Albion Online is a sandbox MMORPG that offers a new spin on classes and levels, in that there are none. You are whatever gear you equip, so if you want to be an archer, suit up in your mercenary suit and bow. Sick of that? Just change outfits and weapons and you can be a mage or warrior. Albion is hugely based in crafting and gathering but if that’s not your thing either, you don’t have to do much of it after the first few training quests. You can instead go kill PvE enemies, take their silver, and buy new, better gear in the market backed by the player driven economy. Supply and demand is your friend if you’re a former financial nerd like me. I’m not much of a social gamer, so I’m making my silver by harvesting and selling according to what’s up and down on the market that day.
That said, it is absolutely absurd that this game is in the state it’s in and it wasn’t a beta release. There has been a new issue, usually with servers, each day since launch about a week ago and each patch only seems to fix the problem for a day, or at worst, a few hours. The world is hugely overcrowded and that makes gameplay suffer and I’ve rarely been able to login without a sizable wait, not something people that paid for the $100 version of the game are too thrilled about (I was among them because the second I read about the player driven economy, my inner nerd kicked in and I got excited about predicting supply and demand). My very not-a-real-problem problem with this game is that a premium version of the game should come with premium priority in the queues (or maybe I’m just sick of games being released and barely working at all). I’m incredibly disappointed that I activated my premium subscription when I can barely play the game according to my schedule.
Now that I’ve got that off my chest, on to accessibility:
Visual cues are exactly what they should be in a game like this. The ore in the above image has a distinct shape and when you hover over it it tells you which type of ore it is. If it’s a higher level than your tools can harvest, that will show on the screen as well. Different ores all look fairly similar but each has a different color at its base, so after a while you know what you’re harvesting. Trees are equally distinct with birch trees looking like birch trees, chestnut trees are big and distinct like chestnut trees, and so on.
Considering that you can’t control the camera angle at all, save for zooming in and out a bit, your character, other players, and enemies/animals all have a different color silhouette when they’re within your line of sight but obstructed by a tree or cliff or something, as I am in the above image.
The enemy you’re engaged in battle with is outlined in red and switching to a different target is as easy as clicking on it. There’s also a shortcut key for each function you can use in battle and hovering over that icon provides a description of each one.
The green progress bars are helpful when healing yourself or harvesting, as the sound each makes also indicates the stage of each, and on the top right of the screen you can find the list, which is re-sizable, of each of your Destiny Board tasks.
My one gripe with this game, aside from the fact that it’s not worked for me more than it has, is that you can’t place map markers or waypoints. Without being able to move the camera, it drove me crazy having to open the map every 30 seconds to make sure I was going in the right direction or not heading into an area higher than my ability level. That has absolutely nothing to do with deaf accessibility though.
In terms of player communication, there’s text chat and it’s highly customizable. You can select what you do and don’t want to see (help chat, guild chat, global chat, etc.) and you can also scale the chat window. Each different chat channel also has a different color. One feature that I really appreciated about this game was that when in a guild, all members wear the logo on their shields and/or capes. That’s a nice bit of personalization in a game that’s otherwise pretty light on those options. Dialogue with NPCs is rare but when it does happen, it’s all displayed in a large beige window that you can close out whenever you’re through reading it.
For an MMORPG, Albion Online does great with deaf accessibility. It has the potential to be a great game but right now there’s too many issues that render it barely playable, so this is one I’d hold off on for a while, until they figure servers out.
Visual indicators are helpful for the sort of game it is
All dialogue is captioned and easy to read
All chat channels have different color text and the window is re-sizable
In terms of accessibility, nothing