Allods Online Interview

A couple of months ago, about the time I started writing about Allods, Gala-Net contacted me and offered the chance to submit some questions to them for an interview.  Long story short, it’s taken a while to get these questions back and I’ve since then revised the questions sent to them.  It did take a little longer than I would have liked, and as a result many of these questions are either already common knowledge or irrelevant, but we do know that there are bigger fish and also that these are very busy times.  Some of these questions are still quite interesting as they provide a basis from which to expect and/or judge the actions of gPotato during the next few months.

The questions were answered by Community Manager Katelyn Olmstead (aka InaraKatt) and Shelby Goad (aka Miss_Sadie).   We appreciate the interview and their time and would like to congratulate them in reaching the Open Beta milestone.

To read the interview and my thoughts click –>

Keen and Graev: What is the philosophy behind the Cash Shop’s implementation in Allods Online? For example, do you see it as a way for players to buy improvements for their character or more of a convenience model where players can buy potions, respecs, and cosmetic items? I guess what I’m getting at here is whether or not players can buy success like in some Free-to-Play games and whether or not this Cash Shop implementation will be intrusive into the gameplay.

Gala-Net: We’re very mindful of the items that we introduce into our Item Shop to ensure that it will help to promote fair play within the game. We like to point out that a player that spends $500 will never be more powerful than a player that may only spend $5 and the only way to obtain the high end gear is to actually play the game. But players that don’t have the resources to purchase items from the Item Shop can still acquire those items from daily quests, auctions set by players, and world drops.

K&G: Is the current Cash Shop visible to players in CBT#4 going to be the same cash shop that players will have at launch or do you plan to add more items before launch?

Gala-Net: While the item shop is being finalized internally, you can expect items like perfumes and backpacks to be part of our item shop. Also, we intend to release new items on a regular basis.

K&G: Do you have any pricing information for the “Crystals” or in-game currency?”

Gala-Net: The core currency will be gPotatoes and we are also exploring other currency at this time in order to complement the gPotato currency.

K&G: Can Astral Ships be obtained without using the Cash Shop?

Gala-Net: Absolutely! There are also daily quests that can be found in game to help speed up the process.

K&G: It was mentioned in the Behind the Scenes article that the Astral is always changing. Does this mean that if I find an allod today that it may not be there tomorrow? Can you elaborate?

Gala-Net: The Astral is always changing! The treasures, allods, and Astral demons that you might be used to seeing in one specific sector will evolve and change to something new throughout your play.

K&G: Treasure in the Astral is mentioned a couple of times. What sort of treasures can we expect to find? Is this gold and weapons treasure, a special “treasure” unique to the Astral that will grant the players a bonus of they can bring it back safely, or something else entirely?

Gala-Net: Players can expect to find anything from gold to epic gear and weapons to crafting supplies!

K&G: Are there any plans for allowing players to create UI mods?

Gala-Net: This is definitely something that has been looming in the back of our minds over the last few months. In a game such as World of Warcraft, UI mods are almost a necessity to be able to competitive in high level content as well as PvP. It is likely that Allods may go this same route. While right now we are focused on making sure the game runs smoothly, we have had a number of discussions about this as a team, and with the developer Astrum Nival. This is definitely something that is a strong possibility of being developed in the future.

K&G: The guild window right now seems to be fairly basic. Are there any plans to expand the guild system and interface to allow for more customization and/or features?

Gala-Net: The limited guild features have been one of the players’ biggest complaints over the last few months and it is definitely something that we will look at improving as the game grows. This game is really about working together and being social so it is important that the features and mechanics of the game support and promote this.

K&G: Will players be able to craft gear comparable to “the best” in the game?

Gala-Net: Our crafters may not be able to make legendary gear, but they will most definitely be able to craft Epic gear and weapons at the higher levels.

K&G: Are there, or will there be, mounts? If yes, can you tell us whether they’ll be cash shop or cost in-game gold and what level they’ll be available?

Gala-Net: Our lips are absolutely sealed on this one. We have been sworn to secrecy with the risk that if we open our mouths, we will be banished to forever sit in Allods’ Purgatory.

K&G: Are there any “end-game” PvE such as dungeons and raids and if so can you give us any information on how many there are and what the raid size requirement will be?

