A Look at the History of Albion Online - A Retrospective

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    • A Look at the History of Albion Online - A Retrospective

      A Look at the History of Albion Online - A Retrospective

      Post Status: Work in Progress

      Introduction
      Hello Albion Online community! My name is Zorva and I've been playing Albion Online since the very first alpha of the game. Along the way I've seen Albion Online change a lot throughout the years and luckily I managed to document many of those changes. In this retrospective I want to take the Albion Online community with me through many areas of the games history so that players can get a glimpse of what things were like in the past and how things have evolved over time. I will also do my best to give pertinent and accurate information on many of the subjects I cover but feel free to correct me if I get anything wrong and I'll fix it. I also encourage the community to share their stories or pictures in the thread to continue the preservation of Albion's history and discussion on the topics. Lets get started!

      Alpha and Beta
      Alpha, Beta, and Test Dates
      The number of alpha and betas of Albion Online is truly staggering. The earliest alphas and tests required keys and in some cases, such as the Royal Battleground Test, required a private and limited number of invitations. At the end of each alpha and beta, the accounts of players would be completely wiped of all money, items, and fame. This meant that players had to start from scratch with each test. Below is a list of all alphas, betas, and tests along with dates and who could access them.

      1st-14th Alpha Tests
      Date: Before July 29, 2013
      Who Could Play: Developers
      Information:
      These alpha tests were conducted by SBI staff and were not open to the public. The purpose of these alpha tests was to get Albion Online into a stable and working state so that in later tests, players could help fine tune the mechanics of the game.

      15th Alpha Test

      Date: July 29, 2013 - August 2, 2013
      Who Could Play: Focus test with limited number of players. Invitation only.
      Information: This test was run on a single map also known as a cluster. Seven guilds participated in this test including Sinister and Lords of Death. Players also fought the first dungeon boss to make it into the game, The Harvester. The main focus of the test was castles and dungeons.


      Guild Test #16
      Date: September 16, 2013 - September 20, 2013
      Who Could Play: Limited only to players from 10 guilds. The guilds allowed to participate were Pandora, Black Phoenix, PRX, Raid Pillz, Sinister, The Syndicate, Northern Blade, Bloodline, Incognito, and Vamp.

      Information: This test focused on introducing raids and new weaponry to the game including axes, hammers, and crossbows. This was also the last test that was limited only to certain guilds.

      Royal Battleground Test
      Date: October 9, 2013 - October 11, 2013
      Who Could Play: Focus test with limited number of players. Invitation only.
      Information: Players were placed into a territory named Royal Battlegrounds and were automatically assigned to one of two guilds. The two guilds fought over the territory and SBI used data from the test to work out kinks in the combat system.

      16th Alpha Test
      Date: December 9, 2013 - December 20, 2013

      17th Alpha Test
      Date: March 24, 2014

      2014 Summer Alpha
      Date: September 15, 2014 - October 13, 2014

      Winter Alpha
      Date: January 26, 2015
      Who Could Play:
      Legendary Founders: January 26, 2015, 12:00 CET
      Epic Founders: January 27, 2015, 12:00 CET


      2015 Summer Alpha
      Date: June 29, 2015
      Who Could Play:
      Legendary Founders: June 29, 2015, 12:00pm CEST (06:00am EDT)
      Epic Founders: June 30, 2015, 12pm CEST (06:00am EDT)

      Closed Beta
      Date: November 23, 2015
      Who Could Play:
      Legendary Founders: November 23, 2015, 12:00 UTC (13:00 CET, 7:00am EST)
      Epic Founders: November 24, 2015, 12:00 UTC (13:00 CET, 7:00am EST)
      Veteran Founders: November 25, 2015, 12:00 UTC (13:00 CET, 7:00am EST)


      Final Beta
      Date: August 1, 2016
      Who Could Play:
      Legendary Founders: August 1, 2016, 12:00 UTC
      Epic Founders: August 2, 2016, 12:00 UTC
      Veteran Founders: August 3, 2016, 12:00 UTC


      Getting Access to Alpha and Beta
      Before the game opened to the public, players bought one of three founders packs which would determine whether they had access to the games alpha or beta. Players who bought the Legendary Founder's pack at $99.95 had access to the alpha and beta of the game. Those who bought the Epic Founder's Pack at $49.95 had access to alpha and closed beta. Those who bought the Veteran Founder's Pack at $29.95 only had access to the closed beta. These packs were offered even before the game entered alpha and was still a working concept. Players were offered these packs to gain access to the alpha and beta of the game along with additional perks such as explorer's and founder's items.

      17th Alpha Test invitation to the game. The Alpha Test required a key to enter.
      Email invitation to the 2015 Summer Alpha. This Alpha did not require a key to enter.

      Email Invitation to the Closed Beta


      Races
      In the Alpha of the game, new players were introduced with a "Choose Your Race" screen in which Human, Elf, Dwarf, Cruds, Troll, and Orc were listed. Cruds were a race that was specifically designed for Albion Online. At the time, only the human race was selectable and other races were never unlocked. By the time the game entered the beta phase, the idea of selectable races was scrapped all together.

      The Choose Your Race Menu

      Alpha Testers
      In the Alpha of the game, players were encouraged to test the game and report any bugs to SBI. They also wanted players to play the game and stress test their servers. To incentivize players to play the game and stress test the servers, SBI offered a reward to players who managed to log at least 10 days during the alpha test. Players who logged in for 10 days during the alpha test received an exclusive in-game avatar.

