Tobold's Blog
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Allods Online thoughts

Allods Online is in "open beta", but as there will be no character wipe between "open beta" and "release", you might as well say the game already launched. The reception is somewhat mixed, which is mostly due to Allods' strong resemblance to World of Warcraft. So people who hate WoW now hate Allods, while others launch the usual complaints about "WoW clones". On the other side the people who like Allods remark that having a game like WoW for free isn't such a bad deal, especially since WoW itself is running out of fresh content.

I played Allods Online a bit in the closed beta, and now deleted the US beta client to install the EU client instead. I created some Gibberlings, but am not in a hurry to play the game, as there are still a lot of other games I'd like to play first. What I liked about Allods was that in spite of a strong resemblance, the game isn't really a clone of WoW. The character classes are quite different, and have some unique combat mechanics: For example the scout has a spell to fill his quiver with a limited number of magical arrows, and as long as there are such arrows in his quiver he'll use those in combat instead of the normal ones. Mages can "pre-cast" spells to have them ready to be cast as instants.

Once the game officially launches, I'll have to have a look at the item shop to decide whether I like it or not. That is always a critical point for Free2Play games, some are well done, others are ripping their players off and destroy the game balance with their item shops. But in any case I don't think I will play Allods very long, because the endgame is one of free-for-all PvP, which is not the kind of game I like. But creating a couple of characters and playing around a bit with them for free, why not?
"But in any case I don't think I will play Allods very long, because the endgame is one of free-for-all PvP, which is not the kind of game I like"

Expect Syncaine response in 3....2.....1
What do you want? A MMORPG blog in which words like PvP, EVE, or Darkfall are banned? Not really feasible!
I spent a decent amount of time playing it last night too. It definitely has its resemblence to WoW and other traditional fantasy MMOs, but what struck me is just how polished and playable it seems to be for a free game. Like you, I'm curious to see how much the item shop plays into it, and more importantly the PvP end-game. That's a dealbreaker, if done wrong.

Also, Gibberlings are ridiculously cool.
I tinkered with it in the closed betas, and find it to be a game well worth investigating. It's still not quite what I want out of an MMO, but neither is it a mere clone. It's a well-crafted game in its own right (regardless of the business model, though I do like it), even if it doesn't stray far from the mainstream MMO design.

If nothing else, the resurgence of Crowd Control mechanics in the game may make MMO vets happy, since that's been lost somewhat in WoW of late.

And yes, Gibberlings are awesome. They aren't going to appeal to everyone, but for something that doesn't really affect how the game *plays*, the notion of the player avatar being a trio of dangerous furballs is curiously compelling.

The Astral lore is good design, too, making for the key feature of Astral ships and the wonky "space island" geography. The "steampunk meets fantasy" overall design ethic is a nice evolution from the fantasy mainstream. (To me, it goes down better than the steampunk elements in WoW, anyway.) The Russian flavor is icing on the cake.

It's just evolutionary enough to be interesting, while not being revolutionary enough to jostle people from the mainstream too much. I'd be more inclined to be revolutionary in any MMO that I were to design, but really, evolution is a safer bet if money is an issue.
I've been playing Allods since CBT#2 and enjoying it. The combat is waaaay slower than I'm used to though. It's nice that, because it's free, I don't feel the obligation to play it all the time, and it's a nice change from my current game(s).

Keen has a good overview of the Cash Shop from when it was enabled briefly in the EU closed beta. Doesn't look like there's anything (so far) that would be a mandatory purchase to be in the least bit competitive.
I just realised that the European version is being supported by gPotato based in my home town of Dublin. For patriotic reasons I feel obliged to give it a go even though I really amn't in an mmo mood at the moment.

Keane's link about the cash shop was enlightening. It sounds as if cash shop purchases will be mandatory to be competitive in pvp but not all that necessary for PVE. Is that a sustainable business model I wonder? Don't PVE players usually outnumber pvp players?
mpb, that's my impression, that PvP has fewer players... but at the same time, I tend to think that PvE players don't feel the drive to compete and have the best stuff nearly as often as PvP players do. As such, it's probably easier to monetize the PvP drive than the PvE drive.
I didn't really like Allods and the main reason was how derivative I found it, but I wouldn't call it a WoW clone. Different parts of it reminded me of different games (the stats reminded me of LOTRO, the talent trees of Diablo 2, the reputation grinds were pure WoW, etc.), but the sum of the parts was just not very pleasing to me.

Just another two-faction, race, class, level, quest to endgame (and by "quest" I mean "kill ten rats") and then PvP sword-and-sorcery MMO.

The main attraction seems to be that it's free, but like a lot of people, I'd generally rather just pay for a game than play it for "free" and deal with all the gameplay effects that flow on from the game needing to be funded via a cash shop.
As you get further and further in to the game, you realize how little it's like WoW. As you mentioned, classes are very different, talents are very unique, and most of the key mechanics aren't WoW like.

The best part is watching Warriors try to tank end-game bosses. Muahahahaha.
Honestly I haven't at all been interested in Allods. I'm just counting the days until it becomes just another blip... a very tiny blip if my guess is right... on the radar.
I like its resemblance to wow, which honestly is pretty superficial, controls mostly that make it easier to just jump in and play.

what amuses me though is the fact that imperials speak Russian! Un accented! first time I heard my orc marauder exclaim "take THAT!" in Russian, I did a double take :P I gotta say, I kinda like it :P enough to play it for a while, despite the pvp factor. its different enough to have me exploring and experimenting :)
"The best part is watching Warriors try to tank end-game bosses. Muahahahaha."

They are going to have the most epic paladin vs warrior forum fights since forever. (People will learn why WoW made the class design choices that they did and why things later changed.)

But I like the soviet style aesthetics on the empire side.
I tried this tonight (after very reluctantly installing windows on my mac ;)), and liked what I saw, for about 10 minutes... Since there's no way to invert the mouse y-axis, I am physically unable to play this game.
Looking at the quality of this game, I am entirely unable to understand why this feature is not in the game at this point.
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