sandbox interactive

The studio behind Albion Online.

Albion Online kicks off Masters Tournament, sweetens recruit-a-friend program, and promises performance improvements

With such a heavy PvP focus, Albion Online was a natural fit for tournaments. And so the Arena Masters Tournament is upon us, a seasonal 5v5 competition with millions of in-game silver on the line.

The studio said that it was “positively floored” by the number of people who signed up to participate in the event. The qualifiers for the Masters Tournament are happening right now among 28 teams, with the finals to take place next week. Players can watch the tournament on Albion’s Twitch channel and vote for their favorite team in the process.

Meanwhile, Albion Online’s recruit-a-friend program has received an upgrade. The cost of buying a trial key for a pal has been reduced to 500 gold, and the recruiter rewards for any friends who purchase a starter pack have been beefed up considerably. Finally, the studio is vowing performance improvements in the latest dev vlog.

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Albion Online outlines content plans, will give more love to the solo player

With Albion Online now in a launch state and rocking a “stable economy,” Game Director Robin Henkys says that it’s high time to take a look at what the development team is planning in the months ahead.

“We really think right now we are just at the foundation level,” Henkys reported. “We have a lot of the systems in place, but the game has a lot of room to be improved.”

The team is planning on an update cadence of about three to four major content patches per year. First up for Albion are a couple of solo play features, such as fishing and meaningful solo PvP without the zergs. After that, the team would like to make a more dynamic open world, improve Outland warfare, and implement quality-of-life improvements for guilds.

Albion Online is currently running its first Halloween festival, which will go through November 15th. Get Henkys’ full report after the break!

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Albion Online begs you to put down your murderin’ sword and farm pumpkin pips for Halloween

Hey there, you barbaric hordes roaming the Albion Online countryside, slaying other player characters in your path, burning their villages, spitting on their guild emblems, and grinding up your alchemy in your downtime. It’s Halloween. Time to give your mortal enemies quarter and carve some pumpkins.

“The cities are now decorated with fallen leaves, carved pumpkins and all sorts of spooky props, putting the players in the right mood to tackle a number of autumn events. As adventurers roam the lands during Fall Season completing tasks, they will find and collect Pumpkin Pips. They can be found, e.g., in camps, chests, the arena, on expeditions or in locked pumpkins which randomly appear near resources. The Pumpkin Pips may then be redeemed for special Halloween rewards or traded with other players.”

Sandbox Interactive is promising pumpkin heads, skeleton costumes, some sort of horrifying donkey thing, a sweet ghostly horse, and a plague doctor outfit. For your next marauding run, naturally. If you’re not into pumpkin pips, however, take a look at the full patch notes for today’s update, which includes a number of bug fixes and buffs Deepwood Enclave.

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Albion Online’s new trial is a referral system that costs the referrer in-game gold

If last week’s rumors about a new trial version in Albion Online had you excited, good news for you: It’s actually happening and in fact is already in place as of today’s update to the Joseph version of the game.

The trick is that it’s not just a trial where you show up and get to play; it’s a referral system. Currently active players – i.e., players who’ve bought the box – will have to buy “trial keys” for 1000 gold in-game and then pass along the keys to friends through the referral email system. Naturally, you’ll be rewarded for recruiting friends this way, and if your buddy buys the game, you get your gold back – plus up to 4000 more gold, depending on which kit your friend buys. The rewards will change up over time, so hopefully you have a long list of mates to invite.

The game’s latest patch also tweaks the UI, hub positioning in most cities, and a whole bunch of bug issues.

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Rumor: Albion Online leak suggests new trial version with refer-a-friend benefits

Want to try out Albion Online? Do you want one of your friends to play Albion Online? The latest leaked information about the game promises that fans will be able to accomplish both goals in the near future. According to the leak, which comes through a Redditor whose past leaks have proven accurate, players will be able to purchase a trial for seven days, with the full amount reimbursed to the player’s account once the trial player purchases a starter edition.

