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Albion Online [Official Site] recently launched with full Linux support on day-1. It’s an interesting sandbox MMO that I’ve put quite a bit of time into already. Sadly, the launch hasn’t been great at all.

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I should note, that my key was personally purchased at the middle tier, with Evolve PR giving me an upgrade to the higher tier just before release so I could check it out on the first day.

To be completely honest, the initial launch was an absolute mess. The server just couldn’t cope with the amount of people they had trying to login. The same issue happened on the second and third day, but now it seems to be quite a bit more stable. On the first day they had no queue system, so everyone was jumping in at the same time. It took Sin 50+ minutes to login during the release day livestream as it would get stuck on a loading screen, or give a black screen instead of the game. Once we did get in it just didn’t work due to lag and overpopulation.

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The time on the login queue is never correct, as they let people in quite quickly, so it may initially say an hour and then let you in 5 minutes later.

They do now have a login queue system in place, so they did improved things quite quickly in their defence. However, having a server queue doesn’t fix the other major population issue. Let’s take the town of ‘Fort Sterling’ as an example, the town I decided to base our guild island out of (so you get free travel to it from this town). Regular players of Albion will be quite used to seeing this message at the top of their screen already: “Region Overpopulated!”. At one point it had well over one thousand people in it and the server was so choked you couldn’t move. It would let you run, then rubber band you back constantly. The local chat was utterly rammed with complaints about not being able to move.

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What they’ve done now is limit certain areas to a max population, but the problem with that is then tons of people can’t enter. I’ve seen massive groups of people sat outside a town because they just can’t enter. This is a major issue, since each town has a local chest in the middle where you can store tons of loot, gear, resources and so on. If it’s too busy, you’re out of luck. If your guild island happens to be there, you’re also out of luck, unless you want to pay precious silver to travel there from another town.

It's quite surprising that they know full well they can't have unlimited people in one area, so all they do is limit those single instances to a max population, forcing everyone else to wait.

Many other MMOs use multiple instances of the same area. Where only a certain amount of people enter each instance of an area, but the area and everything you can access is the same. It means a single area isn’t overloaded, which is why other games do it. I asked why Albion doesn’t do this and I was told the game wasn’t designed with that in mind. That’s a pretty huge oversight in my opinion, since if they continue to remain as popular as they are, or even more so in future, then it’s going to be a really big problem.

People have argued on their official forum that things will calm down when the initial hype vanishes and people play less or leave, but how is that a solution at all? A solution to overpopulation, is not to wait and see if people leave.

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Instances aren’t always the correct solution though, I’m not blind to that, since then not everyone would be able to see each other and it wouldn’t be their dream of a single server MMO where everyone’s together. What they've currently done is hide all other players if a town reaches a certain population, so you end up feeling very alone anyway. As mentioned, if the current population trend stays as it is or gets higher, they’re in for many more complaints. They did say instances become a "more interesting option" if the population numbers stay the same.

It’s still early days yet, but I can't help feeling that these are issues the developer should have anticipated. I don't claim to have any answers on that, as I'm not a game developer. I am a gamer and those are just my honest thoughts on the matter. I’m hopeful for the future of Albion Online and considering the numbers they have playing, it is a very healthy sign for the future of the game. They just need to act fast on sorting the issues out, otherwise I do fear their popularity will be short lived.

It might seem like I'm being overly critical, but the time I have been able to play it properly have so far been really quite enjoyable. The enjoyment does evaporate when you get stuck trying to leave a town for half an hour though. We have a decent little guild going, we have a nice little guild island and it’s a surprisingly relaxing game. My previous concerns about the game not having enough PvE has so far not been an issue, so that's great too.

The most surprising thing is that I'm finding the lack of a story and the void of traditional quests incredibly refreshing. No running here or there trying to find someone with an exclamation mark above their head, to be told to go somewhere, fetch something and come back. I do whatever the hell I feel like doing, and it provides a fulfilling experience.

