Allods Online veteran tells all … to us!

One of the most amazing things that could have happened tonight happened. An old friend (I know him as Healshot) came around on ventrilo and dropped a huge bombshell on us. Turns out he has been playing Allods Online in the Russian beta for eight months. Of course our community did what we always do when presented with a source of information: We tied him down and forced him to answer our questions! Alright, so he offered the info willingly but we still talked his ear off with question after question until we couldn’t think of anything else to ask.

As you’re aware by now if you’ve tried to search for info… it doesn’t really exist.  We don’t have a lot of real information from players or even developers at this point to answer the hard questions or give us the real “this is how it is” stuff.  We’re just now starting to get the previews with a marketing spin.  This is why I value the following information so much.

The following are answers in fact-form for you guys to pour over. He expressed several times that all of this comes with a disclaimer that we do not know what will make it into the North American version. This is what the Russians have to play. He is hoping that gPotato doesn’t screw us all over and change it.

– Individual Astral Ships (6-man).  Guild Astral Ships (36-man).
– Ships take two weeks to thirty days to make. Ships are completed by doing daily quests/world mystery quests to gather the parts. You complete the quests and the ship building NPC’s of the shipyard work on it for you. It’s a big investment of time and effort.
– “There are permission lists so people can’t jack your boat”.
– Astral ship combat is longer than normal combat. It takes time to hurt a ship enough to board it. This is a not a “wham bam” thing. These are fortified vessels.
– All Astral combat with other ships is in real time. Multiple ships can gang up on you. You can board a ship someone else damaged. It’s a cutthroat place.
– Your boat can be damaged and you need to go back to port to repair — takes time. Have to collect money and parts to repair it. Not like going to a vendor and hitting repair.
– Astral Plane is massive (as big as the game world itself — it’s the space surrounding it). Giant raid bosses attack you randomly as you sail around. You can find dungeons and raid dungeons. It’s open, but there are defined locations you’ll know about.
– Raid and “mini-raid” bosses attack you. Raid bosses are pseudo-instanced but the “mini-raid” bosses are bosses that anyone can sail right up to and fight together.
– Special Chests drop from these bosses that go onto your ship. You have to take these chests back to the port master to have them opened to see what epic loot you got.
– Port Battles take place in the astral plane over these raid boss dungeons. You dock your ship and go in to do the boss. The result is a lot of “port battles”.
– Astra Plane PvP is FFA. Yes, you can even pirate and attack your own faction. This is why the loot on your ship is at danger!
– Level 30 you get the quest to make your ship. It is set up so that it takes X days to complete.
– Mounts are coming. Obtainable through quests. More of a convenience thing.
– There is a city siege mechanic in the game to attack capital cities. “Somewhat like WAR”. The capital city itself won’t be sieged but some sort of instancing is used to make it so that the city isn’t inaccessible or lost to everyone, but attackable. When I asked about instances, he said “in a round about way”.
– “Epic Lore Raid bosses” are promised. Think “Lich King”. There is definitely a deep lore here that comes from Rage of Mages. READ YOUR QUESTS.
– “End-game” content (24-man raids) are in the game and more are being tested and developed.
– Level 23+ there is world pvp. Once you leave your quest hub you are vulnerable to attack and your flag turns on. Enter your quest hub and you’re safe. This is the only area you are safe in the 23+ zones. The story line begins to evolve and introduce the conflict between the sides. “Expect anything to happen while you level.”
– Control objectives and gain access to a dungeon. When you take over all the objectives your side gets the dungeon, thus taking it away from the other faction. The dungeon remains locked unless your side owns the objectives. It is instanced once you gain control. Think Darkness Falls, but not an open dungeon.
– Class balance lends itself to group/squad oriented play. Individual class balance isn’t a big thing. There isn’t one class to rule them all or one class that sucks. It’s about synergy. Some classes have minor problems but they are simple fixes. “They have done a superb job balancing classes.”
– Crafting is important. Good balance of crafted vs. drops. Equal if not better than drops. It’s good old fashion luck with crafting in this game though. It’s like vegas. You can spend the best mats on something but you’re never guaranteed to get exactly what you want — it’s not completely consistent. There are items to make crafting chances better, but it’s still random. Not the best system by any means. More of a mini-game — a bastardized form of the Free Realms crafting system.
– Cash shop truly is a convenience only thing. Nothing in the cash shop is game breaking, unbalanced, or unachievable in-game. No advantage can be gained from the cash shop.

