Allods Online Astral Ship Gameplay: What We’ve Always Wanted?

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Before I start, I want you to know that I tagged his one as hype simply because I have not experienced the Astral Ship stuff for myself.  I’ll be testing that coming this next phase (Tuesday Jan 19th) when levels 31-40 are unlocked and Astral Ship combat is tested.  That said, take a look at the following videos.

Article about the Video

Astral Ship Footage Part 1 / Astral Ship Footage Part 2 (music sucks.  Part 1 shows the ships and part 2 shows some combat)

Allow me to slobber all over the game for a second.

Finally someone gets it. This is PvP in enormous vehicles manned by players in real time. The ship is steered, the engines powered, the shields maintained, the power core monitored, navigation is manned, cannons controlled, etc., and it’s all done by players. The ships are brought to life by people actually working together and controlling them. PvP in the astral is then conducted by these player driven ships attacking one another. Shields eventually drop and players board each other and fight it out, steal treasure, kill crew, destroy the ship, and fight in meaningful, dynamic, and deep PvP.

I even have trouble believing it for myself. Russian players say that it’s not only as good as the video and articles being written but it’s better when you experience it yourself.  Exploring Allods, killing raid bosses on different islands or ones that attack you like something you’d see out of Final Fantas, finding raid dungeons, gathering loot, pirating other people… it’s all there they say.

This is the kind of thing that many of us fantasize about.  It’s stuff like this that we fabricate and imagine being in other games that release only to find out we had imagined something more glorious than was delivered.  I remember thinking how cool WAR’s keep sieges would be or how amazing PotBS’ ship captaining would be when I sailed the seas.  How many of us actually wanted to crew a starship in Star Trek Online?  How many wanted to contribuet in capacities other than Captain?  How many were let down when your ship was your avatar because you thought there was more to it?  Delusions of grandeur are rampant in this genre.  It feels like we’re finally going to get what we can imagine, and it’s coming to us in a Free to Play game.

I want to reinforce the fact that I have not personally done this content yet.  I’m level 30 right now sitting at the cap from the last beta phase.  The part of the game that I have played lives up to my expectations.  The leveling content is fun and abundant.  PvP is active, open world faction based, and reminiscent of oldschool WoW.  It all appears to be the genuine article, but that’s what I intend to verify next week.

My guild is going to try and get a ship in CBT4.  We’re always looking for more people to join our ranks and build our community.  If you share our vision and affinity for gaming definitely join up with us at launch.

  • The music isn’t terrible. It’s just what Russians really listen to. Don’t believe me? Google Basshunter / DOTA. Hillariousness. 🙂

  • Have to agree with the points made. Fantasies that never come true. I mean, take Star Wars Galaxies. Imagine thousands of people in space, maybe 5 people walking around the inside of a ship they all chipped in for, one is captain, another is navigator, another is an engineer, the other two are ship security – and then battles are played out, bits of the ship explode, people in those sections are blasted away, decisions are made like locking people out for entire safety of crew from vaccum. Things like these are my dreams, and I have yet to even hear of someone even throwing it out as a suggestion for a game feature.

  • I’m sold on Allods already and so’s Mrs Bhagpuss. Having said that, the spaceship stuff doesn’t excite me and it’s certainly nothing I’ve ever wanted in an MMO. I’m impressed by it, but it doesn’t interest me.

    I just hope there’s plenty of normal stuff to do between levels 30 and 40 and that you don’t HAVE to play space-pirates to keep progressing your character. I’d be more than happy with more of the same high-quality questing and great zone design that we’ve seen so far.

  • @Bhagpuss: You have a very valid concern. I’m told there are raids, dungeons, and plenty of zones 30-40 for you to experience. Astral ship stuff is an end-game activity. You build a ship, take it out to adventure in, upgrade it, and fight other people. I don’t know the extent of content accessible only via this gameplay. It could be that the hardest bosses with the best loot are out in the Astral area. If it is indeed a threshold that you will ultimately have to cross, perhaps joining a guild to help you and the Mrs ease into it would work? Definitely not a solo or duo place.

  • I also didn’t see it with my own eyes (hell, I only got past lvl 11 during the last beta), but if I’m to believe the article on Massively, while there will be need for a good and steady and competent crew to maneuver the ship, more deck hands would help in case of boarding ships, or to raid the allods, so even if you are not interested on being an active space-pirate, I’m sure a guild could use your combat expertise.

    I’m getting all fuzzy and warm with this naval talk. This sounds oh-so awesome. 🙂

  • What does not make sense to me is that it sounds like there are two games in one.

    One is the “common” land based type leveling – the other is manning spaceships and PvP. I think this introduces a tension – you either like one approach or the other – so you are bound to dislike large parts of the game.

