New Development Update: Road to Summer Alpha

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    • New Development Update: Road to Summer Alpha

      Hello everyone,

      first of all, we want to say a big “thank you” to all our founders who are supporting us so much in making Albion Online possible.

      With your help, we have been able to collect absolutely great feedback and hard data on where the game stands right now. Based on that - and on our own vision for the game - we have defined core areas on which we will aim to focus for the start of the next alpha test in the Summer.

      Note that while we will give our best, it is almost certain that not all of these changes and features will make it in time for the next alpha test.

      Role of Silver

      We were not happy at all with the role of silver during the last alpha test. It felt far too much like a roadblock to progression, as opposed to a unit of wealth that you could slowly build up over time.

      We will make the following changes:
      • Remove silver requirements from farming/planting
      • Remove silver requirements from crafting
      • Silver will still be used to pay for crafting taxes and owners’ fees, based on the underlying resource value of the item in question.
      When it comes to silver sinks - to keep inflation in check - we will work with sinks that are optional, but in return are very scalable such that if you want to, you can burn a lot of silver on them. We plan those to be: transmutation of resources to a higher tier, and a new feature that gives you a chance to improve the quality of an item in exchange for a silver payment.

      Combat Improvements

      We will make significant improvements to the combat experience, both to PvE and PvP

      Items and Abilities
      • Revisit all items and abilities, and make the required balance adjustments.
      • Introduce new abilities to existing items
      • Introduce new items (including some extra rare ones!)

      Anti-Zerg
      • Have more AoE abilities
      • Give small radius AoE effects to many abilities
      • Let AoE abilities scale with the number of players hit, i.e. if you hit 2 people, both get 300 damage. If you hit 3 people, all three get 400 damage, etc. Same logic for AoE crowd control spells
      • Show zergs on mini-map if and only if they have more than X players (X to be determined)
      • Research project: investigate whether we can have a smart, algorithm based system that gives a debuff to zerg groups if they become too large. The main problem here is that it would need to be done in such a way that it cannot be circumvented.

      Mobs and Bosses
      • Have more interesting mob and boss fights.
      • Better and more varied abilities on bosses and mobs.
      • Phases for bosses, requiring more specific tactics in order to beat them.
      • In-built Anti-Zerg features for bosses, such as powerful and scaling AoE spells

      Boost PvP
      • We want to offer more good reasons to players to venture into the PvP zones.


      Open world PvP events:
      • The idea here is that something happens in the world at a certain amount of time that encourages open world PvP, without however incentivising zerging.
      • To give you an example of the concept: say at 18:00 server time, we let one chest spawn in each red PvP zone. There is a notifier that the chests have spawned.
      • The chests are locked for 10 minutes. After that, they can be opened, but it takes 60 seconds to open them and any damage take will cancel the opening of the chest.
      • As each red zone will have a chest at the same time, zerging will (hopefully) be kept in check.
      • On top of that, we are considering to change the way castle fights work and also might be introducing world bosses that spawn at certain intervals.

      Hell Gates
      • There is a random chance that a demon will spawn on the map.
      • The demon is designed for groups of 5 players, and there is different types of demon, from easy to hard. If you kill it, it will spawn a portal.
      • Only the group who killed the demon (up to a maximum number of 5) can enter.
      • You will enter a dungeon which will lead to a boss, if you kill it, you get loot/special resources (exclusive to hell gates), and an exit spawns.
      • So far, so good. Now to the really cool part: Hell gates can be connected and have multiple entrances. So it might be that while you are clearing the hell gate, you will encounter another group of 5 people with the same goal in mind. They will have entered the dungeon via an entirely different entrance that could in theory by at any part of the world.
      • The reason why we think this is cool is the following: i) it will encourage small groups of 5 to constantly roam the map, looking for demons to kill in order to spawn a hell gate ii) it allows us to set up structured PvP encounters that are 5vs5, without the risk of zerging iii) But: it is not even certain that you will actually encounter another group inside the hell gate, so there is always some tension in the air. To avoid any confusion: if you exit the hellgate, you will always return to the region that you came from.
      New resources exclusive to PvP zones: Please see below

      Factions and Missions

      In the last alpha test, the main purpose of PvE was to collect silver. Going forward, we want to give more meaning to PvE by doing something with the different factions in the game.

      We will be introducing NPC agents that will give you missions and those missions will grant you faction standing and faction points. Faction points can be used to obtain special faction rewards, though it is likely that most faction rewards will also cost silver and need some extra ingredients.

