The big Into the Fray update is up today for Albion Online, and brings the promised full Magic Staff overhaul, Portal Towns, castle changes and improvements, dynamic events, and new Arena options, including the new non-lethal Crystal Arena.
The Magic Staff rework is top to bottom extensive, covering the art, visual feel, theming, animations, visual effects, audio, and increased variety overall. There are also many reworked abilities and even new ones. Left out of this update are the Arcane and Frost lines, but those will get the same top to bottom refresh and reworked spells soon.
Also in this update are changes to castles and castle outposts, affecting layouts and rewards, including how castles affect Season Points. Portal Towns replace the Outlands portal zones. These new areas can serve for easy bank and marketplace access with no need to go back to the city, but also as respawn points, and additional services like repair stations and artifact foundries. These are intended to make exploration more viable.
Another part of the update that should make exploration more viable is the Journey Back feature. Journey Back is a form of fast travel in the form of a mount spell (on anything but battle mounts) that lets you travel to the last hideout or city you visited. It comes with a silver cost based on distance, and there are certain restrictions.
The non-lethal Crystal Arena has been added, which uses Crystal League match rules. Arena seasons will take place with every Guild season and you can sign up solo or with a friend or two and get matched into a team of 5 for the mode.
Into the Fray covers a wide range of content, even in its quality of life and features intended to help ease new players in and help current players explore more easily. There are updates and improvements made for post-tutorial towns for new players to get adjusted. These include access to T2 and T3 resources right away, and a new Heretic Group dungeon in T3 zones, which replace solo dungeons in those early areas, encouraging players to group up. There are also new tutorial tips that pop up after the first time you encounter certain things, training dummies on islands, and map tooltips that will help you get oriented.