Hi, and welcome to a fun story about cheating on your loved one.

And I want you to know… I’m not ashamed. Not in the slightest. I’d do it again.

In fact, even now, I’m PLANNING on doing it!

For the longest time, I’ve been in a dedicated, serious relationship.

Years. YEARS of my life dedicated to my one and only.

Oh, sure, I’ve flirted before. But I never felt that same passion, y’know?

But, well… I’m cheating now. And I find that I like it.

I mean, of course, that WoW is no longer the only MMO in my life.

I started playing Allods Online last night.

….

I’ll let that sink in. I know, a lot of you are probably in shock, very nearly in tears at the idea that I could do such a thing to WoW, after all that we’ve meant to each other.

Hmmm…. okay, I think I’ve played around with silly euphemisms enough. You don’t come here for my playful messing with descriptions, you come here for…

You know, I don’t really know WHY you come here.

Maybe I should insert a song about hedgehogs.

Nah. Too derivative.

Back to the point, Cassie and I look around, check out the MMOs out there, read about ‘em on websites, but never really play ‘em.

Heck, I don’t even HAVE any other games on my computer except Warcraft III, because when I bought my new computer late last year, I only installed what I played; WoW and WC3, and haven’t had any others to spend time with.

Shoot, I don’t even play Guitar Hero much anymore, except when Cassie asks me what the heck we spent all that damn money on it for.

Then I play a couple “guilt songs”.

Guilt songs.

You know, the “See, I’m playing it dear, don’t veto future game purchases based on my past history of not playing the games you already bought for me” songs.

Me and WoW. We be tight, mon. Peace. (Had somebody say that to me today. “Peace out”. Sadly he was over 50, and he was serious. He wasn’t being funny. It is to weep.)

Sure, we created characters to try Free Realms, because, hey, it’s free. Let’s check it out.

Meh.

Then we made characters and tried out Earth Eternal. Free again.

Meh.

Both of them are damn cute, and a lot of fun. Don’t get me wrong, I actually think very, very highly of Earth Eternal, and Free Realms had fantastic ideas.

But… they didn’t combine the graphics, allure of the mature character class and race and faction dynamics, and the “easy to learn, lifetime to master” intricacy of mechanics that WoW offered.

To reference one of BRK’s favorite shows, Chopped, it’s easy to make a great tasting dessert for most diners out of chocolate, cream, sugar and strawberries.

It’s the complexity of adding unusual or complex ingredients that complement the dish in fascinating, unexpected or unique ways that excited the jaded palatte. Like cayenne pepper in your chocolate sauce or Miso paste in your cookie dough. (And seriously. Miso sugar cookie dough? What are you people smoking?)

After the feast that is WoW, us connoiseurs of the MMO crave something more than an apple pie a la mode.

Nothing wrong with apple pie a la mode. It’s quite satisfying, and I’m at heart not that picky. I love me some apple pie a la mode.

But I do have that jaded palatte. I’m used to that upper level of MMO. The intricate, the mature. I crave complexity, depth, challenges. There has to be a hint of mystery. Adventure. Something new and unexpected waiting around the next corner. 

Wait, I am still talking about MMOs, right? Relationships, food… I did have lunch today, right?

Get to the damn point!

Cassie had been reading about Allods Online, following it on Massively, and recently Tesh has posted about it a few times, and it went into open Beta two days ago.

Cassie told me that, not only was it going into open Beta, but they had also announced that at the end of the Beta, they weren’t doing a server wipe. The characters you created now, and their names, would endure past live launch.

The game is free to play, and will be supported by an in-game store with microtransactions.

In reading on what’s out there on it, it seemed to have interesting graphics, a deep backstory, strange sounding classes mixed in with the traditional, and a lot of stuff going on.

And it looked very, very advanced. Dare I say it? As promising of depth and complexity (and duration) as WoW.

What the heck, let’s try it!

I got the game downloaded and installed two nights ago, but work is… intense right now. We are in crisis control mode 24/7 these days, and I feel guilty only putting in 10 or 12 hour days most days. So, not much playtime.

But last night… ah, last night I gave it a shot.

It’s a fantasy setting, but very innovative, lots of cool ideas. 

What interested me right up front, was that there is a race called the Gibberlings.

The Gibberlings are a communal race. The description says there are almost always triplet Gibberlings, and they are rarely seen without their brothers and sisters with them. They are a very tight knit family.