Gala-Net: There is currently one giant raid for level 40 characters and it’s so difficult that I wouldn’t dare to go in with anything less than a full 24-man raid group. Our undiscovered Astral Isles are also instances that players find via their Astral ships.

K&G: It has become quite apparent that we are testing a build of the game that has already been tested and even patched for the Russian players.  Bugs and glitches in our build have already been fixed in theirs. Can you explain why we are testing an older version?

Gala-Net: Actually, we’re not testing an older version! In fact, when new versions are released in Russia the team is very quick to make sure that the latest version is prepped and ready for North America as soon as possible.

K&G: No Q&A would be complete without the golden question: When can we expect Allods Online to launch?

Gala-Net: While this is called Open Beta, characters created in it will not be deleted, so players can treat this as the game’s official launch. A large marketing/advertising push will come later, and you can expect to see the Item Shop sometime in the near future.

See? Quite a few questions are “meh”.  However, I want to draw your attention to a few interesting points.

The first point comes right from the first question in their answer about the cash shop.  Unlike some cash shop implementations, it isn’t based on how much you spend.  Note: It doesn’t mention spending vs. not spending, because that would make the statement false.  We know that you must spend -something- if you want to be on part with others.  This goes hand in hand with what I was talking about the other day when I said that this particular cash shop was one about temporary/consumable power.  If I spend $500 and you spend $5, I’m not going to be more powerful than you — I’m just going to be able to maintain that level of power for a longer period of time.  I especially like that we have them on record for saying that you obtain high-end gear by playing the game.

Next interesting point is the question about UI mods.  They’ve acknowledged the importance of UI mods and even that they’re a feature which crosses over into actually affecting the gameplay by becoming necessary to remain competitive.  From their answer it does seem like something we can expect.  It would not shock me at all to see an announcement in the next month.  It took WoW a little while to get their UI modding started up.  Since the UI is one of the biggest gripes that people have, it probably can’t come soone nough.

Mounts: Clearly a yes.

Lastly, the last question has an interesting line in the answer.  The Item Shop will be coming “sometime in the near future”.  We’re all playing Open Beta right now without the cash shop and many of us thought it would have opened by now.  Personally, I think they’re losing boat loads (astral ship loads?) of money by not letting all these fresh faces spend money right away.  We all know that MMO’s these days peak early.  Why not capitalize on it?  Not only does it benefit them, but the players need the bigger bags, bank space, and things offered in there.  It’s an interesting situation right now that I’m watching with interest. My own speculation has been that they’re waiting a few days for server stability and letting people try things out.

We would again like to thank Katelyn, Shelby, and all of Gala-Net for communicating with us.  We look forward to a close relationship with the community.

  • I agree with your thought that they are holding the Cash Shop for server stability. With Plantain’s not dropping, Disassembling broken for a few players, and the gigantic amount of players in the same zone, cash shop purchases would have a high chance of not arriving and/or simply disappearing. With real money on the line and thousands of customer service calls, I am sure they are making the right choice.

    Awesome interview by the way, I am extremely happy about the Raid comment and the info on modding.

  • PS: Anyone know the name of said Raid dungeon, i’d really like to look it up and see information on it if its available.

  • This is the first time since WoW that I’ve been genuinely interested in an MMO and liking where they’re going. they seem to have a good grasp on what people like which is more than I can say for Blizzard these days.

  • This is the first f2p game i can honestly say I’m excited about. Ive played the first few level with a few characters and i like the look and feel of the game. I think this game will be even more widely played than RoM.

  • I just saw the prices, those are insane! No way will people be paying that much for stuff! they need to have cheap items like 25/50 cents and stuff under 5 bucks and people would eat it up, maybe buy more not thinking about the cumulative cost.

  • The prices in the CS do seem a little steep at this point. The $20 price tag on a 6 slot improved bag is particularly dissapointing. I could understand charging maybe $10 for the 6 item slot improved bag, but I would expect a $20 bag to be a much more significant gain that just 6 slots. I still really like Allods and plan on sticking around (I also perhaps foolishly pre-purchased a $50 gpotatoe card from Target in anticipation for the game), but prices could be reigned in a bit. I’ll spend my money on potions, chests and perfumes (come lvl 15) for now and hope that they re-think some of the luxury items prices. Also I believe DawnWarden did the math on how much $ it would take to make a level 9 rune from the CS and the total was around $7000. So now people will have to choose between a nice used car or 1 level 9 rune… tough call.