A lot of today's MMORPGs grab their players and lead them through the game content by the hand. At first, this might feel great, because you get to explore all the content developers have prepared for you, but after a while the lack of freedom gets obvious, and the instanced end game content gets repetitive. If you feel burned out by the linear, and story-driven MMOs, the Albion Online is the game for you. There are no restrictions in the world of Albion, you can go whenever you want, do whatever you want, and become whoever you desire. The game is set in the Medieval Fantasy World and is fully player-driven. This means that you will have a real impact on the in-game environment, economy, and the balance of power.
This guide will go over the basics of the world of Albion Online. We will cover the main game features, mechanics, and provide you with some much-needed information, that will help you decide is Albion is a game for you. We will also do our best to prepare you for the dangers and possibilities that you will face if you decide to dive into this Sandbox world.
The Adventure Awaits!
Before you start - some additional information
Albion Online features fully Cross-Platform experience, which means that you can play it wherever you want, as long as your device runs on Android, Windows, Mac or Linux. Unlike many other "cross-platform" MMOs, Albion's players from all platforms share one massive master server. This feature makes Albion easily accessible from anywhere around the world (as long as you have a smartphone and an internet connection of course).
On the 10th of April 2019, Albion Online will go/went (depending on when you read it) free-to-play. This means that the gates of Albion are opened for everyone who wants to taste the real Sandbox adventure. Developers seem to have thought this out and seem to be well-prepared for what the future will bring to the game. Numerous Content Updates have been scheduled for the year 2019. These updates are aimed at improving Player's quality of life, and in-game experience. They will also further increase the variety of possible in-game activities (the Sandbox gets even bigger, yay). This changes will make upcoming months a perfect time for joining the Albion Online Community.
Important Note 1: Free accounts will not be restricted from any in-game activities.
Important Note 2: Albion's Business model will not change after the free-to-play release. This means that there will not be any "pay-2-win" items available in the in-game shop. The shop will still be focused on vanity items. The Premium status will not change either, so you will still be able to buy Premium for both real money and the in-game currency.
Premium status is an optional in-game feature that can be purchased either for real money or the in-game currency. It gives you various bonuses and makes your progress much faster. Before you get discouraged by this and claim that this is a paywall, please note that Premium can be easily bought for Silver, which can be made by conducting in-game activities. This means that you may not spend a penny, and still be able to upgrade your account to premium. You could also buy premium a single time, and thus increase your Silver earning capabilities, which in turn will enable you to easily chain further Premium times without spending any more real money (and even this single purchase will help the game developers - treat it as an investment into the game's future). Overall, Albion's business model is one of the fairest out there, so if you are looking for a no-pay-2-win free 2 play game, you have found one.
The Class(less) System
Like a true Sandbox MMORPG should, Albion Online does not restrict its players when it comes to the Class choice. There are no Classes in Albion at all in fact, and your skills and abilities depend only on the item types that you have equipped at any given time. The main Armor types are Plate Armor, Leather Armor, and Cloth Armor (these Armors come in eight different tiers, with each tier having different character requirements). The number of abilities available from an Armor type depends on its Tier - the higher the Tier, the more abilities are available. Armor types are further divided into subclasses, and each subclass features a unique set of abilities. There is also a variety of melee and ranged weapons to choose from (these weapons follow the same skill/ability system as the Armors do). All of these items can be mixed and matched, so there are almost countless character setup possibilities. Playing the game with an armor type equipped will increase your mastery at using that type of armor. Higher mastery levels will enable you to equip higher Tiers of Armor. This progression system will be explained in more detail in the Destiny Board section.
Aside from the Combat-related Armors, the game offers Gatherer sets, that follow a similar skill/ability system and improve character's gathering skills greatly. These sets are also designed in the survivability in mind, and as such players wearing them are not defenseless against hostiles.
As you can imagine this equipment system makes in-game progression and character customization very refreshing and engaging. It may feel a bit overwhelming at the start, buy Albion does a great job of introducing you to this system step by step. Describing the whole equipment system in detail will require another, full-length guide (if the interest is there, we will gladly make one!)
The Destiny Board
The Destiny Board (default in-game hotkey N) lets you develop your character through various skill unlocks. It also serves as your private progression guide, as it informs you what activities you have to complete to gain access to more skills, stronger gear, and better resource nodes. The Board presents you with various progression paths, and you are free to choose any (or even all) of them. The basic idea of the Destiny Board is that repeating an in-game activity will make your character better at performing the said activity. For example, the more you fight with a weapon, the more skills for that weapon you unlock, and the more damage you deal with it. Although, Destiny Board does not restrict your progress in any way, mastering all its areas will take unbelievable amounts of time. To encourage character specialization (which has a positive effect on the in-game diversity) Destiny Board promotes narrowly-focused character builds*, which makes them stronger than the Jack-of-all-trades types.