    Why not allow people the play the “same” game at all levels. Not change it completely at high level, that is very bad design because it really makes low levels into a grind that you want to rush through to get to the “real” game.

  • I only played up to 8 on a League character in CB3 but I was impressed enough to not want to play League again until live. (I think gibberlings are one of the greatest races in any MMO I’ve played).

    I realize that we are basically only testing localization here in the US but the level of polish still amazes me, and this is a F2P game!

    About people’s comments about the disparity between leveling and endgame, I understand there will be ship boarding and other such things in which the skills you acquired while leveling are used to repel boarders or plunder a ship.

    Really looking forward to CB4 and the eventual launch.

  • Yeah can’t say I’ve ever been interested in any type of vehicle combat in MMO’s. Glad you find this interesting, but ship combat looks extremely boring tbh.

  • Thanks for the info Keen. Sounds as though the Astral Ship content is in the place of what would be raid content in other MMOs, which is absolutely fine with me. I’ve enjoyed many years in many MMOs without doing much raiding, so that should work.

    Mrs Bhagpuss and I are thinking seriously about doing the guild thing in Allods, as it happens. Been a few years since we last did any real guild stuff so it would make a nice change, and Allods might be the game for it. I don’t fancy steering the ship or running the engines, but I would be happy to ride on it and help repel boarders, or even do repairs.

  • Does anyone know if the Astral Bosses are instanced, or can other ships attack (read grief) you during a fight? If they arem’t instanced can another ship try to loot the boss if they join in on the attack?

  • @Gankatron: AFAIK the allods where you’ll find the bosses are all instanced. Only when you leave the allods out to the Astral you can be attacked. However, everything you loot on the allods goes to the ship’s treasure room, and can only be looted by players after you port back at the cities. So there is a chance you can someone can take everything you got from the bosses during an attack to your ship.

    (I might be wrong about some things here; these are what I gathered from reading blogs and forums about the game)

  • That sounds correct, Kemwer. I’ve heard the same. I’ve heard there are some instanced bosses and some not. All Astral loot becomes vulnerable until you bring it back to port.

  • Just like you said Keen…all the PVE of WoW, the (fun active ) PvP of War..the “Space” fighting STO. Leave it to an unknown (in USA) to bring to the genre what so many have wanted.

    I cant even log into WoW because I am waiting for this game now…its like the initial release of WoW all over again.

  • Wonder if when the astral ship is destoyed if you have to build a new one? I remember playing with you guys in Haven and we built that rickety raft lol…that was so much fun going out on that.

  • You have to get it repaired and fixed up. I’m told it takes time + money.

    It’ll be good to have you back with us Russell. I hope you’ll join us. 🙂

  • Really Looking forward to Allods, Huge PvP and epic Astral Ship action is going to be Awesome! Can’t wait.

  • 1° Can you go anywhere in the Astral freely or are there preprogrammed roads ? How would we intercept ships then ?

    2° If we win the ship battle, board on the other ship then win the 6v6 ( right ? ) battle, do we have to repair our ship too ? which would mean that we can only board once in a while, or take the risk of attacking whitout repairing ?

    3° Is it true that it’s only one ship per guild ? And that you can attack both factions in the Astral ?

    4° The Astral seems really nice, but i’m not sure there’ll be enought to play there everytime. Is there any lvl40 PvP content on the land ? Any way to make people want to fight ( i.e not like in Aion ) ?

  • I wonder why loot would go on the ship and not the players inventory…unless it’s so abundant you have no place to put it…

  • @Samorr

    1) While there are probably some areas that are always there the majority of the Astral from what we have read is randomly generated.

    2) The personal boats are 6man. From what we have gathered the guild based ships are ~30 man ships. I would guess that yes the winner woul dhave to do some repairs as well.

    3) I haven’t read anything to lead me to believe that there can be more than one large guild based ship at this time. And no the current version of the game in Russia changed it to faction based but it was orignally Open PvP.

    4) There are the level 40 Holy Lands for starters. As well we’ve been lead to believe that we can seige certain areas that (in our case) the Empire holds.. Not really sure how this system works though.

  • @Samorr: The astral is always changing, but you can go anywhere. Winning against the enemy means killing them off and destroying their ship or taking their treasure and leaving. Either way you don’t take their ship, just their treasure. I was told there are guild ships and personal ships, but for that I don’t know. PvP content takes place out in the open world in zones AND in the Astral.

    @Terroni: It goes to the ship because anything you loot in the astral is vulnerable and can be stolen by other people. If you get attacked and they jack your loot, it’s gone.

  • I find the idea of getting together with your guild for a night of exploring, downing bosses, fighting enemy ships, and returning to port to divide the plunder a whole lot more appealing then “we are farming X raid on Tues and then attempting Y boss on Thur” It’s much more dynamic and immersive. Can’t wait for this game!