      In Game Log In Bonus Screen
      Alpha Tester Reward Avatars
      Alpha Test Login Reward Inbox Message

      The World Map
      Over time, Albion Online has experienced several changes to the world map. The most dramatic change occurred from alpha and beta to release as the current map bears almost no resemblance to the world map as it was at the start of the game. Major cities such as Kings Market, Queensmarket, Brinkwold, Tormouth, Dauntensea, Heathenburg, Breakwater, Fisher's Hold, Seamouth, Journey's End, Freeport, and others no longer exist and were replaced by the cities we know today. The outlands also didn't exist at this point in the game and players engaged each other in red and black zones on the royal continent. Below are several maps of the world in alpha and beta which you will need to open in a new tab or download to view in detail.

      Rough Draft of the Alpha World Map (2015 Summer Alpha)
      Complete World Map Grid of the Alpha World Map
      The Area Around Queensmarket
      The Area Around Kings Market
      Territory Map of Plymouth

      City Map of Freeport (2014 Summer Alpha)

      Item Quality and Durability
      The quality indicator for items were very different then compared to how they are now. Rather than encircling the entire stat box of the item like today, the quality indicator only existed in the top left corner back then. The durability of the item was also shown via the colored circle in the bottom right. The durability indicator has also been changed since alpha and beta.

      Quality Indicator (17th Alpha)

      Resources
      Albion Online had a wide variety of resources in Alpha that no longer exist in the current iteration of the game. Below is a list of some of the items and resources that you could find in Alpha. It is also important to know that each alpha made drastic changes with each phase which is why some items may seem to conflict with each other below. Unfortunately, I don't have information or pictures on all the items that no longer exist. Any help is this regard would be greatly appreciated.
      Small Mark of Destruction (16th Alpha)
      Small Mark of Precision (16th Alpha)
      Lesser Mark of Precision (16th Alpha)
      Small Mark of Wisdom. Relics were actually called Marks of Wisdom in Alpha. (16th Alpha)

      Ores were different then as instead they were gemstones.
      Normal Wood. Tier 2 resource with green background. (16th Alpha)
      Rough Amethyst Node. Tier 4 resource.
      Rough Amethyst When Harvested (16th Alpha)
      Amethyst. Aquired after refining Rough Amethyst. (16th Alpha)

      Rough Sapphire Node. These nodes were 14/14. Tier 6 resource.

      Buildings
      The buildings players could build and their architecture was also vastly different compared to the structures we have today. Some buildings were later removed from the game. Guild Storage used to be a buildable structure but was later replaced by guild island vaults. Many structures also had what were called Vaults and Battle Vaults included with them. The reason some structures came with their own storage is because in Alpha you could build player owned buildings on the majority of territories back then in marked areas and this was a way to have local storage. Players had a choice to trade and craft in major cities as well as player built towns across the royal continent. These territorial towns were later scrapped and player made buildings were restricted to royal cities and islands. Another interesting thing to note is that player farms did not require focus points in alpha in order to water crops. Instead players could plant and water crops and use focus on crafting and refining. This was later scrapped as the price of crops and their seeds fell dramatically.

      House. (17th Alpha)
      Original Playerhouse in game. One of three customizable options for houses. (17th Alpha)
      Cute Playerhouse. One of three customizable options for houses. (17th Alpha)
      Military Playerhouse. One of three customizable options for houses. (17th Alpha)
      Military Playerhouse in game. (17th Alpha)
      Guild Storage. Used before guild island banks. (17th Alpha)
      Small Camp. Later removed along with territorial towns. (17th Alpha)
      Carpenter (17th Alpha)
      Hunter's Lodge (17th Alpha)
      Smelter (17th Alpha)
      Weaver (17th Alpha)


      To be continued.....
      Alpha and Beta Tester, Legendary Founder and Starter, Recruiter

      The post was edited 50 times, last by Zorva ().

    • Albion Online Community,

      Please be patient as I work on this thread. I have thousands of pictures and pieces of information to go through and I can't get everything done in one day. I will continue working on this thread tomorrow and I hope everyone enjoys this look at Albion Online's history. Thanks.

      Your Friend,
      -Zorva
      Alpha and Beta Tester, Legendary Founder and Starter, Recruiter
    • Albion Online Community,

      I'm pleased to say that I've added a getting access to beta and alpha section and more to the resources section. I'm currently working on the buildings section which is one of my favorite topics to look at. I'm still hammering away at the thread and I should make some good progress today. As I go through pictures and information on my hard drives some sections may receive more information so just be aware and keep a lookout for it. I still have some more to add to resources. I'm having a blast putting this together and I hope the community is having just as much fun seeing what Albion Online used to be like.

      Your Friend,
      -Zorva
      Alpha and Beta Tester, Legendary Founder and Starter, Recruiter
    • Albion Online Community,

      Added an Alpha, Beta, and Test Dates section to the thread. This was very important for me to add to help place some of the items I talk about into the timeline of Albion Online. I'm also going through and relabeling pictures to show what specific alpha, beta, or test that they came from to help readers place things into the timeline of the game. I'll add more information to the Alpha, Beta, and Test Dates section and finish adding time labels to pictures tomorrow then I'll keep adding more topics. This has been quite a labor of love and I can't wait to see it finished one day.

      Your Friend,
      -Zorva
      Alpha and Beta Tester, Legendary Founder and Starter, Recruiter