It is time to acknowledge this simple thing: alas, 8.1. will be scarce in content.
I’ve revised my goals, and there are few.
- I may want to level my mag’har/dark iron to 110 for achievement sakes.
- I want to get Exalted on my major alt roster for all BfA factions.
- I want to see and play the new warfront.
- I want to farm the Uldir and upcoming Dazar’Alor transmogs.
And this is it. Island expeditions still don’t look good to me, so I am definitely devoid of anything else to do until Nazjatar. Even now I’m logging in for a couple of hours on weekdays for emissaries, and this is it. With reputations reached throughout December – January, I’m having enormous amounts of time free from any activities. For the first time to me WoW may enter weekend-only mode of playing – you know, raid transmog farm. New alts, which have always been my lure during lulls, somehow lost their attraction – cause I’ve literally got overfed with them in the passing years.
Strange, isn’t it? The key problem, as I’ve already said before, is the new systems of islands and azerite necklace. They simply don’t serve as a carrot we feel the urge to be chasing – not the thing that could keep us busy enough. It’s not a grave sentence to the game in whole – but certainly is for the current expansion state. Which is a shame – like Draenor, one of the most beautiful scenes in WoW, Kul Tiras and Zandalar are certainly places where I’d like to spend a lot of time. But even with the new raid coming and required for the story progression, I simply want Nazjatar playground going upstairs no later than February-March :)
Which brings me wondering about my new poison during the unexpected lull – and my choice is trying Allods Online.
The game is quite old, I remember playing it in OBT as far as 2009. From what I’ve seen today, it’s a huge difference. The game certainly has expanded a lot through the years and was polished to an almost excellent state.
For those unfamiliar with the game, it’s a high fantasy setting with astral travels. ‘Allod’ in the universe means a shard of the world. The initiate planet was destroyed by magic overuse, so only shards are left floating in astral, a hostile and predator environment. Travel between shards is possible via specially equipped ships or teleports.
Two factions battle for dominance here: the local ‘Alliance’ Kania (the League), and the local ‘Horde’ Xadagan (the Empire). Both are led by humans – Kanian visuals are losely based on ancient Russia (wooden architecture, clothes, fairy tales and such), and Xadaganians are visualized as 1930s totalitarian USSR. This is very cool how the designers managed to make both styles quite fitting the fantasy setting:
Obviously, Kania believes in person before state, and Xadagan believes in state before person.
Kanian League also includes:
Elves – I think it’s the only MMO that offers elves with butterfly wings, and yes, they’re hovering all the time! Despite that, they’re very cold and spoiled brats, totally plunged in chic lifestyle and arts.
Gibberlings – the small furry explorers, somewhat a mix of straight-walking puppies and kittens at the same time. Cheerful and happy, as most small races are, they have a unique thing among every MMO. They come in threes – that’s right, you guide the group of them as a single character. Lorewise, they are born in threes, so they always go together since birth – it’s called a ‘sprout’. For example, if your gibberling ‘sprout’ is a warrior, one gibberling would swing a sword and the other would protect the rest with a shield. It actually works perfectly.
Xadagans, beside Xadaganian humans, also have:
Orcs – your normal orcs, but colored from light blue to white and gray. They are brutes, of course, and in this world they are a mix of street thugs and football hooligans at the same time – no ‘honor’ bullshit.
Arisen (‘Zem’) – a race of undead. Mechanical undead – super cool range of masks, influenced by Egyptian culture.
Customization is quite ok – like in WoW, it’s not too much to create an utter freak, and we choose from pre-designed nice versions:
The range of classes is quite perfect. By the way, depending on the race, every class is called differently. For example, a druid class, the nature magic person, will be called a Druid for Kanians, a Pagan for gibberlings, a Shaman for Orcs, and a Jaeger for Xadaganian humans. This helps with the immersement too :)
- Druid – a pet class, nature magic and all. It reminds me of a BM hunter only without a bow.
- Mage, Warlock, Warrior, Paladin – quite archetypical.
- Priests – they can wear plate armor and actually be a melee fighter if they wish so.
- Scout – a mix of rogue and hunter.
- Bard – yes, they have bards.
- Engineer – yes, they have engineers with mega cannons and bots.
- Demonologist – is a mix of WoW’s demon hunter and bestial druids. They shapeshift into a demon to tank or damage.
- Psyonicist – is one of the most complex and interesting classes. It’s kinda what shadow priests in WoW failed to be – the gameplay is centered around direct psyonic attacks and is heavily relying on mind control.
I’ve chosen my first toon to be a Xadaganian psyonic girl. For the League side, it’ll be gibberlings of course.
The gameplay on the starting zone is obviously not chalenging and very user friendly. You complete a small scenario, then launched into the starting zone to get acquainted with your faction more closely. UI interface is common to any WoW player, so you don’t have to get used to it a lot.
A mount is granted to you very soon, although its speed is not a lot faster than normal running. The innovative thing is you could click on a quest in your quest log, and the character will automatically start running in this direction, including automatically mounting and usage of in-zone portals. Same works to return to your quest giver. That’s quite fresh and saves a lot of initiate time, spent on struggling with the unknown map and environment. This could prove fatal in further dangerous zones, but so far it’s helping a lot. Transmog system is present, but I haven’t deducted how to use it yet – well, all gear looks is new and interesting so far.
Further on, the character will have an access to complex talent trees, banding up with other players to build their own astral ships, and even making their own allod shard (housing). But it happens a lot further in the game, presumably at top level.
So: visuals, music, UI, humor, atmosphere, the overall setting makes the game an excellent poison during a sudden WoW lull. Between emissaries and raid runs during 8.1., find me there. I’m not planning to invest too much dedication to Allods, but definitely I’m eager to explore the plot of both factions and see where it takes me.
P.S. The game is either free-to-play, but with almost necessary in-game shop at high levels, or subscription-based without game shop. I go for a relatively cheap sub not to suddenly find myself very underpowered at some point.