Warning: When I write I rant.
I've been searching for a game to call my "current game" for years now, we all started some where and for me it was FF11. I've come a long way since then, now when I start new games or search for them I'm not as over burdened it seems a lot more realistic to say you've played them all after so long.
Before I even go into the individual aspects of games Allods let me point out a few key things to keep in mind if you decide to download and play the game.
Every game that comes out now-a-days is automatically placed in one of two categories: WoW Clone, or crappy MMORPG. There are genres that get excluded from being placed in these categories like Starcraft, but I can tell you right now Allods falls into the simple flat out MMORPG genre.
There are plenty of us who have had to automatically uninstall a number of F2P (Free to Play, meaning the game is free but the company does charge for some sort of service within the game to keep the game going because THAT'S WHAT COMPANIES DO THEY MAKE MONEY AND OFFER A PRODUCT OR SERVICE). The fact half of them are beautiful hot big booby chicks with butt length hair and some sort of animal ears would be an awful way to judge a F2P MMORPG because all of them offer that. You have to kill the same enemies which are generally the same graphic copy and pasted (color adjusted to keep you interested I suppose) spamming the same Number 1 Key Bound ability you started with until you are Level whateverthehelltheymakeit to get your talent points (be there a talent build option at all) that you get pissed off at because they are horribly translated so you accidentally put points in something that wasn't what you assumed it was from the four out of twenty words that are translated. Then the publishers charge you cash shop items to reset them (which is cool and all but you wouldn't NEED them if translators didn't suck) and it isn't even their fault because the Publishers don't handle stuff like in game translations. For those of us who fall into this category that continue their search, I'd like to tell you Allods is easily the closest I've come to that game I imagine being that "perfect" game but I doubt it will be Allods. I couldn't imagine my perfect game being a F2P game from Gpotato (no offense guys, I've played every game you've offered for years but your customer service is not good).
Allods is a World of Warcraft clone, but I don't see why any right minded F2P publishers wouldn't want to get their hands on a game that is capable of appealing to MMORPG players that are burnt out on big brand games like WoW and FF11.
Generally F2P publishers make more money than companies like Blizzard (I apologize for all the comparisons to Blizzard & WoW but that game has been my "current game" for over six years so I apologize if for the longest time it WAS the game on the highest pedestal for me). I know a lot of you out there that hate on it now feel the same way so just hush up. If you DON'T feel that way you probably played until Level 5 and quit because the quest just before getting to Sen'Jin Village was too hard for you. YEEEEA WHAT 4'9 of pure nerd rage coming at ya', not but really WoW sucks now it's impossible for me to play it just doesn't get my pants tight anymore.
The MMORPG market consists of such a large age group that most reviews you see on games are either 50/50, half of them like it and half of them don't. The game is either too hard because PvP is allowed everywhere or the game is too easy because people are wiping through content something or other-- just shut up, stop complaining about absolutely nothing all the time. You are here to play the game and appreciate it for what it is, if you don't like it then simply uninstall the game because there are so many companies out there willing to cater to your desires. If you go on and on without finding something then WELCOME TO THE GAMER WORLD where we always look for the next big thing, that's what we are all here it is the search that keeps us going and that's literally the game we're all playing.
Thanks to the genre of MMORPG I like which is generally hot chicks and badass buff monster races with huge armor the majority of the market I game with is children or those few pick and choose young adults like myself. My last few games were World of Warcraft, Fallout, and so many Asian translated games I'd be here for days trying to name them all. I had finally lost hope and began paying for a subscription on my World of Warcraft account, yea ICC is fun and all but WoW lacks the depth it once had for me and I became a walking Thottbot which was my fault in the end. I was ready to find a new game that had everything WoW had if not be more inspired for it, there for I will gladly admit I have been on the search for a WoW clone.
