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.
The character creation is pretty standard in Allods Online. You can choose from a few different faces, add hairstyles, facial hair, a few facial features (paint, jewelery, etc.) and character height. It is a little better than WoW but nothing as in-depth as Aion or Champions Online.
The models and armor, however, look great and unique. Many have a Soviet or Nazi “style” to them, with WWII-style helms and armor. I never noticed characters all looking the same as I did in WoW either.
Where Allods Online really separates itself is in the stat/talent customization. There are four different talent trees, with one recieved at level two and the other three picked up at level ten. In addition, there is the ability to distribute stat points, gained from level two. This allows you to put points in intelligence, strength or wisdom and not have to completely rely on gear.
Theory-crafters are going to have a field day with Allods Online. There are so many ways to customize your character and each can be completely different from the other. It is a refreshing change from Aion and WAR, both of which seemed to allow for less customization than WoW.
This is where Allods Online falters. The U.I. is not bad but lacks many of the features that I have grown used to over my years of playing MMOs. It is not able to be resized, does not allow you to move any bars or targeting windows and feels very “vanilla”.
With that being said, they are adding U.I. functionality with every patch and I expect them to get it up to speed fairly quickly. It is not a bad U.I., just very basic.
WoW has always been the standard by which I measure the fluidity of MMO combat. It is fast, responsive and almost FPS-like in its controls. Aion nearly matched it but was off just a bit, Warhammer never came close and always felt like I was playing in quicksand in comparison. Allods Online nails it. It is fast and responsive and a joy to play. Melee and ranged are both quick and never feels “floaty”.
The one thing that will take getting used to is the lack of an auto-attack of any kind. After years of “auto-attacking” MMOs, Allods was a surprise. After getting used to it, however, it feels right. There are enough abilities by level ten that you never miss “auto-attack” and find that there is really no reason for it.
Questing and PvE Game-play
Early questing is fairly standard with kill-quests, Fed-Ex quests and all the standard quest types you have come to expect. Again, Allods Online surprises not at first glance, but with deeper inspection. The lore is amazing and very well told, with almost none of the translation problems that Aion had. The stories are actually interesting and, for once, I read quest text.
The PvE itself is a nice mixture of solo and group content, with group content mixed in early and often. For this reason, it feels a lot like the early days of WoW, before all the group content was nerfed. There is still lots to do as a solo player but they have a bigger emphasis on group play, which is obvious right to the end-game. While this might be a problem for some, it is a breathe of fresh air for me and something I enjoyed very much.
Allods Online PvP reminds me of a cross between DAoC and WoW. It can be as tactical as old-school DAoC, while maintaining the fluidity and frenetic pace of WoW. All the classes fit together well and each has a place in a PvP group, be it healing, DPS’ing, CC or soaking up damage. Taunts work in PvP and give even tanks something to do and making them a necessary part of a PvP group.
The new PvP-flag system was a bit of a let-down for me and one thing I did not want to see implemented. Hopefully, Gpotato will decide to do both PvE and PvP servers, so every player can enjoy their favorite play style. Flags are a bad compromise to the constant arguments between the PvP’ers and the PvE’ers and will only server to anger both sides. Separate servers are really the only way to go here and I hope Gpotato comes to this realization quickly.
Having only done a few instances, I do not have much to say here. I will say that the ones I did do were very well done. They not only had good game mechanics but also had pretty damn good lore surrounding them. They were of a good length and were all fairly difficult for on-level groups. One thing I really liked was that the boss fights were not tank and spank, there was strategy involved and the mechanics worked well. This bodes very well for end-game raiding and instancing.
The Infamous Cash Shop
No impressions post about Allods Online can be complete without some mention of the cash shop. Though the cash shop has not been implemented into the North American client yet, we do have a bit of information leaking out. We have seen the items up on the cash shop in the Russian client and have even seen the cash shop in our client, though nothing could be purchased.
It is fairly obvious that Gpotato is trying to find a solid seller that will not overpower those who buy it and this looks to be achieved with the implementation of “Fear of Death” debuff and Perfume on the Cash Shop. “Fear of Death” is a debuff that you get after death. It debuffs all stats for varying amounts of time (dependent on level) for 25%, also it stacks. So, four deaths will debuff your character 100%. Sounds bad, huh? The Allods forum agrees.
But, it isn’t so cut and dried as the forums make it seem. First, “Fear of Death” can be removed with in-game gold. At level 40 the cost is around four gold. Not a big investment, though if you die a bit in PvP it can certainly make a large dent, very quickly. Secondly, you can make yourself completely immune to “Fear of Death” through Perfume.
Perfume can be gotten in a few quests in-game, some random drops and through the cash shop. If the exchange rate between Russian Allods and North America holds true, you can buy a fifty-hour supply of Perfumes for less than ten dollars. Perfumes last through death and keep their immunity buff for thirty minutes. Now “Fear of Death” does not sound so bad. It simply gives Gpotato a perpetual and desired buy on the Cash Shop, regardless of level of your character.
The rest of the items on the cash shop are vanity items (costumes and the like), backpacks and potion-type items that can all be made in-game. There are NO overpowering objects on the Cash Shop. All items can be obtained in-game, through questing, crafting or random drops.
Might this change? Sure, it could, but as of this moment, it looks to be the most well-balanced cash shop I have seen in a game of this type. We will have to wait and see what the future holds.
What Sets Allods Online Apart
There are a metric ton of MMOs out there and at first glance Allods has nothing that separates it from the WoWs of the world. That impression could not be more incorrect.
First, it is an entire new world. If you are sick of slogging through Azeroth and the old, tired WoW lore, then this is a good game to pick up. The lore is fresh and well-done. You get all the fluid gameplay of WoW, in a new package, with fresh graphics and deep lore. It’s a great combo.
Secondly, the Astral ship combat in end-game looks to be something completely new to MMOs. I have always wanted to be a pirate (hasn’t everyone?) and Allods Online will allow me to do so. The entire end-game mechanic of Allods and Astral ships is new and fresh. It looks to be simply awesome and there is a lot of room to build upon it.
There are other reasons to play Allods Online but I urge you to give it a try and find out for yourself!
Allods Online came out of left-field for me. I had never heard of it before Keen’s first impressions.
I went into it very, very skeptical. I have always hated the F2P model, I always equated F2P with cheap and broken and I expected Allods Online to be more of the same.
I am happy to report that I was wrong. Very, very wrong. It is a fantastic game, fantastically made. The care and enthusiasm that the development team has for the project is obvious everywhere you look. I think it may be the most well-rounded MMO release since WoW released way back in 2004. There are small things that lack here and there but it is truly a great game. I look forward to playing it for quite some time.