There you have it! After I was done talking to him I had to pick my jaw up off the ground. It sounds like the Astral Ship PvP element is way more than I had originally thought. PvP sounds fantastic from his description of the open-world fighting. I also had great doubts about the PvE content in the game but he speaks so highly about it. He even told me that he feels like there is about 6 months of content at the “end-game” right now.

I’ll continue to pick his brain for info and bring it to you.

  • Sounds very interesting. Thanks for reporting, and thank your source for sharing. Btw, it was through this blog that I first discovered this game, and I wanted to say thanks. With so many F2P games its easy to gloss over most, but your comments have made this a must try for me.

  • I’m wondering with the recent Free Realms and Battlefield Heroes changes if cash shops for ONLY convenience items can manage to support a game of this development size. I think the cash shop is going to come into play for more than just convenience at some point. It has to, IMHO, or the business model doesn’t work.

  • Asked the source about that heartless.

    “Everyone buys the bags and bank space. The perfume bottles (to pray to patrons) and potions are also bought. They are bought because it is a convenience factor. It would take a lot of in-game effort in alchemy and killing mobs to get those perfume bottles and things that people end up buying.

    Respecs are also a huge seller. People could find the respecs in-game or buy them off the AH… but they’re cheap enough that you just impulse buy them. ”

    According to him and what he’s heard from 8 months of playing the Russian version with a cash shop, their projected revenue is up there.

    Ultimately they’ll find the line. They’ll skirt it for sure. They’re in it to make money. Whether they destroy it and make it pay to win or keep to the convenience model remains to be seen. They’ll destroy something amazing if they become greedy.

  • there’s no reason as far as I can see from playing CBT2 and 1 that you couldn’t turn it into a subscription game so just think of like this ‘you have $15 dollars a month to spend’ and you’l get the same value’.

  • Great post Keen, thanks to your friend for all the info. Btw, where do I sign up to join your guild for Allods? LOL

  • Our Allods Online Forum

    Our community is 100% set on forming up a guild now that we’ve played the game to level 20. We’ve decided to play League. You can read the rough draft of our charter to see what we’re about. Right now we’re very casual in our recruitment. You become a member of the community and you join up with us.

  • Love the gibberlings, I just with League armor looked better (those orcs have some pretty badass gear).

    Sounds good man. Btw, Astral PVP is FFA but Holy lands OPEN world pvp is faction based, correct?

  • I am VERY happy to hear about all of this. I cant wait to dig into this game more as the months progress.

  • You’re crazy if you think gPotato aren’t gonna maximise their cash shop revenue.

    Allod’s isn’t going to be big enough for them to forego the ability to sell much more than what you listed, so good luck with that.

  • I don’t think you can draw any conclusions on the future of the Cash Shop from what’s happening in Open Beta. If the Russian version had been Live for 8 months then you might reasonably conclude that the first 8 months of US/EU Live would be similar, but not when the game’s not even officially launched yet.

    I actually found most of what you reveal here a bit off-putting. I have no interest whatsoever in spaceship battles and while I don’t mind RvR-style PvP I’d much prefer to play pure PvE. Mrs Bhagpuss is gung-ho on Allods at the moment and I am sure we will be playing it, but I was hoping for a more rounded experience than Healshot describes.

    All sounds a bit crash-bang-wallop for my tastes. What I’m really enjoying in Allods is the very slow, long combat. I’d really love a pure PvE MMO where it takes about a year of steady play to get one character to the level cap. In game people seemto be estimating 2-3 months for that, based on information coming out of the Russian beta (no idea how reliable that is but I take in-game chat with a barrwl of salt). That’s just too fast, especially if half of it is actually PvP.

  • Any info on whether there are Battleground/Scenario like PvP in Allods ? It’s my favorite type of PvP with sides being balanced in terms of numbers at all times (or at least most of the times).
    I read something about some Goblin Ball arena or something like that, has he tested it ?