      Agents will have different levels, and in order to unlock higher level agents you will also need a certain standing with the faction first. Of course, the higher level the agents are, the more dangerous the underlying missions and regions will be.

      Regarding the missions themselves, we are planning to introduce different types, such as combat, gathering, crafting and transports.

      Destiny Board Changes and Progression Speed

      There is two potential issues with the current destiny board: Power gamers, in particular if they have a strong support from their guild, can often unlock high end nodes really really fast. On the other end of the spectrum, other players might feel that some nodes are too grindy, i.e. that you have to repeat that craft / gathering action too many times in order to progress.

      We believe that we can address both issues at the same time, by adding a learning points system. This system will work like a time-based skill queue in reverse: people will automatically accumulate learning points over time and unlocking certain nodes in the destiny board will require learning points on top of the usual task of getting a certain amount of fame in doing a certain activity. However, as learning points are pre-generated, if you have enough of them saved up, you can instantly unlock the node once you have completed the task.

      On the one hand, this will make sure that we can reduce the grind on the task level while at the same time making sure that progression is not too fast.

      In addition to that, we also will significantly improve and boost the role that mastery levels currently play. They will grant stronger bonuses and will also sometimes be required as a prerequisite for higher level skills and unlocks.

      Value of Crafting

      We believe that crafting should be valuable and that it should be possible for a crafter to earn money in the market place.

      In the current state of the game, the problem is that once a player has unlocked the required skill, he or she can craft an infinite amount of items. This essentially means that one crafter in the world can meet the needs of everybody else. In the same way, one crafting building in the world could meet the needs for everybody.

      We want to address this problem by introducing two concepts:
      • Crafting Endurance: crafting items will deplete some endurance from your character, which will recharge over time. This will not really affect you for normal items in normal amounts, however, might have an strong impact on special or higher tier items. The result is that those items will be limited in supply, allowing crafters to make money. Your crafting skill, in particular your mastery levels, will reduce the endurance requirements.
      • Building capacity: same as the above, but the limit is on the building level.

      New Resources

      We want to make different activities in the game more meaningful and required by making specific resources available only via those activities.

      We have the following structure in mind:
      • Normal resources: can be gathered in the open world
      • Normal marks: drop from normal mobs in open world
      • Boss marks: drop from bosses in open world
      • Essences: drop from bosses in hellgates (see below)
      • Territory resources: special resources that *only* spawn in conquerable territories
      • Open world PvP resources: special resources that *only* spawn in conquerable open world structures or in special open world PvP events
      Now, when it comes to crafting items, in addition to normal resources, certain items will also require resources from one or more of the above categories. This of course depends on the complexity and power of the item at hand, allowing for some truly epic items that are really really hard to create.

      As the above system is far more complex than the current one, we have decided that we will remove gems from the normal resources, leaving us with just wood, stone, ore, hide and fibre there.

      Also, we will change how refining works and allow for multi-to-one refining. Using this, we will have a system in place that will also require some lower tier resources for creating higher tier items, to make sure that there is a better economic connection between the different zones in the game.

      General Economy Improvements

      Overall, the player driven economy has been doing okay in the last alpha test. However, we see significant areas for improvement:

      Dealing with excess items: As crafting certain items is often required to progress in the destiny board, we will be changing the way salvaging works in order to deal with excess supply. Salvage will - going forward - return a small silver amount to you. As crafting items does not cost any silver any more (apart from taxes and owner’s fees) salvage will essentially act as a converter of crafted items into silver, however, at a very low rate. This change will also help us with keeping a balance in the resources/silver ratio.

      Silver for PvP: Once salvage returns silver, this will allow us to actually award silver for PvP kills: every time another player dies, based on the durability loss of items destroyed, we can calculate the “salvage value” destroyed and award a percentage of that to the winning player as a reward. Done in this way, the feature cannot be abused via self-killing, as you would always get less silver than you would have gotten if you had just salvage the items.

      Removing the player built repair shop: We will be removing player-built repair shops and instead move that function to a central NPC next to the market place. The main reason for this is that i) the function is extremely important ii) it helps us to teach new players about using the market-place (as we have found that more than 35% of players did not use the market at all during the last test)

      Guild market places: Each territory will have a fully functioning market place for the owners guild to use. This will allow guilds to offer certain items at discounted prices, or to deposit surplus resources there for guild members to pick up at a reduced price. This should really help guilds to keep their crafters/gatherers happy and organised and making sure that there is enough gear available for the PvP crowd, without being fully free.

