Just finished the second part of my Psion guide over at Novograd Times. Take a look at it and let me know what you think! It can be found right here!!!!
Just a heads up for any Allods Online fans that read Corpse Run. I am now writing for Novograd Times, one of the best Allods fansites out there!
At the moment, I am mainly writing on the Psionicist, though I might expand that as time goes on. Take a look at part one of my Psion guide. I plan to have part two ready soon.
This is my first attempt at writing an actual class guide and hopefully it was a decent first stab. Take a look and tell me what ya think!
Wouldn’t ya know it? As soon as I post my final beta thoughts for Allods Online, they extend the beta for a week. Not really upset, as it gives me more time to play on my Psion and cement my main character choice.
In addition to extending the beta, they have opened it up for everyone with no key. So, if you have been on the fence about Allods and never got a key, now is your chance to try it out!
I was browsing over on Keen’s blog today and saw an amazing Astral Ship video. It was the first Astral video that really made me realize how massive and impressive the Astral ships were. It also makes me realize how unique this experience is going to be. It gave me chills as I watched the video and saw how expansive the Astral is and how team work and communication will be needed. It looks to be a very, very unique experience.
I disagree with Tesh about the teamwork requirement for Astral Ships. He wants Allods Online to drop the group requirement from Astral ships and, while I can understand the wish for solo content, I think doing that will take away a lot of the “epicness” of Astral Ships in battle and exploration.
I think the main ships should keep the group requirement but a second, smaller, ship should be available for personal Astral exploration. Perhaps make some Allods solo instances? That would allow you to own your very own ship and not take away from the grandness of the existing ships.
By the way, I am glad to see my assumption was correct! Allods Online’s “space” battles are a lot better than ST:O’s. Like, a metric ton better. The epic feeling you get from AO’s Astral ships can not be matched in any game, including ST:O.
I find it ironic that, of the MMOs featuring “space” exploration/combat, that ST:O is a distant third. Behind Eve and AO. But, then again, it serves Cryptic right!
Today the Closed Beta ends for Allods Online. At least, we are pretty sure this is the last one before Open Beta and release. They have not communicated to us their plans for after today but from prior communication we have every reason to believe this is the last.
I approach today’s ending with torn feelings. On one hand, I am excited for release. On the other hand, I really do not want to see my characters get wiped. I have become pretty attached to a couple of them.
I am going to give my final impressions here shortly but to sum up, for those who do not want to read it all, I am mightily impressed. The greatest thing about my feelings on the game is that I got more impressed as my gameplay increased instead of less. The game is very well put together and has been fun the entire way through. Read on to find out my more detailed final impressions!
Graphics and Animations
Allods impresses early with this one. Though the graphics are not near as detailed as Age of Conan, they have a nice feel to them. The art direction is amazing in Allods. It begins in the tutorial and stays sharp and creative the entire way through. Both sides (League and Empire) have their own style, one that is immediately distinguishable from the other.
Animations are superb and creative as well. For the most part, every race moves and fights fluidly. The sole exception is the Empire humans, which seem to move a bit stiffly. The magic animations are a nice balance between flashy and too flashy to run on most systems and they are creative as all hell.
For instance, the level seven Human racial for the Psionicist is an ability that makes you immune to damage for ten seconds, while also making you unable to move or cast spells. The first time I triggered the spell I figured I would see the standard “bubble shield” animation that you normally see for this type of spell. But no…
Instead, my Psion took off straight into the air like a rocket, reached a high altitude, exploded in an impressive display of light and fell back to the ground right where he took off. By the way, he also left his boots on the ground.
It is little things like that and the artistic “feel” of the game that really set Allods Online apart from the myriad of WoW-clones out there. It has its own feel that is completely its own, despite having the “cartoony” style graphics of WoW. Allods Online has a world all its own and it looks fantastic.
Allods Psionicist: The strangest, craziest, most insanely weirdest class I have ever played….but possibly also the coolest.
A couple of nights ago I made a Psionicist in Allods. I have heard that they are, without a doubt, the least played class in the game. I am a curious guy, so I decided to find out why. Thus was born Vyshinsky.
Now, I am not one for cloth-type casters. Matter of fact, I have never played one as a main. I prefer a more “in-your-face” style and/or physical DPS. I have played a couple of healers but that is as close as I get to the standard “mage” archetype.
The Psionicist is no standard “mage”.
They are unlike anything I have ever played in a MMO before. They can put out a decent amount of DPS, though no match for a mage or scout in Allods. But, DPS is not what they are there for, they are there to, simply put, give a mass headache to the opposing force.