  • Thanks Keen for getting all these notes for us! I’m sort of with Bhagpuss on my reaction though because I am also a PvE player. But I do think this will be my goto (free) game for cartoon fantasy. (…well…I’ll be curious to check out the free version of Chronicles of Spellborn when that comes out)

  • Cash shop for convenience? Say it aint so, that would be leaving a ton of money on the table.

    I would definitely be willing to pony up the $20 per month that I pay for other MMOS – so there.

    free game + convenience cash shop == dead game

  • “Right now we’re very casual in our recruitment.”

    While recruitment is casual, I think it’s important to realize and respect the culture of the guild before signing up (as noted in the charter).

    “I don’t think you can draw any conclusions on the future of the Cash Shop from what’s happening in Open Beta.”

    I don’t think any one is making any “solid” conclusions. If anything, it just sound promising at this point and we’re hoping for the best.

    “I have no interest whatsoever in spaceship battles and while I don’t mind RvR-style PvP I’d much prefer to play pure PvE.”

    Bhagpuss: While I love PvP, I totally understand where you’re coming from and agree (actually from both perspectives). I’d prefer it if I had the option to PvP before lvl 20. On the flipside, for those who enjoy PvE, it sounds like they are forced to deal with PvP if they want to level above 20. Quite a strange approach because you attract a lot of PvE’rs in the first 20 levels and then drop them by the wayside after 20th.

    “Say it aint so, that would be leaving a ton of money on the table.”

    Toot: It’s not a question of how much profit you can make, it’s a question of the game being sustainable and covering it’s costs (particularly in it’s first year). I mean if they did get greedy and made the shop more than just a convenience, it could do a lot more harm than good. That’s why it’s a delicate balance.

    Again, if the shop can at the very least cover their costs, that’s all the matters initially. The idea is to build slowly and attract users. The more users, the more profit, and the more opportunity they have at expanding the game content and features.

  • “I would definitely be willing to pony up the $20 per month that I pay for other MMOS – so there.”

    I think this statement is an important one for everyone, as I’ve already heard people state something like this in-game. If you truly enjoy the game and see the potential of it then take advantage of the shop as much as you can. As a few of us have already stated, we’re planning on spending between $10 to $15 / month in the shop. And based upon what’s been relayed by Healshot, sounds like that money will put to good use in buying needed items (particularly for those who plan on partaking in PvP).

  • Some great info there. I’ll admit, I’ve been getting frustrated with the very hands off approach gPotato has been taking so far. They’re doing little regarding communication with the players (apart from a few pretty inconsequential posts). There is zero information coming from them about the game, hell they even locked a thread that was discussing some patch notes from the Russian site. Haven’t been that impressed with them so far and for me, “beta testing” and MMO is as much about testing the company I will be dealing with as much as the game.

    Anyway, cheers for the information. I’ve been very confused about the PvP aspect of the game so far due to the severe lack of communication so this has somewhat reassured me. I’m still worried about the PvP flags and discussion threads on the Russian forums about “nerfing” PvP as my own personal playstyle means that I find PvE pointless unless there is some form of open PvP involved.

  • @Proximo: There are no battlegrounds. Goblin Ball is a lot of fun he says. You can form teams and play it against the opposing faction or against your own. It’s like mutant football or soccer or something like that. It’s a mini-game type thing where you play the sport but do not fight each other. Levels, gear, etc do not come into play.

    @Bhagpuss: No conclusions being drawn about the cash shop. As I stated in comment #3, they’re in this to make money. However, looking at the Russian game which has been released for months, it appears that most everyone buys from the cash shop. It’s a convenience thing, but at the same time these conveniences are ultimately a necessity in my opinion. I can’t function without the bigger inventory. I can’t function without the bigger bank. I want to buy respecs if they end up being rare drops. Apparently they’re making really good money with this model.

    As for the crash-bang-wallop of it all, that might be because this collection of information is like someone dumping random factoids on you all at once. I focused heavily on PvP, as did most people asking him questing, so a lot of it has to do with PvP.

