If you never played Allods Online and were to see an in-game video or screenshot, you would most likely call the game, yet another WoW-clone. And you would be right, partially. Truth be told, Allods does “borrow” several gaming mechanics and concepts from Blizzard’s hit MMORPG, but the game is more of a mix-and-match than a complete rip-off. And, last but not least, Allods introduces several brand new features. The game is a free-to-play MMO by Russian developer Astrum Nival, the guys behind Heroes of Might and Magic V, Rage of Mages and Etherlords. Gpotato are responsible for porting it to North America and Europe. The developers have taken their job more than seriously, pouring the outstanding 12 million dollars into the production of Allods. So it’s no wonder the game became one of the best known free MMO’s to date, long before its release. Let’s get on with my first impressions of Allods Online
The controls and interface of Allods are pretty standard. Keyboard movement, but there is also a click-to-move option included. The interface won’t give you much trouble, except the lack of a decent minimap and the quest tracker. The game does have a compass, but that doesn’t help much. Once you’re used to constantly opening and closing the map panel, you will forget about that too. As for the quest tracker, the problem is there is no way for you to disable tracking for just one quest, meaning you will either have to track all your quests at once, or hide the entire tracker. One thing that really helps are the small overhead icons for NPC’s, who, unlike other MMORPG’s, are visible at all times, even when you’re not looking at that particular NPC. Those icons will be displayed on the edge of your screen, and will constantly cycle around you. Point one with the mouse and a small text message will show up, giving a bit of information, including available quests and NPC function. Speaking of quests, they are also pretty standard. Most of them revolve around killing a number of mobs or talking to a certain NPC, but most tasks are very quick and simple, you won’t have to spend more then 15 minutes on most quests. The leveling itself is fast at first and after level 5 leveling becomes much more of a challenge. This is where the fatigue system comes in handy. In addition to normal experience, you also gain bonus experience referred to as fatigue. Fatigue can be used by talking to one of the many innkeepers across the world. Fatigue has a limit, though, so don’t rely on it too much.
Combat is fairly slow in Allods, being a pain at the start, but once you get the hang of your class you won’t have much problems with it. In my 15 hours of closed beta gameplay I had the chance to test out two classes, a Kanian Champion(human warrior), which I got to level 6, for the League and Arisen Summoner for the Empire, whom I leveled up to 9. I enjoyed my experience as a summoner much more than as a champion, partly because I prefer the mage as my class of choice. As a champion the gameplay was standard enough: charge at a distance(aimed shot if it’s cooling down) and then I just spammed skills in a row(whichever was available). The champion has a combat advantage bar that most skills use. You gain combat advantage by fighting, so yeah, it’s like the warrior rage in WoW. The Summoner, on the other hand, uses his summoned pet as a tank and casts from a safe distance in the meantime. Until the enemy decides to attack him, or his pet dies, that is. Than he has to make a run for it. I haven’t had enough party gameplay or PvP to comment on either of those yet, but I plan to fix that once the open beta rolls in.
Visuals and sound
Allods’ soundtrack was composed by the professional musicians Mark Morgan(who has also composed for television series such as One Tree Hill, Kojak and Killer Instincts, and video games such as Fallout and Planescape: Torment) and Vladislav Isaev. And it’s pretty easy to guess that. From the amazing main theme to simple background noises, everything finds its place perfectly and doesn’t get in the way much.
As for the game’s graphics, Allods will impress you, that’s for sure. The graphics are not only polished and have amazing design, but they also have a particular style, a mix of comic and fantasy. Yes, I mean it, Allods is practically flawless in the technical department. It’s had a stable closed beta so far, with just bit of lag, nothing serious.
My first impressions of Allods online are more than positive: a polished free MMORPG with great graphics, solid gameplay and amazing soundtrack. Put in the giant fanbase and great support and you’ve got yourself a winning MMO formula.