Dev Talk: The New Outlands
Queen, the next major content update for Albion Online, will bring wide-ranging changes to the world of Albion. Foremost among these is a complete redesign of the Outlands continent. Along with new game systems like Hideouts and Open-World Territory Conquests, this redesigned continent will bring new sandbox possibilities to high-level play in Albion.
In our most recent Dev Talk, Game Director Robin Henkys and Level Designer Dominik Müller discuss the what, the how, and the why of the reworked Outlands:
No time to watch the video, or prefer a written summary? Read on for all the details:
Updating the Outlands
In our last Dev Talk, we discussed the massive improvements coming with the Queen update. Today we’re going to go more in-depth with the key change: the new Outlands map.
With Albion’s next major update, we're going to change the shape of Albion’s gameworld for good: we’re bringing in an all new Outland map which will revolutionize high-level gameplay and deliver the foundation for Guild Hideouts, as well as the new Open-World Territory Conquests.
Before we get into how awesome the new map is, we’ll first cover what happens when the old Outlands go away. Many of you are probably wondering what will happen to your stuff and how this process will go down. We don’t know the exact timing of this change yet, but we will announce it at least a month in advance, ideally a month and a half. We’d love to do it earlier, but with the complexity of this change we just can’t be sure of the timing until we’re pretty much ready to go.
- When the time of the world change is announced, you’ll have to start thinking about evacuating your belongings from the Outlands.
- We’re planning to automatically evacuate any items you have in personal banks and guild vaults in territories or siege camps - players will have access to these items in the Royal cities.
- However, any buildings and contents of furniture chests will be lost if you do not evacuate them by the time of the change.
- We’re also trying to find a way to evacuate laborers and Marketplace contents, but we’re not sure if and how these will work yet - the exact rules will be announced with the final announcement of the world change timing.
Apart from items, we’re of course evacuating players as well: any players remaining in the Outlands at the time of the change will find themselves in a city on the Royal Continent and will be able to use the Outland portals to travel to the new Outlands.
Now we’ve got that out of the way, let's talk about the big change itself: the new Outland map.
Our designer Dominik Müller has been busy the last couple of months planning the details of this change. I asked him to show you what he's been working on, what you can expect from Albion’s new Outlands, and why this is such a big deal.
Dominik Müller Talks World-Building
When we created the old Outlands, we had a very symmetrical and clean, and therefore very balanced map in mind. It was defined by repetition: "next to this T5 area there must be a T6 area, and therefore a castle.”
The new Outlands will be far more complex, as we are breaking many of our current conventions. We want to change the way players see the world, and move away from repeating patterns. The world has become a lot more varied: now you can find T8 areas next to T5 areas, or a mountain area surrounded by steppe, or your castle far away from the center of the Outlands.
Yet you can still learn and understand the map, as there remain clearly visible and tangible rules: for example, the closer I am to the center of the map, Avalon, the higher the density of high-tier areas and the greater the possibility for high-value activities. But of course, the higher the value of an area is, the harder it will be to defend.
Strength and Vulnerability
What exactly does this do for us? Well, first, it literally reshuffles the board, as big contestants become more vulnerable with greater power creating a constant flux, while there will be smaller skirmishes around more achievable areas thus creating a map interesting for everyone.
As you can imagine, there are many things to consider:
- How deep in the Outlands do I want to live?
- Do I have access to all the resources I need?
- Do I have access to a good farming spot?
- Do I have sufficient access to farms to produce food?
- Can I make an impact on the season from here?
- How well-protected am I here?
- Who are my neighbors? Will there be conflicts - or the chance for an alliance?
New Cities and Portal Systems
For those without a guild or a Hideout, there will also be three new Outlands "cities". These are essentially small towns (similar to the "starter" towns), consisting of a Marketplace and a Bank. They are located in the middle zones, between the portals at the edges of the continent and the high-tier areas at the center, and offer safe spots to trade and regear.
With Caerleon's portal breaking down, the Royal cities will also rise in importance, as their portals are now the only way to reach the new Outlands. They will use a triple portal system, which should allow for safer entry into the black zones, while also allowing the portal areas to remain a feasible hunting ground.
New Time Zones
We also took this chance to greatly increase the number of different prime times for zones. There are now seven prime times in total, and I'm happy to announce that these will include viable times for our Asian and Australian players. Prime times will occur at 0:00, 3:00, 5:00, 12:00, 15:00, 18:00, and 21:00 UTC. The number of areas in a given prime time directly relates to our player numbers during these times, ensuring that content will be distributed as fairly as possible between players.
This redesigned continent will have a ton of opportunities for conflict and new stories, and will allow players of different levels and with different interests to lead all sorts of lives all over the Outlands. I can't wait for this map to be filled with life, and see what you guys will do with it.
Much more to come - give us your feedback!
We're very excited about the new Outlands map, and are very much looking forward to seeing the new strategies and gameplay styles which will arise from it. We are also very interested in hearing your feedback on the new Outlands, so please share your thoughts with us via our forums.
We’ll keep you updated on the progress of building the new Outlands in upcoming Dev Talks, but that's all for today. Stay tuned for more videos on the next major update!