Albion Online Title Picture

Albion Online Review

A comprehensive review of Albion Online, a large-scale isometric ARPG style sandbox MMOG.

Albion Online Review
Albion Online is more than 5 years old, and one of the best fantasy MMOGs on the market. It can be played on any platform, including Mobile devices, and caters not only to people who love PvP, but also those who love crafting and trading. If you enjoy ARPG style gameplay, PvP, and player-driven economies, this game is probably for you!
End Game
Fluid & Fun Combat.
Excellent Character and Skill Progression.
Best fantasy MMOG economy and market I've seen.
Excellent variety in play style based on chosen build.
Always something to do.
Players must engage in PvP to access all benefits.
Some frustrating interface issues.
Scope and scale can be overwhelming to new players.
Community can be toxic and segregating between PvE and PvP players.
End game grind is tedious.
Final Score

Albion Online Introduction

Albion Online is an ARPG style sandbox MMO has been around for more than five years. A few months ago, some friends convinced me to give it a try, and I’m certainly glad I did. At the time of reviewing this game, I have more than 170 million fame and have been playing for months. I felt comfortable enough with my experience in the game to finally write a detailed review.

Note from the Author: This is a very large and complex game. If you read this review and feel content, mechanics or details were overlooked or not properly represented, please leave a comment and share your opinion or recommendations.

This game was developed by Sandbox Interactive (SBI), which is based in Berlin, Germany. The CEO of the company and lead Designer of Albion is Robin Henkys, who has been in the industry since 2007, previously working at Radon Labs and Bigpoint GmbH prior to his position at SBI. It’s not known if he’s the founder of SBI since there isn’t much public information available, but he appears to be the driving force behind the game and the company, which has between 100 – 200 employees in total. Note German company tracking data shows Altigi GMBH owns 87.5% of SBI. Details can be found here.

  • Developed by: Sandbox Interactive (SBI)
  • Release Date: June 17, 2017 (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android)
  • Version Reviewed: Into the Fray (September 2022)

What makes Albion Online a game worth playing? Let’s find out!


Before I begin the core content overview, it’s important players understand that Albion Online is a PvP game. While it can be played without any PvP, those players can never experience the full benefit of factions and explore the extensive content available that is PvP (or faction) centric. While PvP isn’t forced on the player immediately, the game slowly introduces the player to PvP through Faction Warfare (which can be very fun and rewarding). I will be covering the PvP aspect of the game below under Mechanics, but what it comes down to is if you never want to fight against other players, this game is probably not for you. However, the PvP nature of the game is a lot of fun, and the player can choose to just do Faction Warfare PvP, which ensures no loss of gear, so there is a middle-ground option for those who don’t want to risk losing their equipment every time they are killed.

Albion Online is Free to Play; and yes, people can play and experience all content of this game without ever spending a dime of real money, but the reality is this game is more than worth the $10/mo subscription fee. Premium provides bonuses, reduced market tax, focus points (daily), 50% fame bonus, the ability to buy an island, and coveted learning points (which are covered below). When a new player tries Albion Online for the first time, they are offered 3-days of free premium so they can see the difference. It is important to mention Premium only applies to a single character, so if you want it for multiple characters on the account, you have to purchase it individually for each character. However it’s very important to state: you can play and enjoy every aspect of this game with a single character. Generally, the only reason people create multiple characters is for crafting and to manage multiple islands (which is covered below).

If you are going to play this game, get premium. It’s really that simple.

Welcome to the world of Albion Online!

There really isn’t much of a Story behind the game beyond the introduction video; basically, you’re an adventurer called to explore the world. Honestly, that’s it. But that’s OK because nobody plays Albion for the story. Note there is a bit of a historical outline available, which can be found here.

Character Creation is very basic, allowing for a selection of body, hair, and accessories. Since the game is very combat focused, most people don’t really look at the actual character features, instead they focus on the equipment one is using (which can also include appearance skins that are purchased). As mentioned, Albion can be played entirely with just one character, unless one wants to focus on crafting, or to base other characters in other cities to check market prices of items without having to travel back and forth with a single character.

When a player creates a new character, they must select a starting region; my personal recommendation is to select Steppe Cross / Bridgewatch.

Welcome to the pastel artistic style beautiful and rather large World of Albion Online. There are two continents, known as the Royal Continent and the Outlands. Each continent contains a number of static zones that are connected with roads, and each zone has a default faction it is a part of (but can be captured by other factions). The world is very large, with the Outlands continent being more than twice the size of the Royal Continent. It’s important to mention Albion Online is just one world server broken into shard servers per zone. This means all players play in the same game. Each zone is capable of hosting hundreds (possibly thousands) of players, unifying everyone in the game. The world consists of multiple biomes including: Forest, Desert, Plains, Swamp and Mountain. Each zone biome has its own unique artistic style, music and creature types specific to that zone.

It’s important to mention there is only one core world and server, which means you can play with any of your friends at any time as long as you’re in the same zone/area. The way Albion does this is to break the zones up into different shards that are shared with everyone in-game, much like star systems in EVE Online.

Factions play a critical part in the game, both for players and enemies. There are numerous NPC (non-play character) factions, such as the Demons of Hell, Disciples of Morgana, The Undead, Avalonians, and more. The reality is players don’t really pay attention to (or care about) the NPC enemy factions because all they really do is categorize types of NPC enemies; however, if the player wants to learn more about the NPC factions, the lore is available on the main website, such as the Disciples of Morgana page. The factions players pay attention to are the player factions, which represent regions, fighting for points, control, and capital cities. These factions are: Thetford, Martlock, Bridgewatch, Lymhurst, Fort Sterling, and Caerleon. Each faction represents a different capital city, region and biome, and players can “flag” as these factions to enable PvP between different factions while obtaining bonuses. Caerleon is a unique faction because it represents the “Red Zone” and allows characters representing the same faction to attack each other. Players who represent a faction gain faction points for all activities (combat, gathering, pvp, etc.) while flagged as that faction. Players increase their Faction Rank as they obtain points for the faction they are currently flagged as, unlocking a graphic icon that displays by their name. Characters also gain a bonus to the fame and silver gathered while faction flagged if their faction is in control of the zone. Characters can purchase special items with Faction Points, which can be quite valuable, and the core purpose for playing under a faction flag. I cover this in more detail below under Economy.

