Review of Allods Online - Free to Play Sci-Fi Fantasy MMORPG
by: William Usher
; edited by: Michael Hartman
; updated: 4/17/2012
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A review of Gpotatos Fantasy Sci-Fi MMORPG, Allods Online. Find out where it succeeds and where it stumbles, learn how this new F2P MMOPRG stacks up against the competition.
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It's a new foray into MMORPG goodness localized by Gpotato, which you may remember from such other Free to Play titles such as Rappelz. While it's being compared (and perhaps very fairly) to Blizzard's World of Warcraft, the game brings in elements of many other RPG's and MMORPG's to create a very successful mix. The game focuses on a PVE/PVP hybrid where the League and the Empire are in conflict, and you'll experience real integrated PVPPVE the likes we haven't seen since Dark Age of Camelot. Let's take a look at some of the individual aspects that make Allods a game worth playing.
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Graphics and Sound
The style of the game is cartoony yet sleek, with the graphics being a fair bit better than many other titles out at the moment, such as World of Warcraft, Warhammer Online, and certainly the slew of F2P cookie-cutter Asian games which seem to be mass produced off an assembly line at times. The graphics, while playful, are top notch and highly stylized, and your character's look will change every time you get a new piece of gear. While the starter zones are pretty generic graphical fare, things become increasingly more interesting as you explore pyramids, astral shores, dead seas and tropical islands.
The sounds are about what you'd expect in this kind of game - shields clanking, spells exploding, and characters and creatures screaming in Russian... Wait, what?! Oh yeah, the original game was in Russian, and they've kept in the voices! This doesn't detract from the gameplay however, and pretty soon you'll get used to fallen foes screaming "NIET!"
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It may have a lot in common with World of Warcraft as far as level ups, questing, and the like goes. Honestly, that's not a bad thing - It works. But what about the things that make it different?
Character building is an area where Allods truly shines.
It's got stat points for you to distribute every level, an uncommon thing in the modern age of gaming. So to some extent, you can actually screw up your character! The "Ruby" talent system is incredibly interesting and reminiscent of the Sphere Grid system found in the Final Fantasy series. You've got a plethora of choices to make where these are concerned, so you will definitely see a lot more unique builds around than in other games.
The combat is a lot like other "MMO 2.0" titles except for the fact that there is no auto-attack. This is pretty nice, and keeps the player more active than click and kill mechanics - Hopefully it will cut down on botting as well.
Like any MMORPG, you've got dungeons to run around in, plenty of quests to do, and they've brought back an excellent MMO concept - The World Boss. Scattered across any given zone there's multiple "big bosses" that you can form small groups to take down and bask in their loot drops. If your dungeon group was good, consider running around the zone and taking these guys down after your run, as they offer very nice experience in addition to their drops.
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Alright, so what is "Fatigue?"
Fatigue is Allod's take on anti-grinding. Rather than just have people grind through levels killing things over and over, this system rewards players for playing a handful of hours a day rather than go on a 12 hour gaming binge. Some games like DFO take a hard line on this sort of thing and simply won't let you run dungeons after you've run out stamina. Now, there's nothing stopping you from playing after you're out of this beautiful blue bar of bonus xp, but know that you MAY run into issues with being the "correct" level for your quests if you decide to keep doing quests after your fatigue is done.
The best way to do it is to probably quest your fatigue bar for the day, and then go do some crafting/reputation grind/dungeons for the rest of the day, if you're trying to maximize your time to fatigue efficiency.
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PVP and Controls
Ahh the days of RVR and world PVP. Long dead and buried by the advent of battlegrounds instanced gameplay, resurrected here for your pleasure. From the early 20's to the endgame, you'll be playing, leveling, and questing in the same areas as your enemies - and yes, you'll be getting involved in some hot PVP action with them as well. A player who is "flagged" and available for PVP in these zones will receive extra experience points from both creatures and quests, where a player who attempts to "opt out" will get reduced experience.
If that wasn't enough to get the bloodthirsty ganker in you excited, there's also items called war banners that drop in these zones, which will give the person using it bonus damage, bonus combat experience (Basically honor points from WoW), and the ability to attack unflagged players!
If you're a fan of PVP/PVE environments, this game definitely has something for you. The controls for playing the PvP are quite similar to console games, with W,A,S,D moving your character around and the mouse controlling the look/aim. Most of the response and reaction timing is spot on for a game of this kind, and you'll find that the action is a lot more intense than other MMOs out there.
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The Cash Shop
Ohhhh wow did Gpotato ever screw this one up. The ridiculous prices for things in the cash shop are one thing, but there's something in the game called "The Fear of Death". Bloggers and gamers alike went absolutely ape when they heard about this - essentially, if you don't use the perfume they sell in the cash shop (Approximately $13.50 USD for 10 hrs of perfumed play) you don't stand a chance in the endgame in PVP or PVE.
Most gamers realize that F2P rarely means free to play, and should expect to pay about the same as they do for a P2P title to experience "the full game" - but the shop as it currently stands is an absolute customer catastrophe and many players are wondering if Gpotato is really evaluating the situation as they claim to be. Time will tell.
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Well what we have here in Allods Online is a great deal of potential - but will it be realized? The layout is there but with rumors brewing about the new patches being ported over having even more forced cash shop purchases to play, it leaves people wondering just where this game is going and if it's worth playing at all. The ball's in Gpotato/Astrum Nival's court here, and sadly they will probably rape, loot, and pillage the game for whatever profits can be turned from the cash shop, then shove it in the gutter where it will never get the credit it rightly deserves.