Dev Talk: Crystal League
The Queen update arrives on January 20, bringing a massive redesign of the Outlands and numerous new features like the Crystal League. In our newest Dev Talk, Game and Level Designer Dominik Müller discusses what the Crystal League is, how it works, and the role it plays in Albion Online.
No time to watch, or prefer a written version? Then read on...
[21 December] Updated Timeslots and Item Power Limits
5v5 fights have always been an important part of Albion Online. Thus far, though, they were only available in very limited scenarios: the Arena, Hellgates, and most famously, GvGs and Crystal Realm Battles. While the Arena is very casual, Hellgates and GvGs are very competitive, and thus difficult for newer players to participate in.
With Queen, we wanted to open up the 5v5 scene to as many players as possible while still raising its impact and skill ceiling. We wanted 5-person teams to face off at different levels throughout the season, and end with a bang: high-stakes fights with the finest 5v5 players in the game.
This is how the Crystal League came to be. It allows players to compete in daily casual 5v5 matches to qualify for participation in much more exclusive high-risk, high-reward battles.
Participating in a Crystal League fight requires a Crystal League Token. With one level 1 token per player, you and four teammates can join a level 1 match. This token can be bought from the Energy Manipulator (who now appears in all Royal Cities) or from other players at the Marketplace.
With these tokens, players can then sign up either through the NPC or at a guild-owned territory tower with the guild's permission. Winning a level 1 match gives a level 2 token, which will allow you to fight in a level 2 match, and so on. In total, there are eight token levels and nine fight levels, so you have to be unbeaten in eight matches to get to the final round.
Tokens of level 1-3 can be sold and traded. Tokens of level 4 and above cannot be sold or traded, but can be salvaged for huge amounts of Silver.
Fight levels differ in three key aspects:
1. Item Power Cap
The Item Power cap is a straightforward 20% multiplier, meaning all IP above the displayed cap will be reduced by 80%. (E.g. for IP cap 1000, a total IP of 1100 will have a total effective IP of 1020.) The item power cap for level 1 is 700, 2 is 800, up to level 9 with a cap of 1500.
This ensures that lower-level matches aren't excessively expensive, giving beginners a chance to participate at a reasonable cost.
Rewards are a combination of Silver, Fame Tomes, and Season Points. High-level winners can earn up to 30M Silver, 1M Fame, and 10,000 Season Points, plus a chance for a Tower Chariot, Colossus Beetle, or Battle Eagle!
Winning a match entered via a territory will level up the territory's tower if the match was of equal or higher level than the tower. Higher tower levels buff a cluster's territory guards, resource enchantment rate, and Siphoning Mage efficiency.
3. Time Slots
There were several things we wanted to accomplish with time slots. We wanted to give as many players as possible the option to play daily. We wanted there to be the option for multiple matches per day at various levels. And we wanted to end the season with extremely high-value fights between the best players.
Starting times (UTC):
- Level 1-3: 2:00, 12:00 and 19:00 daily
- Level 4: 3:00, 13:00, and 20:00 twice a week
- Level 5: 4:00, 14:00, and 21:00 weekly
- Level 6: 5:00, 15:00, and 22:00 once per month
- Level 7: 6:00, 16:00, and 23:00 once per month
- Level 8: final day of the season at 18:00
- Level 9: final day of the season at 19:00
(Note that "season" refers to Guild Seasons - while Crystal League fights are available outside of Guild Seasons, they only offer Season Points while a Guild Season is active.)
Two possible scenarios
- Peter plays with four friends. They've done Arenas and Hellgates, and have always wanted to GvG but never have.
- Two of Peter's friends are not in his guild, but that doesn't matter for the Crystal League.
- He and his friends each buy a level 1 token at the Energy Manipulator. They can see when the next match happens either in the Crystal League tab or on the token.
- Everyone puts their desired gear into the battlevault by the Energy Manipulator and signs up for the match.
- They win the fight, and each of them gets a level 2 token. They sign up for the next day's level 2 match.
- After winning their level 2 and 3 matches, the team has earned 7.5M Silver, 3M Fame, and 150 Season Points in total.
- The level 4 match is worth up to 950,000 Silver, 25 Season Points, and 300,000 Fame. Peter and his friends decide to do level 3 again tomorrow before the level 4 match to warm up.
- Lily is a seasoned GvG player who has won hundreds of GvGs and Crystal Realm Battles.
- Her team is very important to her guild, as they always enter Crystal League matches via their territory tower. Each win levels up the tower, which buffs the whole territory.
- Today is the last day of the season, and her team has risen through the ranks to receive level 8 tokens.
- Winning levels 8 and 9 will earn her guild an additional 65,000 Season Points, and could win them the season. But they'll have to face other teams that have also been unbeaten for eight matches, and do it with a very high Item Power cap.
- The Crystal League provides 5v5 content matching one’s skill level
- It offers a much lower entry level, but with much more impact at the high end
- It lets players like Peter and Lily have the gameplay they want: either pushing their team with increasingly harder content, or winning the season for their guild
Thanks for watching - stay tuned for more Dev Talks coming soon!