Last week, we covered Albion Online’s big plans to overhaul its alliance system, citing both developer and player unhappiness with how dominant large alliances are in the game – the player poll even showed 80% of actual players wanted alliances deleted altogether. Sandbox Interactive’s plan wasn’t that drastic; it merely planned to run a test to reduce the alliance cap to 300 people starting next week.
Apparently, that was still too drastic for players (or at least for the 20% that didn’t want alliances nuked outright?). Last night, the studio walked back some of its plans, apologizing for its “approach to the communication and handling of this matter.”
“The reason we’re now announcing an adjustment to the test is that a hard cap on alliances size would trigger a ‘purge’ of a lot of players from their existing guilds and alliances, cutting them off from their in-game friends and destroying their daily gameplay routines. A cap of 300 would not only have hit the top 4 power blocks, but also a very large number of more casual guilds and alliances. The resulting purge would have affected gatherers, traders and more casual players the most and would have done permanent damage to the game. At the same time, we cannot allow large groups of players to dominate the gameplay experience of many others. Many players feel they have to join a large Alliance to be successful in Albion Online, and that there are too few opportunities for smaller groups to participate in meaningful gameplay outside of the influence of these large Alliances.”
Instead of implementing a cap on alliance membership, Sandbox now says it’ll be adding income penalties and significant upkeep on territory control that scales upward depending on how much territory an alliance is hogging. There will also be new cooldowns for leaving and joining guilds and buffed Disarray (the balancing effect for imbalanced fights) for medium-size battles. These changes go in “around February 26th.”
Players seem torn on the changes still, but Sandbox warns it’s not done. “On their own, these measures will not suffice. We will need to take an additional look at Alliances living in cities, especially the situation around portals, and into introducing more opportunities for small scale groups to succeed in Albion. We do hope, however, to already be able to measure a significant impact of these limitations during the next Invasion day.”
In other words, it’s a territory PvP MMORPG, dealing with the problem all PvP MMORPGs eventually must confront and most likely can never solve.
In other Albion news, the team’s dropped a new dev diary on the Avalonians – they constitute the NPC faction that’s being used as the catalyst for the new continent and dungeon content in the Queen expansion.