This translates into your player character, if a Gibberling… as a group of three little furry kneebiters that somehow can be short, furry, with fanged teeth, and still seem awesome instead of like nauseating little Ewok clones.

You name each individual Gibberling in your cluster, and customize their appearance totally, different heights if you want, the whole nine yards. Only one of them is considered your “main” Gibberling, the front man so to speak, so when you send messages or chat, that’s the name others see.

I created a Gibberling, named all three, tweaked their appearances, and away we went. Character creation? Smooth.

I chose as a class the Scout, which translates into a combination Archer/Rogue. Ranged achery skills and special abilities mixed with stealth, poisons, and excellent fast speed melee combat capability.

I played through the intro, and it was a very, very well set up intro, an instanced area that allowed you to level to 4 while going through the tutorial, lots of different quest types right up front, good intro into how to play, lots of tension.

One thing that I noticed was, I had three Gibberlings.

The one up front carried a big mace… and one of the two following carried a crossbow.

Sure as hell, when I started ranged attacks, the Gibberling with the bow stepped forward and started shooting. When an enemy got into melee range, my mace wielder moved to the fore to beat him down.

There is a tanking class available to Gibberlings. It makes me wonder, when using shield block style actions, does the third Gibberling move to intercept the attacks?

Really, it was very cool.

Unfortunately… I didn’t really get into it, because it had a “commander” feel to playing the character. I wasn’t playing one character, I was manuevering a party from place to place. Yes, it effectively handled like one character, but visually it looked like you were issueing orders to your squad leader. It was cool, but that wasn’t what I wanted to get into right at that moment.

So I then went back, and made a human (Kenian) Scout. Same class, just a human styled race.

The class was a lot of fun. Really, a damn nice combat system with a fun combination of abilities.

What I noticed around me was that most folks seemed to be Elves. Mages and Priests seemed extremely popular combinations for most players once past the starter instance.

All in all, I played for about 2 hours before I had to hit the sack, but I do feel I got a good idea of the basic playstyle, the graphics, the movement. Enough to get a sense of it as a game.

End result, I think it’s a game well worth getting into.

I don’t see it as something that is definitely going to replace WoW… but it is very cool.

It has a lot of potential.

Tonight, I’ve got plans in WoW, but I’ll definitely be dabbling in Allods Online this weekend a little, doing my bit to help Beta test as well as getting involved.

Honestly, the game seems amazing. I am quite happy with helping Beta test, with feedback, in the hopes that I can help contribute in my teeny, small way in getting it onto a successful and smooth launch.

I’m sure you will inevitably see screenshots from me, get a little analysis on whatever class I choose to really get into, maybe even find a tank and start trying it out and give some guidance there.

I do know that what you won’t find is me switching to only talking about Allods Online, and gushing.

I’m a Bear, and shame on Allods… there ain’t no class that let’s me be a big old bear.

World of Warcraft… you had me at “Be a bear”.

I’m interested in seeing more of the game than level 5. I already know that when you level, you can get stat points you choose where you will allocate amongst your stats. You get Talent points, and can spend them on a system of character class improvement identical to WoW’s talent tree system.

But I’ve heard from Tesh that at some point you begin earning points that can be spent to improve your character a third way… using a sphere grid system similar to Final Fantasy X/XII.

I played Final Fantasy X, and the idea of having that kind of class customization, a path through a sphere grid to follow when upgrading, on top of the talent trees and stats, causes me to think that the complexity of how to balance your class towards the role you choose will be very deep indeed.

Time will tell!

20 Responses to “Betrayal of those you love”
  1. Dechion says:

    I here I thought you were off leveling a Death Knugget to try out a third type of tanking….

    I’ll admit it sounds interesting, but the odds of me leaving Wow are pretty damn slim.
    .-= Dechion´s last blog ..Gearing up a fresh 80 Hunter in the brave new world of 3.3 =-.

  2. figworth says:

    I heard about it from Pwnwear. But it doesn’t have a mac client. /cry

  3. Stop says:

    Gravity’s been raving about it on pwnwear.com, so I figure I’ll give it a try. It honestly does look more polished than the last F2P MMO I was in to for any length of time…

    Side note, while there’s no class that lets you be a bear, there IS a class that lets you have a gnome for a pet. ;) (Oh, sure, they call it a goblin in-game… but I know a gnome when I see one. I think it’s the orc shaman.)
    .-= Stop´s last blog ..We were all boneheads once =-.

  4. Sarabian says:

    I most certainly will not be trading WoW for it, but I’m downloading it on the old Winblows machine to give it a try. Damn people and their lack of Mac clients. Mac gamers untie!

