This weekend has been busy for me. I work retail so the Christmas holiday is hell. Long hours, on my feet all day, customer stress, it all adds up to a very, very tired blogger.
Even with being dead tired, however, I could not resist logging many hours in on Allods Online. I knew that Monday was the close of this beta phase and I really wanted to see more of the game, plus the game is just good. Really good. And getting better.
The weekend started with getting my summoner up to level 10 and finding a group for Xaes, which is the first instance in the game for the Empire side. I really wanted to see if Allod’s engaging game play would continue to shine in instanced content. I was not disappointed.
Xaes takes place inside the Empire capitol city of Nezebgrad. Keeping with the Empire’s industrial/magical feel, the instance is inside and around a factory/sewer area of some sort. There are a number of quests that can be picked up, both outside and inside the instance and completed within. The instance requires a group of six on-level participants and is highly challenging.
I have been let down by instanced content many times after WoW. Every MMO since WoW has dropped the ball in some way as far as instanced dungeons are concerned. WAR’s instances were horrible. The mobs were buggy and had pathing issues, the bosses were buggy and had abilities that, many times, did not work. LotRO had decent instances but the loot tables for the bosses were horrible, though that may have been fixed since last I played. No MMO has had instances that felt as “smooth” as WoW’s. Something always let me down.
Allods Online’s first instance was like WoW. That is a compliment and, for me, a pretty big one. We went in with a group of level tens, a paladin tank, 2 summoners, 2 mages and a priest. The mobs had no pathing issues or bugs that I could see, the instance was well laid out and the bosses were challenging without being infuriating. They also dropped good, useable loot.
The bosses, of which there were three, were mostly of the “tank and spank” variety, which one should expect from a level 10 instance but they did have a few special abilities and adds that caused us problems. The trash was also challenging and there was enough of them to keep the instance engaging but not boring.
We advanced through the instance in about an hour or so and did not have a wipe, though we did come close a couple of times. We found it necessary for the summoners to aid in healing during the boss fights, in addition to DPS’ing as the Priest had trouble keeping the Paladin alive at times. There were many places that we had to use the Mages crowd control abilities to hold one mob while we concentrated on another and we had to plan out a few of the pulls, especially near the last boss.
Xaes is a very good instance, especially for a low level one. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would do it multiple times. I would put it up there with Shadowfang Keep as far as low level instances are concerned.
I ended up going through the instance a second time last night, though this time we had a level 20 paladin tanking. Of course, that allowed us to run through in just a few minutes. I recorded some video and am currently uploading it to youtube to post on the site, expect that later today.
In addition to leveling my summoner, I created a paladin and began leveling him. He is now level eight and I think I may just like him better than the summoner. There are some unique mechanics involved that make the paladin different than any other tank I have played in a MMO. Let me tell you a bit about the paladin mechanics.
Offensively he plays pretty straight forward. Many of the paladins abilities place a “seal” on the opponent. Once you stack enough seals, you then use another ability that “detonates” the seals. This does direct damage, places a DoT on the target and slows the target. The amount of damage, the size of the DoT and the amount the target is slowed is dependent on the number of seals on the target at the time. Seals can be stacked up to three.
In addition, the Paladin has very limited healing. However, this works totally different than a WoW paladin. Unlike the WoW paladin, main healing is not an option. Instead, a paladin’s healing is mainly used as occasional heals to top himself or a group mate off. Heals require “Canons”, which are obtained through prayer that can not be done during combat. The prayer is about a five second cast and generates ten “Canons” The first heal a paladin gets is a small HoT placed on the group member with the lowest health. This is an instant cast which consumes two “Canons”.
Defensively is where the Paladin really differentiates itself from any other tank I have played. The paladin has a mechanic called Barriers which absorb damage and stores it for ten seconds. At the end of the ten seconds all damage is then done to the paladin at one time. This sounds bad but the paladin has abilities that can absorb the damage, reflect it back at the target or spread the damage out over a longer period.
In short, the paladin has some control over when he takes damage and how he takes it. This allows him to communicate with his healers and prepare them for damage, making healing spike damage easier. One result of this is that I believe that there will really be a big gap between truly good paladins and mediocre or bad ones. A good paladin will make boss tanking easier on the healer but a bad one could truly be a nightmare.
I am still not fully knowledgeable on how this mechanic works but I look forward to mastering it. As of now, it looks like my main will be a paladin, so I will get much more time with him to master the mechanic. I really do not want to be one of those bad paladins!
Stay tuned for the video coming later tonight! Right now I am going to bed!