Tobold has been writing about Allods Online for a little while now. As my WoW subscription has ended (the reason I didn't renew it means I probably shouldn't be trying to jump right into another game, but that's another story), I decided to try it out for a second. I've only played one character through the very first tutorial area, but I thought I'd post my first impressions of it anyways. I'll likely post more about the game as I go.

Although he is right that it seems to be a WoW clone, there are just as many things done differently as there are done the same. There is a "two factions" choice when you roll your first character. Your choices appear to be the League or the Empire. These appear to be analogous to Alliance and Horde just based off the races available. Both sides have humans available, distinguished only by what I assume is nationality (and appearance slightly). The League has Elves which look like Blood Elves taken to their most emo extreme complete with fairy wings. The other races is the equivalent of gnomes, called Gibberlings. A Gibberling player controls three of these little guys who work together as one unit. They are small, furry, and look like Moogles from Final Fantasy with sharp teeth. On the Empire side are the Arisen and Orcs, along with humans. The Arisen are undead, apparently. No idea where they came from, as the game's history on their website makes no mention of them. They appear to have come from sort of cyberpunk planet as they all have a mechanical appearance with implants and tech looking armor like some sort of weird fantasy Borg. They may not even be undead, but simply robots that look undead. The Orcs look like Buzz from Home Alone with large tusks.

I'd like to point out that character creation is fairly limited. I understand that there are programming limitations such as packet size that keep the number of options limited. There isn't much point in having options though when most of the options look exactly the same. Want to roll an Imperial human? Hope you like hair styles that look like this:

Really. That's it. All short hair, with slight variations such as where it's parted, which way it's combed, and so on. The Orcs all have white or pale blue skin, and they are all just very slightly changed shades of each other. You would have to be standing right up close to someone to be able to tell the difference (although I'm sure this was intentional since at a distance, they could just use a generic texture to save server load).

The classes that are available are not all the standard classes. There is the warrior, the paladin, the healer (which they couldn't be bothered to think up a name for like Priest or Cleric), and the Mage. Then you have the other classes. There is the Psionicist which is supposed to be some sort of psychic caster? They do lots of mind control and mana draining, and the like. Basically a shadow priest with other things mixed in. There's the Scout which is some Ranger class with a few rogue abilities mixed in. The Warden is the pet class, and is either Druid or Shaman depending on which faction you pick (also to note: The bear pet is 10x more adorable that the WoW bear pet, and the Gibberlings get a friggin giant squirrel pet). There's a Necromancer class called the Summoner. There's probably a few others but I don't remember what they were.

It's nice that they didn't just go with the standard same classes as every game and mixed it up a little bit, but it's also a detriment as I cannot play the stealthy assassin class like I always do. It is very noticeably absent. I just rolled a human Scout, being the closest there was, and went on ahead with the game. I should note that I rolled the League human Scout, as they were the only side with hair they didn't look like ass, but they have forearms like Popeye for some reason, despite being the same race as the guys on the other side of the fence. I digress: On with gameplay.

The first thing that happens on the League side is you start in a little room in a building. There's a quest giver there who wants you to follow him. Apparently, everyone in the building is there to hear the Archmage guy give a speech. I guess he's in charge of the place or something, so I go with this NPC. We walk in the room, and there are lots of emo fairy elves and little furry guys. I'm already regretting rolling on the League side as, even though I am used to some of this as an Alliance player, this is just too much sugary wuss stuff for my stomach to handle. Regardless, you stand there for a second and listen to the guy start to talk, and then everything goes to hell.

There is an attack by some bad guys, the mage is killed, and everyone has to evacuate to building. Apparently, the mage was keeping the little floating island the building was on from falling into the black void of nothing, and this is now an imminent danger. Thus begins the tutorial sequence where you learn about combat, interacting with NPCs, looting, and all that jazz.

Let me say that if I was a new player to the MMO genre, I would have turned the game off and went to play something else. The entire building is shaking, debris is falling (and occasionally killing NPCs), and you have to fight your way through several packs of enemies. The actual instructions for how to do the things you need to do pop up on screen in a large window that blocks much of the action. It's all great for guys like me who are MMO vets and can pick everything up without blinking. The atmosphere is right and you get a feeling of "We're in some danger". This is not the way to do a newbie tutorial. There is barely any time to get acclimated to the game systems before the NPCs are directing you to do this or do that. I didn't get to spend any of the points I got for levelling until after I'd finished.

All that being said, the graphics are very beautiful. I've yet to encounter anything that has made my computer crawl to a standstill like WoW does, and the actual design of everything is gorgeous.

I'll post a bit more after some more play time.

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 2/21/2010 06:48:00 PM


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