The shocking truth behind P2W in Albion Online

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  • The shocking truth behind P2W in Albion Online

    Define: "Play to win?"

    These discussions happen in every game these days. Bottom line is that people are arguing semantics over the definition of "Pay to Win" (P2W).

    Many, if not most, people follow the older-school definition of P2W which has traditionally meant games that are almost literally pay to win. More seasoned (read old) gamers tend to favor this definition, as many of them remember the early days of F2P and P2W games where your power or strength in the game was literally boosted if you spent real money. Slightly less severe versions of traditional P2W games involved "pay walls" or "progression gates" which limited a players ability to grow in strength or power unless they spent real life money. This definition eventually expanded to include less direct, yet still substantial, increases in player effectiveness based on monetary purchases, the most iconic example of this being "Gold Rounds" in World of Tanks.

    Over the past few years, many people (mostly newer gamers) have begun using P2W to describe any game that wasn't 100% fair and equal for all players. Using this definition, nearly anything that can be purchased with real money is considered to be pay to win, such as kick starter or founder rewards such as mounts, early access, etc. Most MMOs released in the past 10 years would be considered P2W under this definition.

    P2W in Albion Online

    Depending on which definition you ascribe to P2W, there are a few aspects of Albion which can be evaluated on the P2W spectrum. Premium, Founder/Starter pack rewards, Gold to Silver exchange.

    Yes, premium accounts provide an indisputable advantage over non-premium. However, premium may be purchased with earned in-game currency, allowing players who earn enough silver the ability to perpetually maintain a premium account without spending any additional money beyond the initial founder/starter pack purchase.

    Legendary and Epic founder/starter pack rewards also provide indisputable advantages over Veteran packs in the form of early access head start, mounts, and lower level gear. The flip side is that these benefits are very fleeting, as those advantages quickly become available to the entire player base at an extremely low in-game silver cost.

    The aspect of Albion Online that is the source of the most P2W debates is the Gold/Silver exchange system.

    The P2W Debate

    The P2W debates over Albion's Gold/Silver exchange fall into two primary arguments.
    • Defenders argue that complainers don't understand how the exchange works and wouldn't call the game P2W if they really knew how it all worked.
    • Complainers argue that it doesn't matter how it all works, and consider any advantage that can be acquired with real-life money makes the game P2W.
    This two groups will never agree, as they are each arguing very different definitions of "P2W."

    Albion's Gold/Silver Exchange

    As others have mentioned, the Gold/Silver exchange allows players to spend real-life money to acquire gold, a form of currency used to purchase or extend premium subscription, and exchange that for silver that other players have earned in-game. In essence, this system allows those with deeper pockets the ability to purchase premium for other players, in exchange for the in-game silver other players have earned. All else being equal, the less time, effort, or efficiency a player can put into Albion, the more real-life money they'll have to spend to maintain their premium account. On the other hand, the more time, determination, or clever efficiency in the use of time and effort, the less real life money a player will have to spend to maintain premium on their character(s).

    In extreme cases, a deep-pocketed player can purchase a nearly infinite amount of silver, while someone that plays non-stop or with insane efficiency can play for free for eternity.

    Advantages of Unlimited Silver

    It is indisputable that having unlimited silver in Albion Online provides an advantage. This is because there are really two different and distinct progression systems in AO:

    • Economic Progression - The ability to earn and maintain economic advantages in game, such as access to high-level gear and territory/plot ownership.
    • Combat Progression - The ability to effectively utilize gear and abilities in combat.
    Unlimited unearned silver allows a player to "jump the line" with regards to economic progression, as they can short-cut the process of making progress in establishing ways to effectively earn or save silver in game. This can involve owning territories or city plots, crafting stations, or power leveling refining/crafting skills by purchasing a nearly infinite number of materials. Players with access to large amounts of unearned silver are not playing the same game the rest of us are when it comes to Albion's economy.

    However, unlimited silver provides absolutely no benefit with regards to combat progression for several reasons. Players cannot short-cut or jump the line when it comes to progressing up combat skill lines, limiting their ability to utilize higher tier gear and abilities, as well as their power level and effectiveness in using that gear and those skills.

    Ultimately, all the silver in the world isn't going to help a player dominate in full-loot red/black zones, as all they'll end up doing is donating gear to other players that are more skilled, more organized, or are higher on the combat progression tree.

