Albion Online Dev Talk - Faction Warfare, Part 2
The Merlyn update comes to the world of Albion on July 31, bringing an all-new Faction Warfare system. In this Dev Talk, Robin Henkys, Game Director of Albion Online, follows up his introductory Faction Warfare video with a more in-depth look at the various activities and rewards this feature will offer.
No time to watch the video? Read on for a written summary of his talk.
1. Outpost Capturing
What are Outposts?
Outposts are small military installations found all over the Royal Continent, with their position and status visible on the world map. Initially, an outpost will be controlled by the city closest to it, but this will soon change based on player actions.
- A outpost is always guarded by a champion of the faction that currently owns it. To take an outpost, players have to defeat the champion and stand uncontested within the control circle for a specified period of time.
- Defeating a champion is not a trivial task. At the very least, it requires three well-coordinated players, but it is more easily done in a group of five or six players.
- Claiming an outpost grants faction points and fame, as well as some Silver from the champion.
- The rewards earned for taking an outpost are split between the participants, so to maximum profits, try to capture an outpost using as few players as possible.
- Once an outpost has been captured, it goes into a cooldown period during which it cannot be recaptured. The cooldown ends when the new owner’s champion spawns.
Gameplay for Outposts
In order to ensure enough variety in this activity, and to bring out the character of each faction, we’ve given each champion a unique fighting style and set of abilities:
- The Mountain Champion is stoic and formidable, summoning the strength of the mountains while fighting.
- The Forest Champion is agile and confident, relying on his trusted animal companion in battle.
- The Steppe Champion is sly and cunning, and uses tricks and the power of the desert wind to overcome her opponents.
- The Highland Champion is rough and brutish, and uses sheer force to take his opponents down.
- And finally, the Swamp Champion is ancient and wise, and in battle will cast powerful fire spells.
Of course, the champion is not the only thing you'll need to worry about - before attempting to capture an outpost, it's worth making sure there are no enemy faction players nearby! Given the relatively high number of outposts, you'll often find them unguarded, but it always pays to check.
Design Goals of Outposts
- As you can see, outpost gameplay is focused on taking enemy outposts rather than defending your own.
- This ensures that players participating in outpost capture do not spend their time waiting to see if opponents will turn up, but instead can move outpost to outpost and earn significant rewards if they go unopposed by other factions.
- Focusing on attack is also a key component of our self-balancing philosophy for Faction Warfare: the more outposts a faction already owns, the fewer attack targets will become available, making it less desirable to work for this faction.
2. Faction Trading
If you’re less inclined to fight but still want to profit off the Faction Warfare system, you can always participate in trade missions for your faction. Here's how it works:
- Each city will be the sole source of a unique resource called Fragments of the City Heart. Players can acquire this resource at the faction leader NPC by spending their earned faction points.
- These city heart fragments are powerful magic resources which can be used as a stand-in resource in refining, effectively bringing down the raw resources needed for refining by a small degree.
- Each city wants to get their hands on the other cities' resources, and to do so has made secret deals with the Black Market Boss of Caerleon. His minions have set up secret smuggling outposts near the cities where they trade in city heart fragments.
- While signed up with a faction, players can acquire a trade pack consisting of that faction's resources..
- This trade pack can be taken to a smuggling outpost near a designated enemy city and exchanged for a pack containing a higher amount of that enemy city resource.
- The pack must be carried the entire time by the faction-flagged player in order to make the exchange. If the item is traded away or lost, the mission will be a failure.
- If a player is killed while carrying a trade pack, the pack will be broken down into city heart fragments which can then be looted.
There are different sizes of trade packs available, differing in weight, cost, and reward. This allows players to decide between a solo run on a fast horse, a group/escort run on slower, stronger mounts such as oxen, or something in between.
There are two ways you can profit from trade missions:
- All trade missions offer the straightforward profit of trading a smaller quantity of resources for a larger one.
- Additionally, the resource you’re trading for may be worth more than the one you’re investing. This of course depends on the player market, which requires comparing prices of different resources for your desired location.
Faction trading adds to the Faction Warfare system in two ways:
- For traders and transporters, it provides an opportunity to profit from signing up with a faction, which might otherwise not offer enough incentive.
- For PvPers, it adds faction-flagged players who are transporting valuable goods through the world as a target, opening up the opportunity for ambushes, escorts, and all sorts of PVP opportunities with high-value targets.
City Heart Fragments
- As mentioned already, city heart fragments can also be used in refining, where they stand in for a single regular resource of any tier or enchantment level. Each type of heart fragment is limited to that city's most common resource type and can only replace one such resource in any given recipe, so at least some of the actual resource will be required for refining.
- The fact that they can be used at any tier or enchantment level means they are ideally used in place of truly valuable high-end resources.
- They are also required in order to make the corresponding faction cape (see next section).
- Their use as a stand-in for high-end resources and in the production of faction capes secures their value in the Albion economy, and by extension ensures the ongoing value of faction points.
City Crests and Capes
City crests can be combined with a regular cape item (as well as a quantity of city heart fragments) to create a faction cape. Faction capes will be the first set of capes to feature strong passive abilities which can be used to synergize existing builds.
The idea of these capes is to make an additional item slot available for combat builds, and to strengthen the "You Are What You Wear" system. The effects of this new slot will be noticeable in combat, but as capes will have especially high cooldown times, they will need to work closely in tandem with the rest of a build to be truly successful.
The cape abilities are as follows:
- Bridgewatch Cape:
- Your first auto attack spawns a sandstorm in front of you, which moves forward and slows enemy attack and move speed.
- Fort Sterling Cape:
- The mountain cape automatically triggers to remove the first stun or silence you receive.
- Lymhurst Cape:
- If you use a spell and are low on energy, the cape triggers an energy-over-time regeneration.
- Martlock Cape:
- When you take damage and are at low health, you automatically receive a short invulnerability shield.
- Thetford Cape:
- Your first auto attack triggers a chain lightning effect which hits up to four enemies near your original target.
All of these effects can recur after their cooldown is finished. Cooldown durations, as well as spell strengths, will also scale with item power.
The final type of item obtainable as a faction reward are baby animals, which can be grown into one of the new faction mounts:
- Bighorn Ram (Martlock):
- Similar to an ox, but it trades in some transport ability for a higher speed.
- Moabird (Bridgewatch):
- Very fast mount - not quite as fast as a direwolf, but faster than horses, though is quite vulnerable.
- Winter Bear (Fort Sterling):
- Very tough mount with decent speed and good transport ability.
- Wild Boar (Lymhurst):
- Faster than the bear, but not quite as tough and can’t transport quite as much.
- Swamp Salamander (Thetford):
- Has no gallop ability, but its base speed is higher than any other mount’s, making it hard to slow down.
That's all for today, but there's much more to come with the Merlyn update - we hope you're as excited for it as we are. Stay tuned for the next Dev Talk, where we’ll be covering the changes coming to gathering, crafting, and refining in Albion.