Roadmap Update: Joseph, Kay & Beyond
Dear Albion Community,
Now that the rush of launch is slowly fading, the time has come to talk about the future of Albion.
First, let me assure you that any remaining connectivity issues are and will always be a top priority. The upgrade to better DDoS protection has led to latency and ping issues which we're now in the process of tackling. We hope to soon leave all these issues behind us and turn our attention to what comes next.
In general we're now starting to transition into our post-launch period, which all in all does not look so different to our development period during alpha and beta: We'll continue to bring regular updates and improvements with the goal of making the game a long term success. We're aiming to bring you 3-4 major updates per year and these updates will consist of a healthy mixture of new features and improvements to existing systems. New features help us drive the game's direction and entertain the veteran players, while improvements will be aimed at increasing overall quality and polish of the game.
Note that we are sharing our current insights and plans with you. These are subject to change based on us constantly reevaluating the game and incorporating feedback from the community.
Update 1: "Joseph"
The first update, internally codenamed 'Joseph', is scheduled to release in late September or early October.
Development on Joseph started before launch, so the decision on what would be the key feature in this update had to be made without knowing what issues would pop up post-launch. Luckily we’re still quite happy with our choice: ‘Joseph’ will bring you the Albion Arena.
Arena Orbs and Caputure Zone Concept Art
The Arena allows players to test and improve their Player-vs-Player skills in non-deadly 5 vs 5 matches that last about 10 minutes. Players can sign up for these matches similarly to how they can sign up for expeditions. Their combat performance will be rated and they will be automatically matched against players who have a similar battle rating. This ensures players of similar skill and gear will be playing against each other. The battle mode in the arena is an all new battle mode based on capturing control points which is aimed at a good mixture of tactical positioning and pure fighting skill. Players who succeed in arena fights will earn 'arena tokens', which can be traded in for reward items at the arena store. These items will be primarily be vanity type items or upgrade items to existing items, so they do not interfere with the crafting economy. The arena is a great addition to Albion Online, as it allows more players to familiarize themselves with the intricacies of PvP and adds a fun and accessible activity for those players who have not yet found a regular group to play with. It is also your chance to build the ultimate arena team and show off your abilities to all of Albion.
New Relic Lockers for Silver Territories
In addition to the arena, Joseph will bring a number of other improvements to the game:
- Relic locker locations (hourly chests) are turned into "Silver Territories". Silver Territories still contain a relic locker, but in addition they continuously spawn lootable silver and a few high value special mobs within the unrestricted PvP zone surrounding the locker. This adds a great reason to fight over these locations even if the treasure itself isn’t currently spawned.
- Dungeons & fixed mobcamps receive a significant boost in the amount of loot chests found there. This should make them more attractive to explore when compared to random camps
- We're adding two new Tier 6 expeditions, which should make things more interesting for those players who have continuously been farming the ‘Fungicide’ expedition
- Essences can be farmed from essence spirits and can be used to enhance the strength of potions
- New abilities can be found on several weapon lines still missing abilities.
- The User Interface is improved in various ways, including
- The following UIs have been converted to the new style:
- Friends UI
- Island Merchant UI
- Gold Market UI
- Worldmap UI
- Mercenary Invite UI
- Furniture UI
- Smart Casting can be enabled in the options
- Sortable guild member list with last online status of guild members in guild UI
- Healthbars for Mobs in combat make it easier to see which mob to focus
- Auto reject options for party and trade
- Improved display of Buffs and Debuffs
- An Auto-learning feature for destiny board which allows you to automatically spend LP on any achievements where you meet the LP threshold
- The following UIs have been converted to the new style:
- Combat and item balance is being reviewed and significant balance adjustments will come with Joseph. We’re focussing on adjustments to the strongest and the weakest meta items. In addition we are reviewing the sustainability from healing in team fights, the mount speed progression and we will be reducing the effectiveness of sticky potions.
- A large amount of reworked combat animations and FX have been added
On top of that, Joseph will of course bring countless other minor improvements, various bugfixes, and balance adjustments.
Update 2: "Kay"
‘Kay’ is the second major update for Albion Online. According to our plans it will follow 3 months after Joseph, so as you can see it’s getting very close to the holiday season. Still, our goal is to get it to you before the end of the year.
For ‘Kay’ we chose to focus on a core aspect of Albion Online: the competition of Guilds vs. Guilds. We want to make sure that more players can meaningfully participate in these activities, and that proper rankings and rewards can be obtained by taking part in them. In addition to that, we want to introduce a mechanism that restricts snowballing.