  • You know what’s going to happen? You are going to get to level 40, get eager to get your ship, and find out the only way to get it is by spending 14.95 for a ship permit in the cash store.

    Not only that, the darn thing will degrade over time until you either have to spend 9.99 on a “ship repair package.” or do some long, dull fetch quest to fix it partially, till it’s degraded enough to be worthless in PvP. Plus they will have a bunch of item capsules with a small chance of a rare ship cannon that comes out, or a special npc crewman, or some other thing to get the hardcore to spend money.

    You keep praising it, and it sounds cool, but I know Gpotato is not going to sit back and make a minimal cash shop with no effect on gameplay. I’m afraid that they will take a wonderful game, monetize the hell out of it, and break it.

  • What happens on a ship if one of the players manning it has to log off? Can someone else be invited/summoned to the ship?

    Or does the slot go empty, and the remaining players on board have to decide which posts to man?

  • I agree with what MrBones said above, if the Astral ship combat turns out half as good as it sounds it could revolutionize how people/game companies see “raiding”. It wouldn’t have to be boss atempt after boss atempt till you find the winning combo. You get you’re friends/guild together and explore, find an Allod, raid it collect you’re loot and then cautiously return to port or patrol the astral and attack other ship’s in hopes of a payoff. Sounds much better to me than meeting at “generic raid instance #7” and wiping for a few hours several nights a week.

  • @Renosnort: Given that they have said phase 4 is the last closed beta phase and then OB starts, we’re expecting them to give us an early February OB (which is technically launch since you keep your characters).

  • I’m with Toot on this one. The ships are such a potentially great feature, they really should be more than an endgame gimmick. I can admit to being spoiled by Puzzle Pirates, though, where there is a large range of ship sizes and very early access to them.

    I wrote about it here:

    What a Ship Is…

  • Oh, and sorry for the double post, but this sort of teamwork and ship activity, what with sailing about spoiling for fights and then hoping to make it to port without losing to PvP pirates is exactly the core of Puzzle Pirates’ gameplay. It’s already been done, in other words, and it’s really fun.

    Thing is, Astral Ships seem to be a late addition to AO, which may be why they are an “endgame only” activity. I really do think they would benefit from expanding the role of ships in the game to something on par with Puzzle Pirates.

  • I agree Tesh, pillaging in puzzle pirates was really great fun (perhaps even more fun because of the puzzles), and I am happy to see it back here. And I’m pretty sure I read only level 40 players can OWN a ship, while level 20+ players can BOARD the ship. So that’s not to bad 🙂

  • @Juul
    I’m pretty sure it’s lvl 35 when you can start building you’re ship. It is going to take a decent amount of time/work to get ship, if I remember right it’s about 30 day’s time. Who know’s if it will require some item shop purchases to build/fly you’re ship. We will have to wait and see.

  • Once you get loot from the boss could you not just run for port at top speed? Is there a mechanic to somehow force an engagement ship to ship?

    Is there wind of some sort?

    Off top of my head, loot you get should weigh the ship down. Also 6 man ships should be able to move a bit faster perhaps be able to damage larger ships enough to slow them down

  • Hey are you guys worried that the price model of Allods, ie the fact that it is going to have a cash shop, is going to ruin the game? So far, after doing 3 Closed Betas for the game, I think it is probably the BEST free to play MMO out there, and better than many pay to play MMOs, but I am VERY worried that the game will be unplayable because of the cash store.

    Granted, I suppose I could set aside $15 a month and just spend that at the store, instead of on a subscription, but will that keep me up to par? Or will it require much more money than that?

    Just something I am worried about, and it is the only reason I am not planning on making Allods online my new MMO when it releases. Instead I plan to dabble and am looking on the horizon for another MMO.

  • @Rybnik
    Wait and see? comeone, I follow this game since July or something, I know pretty much about it. A friend asked it in a mail and gpotato (US) answered you could start building a ship at level 40, but that you could get some parts (through quests) before level 40. And you won’t need an item shop item to create a or fly a ship, they confirmed that. It will takes between 2 weeks (if guild members and you do quests to speed up the building proces) and 1 month to build a ship.

    And for all who worry that the cashshop will ruin the game, trust Astrum Nival. No russian players complaining about the cash shop, since you really don’t have to pay anything to be as strong as people who paid money. They also confirmed permanent mounts would be obtainable through quests. Which shows they aren’t as greedy as runes of magic for example.

  • Keen –

    How did you make it past the 4th day of CB4? I am so worn out now from the grinding on my Gibberling Brawler I am actually feeling burnt out.

    Do you feel any impressions they may reduce the grind? If it takes a casual almost a whole day to go from 10-11 I am concerned I’ll never hit 40! Especially with the open PvP after 24! How will a Brawler ever solo mobs AND watch his back for gankers?!