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.