I cannot tell you if Allods is the WoW Clone I've been looking for, I want the aspects of PvP when it first arrived in WoW to be taken into consideration.. meaning a ranking system of some sort. I want Homes that are customizable like in FF11 where your decorations actually affect your character. I want epic boss fights like WoW but with the difficulty of locating them within a static open world map in FF11 so that you want to group up and help each other because it's for everyone's benefit, but some how having a system for loot where if you DID have a ninja it was avoidable (such as the loot system from WoW).
I basically want a salad of past MMORPG's, and I have no problem admitting I even want features from free MMORPGs you as a reader might immediately object to trying because of the aesthetic appeal. The mini game system in Free Realms, which is a game for little kids, has me at the edge of my seat always and forever because it's something casual I dish out five bucks for and I unlock everything I'd want to do which has great technical support, updated content, and wonderful customer service (not to mention English speaking customer assistants).
All of that rant being said, lets move on to the review for Allods within Levels 1-10. I feel safe writing a review on this game in such early levels because the game is in Beta so the amount of bugs are only going to get better from here, or I could hope. I may write a second review catering to my experience in the end of the game, but for now I will exclude this section from my review. I can only assume it's got technical issues out the wazoo and it would probably only deter my respect for the game as a whole.
Another common debate is over cash shop items in game.
I don't know how many people have educated themselves on general business management but it doesn't take much research to learn time means money. I personally have a career within the art field so I know that when we as gamers look at the graphics of games we spend a lot of time playing we start to lose interest in them, which is not our faults but I almost feel guilty because I know the time and effort the developers of the game go through to create and attempt debugging these whole worlds that would not exist had it not been for them coming together as a group of artists with the determination to create something out of nothing. I want to take one sentence out of this whole rant of a review to say, HELLO GAME DEVELOPERS AND ARTISTS - WE LOVE YOU AND IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT CRAPPY PUBLISHERS MAKE YOUR GAMES LOOK BAD.
One more thing to remember before you log into the world of Allods, every game you ever play wether it requires you to pay or not will have gold spammers. Gold Spammers for those of you who don't know are people more commonly found located in places like China (sorry guys, you did it to yourselves) that make characters with names like "jidjsidjiajijijijijijiji" and then park themselves in a majority city/zone where there is a chat available to a majority of players and they use whatever it is they use to spam the chats with mumbo jumbo like "hey welcum 2 gol4us.com plz remembr u this wek only is 500insertcurrencyhere for onli reallycheapuscurrenytotalhere!!!!! plz visit 2gol4us.com/yourgame." Now, I'm going to tell you right now I have played SOOOOO many games where Ignore was not even an available function, according to many players I've met in Allods there is a bug (before July 7th patch) where if you add someone to your ignore list and they are banned/deleted your list will bug both your ignore AND friends list. I just ignore whatever gold spammer is hosting the party at the moment and then when I log out I remember to clear my whole list before I log out that way nothing fishy happens while I'm gone. Once again, a list within a list within a list these are some things to remember:
Block a gold spammer, hit "G" (by default) to enter your social list. Click the "ignore" tab on the bottom of the window and a new window asking for the name pops up, left click the gold spammers name (I'm sure it will be in your chat.. those guys are ridiculous) this enters whispering to them then left click their name in chat one more time and it automatically generates it in your text box then higlight, ctrl+c then left click in the "Add" box and ctrl+v.
To clear your ignore list (prevention of ignore/friends list) simply hit "G" for the social tab, hit your ignore list, right click the name of chosen poop head and remove from list. Ta-da! Worth the efforts, I promise you.. if you don't do this and you have a bugged list who knows when they will patch it and you don't WANT TO GO DOWN LIKE DAT.
The first zone chat you enter has levels 1-10 and sometimes 11 in it so it's like the Barrens of Allods (for those who speak WoW, for those who do not just imagine a crap ton of people in too small of an area for too long). You will see many Chuck Norris jokes, discussions about Megan Fox, and people asking for silver or runs through XAES (which you may also want to know is the first dungeon in Allods generally you want to be level 9-10 in there but if you have someone run you of course it doesn't matter. Be careful in XAES the mobs link and aggro from far distances.
