Allods Online: Going… Subscription!

Allods Online Gibberlings
My Gibberling from Allods Online Closed Beta.

So, apparently Allods Online is releasing a Russian subscription only server.  No cash shop, no pay to win, no ridiculous design choices to force you into paying inordinate amounts of money for basic features — just the game and a nice subscription.

You may remember that Allods was a game I spoke quite highly about for several months back in 2010.  I really fell in love with the Astral Ships, the Gibberlings, and honestly enjoyed the PvP and the world.  It was a quaint little themepark with some neat features.  I was all set to play until gPotato dropped their ridiculous cash shop on us without warning, and proceeded to flip the bird at their supporting community.  I’m still bitter.

Anyway, quite an odd turn of events that a notorious F2P game has decided to go 100% in the opposite direction (even if only on one server), emphasizing that players are all on equal footing.  I won’t hold my breath for this to be the start of any trend.  A server in Russia for a game not well-received in the West isn’t going to make waves, but I sure hope it does well.

I really do think we will see more games revert in the near future with a subscription offering. What do they have to lose that they already haven’t lost going free to play?  The end of the F2P era is coming.  Mark my words that it won’t last as long as the subscription reign.  Competing on price works for some industries, but not for MMOs.

  • I’ve thought about going back to give it another try, even to the point I have the game installed on my computer just haven’t taken that last step. I think a Sub in NA would easily make me try it again though I doubt it would happen.

    We’ll see about the end of the F2P era though.. As bad as it may be.

  • This was a great game with almost criminally dishonest implementation. This is the poster child for arguments against F2P MMO models.

    Allods didn’t try to be revolutionary; it was just a creative attempt to be be a quality WoW clone, which felt better than the recent WoW iterations. The designers of this game made a product where one could see the love and attentiveness, and then were tasked to break their child’s bones and sell P2Win crutches.

    I liked it so much that I actually believed them when they announced the cash shop was re-worked to a more consumer friendly state, but it still was P2Win and so I uninstalled it with a fool me twice shamed state of mind.

    If you do go back and try it again on a subscription, or know someone who does, please share this information. I would be interested if they genuinely de-stunk it once and for all.

    How much is the monthly subscription in non-Rubel, USD equivalents?

  • I’ll always thank Allods because playing that game is what introduced me to K&G. Been an avid follower ever since.

  • This was (is?) just a poor man’s wow clone.
    Sounds and animations lacking. It got repetitive quickly and the whole Russian theme got annoying. And yes horrendous cashshop in the begin and the Pay when you die thing they had. (no good pvp mode was implemented either)

    Pros: interesting characters and classes.
    Con: above and I had a bad experience with their support even if they did give me a refund in the end.

    Oh and Keen F2P is here to stay. As much as you wish it to go away. Its just to profitable to change.

  • @Zyler: We’ll see! 😉 I’ll make you a deal. You can continue to defend F2P as though it were god’s gift to this earth and ignore everything I say, but when/if it goes away you have to post a comment admitting you were wrong. Deal?

  • @Keen Are you mistaking me for someone else who advertises F2P? I never said its a good model.
    Just that it wont go away. Of course I see the many negative sides.
    And yes I have posted on the mmorpg forums against F2P, but that wont help.

    F2P is slightly behind DLC in my not like list.

  • Actually there is a good F2P model. The one league of legends uses. (and smite I think?)
    If only they matched people with the same talent tree lvl unlocked against each other and it would be perfect.

  • Just a quick run-down for the curious (as of today, Jan 17th):

    390 Rb for 30 days’ playtime, with option to sub for 60 or 90 mo at a time at a slight discount, I didnt bother checking what payment options there are. Approx $13

    No cash shop access in game. No supply of “most” items sold in the cash shop in game.

    Paid services not covered by the sub: name change & faction change. The way I read this, currently both occur simultaneously, and they are looking into providing those as separate? Duno, didnt make much sense to me either

    “We will be monitoring the difficulty of the game process”

    Certain/Some items out of the cash shop will be available as mob drops and/or quest rewards.

