So, today I played Allods Online for a bit. I made three characters, two on the Legion side (Warden/Ranger) and one on the Imperial side (Summoner). I leveled each up to about level 6 or so, so I am not yet well versed on gameplay, but I did get some good impressions and a few good screen shots. I also took about 40GBs worth of video that I will need to edit when I have time.
I am going to break down my impressions into a few categories and then give a wrap-up at the end. So, let’s start, shall we?
- Graphics/Animation/Art: Graphics are solid. They do have the cartoonish WoW-style look to them but have more detail. The art direction in the little bit I have played is right there with Blizzard and that is saying something. The first Imperial area is a city and the place has a fantasy/industrial look to it. It reminds me of a stylized Nazi slum, in fact the Imperial side has a undead/Nazi look about it. I guess that is reasonable as the design team is from Russia. Spell effects are very good, though some of the mêlée animations look a little stiff.
- Sound/Music: Sound is decent but seems to be lacking “oomph”. Melee and spell sounds are underwhelming and, in fact, may be the weakest part of the game. Music is decent as well and, in the Imperial areas, very strange. I really did not notice the music on the Legion side, I am not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing.
- Controls: Controls are fluid and responsive, somewhere between WoW and Aion. I noticed that a lot of my abilities had a 1-3 second cool down and not many instant cast spells. For me, this is a bad thing as I like to move around during combat. This may change as you level or for other character classes. One thing to get used to is the total lack of an auto-attack. Every mêlée swing is initiated by a button press, which is a very strange thing to get used to, though once I did it was no problem. One thing that was different was the ability to prepare a spell with a cast time ahead of time. For instance, I had a spell with a cast time of two seconds, I could cast it with no target and the acid ball (it was an acid spell) would sit in my hand. I could then target a creature later down the line, push the hotbar key again and the spell would go off like an instant spell. I imagine this will be used quite frequently in PvP.
- Classes: This is one area where Allods really shines. There are quite a few classes and each side has their own version of each character class. There are six races. The Legion has the Kainians (human), the gibberlings (the shockingly cute gerbil guys) and Elves (which, to make me hate them even more, have wings). The Imperials have the Xadaganians (human), the Arisen (Nazi/Egyptian undead) and the Orcs.
- Customization: Character customization may be deeper than WoW. There is an initial talent tree that you get very early on and more opens up at 10. In addition, you get points every level to allocate into your stats, so you can differentiate yourself that way as well. Each class has a primary role but many are hybrids and can DPS, heal or tank. My Arisen, for instance, has DoTs and puts out good DPS but he has the ability to spec into some healing spells. I understand that specced correctly he can be one of the best raid healers in the game.
- Quests/PvE: So far questing has been just like any other theme-park MMO but it is well done. I would say right up there with WoW, at least in the early going. That the world is so unique helps a bit but you will find yourself doing the standard “kill ten of this and then bring me that” type quests. No big deal and it flows well. The tutorial for the Imperials is much cooler than the one for the Legion and takes place on an Astral ship. It almost feels more like Star Wars than a standard fantasy MMO and gave me a bit of a surprise. By contrast, the Legion one is standard fantasy story-telling, some mumbo-jumbo about an assassination and escape. Both do their jobs well.
I did not get to try PvP as I have not leveled high enough as of yet, but I do hope to see some very soon. In addition, the first group instance is apparently at level 8 and other instances spread out over the entire leveling experience. I look forward to trying those out as well to see how group synergy is.
I think that there may be a real winner here. The game feels big-budget, which totally surprised me for a free to play game. Other than the sound effects, everything was top-notch. I really think this may be a hit upon release. If they have a good endgame, good PvP and they don’t let the cash-shop dictate the haves from the have nots, then this game will be amazing.