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style="font-weight: bold; color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">Top
Free-to-Play Games

of May 16 - May 22, 2010

1. Dungeons
and Dragons
Online: Eberron Unlimited

of Magic

href=""> style="text-decoration: underline;"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;">3.  href=""
target="_blank">Atlantica Online

4.  href=""
target="_blank"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href=""
target="_top"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;">FreeRealms

5.  target="_blank"> href=""

6.  target="_blank"> href=""
target="_top"> href=""
target="_top"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href=""
target="_blank">Allods Online

 7.  href=""
target="_top"> href=""
target="_top"> href=""
target="_top"> href=""
target="_blank">Sword of the New World

8.  target="_top"> href=""
Chronicles of Spellborn

9.  target="_blank">Aika

10.  target="_top">Requiem: Bloodmayne href=""
target="_top"> href=""
target="_blank"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href=""

style="text-decoration: underline;"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href=""
target="_blank"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href=""> style="text-decoration: underline;"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;">

Karen "Shayalyn" Hertzberg posed a great question last week in a
target="_blank">Loading…, where she asked what
sort of game you would make if you were
a dev. The discussion in the forums was lively with several readers
giving up some pretty interesting ideas for a game. Of course it
eventually devolved into sex and the ages old “are classes really
needed in MMOGs?” You should check it out and give your input, and if
you haven’t subscribed to Loading…, what are you waiting for?

Whatever your feelings about classes, we have a great interview series
going on at The Hammer that looks at each of the 6 classes in style="font-style: italic;">Aika, the
PvP free-to-play from gPotato. Aika
isn’t the only game from gPotato
that has caught the attention of North American audiences as style="font-style: italic;">Allods
Online has been making news since it was announced. Now in
release, the game is going strong and is the subject of our third game
review here in Microcosms.    

North American publishing power gPotato scored a virtual coup this year
in landing two of the more highly anticipated and polished free-to-play
MMOGs in Aika
and Allods Online.
The latter of the two shattered
production cost records for a microtransaction game and was flirting
with amounts reserved for AAA titles. Combining elements of fantasy,
sci-fi and steampunk, Allods
is fairly unique in the way it blends
these diverse styles, allowing higher end players the ability to pilot
their own starship and explore the floating islands that the game draws
its name from.

href=""> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 200px; height: 106px;"
alt="Allods" src="">

Races are diverse and interesting .

Allods is a
faction-based game that focuses on the struggle of the
Alliance, (home of the Kanians, Elves and Gibberlings) versus that of
the League (comprised of the Risen, Xadaganians and Orcs). One of the
more refreshing mechanics used in Allods
is that of classes being
faction locked; while both factions have the same archetypes, the
classes’ slight differences give the game some flavor and give your
faction choice some weight. Servers were initially skewed to the
League, in terms of population balance, but recent data suggests that
the ratio is closer to 1:1 now due to some player loss after recent
patches.  Server populations are still strong however, as most
of the players who have departed were level capped. The starting and
intermediate areas are still very active and the game is still in
excellent shape for the new player.


href=""> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 200px; height: 106px;"
alt="Astral Ship"

Astral Ships explore the Allods.

Taking a cue from the success of some recent AAA titles, style="font-style: italic;">Allods was
developed with highly stylized graphics and a bright color pallette.
While the colorful scheme gives the game a bold look, it doesn’t
prevent the darker areas from feeling ominous and foreboding when
intended to do so. Both factions have fairly unique starting areas,
with the architecture of the Empire city of Nezebgrad and the League
city of Novograd  both  having a very Russian
postmodern feel. 

Character models are detailed and cartoonish, with the polar opposites
of the Risen having a total steampunk look and the Gibberinglings
providing the “cute” race and comic relief. NPC models are impressive
and varied, following the game’s overall theme very well. The art and
animation areas of this game are as strong as those in any AAA title
and will not disappoint players or serve as a constant nagging reminder
that they are in a free-to-play game. 


Allods is a
quest-driven leveling game with a PvP end game. If that
sounds familiar and enjoyable to you it’s likely because Astrum Nival
definitely used a very western approach here. And even though leveling
may be slightly slower than other games you may be accustomed to, it
should take you roughly the same amount of time to reach the level 40

href=""> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 200px; height: 106px;"
alt="Allods" src="">

The guardian of purgatory.

Combat here is slightly different from what we are used to as there is
no auto attack; constant monitoring and spell and ability selection are
required. Not being able to AFK during a fight seemed to bother some
players initially but it seems to be less of an issue now. However,
players still seem to bemoan the slower combat speed. Overall game play
is enjoyable with a nice balance of solo and group quests and a PvP
system that rewards teamwork and effort. Once you get used to
constantly selecting abilities the lack of auto-attack becomes an


href=""> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 200px; height: 107px;"
alt="Allods" src="">

The UI is clean and familiar.

The UI of Allods
should also be familiar to most MMOG players with
easily recognizable unit frames, spell and ability bars, quest logs and
other standard elements. Allods
has locked the ability for users to
create add-ons or UI modifications in an effort to lower the
possibility of hacks or exploits. For the most part the UI is
serviceable but I would prefer more customization and expanded ability
bars. One major omission that takes some getting used to is any sort of
a mini-map with that function replaced by a compass that can be clicked
to open the game’s main map.

Quest NPCs are easy to spot, with the now standard exclamation mark
above their heads to alert you to their presence. style="font-style: italic;">Allods uses a
question mark to show that the quest is in progress and a check mark to
let you know that you have finished the assigned task. A quest tracker
also adorns the screen, and can be set to filter all quests, those only
in your current zone. or hidden all together. Overall the UI is basic
and functional but lacks flexibility and features. Fortunately, none of
the missing features hamstrings the game in any way.


One of the more continuous points from the time the item shop was
unveiled has been the perceived cost of playing once a character hits
level cap. Allods
gained a bit of notoriety when it unveiled the Fear
of Death mechanic, a stacking debuff that comes into play after level
15 and reduces your combat effectiveness by 25% for each stack up to
four stacks. Where the value aspect comes into play here is that the
easiest way to combat this mechanic is to use incense from the item
shop to negate its effects. The incense costs 25 gPotatoes (the ingame
currency that is at an exchange rate of $1.00 USD to 100, purchasable
in blocks of 1000) for a single use or 300 for a box of 20. The rub
here is that the incense must be in use before death to negate the
effects, so players engaging in PvP or more difficult PvE content will
be compelled to keep it on at all times. Other than the incense, most
items on the item shop are fairly well priced and, other than a larger
bag for storing in-game loot (a $12.00 purchase) aren’t required to
play and enjoy the game.


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(4 / 5

Allods Online
scores a solid four hammers, with very minor issues
keeping it from pulling down a perfect five hammer review. With all the
features and style you would expect to see in a AAA title, style="font-style: italic;">Allods
Online definitely raises the bar on free-to-play
expectations. Stay
Tuned to Microcosms and Ten Ton Hammer for all the latest news on
Allods Online.

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style="font-style: italic; color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">
 Allods Online blends many styles.

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Allods Online Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016