*This is done via the Mastery Board, which is a sub-section of the Destiny Board. Mastery Board improves your combat abilities with armor and spells. Each Mastery level increases the power of the used item and improves the power of other items in the corresponding tree by a little. Masteries work differently in different Mastery Board sections:
Your character's Destiny Board progression speed is increased if you have a Premium status. Premium characters generate 20 Learning Points per day. These points can be used to unlock Tier 4 and higher parts of a tree (this means that you cannot just purchase premium and unlock everything. You will have to unlock a path up to Tier 3 manually instead). Please remember that every skill and ability present in the Destiny Board can be unlocked manually, and all the Learning Points do is speed up the progression process.
Unlocking a node on the Destiny Board goes as follows:
**Fame is received for interacting with the world of Albion. Basically, it is Albion's substitute for experience.
Your Destiny is in Your Hands!
Zone types in Albion Online
Albion Online can be a punishing game. Upon death, your character will drop all equipped and carried items, which means that death could be really painful in the world of Albion. Before this fact discourages you, let us introduce you to the Zone system present in the game. There are 4 types of Zones, each of them featuring different PvP rules. This means that you will be completely safe in some parts of Albion, and under a constant threat in the others.
Zone types are closely related to the Reputation System. This system tracks the player's behavior in the world of Albion and punishes any extensive and unjustified hostilities towards other players. There are 10 Reputation levels (4 Positive, 1 Neutral and 5 Negative), and the lower the Players reputation, the higher the Zone restrictions imposed upon him. Low reputation may greatly limit One's in-game freedom, by preventing them from entering certain Zones and Cities (this hinders the ability to fast travel through the Albion continent, and forces hostile players to travel long distances by foot), but it is for the benefit of the player base (nobody likes Gankers).
Note: Reputation is gained by performing certain in-game activities (the Reputation gaining process is similar to gaining Fame). You gain Reputation by Killing Monsters, Farming, Gathering, Crafting and Fighting Hostile Players. The rate at which Reputation is gained is much, much lower (over 500 times lower in fact) than the rate at which it is lost by attacking and killing neutral Players. This means that it is very easy to lose Reputation, and very time-consuming and difficult to regain it.
Now, let us take a closer look at the different Zone types, Reputation Levels and zone access restrictions corresponding with them:
Blue Zone (Safe Zone)
These are the lowest tier locations available in the game. PvP is strictly prohibited within them (with the only exception being the Faction Warfare, so if you are not a member of a Faction, or your Faction is not engaged in any conflicts, you will remain completely safe in Blue Zones).
PvE death in a Blue Zone will result in the loss of 10% of the number of stackable items present in your inventory, and a 10% durability loss on all currently equipped and carried equipable items.
There is a soft item power cap of 700 in Blue Zones, and item power exceeding 700 will be reduced to 20% of its normal power.
These are the zones with strict PvP rules. In Yellow Zones, Players are able to Flag Themselves for PvP, and engage other Players in combat (both Flagged and non-Flagged ones). The number of PvP Flagged players present in a Yellow Zone is indicated by the number in the bottom-right corner of the game User Interface (under the minimap). Attacking neutral players in Yellow Zones results in a hit to your reputation, and organized Player Groups will be indicated on the minimap (11 or more Players in one place will cause the corresponding place on the minimap to glow red)
Getting Knocked Out by a hostile Player in a Yellow zone will result in the loss of 10% of the number of stackable items present in your inventory, and a 10% durability loss on all currently equipped and carried equipable items. If the PvP Death is a result of the Faction Warfare, all equipped and carried items are dropped (this excludes Silver and Gold).
There is a soft item power cap of 800 in Blue Zones, and item power exceeding 700 will be reduced to 20% of its normal power.
These zones feature freedom of PvP engagements, and all Player Deaths in PVP combat will result in a full loss of carried equipment (with the exception of Gold and Silver). Hostile activities towards unflagged Players will lead to a reputation loss. The number of PvP Red Flagged players present in a Red Zone is indicated by the number in the bottom-right corner of the game User Interface (under the minimap).
There is no power cap present in the open world of Red Zones.
These zones are present only in the Outland Continents of Mercia, Cumbria, and Anglia. These zones feature the highest tier of resource nodes but are also the most dangerous for players.
All Players present in Black Zones are automatically flagged for PvP, and may freely engage in combat with each other (this excludes Players from your own Alliance or Guild). Hostile activities towards other Players encountered in Black Zones will not result with a reputation loss. There is no item power limitation in these Zones. Organized Player Groups will be indicated on the minimap (11 or more Players in one place will cause the corresponding place on the minimap to glow red).
|Reputation Title||Zone Access|
Note: Zones are also divided into Tiers. Zone's Tier shows how difficult the said Zone is, what Material Tiers are available in it, and so on. Higher Tier Zones (Red and Black) have lower PvP restrictions than Low and Mid-level Zones (Blue and Yellow)
At its base, Albion's Combat System is quite robust and simplistic. It features design choices known from MOBA style games and combines them with the unique Armor and Weapon dependant skill setup system described earlier in this guide. There is a room for simple hand-to-hand head bashing, kiting, sneaky ambushes, and all-out Guild versus Guild frontal engagements. The game doesn't force you into a single PvP playstyle, so you are free to experiment with its Combat system.