  5. Tesh says:

    The great thing about a subscriptionless game like Allods is that you can pick it up very easily as a second game without fighting the budget. Of course, that also means a lot of others get in the front gate (those lower class ruffians, how dare they not pay the $15 cover fee!), but it really is nice not to need to pony up to take a look around.

    A brief addendum to the “ruby grid” (the FF-ish system): Apparently, you can’t fill in empty gaps like you could in FFX, so it’s not quite as awesome as I’d have hoped, but it really does play like that venerable system, or the License board from FFXII, where planning out a talent build is more spatial than the WoW trees. Also, planning out the progression can make for some intriguing choices; use a ruby on an empty grid slot to get to some cool stuff earlier than normal, or follow the yellow brick road and take longer to get there, maybe picking up some useful (or useless) talents along the way? It’s a nice system, not wholly different from WoW, but evolved enough to be interesting in its own right. …which is true of a lot of the rest of the game, actually. It’s not a revolutionary game, it’s an evolutionary one… but a good one.

  6. Tesh says:

    There’s a talent calculator here to show the Ruby grids:

    http://allodsbase.com/en/talents

    It’s not quite translated correctly as yet, but it’s still useful to see how things are organized.

    …but yeah, I really wish they had a shapeshifting class. They do their own thing, with an increased focus on crowd control, but I miss the WoW Druid. (Which is why Allods won’t replace WoW for me, either, but it’s another good game worth playing. Since I have a game library with hundreds of games in it, I don’t mind having a variety of games. ;))

  7. Skarlarth and Company says:

    Woah FF X? I loved that game, and FF X-2, my secret shame… DON”T JUDGE ME!

    All right that sttles it, I will be DL’ing it this weekend…
    I’ll just tell SWMBO, the price is right ;)

    Skarlarth and Company
    Medivh

  8. jealouspirate says:

    I was in the Allods closed beta and thought it was great. It definitely wont replace WoW for me, but I’ll probably be spending a certain amount of time on it. I actually really love the Gibberlings. The whole art style of the game is really great, really charming. It plays very well too. Overall, very very solid.

    Apparently the microtransactions can hit pretty hard at max level though. Basically, they have an equivalent of “rez sickness’ for every time you die. At around max level, the timer on this can be around 30-45 minutes! A looong time. The only way to remove it is either wait it out or use a special potion- bought at the cash shop, for real money.

  9. Tex says:

    See, here’s the thing. If an MMO is going to take a bite out of WoW, I just don’t think it’s gonna be yet another Tolkien-Narnia-D&D thing with Knights and Mages and Ookla the Mok. I’ll give this allods thing a shot, sure. It looks fun, but it’s going to be competing with WoW in it’s own backyard. Rock Band has a much better chance of stealing my WoW minutes because it appeals to me in a completely different way and my game time is limited. My mood will matter. Outside of Atari and Intellivision I wasn’t much of a gamer until I bought City of Heroes a few years back. I didn’t understand anything about MMO’s, but a chance to make Captain America a Texan? Now that was cool. Eventually, my wife took over so we bought another computer and then she moved to WoW and now here I am. WoW, for me, is a better game and it offers more, but conceptually I would go back to CoH in heartbeat if the game played like WoW does or my Supergroup could be as cool as my guild. Champions, amazingly, missed the mark for me after I was positive it would rock. It goes back to the depth issue, WoW has 5 years of depth and many years of history prior to that with the Warcraft stuff. 11 million people play WoW. 11 million. A game like Allods will be happy to take a 10% chunk of that for 6 months and hold on to 250,000 for a few years. CoH is still going along and making money with numbers in that range. WoW is Walmart. You don’t compete with them, you leech off of their customer base or you do something completely different. A new theme, space rangers, mecha robots, gangsters in Downtown Detroit or an Old West thing where ya can be Matt Dillon or whatever can carve it’s own niche, but anything based off the same general ideas ( 2 competing sides, one of which has Orcs on it, swing an axe or shoot fireballs, be squishy or be a tank, have a pet and make sure one class is really tiny) is really just shooting for a quick payday and then cash the check and fade away.

