2020: Albion's Year in Review
2020 has been... something else. It has been a year of unexpected challenges. Challenges for our own team, and challenges for the entire Albion community as a whole. Despite the adverse conditions, we've seen an incredible community-wide outpouring of creativity and resilience, which has given us a great deal of inspiration and strength as we head into the new year.
Join us as we take a look back at the highlights of this terrible, wonderful year of 2020...
The Queen Update: A New Era for Albion
2020 began with the massive Queen update, Albion's biggest content update since the game's launch in 2017. Six months in the making, Queen was nothing less than a complete re-envisioning of Albion's endgame, as well as a chance to introduce a host of quality-of-life improvements and far-reaching optimizations.
How exactly did the Queen update revolutionize Albion Online?
- New Outlands: A completely reworked continent with higher-value zones at the center, giving guilds the option of living completely in the Outlands
- Hideouts: Autonomous homes for guilds, upgradeable with Marketplaces, Artifact Forges, Energy Manipulators, and Guild Halls
- Open-World Territory Battles: A new opportunity for large-scale combat supported by zerg balancing and the Smart Cluster Queue, allowing guilds of all sizes to compete in the open world
- Crystal League: A new realm of high-level 5v5 fights, with the added ability to upgrade your guild's territories
- Elite Dungeons and Avalonian Armor: Face Albion's newest faction in 20-player dungeons with incredible rewards and a new armor line
- Wardrobe Skins: A long-requested way to use costume items in the open world without losing them or giving up combat readiness
COVID-19: The Albion Community Responds
By Spring 2020, much of the world was in partial or total quarantine. While these lockdowns would bring increased player numbers to the game, they also created tremendous challenges for the development process as the team adjusted to working from home.
The Staff of Hermes fundraiser launched in early April. This unique charity bundle included a limited-time vanity staff and matching avatar ring, with 100% of the proceeds going to the COVID Solidarity Fund. The community came through in force, raising an incredible €42,644.94 for those in need and looking great in the process.
Summer 2020: Anniversaries, Updates, and a New Tournament
On July 17, Albion celebrated its third anniversary. (Can you believe it's been three years already? The time just flies...) You celebrated this anniversary alongside us with a week-long Fame Boost and the ultimate throwback: the return of a classic Keeper dungeon from Albion's beta, Defenders of the Past.
In August, the Rise of Avalon update, the second massive update of 2020, went live. It brought with it a gigantic set of new features like the vast Roads of Avalon, Corrupted Dungeons for challenging PvE and intense single-player PvP, and a new line of Avalonian Weapons alongside improvements to UI, crafting, and cooking. In addition to bringing new depth and complexity to the world of Albion, the update introduced Chinese and Korean language support, further expanding Albion's worldwide community.
The following week, Albion saw its first-ever Crystal League tournament, soon to be known as the Crystal League Championship. Over two action-packed days, the greatest 5v5 teams in the game competed for incredible prizes including the ultra-rare Sabertooth Rex Swiftclaw skin, with a final showdown that came down to the last seconds:
Fall 2020: Brimstone & Mist, Mobile Improvements, and an Ever-Growing Population
In October, the Brimstone & Mist Midseason Update went live, bringing new enemies and traps in Corrupted Dungeons, increased fishing opportunities and new fish in the Roads of Avalon, updates to Disarray and the Smart Cluster Queue, crafting and butchery improvements, and much more. This update also brought delta patching to Android, allowing players to update the game without a full download - a crucial step toward the full launch of the mobile version, which was further advanced by November's Play Store beta.
Meanwhile, the ingame population continued to grow and grow, reaching an unprecedented 125,000 daily average users. This increase occurred despite the overall easing of worldwide lockdowns, and was due in large part to the large number of players who joined the game with the Rise of Avalon update.
Looking Ahead to 2021
2021 will bring massive updates to Albion, starting with the next major content update. Faction Warfare will be completely reworked, offering new activities, rewards, and fair and challenging large-scale battles for beginner and veteran players alike. Hellgates will also be completely re-envisioned, with varied layouts, challenging PvE, rebalanced PvP, and a new 10-versus-10 mode, while Loadouts will allow players to save their favorite gear combinations for re-gearing and Marketplace purchases.
In addition, 2021 will also bring the long-awaited official launch of the mobile version for the iOS/Google Play stores. This launch is the culmination of years of iteration and optimization for handheld devices, from combat to crafting to menu displays, and will fulfill our goal of making Albion Online the first truly cross-platform Sandbox MMORPG.
If you missed it, you can check out our final Dev Talk of 2020 here:
We want to extend our heartfelt thanks to the entire Albion Online community for making what we do possible, particularly during such a challenging and difficult year. We're very excited for what 2021 will bring to the world of Albion – Happy New Year, and we'll see you ingame!
- Your Albion Online Team
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