For most of the your time leveling in Allods, you will see very few new things. Though I think the game, at this stage, is the most truly complete “theme-park” MMO I have played since early WoW, there is little that truly seperates it from WoW. The art direction is top-notch, the classes are fun and interesting, the character stat/ability customization is great, the world is open and immersive, the quests are well written and the instances seem fun and challenging….but, then again, WoW has all of that. WoW’s graphics are not as good, their stat/ability customization is not quite as deep but there is little that is truly innovative in Allods Online as compared to WoW.
So, why play Allods Online over WoW? Why leave your level 80s and start over from the beginning in Allods Online?
Two words: Astral Ships
Astral ships, astral battles and astral exploration are the single biggest thing that differentiates WoW from Allods Online. It will add a whole new dimension to Allods endgame. What are astral ships, you ask? Read on and find out!
Astral ships serve a multitude of purposes in Allods Online. They serve as player housing of a sort, as they are owned by people or guilds and can have a unique design. I believe, though I am not 100% sure, that “trophies” can be hung in the astral ship to decorate it, much like homes in LotRO and EQ2. This allows the ability to personalize your astral ship and make it your own.
Secondly, they serve as transport and exploration vehicles. The Astral is supposedly huge in Allods, as big as the normal world entire. From what I have seen in Allods so far that will be huge. Much bigger, for instance, than Aion’s Abyss. In addition to being huge, it is random. From a developer’s interview located here, even though you got to point B one way, does not necessarily mean you will get back to point A the same way. Consider this quote:
The Astral is a dynamic, changing substance that appears to have a life of its own. This means that any travel away from the security of an allod is very random, with lots of exploration available. Players who find a way through to one place using a certain course should keep in mind that they may never get back to the same location by following the same course.
That really brings out the explorer in me, that is something I want to wander around in. It adds an entire new dimension to gameplay. If they can pull that off, it will be unlike any other MMO around.
But what good is exploration if there is nothing to do once you get there? Luckily, Allods Online has tons for you to do in the Astral. There are roaming (flying? floating?) monsters in the Astral, some taking a full raid or guild Astral Ship to defeat. In addition, many of the endgame raids are located on small Allods (islands) that are floating around in the Astral. This means that your raid will have to travel to the island in an Astral ship, dock it and go in and complete the raid.
This opens up the next option for Astral content, PvP and pirates! You see, once you complete that raid or kill that boss and loot it, all that loot is loaded into your Astral ship’s hull and can only be distributed to players after they dock the ship at a friendly port. This opens up your ship for attack by player pirates. Not only can you attack other ships, using magic and cannons, but you can disable and board the ship. At that point, PvP battles open up on board the ship, as one side protects their hard-earned loot, while the other tries to take it.
When players unlock Astral battleships, they can travel in rather safe zones, fighting small demons and discovering small allods. As their fighting skills develop and their ships improve, players will soon realize that they are ready to embark on far more dangerous adventures and explore the far Astral. There they will encounter huge monsters that hold useful trophies, find unknown islands and have the opportunity to fight other ships. Once their ship is packed with treasure, they need to set back home. The return trip can be as eventful as the journey, as a booty-laden ship is an attractive target for pirates that are hidden among the conduits that connect the Astral.
Players have lots of choice to get back home. They can set off in a random and unknown direction, and risk getting lost and losing their ship with all the treasures in its hold. They can engage pirates and defeat them in battle, or try their luck and see if they can sneak past the pirates. Risk is an important part of the Sarnaut world.
Players get their Astral ship through quests, gold and patience. They are a large endeavour and something that will have to be worked toward, they are not handed to players. There are smaller ships that can be owned by one person and controlled by up to six and there are larger ships that are guild controlled and require up to 24 people to control. Each person on board will have a role, be it as a pilot, gunner or navigator. There will even be a engineer that will control a team of goblins who will run around the ship and repair various damage.
No other “theme-park” MMO has anything like this. It truly adds something new and interesting to endgame and if it is as polished and fun as the rest of Allods Online, it will be a joy to experience.
So, in the title of this post I asked a question: Wouldn’t it be funny?
Wouldn’t it be funny if Allods Online, a free to play, sword and magic, fantasy MMO, ended up having better “space” combat than Star Trek Online? The more I read about each respective title, the more I believe that may end up being the case.
That, to me, is humorous.