Players who take part in the paid trial will have Premium status during the trial. No timeline has been specified at this point, since it’s not yet been officially announced, but hopefully it’ll bolster the game’s population and give new players a good reason to get into the game.

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The Daily Grind: Why does EVE survive where other PvP sandboxes stumble?

MOP reader Tobasco da Gama pointed us to a recent Reddit thread about why EVE Online persists, even in a weakened state, where other hardcore PvP sandboxes fail. The thread OP posits that in spite of what he calls “CCP’s criminal level of mismanagement and incompetence,” EVE has outlasted other games of its ilk, from Darkfall and Mortal Online to Albion Online and pre-Trammel Ultima Online. The reason? He argues it’s because the vast majority of players who don’t quit outright never leave high-sec and aren’t actually playing the “hardcore” PvP game that New Eden is known for at all. In other words? Most people playing EVE are carebears.

Fightin’ words, right? It makes a lot of sense to me, frankly, and since my husband still plays EVE, I’ve seen the phenomenon in action, that the toxic part of the playerbase perpetually eclipses the majority of normal folks just happily space mining and killing pirates and watching their skill bars go up.

Why do you think EVE survives where other PvP sandboxes stumble?

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The Daily Grind: Do you have a hard time connecting with isometric MMOs?

Let’s talk perspective today. No, not your general outlook on life — which I’m sure is cheery and as non-cynical as can be — but the camera vantage point in MMORPGs. By and large, cameras trail our characters either behind them or over the shoulder, with the occasional first-person perspective thrown in to keep us on our toes.

But that wasn’t the default prior to EverQuest. No, graphical MMOs in the 1990s were all about 2-D isometric layouts, from Neverwinter Nights to Ultima Online. While the isometric perspective has been largely shoved aside in modern MMOs, we do see them persist in MMOARPGs like Path of Exile and the recently released Albion Online. Even RuneScape in its older incarnations drew the camera up and back during its gameplay.

So here is my question for you today: Do you have a hard time connecting with the world and your character in MMOs featuring isometric perspectives (or other similar camera setups)? Does the distance keep you from being as invested in what’s going on, or does it lend a unique charm to your gaming experience?

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Albion Online adds 5v5 PvP arenas with today’s Joseph update

The long-awaited Joseph patch has just landed in Albion Online, its first update since its launch this past summer. Albion heard you liked PvP, see, so it’s adding a side of PvP to go with the rest of the game, which is already mostly PvP. Specifically, Joseph adds a new 5v5 PvP arena system.

“We are excited to finally release our first content update, Joseph, post-launch. Now you can enter the Arena, a 5v5 battle with a control point mechanic, at a major city nearest you. Talk to Joan and redeem your winnings for envious rewards, like the Armored Sabertooth mount. Fill your pockets with riches of the dead in a Treasure Site found in each biome. Finally, if you’ve had enough of the same ol’ Tier 6 expeditions, now you can go on two more! See if you can defeat the three age-defying sisters and the relentless Governor.”

There’s more to the patch, of course, including treasure sites, smart casting mechanics, UI updates, new weapon abilities, and a pair of new expeditions. Enjoy the trailer and have fun storming the castle!

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Happy 20th birthday, Ultima Online! Here’s how to get caught up on the OG MMORPG

Just about 20 years ago, my boyfriend and I were wandering through Media Play (heh) when he picked up this box for some new online subscription video game with a cheesy Hildebrandt cover. I was skeptical. He bought it anyway. The next morning, after I’d played all night and totally bogarted his new game, we figured we should probably get a second account. And so we did, in spite of being clueless teenagers who could barely afford one sub, let alone two.

That game was Ultima Online, and it’s the game that birthed the term MMORPG and quite literally dragged me into the realm of virtual worlds. Without it, I wouldn’t be right here where I am talking to you today, having married that dude in the interim. And as of yesterday, that game is 20 years old.

