Friday, 12 August 2011

Allods Online review


It’s not difficult to see why playing an MMORPG could be attractive; effectively having another life where you can become a hero and fight all manner of monsters, or maybe the head of a guild or a multi-million corporation (in the case of EVE Online), while showing it all off to other players is certainly an enviable position. What is not so enviable is the monthly subscription fee which many of the best MMOs seem to require; the ever popular World of Warcraft and the aforementioned EVE Online spring to mind. This can lead to many players to turn to the free-to-play selection, one of the best of which is Allods Online.
Although essentially having the same format as other free MMORPGs, wherein you create characters,  gain experience, complete quests, kill things, level up and chatter endlessly, and often aimlessly, to other players in the gaming world, Allods Online differs in two key areas.

One area is the character creation and development aspect in itself. Allods Online boasts a surprising amount of races and classes for a F2P MMO, with six races overall and a myriad of classes to go with each. Some classes, such as the pet-owning Warden, are only available to certain races, so the level of character customisation is at once pleasing and fulfilling. The races in Allods Online have been split up into WoW-like opposition; much like the latter’s Alliance and Horde, this game has the League and the Empire, which at once creates a feeling of belonging (and playing as the Empire automatically makes you assume an evil sense of superiority, mwahaha). The character development is also unique, as each class gains a skill tree to spend points on, meaning no two characters will ever have the same stats (theoretically).

The other completely fantastic aspect of Allods Online is the ability to conduct ship battles! Yes, you heard right, ship battles. Y’see dear readers, there’s this stuff floating around between the Allods (essentially islands) of the game called the Astral, and players are able to build a ship and go off in a party, exploring the different isles and generally fighting demons and other foolhardy players. Each ship has six crew members (other players in your party) in order to operate the ship, some at the helm, others navigating or raining death on the foes with the cannons. Effectively it’s like being part of a naval battle in space, and it is extremely awesome! Of course, building a ship takes a great deal of time and commitment, so it’s not for the fainthearted, and casual gamers may struggle to reach a high enough level for the funds to become available. It’s a nice touch in any case, setting it apart from other similar MMORPGs.

The graphics in this game are lovely, the cartoony style of WoW being replicated and possibly even ramped up a notch (but don’t tell that to a fanatical Night Elf). Players who like to be visually thrilled by a game world while playing will not be disappointed. The interface should be familiar to those who’ve played at least one MMORPG, but if not it’s rather easy to use and shouldn’t provide any trouble to the first-time gamer.

No game is perfect, of course, not even one as polished as this. For one thing, the text chat box in the corner of the screen is a wee bit tiny; if you have to squint to make out what someone is saying to you, there’s probably a large problem on your hands. It could also be said that, although pets for certain classes are a nice touch, it would have been even nicer if you could have chosen which pet you have-as it is they tend to look the same, only changing in appearance as you level up.

These problems certainly aren’t game breaking however, and are certainly not a reason to abstain from downloading it. Allods Online is a fantastic MMORPG for those looking for a deep, vast world to adventure in while socialising with other players. In any case, it’s free, so why not try it?


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