Current State of the Final Beta & Way Forward

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  • Current State of the Final Beta & Way Forward

    Fellow Adventurers,

    Thank you for supporting Albion Online, and for your help with improving the game through beta testing and providing valuable feedback.

    The Final Beta is now four weeks old. This is a good time to assess the state of the game as it is right now and plan for the final steps before the official release.

    Please keep in mind that - unlike many other games - Albion Online’s Beta is a true beta, meaning that we truly see it as a proper test designed to help us make the best game possible. It is not a “hidden release” with a beta tag added to it as a marketing trick. This does mean that there are inadvertently issues with the game that we will need to address prior to release. Albion Online is a staggeringly complex game and thus we absolutely do rely on proper testing to get it where it needs to be.

    All in all, we have mixed feelings about the Final Beta thus far. A lot of changes and new features lead to a significant improvement of the game. However, some of the changes gave rise to new issues, some of which feel like a setback compared to Beta 1.

    It is our goal to combine the strengths and avoid the weaknesses of Beta 1 and Final Beta to get the game ready for release - and we won’t release the game before it is ready.

    Below, we will highlight the key areas of improvement for you. The list is by no means exhaustive, so if a particular issue is not listed, it does not mean that we are not aware of it. It is our intention to address all of these issues during final beta, prior to release of the game.

    Note that the below list does not include new features planned. Our core focus is addressing the issues listed below first prior to introducing fundamentally new game mechanics to the game. Still, we do have new features in our pipeline, and we will announce them in due course.

    Travel and World Size
    The new world launched with Final Beta overall is an improvement over the old one. However, it is also very very large. We are introducing a travel mode for mounts, persistent mounts and well-balanced fast travel in green zones to address this.

    The current economy is very gathering centric, while not placing enough focus on PvP objectives and PvE. We will rebalance this to make sure that all the activities mentioned above play a key role in the game’s economy.

    In some circumstances, gathering can be a very tedious experience currently. We will re-balance the number of spawn nodes and respawn rates to achieve a significant improvement here, without deviating from the principle that high-end resources should be rare.
    Also, we will introduce special gathering armor sets for each of the gathering branches, with unique looks and unique abilities suitable for gathering and traveling. On top of that, we will add abilities to the gathering tools as well, such that you can - if you like - use them as an alternative to a regular weapon. So if you are a miner and want to PvP with your pickaxe, you can. The skills on these items would be optimized for surviving and escaping, which is very important for gatherers in general.

    Royal GvG in yellow and red zones
    We will bring back GvG to yellow and red zones

    PvP Objectives
    PvP objectives such as hell gates and treasure chests currently do currently not matter enough in the overall economy. Through our economy rebalancing, we will address this, and expect that chests and hell gates will almost always be fought over.

    Outlands World Design & Time Zones
    The current Outlands world design - combined with time zones - is not ideal, as it often means that guilds cannot effectively fight each other if they are in different time zones, as they are too far away from each other. On top of that, the current Outland design puts powerful guilds next to normal guilds, and for lack of better opponents nearby, leads to one-sided and thus boring confrontations. Finally, we are missing the amazing hot spots such as Bone Harbour that made the outland experience so much fun in Beta 1.
    We will re-design the Outlands in such a way that there is a region where powerful guilds from all time zones can settle close to each other and take part in constant conflict. At the same time, we will have an outland region for feasible to less hardcore guilds - again from all timezones - where they can settle and fight, without constantly being afraid of the power house guild next door. T7 and T8 will be available for both play styles, however, there will be more of it in the hardcore areas.
    PvP hotspots such as Bone Harbour from Beta 1 will be re-introduced to the game.

    City and Gate Camping
    Our current measures to keep city and gate camping in check are not effective enough. We will make a few changes to address this, the most important one being that we will replace city guards with more powerful ranged watch-towers. Another change is that we will make it harder for city campers to flee into the city if they face opposition.

