State of the Game - September
Naturally, an overview like this won’t be able to cover everything that’s been happening in the past weeks, but we want to at least highlight the important changes that you can see and feel – meaning what our art department and our game designers have been up to.
For that, we have sat down with our Art Director, Marcus Koch, and our Game Director, Robin Henkys, and let them tell us what their respective departments have been working on. Many of the things you will see here are work in progress and you will get a detailed overview and introduction later.
Marcus Koch is the Art Director for Albion Online. He has been with Sandbox Interactive from the very beginning and is responsible for Albion Online’s unique art style. At 38, Marcus already has 20 years of experience in the areas of game-, cartoon movie-, and comic-art in 2D as well as 3D.
Apart from that, we have spent some time on overhauling the worldmap. New icons to improve the overall look and feel, for example.
Recently, we have started working on the emotes we want to implement in Albion Online. Not much to show here yet, but it is something we are currently doing.
One large thing we have been working on, and which has already been mentioned, are the so called „labourers“. That meant a whole new set of models and work animations to go along with them. We can already show you a picture of how they will look, and you will definitely see an article on their implementation at a later date.
The last, and definitely most impotant and biggest thing that we have spent the last weeks on is the overhaul of the armor system. This is something completely new to Albion Online – armor above Tier 4 will be split in subcategories: light, medium and heavy. This naturally required the creation of many new armor graphics and an overhaul of the existing ones. This feature you will hear more of sometime later, but we are very eager to show you a first sneak peek already:
Our Game Director Robin Henkys joined Sandbox Interactive in March 2014. Previously he was with Bigpoint, where he was the Lead Game Designer for Drakensang Online. Before that, he was Lead Level Designer for Radon Labs‘ Drakensang series.
In September, we spent a whole lot of time on working on our combat system. Rebalancing many things as well as expanding on the skillshot system. We have done many internal playtests and are far more content with the state of the combat now. Plus: we have a whole lot of cool new spells.
One crucial pillar for Albion Online is its international community. We have finally implemented the systems needed for the long-awaited multi-language support. Now we just have to have all our ingame text translated and we’re good to go.
Warcamps will spice up the guild versus guild combat in our upcoming closed beta – and with the introduction of dueling, we will be offering an additional playground for small-scale PvP. More on both topics later.
You have probably already seen our new multi-character login screen. Its implementation into the game has also been done over this past month. We also recently discussed the upgradability of private islands.
Two things that are on the horizon and on which we have started working are the land auction system and the labourers. The land auction system will replace the plain purchase of building slots in cities and the labourers are hireable non-player-characters that help you collecting resources on your private island. We will, of course, put a spotlight on those two new things as we are nearing our closed beta.
These are just the major new and overhauled things. Naturally, there has been numerous small improvements and quality of life changes as well, so that your play experience in the closed beta will be better than ever.
Community Questions - September
Zarf asked: Planning for release, will every zone in the map be a unique zone? In every test thus far, the same zone is used many times, just rotating it to look different. Rivers do not match up from zone to zone.
While we’re working on making the zones more unique, making an effort to make them all unique is beyond our capacity right now- we really want all Albion Players to play in the same world, and this requires us to grow the world as we get more players. We’re trying to find a good compromise between quantity and quality of unique levels.
Whated asked: How big is the map development team?
Currently, we have three people in our level design team.
Torks asked: Is there going to be a re-spec option for the destiny tree?
No, there won’t be. However, you are able to unlock all skills eventually, or start a second character.
AgentMushroom asked: Are we able to make our own titles in guilds?
This is something we would love to add later.
Muerte asked: Can we expect any Battleground / Arenas in the future?
We have implemented duels for the closed beta. That is the first step in this direction.
Riggedi asked: Is there going to be UI modding, scaling, moving windows etc, maybe some day but have you discussed about it?
We are discussing if – and when – we could implement this. It’s not going to happen anytime soon.
MMOLIFE asked: Over the course of Closed Beta, what are the area's of focus for the Sandbox Interactive team to overlook? Will you be trying to come up with new additions to the game before release? Are you looking to fine tune, correct any bugs, and ready the game for launch?
We are always improving on whatever the game needs most. That usually means improving on several fronts at once. We have some plans on what we want to do after the closed beta launch, but want to unveil them later.
MournVallas asked: In previous alphas you could only craft to tier 5.5 in player citys and anything higher had to be crafted in guild territories. Has this model changed? If so which tier can you now craft to in player citys, guild territories, and the shrines you introduced?
Crafting of level 4, 5 and 6 items (enchanted weapons) no longer happens in player-built buildings. Instead the appropriate level 1,2 or 3 weapons need to be taken to an enchanting altar of the same tier to enchant them. Enchanting Altars are found throughout the PvP zones. Enchanting an item requires an original weapon in addition to various crafting materials.
Our current plan is that in cities and on private islands, you will be able to craft up to maximum tier (tier 8). However material efficiency is lower than out in the wilderness. This means crafting in a territory consumes less materials than crafting in cities or on islands.
Luci asked: Previously, there has been a 20% power discrepancy between tiers of gear. With the power curve being flattened, what will be the new percentage we can expect for closed beta?
We’re currently experimenting with about 10%.
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