Psionicists provide a metric ton of CC. Stuns, paralyze, Pulls, roots….it’s all there. At level cap and if specced for it, a Psionicists CC abilities outnumber their DPS abilities by nearly two to one!
Let’s go over an early fight with a Psionicist in PvE.
The first cast a Psion will use is “Mental-Link”. This is a six second cast and establishes a mental-link with the target, opening up more abilities to be used and causing spells that are cast against this target to regenerate mana. Once the target is mental-linked, there are three abilities that open up for use. One is a paralyze effect, which is a ten second stun, the next is a DoT and the last is a large direct damage spell. These abilities can be used once on the target, they go away after the first use of any of them.
After the mental-link is in place, you can start to DPS the target using Mental Shock, which is a channeled ability that does a small amount of damage with each pulse. Now, of course, by this time the mob is very angry and heading straight for you. Considering the fact you are wearing cloth, this is not a good thing, so what to do?
How about a bit of Mental-Twin?
This is an instant cast that allows you to place a “twin” of yourself down anywhere close by. This does two things. First, it makes you invisible to your target, though other targets can see you just fine. Second, it causes the mob to aggro your twin and beat on him. All the while you are DPS’ing to your heart’s content.
At low-level, it does not take long to get the target near death, at which point you can break your mental-link, which causes massive amounts of damage and finishes your opponent off.
Normally, during the fight or on the killing blow, you will get a buff that makes your next mental-link an instant cast. This makes grinding mobs and killing stuff quickly an easier task to carry out.
I made a quick video showing the Psion at low levels. Take a look:
All of this is low-level, so what do you get at higher levels? Take a look at these abilities:
- Hypnotize: hypnotize the target and makes them incapable of action for up to one minute.
- Mental Pulse: AoE that throws back all enemies in range and stuns them for two seconds.
- Cloud Vision: Blinds target for one minute if out of combat and ten seconds if in combat.
- Telekinetic Pull: Draws all enemies in a twenty yard radius, knocks them down and has a 10% chance to stun them for three seconds.
- Wall of Blades: Creates a magnetic field which disarms all opponents, places a DoT on them and makes you immune to physical damage for the duration of the ability.
- Spectral Assassin: Creates a mirror image of the target, which then attacks the target. Can only be damaged by the target and the assassin gets stronger every second it remains alive.
- Loop of Time: Sends you back in time ten seconds and puts you in the state you were in at that time.
Those abilities make for a pretty unique class. It also make the Psion, potentially, one of the most irritating classes to fight in a PvP situation. They really remind me of the early DAoC days, when a well-timed CC could decide the victor of many PvP group fights.
I really look forward to going further with this class and seeing how they mature. Just another on my list of “possible mains” in Allods Online.
Today I downloaded the trial for Alganon. I have heard some really bad things about it but decided to give it a try and see if it offered anything to the genre. Rather than do a normal impressions post, I am going to compare Alganon to Allods and see how that turns out.
Both Allods and Alganon can be termed “WoW-clones”, at least at first glance. Both use the tried and true quest leveling system, similar U.I.s and the standard “holy-trinity” of Dps, tank, healer. Do either of them offer anything new at all?
Alganon’s character creation is identical to WoW and when I say identical, I mean identical. Take a look:
Now, take a look at the WoW creation screen:
Notice anything similar? Maybe exactly alike? All information is presented in the exact same sequence. Faction, race and class on the right, all other stuff on the left. Alganon has a family choice, which seems to have no effect on game play that I could tell.
Now, here is Allods Online:
All the same information is displayed but there is a big difference in the way it is presented. Allods Online has a different presentation from WoW, while Alganon just looks like a cheap rip-off.
Alganon has two races, which compromise two factions, so not many choices there. Alganon also has very standard classes, with four choices; soldier, ranger, healer and magus. Again, not much to choose from in the game. Allods, by comparison, offers 6 races, compromising 2 factions and allows for eight different class options. Quite a bit more variety in Allods Online.
Once you actually get into the game, Alganon continues with the WoW imitation. Take a look at the U.I.:
Ok, this is bordering on plagiarism. The U.I. is identical. Look at the training U.I., it is exactly like WoW. Identical. The other thing that gives me a chuckle is the fact that Alganon uses an Arial font for everything. What?!? They couldn’t even be bothered to be a little bit creative with the font? This is lazy design at its worst.
Take a look at Allods Online:
Now, the U.I. is my least favorite part of Allods Online right now, it needs some work. But, it still out does Alganon because it is not 100% recycled from WoW. It has all the pertinent information but presents it in an interface that looks different. Can you say creativity? Quest Online (Alganon’s creator) obviously can not.