    Bottom Line

    At the end of the day, BOTH arguments are mostly correct.

    Albion's Gold/Silver exchange effectively makes the economic aspect of AO, if not exactly "pay to win", certainly pay for a significant advantage.

    But when it comes to combat, be it individual, group on group, or alliance vs alliance, Albion Online offers no advantage to anyone outside those earned in-game.

    Dieser Beitrag wurde bereits 2 mal editiert, zuletzt von Lensar ()

  • Lensar schrieb:

    Unlimited unearned silver allows a player to "jump the line" with regards to economic progression, as they can short-cut the process of making progress in establishing ways to effectively earn or save silver in game. This can involve owning territories or city plots, crafting stations, or power leveling refining/crafting skills by purchasing a nearly infinite number of materials. Players with access to large amounts of unearned silver are not playing the same game the rest of us are when it comes to Albion's economy.
    One point you don't really touch on though, is that if a person did have an unlimited supply of cash and injected a large supply of Gold into the economy it would affect not only themselves but the entire gaming community. Just by buying the gold and bringing it into the game, they would be affecting the Gold<->Silver exchange rate for all other players in the game, making it easier for everyone else to gain gold. If you make it easier for other players to gain gold, you are making the overall economy easier for those players as well as yourself. In addition, they have to actually buy all their "power leveling" materials off of the auction house or other players, so they are distributing wealth to the overall playerbase as well, affecting the economy.

    It's not like they can just buy their materials off of NPC's who have an unlimited supply, they have to buy it from actual players. If the players are selling it, then the other players are making money as well of their sales .. thus increasing their own stance in the economy and not falling far behind (in a relative sense) the person who purchased all the gold with cash.

    I know it isn't the perfect argument or counter-argument ... but when looking at Albion Online you really have to see how the possibility of purchasing gold for cash will influence not only yourself, but the entire game as a whole.you are not the only person who would benefit from using cash. Unlike some other games where you purchase your items from the "Game" itself, and noone else makes any profit or progression from you spending money.
  • This is what we like to call: "Madness."

    If the supply of gold goes up the price will go down. Also, if you were actually stupid enough to sell gold on the exchange you'd probably do something equally stupid with the silver, so you'd act as a silver sink in the game.

    You would also not have access to higher end gear because you would still have to grind for it.

    An example of this is going on right now. I make ~600,000 silver in an hour of playing. Gold is going for ~120. That is 5000 silver an hour, or $10 an hour. That is insane for a game. Plus guilds are probably making 10-20x more than me, so idiots are just throwing money away right now.


    I would challenge the OP to go buy a large about of gold then inject it into the economy. Tell us how that turns out for him. I expect we will be seeing @Lensar on the leader boards in the next couple days?
  • angrad schrieb:

    This is what we like to call: "Madness."

    If the supply of gold goes up the price will go down. Also, if you were actually stupid enough to sell gold on the exchange you'd probably do something equally stupid with the silver, so you'd act as a silver sink in the game.

    You would also not have access to higher end gear because you would still have to grind for it.

    An example of this is going on right now. I make ~600,000 silver in an hour of playing. Gold is going for ~120. That is 5000 silver an hour, or $10 an hour. That is insane for a game. Plus guilds are probably making 10-20x more than me, so idiots are just throwing money away right now.


    I would challenge the OP to go buy a large about of gold then inject it into the economy. Tell us how that turns out for him. I expect we will be seeing @Lensar on the leader boards in the next couple days?
    how are you making that much an hour? I'm trying to get to a better point with making silver, im only tier 3 at the moment tho
  • angrad schrieb:

    I would challenge the OP to go buy a large about of gold then inject it into the economy. Tell us how that turns out for him. I expect we will be seeing @Lensar on the leader boards in the next couple days?
    I'm pretty sure the OP understands this, he's trying to be a peacemaker and explain to all parties how the P2W spectrum is exactly that, a gradient.... Albion falls low on the gradient (purchasing is a minor / short lived benefit) but there is some advantage to be gained by purchasing.

    To your point, imagine if there was somebody who exchanged a calculated amount of gold for silver and then also used that silver in the most optimal possible way to boost their earning power for silver per hour. Then proceeded to do what you're doing - earn as much silver per hour as possible, and exchange everything for gold.