Ultimately, the faction system is a precursor to entice players into the PvP nature of the game. Characters can also switch between factions any time they want, allowing for players to focus on increasing their faction standing with any city at any time.

Bridgewatch, it’s marketplace, and bonuses.

Each faction has a capital city on the Royal Continent, which operates as the base of operations for that region. Every city has the same core services available, such as repair, transportation (between cities or player/guild islands), market, bank, expedition, vanity merchant, faction enlistment NPC, artifact foundry, arena master, and a dynamic player store system, which allows players to set up services for crafting and refining, which I’ll cover below. It’s also important to note that each city has its own segregated marketplace, so if you place an item for sale in Bridgewatch, only people who come to that city marketplace can buy the item. This allows price management between cities, so if you want to buy a very expensive item and it’s too expensive in one city, you can go to another city and check if the item is cheaper.

Each city has its own crafting a refining bonuses, which play a critical role in the games crafting system, which is covered below.

In addition to the continents, the game also has Islands for players (and guilds) where numerous crafting stations and farming plots can be built and upgraded. This includes building homes to house workers that can be sent out on expedition to gather resources and even kennels to grow mounts players can ride. While the Island system is fun for players who like to manage passive growth, it takes a substantial investment to truly become profitable; but for those who want a bit of farmville in their game and to passively manage plots of land, workers, and even raise animals as a zookeeper, it can be a lot of fun (and profitable after the right about of investment and time). Note Islands are only available for premium subscribers. Players can also acquire Laborers for their islands by building beds and purchasing them on the Auction House. These NPCs are designed to roam the world for 24 hours based on receiving Journals (covered below) to return with specific crafting resources. They can also be leveled up and even sold on the marketplace for a profit.

While the game environments have Day and Night cycles, they just add to the ambience of the zones. Sadly, there are no Weather effects.

The game features numerous types of Dungeons, which can include Solo Dungeons (PvE/PvP), Group Dungeons (PvE/PvP), Corrupted Dungeons (PvP), Hellgates (PvP), and the Avalonian Roads (PvP). While the Avalonian Roads aren’t technically dungeons, they are segregated regions with their own dynamically designed layout. Each dungeon, except for static open-world dungeons, is dynamically designed. Dungeons come in tiers (Green, Blue and Purple), and Group dungeons are the toughest.

One of the cool things about Albion is players can choose to do only one specific type of content. For example, some players exclusively run Corrupted dungeons while others live in the Avaloan Roads.

There are also Open World Zone Events like Chest spawns (which allow for PvP in lower tier zones, so people can fight over chests), Abundant Resource Spawns and Bosses.

Because there are no classes in the game, play style in Albion Online revolves around the Items your character uses: Weapon, Offhand, Helmet, Chest, Boots, Cloak, Bag, Potion and Food. Weapons come in three categories: Warrior (Axe, Sword, Mace, Hammer, Crossbow, War Gloves, Shield), Hunter (Bow, Spear, Nature Staff, Dagger, Quarterstaff, Torch) and Mage (Fire, Holy, Arcane, Frost and Cursed Staff, and Tome of Spells). Each weapon type generally has 6 individual weapons available, offering roughly 100 weapons for the player to use and master. There are three core categories of Armor: Cloth (Robes, Cowls, Sandals), Leather (Jackets, Hoods, Shoes), and Plate (Armors, Helmets, Boots). Cloth has limited defense, but excellent damage, whereas Plate has high defense, but lower damage. Leather is the middle-ground. As with weapons, there are many different armor pieces the player can choose from, each item having a unique skill tied to it while also inheriting skills from the different categories. The type of Bag a player has equipped increases the weight of items they carry, and the Cloak type can provide unique abilities and enhancements ranging from going invisible when the character almost dies to dropping a burning molten puddle to melt your enemies. Note I cover the different abilities provided by items, including potions and food below under Gameplay & Mechanics.

Every item in the game has been crafted by a player. You can see the player’s name when you click on the Item!

Albion Online doesn’t have Character Level, instead it has Item Power (IP) to represent the combined power of not only the equipped items, but the skill levels the character has relative to those items. But many new players wonder what progress do they actually build on a character since the game has no classes and is equipment-based? Enter the Destiny Board and Character Skills, which are what a player focuses on leveling up for their character. I cover this system in full below under Gameplay & Mechanics, but I want to mention it here because while it’s a core content feature, it’s also the root mechanic system for character progression. The highest IP I’ve seen in the game is 2030, but a build generally considered to be “end-game” viable IP with 1800+.

The Market is hands down the best market system I’ve seen implemented in any MMOG. I cover this key feature in detail below under Economy.

Ready for Action!

Gathering resources is one of the most important features in the game, and so well implemented that many players only focus on gathering as their sole source of income and gameplay experience. Players can mine ore, skin animals, chop wood, harvest hemp, and other resources necessary for crafting. Players can equip gathering-specific gear that enhances their gathering reward, but doing so ensures they will never be ready for battle as efficiently as a properly outfitted player. It’s also important to mention different biomes and zones have different resources and tiers of resources available. If you want to mine, the best region is around Fort Sterling. If you want to skin, the area around Bridgewatch is the best. Resources also have Tier requirements for the gathering equipment. For example, you cannot mine Tier 4 Iron Ore until you get a Tier 4 Pickaxe. There is also Fishing, which allows players to catch fish to make some of the best food in the game. Using Journals while gathering is essentially free silver, as they are filled while the player is engaged in the respective gathering type, and then either sold on the market for silver, or turned into laborers for fetching raw materials.