Guild vs Guild is the focus of Kay
Therefore our key features for Kay will be territory invasions and guild power rankings. With these, we'll elevate the competition between guilds to the next level. Guilds will receive ranking points for holding watchtower territories. These ranking points are used to establish a global guild ranking that shows which guild truly is king of Albion. At regular intervals, this ranking is reset. When this happens, the watchtower territories will be invaded by NPC forces and guilds will have to retake control of them by defeating the NPCs. Because many territories are reset at the same time, this limits the ability of large guilds to take control of too many watchtowers at the beginning of a ranking season. The winner of a ranking season will be known all across Albion, as the time after their victory will be declared the "Age of <Winning Guild’s Name>". In addition, everyone who participated will also have access to various powerful rewards, including some all new and awesome battle mounts. These mounts have abilities which make them extremely desirable to use in large scale battle operations in the open world.
We also hope to include territory raiding in the Kay update. Territory raiding allows players to steal some of the owning guild's reward points income. By killing all the guards in a watchtower territory, thus replacing them with their own 'racketeers' which need to be cleared by the owning guild to return the territory to full productivity. This adds an anytime open-world PvP activity for all guilds, including those who do not own a territory, allowing them to participate in the power ranking. Of course you can always kill another guild's racketeers as well to replace them with your own...
We will significantly increase the performance of large scale battles
The other key topic we’ve identified for Kay is Albion’s performance:
- To make the open world battles resulting from the above features as enjoyable as possible we've made combat performance a priority. We aim to significantly increase the performance of large scale battles
- On the tablet side we hope to significantly improve performance across different devices and intend to roll out a wider iOS Beta which we'll announce on the forums as soon as we're ready.
On top of these core topics, there are a large number of additional improvements we want to bring to Albion with Kay. Here are a few examples we’ve already settled on, but this list is far from exhaustive and will be extended as we continue planning and reacting to feedback:
- A completely reworked marketplace user interface to make it much easier for traders to review the market situation and switch between buying and selling in an easier way
- Smarter black market drops will provide a higher chance to get players the loot they actually need
- Relics and relic level artifacts will finally be added into Albion, releasing a large amount of new artifact gear into the metagame
As always, Kay will also include countless other minor improvements, various bugfixes, and balance adjustments as needed.
As previously mentioned, we aim to bring a major update to Albion every 3-4 months so you can expect another Update to hit approximately that time after ‘Kay’.
Note that everything that we talk about below is very much in flow, and subject to major changes or adjustments.
New Tier 6 Expedition coming in Joseph
Since our first two updates will be focussing on the PvP & GvG aspect of Albion Online, we want to focus on the PvE experience of Albion Online afterwards. For this we’re looking into three features right now:
- Elite Expeditions & Expedition Challenges - Players will be able to obtain access items which allow them and their premade group to engage in particularly challenging expeditions with lots of new mobs, challenging bosses and appropriate rewards. The most skilled PvE players can compete against each other to see who can beat the highest difficulty level.
- Interactive PvE spots - We’re looking to make doing PvE in the open world much more exciting by making them less predictable and also adapt and react to the player's’ actions. Random special mobs could spawn, and certain actions could trigger special events (for example, killing a Morgana cultist might cause her to summon a reverse hell gate from which a huge wave of demons emerges, etc). These events could in theory also affect an entire zone: for example, after you kill the Keeper main boss, the Earthmother, it might be that the Keepers decide to besiege a player city as revenge, and lots of players would need to cooperate to break that siege. The underlying idea is that we want to break the monotony in open world PvE. Design for this is still in the very early stages, but our goal is to make mob farming in the open world more rewarding and enjoyable by adding some more interactive, understandable and enjoyable mechanics to it.
- Blessings - Blessings add a type of character upgrade to the game which can only be gained from PvE. These rewards will drop in the form of scrolls from mobs and the strength of the blessing is randomly determined upon use. Players can then decide to keep their old blessing or replace it with the new one. This allows for the stats min-maxing gameplay known from other games. Blessings will cover a wide range of effects, some of which might be lost upon death while others may persist.
In addition to the PvE focus of the above update, there are other topics we are looking at in particular
- Further guild quality of life improvements. This is an ongoing topic for us and contains a lot of different features. We aim to roll out improvements with every update to continuously improve on this topic.
- Improved vanity rewards: New avatars, unlockable emotes, underclothing, titles, medals etc
- Strengthen the role of crafters by reworking how re-rolling is done - using focus points and crafting skill.
- Involving more guild members in GvG by making modifications to the GvG rules and making it harder for a few strong teams to dominate GvG landscape
The features mentioned above represent only a fraction of the topics we are and will be working on.
We are pleased with how the game has turned out thus far. We consider it by no means the end of the road, but rather as a solid foundation to build on. Albion’s player driven game world, its open structure PvP, its free form player interaction and its large scale guild conflicts all offer vast and limitless opportunities for expansion. The challenge is to decide on which areas to focus first, knowing full well that implementing all the improvements and expansions that would be a great fit for the game will keep us busy for years.
You can expect exciting new stuff to make it into the game with every update that we release while we continue our endeavor to make Albion the best player driven massively multiplayer experience out there.
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