sandbox interactive

The studio behind Albion Online.

Albion Online's new gathering gear helps you get the goods

25Have you ever wondered how strange it was that your fantasy MMO character ends up doing grunt work like farming, mining, or baking apple pecan pies with delicate flaky crusts in your battle armor? That won't be the case in Albion Online, just in case you were wondering.

With the new Galahad update, gatherers now have their own specialty outfits that will assist the player in the task at hand. By donning one of these gatherer outfits, players can not only look the part but also gain access to special skills to assist in harvesting mats from the game world.

Each of the five gathering professions have several tiers of these outfits to pursue, with the higher offering an increased yield to mats gained. The backpack slot, which is part of each four-piece set, will allow players to carry far more resources than they would be able to otherwise. The only question is, does wearing one of these outfits automatically put a big target on your head for merciless PvPers?

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You'll need to put in about 20 hours in Albion Online to become competitive in PvP

As Albion Online barrels toward a summer release, the crew took to Reddit yesterday for a marathon AMA session to tackle any pressing community questions.

Asked how much work an average player will need to put in before being of any use in PvP, the team responded, "A general principle of Albion Online -- as a game with a strong PvP focus -- is that the combat power curves for gear and character progress are very flat [...] When you start out a new character, you could expect at least 10 to 20 hours of gameplay before you could be considered competitive in PvP."

What about super-experienced and -geared players taking over the game's landscape and making it miserable for everyone else? "Of course, well-organized guilds will always have an advantage over more casual players - it would be weird if that was not the case. However, it is extremely unlikely -- and has never happened in any of our tests, two of which lasted around six months -- that a single faction will dominate the world."

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Albion Online AMA on pay-to-win, free trials, and global servers

Sandbox Interactive ran an AMA for its in-development indie MMO Albion Online on Reddit last night, covering everything from the game's business model to how players in far-flung locations fare on its global server. Here are the highlights!

  • There are no plans for a freebie weekend or trial as a result of fairness to founders and botting issues -- as well as performance issues. "The game is extremely well populated as it is, and we'd be worried that free trial could slow down the servers."
  • Likewise, SI will be sticking to its original plan to reward founders with early access, though players have expressed concern over the potential for an ArcheAge-like land-grab.
  • In response to players bringing up pay-to-win and the game's $30 buy-in, SI explained the game's business model is based on EVE Online's and that while players can essentially gain an advantage by buying and then exchanging real-money currency for in-game currency, it won't afford players a guaranteed win. As for the currency exchange, it should be possible to play the market.

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Albion Online previews next week's Galahad update

As Albion Online barrels toward a release this summer, the devs are still frantically working to make the PvP fantasy game the best that it can be. On Monday, the team will push out its Galahad update, which will contain rather sweeping changes for the beta.

The fun begins with a brand-new user interface designed, which looks a lot sharper and more polished than the previous version. It's not just the UI that's been reshaped; the world geography has been moved around and the map improved for better viewing. Other changes with Galahad include new biome cities, improved open world PvE, guardians (world bosses), expeditions, 25 new spells, and gathering gear.

Albion Online recently announced that it will be launching on July 17th. In the meantime, whet your excitement for this month's big update by checking out the video preview after the jump!

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 106: Ready to relaunch

Call this episode "tangent city," because it doesn't take much to send Bree and Justin down conversational rabbit holes! From discussing why Champions Online failed to pick up City of Heroes' refugees to going on epic rants against gankboxes, you'll need a flow chart and a five-dimensional mind to follow all of the topics of today's show. Good luck!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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MMO Mechanics: 2017's take on the sandbox MMO

I am finding it hard to believe that we are two months into 2017 already, especially since I've had so many pressing Guild Chat submissions recently that I haven't had a chance to turn my hand back to MMO Mechanics in all that time! As an introduction to a new year, I usually like to include a predictions column that summarises my perspective on how I believe mechanics will change over the following twelve months, but I don't feel as though the 2016 trends I mentioned have died out yet and wish to instead focus on the sustained emphasis on sandbox MMO development with strong holistic, character developing mechanics.

In this edition of MMO Mechanics, I'm going to talk about some upcoming MMOs and the non-combat, realistic, and technical mechanics added into the 2017 sandbox mix. Although I can't guarantee that the titles I mention below will actually release this year, each of them has enough solid development behind them to make a 2017 release at least probable; besides, even if these titles don't release in the next ten months, they will still bear the hallmarks of the state of the modern sandbox MMO and are worth noting. Add your thoughts on the common threads you're finding in 2017's planned MMO mechanics in the comments: I'm sure to miss several key mechanics development trends in this non-exhaustive list.

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Albion Online is launching on July 17

Huge news for the Albion Online community today, as Sandbox Interactive announced that the fantasy sandbox will be launching this summer on July 17th. At that time, the studio said, the founder's program will end, founder's packs will be removed from the store, and starter packs will be put up on the shelves.

Between now and then, Albion has a lot in store for fans. The "massive" Galahad update, which includes a world revamp and server wipe, is coming on March 13th. After that, the team wants to work on polishing the UI, improving the starter experience, and putting in some quality of life features for guilds. These will all be bundled into the late May/early June Hector update.

Check out the launch announcement as well as a few new overview videos after the break!

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Here's how Albion Online is rebooting its PvP Outland zones

Sandbox Interactive Game Director Robin Henkys has another lengthy Albion Online dev recap today, this one all about the Outlands, one of the key pieces of content being rethought and redesigned in the current beta stage.

As designed, the Outlands were intended to foment guild warfare -- that's probably why you're playing a PvP sandbox, after all, if you're not there to gank miners. But Henkys says that in practice, the Outlands were designed too small and too compact, which created relatively small guild battles and in turn allowed just a few incredibly powerful guilds control over the whole area, leaving no room for anyone else. The next iteration of the Outlands was bigger and allowed more small and medium guilds in but didn't create "hotspots" worth fighting over.

The build planned for launch, Henkys explains, splits the Outlands in multiple pieces with scaled resources. The idea is that the uberguilds will fight over the spots with the best resources and leave the lesser areas alone. Ideally, if the game is overloaded, the team can just add more pieces of proper value.

Worth a listen even if you're not interested in the game just for its run-down of the core problems faced by every PvP or RvR sandbox ever.

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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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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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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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