MMORPG: There are strengths and pitfalls to any payment model in games. Can you outline some of the strengths you see for Albion Online?
Robin: Our payment model is quite simple: Pay once and have full access to the game. You will not have to pay again for game expansions or updates, either. To get the game, either buy a founder’s pack right now (which will give you the game for free on release) or buy the game once it is released.
On top of that, we offer purely cosmetic vanity items and a premium status. The premium status does not make your character stronger, but rather allows you to progress faster. The best thing about this is that you can get the premium status solely with in-game currency, i.e. you do not have to pay real money for it if you do not want to.
We consider our model to be a perfect middle-ground between the classical subscription, free to play and buy to play models.
MMORPG: As an MMO player what are your thoughts on a fair payment model?
Robin: In our opinion, there is three criteria that a good payment model needs to satisfy:
1. It needs to be strong enough such that the game developers can focus on making and improving the game, as opposed to being forced to waste development time on monetization.
2. It needs to match the needs and preferences of the players
3. It needs to be fair and absolutely cannot be pay to win
We believe that our model ticks all these boxes.
MMORPG: What updates are coming with Albion Online? Can you give players some insight into the next few months?
Robin: Where shall I begin – there is simply too much! Now that so many players are interested in Albion Online, we felt like we wanted to take a little more time in order to really be able to implement some bigger updates and improvements into the game before release in Q3 2016.
We have a long list of topics we will work on but for me some of the highlights are:
Reshaping the entire game world: we’ll have a much larger world at release, the setup of zones and clusters will look much different (e.g. a lot more black zones for hardcore PVP) and the world will feel a lot more unique, e.g. with special dungeons for each faction, snowlands, unique cities, etc.
Introduction of a crime & reputation system: we’ll announce more details about this very soon – but think Ultima Online transposed to 2016
Improved combat, with tons of new items and abilities: This is an ongoing core focus for us.
PC optimized User Interface: next to some long-awaited quality of life features, such as guild management tools, we’ll also customize our interfaces a lot more depending on what platform you play on – e.g. a PC player will have a different (optimized) arrangement of the different screen elements compared to someone playing on his tablet
MMORPG: What are some of the things you are working on for the player characters specifically that you can talk about? Any updates to crafting or gear?
Robin: We know that there is a group of MMO players who are so far not really interested in Albion Online due to its focus on PVP and group play. We believe if you want to have an active and lasting MMORPG, you need to create a natural synergy between different play-styles, and in this case, between PvP and PvE players.
While this will always be a core focus of Albion Online, we are making a lot of changes that will make solo play and PvE more exciting and viable.
We’ll add “Expeditions” that are essentially PVE adventures that players can go on and that will test their skills and combat resilience with challenging boss and mob fights. You can play them solo, together with a friend or with an entire group of players. They are a great source of experience, silver and tokens. Tokens will tie in with our current faction system. You can convert tokens to blueprints for rare faction items, which can be combined with a player made item to create a special rare faction gear – creating a great synergy between crafters and PvEers.
Then, there is our crime & reputation system which will help to curtail the “kill on sight” that is an issue for many PvP MMORPGs. So if you want to be the most dreaded player of the server, you still can, but be prepared to live with the consequences, which can be harsh. Of course, if you don’t like that, you can always move to the extensive black zones where your reputation does not matter, and everything is free for all.
MMORPG: Thanks for your time, Robin! Godspeed with all the beta and launch plans.