State of the Game: Three Weeks into Galahad
We’re now at the three week mark post Galahad and the wipe and can take inventory of what we, and according to the majority of the feedback: most of you as well, consider a very successful update that was a huge step forward towards release in July.
Naturally, however, there are always areas in which we can improve until then. Let’s take a look at the major points that we are not yet entirely happy with.
Item Drops, Economy Changes, Essences
We are developing an exciting new feature where all mob item drops will be player crafted - yes, you read that right. The way this works is that all items that can drop from mobs need to be supplied to an NPC black market first. The black market in turn creates demand based on mobs being killed. If the black market’s demand is not met for certain items, prices will increase, until a player is willing to sell the requested item to the NPC. Items sold to the NPC will then enter the drop pool, i.e. mobs can drop them based on the usual loot tables. However, the black market NPC is somewhat corrupt, and some items sold to him will be “lost”, hence creating a nice item sink which will be very important at the lower tiers. If we can make it work, you’ll even be able to see which player originally crafted the item that just dropped from the mob you killed!
This features allows us to make a number of awesome improvements to the game
- all equipment items in Albion Online will be player crafted again (well, excluding Founder’s gear)
- we can allow mobs to drop significantly more and also better items, as these will need to be crafted by a players and sold to the black market NPC first before they can actually drop
- as we can now drop items in a decent number, we will likely have a closer look at what options this gives us to make gatherers happy - for example the possibility of removing refined resources as a reward for hell gates and chests
- and for the same reason, we will likely remove essences as a requirement for refining, as the player crafted item drops feature provides a powerful link between PvE and crafting already, hence removing the reason why we introduced essences in the first place
We are truly excited about this feature and its implications, we feel it will drastically improve gathering, refining, crafting and PvE at the same time. For more details, check the sneak peek thread in our forums.
We will make changes to the reputation system allowing for more PvP to happen in yellow and red zones, while still making sure that the reputation system provides a discouragement to non-consensual PvP, in particular when hunting players as a zerg. See details here.
Improved Hell Gates
Hell Gates are a great source of PvP, and a lot of fun. However, we still feel we could make them even better. These are mostly related to dodging the other team and to the fact that mobs and mob pulling can play an inflated role in the PvP confrontations. We feel that there is no band-aid fix for these issues and have hence created a new hell gate design and map that is currently undergoing internal testing, and that will hopefully see the light of day before release of the game. If not, then shortly thereafter.
We are also aware that the reward balancing for hell gates might currently be off, in particular with regards to enchanted resources. Please see the point above about item drops and economy changes, which allows us to keep hell gates extremely rewarding by setting a high rate for player crafted item drops, allowing us to remove refined resources from the drop table.
Guild Quality of Life Changes
We have a vast array of guild quality of life changes very high on our priority list.
We cannot promise yet if and how many of them will make it in time for release, however, some should start showing up in the first post-release update.
The list of things we are looking into is long, among them are:
- banks with configurable tabs, and a guild bank
- customizable guild rights and role management (i.e. create a role called “gatherers” and then give all “gatherers” access to a particular tab in the guild bank, etc)
- transactions logs and asset overview banks
- more detailed activity logs on guild members
- tiered guild wallet
- improved guild message of the day feature
- crafting orders (place an order at the crafter building and leave the ingredients there, possibly set a reward. Crafter can come by later, craft the item for you, and you pick it up later)
- support for internal guild currency. Award “guild coins” to your members based on their contribution to the guild, and set up a reward store using these guild coins.
Note that getting all of these into the game will take it’s time, hence, we are working on them step by step.
Item Stacking and Market Interface Improvement
We will allow fully repaired items to stack, also meaning that you can create a market sell order for multiple items at once. We aim to do this in such a way that we can still preserve the “crafted by” info for individual items.
Post-release, we will rework our market interface to make trading more efficient. We want to encourage more users to be able to use buy orders and sell orders, hence creating an overall more accessible and liquid game market.
In the first days post-wipe especially you and us noticed a number of performance hiccups which need addressing. We already applied some measures in the first week, which saw server and client performance increase significantly from the 17th of March onwards.
Despite us hitting a peak player-count in a single cluster (Fort Sterling represent!) on the weekend, the server did not give in or gave too many issues. However, that was only a first pass at optimization and stability. We will continue working on this until release, especially considering that huge open world clashes are one of the major points in Albion, and, despite the game having become more complex and demanding over time, it is our absolute goal to have it run stable even in huge fights.
Prevent Another Post-Wipe Food Crisis
Remember the food crisis in the first days post wipe? We will take steps to make sure that it does not get repeated on release. Instead of seeding food at high prices in the market place - as we did for the Galahad wipe - we will instead let all mobs drop food ingredients for the first 1-2 weeks after release, to allow the food economy to properly get going in an organic way.
The tutorial will see significant improvements prior to release.
There will be a basic mission line guiding beginning players through the starting towns and rewarding players who complete them with a first very basic mount to set out into the world of Albion.
Improve Home Territory GvG
The GvG layout for home territories - with 4 monoliths in the corners of the map - is not ideal, and we are looking into changing this into a more balanced layout with 3 monoliths.
Improving the Value of Watchtower Territories and providing open world GvG
We are aware that watchtower territories currently feel unrewarding to own. One solution we are considering to implement post-release is to replace watchtower territories with something much more meaningful, such as a lumber camp or an ore mine. Same as watchtowers right now, these territories would not be protected by an energy barrier, but would be protected by guards belonging to the guild who owns the territory. They will contain a large concentration of resources. The resource nodes inside the territory however will follow their own spawn logic, such that we can also have special spawn events at specific times where, for example, all nodes will be fully recharged instantly to make gathering in them a more focused activity.
This, in turn, provides an incentive for other guilds to raid the territories, killing the guards and mining the resources before the owning guilds gets a chance to do it, providing a constant stream of open world GvG opportunities. Of course, actually conquering the territory - and thus getting access to the chest and control of the guards - will still be done in a 5v5 GvG fight.
Likely, we will also allow guilds to upgrade their territories, for example, in order to improve the number and power of the guards, or the amount of resources that spawn there.
Lots of Balancing, Polishing, Bug Fixes and Minor Improvements
Now that we are getting close to release, a lot of focus will be put on this. This will of course include the following further balancing of the destiny board and progression speed and combat/item balancing
Please note that the above list only shows a selection of the key topics that we are working on to get the game ready for release. If you feel that something obvious is missing, there is a good chance that we have it on our list, if you’d like to be sure, please ask as a reply to this thread.
We are looking forward to your feedback.
Your Albion Online Team