      Basic Farming Supplies: Some basic farming supplies (such as a starter pack of baseline seeds) will be obtainable from an NPC at the player island, potentially as a reward for doing some missions.

      Player driven Silver/Gold market: Players will be able to trade gold and silver with each other without having to go via the global chat anymore - via a market place system similar to the current one used for normal items, with the key difference that the gold market will be global.

      Mob drops: drastically reduce or remove the chance for mobs to drop finished items.

      Dealing with item configurations in the market place: Currently, when crafting an item, you have to chose the abilities that are on it. We want to change this so that you only choose abilities when you first equip the item. The item can - for a payment of silver - be reset. Only "clean" items can be sold in the market place. The benefit of this is that it will be much easier to trade items in the market place, as you no longer need to manually check for all possible ability configurations.

      Yellow Zone Rework

      In general, the yellow zones are an area of the game that we are unsure about, so you can expect us to try out different things and make frequent changes until we feel they are fit for purpose.

      That purpose is for them to be a bridge between the safe zones and the full PvP zones. One of our goals is to enthuse and encourage people to engage in PvP, even if they are risk averse at first. Once players have migrated to the yellow zone, the step into the red zones is not that far.

      As written above, we are already introducing tons of changes to encourage and strengthen red zones PvP (new resources, hell gates, open world PvP events, etc). We believe that this gives us the opportunity to try something entirely new for the yellow zones: We want to trial “knockdown PvP” meaning that if you get “killed” in the yellow zone, you won’t actually die but rather be knocked out similar to what currently happens in certain safe zones. The person who knocked you out will not be able to loot your gear, but will get a silver reward for the win, based on the the feature described above (“Silver for PvP”)

      Once we have this, we might remove the “single hostile players are visible on the minimap” (and maybe show larger groups of hostile players only) from the yellow zones. We might also make adjustments to or even remove the buff that friendly flagged players get in yellow zones for PvP.

      With the new yellow zones being softer than the current ones, we are considering to have green zones go up to tier 4 only (previously, this was up to tier 5). Tier 5 would then start in the new yellow zones.

      When testing this, we will carefully monitor the data to find out if more people will try out this softer form of PvP and if so, how many of them will afterwards graduate to the red zones.

      Scouting and Number of People in this Region Display

      This topic has been quite controversial in internal and community discussions, thus we are taking a test-based approach here: we will be making some changes and test out different things and then, based on feedback and data, decide on how to proceed.

      Here is what we want to test with regards to the “number of people in this region” display:
      • In green zones, show the number of players present in the region in real time.
      • In yellow zones, show only hostile players
      • In red zones, do not show anything
      Introduce a set of scouting items that allow you to scan/scout ahead. Some items will only be able to spot hostile players, other items will be able to spot all players. Scans will have different shapes and ranges.

      Also, there will be wards that you can place which will alert you if a player walks near it.

      Territory Fight Changes

      Territory fights should become fully local. We will introduce the following changes:
      • In territory fights, instead of using a global battle vault, you will simply get access to your bank in the territory (or to the bank that you declared your attack from)
      • At the start of the fight, you will need to be in the region where the fight is happening, or in the region from which the attack was declared.
      In addition to that, we will be placing neutral outposts in the world that can be used to declare fights on adjacent territories without owning a territory yourself.

      When it comes to the fights itself, we will change the way the monoliths work such that one player capturing it will disable its attack fully. Also, we are planning to switch form a 4 to a 3 monolith layout to make fights more exciting and reduce the power of camping.

      Removal of Gold Payments

      A lot of you will be aware of the forum discussions on whether Albion Online could be considered to be “pay to win” or not. Based on a poll in our forums, the verdict so far is 31% yes, 48% no and 20% undecided.

      While one might say that this result is not too bad, for us it really is not good enough. Therefore, we will make a significant changes to the role of gold:
      • The gold/silver selection slider will be removed from the game.
      • In game expenses will be paid with silver only.
      • The exceptions will be vanity items and the premium status for characters. Those will be paid with gold.
      For certain in-game expenses, we will be introducing a player market driven swap mechanism that will give discounts on silver prices if there is too much gold in the game. You will get the discount whether you have gold or not.