Last autumn, when the game was turning 19, I did a fairly in-depth video on the coolest parts of UO, the parts you can still play today, as I do frequently dive back in and am playing this month too! It’s Massively OP’s best-performing video to date, proving that the game is very much not dead and done. Pretty much everything in the video is still accurate, except for the part on the business model (spoiler: UO is kinda going free-to-play), so I’m going to include it below, but then I’ll recap some of the important bits from the last year and answer a few questions anybody reading is sure to have.

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Albion Online’s Joseph patch arrives next week; check out the new trailer

Joseph is coming to Albion Online, and he’s not interested in drinking tea or exchanging pleasantries or wearing anything akin to an amazing technicolor dreamcoat. No, he’s the game’s first big patch since its launch this past summer (and its seemingly unending DDOS attack problems). And he’s dropping by next week, totally announced, so you have plenty of time to clean.

His big claim to fame is a new 5v5 PvP arena system, which may seem an odd addition to a PvP sandbox, but hey, somebody must want this. “The Arena is a new mode where you are matched against worthy opponents in a 5v5 control point battle,” Sandbox Interactive explains. “Be in the team to capture the most Runestones, maintain a high score, and you will be granted redeemable Arena Sigils for great rewards. Ready to put your skills to the test? Need to practice for higher Tier PvP battles? Enter the Arena and prove yourself with your friends, guild mates, or on your own.”

Joseph will bring other presents too, including treasure sites, smart casting mechanics, UI updates, new weapon abilities, and a pair of new expeditions. Yeah, maybe anthropomorphizing patches is weird after all. The brand-new patch is down below!

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Albion Online ushers Joseph into the game on September 27th

We do not know if Albion Online’s Joseph update will include a technicolor dreamcoat, or indeed, a dreamcoat of any sort. We do know that it’ll arrive in the game on September 27th as the first major update for the game following its launch. We also know that it’s going to feature a whole lot of big improvements and expansions for the game, such as the new 5v5 Arena that awards Arena Sigils to the team with the best performance.

The game’s previous Relic Lockers are being replaced and incorporated with new Treasure Sites, dangerous regions full of treasure that automatically set you to hostile as soon as you enter the region. Players can also enjoy UI improvements like the new Quick Cast mechanic, allowing you to cast spells more quickly if you’re prepared to aim when you press the button and not before. Combine that with two new expeditions and players will have plenty to explore when the update goes live on September 27th.

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The Daily Grind: Are you ever attracted to MMOs that you know you’ll hate?

As an MMO enthusiast, I have this tendency to cheer games on and be interested in all sorts of titles — even the ones that I know deep down to my bones are not for me. For example, I am not a great fan of PvP-centric MMOs. I don’t resent their existence, but that gameplay is too stressful and fraught with drama for my taste.

Yet I can’t help but be attracted to some of these games because I like the art, the passion, or some of the non-PvP mechanics involved. Crowfall looks gorgeous and I’m all about its eternal kingdoms housing system. Camelot Unchained has such a great team and talent behind it that I feel wistful they aren’t making a PvE game. And I’ve even gone on record as saying that Albion Online’s art style and cross-platform accessibility is pretty cool. What is wrong with me?

Are you ever attracted to MMOs that you know you’ll hate? What do you do with that?

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Albion Online alters resource respawns and rune rewards

Resources matter in Albion Online, and major changes to the respawn rates of resources is going to shake up the game’s economy significantly. The latest patch to the game (live today) doesn’t get a new name, but it does significantly alter the respawns of all higher-tier resources. Tier 2 and Tier 3 resources have had their respawn rates reduced to pre-launch numbers, while Tier 4 resources have rates slightly above the original resources. That’s going to alter the game’s makeup pretty significantly.

Of course, players are also going to be dealing with runes and souls dropping from chests at five times their previous rates, so that’s going to alter things even further. The patch also will prevent people traveling to the Outlands and then teleporting right back from retaining any region or portal locks; you’ll have to remain there for at least a minute. Add in the usual array of bug fixes, and voila, you have a small patch that will probably have significant effects upon the game as a whole.

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