  10. Eric says:

    I’ve been checking it out since open beta and one of my friends has been in since early closed beta. I agree with the “it’s good but won’t replace WoW” statements, but it is a VERY well thought out game with lots of cool things. Some things, like graphics and spell effects, I think it does better than WoW but obviously there is room for some improvement(it is beta after all). BBB you may want to check out the Warden class for the Humans… you can’t BE a bear but you have a bear pet! It looks like a Hunter/Shaman combo. So far I’ve played around with the Scout, Summoner and Warrior. My plan is to play through the starter area with all the different classes to see which one I like the most. =D If anyone out there is on the fence trying to decide if it is worth your time to try it out, DO EEEEET! I’ve been fighting some fairly serious WoW boredom lately and Allods definatly offers a nice pace change both visually and with unique gameplay.

    TL:DR
    Try it. It’s worth it.

  11. Blacknimbus says:

    Just play the Empire side if High Fantasy isn’t your deal. It’s a bit more steampunk than Tolken, IMO.

  12. Tesh says:

    Aye, the Empire side has a very nice steampunk edge to it. It certainly has the same quality of art direction, but it has a different feel to it because of the setting. Plus, there’s the Arisen, a curious tech-based undead race with long memory and plenty of grudges to nurture. Gibberlings are awesome, but the Arisen have that cool factor that the WoW Forsaken only wish they had.
    .-= Tesh´s last blog ..Home Town Pride =-.

  13. Tex says:

    Actually, I do like the fantasy stuff even though I would say Empire side is where I will probably roll a character or 2 to start. I like the look of the game but I haven’t downloaded it yet. I guess my main point was not that the game won’t be cool, it could be a better game than WoW in a lot of ways and it may attract a particular set of players for the long haul. Heck, I might be one of ‘em. I was really referring to the masses. I’ve got the end of “Pirates of Silicon Valley” rolling around in my head. I keep seeing the part where Jobs is telling Gates how much worse Windows is than Macintosh and Gates replies “yeah, but it doesn’t matter Steve, it doesn’t matter.” I think that it doesn’t matter how good a game is or how much better a game is than WoW. WoW is bigger than the MMO market itself. A lot, probably not a majority of WoW subscribers (not necessarily players, but accounts where people don’t miss the $15 a month and log on for an hour or so a week. I have a lot of friends like that), but a significant number of people are not gamers, are not looking for anything else, but mess around with WoW a little bit because it really is that popular. Why did “Harry Potter” become what it did when there were a ton of other competing titles and books out there with similar themes? It created the “if you liked Harry Potter then check this out” market and that’s where I think Allods is in the MMO market. WoW just took off and is now firmly established and has the financial base to maintain it’s position. You can make a product that appeals to people who like WoW and be successful, but not dominant. To really compete with WoW, a game would have to be in a different arena completely. If Madden were to make an NFL MMO for example, my friends that play WoW an hour a week would be gone in a flash.

  14. Hazmat says:

    For the most Cute Horde, try Gibberlings Animist — three furry fangy deathmachines PLUS A SQUIRREL.

    It’s a cute game, very well made considering its newness and freeness. Definitely a good side-game. Not something I’d quit WoW for, but fun!

  15. Merell says:

    Hahahahaah

    awesome. :D

    I still haven’t finished Dragon Age…. WoW when I play it is a very demanding mistress… and my shammie alt is rocking it!

    Glad you are having some fun out there…
    .-= Merell´s last blog ..Sig Spam =-.

  16. Phaedra says:

    About once a week, when I get tired of gruesomely handing out death in bear/kitty form and dealing with undead and spiders and undead spiders, I take a vacation in Hello Kitty Online. It’s cute, it’s sunny, and I don’t have to worry about rounding a corner into a nest of undead spiders. And because sometimes I just want to play something that’s cute for cute’s sake.

  17. Elegantdeath says:

    What about the Warden class?

  18. kaozz says:

    Oh you ended up trying it out, very cool :D There is something about the game that really draws you in. Not sure how it will be high end but for now it’s really a lot of fun! Glad to see you trying it out. You big bad cheater ;)

  19. Alexei says:

    Glad you discovered Allods Online. The universe of Allods is very rich, stemming from earlier single player Allods titles. I enjoyed them all and I applaud Russian developers for finally making the Allods MMO.

    P.S.: I am Russian, so I guess I am biased :P But I liked what I saw in the beta. A truly worthy title.

  20. Kattrinsaa says:

    picked this one up finally, taking a look around. so far so good, but still refuse to pay money for a free game. I won’t spend a lot of time with this one, but enough to give it a good look over. I do like the artwork, and the look/feel is comfortable and familiar enough.
    .-= Kattrinsaa´s last blog ..3.3.3 is live =-.

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