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.
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.
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 summer’s sole indie sandbox MMO launch, Albion Online, is rolling out its second post-launch update. It’s called Kay. As in Sir Kay, one of the Knights of the Round Table, but don’t let that stop your jokes. The update is set for December 6th and focuses on game performance, maps, hardcore expeditions, the updated tutorial, battle mounts, and the new GvG season (which technically begins December 9th, probably). Territory raiding is going to be a big deal too for those of you who prefer a purpose to your pillaging and PKing.
“The Territory Raids provide a constant opportunity for guilds to compete in PvP battles,” Sandbox Interactive explains. “So far, players were able to raid the territories of enemy guilds to capture resources or even the entire territory. Now, the guilds can directly fight the energy-gathering mages of their opponents. That way, they can weaken the enemy, deprive them of valuable energy which they can purchase new weapons or items with, and in addition gain big points for the season rating.”
Catch the video down below for a deeper look at the fightin’ mounts!
One thing you can say for the MMO industry: It never ceases to surprise all of us. No matter what predictions we may make at the beginning of a year, by December we will all be proven fools who lack vision and foresight.
Although 2017 isn’t quite over yet, we here at Massively Overpowered wanted to count down the biggest news stories that crossed over into our neck of the woods so far this year. We witnessed controversies and delights, shockers and sadness. We saw launches and shutdowns, expansions and bugs.
So before we move into 2018, let’s take a look at the year that was and remember the biggest stories that dominated headlines.
Albion Online PvP Game Designer Michael Schwahn jumped into the dev talk this week to discuss the new battle mounts that have come to the game, such as the command mammoth and the flame basilisk. While you can fight and cast spells from these mounts, the team doesn’t want to see only mounted warriors on the battlefield. To enforce this, the bonuses from mounts do not stack, which means you only really need one of each type in your group to stay effective.
“We envisioned this is we have two armies clashing, and you have 10 to 20 normal players without mounts and one or two mounts accompanying them and amplifying their strength,” he said. “We don’t want to push the game into only mounted players.”
Schwahn also talked about artifacts, which are powerful weapons that excel in group battles. Get the full scoop after the break, and if you’re on iOS, make sure to check out the just-launched testing for that client.
Even with its launch on PCs earlier this year, Albion Online’s true potential as a cross-platform MMORPG has yet to be fulfilled. The next crucial step in this effort? Getting the title on mobile.
It looks like it’s going to happen, too, as the team has begun to test the fantasy sandbox on iOS. Players can sign up to test Albion Online’s mobile beta through Testflight, playing on live servers. Only players with a founders or starter pack can sign up, and out of those, it’s a first-come, first-test situation.
You’ll need to have the right gear, too. The test is aimed at iPhones from the 7 on up, the iPad Mini 4, the iPad Air 2, and the recent three iPad Pros.
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.