Albion Online is a medieval fantasy MMO that has been around for over 3 years and has gained quite a lot of reputation in this time. But is Albion worth playing in 2020? I decided to hop back in and find out.
It’s common knowledge that an MMO without a significant amount of players is a dead MMO. This is not the type of game that can hang around with just a handful of die-hards.
With that consideration in mind, Albion is very much alive. The game has a healthy player community, and in fact the player base has been growing in recent months. Sure, it doesn’t boast Final Fantasy XIV’s 10,000 daily players, but considering the difference in the games’ scale, Albion is actually impressively close to Square Enix’s behemoth.
I don’t know about you, but optimized servers are a deal breaker for me. If I can’t play a game without it lagging or breaking up whenever there is a large-scale fight, then I’m not interested. Luckily for us, Albion’s servers are frequently upgraded and optimized, in order to improve game performance. Well done, Sandbox Interactive!
Nothing new to this part, but I still love the fact that in this game, you are literally what you wear. There are little to no class restrictions, and you can make up endless combinations to suit (get it?) your needs.
Coming back to the game, it was nice to see that one thing hadn’t changed: seasonal content. Albion offers exclusive rewards to players that get involved in ZvZs -- or Zerg vs Zerg. What kind of rewards do I mean? Well, it can range from awesome mounts to exclusive gear and of course, the usual Fame and Silver.
It doesn’t really matter whether you’re in a powerful guild or if you’re flying solo, there are challenges in Albion for all types of players, which is a big plus.
New Queen update
Ta-da! This may be the reason you’re reading the article, so here it is: the Queen Update. On Jan. 20, this new update went live and it’s changing lives. What does this update bring to the game?
Well, first of all an entirely new map of the Far Lands -- Black zone. That means players can now explore a whole new world. Exciting, right? The Queen update also allows players to build Guild hideouts, so all guilds can have their own base in the Black Zone. This is especially beneficial for smaller guilds, who don’t want to get ganked by enemy parties.
Last but not least, this update put the GvG battles -- Guild vs Guild -- to an end and replaced them with Crystal Realm Battles.
I confess I’m not the ideal person to talk about PvP, as I’m more of a PvE player. Nevertheless, for those who are into PvP, know that you can now be a part of Crystal Realm Battles in Albion. These battles consist in 5v5 battle matches between players, where participants are rewarded with a lot of valuable stuff.
Along with the Queen Update came a feature which makes dungeons just a little bit more interesting. Essnetially, now you and your party will have to kill all -- or nearly all -- mobs within a dungeon before getting access to the chests. And since the main objective of doing these dungeons is to get the loot, this feature definitely complicates things a bit.
Personally, this makes the whole thing more fun for me! Plus, the Fame you get is always worthwhile.
This goes without saying, but balance matters to me a lot and it should matter to your as well. I hate seeing overpowered players going against players with low tier gear, who probably will also be outnumbered. Luckily, there is a new Intelligent Map Queue system. This system prevents large armies from blocking entire zones or overloading them.
The system analyzes both sides and establishes a maximum number of players that can enter a battle, based on equipment, status and contribution to the fight. The “excess players” are then moved to nearby areas, where secondary battles can erupt.
The one obvious downside to this is that imbalance could still exist between the excess player groups. if one side has significantly stronger players in their team, it will basically end up in a massacre. This in effect nullifies the benefits of the the Intelligent Map Queue system. Hopefully Sandbox Interactive will look into improving the system soon.
Not sure these were enough reasons for you to return to Albion Online -- or to start playing it for the first time -- but for me, it is definitely worth playing in 2020. Plus, the game is now free to play, so you can always just try it and see if you like it. If not, you can always try Archeage Unchained.