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Dev Talk: Biome Rework

Game Director Robin Henkys discusses the far-reaching biome redesign coming with the next update.

October 14, 2021 at 3:05 PM by PrintsKaspian


The next major content update for Albion Online, Lands Awakened, will bring major changes, improvements, and new features to open-world gameplay in Albion. In this video, Game Director Robin Henkys introduces the upcoming visual and structural redesigns planned for Albion's five biomes and discusses how they will affect the overall gameplay experience.

Prefer a written summary? Then read on...

Re-Envisioning Albion's Open World

The Lands Awakened update is scheduled to release in the second half of November, after the current Energy Surge Season. Goals:

  • Bring open-world gameplay back to Albion Online
  • Get players back out into the world with greatly improved Fame and treasure rewards
  • Offer varied and exciting PvE
  • Provide numerous opportunities for spontaneous, small- and mid-size open-world PvP
  • Update and improve the look, feel, and layout of Albion's five biomes

This is a major undertaking, which involves revisiting all the content that makes up the world of Albion Online. For this Dev Talk, we're starting at the beginning: by looking at how the visuals and layout of the open world will be updated and improved.

Wide-Ranging Biome Improvements

The Lands Awakened update will bring huge visual improvements to Albion's biomes. All 15 sub-biome graphics sets (3 for each of the 5 biomes) will be reworked with the following goals:

  • Increasing visual diversity in Albion’s game world
  • Making each biome and sub-biome more unique
  • Increasing the enjoyment of travelling through the world of Albion Online

Each of the five biomes has a basic theme which increases in intensity and menace in higher-tier zones:

Forest

  • Low-tier: Fresh, lush, welcoming
  • Mid-tier: More focus on trees, environment is wilder and more overgrown
  • High-tier: Mystical and magical, ethereal white-barked trees providing the most valuable resources

Swamp

  • Low-tier: Mild wetlands, flooded meadows
  • Mid-tier: Denser fog, larger puddles
  • High-tier: Deeply flooded, bright colors among the mud and fog

Steppe

  • Low-tier: Soft savannah, warm, green grass
  • Mid-tier: Harsher sunlight, golden grass
  • High-tier: Extreme heat, dead grass, red sand and white bones

Mountain

  • Low-tier: Sunnier, still some greenery
  • Mid-tier: Colder, less green, more shadow
  • High-tier: Extreme cold, deep blue-hued ice and snow

Highlands

  • Low-tier: Gentle hills, green grass, flowers
  • Mid-tier: Color shift to cooler rocks and more vivid meadows
  • High-tier: Mythical, ancient, high-altitude feel

Updating Layouts

The maps introduced during the beta phase have worked fine, but often felt too cluttered or generic. To address this, we've challenged ourselves to completely rework all the open-world layouts of Albion Online, with the following two goals:

  • Make navigation through the world more intuitive and enjoyable
  • Allow players with different playstyles to use map layouts to their advantage

More specifically, these goals will be implemented in the following ways:

  • Improving clarity of maps, reducing random cluttering elements, finding memorable themes for maps that are easy to remember and quick to read
  • Adding strategic choke points via new terrain designs that feel natural within each biome:
  • Mountain: sheer cliffs with crevasses and waterfalls
  • Swamps: flat, cut by rivers of varying depths
  • Steppe: broad plains with higher plateaus and lower ravines
  • Highlands: gentle hills and harsher cliffs, broken up by larger rocks
  • Forest: varied landscape with valleys, hills, and rivers, broken up by ancient trees and roots

What about Hideouts?

When the Lands Awakened update launches, Hideouts will be automatically placed as close as possible to their original location. Guilds will have the opportunity to move each Hideout once within the same zone for a short time after the update launch.

Tune in next time to find out about more exciting changes coming to Albion Online with the next update, including new music, major improvements to open-world rewards, and new features for open-world PvE and PvP.

Thanks for watching!


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