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


Kensai said...

I tried it sometime at the beginning of January. It's pretty much WoW, aye, but it feels sort of weird. Maybe i got too much WoW into me. I rolled one of those orcs as a warrior but it was quite daunting to level it, plus it was something like the 3rd phase of the beta that would end sometime around 17th, and i dropped it. It's pretty polished for a beta and it does have a certain charm, even though i don't appreciate some of the stuff there. For instance, the 18th century uniforms combined with medieval armors feel out of place (maybe i missed something in the "lore" of the game), or the vehicle combat (spaceships, cannons).

But hey, if you're going in, let us know when and where, maybe we'll go kill some... uh... alliance.

Oozo said...

I don't mind the models or the artwork. Some of the animations need work though.

The cash shop issue has driven me back to WoW.