Graphics & Interface
Allods is a combination of Steampunk and Fantasy. If you could picture a sewer with your character sporting some gear decorated Leather Armor, you having a robot pet.. that's all in Allods. The best races are of course the "evil" races because you have better chances of meeting chill people amongst the characters that aren't based off arrow shooting elves from the deepest depths of your local fairy infested forest.
Allods has a nice auto command system when you are typing in back slash commands which helped me quickly catch onto the fact that as a guild leader you have to use the /ginvite charactername command to put people in your guild and a lot of the party commands are done in the same manner, experiment with hitting enter to go into chat and then inserting a "/letter" to see the different combinations. If you played WoW you will have no issues with guessing the commands because this is in fact a WoW clone but F2P, sorry to break it to anyone wanting to deny it.
Here's a quick list of things about the Interface of the game that caught my attention:
-There is no minimap, it's simply a compass.
-The world map by press "M" is how you'd mainly work your way around zones for questing.
-Notice, when you are near a group of NPC's (especially one with an icon like a quest giver or a Light vendor) if you click "M" for your world map there are tiny icons that appear around you AS a minimap would so use that as you will. Apparently there is an add on, I'm not really at the point of playing Allods where I'd go out of my trouble to do that because I'm one of those people that constantly checks her world map wether there is a minimap or not.
-The world map does have markers on it for quest locations and completed quest turn in.
-Starting a PARTY is interesting because you aren't even given feed back as to when you invite someone (which the command for it is /pinvite namehere).
-Sometimes party member markers get left on my map even after I've left their part.
-There is no "new mail" notification so check the Postal Worker often.
My small group of pals migrated to Allods with me and quickly pointed out the graphics in Allods are "better" than World of Warcraft and other leading games, except so was "Aion". Allods is the second MMORPG I've played that caters to the Steampunk art style. My biggest complaint about World of Warcraft was that everything in it looked like a Tonka toy.
Everything in Allods is very beautiful, very dirty beautiful.. because it's Steampunk. Some of us have an appreciate for it, some of us don't.. I'm very used to graphics like the ones in Allods, and I'm still impressed considering the game doesn't have immense graphics and then lack every other feature like a lot of free MMORPGs do.
Sounds, Technical Issues, and Bugs
When it comes to the sound in the game, the music is pretty epic and half the time I was in cities my boyfriend would look over and ask me if I was playing WoW again. I personally play with the music off and then sound effects on most games but the sound effects in this game aren't worth adjusting the volume controls for, if I'm going to play with the sound you bet your bottom the music is what it would be for.
There are a number of minor technical issues, this game was developed in Russia so when even the tiniest thing is wrong Gpotato (the Publisher) has to contact who ever is currently keeping the game in development for new content or patching pre-existing content and THEN they fix it and send it back in route to Gpotato THEN Gpotato has to get off their rear and take the necessary steps to put those patches live for game play. I don't want to get into details with all the technical issues of the game because what you consider "technical" may differ what I consider technical but I will say you really want to make sure you read your abilities correctly and research everything you do to your character before you do it. Resetting stat points and all that is always a hassle in free games and half the time it's better to make a whole new character. By the time you are Level 4, if you feel like playing a different class at all JUST FREAKING DO IT and don't regret it way later when you have a level 4x that you just can't stand because you were rethinking playing it from the start. I consider this to go under Technical Issues because the cash shop is not open yet (which is how you reset stats) so that means right now there is literally no way to reset points that I'm aware of.
There will be a patch released tomorrow so I don't want to cover many of the bugs but please keep in the mind the following:
-I didn't get far as a League but as an Imperial there are a lot of buggy zones where your character falls through and gets stuck in terrain. I've met unfortunates stuck in the floors in epic dungeon areas, and you can't do anything because there really isn't an unstuck button.. I usually suggested "Teleport to your bind" and would walk away because everything after that was a waste of time. There is no way to "Page a GM" sorry kiddies Blizzard spoiled us. You could try the forums, old school.
