My Thoughts of Playing the Albion Online
I love the game, after my first alpha test I knew this game had the potential to be my last MMO. By having played UO for 7 years I know it is possible. Albion has all the elements that I find important in a game as well as features that are a huge bonus. PvP is the only reason I play online games, there are far better storylines and gameplay in single player and I would go that route if those were important to me. With that said, PvE is fun for me as a social aspect of a game, but I do not enjoy it on a competitive level. An example of this would be, I have about 5 close family and friends that at this exact moment, play World of Warcraft and do the raiding thing. I have no interest in that. I do enjoy teamwork and Albion requires that if you plan on leaving your mark on the world. Being business minded and with the player driven economy I have had great fun working the market places and building wealth in game.
Every Alpha I have gotten to test now has been like playing a new game. None of them have been remotely close to the same. The first one had about 10 weapons you could craft it had only tiers 1-8 there was no power levels in addition to this, the way you used abilities was much different, I hate to say it but back then, it was more strategic then what it is now. They still need to find a balance, so expect combat to keep changing. My 2nd test, they added farming and islands, this changed the game tremendously, also adding dozens of weapons, you used to have to find seeds by killing NPC's. The power curve was much flatter and the PvP was much more competitive(fun). This last alpha, they added black zones, hell gates, changed the way you got seeds/food, added many more weapons, Item power levels, quests, added many new crafting resources and learning points. In terms of gameplay the game has not gotten more fun, but its gotten much more features. The reason its not more fun is because they were testing features and ideas rather then balancing them for fun. This is to be expected and expect the game to get more fun as they balance things during closed beta. also keep in mind, they have made major changes during tests. They made probably 6-8 patches during this last 1 month test. That's how fast these guys are. Amazing.
This game is going to huge, there will be steady growth for years to come. This team(Sandbox Interactive) rivals any development team of any AAA company on the planet, period. Part of this is due to the fact that they are independent and can make their own decisions, but still that's only one plus, they also make great decisions and know how to quickly fix mistakes if they create them or things don't work out as hoped for. An example is the learning point system, all you got to do is read the old and new information on the learning point system and that shows you exactly how special these guys are. They had a great idea, tried it, it didn't work and they quickly came up with an amazing solution. The only negative I can say about these guys is they tend to over Nerf weapons/abilities rather then bring them inline with everything else.
PvP: Some of the most fun I have had in years.
PvE: Not overly complex, room for improvement, and they already know this and you can expect huge improvements by launch. Great social fun, when you have 5-10 guild members going through a dungeon killing everything, even more fun when you run in to some PvP while doing this and even more fun if you win the PvP engagement.
Crafting: Simple, yet Important. I might take the back seat on this for the next test, just to test some theories of mine.
Refining: Also Important, many complaints about the time it takes to refine stuff as if you have a stack of higher tier resources it might take you 5 minutes to refine the stack.. People complain about this but I actually like it, it gives more value to resources as time=money also, its great for checking in with the wife(for me), grabbing a drink or using the restroom.
Farming: Relaxing for me, slightly enjoyable, rewarding, very profitable, vital to maintaining guild territories. Probably the single most important trade in the game. It needs lots of balancing still. This is on their to do list for next test so I expect huge improvements like they always deliver.
Territory Building: My least enjoyable aspect of the game. Extremely important if you want to compete and be relevant(make a name for yourself and guild). This is why we do resource gather groups to share the responsibility of the least enjoyable aspect of the game.
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