Graphically it is night and day. Alganon has horrible, horrible character graphics and animations. The textures are fuzzy and the game looks just plain bad. Allods Online, while not a graphical powerhouse like Age of Conan, looks really good. Animations are really well done and the textures look good up close or from afar. The discrepancy is impossible to ignore. Alganon looks worse than WoW, while Allods looks like a crisper, sharper version of WoW. All three use a similar artistic style but Alganon does a very poor imitation. You can certainly see the lack of creativity of Quest Online as they recycle the old WoW style, while Astrum Nival (Allods Online devs) take that artistic style and make it their own.
So, do either offer anything beyond a “WoW-clone” experience?
Alganon has a tacked on off-line study system that allows you to learn skills while logged off but that is about it from what I can tell. Nothing else separates the two and the study system does not seem well implemented anyway. Other than that, I can see nothing that would make anyone want to play Alganon over WoW. It is simply a rough, buggy and terribly implemented version of WoW.
Allods Online, on the other hand, has game play similar to WoW. The normal quests, instances and rep grinds exist in Allods that are in WoW but at the end Allods offers Astral ships and more World PvP. Astral ships separate Allods from WoW and every other MMO out there. It seems to be completely new for the genre. In addition, everything in Allods seems well implemented and well done.
The funny thing is Alganon costs $50 and requires a $15 monthly fee, whereas Allods Online is free to play. If you loaded up both these games and played each for a couple of hours you would think the opposite. Alganon is so bad, so underwhelming and so bad in its implementation, you think it should be free to play.
By the way, if I were Blizzard I would seriously consider a copyright lawsuit. I have never seen a game that so totally rips off content from another like this, art assets are taken verbatim from WoW. It is a sad thing to see.
I seem to find myself with a couple few Allods Online beta invites. Rather than let them go unused, I figured I would hand them out here.
First two folks Anyone who replies until I run out gets them! Reply away folks! Please leave an email address so I can send ‘em out!
Allods is a fantastic game as it is, great combat, great questing…the whole nine yards. The best part of it, in my mind, is the distinct and unique atmosphere. The mix of space and fantasy, the Empire’s Soviet propaganda posters, all of that sets it apart.
I wish they would have taken it further. Made it even more unique and interesting. I was sitting at lunch today and thinking how I would do it and this is what I came up with.
First of all, three factions. It worked very well in DAoC. It helps balance everything and makes for a more interesting world. So, three factions. But what three factions? Well, let’s continue a bit with the Soviet motif. Let’s take it a bit further and fill out the factions along those lines. Furthermore, let’s set it in a familiar setting: World War II. Let’s take the current fantasy setting, expand the Soviet influence on the Empire side and then go from there. Here is what I came up with:
- Legion: Same races in this one. Elf, Gibberling and Human
Pretend this was a Gibberling. This will represent our “Allied” side of the equation. This faction will have a British/American/French feel to it. Stick with the normal fantasy feel but interspersed with War Bond posters, Allied propaganda and a Female Gibberling Flexing. NPCs would have French, British or American accents. Black-out notices would be posted on walls.
- The Empire: This factions changes up a bit. Remove Orcs but keep humans and Arisen. Replace the Orcs with Dwarves. Go really heavy on the Soviet feel. Soviet propaganda, a fatalistic “no retreat” feel. Talk of the Motherland, Russian accents. Dwarves will fit right in.
- The Reich: The new faction. For this one we are gonna move Orcs over as the “seed” of the faction. In addition, humans will also make up part of the faction. Humans in every faction will help to balance things out. For the final piece, we introduce Werewolves. Fits in nicely with the Nazi feel. Again, German accents, heavily stylized propaganda posters. Talk of the Fatherland. A sense of elitism and entitlement. Of course, we are going to leave out the Holocaust, which has no place in the game and go for a straight up parody of Nazi Germany.
The more I think about it, the more I think this could work. Each faction has humans, which are always very popular. Each faction had one really cool race; Gibberling, Arisen and Werewolf. This will also balance things out. It would be a truly unique MMO and could lead to some amazing game play. The quests alone could be pretty amazing and the instance possibilities huge.
What do ya think? Sound like a game you would want to play?
Having decided that I am in Allods for the long haul, it being a fantastic game and all, I have struggled about what to do about a guild. I thought of joining Keen’s guild but I just do not want to be Legion. I hate elves, especially those with fairy wings, I think Gibberlings would be fun until the novelty wore off and so that would leave only human for me. The Empire side, however, offers humans, Orcs and robotic undead. Really now, how can you beat that?