    Red Zone PvP & Risk vs Reward
    We need to make sure that the red zones have a fair risk vs reward ratio for different player types. For criminals, this means that they, on average, should expect to score slightly more than 1 kill for each death that they suffer. More if they are skilled, less if they are not. For virtuous players, it means that they should be able to utilize red zones in such a way that the risk of getting ganked is real, but the reward for venturing into the red zones is higher, meaning that, on average, it is worth it. The closer we get to this ideal balance, the more populated the red zones will be. Currently, ganking in red zones is too easy, and currently, the balancing values for the crime system are probably a bit too soft. Expect some revisions here during the course of final beta, until we get it right.

    Our content pipeline is filled up with great additions, many of which will be rolled out during Final Beta. This includes two more biomes, the highlands and the forest, a huge amount of additional artifact items and also a set of new dungeons. Our goal is to produce new content on a constant basis, now and, of course, post-release.

    World Uniqueness
    We made a huge jump in world design from Beta 1 to Final Beta. However, we are far from where we want to be. All in all, our world does not feel real and unique enough, and this is something we will work on by improving the world map, introducing more diverse zones and improving the overall topology of the world map, meaning that you might have certain short-cuts, or more zones that do not have connections in all 4 directions. This will lead to a much more unique, strategic and immersive game experience.

    Music and Sound
    Finally, during this Beta, music and better sounds will be added to the game.

    Destiny Board: Ongoing Optimization
    As in any previous alpha and beta test, there is ongoing optimization happening to the destiny board. Currently, we believe that some unlocks are too grindy, whereas others are too easy. On top of that, we will revisit the ratio between learning points, fame and grind time to achieve optimum balance between them.

    The above list only highlights key strategic areas. As always, there are bug fixes, quality of life changes and little tweaks and improvements too numerous to list.

    As always, we will keep you posted with constant updates and more details as things materialize.

    Thank you very much for your support in helping us create and constantly improve the game.

    Kind regards,
  • All changes seems to go on the correct direction (to fix or enhance) current game status.

    Bercilak wrote:

    Fellow Adventurers,

    It is our goal to combine the strengths and avoid the weaknesses of Beta 1 and Final Beta to get the game ready for release - and we won’t release the game before it is ready.

    My only question that is not clarified in the Bercilak's post is if the 2016 release date will be accomplished or If we are going into a 8/9 month beta?

  • I just hope you're not confusing "hardcore" and "massive alliances" when your balancing. Some guilds are very hardcore but don't have 400 person alliance backing them up or showing up to GVGs with two full groups to camp a guild in. Thats winninh by brute force, not skill.

    I'm also a little concerned that you didn't address the tranmutor and p2w...otherwise i liked the update and appreciate the honesty.
  • Bercilak wrote:

    Royal GvG in yellow and red zones

    We will bring back GvG to yellow and red zones
    There is almost already no reason for most people to go to the black zones. Will there be something put in place to make the Black Zones more attractive/interesting for players? Right now most of the players are still on the royal islands because they can do basically everything there, while the population is spread extremely thin in the black zones.
  • Raikiri wrote:

    EiindyinScythe wrote:

    Raikiri wrote:

    So when is Beta 3 release date?
    Do you want them to release as is so you don't play at launch too?
    Are you that blind as to what is going on?
    The CEO addressed a bunch of problems with the game and ideas of how they want to fix them? Instead of turning a blind eye and launching as is without making any changes so everyone who is bored now will be bored and stop playing to go play some browser tree of life clone? Or did i miss something

  • Bercilak wrote:

    PvP hotspots such as Bone Harbour from Beta 1 will be re-introduced to the game.
    During the first couple of months in Beta 1 my guild was based with red and black zone territories around Bone Harbour.

    Beta 2 my guild is based in Black Forest.

    Black Forest seems to be just as much of a PvP hotspot as Bone Harbour was, if not more, so I don't really understand the point of this statement. The difference is that there was only so many black zones back then, which lead to the big boys fighting each other. Now there is a million black zones and which means there are no real hotspots where everyone travels to.