The limited amount of skills that you can choose converts 1 vs 1 PvP fights in a sort of rock-paper-scissors game. For example, if you are a Ranged Character, that is specialized in kiting Melee Players, your offensive capabilities will be limited. This happens, because you had to sacrifice some offensive skills, and replace them with CCs and Snares in order to kite better. What all this means is, you will beat Melee characters, and lose against other Ranged characters, who will most likely have more offensive abilities slotted. This story repeats itself for a Melee character specialized in chasing Ranged characters and so on.
What makes this system unique and enjoyable is the fact that you can change your Equipment and Skill setup on the fly. This means, that your Ranged character can become a Tanky melee brawler or a Healer in a blink of an eye. As you can imagine, there is a lot of room for finetuning in Albion's PvP, which makes it even more engaging for some players.
The Gathering is a bread and butter of almost every MMORPG, and Albion Online is no different. Gathering professions can be leveled on a Destiny Board in a way similar to the way Armor Tiers are leveled (the more you gather, the more efficient and experienced at gathering you become). All Gathering professions require a specialized Tool, and the Tier of a Tool determines the maximum Resource Tier that can be gathered with it without penalties to the Gathering time and Mastery generation (this means that gathering "above your level" is very inefficient and should be avoided). There are 5 main Gathering professions and Fishing (which is different, and has only 2 nodes on the Destiny Board instead of 7 present for the rest of the professions) in Albion:
The Fishing Minigame
Because of the Player-Driven Economy system present in Albion, there is no "the best" profession. All material prices are fluid, and will, almost certainly, be different in different Cities. They will also most likely change over time. This means that you should choose a gathering profession that suits you, and your character the best (for example the one corresponding with your future Crafting goals, or the one best-suited for the surroundings of your home City; becoming a Lumberjack on a Steppe might not be the best of ideas...).
Note 1: Different resources are available in different Biomes. Each Biome has its Main (very plentiful), Secondary (common) and Tertiary (rather scarce) resource:
Note 2: The Tiers of resources available in a Zone are dependant on the Zone's own Tier. This means that high Tier resources are available only in Red/Black zones, which makes gathering them dangerous, but also increases their price by quite a bit. It is also worth noting that gathering higher-level resources requires more time, which further increases your vulnerability during resource-gathering sessions in dangerous Zones.
Note 3: All resource nodes (from tier IV and higher), with a notable exception of Stone, can become enchanted. Enchanted Resource Nodes provide you with Enchanted Resources that are in very high demand, and reward more Fame for gathering them. Each Zone has its own Node Enchantment Rate. There are three tiers of Enchanted Nodes:
Crafting is an inherent part of the Albion Online gameplay. It lets you convert collected (or bought) materials into Gear and Weapons, which is generally cheaper than buying pieces made by someone else. However, crafting is very time and resource consuming, and leveling it to a decent level is quite of a hassle. Crafting is done at the Crafting Stations, of which there are four: Toolmaker, Hunter's Lodge, Warrior's Forge and Mage's Tower, all of which represent different crafting branches.
When it comes to Crafting, there are few important things that you should know about:
*Crafting Fame is received for Crafting an Item. You have to gather enough of it to progress further in the Crafting part of the Destiny Board.
Skilled Artisans are praised in Albion
Private Island system is Albion's take on the Player Housing system present in some other MMORPGs. These islands allow Players to create their own little bulwark in the vast and quite hostile world of Albion. You are the master of your Island, and you can customize it as you please, by constructing buildings, creating Farms, setting up Pastures and so on.
Note: Player Islands can be purchased in-game for Silver, and are a Premium-only feature, so they will not be available for free-2-play players (unless you have purchased an Island while on Premium and then ran out of Premium time - if this happens you will not lose access to your island).
The Private Island system provides Players with the following features:
Making a Fortune!
Albion Online's economy is fully Player-Driven. The value of items closely corresponds to the Rules of Economy, which means that every single one of the available goods is worth as much, and only as much, as someone is willing to pay for it. However, there is one VERY important detail: all Trading Hubs/Auction Houses are local, and therefore item and material prices differ greatly from one City to another. This fact creates many opportunities for making a lot of Silver.
Silver is what drives almost every aspect of Albion's gameplay, and you will need a small fortune to cover all your in-game expenses and maintain a premium status. This is why we have created a detailed Albion Online Silver Farming Guide. You can check it out HERE.
This guide is meant as an introduction to the world of Albion Online and is aimed at the new Players. Further, much more detailed Guides focused on important aspects of the game are planned for the foreseeable future, so stay tuned.
We hope that you have found this Guide useful and informative. If we have missed a piece of information that is important to you, please let us know!
Please do note that this is an early version of our guide, and we will be happy to receive constructive criticism, that will help us improve it, so leave your suggestions in the comments section below.
Pictures used in this article are the intellectual property of Sandbox Interactive