The next major content update for Albion Online, Merlyn, is coming soon. In this Dev Talk, Robin Henkys, Game Director of Albion Online, describes some of the features coming with this update.
No time to watch the video? Read on for a written description of his talk:
The Key Idea: Strengthening the Royal Cities
The primary goal of the Merlyn update is to increase the importance of the various cities on the Royal Continent. Each of the continent's cities has its own visual identity and biome, but economically they play a secondary role to Caerleon. With the Merlyn update, we're looking to change this.
The first step toward strengthening these cities will be to introduce two types of economic bonuses: refining bonuses and crafting bonuses.
Each Royal city will be particularly good at refining a particular resource – and to encourage cross-continent transport, it will always be a resource that is not common to the region. If you refine this particular resource in this particular city, you will get a lot more refined resources out of your raw materials.
From a narrative perspective this is due to the city having mastered the effective use of a scarce resource. After all, even in the real world, we only ever become efficient at using resources when they become scarce and expensive.
In addition, each city will be particularly good at crafting particular sets of items. We're aiming for a good balance between items that make sense in the local biomes (such as bows in Lymhurst) and items that are less typical for the area to make each city valuable.
Note that while Caerleon itself will not receive any of these bonuses, home territories in the Outlands will remain strong. Crafting in these territories will always be at least as effective as crafting your items in the city with the highest bonus, so players who are already doing their crafting in black zones can continue to do so.
Resource Distribution Changes
To make the various Royal cities more attractive for gatherers as well, the Merlyn update will see a rebalancing of resource distribution. Enchanted lower-tier resources will be far more common near each biome city, while the amount of lower-tier resources in the Outlands and around Caerleon will decrease.
With these economic changes, we're confident we will see the economic standing of the outlying Royal cities increase significantly.
Improved Marketplace UI
To support this increased economic activity, we're also finally bringing the updated UI to the Marketplace. This will significantly improve the ability of players to track trade volumes and average prices, and will greatly streamline the trading process throughout the world of Albion.
But what about players who want to participate in PvP, and currently have Caerleon as their only home option? For these players, we'll be introducing a new feature with the Merlyn update: faction warfare!
The outlying cities have discovered powerful new magical resources within their territorial borders, and have used them to buy their freedom from the king. These "free cities" immediately began fighting among themselves, vying for control of these resources, with each city trying to establish itself as Albion's greatest.
To gain the upper hand in this conflict, the cities' leaders have begun hiring mercenaries to fight for them. When players sign up with a faction, they gain the ability to kill and loot members of opposing factions wherever they encounter them.
They will also be handsomely rewarded for any PvE and faction PvP activities they engage in while signed up. Each faction has access to a unique set of rewards, which include new baby animals (which can be grown into powerful faction mounts), as well as new crafting patterns which can be used to create a wide variety of different capes, opening the cape slot as a new tactical option for Albion players.
In addition, faction warfare will introduce two new activities to the world of Albion: outpost capturing and trade caravans.
In outpost capturing, faction-flagged players can attempt to claim outposts belonging to opposing factions by killing the faction champion guarding the outpost.
And with trade caravans, players can transport valuable faction goods to smuggling posts in order to exchange them for larger amounts of different faction goods, all while running the risk of getting attacked by an opposing faction's members.
All in all, these faction warfare features should really breathe life into PvP on the Royal Continent, and we're very excited to bring them to life.
That's all for today – we'll be sharing more details on these and other features of the Merlyn update in upcoming Dev Talks, so stay tuned!