    For the moment, those are items like Storage, Megaphones (??), Guild Symbol change scrolls (??), Ship appearance change coupons, Magpie Assistant, Wedding Dress, and other pleasant surprises.

    No incenses. All patrons (?) treat all subscribers benevolently by default.

    Respecs available from in-game traner NPCs for gold. (or whatever the in game currency is called)

    All mounts currently available for the free servers in the cash shop will be available on the subscription server as well.

    No transfer from free servers to the subs server.

    Whether the reverse transfer (subs->free) will be implemented, only time will tell.

    We intend to compensate players on the subs server for extended maintenance periods.

    Subscriptions may not be bought or extended using crystals. (Crystals are the cash shop currency?)

    Mounts may be purchased from NPC vendors or obtained in astral events, raids and mass pvp events.

    There will be no cursed items. The non-cursed items’ drop rate will not be increased to compensate.

    … and quite a few other things that I would to need to play the game to understand … not intending to, though.

    One more thing worth mentioning is that exactly the same game client can be used to play on the subs server as the free servers, from which I would assume there is the same amount of Engrish Translayshun available to subsers as there is to f2prs.

  • That screenshot takes me back – to WoW! That armour on the left looks like a near pixel-level copy of some Warrior armour I had at what Tier 4?

  • I don’t see this being worth $15 a month. Its a WoW clone in a time where even WoW had to bribe subscribers to stick around by giving away Diablo 3.

  • @Copper:

    That is a personal preference issue. For me it actually is worth $15, which is saying a lot given that I have become somewhat Scroogie with successful B2P cash shop MMO’s like GW2 and non-ending Steam sales.

    I also wonder if you played. I would have been extremely happy with the game if they had offered sub servers back when. It had a creative feel to it, until they poured poison all over it with the cash shop.

    It does give one a glance at the virulent practices that some F2P models utilize. We now see what was specifically included by the devs as punitive game mechanics solely to generate profit from the cash shop. Now we get to see Allods as the devs meant it to be in a pure MMO state.

    When one compares any MMO to WoW they need to say which iteration of WoW they are referring to. As far as I am concerned BC and earlier versions were far superior to the more recent WoW versions.

    Allods brought back that vanilla/BC WoW feel, which is something I have missed.


    Thanks for the great info! Do you know if they have retained the rune system and the skill grids?

  • @Keen Yes – but barely got off starter island both times I’ve tried. Fun classes, decent world design, but if the good stuff is only available after 10’s of hrs of time investment in standard quest based levelling, then that’s a huge problem right there also.

    @Gankatron – I guess that when you are coming from a place like Allods placed itself with the cash shop fiasco, there should be some serious player placating. I just see it as a missed opportunity to not undercut the big guy (WoW) for some free word of mouth marketing, which at the same time might bring back interest in those who were fired up about the game at release, and just as immediately turned off by greedy cash shop design.

  • Has anyone ever done a detailed rundown of what the current version of the Allods shop actually costs someone playing at endgame? As far as I can tell, even the developer acknowledged that the initial version was unreasonable and changes were made – according to Massively costs for some of the items at issue were cut by 3 fold – but people seem to have made up their minds by the time that happened.

    From what I read (including here), the consumable perfume thing was effectively an hourly fee for playing content where you were going to die. Say you were going to play 4 hours per day every single day, how much would your expenses run you? I assume that this number is higher than $15/month, but are we talking $20, $30, or $100+ under the current pricing? Compared to a subscription MMO where the guy who plays 1 minute per month pays the same as the world’s most dedicated raider, does charging the people who are actually playing more result in a larger proportion of content dedicated to raiders because they are actually worth more as customers?

    I’ve never played the game and I don’t presume to have the answer to these questions. Just curious whether anyone has looked at this game as it actually is.

  • I stopped following Allods entirely some time ago. Back when I was actively watching (and weeping over) the changes it looked like it was not only more expensive than a sub to buy perfumes, but there were many other pay-to-win features.

  • The estimates back when the initial cash shop was launched was roughly $80 a month for perfume alone if you actively participated in PvP on a daily basis…the death debuff was just crippling, you pretty much had to have perfume at all times or the game was completely unplayable.

