| Astral combat.
Great aesthetic appeal.
| Cash shop influence.
Lack of innovation.
Small player population.
It has been about nine months since we last checked out Allods Online. The game caught the attention of many of us when Russian developers, Mail.ru, announced their heavy-hitter for the third title in the Rage of Mages series, coming after Allods 2, also known as Rage of Mages II.
The game has made quite a bit of progression since its original launch back in 2010. New patches, such as the major update of Game of Gods, release back in February, which includes a new raid, skirmish, loot companions, and even revamps to professions, primarily within alchemy and herbalism. Overall it seems that many players, in such an active playing field, are seeking the possibility that there may actually be a well-developed F2P game that is worth taking a shot at. After a couple of years of progression and a hefty investment by the folks over at Mail.ru, it’s time to give this game another look.
Aesthetics – 8.5/10
If you have never played the game before, the first thing that will come to your mind is about its aesthetic appeal. I really enjoyed my experience in Allods Online through its looks. This game truly is the epitome of the fact that F2P games can compete on various levels with many other major released MMO titles. As you progress into the game, you’ll notice that higher-level zones are even more appealing. You now have something beyond better gear and upgrades to look forward to. The detailing on characters and NPCs is pretty sweet, especially given that your character always seems to be undergoing some type of transformation as you continue to get new armor and weapons. Character creation is pretty good as well, and it’s always nice to have that addition of deeper customization.
One major complaint that people tend to have with the game is regarding its UI. At this point, I think it is almost pointless to criticize MMORPGs for having “taken” or been influenced by other, larger titles. The UI is simple and standard; that’s the best way to put it. There is nothing new or innovative here, which is pretty unfortunate, but it’s nothing that isn’t expected. One problem that I may be a bit more critical than others on is the music and sounds. It had its ups and downs, especially in towns, where my mood toward the music seemed to fluctuate constantly; it can be a bit redundant. However, I will admit that the Russian influence is certainly noticeable, in a good way.
Gameplay – 7.5/10
To start off, it should be noted that the game is divided into two factions: The Empire and The League. You’ll notice that there are three races for each faction. The Empire will feature Orcs, Arisens, and Xadaganians. On the other hand, the League gives you the option to choose from Elves, Gibberlings, and Kanians. Additionally, there are eight different classes in the game: Scout, Healer, Paladin, Mage, Warden, Psionicist, Warrior, and Mage.
The questing in the game is what you would normally expect, but thankfully there have been some new quests added to try to add a bit more diversity, but all in all, you will notice that it is nothing significantly different than what you would normally be used to in most MMORPGs. On the bright side, the aesthetics of the game tend to keep you pushing for a bit longer.
One aspect of the gameplay that you may find annoying is the fact that there is no auto-attack. This is just a matter of preference, but I tend to enjoy the fact my character will attack based upon my actions. It does add a bit of realism within the style of gameplay, so it tends to force players to choose their skills with a bit more caution, knowing you can’t AFK a fight as often.
Innovation – 6/10
Astral Ships and combat is pretty fun, but it does not really make the game stand out. Sure, there may be some unique races and other touches, but there really is not much substance that has been added. I don’t think it is fair to say it is a World of Warcraft cop-out, but I do think the game has many familiar aspects to it that you would find in just about every other MMORPG. For players, however, this may not necessarily be a bad thing. It can be nice to be able to just sit down and have a good feel for the game right off the bat. I just wish that with its time of development and progression, there were more substantial, perhaps even systemic, additions to the gameplay. As fun as attacking ships, playing a couple new races, and kicking goblins can be, it’s not enough to add a whole new layer that catches our attention.
Polish – 9.5/10
Because Allods Online has been out for a couple of years, it does have a fairly well-polished feel to it. One of the biggest things we criticized the last time we reviewed the game was regarding the questing system. Originally, it was difficult to find the solutions to various quests and it slowed you down through zones fairly often. However, Allods Online now features a completely revamped questing system. You can now have automove, which will take you to your quest’s location to continue the chain. Moreover, there are now new indicators and makers on your maps that will make questing much easier.
On a separate note, the overall gameplay is very smooth, and I didn’t notice any hitches or spikes that slowed gameplay. The only minor complaint I have regarding the game’s polish is customer support. There has been quite a bit of criticism that the e-mail system is slow when it comes to getting a response, and I just wish you wouldn’t have to resort to forums to always get help.
Longevity – 6.5/10
My concerns with the longevity of Allods Online seem to mirror my original concerns with the innovation of the game. Although the game may be very fun at first, I just don’t see it as being one that I could be plying a year or two from now, which is really unfortunate, given that it has so much potential, especially as an F2P title. The good news is that if the amount of major updates to the game continues to increase, we could expect a better return on time spent on the game. The past couples of months have tremendously helped the game, and I hope we can expect more as the game moves forward. As it stands now, however, there isn’t much there to keep you going for months on end.
Social – 7/10
Unfortunately, I noticed the same trend with many F2P titles: there is a small population that is primarily comprised of dedicated, veteran players. My suggestion with Allods Online is simply to join a guild as soon as possible. As I was playing, I did feel the game was welcoming, which was refreshing. Players are friendly, but you will be playing by yourself most of the time. The chat system is fairly standard, with local, whisper, and zone modes. Trying to get a group going for instanced areas can take longer than anticipated, so it seems one should always try to capitalize on every opportunity they get with other players in the same area.
Value – 8/10
Allods Online is a Free-to-Play game, thankfully. However, it has followed the trend of adding a cash shop to help cover expenses. This has been one of the major criticisms of the game since its addition, and I just don’t like the idea of arbitrarily getting special privileges based upon your ability to spend money. Although you may not be looking to spend $15/month on a new game, you could find yourself spending a bit here and there as you go on. However, that is not to say to enjoy the game you are forced into spending money. The fact that it is still optional is a bonus, but even if you do end up paying, you will still probably come out ahead than paying monthly, on top of the original cost of the title.
At the end of the day, I really do recommend giving Allods Online a shot. You can see that a lot of work has been put into it, and as far F2P games go, this is a heavy-hitter. Allods Online gave me a very positive experience, and I can only anticipate that the game continues to progress and get better. The game is already ahead of itself as far as aesthetic appeal. The only thing that is hindering the game is really its lacks of innovation. If it can jump over this hump by adding a bit more depth to the gameplay, it would be even more enjoyable. If you are currently seeking a solid, well-developed game, but aren’t looking to get used to brand-new mechanics, then Allods Online may be a match.