My challenge, If I choose to accept it (Which clearly I do, otherwise I wouldn’t have written this sentence) is to write a review on Astrum Nivals Allods Online without mentioning a certain other popular MMO. It certainly won’t be easy, but I’ll give it a stab.
Allods Online is a free to play fantasy MMO. To begin playing all you need to do is register on their website and then download the client, which doesn’t take too long on an average internet connection. I got up and running and in around 3 hrs.
With nearly all role-playing games, the first thing you have to do is create your character and Allods Online is no different. There are two opposing sides, The League and The Empire. The League are clearly the side associated with good, their races include elves (Slender winged humanoids), Kanians (human looking err…. Humanoids.) and Giberlings (a trio of three small little poodle-like things). I don’t want to say the bad side as I’m sure the races all have their reasons, so The Empire consists of Orcs (Large, brutish tusked humanoids), The Arisen (Tall thin, almost cybernetic humanoids with masks) and the Xadaganians (taller, thinner humanoids). For me, there’s something about a 7ft wide wall of muscle that just appeals to me as a playing style, so I chose myself an Orc.
The different archetypes are called different things for each race, which is a little confusing at first. For example, Orc warriors are called Brutes, Gibberling warriors are called Brawlers and Kanian warriors are called Champions. Not every archetype is available for every race, so you may have to settle for a race you don’t want if you’ve set your mind on a particular archetype, or you may have to settle on a different archetype as the one you want isn’t available for the race you want. Each archetype of course, has their own play style and skills. Summoner’s use the power of disease and curses as well as summoned allies, Warriors can wear nearly all armour and use all weapons; healers can heal themselves and their allies etc. There are a few different archetypes to try so it’s worth having a play around with a few of them. If you are new to MMO’s, you can get to understand which archetype suits you better.
I had my Orc Brute, now I just needed to personalise him to my own tastes. Don’t expect a huge level of personalisation. There are around 6 different things you can change, depending on your race but there is nothing really substantial to make your character stand out. Of course, most of the personalisation will presumably be done by way of the armour that your character wears and the weapons he or she uses, so the initial personalisation not as important as it might be in other games.
When you enter the world of Allods Online you are taken through a few training missions to get you used to the fundaments of the game. It’s in these first missions that you’re taught how to move and how to attack. The ship you are on is under heavy attack, and it’s up to you to help where possible and eventually teleport off the ship. After you have teleported off the air-ship you arrive in a sewer area with some more quest givers, providing quests of the type you will encounter from now on. The quests aren’t’ mould-breaking. In all the cases I’ve experienced so far, you are usually killing a certain amount of mobs or looting a certain amount of items. There’s nothing here that will knock your proverbial socks off, quest-wise.
It’s important to note that the quest-based progression of Allods Online is nicely designed. The quest givers slowly move you around the different areas, ensuring that there are enough quests for you to complete and ergo you are of an appropriate level when you move into a new area.
There are a number of crafting professions that can be taken up. These are divided up into 2 categories, gathering and crafting. The gathering skills disassembling, herbalism and mining are the skills used to gather the materials for the crafting professions. Disassembling provides pieces of cloth and leather for Tailoring and Leatherworking, Mining gives you ore for Blacksmithing and Herbalism gives you plants to use in Alchemy. The more you gather and craft the higher the level of items that you can gather or craft. Simple! The cost of the professions can seem a little high for a completely new player without any funds behind them. Although, I didn’t see this as a major setback. I just bought the Mining book, quested for a bit and then came back when I had enough money for the blacksmithing book.
Another staple part of Allods Online as it is with any rpg is the advancement of your character. Experience points are given for defeating enemies and handing in quests. As you gain experience points your characters experience bar fills up. When it fills to the top, you gain a level and possibly some new skills. With each new level your character is given a point that they can use to increase any one of their statistics (Strength, Agility, Stamina, Luck etc.) and every second level you are given a point that you can use in a skill tree. It is this skill tree that allows you to increase the effectiveness of existing skills or even unlock new ones.
One aspect of Allods Online which I don’t completely see the point of, is the Innkeeper. In Allods Online as you fight enemies, you will earn an amount of fatigue experience points. These points do not cause your character to level up, but will just sit in your experience bar. When you visit an Innkeeper, for a small fee you can turn this fatigue into experience points. I’m a bit lost on the real point of this, but maybe the usefulness of this will become clear as I gain higher levels.
As is probably fairly clear by now, there’s nothing in Allods Online that deviates far from the standard MMO formula. Although, that is just the shell of the game, and even at my lowly level (only level 7 by the way, so I’m hardly a veteran player) I’m coming across a lot of things that can’t be done yet but are awaiting me at higher levels.
Your characters reputation seems to be a big part of Allods Online. As you complete quests you are given reputation with the group or faction you did the quest for. As your reputation increases more perks, and items are available. There’s mounts which I have yet to experience, I’ve seen the vendor but I’m too low level to be able to do anything with them. Player vs. Player combat is also something I’ve not yet tried. I’ve even read about building and sailing your own ship. I suspect that this is going to be far less interesting than it reads to be, but it’s still something I have to try.
One thing that is an interesting feature is all the free stuff that you’re given. Ok, I’ll tailor that comment a bit for you. Very early in the game you are given a chest. This chest will contain items such as potions, masks, confetti…. Nothing that is particularly game breaking, but little fun items all the same. Once opened the chest will start cooling-down. The duration of the cool-down appears to get longer the more times you open the chest. Your character will have an almost continual stream of new items. These items don’t go into your main inventory either, but into a different tab of your inventory called ‘boutique’.
I was also given another chest, which you can open when you reach the required level. Once opened, the chest has an item and an extra chest which has a higher level requirement on it. The magical item inside can be equipped and it does have a direct impact on your character.
Allods Online – My final verdict
So, is this game a time invest or a time-sink? What is my final opinion…?
Allods Online is a game that would be heavily ignored if you had to pay anything for it. However, it’s Free-to-Play and as you don’t have to spend anything it’s a lot more appealing. There’s an online store, if you do feel the need to spend your hard-earned cash, but it’s not essential. Graphically it’s quite pretty. The sprites are bold, bright and nicely designed. Allods Online has a magically induced steam-punk feel to it, with copper-piped steam machinery intertwined with sparkling portals and magical creatures. There’s plenty of races and archetypes to try, and the quests guide you gently through the earlier part of the game until you’re confident enough.
I did find the targeting a little sticky, some enemies were only targeted when they were too close for me to really do anything. Also my warriors charge attack didn’t always work if it was being performed through entrances or thresholds. It’s a little gripe though, and I doubt many games would be completely free of these type of issues. Also, you will run out of bag space quickly. I expect you can buy larger bags for real money but the free bags you are given in-game are a little restrictive, especially as quest items are put in your main inventory. However, crafting items have their own tab and there’s even a bag for the boutique stuff.
Allods Online is nothing new. It’s nicely done, there’s no doubt about that but apart from some of the terms being given new names or mixed up a bit, you’re not looking at anything original.
It has been around for a while, and from what I have seen of Allods Online it’s up there near the top of the free-to-play chart. For a minimum of just three hours of your time, it probably is worth downloading. I don’t expect that you’ll lose weeks and months over this game but it is nice enough in its own way. Just don’t cancel those other subscriptions yet.
Yes! I did it! A whole review of Allods Online and not one mention of World of Warcraft….
Jim Franklin is a freelance writer, living in Derby UK with his wife and his player 3. When time allows he likes nothing more than losing himself in a multi-hour gaming session. He likes most games and will play anything but prefers MMO's, and sandbox RPG's.