I’m on my way to my 8th character in the Allods Closed Test BETA. Each character went from levels 1 to 15; except for the most recent re-roll which just reached level 9. I don’t play BETAs to see as much content as possible. I participate in the BETA to experiment and test what I can in the zones I reach. I prefer to have the game remain new and undiscovered for launch.
During a BETA I spend most of my time trying out the different classes. What sounds like a good fit for me on paper often doesn’t translate to my personal play style. I don’t like re-rolling during the live game so I prefer to investigate and work out kinks in the BETA. Beyond the classes, the BETA is when I’ll know if I enjoy the rendering of that particular setting, the questing system/mechanics, crafting, PVP, etc. My goal is to answer the very fundamental question of, “On the surface, is this game for me?” I can’t decide on a long term commitment seeing so little. However, I can identify a non-starter, as for as my personal preferences are concerned. Allods meets my criteria for at least trying the “live” version of the game. My MEx5 meter is at MEx3.
- Two VERY different faction zones – one is high fantasy while the other is steampunk
- Interesting twists to the classes
- Engaging back-story
- Promising PVP – hopefully not too punishing. My days of, “Grrr – I’m l33t have come and gone.”
- Anticipation of Astral flight, exploration and combat being half-way decent.
- You must do quests if you want to level without gouging your eyes out – you can’t grind mobs and level. Well, you could but, I wouldn’t. As someone who likes an equal mix of questing to grinding, I’m not sure how this will impact my long term enjoyment.
- Lack of instanced content - Like Runes of Magic, there are fewer instanced dungeons than I would have preferred. Aion does a nicer mix of actual instanced content with outdoor zones full of elites that require groups, so it’s basically instanced PVE.
My Top Tips for Playing Allods
Replaying the same content over and over lets me focus on how a class plays and the differences in completing the same quests from a different point of view and group role. I want to know how a class solos content, how it’s received in groups and the group role. From my Allods BETA journey here are some of my top tips.
- Your Combat Log is your Lover - Utilize your combat log to understand what is and isn’t working with your spec and approach to combat. Unlike previous MMOs I’ve played, the character attributes/stats have a critical impact on your character progression. If you’re not spending them wisely for your class, play-style, role and spec, you can gimp yourself and have a negative leveling experience. This CAN’T BE OVERSTATED – be certain that you understand the stats that are important for your class/role/spec. To fix it will cost you a long grind for very rare items, long grind to pay a player a ton of gold to purchase their lucky find of that rare item OR you’ll pay real dollars in the Item Shop.
- Deer <> Boar <> Bear <> Snake - Don’t assume because you cake-walked a level 11 deer that you’ll cake-walk that 11 boar standing beside it. The defense, damage and special attacks of mobs at the same level can differ widely. I’m not so sure how I feel about a normal mob’s ability to critical strike. I suggest you watch the combat log the first time you fight each type of mob, especially if you attack 1 to 2 levels above your character. I’ve encountered several that can go on critical strike chains, where each is 4x their normal damage. I take a different approach when I encounter those such as, don’t solo them, have +damage potions available, pull them close to guards, plan an exit strategy or let the quest wait until I’m up another level.
- Read the Russian Forums - Both the EU and Russian BETAs are further along than the NA one. Russian players who have been playing since their CBT 1 have significantly more insight into the game. Unfortunately, you can’t search the Russian forums easily because of using a browser to do a translation. Reading them might give you a bit of a headache trying to make sense of the bad translation. However, if you care about optimizing your class you’ll do the work.
- Research and Plan your Talent Spec - The Allods classes, talents and stats are different enough that I wouldn’t assume what you know about class mechanics from other games will work. Take the time to read the forums. Also spend time planning a spec using the Talent Calculator before you purchase your rubies. Changing it after is going to cost you something – grind, in-game gold or real money.
- Plan a Leveling vs. End-Game Spec - You have to reach maximum level before you can settle into the end-game. That should seem obvious but I’m encountering players building up an end-game spec while leveling and then wondering why leveling is so hard. Combat in Allods is longer than other games I’ve played, even with a perfect setup. Gimping yourself for the fundamentals of completing quests – killing shit, will make it take even longer. Dealing with the kill ten rats type quests in a combat system that has no auto-attack and a your basic non-special attack is on a 3 second cool down is long enough. Don't make it worse with a gimp spec.
- Check Vendor Resale Items - Allods vendors have a resale option where you can buy items sold to them from other players. Be sure to check the resale tab on the vendors located throughout the game, especially the ones near the quest hubs. You’ll find blue and green items other players didn’t want or couldn’t use, available at reasonable prices. I’ve purchased several blue item upgrades using the Resale feature.
- Purchase Lowbie Gear Kits - All class trainers have level 5 and 10 gear kits you can purchase. The gear isn’t uber but on each character I was able to replace at least 1 item and fill in slots where I had nothing at all, for a few silver. It’s definitely worth the cost. You can vendor what you don’t use or disassemble them for materials if that’s your profession.
- Reign-in Astral Combat Delusions - Owning your own vessel for Astral combat will come at a price - gold and time. I’m hoping Astral combat is EVE Online lite meets fantasy MMO. If that’s all you’re in it for then take some time to read the posts on the Russian Forums and the Allods Dev posts.
Obtaining your vessel is an end-game goal, grind and time-sink. You can’t start the process until level 35. On top of the 1.5K gold, quest chains and group required dungeons needed to obtain your ship, the construction takes 90 days by default. You can lower that time to 30 days minimum by doing specific daily quests.
No vessel can be successfully manned alone. You won’t be soloing off into the sunset in your ship unless you want it destroyed by the first thing it comes across. Take all of the above into consideration IF your own ship and astral combat is your primary motivator.
- Be Mentally Prepared for PVP and Gankage - There are no RVR-only lakes like in Warhammer Online. It works more like Contested Zones in
World of Warcraft. You are PVP flagged the whole time you’re in the zone attempting to do quests, harvest or whatever. You’re sent to the first “contested” zone in your early 20s. While touring to take pictures at level 9, I hopped on a ship that took me to some pretty island where I ... immediately got my ass killed. I don’t even know where I was but the minute I jumped off the boat, a level 11 player had me at hello.
Based on other in-game activity I’ve witnessed, I believe that the game is actually PVP anywhere and anytime. On the EU server, players from the opposing faction made their way over to the level 10 zone and sacked it. They killed NPCs much like Horde visiting Westfall enjoy doing. But they also killed lowbies along the way. Yeah, level 35 chars were running amuck one evening. I don’t know why they didn’t kill me. They danced around me then proceeded to kill a couple of players my level right outside the barrack’s gate.
It could be that I was safe inside the barracks (NPCs and Quest-givers area), which is where I stayed while I watched and tried to figure out WTF was going on. I’ve since seen low-level elves floating around the Empire zones looking for some action too. *shrug*
- Take time to smell the roses - Similar to the attention to zone details in Warhammer, you can find all sorts of cute nuggets exploring Allods. So sure, one side trip landed me on an island where I got spanked but there are interesting twists and strange items peppered throughout the landscape.
2009 Holiday Season is over and it's back to the grindstone