      The mechanism works in the following way:
      • Assume that the gold/silver rate set by the game is 100 to 1 (last alpha, it was 10 to 1)
      • Assume that a certain action such as repairing an item would normally cost you 1.000 silver
      • Now, if the gold/silver rate in the player market is lower than 100, say it is 80, you will actually get a discount on the repair: for example, instead of paying 1.000 silver, you will only pay 800 silver.
      • In general, the discount on your silver costs is the same as the percentage that the player driven gold/silver rate trades below the reference rate. (Update: we will need to look into this based on the alpha test - it might not work as intended)
      • If, on the other hand, the gold/silver rate in the player market is higher than 100, then you will still pay 1.000 silver - you will not have to pay more. So, in a nutshell, if there is too much gold in the world, the silver cost for doing certain activities will decrease.
      This is how the mechanism will work from a player point of view. What our system will do “in the background" - but only if the gold/silver rate is smaller than 100 - is the following: it will take the silver you paid. It will use that silver to buy gold from the player market. It will take that gold out of the game. If the gold/silver rate is higher than 100, than nothing special will happen, the expense will simply be taken in silver.

      From an economic point of view, what this does is the following: if there is too much gold in the game, everybody will benefit as the silver prices for certain activities will come down. On top of that, if there is too much gold in the game such that the gold/silver ratio is higher than 100, it will act as a gold sink, which will help our business model. We believe that this creates a really cool win-win-win situation between us as a developer, people who do not mind spending some money on the game and people who want to play entirely for free.

      General Polishing and Additional Features

      In addition to the above mentioned focus areas, there is a huge list of many little things, improvements and changes that we will be making, there is just too many of them to list them all here, or they are just too minor to list separately.

      Closing Statement

      We hope that this posts gives you a detailed update on what our plans are for the foreseeable future.

      If you do not like some of the features listed, please keep in mind that we have a test-driven approach to game development. Therefore, all the new features that we will introduce will be tested, and if they do not work, will be adjusted or removed.

      We are looking forward to your feedback and comments.

      Kind regards,
      Stefan
    • i like all the ideas excpet the gold remove for creating guild an gold remove for pay a guild plot, now smaler guilds a so much behind. how the hell you supposed to get 50k silver for a territory in the first day ontop of that you need silver for creating a guild. so big guilds claim theire shit and get ahead while small guilds are stuck in green zones.

      maybe you can pay in cashop a item that alows you to create a guild and plot certificate to buy a plot
    • To me it looks like you guys have been working really hard and listening to the community which is very very important, those are really good ideas and of course need testing.

      I look forward to the next alpha ,just wanna say keep up the good work, I'm really proud to be a tester and help you guys make this wonderful game.

      Be careful about negative comments because people that do not agree with this probably just want to have an advantage above other by buying gold and being able to "advance" faster than others by spending real life money and the community doesn't want that. Everyone should have an equal start and believe me I have the legendary pack and plan to invest money in the game in the future.

      So what if you will take a little longer to buy a plot or raise a guild? So will everyone else.

      Thanks
    • hajee schrieb:

      Bercilak schrieb:

      Removal of Gold Payments


      very bad idea



      It removes pay to win theoretically, Either you pay for your vanity with gold - gain nothing... Pay for premium time with gold(real currency).... or you can Play to Pay for premium time acquiring enough silver to transfer to gold then making your premium time free ( Like wow just implemented) It boasts a strong player driven economy ( theoretically ) and make a good environment for game growth = more people to kill = more win
    • Igor schrieb:

      Be careful about negative comments because people that do not agree with this probably just want to have an advantage above other by buying gold and being able to "advance" faster than others by spending real life money and the community doesn't want that.


      the comunity never said they did not want this. removing gold has so much more issues then just "advance faster" (which was never an issue). Say I have to go on a trip and cant play for a week. I could, in the last test buy gold to pay for my upkeep on my plot since I did not have silver to cover it, maybe I get sick and cant play thus I had the option to buy gold for upkeep. Now I cant use gold for upkeep, or to make guild? okay, say this group of 200 people will tade all there silver to this one guy and in 30 mins they have guild, as opposed to the small 20 guild which can not keep up with the 200 man guild.
    • You're Describing Pay to Win. 1 man is not supposed to be able to keep up with 200 Unless you can throw money at your monitor. You're in a Pay to Win dreamwold not saying this negatively unless you know you're describing pay to win and are on the argument of the pay to win side.

