Sunday, February 28, 2010

Allods Grounded for Bad Behavior. Back to WoW Again

by Oozo

Taugrim and Keen have covered the Allods cash shop fiasco in its entirety. I'll just say that once I lose trust in something (or someone) they have almost zero chance of getting me back. However, I'll still keep an eye on the game in case a miracle occurs.

As far as the positives for Allods for me? The game is very pretty and runs extremely well on my machine. I never dropped below 30 FPS while recording with FRAPS. No other game has performed that well under FRAPS for me. It would have been a pleasure making Allods movies. Also, the character development system intrigues me.

Besides the cash shop, there were other significant negatives for me. The character development system is intriguing, but also slow. It takes a good bit of time before your character "progresses" by picking up new abilities. So, you have to spend a lot of time using the same abilities over and over and over and over. That's not so bad at upper levels where you have many abilities to learn and explore synergies. However, it's not good at low levels where you only have a few abilities. Tedium set in pretty fast for me.

Another thing I did not like was melee movement. It felt clunky to me. Then again, pretty much anything is going to feel clunky when you are coming directly from playing WoW. It took me a long time to get used to the clunkiness of Warhammer. So, that is something I might have gotten used to over time. One thing I would never get used to is one of the Scout abilities. It causes you to vanish and appear behind or at the side of your target. Unfortunately, it also drops mouse look when you use it. I use my mouse for circle strafing. Using that ability takes you out of strafe mode. You actually have to release the mouse button and then hold it down again to continue strafing. By that time your movement has been compromised.

If I was to play Allods, I'd probably play a caster.

For now, I'm back to playing WoW. This time I'm checking out the Death Knight. It's easily the most powerful of my twink projects so far. Even surpassing the rogue who had quite a bit of arena gear. 1v3s are common and 1v4+s are doable in the 69-70 range. I've thrown up a clip as a preview. There are a few things I still need to fix with the editting, but it gives a pretty good idea what the DK is capable of in the 61-70 AV.

edit: Clip removed as I've added a legit trailer for the movie.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Allods Online (pregame thoughts)

by Oozo

As mentioned in the previous post, this game shows promise based upon community reviews and youtube clips. There is no doubt that it borrows heavily from WoW, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. WoW runs very smoothly and has many player friendly features.

Where WoW fails for me is in longterm PvP. I've had a lot of fun playing different toons in the 70ish brackets. Why? Because I know that my gear relative to other players is not hampering me or a disadvantage in any way. When I die, I have no excuses. If someone beats me 1v1 at that level, it's because I got outplayed.

What do I have to look forward to if I level to 80? Months and months of grinding PvE and PvP just to be competitive (but still be at a disadvantage to many players due to gear). There just doesn't seem to be much of an incentive for me to reach level 80 in WoW, which is why I have considered it a stopgap. I'm only playing it because that is where most of my friends are. I don't see longterm potential in WoW for a player with my RL responsibilities and my playstyle.

So, if there is a "WoW-clone" which doesn't have these flaws (as I see them) then I'm going to be interested. Allods has a PvP system based on gaining "glory" (cough-honor) on a weekly system. It sounds a bit like, oh - I don't know... WoW's original PvP system. The game should have World PvP, but it won't be forced. If you PvP flag, then you will gain exp at 110% rate. If you don't PvP flag, then you will gain exp at 90% rate. This can work well as long as the game population is high enough to sustain it. All you need are a few people to PvP flag. When, not if, they get attacked some of their faction will flag to attack the attackers. Next thing you know, the zone is full of flagged people.

This is how Tarren Mill and Southshore became PvP hubs even on PvE servers. Except with Allods system there will be more incentive to actually flag to begin with.

One of the things that killed WoW for me was the move to cross-server battlegrounds. To me, server community is a main draw for MMORPGs. The move to cross-server battlegrounds destroyed server community overnight. I'm not sure what system Allods has in mind here, but it is my hope that they keep most (if not all) PvP local.

The main concern that most have with Allods is that it is a F2P game and thus must generate income via an online cash shop. People are concerned that you will be able to pay RL cash to win or gain unfair advantages. My gut reaction to cash shops is /ew. However, for the most part the nonF2P games already have built in unfair advantages given to those who have more time to play the games. Or for those more willing to be in a guild full of asshats just because they can clear certain content. For the record, I hate asshats and no amount of phat lewt can overcome that particular distaste.

I gave some more thoughts on the cash shop on Taugrim's blog:

My main concern is being able to remain competitive in PvP. My guess is
that it would be easier to remain competitive via cash shop than it would for a
WoW-type system which requires a horrible PvP gear grind, in which the rich get
richer and those with more free time have a huge advantage.

The question is, how much money has to be spent to remain competitive?
Well, if it’s under the amount you spend on a typical subscription to a game
like WoW it would actually be a better system for people who treat PvP seriously
but have RL responsiblities which force their playtime to be more

Here is a talent calculator to get an idea of what kinds of skills and roles are available.

The following video (not by me) gives a good idea of the graphics, animation, and gameplay for AO:

Another vid from the same player (good quality in HD expanded view)

Astral spaceship


by Oozo

I've been very busy with work starting back up in early January, but should be having a bit more free time to work on some projects. There is a fullsize download of my last movie available at warcraftmovies if you have a membership. It went through the listings so fast it didn't get many views, which is probably a good thing. As views for me in the warcraft community = flames. ;)

When I have had time, I've been messing around with a Death Knight in WoW. It's extremely powerful in PvE. Soloing elites that outlevel me is nice, I guess. :/

A couple of days ago I learned of a game I had never heard of before via Taugrim's blog. The game is called Allods Online and it's a F2P game. I typically totally ignore F2P games, which is most likely why this game never made it onto my radar screen. However, there are some good reviews from what I consider to be reliable sources and the youtube clips I've seen of it's gameplay do show promise.

The open beta for the game starts on 2/16. I've already downloaded the client and will be checking it out. More thoughts on the game incoming.