    I don’t know any of the details after the cash shop overhaul, obviously most of us who were following this game had already left as the damage was clearly done at that point.

  • I came back after they revamped the perfume items, but the rune synthesis cost was still functionally uncapped since the amount for max level was still too high to be worthwhile. It was the runes that made for a P2Win situation, while the perfume was more to un-cripple your toon in PvP.

  • Have you written a post explaining your thoughts on F2P that you could link me to? I’m not sure I understand why you think it’s solely “competing on price.”

    When I’m looking at which F2P game I want to spend my time on, I make my decision based purely on gameplay experience because there is no price barrier to trying out the game. With classic buy/subscription games, my decision is usually based on other’s recommendations or reviews because I can’t try the game for myself before investing in it. None of the F2P games are competing on price for my time/money.

    I don’t want to start a huge debate, but I’d be interested to read through your logic on that.

  • Ya, Allods had huge potential. Some of the similarity to WoW was what made it so accessible and easy to pickup but it definitely had its own feel and functionality (ie. talents). Community was one key element that stood out for me, as it surpassed WoW greatly in this regard. The openness and sharing of veterans to help out newbs was amazing and made you return the favour in turn as you became a veteran.

    This is one game I’d consider trying again if they did offer a NA subscription server.

  • @Gentle Nova:

    I agree. I think the fact that there are people like us that had invested time and perhaps actually money into the game, got shafted (sometimes more than once), but are still willing to give it another go, speaks to its potential.

    I couldn’t say I have the same forgiving feelings over AoC or WoW.

  • Given that the article seems to point to Allods opening up one server rather than fully converting, it’s more a case of a F2P title moving towards offering a hybrid payment model. It’s not really evidence of the end of F2P – or the end of F2P in North America – as it is a sign that one F2P MMO is giving subscriptions a shot to see what happens.

    The end of F2P isn’t coming; it’s proven a model that keeps titles operating better than a box cost plus sub model in the current NA market.

  • Just just had to respond to the naysayers and misinformed people who make comments about games they have never played or set foot in for 5 hrs or less..

    ALLODS ONLINE is an EPIC, original, content-rich, fully featured and extremely FUN mmorpg. There is soooooo much a player gets for FREE and yes, you can play and see and do everyt6hing in the game for FREE without one purchase from the store. It might take longer, but thats the whole point in EARNING things.

    If will alays play ALlods Onlime on and off because it is a fun experiemce and if you have a character for each faction, n either will ever repeat the same quests or content. Gotta love a game that is going all out, LISTENS TO ITS COMMUNITY, holds weekly in-0game events and wants to keep the game growing while keeping its players happy and thats what keeps mos of allods fans LOYAL.

    Yes, they made mistakes with teh cash shop and chardged wayy to much for certain things(this was fixed almost 3+ years ago) so theres no need to “beat a dead horse”

    If you have not played, go to the site, download and give it a shot. Forgot what you read, heard from others or saw in gameplay vids/screenshots – none of it doest he game any justice until you play. WOW + RIFT + Warhammer Online = Allods 50%, the rest will suprise you with a lot of great mechanics, classes, powers and some fun races. Anotehr great thing is even though most of the races of all factions have the same general “CLASS” each race’s iteration of that class has a different name, some race-only abilities and a whole different system for playing that class.

    So replayaility is a def plus. I only play one character per faction in the mmos i adventure in just because I like seeing content ONCE and enjoy every second of it. Thousands of quests and adventures, an original storyline(s) and world(s) to explore and the most amazing “siege battles: ever conceived. Astral floating pirate ships with energy systems and weapons, all controlled by your group/guild/raid WORKING TOGETHER. There sooooo much too this game – it even has its own sport called GOBLINball(Goblin = the pigskin, a live gonlin that is)

    Anyways, i hope you give it a shot. Sooooo may amazing games have had wrong reviews and promoted incorrectly – dont let that stand in the way of amazing adventures!

    Good luck and see u out there! Salute!