Albion Online is an MMORPG that’s a popular pick on almost any tag you search on the Steam store. It’s free, it has sandbox elements, and it’s set on an open medieval fantasy world. That sounds like a unique game to me, and we’re going to review what makes the game feel so different.
The differentiating factor is how the economy is player-driven. Players craft most in-game items. That brings you a classless system where you simply wear what you create. Then, you can trade your creations with other players.
Like so, you explore the world as you decide. And there’re adventures, battles, and territories to conquer everywhere. And you’d want to explore everywhere, all the time. Otherwise, how are you going to gather the resources to craft your gear?
With a deep crafting system, Albion Online presents itself as a sandbox open-world multiplayer RPG. You grow on skill by using gear, crafting stuff, and gathering resources. Moreover, you use those resources at your own will and your own pace.
- Platforms: Android, iOS, GNU/Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS Classic
- Publisher: Sandbox Interactive
- Developer: Sandbox Interactive
- Genre: sandbox MMORPG
“Albion Online is a fantasy sandbox MMORPG featuring a player-driven economy, classless combat system, and intense PvP battles”
Albion Online Review – What makes Albion unique?
Albion Online is the first successful crowdfunded MMORPG. It’s also one of the biggest out the, albeit that’s not its selling point.
The highlight is how it mixes the MMORPG genre with the sandbox genre. The result is what you’d expect Runescape to play in modern times.
On top of that, it doesn’t have a class system, as the emphasis is on crafting alone. Still, there’s a wide array of skills that depend on the gear you are using. It allows you to build the exact characters you want.
Aside from crafting, there are tons of activities to do on Albion. Dungeon crawling, raids, and PvP battles are part of the cart. However, the main attraction is gathering resources, like tinder and coal, to build your gear and your personal farm.
The farms work as the player housing, which is a classic MMO element. Other traditional features include PvP zones and marketplaces.
Graphically speaking, the game has isometric looks, which is also reminiscent of Runescape.
What makes Albion unique – Full Loot PvP
Two elements are making Albion stand above its competition.
First, it has a full loot system. That means that playing on a PvP area is dangerous, as you might lose all of your gear upon death.
Because it has a full loot system, Albion Online is often unwelcoming for beginners. There’re four kinds of zones (Blue, Yellow, Red, and Black). Each one has different rules regarding PvP, being “Blue” the only real safe area. That means the most advanced parts of the open-word are either Red or Black, making your gear ready for the taking.
So, going solo is not a good idea. Whenever you think you’re going into a dungeon for some quiet alone PvE, you could be in danger. Another player, with higher gear and level, might enter at any moment and take everything from you. Or, worst yet, a group of players.
As you’d expect, you will leave the Blue and Yellow zones behind as you level up. The other areas are very hard to play solo. If you don’t join a guild or go with a group, your build won’t even matter against a full party of five players.
Secondly, the classless system grants endless character customization. You combat with your skills, and they come as combat specializations. Each one unlocks new abilities and new gameplay mechanics.
Unlocking specializations need specialization points. You can obtain these points by gathering resources, crafting items, and using specific gear. Specialization points only work for particular skills or items instead of a skill tree.
However, armor and weapons specializations need game points. When you kill a mob using a specific gear, you obtain the fame points the enemy is worth. At the same time, it grants power t your items.
There’s also Mastery Points. Once you master a skill three, you can use higher-tier armors and weapons of that skill line. Moreover, weapon and armor mastery grants extra passive abilities and improves Item Power significantly.
Moreover, the class is influenced by the gear you want to use. For example, if you’re going to be a tanky mage, you can wear heavy armor and combat your unlocked magical spells.
The classless system is indeed a great addition. It represents a rest from the tired MMO formula where you choose a class and begin unlocking many skills. Instead, Albion Online features a limited action bar where you allocate your classless powers.
Again, if you played Runescape, you get the gist of how it works. You do specific tasks and unlock skills for specific jobs.
Overall, Albion makes character progress uniquely. It allows you to play around the weapons and armors you want to use, instead of the skills like every other game.