Spawns of materials for gathering, including animals to skin, reset every night during server downtime, but remain persistent during the day, so if you see a purple ore vein, it will respawn over time in the exact same spot until the next day, which dynamically rearranges all resource spawn locations.

Mounts are one of the most important features of the game, and critical to playing regardless of engaging in PvP or PvE content. The good news is there are many mounts to choose from, and each mount serves a different purpose; some are for gathering and extra tanky to avoid being killed, while others are fast glass cannon mounts that can get a character from one point to another as quickly as possible. Many mounts have special abilities, such as enhancing the speed of nearby allies, or shocking enemies that might hit you while you’re running by them. There’s also large battle mounts that are used for “zerg warfare” (usually big battles between guilds and alliances), and the final ultimate transport mount, the Mammoth. Choosing the right mount based on what a player is doing is critical as the decision can make the difference between success and failure. Additionally, one can purchase mount skins to change the appearance of their mount (based on type). My favorite mount? The Avalonian Basilisk. But I would never take it into a Red or Black zone.

A character has 48 fixed Inventory Slots. With the exception of items like weapons, armor, and a few other specialty items, most are stackable. Weight Limit plays a big part in the game, especially for those who gather, and the limit is increased by the selected mount and bag equipped by the character. Weight is also a dangerous factor because if a gatherer has a ton of weight only supported by their mount, and they are “dismounted” (attacked by another player, or they leave their mount radius), they can be so overburdened they cannot move; making them an easy target to kill.

Albion Online is a sandbox MMO so it doesn’t really have a Quest system, although players can engage in Faction Transport Missions, but in my opinion provide little reward for the risk.

Want to craft a Realmbreaker? It’s going to take a lot!

Crafting is a core feature of Albion Online because nearly every item in the game, including those dropped by monsters, have been crafted by players. The different crafting categories include Weapons and Armor (Warrior, Mage, Hunter), Mounts, Food, Potions, Tools, Accessories, and Furniture. Different cities have different crafting bonuses (local production bonuses), and additional crafting bonuses can be established by guild-run hideouts (covered in more detail below). Transportation between cities is also a key component of crafting because a city that has a bonus in crafting one type of item will provide the greatest return in another city that doesn’t have that bonus. This includes refining materials to craft. For example refining planks in Fort Sterling can have a combined 50% or higher bonus where refining Ore Bars has a 50% or higher bonus in Thetford. Artifacts are an additional unique material type required for crafting high-level or specialized items. Focus is also a key resource used when crafting or refining, and a requirement for those who want to craft for profit. Characters with Premium generate 10,000 focus per day. Players can also create their own crafting stations on their islands (covered below), but they won’t have the bonuses that can be secured in cities or outposts. Salvaging breaks down an item into its crafting components, returning 25% of the crafting material cost of the item and some of the artifacts, if the item is an artifact item. There’s also the option to Enchant items, which increases their “tier” power, which is also covered below. Using Journals while crafting is also important as they allow your Laborers return with the types of materials you need to continue specific lines of crafting; for example if you are engaged in Blacksmithing and fill a journal while crafting, your Laborer will return with bars you can use to conduct even more blacksmith crafting.

In the end, crafting is at the heart of this game, and feeds the entire player base and economy.

Players will almost always get the best sell price of crafted items in the “red zone” city of Caerleon, but the challenge is one must run through Red/PvP zones in order to get there.

For those who don’t want to risk their gear or go into the open world for PvP, the game has two solutions: Arena and the ranked Crystal Arena. Players can queue up for these systems from anywhere in the world, but if you enter either one, it will remove your faction flag. Both arenas provide skill tomes and bags of silver as reward, and the Crystal Arena is ranked.

Each region has its own collection of Passive and Aggressive Creatures based on the environmental theme of the region. There’s numerous animals that can be skinned, and hostile mobs that will attack if you get too close. This includes the “glowing” boss mobs that come in three tiers, with the highest tier having a diamond circle around the base of the mob. There are also Static mobs, which can be found in select open world and group dungeon regions; these are extra tough monsters meant to be fought by a group of players, and they reward more fame and silver than the normal mobs in the world.

When a new character is created, the player is walked through the core game mechanics with a descent Tutorial.

The game features numerous Achievements, but they don’t provide anything other than a badge stating the goal has been accomplished. The complete list can be found here.

The Appearance system is the Albion Online version of MTX, and is accessible by right-clicking on your character portrait and selecting “Appearance”. This is where a player customized their character’s look based on the skins they have unlocked. Players can purchase MTX from the Appearance UI using gold, or purchase vanity sets from the Albion Online store (covered below). Players can also acquire MTX through unique item drops in the game (often associated with yearly events, such as Christmas or an anniversary event for the game), or by purchasing skins on the Market. There is also a Vanity merchant in each town that sells vanity items. Many players sit on skins they acquire through events and sell them a year or two later for crazy profits (often a billion or more silver).

Note that Weapon and Offhand skins will not appear while in the world. The reason is so players can visually see what weapons a player is using.

Gameplay & Mechanics

The first thing I want to cover under Mechanics is the core Tier system that is used throughout the game. When referencing gear, zones, and many other content-specific features, Tier is the defining factor, and it ranges from Tier I – 8 (VIII) with a subtier of 1-3 (III). Sometimes numerics are used (e.g. 4.3) and other times, roman numerology. While Tier is most commonly referenced for Items, even resource nodes can have a Tier value; for example a Blue Iron Ore Vein is Tier 4.2 (Purple would be 4.3). Zones also come in Tiers, with V being Yellow (faction PvP), VI being Red (full loot PvP either faction or flag), and VII-VIII being Black, which is full loot PvP. The same applies to items and their enchantment level. When somebody says 4.3, they’re referring to a Tier 4 item with a level 3 enchantment, which has the power of a 7.0. This means an 8.3 (the highest) is really 11.0.