After thinking long and hard about what I wanted to do, I decided that I am doing what I haven’t done since TBC-era WoW: Create my own Guild. I have a several friends from my old Guild who will be joining me in Allods, real life friends, relatives and former Guild mates that have played MMOs with me for a number of years, so we have a nice core of members already.
Tonight I set up our guild site on Guild Launch and started preliminary organization of the Guild. A few of us ran through possible Guild names and settled on one that may be controversial for stupid reasons: Reich-n-Roll. Why that name, with its possible bad connotations to the Third Reich? Well, we wanted to make something original, that kept to the Russian/German WWII-era feel of the Empire side. The name sounded interesting and somewhat unique, so we went with it.
To attempt to head off any possible prejudgment, I put a disclaimer on the main Guild site that reads as follows:
***IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER*** Despite the usage of the word Reich in our Guild name, we are not, nor do we intend to be, a “Nazi” guild. We use the name simply because of the Russian/German era World War II “feel” of the Empire side. We do not condone racist or “neo-nazi” actions in game or out, nor do we want those kinds of people in our Guild. Our members are composed of all races and religions and we respect each and every one. If you are one of the aforementioned “neo-nazi” or racist people and were attracted by the Guild name, please do not bother to apply. You are not wanted and will not last long in our Guild. Thank you.
I am hoping that will keep people from seeing the name and assuming the worst of us. We are truly a good group of folks and our membership counts many races and religions among our ranks.
So, what do you think? Are we just asking for trouble or can the name stand? We have backups if necessary but we really do not want to use them, if possible.
By the way, if you have any interest in a good community of folks on the Empire side, please do not hesitate to apply. We need all the mature, skilled and fun loving members we can get to realize our Guild goals! Our website can be found here, just put in an application on the forums and I will get back to you!
Well, I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and a good New Years! For me, I am glad it is over. Working in retail makes the holidays real stressful. That said, I enjoyed my time with my family and I hope you folks did as well.
So, what have I been doing gaming-wise? Pretty much the same thing I was doing before the holidays. Splitting my time between Darkfall and Allods Online. Two totally different games that I enjoy for very different reasons.
As far as Allods is concerned, I have leveled five characters to level 10 or above. I am not leveling too high on any of them, simply because I do not want to get burned out and I would like the leveling experience 15 and up to be as fresh as possible after release. I already know I am going to play a lot of the game after release, so there is no reason to level a character and then watch in dismay as all my hard work is deleted by a server purge.
So far, I believe I enjoy my Paladin the most. He starts off slow as far as damage is concerned but once I got a two-hander at level ten, the time to kill decreases substantially. In addition, he can take a ton of damage.
One thing about Allods that I really like is how much talent specs mean to your character. Like WoW, a different talent spec can totally change how you play and even the purpose of your class. This is a nice change from WAR and Aion, where I felt that spec meant very little, as least compared to WoW. A mêlée DPS paladin plays a lot different from a tank paladin, which plays very different from a magic DPS paladin. Your stat allocation will also radically change the effectiveness of your class. All this put together means that two paladins are rarely alike, a welcome change from Aion and WAR.
After leaving the starting city the game opens up tremendously. The zone outside the capital city is huge and gives reminiscence to the zones surrounding Ironforge and Stormwind. It certainly increases immersion and there is awe while approaching the city, to see how large and all-encompassing it is. Again, a stark contrast to WAR and Aion, where the capital cities are their own zones. The area around the Empire capital reminds me of Arathi Highlands in WoW, rolling hills, bordered by mountain ranges. The are seems at least as big as Arathi and there are tons of quest hubs located across the map.
Questing is another thing done right. There is a good mix of solo and group quests and enough diversity in the type of quests to satisfy. There is no “ground-breaking” innovation in quests, as they are all the standard kill quests, collection quests and Fed-ex quests, but they are interspersed well and all are well written and interesting.
Quest awards are well thought out and seem to have a good loot table. This is a nice contrast to WAR and Aion, which seemed to have useless quest rewards in many cases, or quest rewards that were poorly itemized.
The gear also looks very nice, keeping to the Soviet style of the Empire. Military style hats and helms abound and the game has really integrated the World War II Soviet/Nazi style with the standard fantasy MMO style. Really the game abounds with style and character. It is just an interesting world. There is “personality” here that has been missing in a lot of MMOs since WoW. Warhammer had a lot, especially on the dwarf/greenskin side but Aion had none, though to be fair, it may have had personality that I could not quite grasp being American and it from a Korean publisher.
As you can tell I am enjoying Allods more and more every day. This is going to be a pretty big hit and, most likely, the biggest F2P MMO around.