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The Ground Basis For Flight
Aion Online has been receiving a heck of a lot of press for being an original take on the MMORPG universe. A lot of gaming news outlets have given the MMO-spotlight over to NCSoft’s latest South Korean import due to the ability to fight on the ground and against enemies and players in the air. However, there is another game that has been somewhat overlooked despite having similar features with a slightly alternate take on the aerial combat implementation and it’s called Allods Online by Gala Networks’ gPotato.
Now there are a few other games out there that also include forms of flight as travel or interactivity, such as Fly For Fun, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes and a recent update for the Celtic-based MMORPG, Mabinogi. However, in Aion and Allods the flight-mechanics were sort of the ground-basis (no pun intended) of development for both the games.
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Ships Vs Wings
The self-proclaimed “triple-A” MMO title, Allods Online, is a unique new game in the genre insofar that it offers gamers massive battles in the air via fully player-controlled air-ships. It stands opposite of the flight-based MMO, Aion, which recently made its debut in North America. Both games are taking on the subject matter of flight in two different ways: one offering it via astral vehicles and the other via winged characters. It's definitely not far-fetched to say that offering aerial interaction in games with more depth and distinction will probably be a common occurrence in future MMOs.
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Astral Traveling In Allods
In Allods Online the entire game revolves around space-opera style ship battles and astral travel progression; players can customize their air-ship and travel the universe while they battle other players in the air and on the ground. The game sports 28 different character classes spanning the likes of six individual races, with up to eight various archetypes. The game offers up a lot of depth when it comes to character diversity and focuses heavily on team-based play. Now even though Allods is all about astral-ship flight and combat, it’s a fully extensive MMORPG apart from the team-based flying ships, allowing for all the ground-based experiences found in other MMOs. This mix of the two genres makes it a truly original and epic-scaled MMO.
The game also features customization features for player-characters, pets and airships. That’s a little bit different having a pet and airship customization feature, but better to have something new than sticking with something old.
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Taking Flight In Aion
In Aion Online gamers can choose from eight different character sub-classes in four main character class categories. Traditional MMORPG class categories are present in the game’s extensive character creation tool, including mages, warriors, priests and scouts. Unlike other MMOs, however, Aion doesn’t limit class or skill-sets to any specific appearance…gamers can fully customize the look and the feel of their character, even using armor and colors to fully change how they appear to other players in the game. Awesome much? Definitely.
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Flying Teams In Allods
When it comes to flight in both games it’s handled very differently in both cases. For Allods the game is entirely focused on team-play when it comes to manning the flying ships in the game. While traveling through the hostile environments of the astral fields the entire team must work together in operating the astral ship, including defending the ship and attacking opponents. It doesn’t matter how strong any player is individually as they must man the turrets to attack opposing player ships and use the on-board goblins to repair the ship. Players will also battle on the ground, but the dynamic involvement of taking to the skies and fending off monsters and other ships in real-time battles with real-time damage is the real challenge in Allods.
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Aion And The CryEngine Powered Wings
For Aion the flight is entirely player-oriented and as much as it can be a team-driven affair it more-so involves individual player combat. The flight in Aion is physics driven thanks to Crytek’s first iteration of the CryEngine, allowing players total freedom of flight at any time in any place and in any direction. This creates a unique playing field as gamers will have to be far more aware of their surroundings for team-oriented combat and missions. Players can literally fight from any direction on the ground or in the air, which posed to be a difficult hurdle for the development team but makes for a truly groundbreaking experience for gamers. This is not to mention that it looks really awesome when an entire guild takes to the air against another guild...all the flying characters in the air at one time is just a true sight to behold.
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Ships Or Wings? That Is The Question
At this junction of the comparison it would be very difficult to say if either game is better than the other or if one game stands to be more original than its counterpart. It's definitely a step in an original direction for both games, especially with Aion offering gamers total freedom of character in exploring the game world. It's always rather impressive being able to fly above an opponent and start trying to strike down on their head at any time during the combat.
With Allods, it's like playing a giant pirate-ship simulator in an alternate universe. It's almost like having two separate games rolled up into one game, simply given that it has an extensive character development system for all the available classes for ground-based combat yet it also has the detailed astral ship customization and exploration feature. Being able to upgrade key characteristics of the ship for better traveling and combat experiences gives it a sort of epic space-opera feel. The cannon-based, real-time player combat sequences and repair feature is pretty neat, too.
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Time To Take To The Skies
For most gamers it probably shouldn't be too hard to choose which game they would probably rather play. However, it can be safe to say that gamers looking for a really close-knit team experience involving flying air-ships in a dynamic MMO universe would probably prefer Allods Online, and it might be a game worth checking out…being free-to-play doesn’t hurt either.
If you’re really into heavy character customization that involves missions and quests that center mostly around player-characters, then Aion would probably be the better bet. Having the ability to fly at anytime, manipulate armor to suit your character’s style and battle in full, unrestrained 3D environments easily makes it a top pick for many gamers.
Aion Online is currently available to North American audiences. To learn more about the game feel free to visit the Official Website.
Allods Online will be available and free-to-play in the winter of 2009. You can visit the Official Website for further information and media on the game.
A collection of reviews for Aion.