Snapshot of the Daily Events and Challenge / Campaign Rewards

Another great feature of Albion Online is that of Loadouts, which allow players to save, share and even bulk purchase items for a complete set of equipment from the market. While this may not sound like a big deal, it makes the game so much easier, allowing for a player to switch a completely different build with the click of a button, or re-purchase all of the items for their loadout after dying and losing everything in a PvP situation. Get killed by somebody who is running a build you want to try? Save their loadout (after inspecting them) and then go to the market and purchase all the items for that loadout. Using this system players can share their favorite builds with their friends as well. Kudos to the developers for this feature; it’s awesome.

Next we have Game Events. Every month, Albion online hosts a monthly challenge event for Adventure (PvE), Faction Warfare (PvP, but can do without loss of equipment), and Conqueror’s (pure PvP). Each of these challenges provides rewards based on meeting milestones during the month, providing mounts, skill tomes, and chest rewards. There are also events every 3-days that provide adventure and production bonuses.

When players engage in any type of in-game activity, be it Combat, Gathering, Crafting or PvP, they receive different types of experience. The core experience type is called Fame, and this is what shows as the primary value when you look at any character. Consider Fame to be Experience as it relates to other MMOGs. Since there is no character level, somebody’s fame is really their experience level. New characters only have a few million while very experienced characters can have billions. This indicates how long somebody has been playing. While you can examine another players stats and equipment and get their IP, you cannot see their skills (only the abilities they have set for their items).

Now it’s time to cover the monster Destiny Board, which is the character skill and progression system for the game. Within this board, we have every way a character grows: weapons, armor, gathering, crafting, and more. This is the heart and soul of a character. From here the player decides what specializations they want to pursue, and raises those specializations through action or use. Players unlock core tiers of skills in order to focus on specializations. Every specialized skill can reach a max level of 120, with 100 being the “soft cap”. To get from 100-120 takes roughly 50,000,000 fame points and 15,000,000 silver. And that’s just for one skill.

Need to get all of those staves maxed!

The Destiny Board is huge; my only complaint about it is the zoom out offered within the game isn’t enough. It’s impossible to see the entire board at once, and most players use the search option to find the skill they want to examine because the board is so cumbersome to manually navigate.

There is a control mechanic called the Reaver system, designed so a player cannot jump straight into the hardest content the game has to offer. While this may sound like a bad design, but it’s actually solid because it forces a new character to focus on content they can actually do rather than enticing players to jump into the hardest content in the game when they are not ready. It’s actually very easy to move up the Reaver chain from Journeyman (Tier 3) to Elder (Tier 8). As a new player, I think I unlocked Tier 8 in less than a week from starting the game. What the system does is provides additional damage and defense against each tier of monsters as the player progresses, ultimately increasing damage by 100% and defense by 50% at elder. The Adventurer tiers function like Reaver, but they unlock the ability to use higher tier mounts and capes. In the end, simply playing the game will level up and unlock these systems.

Learning Points are acquired through Premium, awarding a total of 30 each day. These points can be used to shortcut skill raises, allowing the player to level a skill once it reaches 20%. Many new players make the mistake of applying Learning Points to combat skills where all learning points should be saved for and spent on Gathering Skills and Crafting Skills.

Combat Fame Credits are the end-game fame storage mechanic, which allows a player to continue growing their character, even when it may have maxed skills based on the weapons and armor equipped. These points can be spent in any other combat-related skill tree, which means a player who is running the same melee build for a month can take their points and spend them on (for example) a cursed staff buildout, which means when they switch to the cursed staff, they are already powerful (and leveled up). Combat Fame Credits are also required to get a chosen skill from 100 to 120.

One of the best parts of Albion Online is your character is always progressing. Even when the build you’re running has max skills, you are still generating Fame Credits, which can be spent on other skills for when you’re ready to try different or additional builds.

Players can also equip Satchels of Insight, which double the amount of fame received, but also require 1 silver per fame point. This is a huge money sink, and while it increases fame acquisition, it quickly drains silver and is only really used by wealthier players.

The Destiny Board also has Auto-Respec and Auto-Learn options. Auto-respec will automatically spend silver to convert fame at a higher rate for maxed out items. For example, when you have a weapon at 100 and do not have auto-respec turned on, only 25% of your acquired fame converts to Combat Fame Credits. However, if you turn auto-respec on, 100% of your fame converts to Combat Fame Credits, but at a cost of 1 silver per point. Auto-learn will automatically spend learning points once a skill has reached 20%. Never use this unless you know exactly what you’re doing. Players should save learning points for quick leveling of gathering.

Players who faction flag (which is covered in more detail below) also acquire Faction Points for killing mobs, gathering, engaging in PvP against opposite factions, and capturing faction forts in contested areas. Challenge Points and Conqueror’s Points are received when engaging in any act that rewards fame (T4-T5 for PvE And T6+ for PvP), and they apply to the monthly challenge rewards (PvE and PvP).

Taking the Fort!

Every character has Health (or hits), the max value of which is based on the equipment/gear equipped and the skill level tied to that gear. Energy is the second core stat on a character, also based on equipped gear, abilities, and skill levels. Both have regeneration in and out of combat, which is also augmented by gear, including food and potions. There are numerous derived Stats in the game ranging from Damage modifiers (Physical and Magical), Resistances (Physical and Magical), Armor, Ability Cost Reduction, Healing Bonus, Movement Speed, Attack and Cast time, Cooldown, Damage vs. Players (or Mobs), gathering Yield bonuses, Max Load capacity and more.

This brings us to the importance of Food and Potions. Food is designed to provide the support necessary based on the type of content the character is doing. For example, one food can offer life steal while another buffs damage, or even increases maximum health. Food lasts for 30 minutes when consumed. Potions are quick situation mechanics which allow players to restore health, go invisible to escape death, or reinforce their resistances.

There are a number of Buffs and Debuffs in the game from numerous sources. Bleeds, Damage over time, run speed bonuses, rooting, and more. Purges are king in PvP as they remove nearly all beneficial effects of a target.

