sandbox interactive

The studio behind Albion Online.

MMORPG sandbox Albion Online has officially launched on Steam with big discounts

If it seems as if we’ve been covering Albion Online for a long time, that’s because it’s true. In fact, the game officially launched almost a year ago – you’ll recall it as the PvP sandbox that survived exortiony DDOS attacks, slammed servers, and a round of layoffs. One thing it didn’t do? Port to Steam. But we can’t say that anymore, as the title has officially landed on Steam as of today, complete with achievements and a big fame boost for the next week.

Do note that this is a buy-to-play title, though its $30 basegame pricetag has been cut down to under $20 as part of the launch festivities. Naturally, there are bigger bundles for fatter wallets too as well as a sale of all the game’s packs and upgrades. Referring a buddy? The new season of rewards for that has also just kicked off.

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Albion Online discusses the royal city revamp for its upcoming Merlyn update

The trouble with having one universal hub in Albion Online is that basically no one cares about the five other hubs in the game. That’s what the game’s next content update, Merlyn, is partly meant to address. While Caerleon will not be changed, each of the other five royal cities will be getting bonuses to refining certain types of goods and item production. Thus, players will be inspired to seek out the other cities with Caerleon as a fallback, rather than just chilling forever in Caerleon.

“But what about PvP?” The developers are glad you asked that because that segues nicely into having five sides of faction warfare running. Each of the cities represents a different faction, and as it turns out, the factions all hate each other… which means that signing on with a faction allows you to fight people from the other faction anywhere. But signing on to a faction also gives you access to special resources. So it should give you more reason to explore and more opportunities to fight people, even in otherwise safe zones. How joyous! Remember to enjoy all of that when it comes to Steam next week on May 16th.

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Albion Online is coming to Steam on May 16 – check out the latest trailer

Crowdfunded indie PvP sandbox Albion Online officially launched last summer, finding so much initial success that its servers were hammered and it even suffered a round of extortion-centered DDOS attacks before settling into a scaled-down MMO live team and playerbase. So it always surprises me that the game never came to Steam, in spite of the fact that it was Greenlit on the platform four years ago. The team announced in March it was rectifying that oversight, and as of today, we now have a date: May 16. That’s for PC, Mac, and Linux.

“With its availability on this new platform, the sandbox MMOPRG will now also offer standard Steam features, including achievements – and as a thank-you to veteran players, all achievements developed for the Steam launch will also be available in the native Albion Online client.”

There’s a bonus expies event too. “To celebrate the release on Steam, the Berlin-based development studio Sandbox Interactive is also granting old and new players alike a week-long Fame boost,” says Sandbox Interactive. “From May 16-22, all players will get 25% more Fame for all activities in the world of Albion – gathering, crafting, killing mobs, and everything else.”

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Fractured answers scores of fan questions, plans to compete with Albion Online

Small but ambitious fantasy sandbox Fractured compiled a host of fan questions this past weekend and released an hour-long video in which the lead developer answered them one by one. There’s a lot of information to digest, and thankfully, one player created a handy summary of the Q&A for those who don’t want to wade through an entire hour.

There was a lot of discussion about the upcoming Kickstarter campaign and the team trying to prove itself to a community that may be unsure about the developers and the project. The devs see Albion Online as Fractured’s biggest competitor but hope that they can make their game more solo and small group friendly to gain an advantage.

There was a wide range of gameplay features that were addressed, such as becoming an angel, questing on asteroids, death penalties, player collision during PvP, the effect of eclipses on the game world, the situational nature of gear, and various offerings on the cash shop. The devs are anticipating that the buy-to-play game will cost somewhere between $20 and $30.

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Albion Online’s mid-season patch brings a GvG training ground and more

Lancelot is still raging hard over at Albion Online. The March 12th content update received a midseason patch this week, bringing players a new guild vs. guild training map and other cool features.

One of the major selling points of the patch is a re-spec ability, which allows players to switch over to different types of gear. “This feature gives players who really want to switch a chance to do so without starting from zero, but the costs involved should ensure players don’t constantly change gear on a whim,” the devs said.

Other changes with the midseason patch include rebalancing siphoned energy, buffing battle mounts, reducing the learning point spending threshold, instituting a soft gear cap on hellgates, and improving several underused items.

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Perfect Ten: MMOs with different (camera) perspectives

By the time that World of Warcraft came on the scene in 2004, the MMORPG industry had already gravitated toward standard when it came to the interface — specifically, the camera angle. MMO players and devs seemed to prefer third-person views that either peered over the shoulder of avatars or followed right behind them. For decades now, we’ve grown used to watching our characters’ rears as they jog along, and we can’t really imagine the experience otherwise.

Yet when you think about it, while this camera perspective is overwhelmingly used in the genre, it’s not the only one that crops up in MMOs. We’ve seen both old and new titles experiment with the camera angle, sometimes out of style and sometimes out of necessity (here’s a great Gamasutra article on the subject).

For today’s list, we’re going to look at 10 MMORPGs where the camera is positioned in a different way than you’d normally expect, especially if you are coming from modern games.

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Albion Online is adding respecs and a GvG training system next month

May 2nd is destined for glory thanks to the planned arrival of Albion Online’s midseason patch.

“On May 2, we’ll be launching a new patch that will bring several new features and updates to the world of Albion,” Sandbox Interactive explains. “It will bring numerous updates to the metagame and combat, including adjustments to the value of siphoned energy, the removal of GvG mage bonuses, a rework of siege camps, and a wide range of weapon and armor balancing changes.”