Here’s a video tutorial on Albion’s skill system:
Because Albion has a player-driven economy, you’ll expend a lot of time crafting. Then, you can trade your goods and resources at the marketplaces.
Back at your farm, you can take a break from the medieval loot. Yet, you can support your guild by generating fuel and food for the war. Your farm lives on your private island, far-away for the conflict. You need to buy it, and it’s expensive. However, city plots are easier to get when you’re starting fresh.
You can grow crops, raise your livestock, and place crafting benches on the territories you conquer. You can also place furniture, trophies, chests, and loot on your house. Additionally, you can hire workers to keep everything running fine. There are tons of buildings to place, and there are tons of farm profits to sell.
Overall, gathering resources, exploring the world, and hunting takes a significant portion of the game. You’d need to discover far and wide to find the rarest materials and craft the deadliest swords.
There’s an additional feature that sets Albion apart from its competitors.
See, the massive PvP battles reward the winning side with new territories. These territories give gilds access to resources. Moreover, they can build guild halls to conquer cities and leverage taxes. Also, guilds can build their hideouts on the territories they conquer.
As far as quests go, there’s not much to do. First and foremost, the tutorial part is a series of quests you have to pass to get started with the game.
After that, though, there are only “Expeditions” to complete. These are portals to the underbelly of the world. You can enter these portals in any city with a team of 5 players for a safe place to farm resources.
All in all, Albion Online works as an MMO without quests and a central plot. That may leave most beginners lost after the tutorial part as questing is always the easiest way to progress and learn new mechanics.
Yet, there’re other multiplayer elements to discuss, aside from the PvP areas. For example, you can also be part of a guild. That way, you’ll be able to participate in these massive open-world battles. The goal is conquering territory and cities to leverage taxes and wealth.
You can also go on large-scale battles where you need different tactics, skills, and strategies to win. Faction base raids and massive bosses are also part of the game. There’s even fishing activities, places with rare crafting loot, and randomly generated dungeons.
Without questing, though, what you want to do is figure out what to accomplish. With so many things to build and craft, Albion shifts gears to its sandbox features. Your quest is about what you want to create and what you need to do to gather the resources you need.
For example, do you want to buy a personal island and have tier-5 buildings? Then you’d need a lot of silver, go find it!
Rise of Avalon Update
The latest Albion Online was Rise of Avalon on August 12, 2020. It introduced many community features that push people to start new builds together.
More specifically, it has guild races. Different guilds can compete against each other with their fresh builds and see which one reaches further and faster.
More importantly, it introduces Corrupted Dungeons to the game. These are randomly generated dungeons with extra challenge and loot for PvP and PvE experiences. These underground realms are full of traps, demons, and corrupted monsters. Killing the enemies grants you Infamy Points
To complete a dungeon, you’ll have to kill these corrupted foes, with each kill granting Infamy points. Gather enough Infamy Points, and the final boss appears, ready to reap the greater reward. However, remember you watch your back, as other parties can invade the dungeon as well.
Corrupted Dungeons have different difficulty levels. Beginners, intermediate, and experienced players can enjoy the new feature alike. Moreover, these are player limited, which means you can genuinely have a solo experience on a dungeon without other players creeping around the corner.
Albion Online is a unique game indeed, but what it proposes is not to everyone’s taste.
Pushing back MMO conventions, Albion presents itself as a game without quests. Instead, you go through the tutorial part only to end up in a massive open-world with many things to do. It might be overwhelming, at first, but then you’ll catch the drill.
Explore a zone or go through a dungeon, kill mobs, gather resources and fame, go back, and craft. Hunt resources, refine resources, raft, build, repeat.
If Runescape’s massive crafting system is part of your best video-game memories, Albion Oline only takes it further with full loot PvP and a player-based economy. And whereas combat is not the best, Albion does deliver what it promises: a personalized medieval fantasy journey.
Overall, Albion online is an excellent free-to-play MMORPG with sandbox elements. Is it the best? Hardly, but it’s definitely the most unique.
Oh, just remember to join a guild as soon as you can. Otherwise, you won’t be able to progress. And that’s also a good thing: few MMOs push you to be in community as much as Albion.