Repair is a big part of the game, and a large silver sink. A character’s gear takes durability damage every time they’re hit, and then loses 5% on death. The money sink really comes when the character is wearing millions in gear, with a single death costing over 200k for repair. Die multiple times, and end-game players can quickly face a repair bill of well over a million silver.

One of my favorite Loadouts.

Combat Flagging Mechanics are something every player learns in order to not only survive, but successfully attack and kill (gank) other players. This includes the 4-second dismount alarm and wait time when you dismount around another character that is hostile (or that you can attack). Off-screen nameplates are also a critical indicator of incoming hostilities. For those who play with sound on, players can also hear combat that’s taking place off screen, getting an idea of where a fight might be taking place, but not knowing if it’s a friend or foe engaging in the fight. New players also go through the rough learning process of losing their mount when attacked (meaning they must re-summon their mount, uninterrupted, to bring it back), which often results in their death.

Zone levels play a critical part in the PvP experience as well; we have Blue (Tier IV), Yellow (Tier V), Red (Tier VI) and Black zones (Tier VII-VIII). Blue zones do not allow any type of PvP except between factions, so if you want to avoid PvP altogether, don’t faction flag and stay in Tier IV zones, but that is pretty boring. Tier V zones are the same as VI except they also allow non-faction hostile PvP. This means if you aren’t faction flagged, and a hostile PvP person is in the zone, they can attack you; and of course, faction members can fight each other. There is no item loss in any zones lower than red. Enter the Red zone, the first place a death means you lose all items on your character (but not silver or gold). The rules are the same as Tier V; PvP marked and faction, but with “full loot”. For this reason, you will rarely see players decked out in max-level gear in Red (or higher) zones because they don’t want to get ganked by a group and lose everything. Once a player enters the Black Zone (VII-VIII) it’s “all open PvP all the time with full loot” with the exception being between guild and alliance members. It’s the wild west.

The game does a good job of easing players into PvP by enticing faction combat as the first step into this experience, and leading the flagging mechanics is a process every new player goes through. Luckily, death only results in a repair bill when a player dies in a Yellow or Blue zone, so it’s a great system that has very little risk for players to get their feet wet.

The Combat in Albion Online is fluid ARPG style strategic fun, also similar to MOBA style games. Each weapon category has a unique set of abilities (e.g. all Nature Staffs have the same Q and W abilities), but each weapon has its own unique E ability. The game uses a combination of click target attacks paired with AoE attacks that don’t require targeting. There are no critical hits in Albion Online. There are numerous mechanics players will learn, especially when it comes to PvP and mounting/dismounting and the engagement timer. When it comes to PvE, players learn about monster aggro ranges, grouping, attack types, and the abilities of the different bosses. While attacks from monsters are telegraphed, attacks from players are not. This is an interesting approach requiring people engaging in PvP to learn the play style of those they are up against. Players can also use surrounding Terrain to their advantage when engaging in PvP, especially in dungeons with traps. I also want to comment on the numerical values relative to combat. Albion doesn’t have crazy damage numbers; instead most damage values are in the double or triple digits, which allows the developers to better control the overall balance of damage as a whole, which is a good sign of a healthy core design.

The two biggest complaints I have about combat are: you cannot “click through” your mount to select an enemy and attack it within your mount radius. This is a big problem when open world fame farming and very frustrating. All they need to do is allow us to hold down shift or something to activate target mode. Second, it is very difficult to differentiate enemy faction players from “PvP flag” non faction players because both have the same color red nameplate, and it’s far easier to quick-check color vs. the type of icon next to a player’s name. SBI needs to make hostile players name label red and non-hostile (other hostile) players orange or some different color.

Faction Warfare is a key mechanic of the game, allowing players to fight for and capture forts and regions in order to provide a buff to all fellow faction members, and also get a solid number of faction points. It’s easy to see what factions control surrounding zones by bringing up the map and selection the faction map option from the upper-right dropdown. The buff provided for capturing regions is well worth it, because if you are open world fame farming in a region your faction controls, you will receive a 15% bonus to all fame and silver.

Bridgewatch vs. Lymhurst!

Changing your weapon/armor abilities on the fly is a key feature of the game, but cannot be done while the character is in active combat.

One key question people ask: Is Combat Balanced? After playing as long as I have, engaging in both PvE and PvP (including large-scale battles), I believe the answer is Yes. Albion is a very balanced game in the sense certain builds can dominate others, and there is no single build that “can do everything” in the game. Some loadouts accel at PvE farming while others specialize in 1v1 PvP ganking. Skill is also a big factor; how well somebody knows and plays their build compared to another makes all of the difference. On top of that we have the impact of Combat Fame invested on the Destiny Board. A player in 4.3 with 50 skill in their main weapon probably won’t have a chance against another player with the exact same gear who has 100-120 in their main weapon; unless there is a big difference in gameplay skill of the selected abilities. Melee, Ranged, Magic, Stealth, DoT; all of these builds are available and can be played effectively across the board, but for planned content types, such as faction ganking, solo black zone roaming, or large-scale ZvZ combat, there are standard “meta” builds that players prefer to run.

Inspecting Other Players is actually one of the best features in the game, because you can not only see exactly what build somebody else is running (and often, which build killed you), you can also save the loadout of any other build you see that might be of interest to try in the future. It’s also a critical tool for deciding if you want to engage in PvP, or act quickly to change your abilities to counter a specific build.

While it would be fun, the game doesn’t support Mounted Combat.

There is the option for players to Overcharge their gear to temporarily increase the IP of their item set, but this mechanic is really only used in Hellgates and Corrupted Dungeon PvP encounters, and requires Siphoned Energy in order to do, which can be acquired through the marketplace, or through guild region control in the black zone.