-I haven't experienced the "list" bug but when you see gold farmers of course you want to ignore them (at least I do) and apparently if that person is deleted or banned while you have them on ignore it will bug both your friends and ignore list rendering you incapable of adding or removing from either. I just remember to right click and remove all of my "ignored" users at the end of my gaming session.
-When you do quests you are given markers for where they need to be turned in, where they suggest being done, and where to return them. Just because you get markers does not mean you should just auto accept every quest you should really read the requirements and the last few sentences of the quest just to get an idea for what you should be doing. There are lots of NPC's with quests for cash shop items and things of that nature, and when you have quests to speak with NPC's they don't place those markers on the map so you need to know who you are looking for.
-You cannot have more than one trade skill before Level 10, I don't know why they give you all of these quests to read the books for the trade skill NPCs because you can only choose to do and turn in one. At Level 10 (I think) you have to pay 475G to buy this voucher from an NPC in the first tower you learn a second trade skill (which is the max).
-When you make auctions and they immediately dissapear from your "My Auctions" tab is it NOT a bug, your money will arrive in your mail in ~1Hour.
The community in Allods like all games is a win or lose situation.
Usually when the chat box is bumping it was a gold spammer that started up, someone asks how to ignore and then some one helps and everyone loves each other yay fun conversation ending in cake and pie.
So far I've had no issues finding groups for any of the quests needing them, and the one time I constructed my own I was able to band together 12 randoms and some guy in the group killed the NPC we needed causing all of us to earn a complete quest. Good times.
It's too early in levels for me to tell which players are well established or if it's even worth continueing playing the game based purely off the community which is why we're taking a look at everything individually.
This section will be excluded from this particular review since this game is not as supported by lore as games like Age of Conan were and I have seen no sign of RP anywhere.
Economy and Guilds
The thing about early stage games like this is the economy and guilds are so unstable.
I immediately become a disassembler with my trade skill option, and I sell all the scraps on the auction house for those people taking up tailoring or leather working. I don't know what an immense amount of money in the game is but mounts will cost real cash so don't worry about making and spending some dough on yourself.
I don't usually join guilds but I decided to in Allods for a change of pace. The guild list and guild information tab are under your social panel (G). In order to add/remove/promote you right click their name in the guild list. You cannot disband your gulid if you are the leader, and to invite people type "/ginvite name". The Guild Information speaks for itself, it is the information for the guild. There isn't any support like wars between guilds or anything, they're for the general purpose of staying in contact with close friends.
PvE PvP Combat
The PvE combat in the game is mediocre, yet exceeds other free MMORPGs by a long shot. Finally a free MMORPG where you don't have to be standing completely still to do your skills. After playing WoW it was a sad realization that not all games supported the concept of being able to escape while casting debuffing spells on your enemy targets (which makes PvP LAME).
Allods does support PvP but that wasn't my concern, my concern was PvP being supported but it being coded so poorly that you just wish it wasn't a feature. At my level most of the time PvP for me goes something like "soandso casts thismuch damage on you. soandso kills you" but I tell you I ran my tuckus off before they finished me off!
I'm excited for higher levels in Allods because the PvP can be midly anticapted at least, which wasn't what I could say for games like Shaiya.
Class Balance and Skills
So, I play an Orc Warden on Allods which is basically a Shaman. Every single time a debate about Warden comes into Zone Chat I end up spealing my same argument, but I don't want to get deep into why you shouldn't hate what others consider the crappy classes of the game because that's a whole other blog.