    There is a very healthy PvE game in Allods according to the source. He says that there are dungeons 10, 20, 30, etc. There are raids and end-game dungeons too. The questing areas, while open-pvp, are related to WoW on a PvP server. He also related them to Warhammer in that you’ll have certain areas that are more prone to pvp actvity. Personally, I’m a PvE guy at heart too. However, I really do enjoy fun and eventful PvP. I think, from listening to him, there will be a good balance.

    Remember, Allods was originally going to be a PvE game in the very beginning. I read an article where they stated the PvE is important to them.

    @Rasta: The PvP flags do not come into play. They’re more of a protection for newbies in the pre-Level 23 zones. Your flag goes on whenever you leave a quest hub in the Lvl 23+ zones. I too was worried about the flag system. It’s rather pointless to opt in and out of pvp while standing in front of the enemy. It breaks the flow. After asking several times to make sure I understood him correctly, the flags do not hinder PvP. Let’s hope they stay that way!

  • Silly question but do the archtypes share the same 3 talent trees (I.E. Brawler, Champion, Brute, Vanquisher — WARRIOR classes — all have the same talents to choose from at 10)?

    I know they all share the same skill-sets but I was interested in finding out if everyone has the same talents to choose from (within each archtype of course).

  • Keen , first off, and i apologize if you addressed this before. Is there pvp before you hit 23 and go to the holy lands? Secondly i was half asleep but late last night i clicked on the store button and it popped up in Russian. One of the items that showed available was, pouch with 10 gold inside. I think for 400 rubles. Was i seeing things? Hadn’t heard anyone mention you could buy gold in store.

  • Gibberling Brawlers are confusing… their unique ability increases their agility but since agility isn’t one of the warrior’s preferred stats, it seems kind of a waste of an ability.

  • @Roman09: There is PvP before 23 if people come to your area. However, I believe that this area is mostly safe for you as long as you keep your flag for pvp off. After level 23, your flag will be on whenever you leave a quest hub.

    Yes, you can buy gold. That is the only item that I have come across that I wish wasn’t available.

    @Killergnomie: A few of the racial abilities are … weird. Mine is worthless too as a Gibberling Warden.

  • @Roman09: If you open the item shop in beta there is a option to buy gold, if I remember right it was 500(whatever they call the currency)per 10 gold.

  • @Killergnomie: I have a Gibberling Brawler and from what I’ve gather the racial bonus is more of a defensive bonus than offensive. I can’t recall the exact wording of the agility stat, but I’m reasonaly sure Agility factors into dodge, parry, and possibly block values. I’ve used the ability only a few times so far and seemed to notice a decent boost in those areas, I imagine if I’d geared myself more for tanking the effect would be even greater.

  • Yep, agility does help with damage avoidance but I just thought it was a waste seeing as how, most players will probably go after the 4 optimal stats (Finesse, Expertise, Strength, Luck – in no particular order). If I ever find myself gearing for higher agility, I’m sure it will come in handy.

    No biggie though, it is just one ability. It reminds me of when racial abilities were first released in WoW, certain races clearly had better racials.

  • It’s on a 5 minute cooldown if I remember right so it’s not a huge boon to the class either way. I’m sure that in live warrior/paladin classes will have multiple gear sets for tanking and dps, like the healer types will probably have a damage and a healing gear set.

  • LOL you can buy gold? You don’t think that’s an inbalanced item on a cash shop?

    Fuck legit ebaying.

  • In case anyone is curious, just looked up… 500 rubles converts to $16.55, Not sure how the economy will be, but if its similar to wow anything epic is usually over 1000 gold. How many gamers will pay 1600 dollars for those purple bracers. But if the economy is weaker and prices are cheaper, who knows.

  • @Knqui: I wish it weren’t in there, but it is. Ultimately, those who buy gold will buy it whether or not it is in the cash shop. The impact on the game will not be visible because such an activity is already pandemic in every game. Still sucks. I still don’t like it.

    @Roman09: 1 gpotato = 1 cent.

  • It’s not true at all that it’s the same as gold selling by farmers.

