Winter Alpha 2015 review and long-term feasibility report

As a brief introduction, I have been involved it the sandbox mmo, and mmorpg genres for over ten years now. Ultima Online, Darkfall Online, Vanguard SOH, Pirate of the Burning Sea, World of Warcraft, Star Wars the Old Republic, Star Wars Galaxies… just to quickly name the ones off the top of my head.

I have this weekend off so I am choosing to spend it with the Albion Online community. I spent numerous hours in the winter alpha and yes, I was not able to push every aspect of the game. Rather, I focused on exploring avenues for newer players to both AO and the sandbox mmo genre. Why? Because I found AO is the perfect game for all players based off the reviews I read prior to the winter alpha with the help of Albion Online Silver. I wanted to see if AO lived up to what it will offer to all players, especially with multiple device support. That being said, I have spent the first few hours of my day reading our community’s extremely passionate reviews regarding the game. Now, I am prepared to make my own based of my experiences and all of observations I have read thus far.

Due note: this review will not touch any elements of the game that I feel can be fixed in a one to three month time span. I don’t know why many of us are beating our heads into the ground over such simple to fix, simple to solve issues. Such as: weapon and ability balancing, spawn timers, etc. We have to understand that focusing on such short-term issues is silly in a game that is currently being developed in alpha. Instead, this review will focus on where Albion Online is now, and where will it be – not next alpha, or next beta – but six months or more after release. I am more focused on Long Term Feasibility because I want AO and its community to thrive. I strongly believe this game has the foundation required to achieve being one that can last an extremely long time, and accomplish milestones no other title has accomplished with Albion Online Gold. Otherwise, I would not be investing this much of my time into AO.

Depending on which subjects are most intriguing to you, you may skip to these sections which I will make in subsequent posts:
-PvE (detailed only in the sense of new players. I love new players)
Starting zones
Initial Feel
Ease of learning
Difficulty Self-sufficiency
Weapons and Armor (extremely brief nothing the statement above)
Crafting Remove 0% cluster tax

-PvP (focused on long term feasibility)
Softcore vs. Hardcore (you will want to read this)
PVP vs. ganking/camping
The continent vs. the world (long term feasibility)
Tiered continents and rule sets
Segregate the community with good reason
Small issues
Scouts
New zone entry bubble protection
No arenas or anything that takes away from the MMO feel
Guild Territories and Castles (like in Darkfall Online)

-Long Term Feasibility
Six months to a year w/ one million players
The continent vs the world
Larger zones?
Economy (brief. Many posts about this already)
Inflation
Durability
Land ownership and housing
Risk vs. reward

-Pay-to-win vs free-to-play
-Possible exposures: botting, hacking, exploits, etc.

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