      Edit: What would stop 200 people from all paying a little money and taking over a huge amount of the readily available territories before anyone had a chance? The argument protects and hurts a small guild. Although, there is no way to be positive which route would be better.
      Having gold to create a guild/buy a personal island i have no objections/ Maybe even like someone had stated having the ability to purchase gold in game shop items that allow a "charter" to buy a territory free of the silver charge maybe that fluctuates with the economy ratio of silver/gold. But no upkeep should be in gold if you have your guild territory you need to work to keep the upkeep in silver there is too much hand holding in that respect and increased interference with gold could and quite possibly would greatly reduce quality of play in game

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

    • adfasdfasdasdf schrieb:

      You're Describing Pay to Win. 1 man is not supposed to be able to keep up with 200 Unless you can throw money at your monitor. You're in a Pay to Win dreamwold not saying this negatively unless you know you're describing pay to win and are on the argument of the pay to win side.


      I dont see how I decribe P2W, having the option to pay upkeep with gold and create a guild with gold, is not pay to win it is a needed option. There is no reason ever to have gold now in this game. I dont understand why SI allowed all these carebears into the game, followed their lead, instead of the hardcore players that have been here longer.
    • If you can upkeep your territory in gold you don't need to work to win. Other players locked out of your higher tier resources would need to play a far greater amount of time and compensate for your wallet flapping in the wind when you upkeep all your territories GOLD, and also the added revenue flooding the economy with your now newly found silver lining your virtual pockets after sufficiently draining your real life pockets to pay for your guild territories

      edit: I typed too fast messed up "GOLD, and also the"



      hajee schrieb:

      adfasdfasdasdf schrieb:

      You're Describing Pay to Win. 1 man is not supposed to be able to keep up with 200 Unless you can throw money at your monitor. You're in a Pay to Win dreamwold not saying this negatively unless you know you're describing pay to win and are on the argument of the pay to win side.


      I dont see how I decribe P2W, having the option to pay upkeep with gold and create a guild with gold, is not pay to win it is a needed option. There is no reason ever to have gold now in this game. I dont understand why SI allowed all these carebears into the game, followed their lead, instead of the hardcore players that have been here longer.


      edit2: that quote
      edit 3: 1 last time :) and i can see how this might not be a full scale pay to win insert 5 quarters here get ez win button at the bottom of the soda machine but it does make the game a great deal easier and more conquerable for the person/parties intending to pay with gold.
    • I'm happy with silver removal in crafting. I collect the resources and finally will feel like the crafter, instead of paying an NPC in the building to craft my items.

      Removal of gold purchase of plots, islands, guild forming, will only hurt small guilds and solo players. Large organized guilds should not have any problems with this system. I do not see how this will help SI make enough money to continually run the game. They will need a lot of vanity items to sell for gold.

      The new Yellow zone idea sounds good to bring more players to the limited PvP area. Will there be a mechanic to stop a griefer from camping and continually knock downing a player?

      The Hell Gate idea looks very interesting and will help promote small parties vs ZERGs.
    • Wow, LOVE IT, a huge list, and right on target with the ideas I see in game and on forums, thanks for all the work, cant wait for next alpha.

      These 3 areas jumped out to me on first read: (gonna take a while to digest the rest)

      - Yellow zone play:

      Bercilak schrieb:

      We want to trial “knockdown PvP” meaning that if you get “killed” in the yellow zone, you won’t actually die but rather be knocked out similar to what currently happens in certain safe zones. The person who knocked you out will not be able to loot your gear, but will get a silver reward for the win, based on the the feature described above (“Silver for PvP”)


      - This has to be the hardest area to define from a develpores point of view, trying to find that middle ground. But the ability for smaller groups and guilds to test/learn skills and abilities in PvP without the "full loot" risk is essential. I think the risk to the game is far greater if you completely removing yellow zone play than leaving it in some way when released. I would think that owning territories and territories fights (on some learning scale) might be possible in yellow zones as well. It will be fun to help with the data in these zones next alpha.

      - PvE zone play - Factions and Missions:

      Bercilak schrieb:

      In the last alpha test, the main purpose of PvE was to collect silver


      - This would have to have been a success last alpha, with all the detials of silver (econmy) in last alpha, in my experience there was no lack of silver, it was easly obtianable in many ways. To add faction/mission progression is a logical/neccessary next step in PvE.

      Bercilak schrieb:

      Regarding the missions themselves, we are planning to introduce different types, such as combat, gathering, crafting and transports.


      - I would think these missions could in some way help with the PvE to PvP process as well. As an alternative way for the smaller groups/guilds to compete (PvP) for the highest level resources and prizes the game has to offer.

      Open World PvP events/Hell Gates/Silver for PvP:

      - Great ideas, and incentive to venture into the great unknown of the "red zones" ... Cool stuff...

      Cant wait ... Cheers Randy