If you're going to find a new MMORPG, there's a lot you need to look for. Especially if you've committed yourself to one specific game for a long period of time. Ask any World Of Warcraft player and they'll tell you that even when they quit out of disgust or anger, it still felt like cutting off an arm. We recently got a chance to play Albion Online from Sandbox Interactive, one of the newest MMORPG titles to come out of the testing phase and go live as a fully released game. Let's see how this one stacks up, shall we?
Albion Online is a little different than many in the genre as you'll see an emphasis on crafting, both in your personal character's existence and in the world around you. A lot of what you do will feel like an MMORPG version of Minecraft, in the sense that you go out and hunt things down in order to bring them back to your home base and create things. Your home, weapons, clothing, tools, etc. All of it is based on what you do and how good you become at it. The game has a leveling system where, let's say after crafting a number of spears, you master that craft and move up to make a new form of that weapon in a different tier.
Everything you do is on a progression board, much in the style of jobs roles in standard RPG's. If you manage to master something, it will unlock new areas for you to progress into with the goal of making a better character. While this is a great way to see how your progress is charting, you're going to be grinding—a lot. This works for combat where you'll need to kill a certain amount of enemies in order to achieve a higher fighting skill where you can deal more damage to lower enemies. It's nice that everything you do goes toward your goals, but it can take a while to achieve those goals.
Just like the jobs in RPGs, if you decide to start over with a new job, you'll need to start all the way at the bottom. So if you decide to go a specific route and don't like it, remember that going backward will hurt you. Another item that will hamper interest is that when you die, you die for good and anything on you is lost to the world around you. This is only in PvP mode, mind you, which means you're taking the risk that you'll be better than your fellow online opponent, so it's a risk/reward situation. But when you're gone, you are gone! If you manage to kill someone, you do get all their loot, which can be very awesome and help you out. But if you're not into dealing with people who are ganking (and they are in there), best to stay away from this.
One of the true benefits of Albion Online is the fact that community isn't just a theory, it's a practice. You can build your own home in the game, but it is possible to start an entire guild and a city from nothing if you have the right people involved. Getting a town of like-minded people together to head out and take care of business is really the best way to go in this game, which is sad that you can't play a loner forever like you can in WoW if you really wanted to, but it at least teaches you the value of teamwork and cooperation.
That being said, the interface between people sucks. I have not seen many menus that are worse than this one as it becomes a challenge to switch between users and accurately interact with them, let alone get off commands if you're doing parties or raids. You're better off talking to everyone and asking for Skype/Dischord/TeamSpeak names so you can all get on the same page in a better format. Trust me, I speak from experience across a few different titles, this thing needs a new update and a complete remodeling.
If you love crafting and grinding, Albion Online is for you. Everything you do I this game revolves around it in some shape or form, so get used to that concept if crafting is only a so-so thing for you. If that isn't your bag and you're more into the game completing stuff for you at that level, this is not the MMORPG for you. It was still fun despite the time it took to do anything, so I'd also only recommend it for players who are dedicated to finding a new game for them.