I am going to make the rest of this brief, as I feel most of my talking points are already stated. Also, I am getting tired.
Again, I don’t focus on the alpha build as being the end-all be-all. I am concerned about the game six months to a year after release, with 500,000 to one million players. Something that I strongly believe is certainly obtainable. However, the current land mass can not support such a population. Adding more zones is easy and is one thing. But how and what to implement is another. I have discussed above of many different ways this can be implemented because for AO to be successful, it is imperative that experience players and hardcore players are moved away from the new player lands.
The only way to accomplish this is to create great rewards. Higher tier gear is certainly one incentive, but there can also be many others. The problem is balancing risk vs. reward which I will discuss later.
I will keep this extremely brief given the game is in alpha and there are already numerous threads on this. As many developers have posted in various threads, the economy is being monitored closely and all the time due to inflation with Albion Online Silver. If you played Ultima Online, properties got into the excess of 10-20 million gold. That ruins the game for newer players. Luckily, I believe AO is well positioned with many different avenues of balancing this with various silver sinks. In general, prices in the AH came down at a reasonable rate in the last alpha.
Item durability I see being an issue. 33 durability lost per death is a bit high. It decreases the opportunity cost of an item substantially (basically, one’s ability to make that silver back of the item’s investment) which discourages people from going into PvP zones with higher tiered gear. Also, it makes it way too easy for players like me to permanently break down gear so that when I go PvP with it, my opponent cant take it because it becomes trash.
Land ownership and housing can be revamped. I am not in favor of player islands because it takes players away from the open world, which is necessary to sustain open world elements, open world PvP, and frankly makes Albion feel dead and dry. I felt the upkeep costs were a bit high and to time demanding, as to encourage gold buying. I don’t have a problem with buying gold, but doing so to spend $50 bucks to keep a property for 14 weeks is ridiculous. Also, what if you go on vacation for a week? However, it is a simple adjustment.
I was able to build a tier 4 legendary house on a 1200 area plot of land in the last alpha. I loved it! Next alpha I will try to get the 1600 land so that I can lay down a farm and pasture. The house buffs are an awesome concept. I feel they can be extended for a length of two hours, given the time it takes to travel to silver farming areas. Also, add a mana regeneration buff for cloth users like myself. I would also recommend making it so that a legendary house can be destroyed such that you get your anchor back in return, if you were to ever move.
More housing plots are certainly needed. There are way too few to sustain the population that AO will reach. Again, I am not in favor of player islands, at all. Perhaps it would be best to have PvP-limited zones around players cities, and housing plots within those zones. Then put full-PvP zones outside of those.
Risk vs. reward
The risk vs. reward in Albion Online is significantly lacking. I found that if a full set of tier 4 gear with a mount cost 10k silver, I could reasonably farm that back in safe lands in about an hour, which is fair. If I went into PvP lands with a buddy or two, I could farm 20-60k silver per hour. However, my tier five set as a mage cost 50k Cheap Albion Online Gold. I would have to farm untouched mobs, with buddies in PvP lands to reap back that cost. The problem is, I never took my tier 5 gear out into the open world simply because it was too costly. If we got ganked, I would be at a significant loss.
Thus, I only wore my tier 5 in safe lands. Now again, in a one month alpha that is likely all that can be expected. In a longer release, this will be different. However, increasing the silver drop dramatically on mobs in tier six PvP lands would encourage me to go into PvP lands more often, and with higher tiered gear. Thus, it would also encourage all other players to do the same.At the current state of the game, I would not even consider trying to get a tier 6 set unless it was simply to show it off. That, is a problem.