When you choose a class in a game (especially when it's your first character) you should go off of reading the class description and decided within YOUR head if it sounds fun. You shouldn't go to the forums and research which class is most OP or which class is the least played. You should seriously just play the class and race combo that keeps you interested, because then once you get through the game the first time you can make any mistakes and errors on that character and you can always say that, because in the end at least you ENJOYED the character for what it was. Then in the end once you hit level cap or you just decide you have enough knowledge to make a new character that you can keep well rounded, THEN you should do research find out which ones are the best armor and damage abilities catering to what you want.
I remember when I played a Dark Templar in Age of Conan when it first came out, and how often people would literally whisper me saying "wow wut a gay clas u sholud play anyfin els". I ended up hitting level cap on that Dark Templar, and I guaranatee I enjoyed my class just as much as the next guy. Another awesome tidbit was because of the fact I was the only person who was actually "dumb" enough to level a DT to 80 so when I did start my guild everyone knew exactly who "the one DT" was.
I haven't had any issues with the skills in the game only because I did do some talent build research after I was set on staying as a Warden. It always helps to look into what others' have gathered about the abilities because even after reading up on them you end up getting the skill and learning something unfortunate about it. Like, when I hit Level 11 on my Warden I immediately got my skill to make potions but not only did it require a quest for the regeants the first time, I can't even cast it on myself. So when it comes to translated foreign games, you really want to read through the tool tips for abilities to save yourself a head pain.
Questing and Leveling
I was so excited when I hit Level 10 and realized I still had not run out of quests. Ever since Everquest I cannot playing games where I am unable to hit level cap from start purely on quests. The quests are decently organized, you can hold an amount I can't complain about. The markers on the maps for quests keep me on my toes, it's not often I run into issues with finding quest items. When I do run into a problem finding something or someone I just ask in Zone and an answer that made me go "OH DUH" was normally given within a few minutes.
So far Levels 1-11 haven't been that bad, I will admit it goes slower than some other games but the Level cap is also only L40 right now (being raised to L42 on 6/7/2010). I haven't had to grind, which keeps the grade for this section tip top.
NEW!! There is something in the world of Allods I have yet to see in other games, though you could consider it a variation on the rested system in WoW and EQ. In Allods instead of getting incentive for not playing the game, you actually get fatigue from questing and grinding. This fatigue will allocate and you can talk to the NPCs called "Goblin Innkeeper" and if you tell them you want to rest then that bar of Fatigue on top of your normal exp bar is filled in with exp points for a very small price of coin. You want to use your fatigue in the game, because you will notice the pain if you don't.
*Don't forget you have the ability to bind to locations in Allods. In your character panel you have an "Adventurer's Stone" that will send you to your bind as a self cast teleport as well.*
Dungeons and Raids
The dungeons in the game actually offer your incentive for going, except if you run them with an actual group there is no bonus for experience or anything. I don't know what the higher level people get offered for running groups through yet, but I know it's worth going through even for those people out there that prefer grinding in open world. You get decent gear, good silver, and a nice exp boost.
There are bosses with drops in the dungeons, for those wondering.
You are capable of putting together raids, and when I was in a raid I was still able to complete quests. There was a guy leading a raid through a dungeon and I was lagging behind them a bit yet still able to get drops? I haven't looked deep into the raids system yet, I'm not often in them.
I was lucky I could guess my account password when I forgot it some time ago because they still have yet to even send me anything other than an auto reply to let me know they got my message.
I wouldn't want to use my credit card with Gpotato, just like I never would with the people that ran AoC and removed the ability to cancel your sub on the account page. All I'm saying is, when you play free games you deal with free game people, that means a majority of the players being children or really stupid adults and the customer service having closer to no priority because they rather process cash shop sales for bunny ears and pink tutus.
Overall, Allods has kept me in for a couple week now. I find myself enjoying the time I get to play but still capable of walking away for my in person responsibilities because I'm not consumed by it like I was with other games. Then again, I'm not consumed by content because it's not possible to be since the content does not exist (You know, like those awesome raid bosses from previous games). The game is keeping me in for now, but once I get to the end of the race and I'm wondering what to do next then I'll be able to write a second review.