Don’t like your build? You’ll be able to take advantage of the new re-spec system that allows players to “trade skill masteries between different skill paths” at the cost of combat fame.

One of the more original features in MMOs is the GvG training system.

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Albion Online hatches a colorful spring event

Spring is in the air in Albion Online, if you couldn’t tell by all of the colorful eggs littering the ground right now. The sandbox MMO is currently running its Rites of Spring event, and there are some neat rewards to put a hop in your step.

From now through April 4th, players can seek out “egg-shaped treasure chests” from various game activities and areas. Eggs can be found lying out in the open and as mob drops from pretty much any PvE encounter, whether it be landscapes, expeditions, or dungeons.

These eggs can be traded in for a bunny armor set, an egg chest for housing, and a vanity pack. It’s all quite egg-cellent.

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Albion Online finally makes plans to launch on Steam

Crowdfunded indie PvP sandbox Albion Online technically launched last summer, finding so much initial success that its servers were hammered and it even suffered a round of extortion-centered DDOS attacks before settling into a scaled-down MMO live team and playerbase. So it may surprise you to realize it never came to Steam, in spite of the fact that it was Greenlit on the platform four years ago.

But that’s about to change. Sandbox Interactive announced this morning that the game is ready to head to Valve land.

Albion has been coming along nicely in the past months,” the studio writes. “The Lancelot update has been especially well-received by our community, and we feel the game is now in a great place to open it up to the broader Steam audience in order to build on the steady growth we’ve seen since the Kay update in December. Bringing in new players will not only make the world feel more alive and populated, but also allow for plenty of new economic opportunities, PvP matches, and social connections to be made.”

No launch date yet, but we’ll keep you posted.

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Albion Online launches Lancelot with fishing and guild updates, grants everyone a week of sub play

Albion Online’s Lancelot update, its third major release since launch, is officially live this morning. The star of the update, as we’ve previously covered, is the new fishing system. “Cast a line into Albion’s rivers, lakes and oceans to gather fish, then cook them into meals, enhance other foods, or sell them in the Marketplace,” Sandbox Interactive says. “Different biomes and settings offer different types of fish, as do freshwater and saltwater. Explore an all-new Destiny Board path and discover new fishing gear. Seek out rare fish that offer increased bonuses and hunt for sunken treasures all across Albion.”

The update also includes a big overhall for the guild UI and other quality-of-life guild features, new hellgates, new artifact armor, combat tweaks, improved game performance, roaming mobs, a new expedition, and the launch of the second GvG season.

Current and lapsed players will be happy to know that logging in between now and March 19th will nab you seven free days of premium sub time, so go have a looksee.

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Albion Online’s upcoming fishing system hopes to reel in casuals and hardcores alike

Fishing has become a hot topic in MMOs this week, thanks to the likes of RuneScape and Albion Online. The latter will see the implementation of fishing in next week’s Lancelot update.

“With the new fishing system, Sandbox Interactive hopes to achieve three major goals: to add a fun new activity for all players, to integrate this activity into Albion’s economy and create interesting economic choices, [and] to implement a relatively simple feature which nonetheless adds depth for players,” the studio’s PR explains. “For example, there is a new Destiny Board path available for fishing, a fishing journal is available for the player’s house, and adventurers can even defeat a massive boss fish and craft it into a trophy.”

In Albion’s latest dev video, Game Director Robin Henkys calls the system the game’s “first major economic addition” since its launch last summer. It’s basically a wind-down mechanic for when you’re retiring from a hard day’s work wrecking faces, as one does, but the idea was to make it engrossing enough to stand on its own too. You can listen to his whole talk in the video below.

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Albion Online’s Lancelot update charges forward with fishing

The latest update to Albion Online finally adds the PvP gameplay the game was always meant to be about. What, you’re saying PvP was always there? No, you misunderstand; the game didn’t want to have a focus on player vs. player, it was meant to be player vs. pisces. Yes, fishing is arriving with the game’s Lancelot update, and it features all the full-loot gameplay you could ask for. Engage in a battle of wits with a tube of meat using a rusty hook on a cord, then look everything the fish is carrying (e.g., meat).

We can rest reasonably assured, however, that the new tier 3 artifact armor that’s coming with this update will not be tied to effectively fighting with fish. Nor will the new luxury goods or mini-hellgates be connected with fish. Those are just other nice features coming along with the patch when it launches on March 12th. And hey, who knows, maybe those hellgates actually do lead to great fishing spots. Kill people over fishing! Why not, right?

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Albion Online’s world gets deeper with roaming mobs and luxury goods

Don’t get too comfortable in Albion Online, because the developers are about to change one of the fundamental rules of the game.

Instead of just keeping mobs tied to specific areas, the devs are creating a new type of “roaming mob” for the Lancelot update. As their name suggests, these creatures and NPCs will go on journeys across the game world and keep players on their toes.

Another new feature in the works is the addition of luxury goods. These goods encompass 18 antiques that players can loot and then resold for varying prices in cities. The downside? The weight of these items makes fast travel impossible while carrying them, requiring players to hoof it in person.

Finally, Albion Online has kicked off a new referral season with a trio of new interesting rewards: a Recruiter’s Impala, the Ogronios Banner, and the Recruiter’s Moabird.

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