    Most people will not do this, like you say if someone sells gold they're probably going to spend all that silver and then need to buy more gold. But what about this person who exchanged a small amount of gold to get on the critical path for economic power? These will be the absolute most successful moguls in this game, even if they're a very tiny minority.
  • angrad schrieb:

    Also, if you were actually stupid enough to sell gold on the exchange you'd probably do something equally stupid with the silver, so you'd act as a silver sink in the game.

    You would also not have access to higher end gear because you would still have to grind for it.
    If you buy gear for the silver than its not a sink, just a conversion. I also would argue that having access to T4.3 or 5.3 is just a matter of a day, so not a big deal. My argument would be that a new player with cash can get a decent power boost using T4.3 or T5.3 gear, compared to a none paying player in T4.1. In reality in the AO case i suspect even if possible, not many will do this, but that's just my feeling.

    Dieser Beitrag wurde bereits 3 mal editiert, zuletzt von Andy22 ()

  • angrad schrieb:

    I would challenge the OP to go buy a large about of gold then inject it into the economy. Tell us how that turns out for him. I expect we will be seeing @Lensar on the leader boards in the next couple days?

    Huh? Did you actually read my post?

    I think the system is perfect as is. I love how impatient folks are buying my silver and giving me enough gold to extend my premium on all of my characters. My only regret is not having sold more silver, earlier, but I suspect that always happens.
  • I still remember when the devs stated that prem would have minimal impact on the game with a really small percentage of silver and xp gain. I dont think 50% is small at all.

    With this being said, its pretty obvious to anyone with a brain cell that having prem and the ability to drop 100€ or more a month on albion will give them a HUGE advantage to players with no prem over those who sink no money into the game. Obviously you have to grind for the gear but the advantage is still there.

    Sad thing is, this business model is hurting the game a lot. If i stumbled into albion today and read that I had to buy the game and that there was a premium bonus with 50% extra silver/xp Id probably ignore it and look somewhere else.

    The devs should have looked at the big games that have been running for years and years and realise they all have 1 thing in common and thats no pay2win and xp/silver bonus bullshit for paying users

    inb4 you can buy gold with silver. lets see casuals buying gold monthly when it reaches 500silver per gold
  • The have-nots will always complain about those who have more than them. It's just like real life - if you are that pissed about those who can pay for money learn to not suck at real life and make more real life money, end of story.

    Damned liberal snowflakes who think everything should be fair, its just like the real world grow up and accept it.
  • Lensar schrieb:



    At the end of the day, BOTH arguments are mostly correct.

    Albion's Gold/Silver exchange effectively makes the economic aspect of AO, if not exactly "pay to win", certainly pay for a significant advantage.

    But when it comes to combat, be it individual, group on group, or alliance vs alliance, Albion Online offers no advantage to anyone outside those earned in-game.
    There's a nuance when we're talking about a game where all the gear is lost upon death, which leads to scenarios where the progression bought can be halted or even reversed. It is also important to note that the silver is not made out of thin air.

    Just as our own gaming time: It is not made out of thin air. Some have more gaming time, some have less but everyone wants to play in an even playing field.

    Pay to win is the trending curse of the MMOs offering some kind of IRL transaction (those imported from the asian market are certainly terrible for the game), but there are others forms of "Progression buffs" like playing hardcore that at the very least, they should be countered by catch-up-like mechanics (like learning points and gold). And I think Albion Online does an excellent job at that.
  • Good post. I'm an old school gamer (circa 1979) and the definition I have always used for P2W is two-fold:

    1) You can use real world cash to buy in game currency; and
    2) You can use in game currency to buy competitive advantages for your character

    If both of these things are true, then you can Pay (1) to Win (2).
    "Men do not stop playing because they grow old. They grow old because they stop playing". - Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • This game has the exact same business model as WoW, and FFXIV. The two biggest MMO's on the market. The only real difference is that AO allows you to continue logging into the service even if your current subscription runs out.

    WoW and FFXIV both require you to buy the game, require a subscription, and sell microtransactions. Exactly the same...

    The misconception that AO is P2W is because newer players put to much value in silver. Silver is helpful in Albion, but past a certain point in a players progression, it becomes a major non issue. Have more silver than what is needed to replace a set of gear is just waving your epeen around, nothing more, definitely not a step closer to winning anything.