    There will be:

    1. No economy whatsoever, highest dollar contribution wins everything.

    2. There will be no way to keep up with gold buyers.

    Huge difference, invalidates the game, unless you’re one of the buyers of course, and if that’s so, you’re welcome to this crappy game.

    Building in cheating and making it legit does not make it any less retarded.

  • I have to agree with Keen it sucks that the option to buy is there, but the people who will buy it would of bought it anyway. I would rather they pay their money to the developers than the gold selling sites. If Keen’s numbers are right 5 dollars for 500 gold is much cheaper than I think gold selling sites could sell it for so that should keep the game relatively free of gold farmers.

  • I’d rather the money go right back into the game (via developers or publisher or whoever sees these profits) rather than some 3rd party Asian farming service.

    1 gpotato = 1 cent? Are gpotatos the in game curreny? So if 400 for 10g = 4$… That makes a lot more sense to me rather than $16.55 for 10g.

  • I came up with the 16.55 because i thought the price was 400 rubles for 10 gold, and i just converted the currency. Keen straightened me out. Also have to laugh when my level 6 cleric battled the large crab in the beach zone. That damn crab took me at least 5-7 minutes to kill. Just kept spamming my spells since his hardened shell coudnt be hit with my staff most of the time. I would spam my attack twice, than my heal once. My friend was laughing that he hadn’t seen a fight last that long since his protection pally in WOW dueled a tank geared druid in bear form. After 10 minutes they both gave up.

  • Just got back in from work and in a more reflective frame of mind. I really must stop posting first thing in the morning before work when I’m half-awake and grumpy.

    Thanks for the clarifications. Overall I think there will probably plenty for everyone and a mix of playstyles in one game is a good thing, in general, I think. I’d like to know more about the crafting. In fact, I’d like to know anything about the crafting.

    I will for certain be buying all the bag space I’m allowed too, as soon as characters are permanent. One of the (many) things I had against Runes of Magic was that you could only rent bag space, not buy it. I am fine with paying money to buy permanent items or services or consumables, but paying to rent in-game stuff is a terrible idea.

  • Personally I love the fact that I’ll be able to buy gold legally. I really loathe farming gold in MMO’s to the point where I’d rather have nothing being attainable through trade (vendor or player to player trade). So I’ll be buying gold for sure if I stick with the game.

  • Lost some comments here during last night’s update. If anyone asked a question or made a comment and can remember, please add them again.

  • Being able to buy gold could hopefully keep the gold farmers/spammers away. But if they do it right (ie: limit what can be bought with gold) then it will be ok if you look at wowcrack- the no. of epics you can buy is limited and they are generally sub par to what you can get in dungeons and raids

  • I had no clue about Allods until I ran across it here. I’m going to check it out. It would be nice to have a new game to like for a while. I think the game selling gold, limited or not is a good idea. People might as well get over it. Many players are obviously buying gold to support the gold farming business. It’s better/safer for the game publisher to be the supplier. I’m sick to death of dealing with farmers/botters/spammers everywhere I turn in MMOs.

  • I know i’m commenting in fairly old post, but there doesn’t seem to be much info about pricing around. Just to clear it up – in russian version one “crystal” (item used for item-shop) is worth exactly one ruble, so Roman09 is indeed correct – for russian version.

    Small 24 slot bag is 25 crystals (~0.8$), 30slot is 100 (~3.3$), while biggest 36slot is 950 crystals (~32$).
    20/250/950 for extra bank slots.

    Respec costs 300 crystals each (~10$).

    500 crystal for 10g is largely a joke, or for people sitting on loads of cash and in need of money “right now”. Quick look on Auction House shows 100crystal packs (which you can buy for 100 crystals, obviously) on 277g bid/300g buyout, with other sizes following 1 crystal = 3g pattern.

  • Well, if the prices your are talking about here are correct then Allods Online is like… 100 times moe expensive than WoW . I mean sure, you pay a monthly fee in WoW but then again, you can have all the bags you want after that. Just think about it. 32$ on a damn BAG ? I mean you will have multiple characters and alts… each one of them needs bags… lol and I tought Allods will be great. Seems to me it’s just plain Russian greed, the one we’re all used to by now. They first wanted the whole Europe, now they just want our money. I’m going back to WoW.