Impressions of a casual MMO gamer
Time is our greatest enemy. With the pressures of every day life and so many games to play, not everyone can dedicate the time needed to fully appreciate an MMO. These games, by their very nature, take incredible amounts of time and dedication.
There are a lot of MMO players out there who can simply pick a game and then dedicate their life to it. I am not one of those. It is not that I don’t enjoy a good MMO, it is simply that I don’t have the time. This is the main reason why I resent the idea of paying to play an MMO. I cannot justify paying out good money for a game that I may only play for two hours a month.
But, just lately, there seem to have been an influx of “premium” MMOs that are funded by micro-transactions, making them free to play for the majority. Free to play and micro transactions are not new concepts in the world of the MMO, but games with a quality on par with the big subscription games are now looking to these new pricing structures. For example, Dungeons and Dragons Online is still a subscription based game here, in Europe. But in the US it has moved to micro transactions and is more popular than ever.
So, with a number of these big name MMOs now available or on their way, I am going to have look at some of them from my point of view. I am not going to spend hours slaving over them, in an attempt to reach the level limit. But I am going to see what they have to offer to someone, such as myself, who just wants a bit of MMO fun on a more casual basis.
So, we begin with Allods Online. Developed by Astrum Nival with a massive $12 Million budget, the lead up to the games release was pretty impressive. Screenshots were coming through that looked gorgeous and offered some insight into what we, the gamers, could expect from this MMO. The first and most interesting thing was the sight of the air ships that were used to travel from one Allod to the next, and the promise that the player can indeed have their own airship.
See, the world of Sarnaut was once a lovely peaceful place to raise a family. Filled with fantasy races the likes of which we have all come to know and love, this world would have proved the perfect place for an MMO. But then came a cataclysmic event that basically gave this world a more unique setting and offered something different to the average MMO player. The world broke into thousands of tiny little floating islands, known as Allods. Travel between these Allods requires the use of the astral air ships which we had been promised.
So there we have it. Allods Online was shaping up well and had distinct possibilities. With thousands of these floating islands, there was an endless chance for expansion.
Anyway, all of this intrigues me and I ended up giving the game a try. To start with, players have to choose from two opposing factions, the League and the Empire. Each faction has its fair share of different races and classes, most of which will be easily recognised by the WoW players out there. In fact, a lot of Allods Online can be said to pay homage to WoW, as seems to be the fashion nowadays. The games style is very similar to that of WoW, with bright and colourful, almost cartoonish characters and settings. The UI bears more than a passing resemblance and even the character development offers a wink in the direction of the Blizzard Behemoth.
Yeah, so I grabbed myself an Empire Orc warrior, fancying a break away from my usual elvish ranger characters, or at least this games equivalent. I was then thrown straight in at the deep end, being dumped on an air ship that was under attack by those dastardly League types. I have been reliably informed that taking a League character will give the player a rude awakening as a League city is attacked. Either way, this stands as your tutorial and will teach you at least some of the intricacies of Allods Online.
The game plays very much as you would expect it to, thanks in part to its likeness to WoW. The controls are relatively simple and the given quests seemed fairly straight forward. This is actually one of my own personal annoyances with some MMOs, I can’t stand wandering for ages trying to work out what to do for a quest. Keep it straight forward, and AO has. Thankyou.
The level cap on AO is currently standing at level 40, so there is plenty of work to do before reaching that. There has been a boast of over 1500 quests available already, and plenty more to come I would imagine, so there should be a lot of different ways to reach that hallowed level cap.
As already mentioned, AO is funded by micro transactions. From within the game, the player can hit the icon and be launched into a game aiding heaven. A huge collection of different items can be purchased with your hard earned cash in order to help you progress more easily. It is however totally possible to play and enjoy all that the game has to offer without parting with a single penny.
Allods Online has not been around for very long and, as such, is still building momentum. At the moment it feels like the game lacks a certain depth, a feeling of accomplishment as you progress that we have come to expect from our premium MMOs. But it is early days, Allods Online is still very much in it’s infancy. With the amount of investment that has been put into this game, at least we know that it will stay around long enough to mature and the sheer amount of possibilities that are available should ensure that it matures well.
So, the big question for me is, “does Allods Online scratch my casual MMO itch?”. Well, it certainly looks good, plays well and can only get better. There are plenty of options to carve a path in the world of Allods and one of those paths may well belong to me. But right now there are other MMOs for me to try out and, at least for the moment, my Allods adventure must be put on hold.
I am fairly sure that I will be back though.
Allods online website