After months of development, then early access or beta testing, the commercial version of Albion Online is officially launched. The opportunity to discover the mechanics “sandbox” of the independent MMO.
For a long time, the MMOs were exclusively the business of giants of the gaming industry, who produced massively multiplayer blockbusters, colossal and (in principle) perfectly refined but sometimes a strand formatted. And then the independent studios began to take an interest in the massively multiplayer genre, in order to integrate new (and somewhat absurdly) ideas such as encouraging more interactions between players, offering them more freedom or developing Open games … but often with few means and the risk that these independent MMOs remain perpetually developing without ever really being officially launched.
The Sandbox Interactive studio is one of these independent studios and in recent years the German developer has been working on the development of Albion Online. And after years of development, months of early access followed by an extra year of beta testing, Albion Online is officially launched in a commercial buy-to-play version (playable without subscription but assuming purchase A copy of the game), starting Monday July 17th at 3pm, if you own a “Legendary” Pack, sold for € 99.95 – the MMO will then be accessible from July 18th at 3pm via an Epic Pack (€ 49.95) and finally on July 19th at 3pm with a “Veteran” Pack (€ 29.95).
This official launch will be the occasion of a new (and in principle last) wipe, allowing all the players to launch into the game universe on an equal footing, to (re) discover the Gameplay rather “sandbox” of Albion Online.
If the game world is not quite as open as one might hope, the gameplay of Albion Online nevertheless proposes a true freedom as to the evolution of its hero. The creation of the character only determines his physique and his place of appearance in the game universe (at one ten spawn points, in one of the five different environments that the MMO currently offers) and It is only then, as the progression of the character and especially his equipment progresses, that his skills, his specializations and therefore his role within a group will gradually be defined – a stick to adopt a career as a mage, Heavy armor to play warriors or even high-level tools to become a legendary craftsman, or even a mixture of the whole to be versatile or specializing to improve his abilities.
And this choice of gameplay of Albion Online that “you are what you wear” (or the warrior, the hunter, the alchemist, the sorcerer, etc.) is not insignificant since the economy of the MMO is integrally Entrusted to the hands of the players. With the exception of the recently integrated Black Market in the gaming world, all the equipment is manufactured and marketed by the players themselves (in principle, there is no loot of Monsters), thus encouraging the diversification of profiles, since crafters are as important as, or more important than, fighting classes, and favoring interactions between players – the first steps in the gaming world set the tone. Resources and design his first tools, before making the equipment that will determine his role in the game.
And this is probably the other fundamental aspect of Albion Online gameplay: if it is possible to make its first steps alone in the game world and that at first glance the progression is very linear, we will quickly Encouraged to join a guild to access the different facets of gameplay – especially to participate in guild wars, which must help sustain the activity of game servers and thus retain players.
As we know, in terms of MMOs, a launch is not the end of the development process, but rather the beginning of exploitation. As part of Albion Online, the formula is a bit biased since the MMO is already “exploited” for several months in advance access and then beta, but the coming months will nevertheless be scrutinized carefully, notably because That Albion Online is one of the first of these “independent MMOs” to be the subject of a real commercial release. And at a time when these independent MMOs are still skeptical (we are still wondering if they will actually emerge and then if they will enjoy the same longevity as their big budgets), Albion Online will undoubtedly serve as an example , To demonstrate the viability (or not) of this new category of massively multiplayer games.