Although much of Albion is wild and untamed, with monsters – and other players – free to roam and attack as they wish, there are also a number of towns and cities, which function as safe spots for players to stock up and reequip themselves. They are protected from the wilderness, and have established economies with a series of buildings available for player use, such as crafting stations and merchants. They’re there to provide players with some respite from the constant danger of the outside world; a place where they can socialize with others, rearm and refuel, or tidy their inventory in peace.
Some of these cities will be player-driven cities. These are, as the name would suggest, cities within the world of Albion which place all the power in the hands of the players. Initially these cities will be completely empty, devoid of all civilization; players will then have the opportunity to claim these barren regions for themselves, erect buildings and establish trade and economy. Together, players will be creating whole new societies from the ground up. And at the head of these cities, one guild will rule.
Previously in Albion Online, guilds in the game could stake a claim to individual areas of each region of the map, called territories. Guilds fight over these territories, which provide them with many benefits, including space for storage, player housing and military and economic buildings, as well as simple shelter and protection from players and other dangers in Albion. These territories can be claimed by one guild, and then that claim can be contested.
Similarly, any player city can be captured and “claimed” by any guild; however, once a guild claims a city, that city is still accessible to other players, and is not a guild-only area like a territory. This means that a city will have its own player population, who will own housing, use the economic buildings and trade through the Auction House. Owning a city will bring a guild a number of benefits. Taxes will function as a percentage added onto the normal price of upkeep on real estate in the city, and all players who own property will have to pay it directly into the guild’s coffers! This makes owning a city potentially very lucrative for a guild.
Player-driven cities can be fought over, just as territories. One difference will be that the guilds in each neighboring territory will be able to attack the city once every 24 hours, ensuring that owning a city will be a task for any guild, even with the lucrative rewards. Just as the areas fought over will be much larger, so the battles themselves will be fought on a larger scale than over territories. The battle to conquer a city will have more participants across a larger area; resulting in large, open and exciting sieges. Although the region itself will still be accessible as a way to reach other areas, the metropolitan area of the city will be closed off during a siege.
One motivation for constructing player-driven cities as safe islands deep inside PvP territory was consideration for solo players; the cities will be places where all players, regardless of their guild affiliations, can build houses and storage for themselves, utilize crafting stations and trade at an auction house, access their vaults, and otherwise prepare themselves for venturing back out into danger.
This really widens the scope of what solo players in particular can do in Albion Online; where once a player would need the protection of a guild territory and backup in order to navigate the harsh, dangerous open PvP regions, with the introduction of player-driven cities any brave player can test themselves by exploring the PvP zones alone, fighting for silver and collecting high-tier resources, assured that their own player house, as well as opportunities to craft and repair, are never too far away.
Player cities also relate to another new feature of Albion Online; in the new, revamped Destiny Board, players will now have the option to specialize into a particular trade if they want to. Player cities will allow for a smith to really develop their trade into higher tiers, and perhaps even become a Master Smith. More on that in its own blog soon!