As I see it, this game at the moment is just another "grind for gear progression" game, with the usual "pay 2 grind less" elements (aka premium) added.
Some Thoughts on Albion Online Progression
As I see it, this game at the moment is just another "grind for gear progression" game, with the usual "pay 2 grind less" elements (aka premium) added. Boring. Why implementing the next asia grinder or wow clone, when you could invent something different?
Especially I see the following problems:
There is a concept missing, how a player starting some time after launch can become viable or even can catch up. Making low tier ressources needed up to max level or enforcing logistics through local markets are steps in the right direction, but not enough.
Too much stuff is hidden behind a lot of meaningless grind walls. Example: why do I have to gather combat XP with an axe, to be able to use a crossbow?
Here are some ideas how to make it different:
There is too much complexity (x.y system, mixture of type with material), but choices are not meaningful enough. An armour with more protection should slow you down considerably, so that there is a real choice to be made between protection and mobility. There should not be the overall best armor, but only proper tools for a certain combat role.
In medieaval times there existed a "tier system" for armor:
0.) plain clothes
3.) metal plates
These were not worn as alternative, but each layer was added on top. So a knight in full armor would wear undergarment (0), a buffer layer (1), a mail shirt (2) and some metal pieces (helmet, shoulders, breastplate, ...) (3). Each additional layer needs more strength and experience to wear, offers more protection, but is exhausting and slows you down. This could be simulated by reduced movement speed and energy regeneration while wearing heavier armor.
So a useful combat progression would be to gather enough XP in one layer to be able to wear the next layer. This progression should not take that long (some weeks?), so that a player has more choices fast. After that there can be a progression in abilities, so that more combat XP in a type of armor will make the strength of this type stronger, NOT reduce the weakness. The "gambeson skill" should make the hero move faster or dodge better when wearing only a gambeson, the "plate skill" should give more protection while fighting in plate armor. Make the hero better, not the armor!
Magic and armor: don't exclude armor types, but instead give a malus. More metal worn, more energy needed for casting!
The spell/ability slots on the piece of armor should enforce the role:
Light armour = better evasion, faster movement, reducing aggro, ...
Heavy armour = more hp, more resistance, more aggro, ...
The same principles should apply: enable the player to use different stuff fast, and enforce real decisions. There should be slow heavy hitting weapons and fast weapons with less damage, but a better chance to hit or to parry an attack.
When a progression system for weapons is needed, why inventing artificial tier grind walls? The reality is much better!
=> => Two handed axe
=> => Two daggers
=> => parry dagger
=> => Spear
=> => => helberd
=> => Two handed sword
When more complexity (or grind) is needed, advancement in more than one area might be necessary to unlock a new weapon type.
Example: helberd needs spear AND axe.
=> hunting bow
=> => longbow
=> => siege crossbow
The difference (enforcing a decision!) between bow and crossbow is that a bow has a much higher firing sequence, but less reach and less damage. Additionally, like in reality, a longbow should need much more combat XP to unlock than a heavy crossbow.
There are two directions of progression: from a simple to a more complex weapon, enabling a player to fulfill different roles, and gaining XP in a single weapon, while enhancing proficiency.
Since this is a game with full loot pvp, equipment during a war should be considered as consumable. When the expertise is in the hero wearing it, NOT in the individual piece of equipment, the tier/quality of the equipment should make only a minor difference. So even a novice crafter can help keeping the army in the field.
When a progression system for production is needed, why inventing artificial tier grind walls? The reality is much better!
Example cloth: linnen - linnen fibre - thread - cloth - gambeson
Example metal: ore - ingot - wire - ring - mail shirt
Again there are two directions of progression: from a simple to a more complex production step, enabling a player to fulfill different roles, and gaining XP in a single role, while enhancing production speed and ressource usage. So a new player can help in production from day one, and be competitive in a single role fast.
Back to my initial question: how can a new player be competitive and catch up to the veterans?
By specializing and because the progression (unlocking and then getting better in a certain aspect) should only have a limited number of levels. So a veteran has more choices, but in ONE role the newbie can be equally good or even better when specializing on this role. This all needs a combat and production system, where different roles are not only possible, but needed to be successful!
Some thoughts on Albion laborers, islands, alts, and progression
As most of us have figured out at this point the end goal of the dev's in this last beta seems to be encouraging people (naked with flee boots) to farm in red/black zones to create "pvp".