The Minimap is another key tool in understanding and surviving what events are taking place in a zone. Groups of hostile players (including opposing factions) of 10 or more will show as “blobs” on the minimap, colored either by faction (e.g. green for Lymhurst) or just PvP action (Red). Once you enter the Red Zones, player deaths will also show as animated skulls on the map, helping those trying to avoid being ganked to stay away from those areas. Party members show as little dots, with the leader being the blue dot. Players use the “P” option to ping their location on the map, which is seen by all other party members. There’s also an option to ping any location on the minimap by clicking on the crosshair option above the minimap, then the location on the map itself.

The design of the minimap is frustrating as all of the connecting roads are never NESW. The map is rotated 45 degrees and each side is either NE or SW or SE, etc. This design generates inherit confusion when instructing people “go north”. There is no road that goes north… or south. It’s NE, or NW. Personally, this is probably the only “bad” design I’ve seen in the game.

The Monster AI in Albion Online is very standard. This includes Aggro behavior. It’s not possible to pull single mobs that are group linked, but it’s possible to pull only the mobs associated with protecting a chest in dungeons (which is what dungeon chest runners do).

Another big problem is Chest events in faction zones; other members of your faction can “steal” the contents from the chest by avoiding joining your party. This is a serious design flaw, and I’ve lost millions in silver worth of items to fellow faction members that swoop in at the last few seconds and steal everything they can from the chest, leaving their fellow faction members dry.

The character Hotbar has default keys mapped to the abilities selected based on the equipment, food and potion slots. This includes A (Horse), Q (weapon), W (Weapon), E (Weapon), R (Armor – Chest), D (Armor – Helm), F (Armor – Boots), 1-2 (Potion/Food) and O (Overcharge). The space bar is also key for targeting anyone (or anything) that’s attacking you if you haven’t already targeted them.

One of the first things new players should do is remap the Inspect key from the default Y setting to the ` character of their keyboard.

Travel consists of running, riding Mounts, using Portals, and fast travel Merchants. As mentioned, Mounts are a staple to the core game, requiring the player to consider options of Speed, Defense, Weight, Health and Abilities depending what the mount will be used for (and what the player can afford). Every city has a travel merchant that will allow you to travel to any other major city for a fee based on the value of the equipment you are wearing and have in your inventory. For this reason, many players travel naked between cities if they’re just checking the different market prices so they have no fee (or some players park alt characters in other cities). The Roads of Avalon portals are the most complex network of portals in the game, and allow players to travel vast distances; but this can also be dangerous as a Roads portal and put the player deep in Tier 8 Black Zone territory.

The game has some great player and mount skins for those who want to financially support SBI.

Everyone who plays this game will deal with Death on a regular basis, with the only exception being those who never participate in any level of PvP, but even then, death to world mobs is quite common, especially the high tier ones. If the player is in a Red (Tier VI) or higher zone, death means a total loss of all gear, but not silver. This is why most players run cheap item sets in the “full loot zones”. When not in a Tier VI or higher zone, there is a hit on Item Durability. While at first this value isn’t a big deal, once players get into expensive 8.3 gear, a single death can cost more than $200k silver for repair.

This brings us to Respawn Points. When a character dies, they respawn either in the last major city they were in or at the nearest fortress owned by the faction they represent; but if there is no near fortress and it was a faction death, they will respawn in the same zone, but with their faction flag turned off, which means the character must return to their capital city to flag-up again.


As mentioned above, Albion Online has the best Economy and Market system I’ve seen in any fantasy MMOG. There are a number of currencies to cover, with the core being Silver. This is what players buy and sell Market items with, what they loot from chests, receive as bags for rewards, and obtain from killing mobs in the world. The silver money sinks are repair costs upon death, market fees, auto-respec, and satchels.

Gold is the next core currency, which is used to purchase appearance (MTX) items. Players can purchase gold for real money and also buy and sell gold for silver at an exchange rate of 1:3,391 (at the time of writing this review) in the Gold Exchange, which is built into the game. Gold usually goes up in value towards the end of the month, and dips again the first week of the new month.

Seems Heavy Hide has been going down in value over the past month!

Faction Points are another type of currency that can be used to purchase valuable rewards, include chests, hearts, and other items including baby mounts (which are used to grow the full-sized mounts). Chests are generally the best investment because they provide fame tomes.

Loot while adventuring through the world comes in two primary forms; bag and silver drops from your targets (be it other players in PvP or enemies in PvE), or chests. When it comes to PvP, you get to loot the items the character had, but the game does randomly destroy items, which is a control mechanic to ensure the market doesn’t constantly inflate. So it’s possible to kill a character with a very valuable mount, only to see the mount was destroyed on death. When it comes to PvE, the tier of zone and monsters impact the value of the rewards, and Chests follow the same Tier system of Green, Blue and Purple; but there is also the Legendary Gold chest, which are the most valuable. Overall, the loot is quite RNG; I’ve found an item worth nearly 800k from a Tier V trash mob, but I’ve also gotten a purple chest to drop only 5K in items. On the other hand, I’ve also found a 1.2 million 8.3 item from a green Tier 5 chest. One of the biggest complaints is how random loot drops can be, especially for chests. I agree the nature of loot is all over the board; moreso than any other game I’ve played. But it still works, and can be very rewarding, even if it’s unpredictable.

Now it’s time to talk about the Marketplace in detail. As mentioned, there is a Marketplace in every major city, each segregated from the other. The system is so well designed, using the market is not only fun, but strategically exceptional when it comes to buying, selling, transporting goods between cities, and making profits. Players can post buy and sell orders for any item that exists, or just immediately buy/sell for the items that are available. There is a tax for posting, but it’s lowered to 3% for Premium subscribers, and every item posted has a 1.5% setup fee that is non-refundable. One of the best features of this system is as soon as one of your items sells, you get the silver. Ultimately, the in-game purchase system is flawless; executed with the single click of a button. And posting sell orders is quick and easy. This includes the ability to look at the transaction history graph of any item posted on the market, showing you how many have sold over a period of time, and at what price. This system helps the player determine what time of day and what day of the week is often best to sell specific high-value items.