    The other misconception is when AO allows a user to log in without a sub, they also see there are clear benefits to having a sub. Benefits beyond simply being able to log into the service, period.

    tl:dr
    This business model is not new nor is it controversial, and is used by the leading MMO's currently on the market. AO just gives an inch for players lacking funds who want to continue playing the game they purchased, while others with the view that ongoing service should be free try to take a mile.
  • Territories are decided by player skill, ie, GvGs. It's like a giant game of risk. The more map you control, the easier it is to get resources. Resources are used to craft the highest tier gear. The highest tier gear is used in GvGs. It is not efficient to buy the highest tier gear on a constant basis whatsoever. Even so, player skill > gear.

    P2W point proved. It's not P2W at all. Git gud.
    Hostiles is recruiting new and returning players.

    HCEs/HGs/GvGs are our primary focus.
  • UnholyKiller schrieb:

    One point you don't really touch on though, is that if a person did have an unlimited supply of cash and injected a large supply of Gold into the economy it would affect not only themselves but the entire gaming community. Just by buying the gold and bringing it into the game, they would be affecting the Gold<->Silver exchange rate for all other players in the game, making it easier for everyone else to gain gold. If you make it easier for other players to gain gold, you are making the overall economy easier for those players as well as yourself. In addition, they have to actually buy all their "power leveling" materials off of the auction house or other players, so they are distributing wealth to the overall playerbase as well, affecting the economy.

    Yeah, I hinted at it by point out that gold purchasers are really just buying a tradable version of premium subscription, which they are trading to others in exchange for silver that was earned in-game. But you're 100% correct that this makes a market, and the more that anyone dumps gold into the game, the cheaper premium subscription becomes for all of us that either sell silver or use silver to purchase premium. (which is essentially the same thing)
  • Lensar schrieb:

    UnholyKiller schrieb:

    One point you don't really touch on though, is that if a person did have an unlimited supply of cash and injected a large supply of Gold into the economy it would affect not only themselves but the entire gaming community. Just by buying the gold and bringing it into the game, they would be affecting the Gold<->Silver exchange rate for all other players in the game, making it easier for everyone else to gain gold. If you make it easier for other players to gain gold, you are making the overall economy easier for those players as well as yourself. In addition, they have to actually buy all their "power leveling" materials off of the auction house or other players, so they are distributing wealth to the overall playerbase as well, affecting the economy.
    Yeah, I hinted at it by point out that gold purchasers are really just buying a tradable version of premium subscription, which they are trading to others in exchange for silver that was earned in-game. But you're 100% correct that this makes a market, and the more that anyone dumps gold into the game, the cheaper premium subscription becomes for all of us that either sell silver or use silver to purchase premium. (which is essentially the same thing)
    And the more gold that is used to purchase premium, the less gold in-game, thus the price increases.
    Hostiles is recruiting new and returning players.

    HCEs/HGs/GvGs are our primary focus.
  • Wanderlust schrieb:

    Good post. I'm an old school gamer (circa 1979) and the definition I have always used for P2W is two-fold:

    1) You can use real world cash to buy in game currency; and
    2) You can use in game currency to buy competitive advantages for your character

    If both of these things are true, then you can Pay (1) to Win (2).
    Finally,some1 that is using the real definition..this kids nowadays saying that p2w is when you can buy items with money....

    Wow i just realized that the people arguing about Albion not having anything to do with p2w,are the same group of people....

    And here i was thinking that it was the majority..but its just a load minority...credit card swipers united??

    It wouldnt be so irritating if they could atleast accept some realities...but they just brush it off...like...max level island in 10 seconds,plus buying all resources from merch to build what you want to do...they dont see that IN ANYWAY as an advantage....

    pay to advance faster ...they try to argue that view....as if pay to advance faster is not pay 2 win....paying to literally afford the most expensive items without grinding a single night....is not an advantage on their eyes....

    Subscription would be better...every1 on equal footing...instead of giving people the ability to buy IG currency...

    Either way i will keep playing,it just grinds my gears that they are so defensive on this subject...as if they are all money and no skill...a guy was saying that whats more important is skills...i saw his profile,and a guy was laughing at this guys KDR...if skills is all that matters,and you have none,but you bought your island and gear with dollars..then what are you?@BRiCK. whats that?a paid costumer?i thought we all were.

    Dieser Beitrag wurde bereits 1 mal editiert, zuletzt von ipew4glory ()