Tell me if this sounds slightly familiar: overcrowding, spawn-stealing, loot lag, idiot chat, kill/collect 10 whatevers. Nope, it’s not 2004 and WoW, it’s 2010 and Allods Online. Amazing how far we have come after all these years! But it’s cool guys, it’s just open beta… of a F2P game, where you get to keep your characters. But it’s open beta because they still might make changes! (because you know, once you go live, you can’t make changes to an MMO). Ah the MMO genre, because as confusing as we make the games, we make all the marketing around them even harder to understand (hi STO).
Another inquiry: Does Allods look better or worse than current-day WoW? Since it’s been close to 10 years since I’ve played WoW, my memory is a bit hazy, but man does Allods look budget, and no, the whole ‘but it’s stylized guys!’ thing is no excuse. Oddly/poorly placed 2d sprites, at times bad mixtures of low and high-rez textures right next to each other, and an overall limited draw distance hurt the presentation, as do the first mobs you fight being rats, snakes, deer, and cats (really? 2010 and your best foot forward is killing/collecting cat parts?). Bonus points for making your first repeatable rep-grind quest (at level 4, whoo!) the most annoying one of the bunch (collect 10 plant leaves, a truly epic task given the fact that they have a slow spawn rate and dozens of people camping each blend-into-the-ground leaf).
And given that you are not making ANY money on this release, since your cash shop is not even up yet and there is no initial/box cost, why not make things playable and enjoyable for everyone and stagger your launch? Why not give closed beta testers a two day start, get them out of the starting zones, and then let in the next wave of people? Have they released a “zomg guys we never thought we would have this many people, even after all our extensive research, we are working to secure more hardware to meet this incredible and overwhelming demand!” statement yet?
Looking beyond the negative first impression however, Allods does do a few things right. Assuming the guide is correct, highlighting the stats your class uses most is a nice touch when trying to decide what armor to wear or what upgrade to pick when you level up. The game also runs well (it should, considering the graphics, but that’s not always a given) even with dozens of people on my screen with everything maxed, and for the hour or so we were online, the server stayed up. The quest text was well written and is so far interesting, plus I like how each quest has a little indicator icon telling you the style of the quest. Anything that draws attention to the ‘important’ quests is a good addition when you are so heavily quest-based. Bit too early to talk about class choices or function/utility, but I do find it odd that my druid so far has a mix of melee/ranged attacks, seems to be a caster-type, and has a combat pet without a pet hotbar.
But the biggest plus for Allods was that Aria lasted over an hour even in the sub-optimal conditions, so that’s a success right there. Hopefully in the next few days the crowd rolls forward and we don’t find ourselves playing ‘tag the mob’ with ten other people. Rumor has it Allods has a slow combat system initially, but when everything dies in .5 seconds, it’s hard to tell.