The market also allows for the purchase of all items to meet a specific loadout, which is great, and constantly used by people who run the Red and Black zones. When they die, they just go to the market, select their loadout and click purchase and not only does the system auto-purchase the items from the loadout, it auto-equips them as well. This means a character can be ready for battle once again in just a few seconds once they are back to the market after a death.

Caerleon also has the Black Market, which is the control system for mob and chest drops. The Black Market merchant purchases items from players at an often inflated rate (allowing for extra profits) and puts them in a queue for fulfilling the loot drops when a mob dies or a chest is open. In the end, players stock the world drops for chests and monsters through this mechanic. The system is genius. For those who want to learn more about the system, additional details can be found here.

Transporting Goods between cities is another key component of the functioning economy. Players will use mounts with excessive carry weight and move both crafted items and raw materials from one region to another for profit. For example, Bridgewatch has very few trees (because it’s plains), so people from Lymhurst run lumber from their city to Bridgewatch and sell the lumber at a much better price than they could have received in Lymhurst.

Something new players are not aware of is they can save their Avatar Rings from the monthly rewards and turn them in for Adventurers tokens to purchase the ring they want.

Albion also features an Albion Marketplace (not to be confused with the in-game City markets), where players can buy Premium for Silver (at this time it’s roughly 10M silver for one month of premium), exchange gold for silver (as covered above) and purchase custom skins for armor and mounts for real money. The skins are very reasonably priced, many look very cool in-game, and SBI has regular sales of the skins to entice people to purchase them. The system is also very quick and efficient; purchasing is ultra easy, and is immediately awarded in-game.

I fully support using real money to purchase custom in-game skins, because it’s how players can financially support SBI for making such a great game.

And finally, let’s ask the question: is Albion Online Pay to Win? No, it is not. The only advantage a paying player achieves over a non-paying player is the ability to progress faster. That’s it. A person who is willing to shell out hundreds (or thousands) of dollars can advance their character at a much faster rate than those who do not. This takes place in the form of purchasing Tomes of Knowledge and other items that provide fame with the click of a button. So a new player could come in, toss down a bunch of money, use a stack of tomes, and be using 8.3 gear on their first day whereas it could take a month for a FTP player to achieve the same. Except when it comes to Premium Subscription (which does provide bonuses), the paying player has no edger over a patient and dedicated non-paying player.

One of my “go-to” bank tabs for switching to different builds for T5 Open World / Faction Farming.


Albion Online is growing on a daily basis, and the game has never been more alive and busy than it is now. While the Black Zone continent is the largest in the game, the majority of players hang out on the main continent, doing zone farming, dungeons, faction warfare, and occasionally red zones. Ultimately, the game is a very solo-friendly experience for those who want to just play at their own speed, but it also supports group-based content for both PvE and PvP.

Albion Online is one of the most culturally diverse MMOGs featuring people from all over the world playing together. Brazil, Russia, Australia, China, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, and Italy are just a few of the countries the friends I’ve made in the game are from. It’s a melting pot like no other I’ve seen, and you will find people from all countries, languages, professions and cultures playing the game, especially since people can play on mobile, PC, Linux and Mac.

The in-game Social system is well designed, allowing players to quickly make and manage friends, which includes seeing when they were last logged in, quickly sending group invites and whispers.

Faction Flagging is a type of community flag since you can work collaboratively with other same-faction members. This creates a passive kinship in the open world as people who see others they do not know but bear the same faction flag often help each other, especially in PvP situations. But it also creates a hostile counterpart as any player flagged as another faction is automatically your enemy.

Parties are easy to form, and people can even invite members of an opposing faction (which prevents fighting), but they won’t be able to heal or help them. Parties support Free and default Party loot mode (which evenly splits the loot). There is a fame boost for parties of 3 or more, starting at 17% for 3 members and ending at 40% for 5 members. A party will automatically convert to a “large party” once more than 5 people are invited, allowing up to 20 people to group together. This is very common for faction or guild events. It’s also easy to invite one group into another; the interface is seamless, and very well designed.

Guilds are a key community tool for operation in the Black Zone, as they can claim territories. A guild have have up to 300 members, and can also feature their own island. Each guild also has a custom created guild crest that all members bear if they are not faction flagged. It’s also possible to set a tax on all income a player makes while fame farming in the world (the tax does not apply to marketplace sales, only silver drops in the world from combat). As with most other MMOGs, guilds have ranks that can be assigned to members, empowering those within the ranks to do things like withdraw money from the guild coffers, or even claim a territory.

There’s an entire system of Black Zone operations tied to guilds which includes building hideouts, and capturing territories, but I will admit, this is the only content I have not participated in, so I can’t really cover it in this review.

Alliances are coalitions of multiple guilds that can befriend and fight with each other.

In order to secure community rewards, SBI has put together a Twitch Drop system where watching select streamers can provide rewards, which may include unlocking MTX.

It’s important to cover the fact that Albion Online has less bots and cheaters than most other MMOGs. I’ve personally seen this to be the case, and many other long-time players have commented as to the same.

It’s time to give some serious praise. Albion’s support system is always handled by real people. Every single EMail submitted to or reported in-game is always reviewed by a person and responded to. Additionally, they take all reports very seriously, as I’ve directly witnessed the support team banning a bot and perma-silencing toxic players. In other words, the support SBI provides for Albion is excellent.

Like all MMOGs, Albion Online does have toxic players, but those who “cross the line” for saying things beyond the standard banter for being killed, or taunting those they are going to kill, have their accounts and all characters on the account permanently silenced. While full account bans are very rare, the perm silence punishment is the most common, yet devastating as those players can never communicate in-game with any other person. Yes, those players can continue to play, but Albion is a community-based game, and being forced to play solo ensures the player misses out on numerous benefits available through communication. Of course there’s the normal “shit talking” from players, but surprisingly, many players simply respond with “gg” after being killed in a PvP battle. There’s many good sports to balance out the bad sports. In the end, I’ve found the majority of people in the game to be friendly players; the key is to just not get angry. A good portion of my friends I met because they killed me (or I killed them), and instead of getting angry, I would message them about their build to learn more. I found that if you just talk with people, they are usually friendly in return. Using Google Translate to read and speak with players of foreign countries makes a huge difference, and I often now find myself talking to others in Russian and even Portuguese. Of course you’ll occasionally encounter the player who is horrible, but for that just Mute them.

