Allods Online – Preview
Allods Online is a free mmorpg developed by Astrum Nival, the online division from Nival Interactive, the developers behind Heroes of Might Magic 5, Blitzkrieg, Etherlords and Rage of Mages. It seems this is the biggest project so far developed in Russia with 12$ million invested and it shows.
From the start of the game you see the craftsman’s skills of the Devs from interface to models, and environment detail. The game is based on the popular Allods series of PC games known internationally as Rage of Mages, which brings players into a unique universe plagued with a fierce conflict and a deep, captivating storyline. The game features 2 warring factions, 6 races, 8 archetypes, 28 classes, hundreds of skills, and over 1,500 quests.
In this closed beta phase i played a Human Warrior and Orc Paladin, each with their strength and weakness, but overall I enjoyed the paladin more, it seemed more powerful. Unfortunately only 10 levels were available so the leveling was somewhat grind-ish, but I got enough xp from the quests. I believe this will change with the release.
Character movement is exactly as in WOW and the graphics are very similar with Wow but more polished, and sharpen, and less cute, more mature. Now don’t start telling others that they copied WoW, since the Russian practically invented this style of graphics after all, is a mixed of WOW colorful colors and a very good sharp filter which makes everything looks very good.
Interesting enough the game gives you complete control of each of your abilities with each level up, so the developers doesn’t consider us idiots, and this adds more customization as in the old classic mmorpgs, which is great, plus feats to get new skills. Feats which you get from time to time when you level, and with these you choose the skills you want to train directly without running or buying them.
Quests are decent, but nothing original so far, kill, couriers, and the usual, but they contain a lot of details for Lore lovers. The game has in game quest helper for lazy people like me :(, so when you open the map you will know where to go for each quest.
Combat seems slow at first for melee characters, due some low quality sounds, needs some better collision sounds, (but this I guess should be fixed before release) and some bad transition between model animations, but is decent. It doesn’t have auto attack so you will have to be active for each combat, and it uses a rage, combat advantage, which you gather which each hit, and some skills requires a certain amount of this CA, but it all depends of the class, which are many to choose from.
The environment looks incredible and original in some parts with some nice scenery, and the skybox is incredible animated and detailed (not like in the gazillion million dollars Call of Duty 4, where they used a shameful static skybox that is fracking ugly /endwhine). Due to the sharp filter everything looks great in terms of graphics details, but combat animations could use some work in the transition between states (block, shield, attack, skills, etc). Fortunately the game doesn’t require a lot of resources to run and it scalable so I think people won’t have big problems here.
Sounds effects are somewhat weak, and some are not present, but after all this is closed beta, so I don’t think they are final. Music is quite good, but it needs more loop, since it rarely triggered.
Of course this is not all the features the game has, but this is all we had the chance to test for now, the full game features raiding and dungeon instances, pets, PvP, crafting system designed as mini-games, dozens of astral islands (Allods), and astral space exploration, flying ships which can be crewed by multiple parties to explore new realms and pillage other astral travelers. Sounds good, right?:)
If you are new to mmorpgs, or you are looking for the next free mmorpg to delve in, Allods is for you. Allods Online seems that will be the free mmorpg of this year at least in our view, and is quite better than some pay 2 play mmorpgs out here, even at this early stage.
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