Albion Online "My first impressions" by FreddyFish
Albion Online "My first impressions" by FreddyFish
Welcome to My first impressions of Albion Online
The short review, for people that are not into reading:
Was going to give this game a pass, what with another MMO I play having an expansion dropping soon (Elder Scrolls Online, (ESO)), but then I noticed that there was a small minority of reviews going on about how pay-to-win Albion was. Reminded me of Eve Online, and a similar percentage who were always super but-hurt about the fact they were terrible at managing risk (and angry that other people were able to enjoy themselves in such an environment). That similarity ended up being the nudge I needed to buy Albion and give it a go. I'm so glad I did! Actually, I'm furious at myself that I didn't try this game sooner.
And now for the full "My first impression of Albion Online
The closest thing I've played to Albion is Eve Online, so I apologize in advance for the fact that a lot of my thoughts are going to be framed in term of how it compares to that. The universe does feel very similar to the Eve Universe (a large map that players can fight over) but graphically the game has a more approachable graphical style betraying its more casual leanings. It has combat that reminds me of DOTA, and I can see how combat in this game could be thoroughly addictive.
The lack of quests asides from the tutorial reminds me of Ultima Online and helps give the world an organic feeling. When you see people out and about it's because they are pursuing goals they've set for themselves and really helps make the world feel alive (especially when compared to Themepark MMOs and their immersion breaking mechanics like doing quests out of order and having to talk to NPCs you know are dead).
Like Eve it has full loot PVP, single server, large political PVP system, but unlike Eve while does cater to large-scale warfare (Zergs), it also has some systems geared towards smaller scale warfare and seems to be trying hard to avoid some of the problems Eve is famous for. This slightly different direction seems promising to me, and I think they might be able to strike a nice balance. I haven't as yet had a chance to try any of the PVP yet, but I'm really looking forward to it.
Another strong point in Albion's favor vs Eve; in Albion, you can feel like you're getting somewhere in a day (wheras in Eve you feel like you're practically useless at everything for about 3 weeks). That doesn't mean to say that Albion doesn't have a lot of depth to the progress system, but rather there are some niceties easily attainable by new players (pack oxes to move materials around, and player islands to call home) that lead to us feeling invested in the world a lot quicker. Played Albion for a whole day, and by the end of the first day had an ox, and had helped to build a guildhall. Was a lot of fun, and I hadn't expected to be able to participate in building anything at all for a while, so that was a nice surprise. By the end of the second had started building my own house on my island.
Albion seems to fit in well with things I already love to do in other MMOs. For example in ESO some of the few things I do involve wandering Tamriel like a tourist, gathering materials, and participating in the Market. For a while, I've been lamenting that fact that I have tons of currency in ESO but have nothing to spend it on. Albion neatly solves that problem for me since I can do the same things I've been doing in ESO for fun (harvesting/trading) here in Albion instead and yet actually have something exciting to spend the silver on (risking it in the Full Loot PVP).
These days I prefer single shard games. One shared world that everyone participates in is absolutely the way to go, and it's encouraging to see that this is exactly the direction Albion has taken. Another thing I loved about eve was the ability to balance risk/reward. That also seems present in Albion. It has different zones each of which carries a different risk, from safe to full PVP. Naturally, the materials increase in value with the more dangerous zones having the most to gain in them. You get to make choices about the level of risk you're comfortable with, and other people are naturally keen to take advantage if you let your greed get the better of you.
As for the allegations of P2W. Seriously, in a full loot PVP orientated MMO, how can people being able to get equipment faster be anything other than a good thing? More content for everyone - more loot pinatas running around. (Of course, it is possible to destroy a full loot PVP game, Archeage proved that one, but it's very hard to do, requires selling items that are only available for money, but that would also result in way more negative reviews than there actually are. So I'm not worried about the allegations of the noisy minority since the reviews complaining about P2W are about the same ambient levels found in similar full loot games.) My biggest concern is actually how invested will the developers be in bringing new content out since that was what killed Eve for me, lack of fresh content.
I absolutely love old school MMOs (I played Ultima Online back in the day) especially the full loot PVP mechanics. I would probably be still playing Eve Online were it not for the fact that new ships for that game geared towards my playstyle (solo/small gang T1 frigates/destroyers) appeared maybe once every half decade or so. (Plus all the PVE in Eve was boring as sin). Albion being new, fresh, and having an enthusiastic Dev team means that we might actually get new content on a regular basis. And that's the thing I'm most excited about, the prospect of a full loot MMO that's alive, fresh and actively being developed.
Honestly for a while now I've been resigned to not having any full loot MMO worth playing and I'm ashamed to admit I kinda dismissed Albion as being too casual. Now that I've actually tried it, it's slowly proving me wrong. Proving that the more casual elements aren't at odds with its sandbox elements. Showing that there are still developers out there who know exactly how to deliver a solid old-school style MMO.
I'm brand new, and I've not done anything of consequence in Albion yet, so these first impressions might change over time, but so far I'm already having an absolute blast and really positive about the future of this interesting niche MMO.
Where can I find/buy this game?
And that's my first impressions of Albion Online!
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