All of the cities are bustling with activity during all hours of the day.

The Chat system is fairly traditional and follows the standard breakdown of local, group, guild, alliance, faction, etc. The game also supports Emotes, but not during combat.

The game also has a very cool built-in Rankings system that allows the player to browse the top characters for things like Fame Farming, PvP Kills, Silver Collected, Gathering, Faction accomplishments, and more.

You can send Mail to other players, but only for communication. You cannot send silver or items, but you can receive items through mail tied to event rewards from the game. Characters also receive notice of all items solid on the marketplace via mail.

Players can Trade with each other, but the reality is most people only use the system to trade silver and items with friends. Some people try to sell items in the cities via general chat, but the majority of people ignore them. If you want to buy or sell something, just use the marketplace, as there’s no room for error or scamming.

If you complete a trade while in the open world, your character is prohibited from using the recall feature until you’ve run back to the city, so make sure you only trade with friends in the open world if you’re willing to run back rather than recall.


One of the best features of Albion Online is that it’s Multi-platform (PC, Mac, Linux & Mobile). You can pretty much play this game on any platform, and it plays very well on mobile devices.

The single server infrastructure is solid because every zone is a separate instance, so while the game presents itself as a unified world, the reality is it’s a collection of shard-based fragments that all players can move between. I have experienced some Connection issues, but they were rare and intermittent. There was a five minute period where the world servers went down, but that was it.

The Graphics of Albion Online are fairly simplistic, following the pastel style similar to Torchlight, but the performance and visual presentation is quite solid. The Unity engine is optimized for both PC and Mobile, and I never encountered any graphical issues except a slowdown once when more than a hundred players were on-screen spamming combat abilities with numerous particle effects; but to be fair, this happens in all MMOGs. The User Interface design is basic, but such a basic design is necessary for a cross-platform game. Ultimately, the design works very well and is easy to navigate and use.

Working on those faction points! Almost to Windwalker!

The Sound FX are good. immersing players in the world, and also notifying them of nearby combat or creatures that may be just off the edge of the screen. The Music is excellent, memorable and unique to the game. Hats off to the composer Jonne Valtonen.

There are a few bugs I’ve encountered while playing, but nothing that’s completely game breaking. Sometimes hitting space while being attacked by a NPC fails to target them. This is frustrating when they are standing on your mount. Another issue is with world event chests. I’ve often opened one only to have the chest close a second or two later. There have also been times where I can’t open the chest at all. I can’t think of any other issues, and for a game of this size and scope, these bugs are really trivial at best.

Albion Online uses the multi-platform Easy Anti-Cheat system, which is a very popular system to detect bots, improper tools and packet hacking. Given the extremely limited number of bots and hackers, I would say the tool works very well. Details on the system can be found here.

End Game

Albion Online is a sandbox MMOG. There really is no end-game, although end-game goals are generally to build out specific weapon and armor loadouts to 120 and collect as much silver as possible so a player can do whatever they want (and risk whatever gear they want).

Current options for the end-game of Albion Online consist of:

  1. Maxing combat (weapon/armor) skills and entire skill trees to 100-120.
  2. Purchasing Masterpiece of all gear for the builds you prefer (for non-lethal zone runs).
  3. Maxing Crafting & Gathering.
  4. Playing the market either through crafting or transporting between cities, or both.
  5. Build a strong guild and alliance and take over parts of the black zone.
  6. Build and manage multiple islands (guild included) to start producing farm goods or even rideable mounts.
  7. Engage in faction warfare by organizing groups to take over forts and zones. Can even switch to different factions to try different environments.

I’m sure there’s other things players can do at end-game, but the above list is just a few things. There is also rumor of an upcoming expansion for Albion which is going to add “The Mists of Avalon”, which is going to be PvE content that players can enjoy without the worry of PvP.

In the end, the game is so large it’s nearly impossible for the average player to run out of things to do, even after months or years of gameplay.

We can see the regular end of month spike that takes place in the gold to silver market.


Albion Online is an excellent game. While it can be brutal when it comes to PvP, the core of the world, mechanics, and overall gaming experience is very solid and enjoyable, and there’s always something to do. Tired of PvP? Go gathering. Tired of gathering? Run static dungeons. Tired of static dungeons? Go faction fortress capturing. Tired of faction farming? Give the Roads of Avalon a shot. Tired of that? Journey into black zone and explore. Tired of all of that? Build out your islands and start crafting gear to sell on the market. Feel like transporting goods between one city and another? Perhaps fishing? Want to team with a friend and do PvP? Hellgates await! Want some non-risk group PvP fun? Arena awaits! And of course there’s always open world fame farming. There’s a lot to do in this game for everyone.

As I mentioned in the introduction, this really is a PvP game, but the PvP can be played with a minimal loss (just repair costs) for those who don’t want to venture into the Red and Black zones. But even for those who don’t want to faction flag, the best loot is still in the Tier 5 open world zone, where people can flag for PvP and attack those who aren’t faction members. Ultimately, players will be faced with PvP one way or another if they really play the game.

Albion Online is one of the best MMOGs out there. It’s balanced, fun, immersive, there’s always something to do, and it offers a gameplay style that nearly all gamers can embrace. It has the best market system I’ve seen in a MMOG, and constant events taking place in nearly every zone to keep a player on their toes.

One final question new players have for me is “which build should I start the game with?” Ultimately, it comes down to play style and there are hundreds of YouTube videos for new players recommending builds, but given Open World farming is the best one can spend their time doing (because you can also gather and engage in faction events), I’ve found the Nature Staff builds to be the best in the game.

If you haven’t already, give Albion Online a try; I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!