It’s fantastic to have such an MMO on Linux, I just hope they manage this first month better than the first few days. I will have more to say about it in a week or two, hopefully when it's settled down more and I can experience more of the game without server issues.
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micha 21 July 2017 at 11:26 am UTC
Btw. for those with launcher problems (only on distributions we do not supported officially support to my knowledge). We now deploy the latest client without the launcher to this URL:

http://live.albiononline.com/clients/albion-online-fullgame-linux.zip

Of course that means you have to manually re-download it every time we deploy a new version/patch.
Zlopez 21 July 2017 at 11:58 am UTC
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michaBtw. for those with launcher problems (only on distributions we do not supported officially support to my knowledge). We now deploy the latest client without the launcher to this URL:

http://live.albiononline.com/clients/albion-online-fullgame-linux.zip

Of course that means you have to manually re-download it every time we deploy a new version/patch.

There is also flatpak package which could be installed using these commands:
flatpak --user remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo flatpak --user install flathub com.albiononline.AlbionOnline
liamdawe 21 July 2017 at 11:58 am UTC
michaBtw. for those with launcher problems (only on distributions we do not supported officially support to my knowledge). We now deploy the latest client without the launcher to this URL:

http://live.albiononline.com/clients/albion-online-fullgame-linux.zip

Of course that means you have to manually re-download it every time we deploy a new version/patch.
While you're here, any plans to add in AA as a graphical option?
Krogash86 21 July 2017 at 12:10 pm UTC
Hi, will this game be availlable on Steam ?
razing32 21 July 2017 at 12:15 pm UTC
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Hmm , was looking forward to a Linux mmo like this , but I will probably wait for things to stabilize and see if they get any better.
As is , after I saw Sin try to play , it looked like a bit of a mess.
lovemytux 21 July 2017 at 12:42 pm UTC
razing32Hmm , was looking forward to a Linux mmo like this , but I will probably wait for things to stabilize and see if they get any better.
As is , after I saw Sin try to play , it looked like a bit of a mess.
Totally agree, but I am afraid that I will purchase the game during the weekend
psycho_driver 21 July 2017 at 1:11 pm UTC
I purchased the game last night. Had no trouble downloading the client or logging in. Ran great on my weird gentoo system. Looks like an i7-2600 & gtx 960 are more than enough for it, even in a town with hundreds of people it was at 45% gpu use and no cpu cores maxed.

Even if I don't end up playing it much I don't regret supporting a company that obviously put some time and effort into their linux port.

My IGN is Kedvic if someone wants a not-around-very-often straggler in their guild or friends list.


Last edited by psycho_driver at 21 July 2017 at 1:12 pm UTC
micha 21 July 2017 at 1:12 pm UTC
liamdaweWhile you're here, any plans to add in AA as a graphical option?

I actually added FXAA a few days before release. It probably won't go live though before the next major update in ~8 weeks. The reason is that our current working version is already quite different from the live version and would be too risky to just merge that in with a minor update. Also I just added an _Ultra_ quality settings mode (same as high but with AA). Future plans are to have AA and other settings as individual options but not sure what the UI team priorities are atm. So I cannot say which version it will be once deployed live. All I can tell is that AA and possible other nice post-processing options which are currently evaluated by our artists will come to Albion Online in the not too distant future. =)


Last edited by micha at 21 July 2017 at 1:12 pm UTC
liamdawe 21 July 2017 at 1:22 pm UTC
micha
liamdaweWhile you're here, any plans to add in AA as a graphical option?

I actually added FXAA a few days before release. It probably won't go live though before the next major update in ~8 weeks. The reason is that our current working version is already quite different from the live version and would be too risky to just merge that in with a minor update. Also I just added an _Ultra_ quality settings mode (same as high but with AA). Future plans are to have AA and other settings as individual options but not sure what the UI team priorities are atm. So I cannot say which version it will be once deployed live. All I can tell is that AA and possible other nice post-processing options which are currently evaluated by our artists will come to Albion Online in the not too distant future. =)
Fantastic, really pleased to hear that.
Avehicle7887 21 July 2017 at 1:40 pm UTC
Launches like this are pretty normal for MMOs, I remember when Guild Wars 1 was released in 2005, rubberbands, frequent disconnects and lag were the daily breakfast. Exciting times :-)

So far I like what I see, may pick it up soon.
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