and Elite Dangerous delivered beta and launch windows for its update chunk.
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’re following.
Hey, why are you taking down those Christmas lights and hauling your browning tree to the curb? There’s still some life left in this holiday yet, even if it is technically over! Just look at Albion Online, which kicked off its Breath of Winter event today to keep players occupied during the rest of the month.
During this event, players can go on a “good deeds” quest chain to help the little NPCs of the realm and earn an essential item that will allow the creation of a Yule Ram mount.
There’s also an Icy Battleground for PvP, a quest to help Father Frost, and an extra-wintry version of the Three Sisters Expedition. Plenty of rewards await those who participate, including fancy winter finery, Christmas trees, and a placeable present chest.
As captain of our Stream Team, Massively OP’s MJ Guthrie and Larry Everett were joined by Andrew Ross this year to play zillions of games live, some old and some new, providing our community with an interactive look at some of the games in (and around) our genre. I’ve picked out my 10 favorites from the year, from sunsets and interviews to early access MMO sneak-peeks and even a group stream for the launch of one of the year’s biggest MMO expansions. Let’s dig in!
Welcome to a special edition of Make My MMO, Massively OP’s regular recap of what’s going on in crowdfunded MMOs, which we do specifically for those of you who are convinced Kickstarter is the absolute worst (it’s not) and that no crowdfunded MMOs ever launch (they do). Plus, somebody’s got to keep an eye on what your money’s up to! Tonight’s edition isn’t going to be our usual recap of the last couple of weeks, however; we’re going to look at the most important MMO crowdfunding news of the entire year. Lock up your wallets and let’s get to it.
It’s not quite the end of the year just yet, but Albion Online has still taken the opportunity for an end-of-year look at the stuff that’s coming for the game’s next big update. First and foremost is fishing because it’s not really an MMO if you can’t sit by the shore and match wits with a fish, right? The game’s fishing will work differently than most of the gathering options, as there will be no nodes to harvest from, just bodies of water that may logically contain fish. Are there fish there? Try to fish and see if there are any in there.
Other major components being added are the addition of siege engines (with only a couple of engines planned for the initial offering and more for the future) and the imposter mechanic to let you slip in your own siphoning mages after killing an enemy mage. None of the things mentioned in the roadmap are sure components of the next update, but they’re all in the plans; check out the video down below for all of the details as the year winds down.
So Albion Online does have an event for this year’s winter holiday season… it’s just starting on January 10th, 2018. Which makes it a little late for the big ones like Christmas, but it’ll still hit… whatever happens in mid-January? Look, let’s not focus on that part and focus instead on being sent all over the realm to do good deeds so that you can earn the bridle to craft a festive Yule Ram mount. That sounds more positive.
Of course, there’s also a new icy battleground and a new harder-than-usual version of the Three Sisters Expedition available for players to take on for further seasonal rewards, which also include cosmetic outfits and some conifers that look like… well, some sort of familiar tree. (You know the sort.) So you’ll have to wait a bit until after the usual holiday season to kick things off, but you’ll still have plenty of holiday fun to engage with just the same.
This week in MMO crowdfunding, eyebrows across the ‘verse rose as Crytek filed a lawsuit alleging that the studios behind Star Citizen and Squadron 42 were in violation of Crytek’s copyrights in regard to CryEngine. In a statement to Massively OP, however, CIG denied that it was still using CryEngine and said it planned to fight back. “This is a meritless lawsuit that we will defend vigorously against, including recovering from Crytek any costs incurred in this matter.”
Over on the Camelot Unchained blog, CSE is busy working on plot and item permissions tech, scenarios, combat, skill buttons (no word on that I-win button, sorry), NPC AI, large group UI, deflect animations, the place of power, armor, and weeds. No, actual weeds. And dead trees. What did you think I meant?
Meanwhile, OrbusVR hit early access, Albion Online tweaked Kay and updated its rewards, Elite’s Thargoids finally started fighting back, and Crowfall raised a bunch of new money from investors. And the much-anticipated Ashes of Creation and Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen launched their respective pre-alphas for elite and specially selected early backers.
Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2017 awards continue today with our award for Best MMORPG PvP, which was awarded to Black Desert and EVE Online in a tie last year, the first year we debuted this reader-proposed award. We’ve opted to include live, fully released MMORPGs launched in any year, as long as their 2017 PvP experience is what’s being judged. Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end!
The Massively OP staff pick for Best MMORPG PvP of 2017 is…
Albion Online’s dev team hasn’t run out of
girlfriends’ and boyfriends’ Arthurian lore names to use for its patches, so everyone say hello to today’s Kay update.
The big focus of today’s update is improving the MMO’s PvP scene with features like guild vs. guild seasons, battle mounts, time for guilds to evacuate their goods when their territory is overrun, and territory raids deep into other guilds’ space.
The additions don’t stop there, either. Albion is now triggering magical invasions designed to evict guilds from resource watchtowers on occasion. There are now level 3 artifact weapons, enhanced client performance, political information on the world maps, hardcore expeditions, and an extended tutorial.
Warfare between guilds is what Albion Online considers its true endgame, which is why the team is hard at work on a Guild vs. Guild (or GvG) system coming in the Kay update. Seeing potential issues such as territory control falling into a stalemate or fewer people participating, the team is embracing a seasonal approach to widen the accessibility of GvG conflict and to keep it fresh.
“This will hopefully make the competition between guilds more thriving,” said Game Director Robin Henkys. “We’re really excited to see how the GvG seasons will change the compentition between guilds and what effect the introduction of battle mounts, raids, and leaderboards will have on Outland warfare.”
The Kay update is coming on December 6th, followed by the first GvG season on December 9th. Check out the developer talk video on GvG seasons after the break!
This week in MMO crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained’s weekly progress report is on the shorter side (for CSE) given that the game’s monthly newsletter just went out, but there are some interesting tidbits within, including the fact that the studio is considering uprooting the game’s hosting services and migrating elsewhere. The team’s also been working on battlegrounds and warbands, status effects, animations, female clothing, tech stuff, and boats.
In great news for anybody still lamenting World of Darkness, victory seems assured for vampire MMORPG Shadow’s Kiss, whose Kickstarter should conclude on Tuesday with more than double its ask.
Meanwhile, Elite Dangerous patched its patch, Shroud of the Avatar is hosting a Movember team, Valiance Online teased female toons, Project Gorgon is planning its next update early tomorrow morning, we spoke to Mark Jacobs about developer wages, Ship of Heroes prepped its combat alpha, and Star Citizen drove eyebrows to the sky by announcing the pre-sale of land claims in space.
Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last couple of weeks and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following.