Allods Online Interview: ‘Thar She Blows!’
Questions by Vincent Haoson, OnRPG Journalist
Answered by Darren Allarde, Associate Producer Allods Online
Allods has experienced a very good start as a F2P MMORPG that can rival established names in the MMORPG scene. Also, certain in-game features have been the target of player disappointment that caused an exit of veteran Allods players. To try stem the problems the game has experienced while providing more juicy content into the game, Allods has released its newest patch, “Revelations of Gipat”. We here at OnRPG got the opportunity to talk to the people at Allods to get more details on what the newest patch can bring to the community.
OnRPG: Thank you for giving us the time to talk to you guys seeing that you’ve had a very tumultuous and eventful past few months in Allods. How are you guys coping and how is the game as of this moment?
It certainly has been a wild ride! The initial response to Allods was amazing, but we did lose a bit of momentum with the current patch. Although we eliminated our death debuff, Fear of Death, a number of players balked at the Cursed Items system that was introduced in its place. It is always hard to make everyone happy all of the time, but we are trying to achieve a healthy balance, and continue to engage with our community for feedback. The entire Allods Team is fully dedicated to seeing Allods thrive, and we are all working very hard to keep the game moving in the right direction.
OnRPG: Allods has just released its latest patch, 1.1.0 or more known as Revelations of Gipat. Would you consider this patch a game changer?
Patch 1.1.0 didn’t completely change things, but instead added more interesting things to the game and improved upon a lot of existing features. For example, Patch 1.1.0 raised the level cap to level 42, added an entirely new zone, and introduced a new dungeon, new raid bosses, new quests, and new items. It also significantly rebalanced most of the archetypes, and tweaked some other game mechanics such as the death penalty system, mentioned above. However, the core of the game remains the same, and all of the award-winning elements of Allods are still there too!
Combat in Gipat
OnRPG: Why did you name the latest patch “Revelations of Gipat”?
The patch introduced a new high level zone called Gipat that really delves into a lot of new and interesting lore. The events that unfold there reveal some of the motivations behind the Astral demons and explore what happened to some key characters such as Nezeb and Skrakan. We felt that this continuation of the rich story line of Allods was a highlight of the patch and we wanted to emphasize that with the name. Thus Revelations of Gipat is very fitting.
OnRPG: Among the biggest changes you have included in Revelations of Gipat was the removal of the Fear of Death system. What made you guys decide to go with the removal of the system instead of fine tuning it? Where did you get the idea for this death penalty system?
Astrum Nival had a poll to kick off their spring season where they invited players to vote on one change they wanted to see most in Allods Online.
The choices were:
1) Removing Fear of Death
2) An overhaul on the mechanics of the warden archetype
3) A decrease in the price of Incense
Removing Fear of Death won by a landslide, and so this change was implemented in Patch 1.1.0, and in its place a new death penalty was introduced.
Death ain’t ever pretty
OnRPG: How’s the player response with the implementation of the Cursed Item system? Did it incur the same reaction as the implementation of the Fear of Death system?
Overall, the player reaction to Cursed Items has been worse than the reaction to Fear of Death. Although this penalty is really not necessarily worse than Fear of Death, we think it is more the fact that the community sees these core mechanics changing and it begins to wear on them. Change is always difficult in any situation and acclimating to an entirely new game mechanic is never easy. The truth is that while some players may have hated Fear of Death, it was the devil that they knew, and with Cursed Items, it is a whole new entity.
But, with all of this behind us, all we can do now is continue to educate players on the new Cursed Items system, dispel any rumors that may be flying about, and encourage players to give the new patch a chance. We’ve also been collecting all the feedback we’ve been receiving and are working with Astrum Nival to come up with solutions that will help to alleviate the stress on the players that wish to play for free in lieu of buying Item Shop items in order to avoid penalties.
OnRPG: Another notable addition in Revelations of Gipat is the inclusion of the mounts. Could you give us more details regarding the mounts?
Players will be able to purchase a Kanian Runner or Xadaganian Steed from the Item Shop at level 12. Feeding the mount isn’t mandatory, but it certainly helps by giving the mount a slight boost in health and movement speed while giving it experience that will eventually increase the mount’s level. Leveling a mount will give the mount a permanent boost in health and movement speed. And while you certainly can take your mount along with you on your Astral journey, there is not a lot of room to roam on the ship, and it might be easier to just summon your mount once you reach your final destination!
Loads of options for ships
OnRPG: How varied are the mounts in the game? How often will you update and add mounts to the Item Shop?
Beside the Kanian Runners and the Xadaganian Steeds, we just released our Majestic Lion mount which can be won through our lottery box system – the Radiant Strongboxes. We’ll also be releasing other various mounts in the future!
OnRPG: Speaking of which, you guys took a different route in the mount system where there’s no free permanent mount for players. Does this mean you consider mounts more of a luxury than a commodity?
With speed potions and the speed buffs that the psionicist archetype can give, we felt that the mounts should be something really special. However, players are able to try out the mounts through a one-time quest that allows players to ride a mount for an hour.
OnRPG: Why did you increase the experience requirements for levels 20 – 40 when normally MMORPGs make it easier? Does this mean that you’re considering Allods as more of anequipment based game rather than a level based one? Why or why not?
Most MMOs require a player to gain more experience to reach higher levels, and eventually this curve significantly steepens once players hit the last few levels. However, equipment is definitely a major factor in Allods Online and players need to stay geared appropriate to their level. Even in the early levels, gaining reputation through quests to buy special gear from vendors plays a much larger role than it traditionally would in other MMOs.
OnRPG: Can you tell us more about the Adventurer’s faction and how this affects the gameplay of Allods?
Sure. The Adventurers faction determines which heroics a player has access to. The more heroics a player completes, the more reputation they earn for the Adventurers faction which will in turn unlock other heroics.
Epic dungeon battles
OnRPG: What’s your take on the reaction of players to the game, especially on the various disappointed players in regards to Revelations of Gipat?
We have a lot of passionate players who support and enjoy Patch 1.1.0. However, it’s disappointing to see players leave without even giving this patch a fair chance. Our recommendation to players is to come in and experience the patch and the game as a whole, before making any judgments. The awesome graphics, engaging lore and story, unique archetypes, the Astral – these amazing aspects of the game still exist and have only gotten better in Patch 1.1.0!
Allods Online is continually improving. Sure, some changes may not always sit well with the entire player base, but the game mechanics are always continuing to improve.
OnRPG: On one of your replies to the players post you mentioned that Allods is a “growing game with a very strong and passionate community“. How does this compute to the reported amount of old players leaving the game out of disappointment?
Yes the game is growing, but we definitely mean it when we say that we have a very passionate community. When things don’t go as expected, players are definitely not shy to share their opinions! As far as players leaving the game, again, we just continue to encourage everyone to try the patch for themselves. We have found a number of players are coming back, and we just want to get the word out that Patch 1.1.0 is a step in the right direction, even if it does come with a bit of growing pains.
OnRPG: You also mentioned that “Change is part of every MMO. Mechanics are altered, classes are rebalanced, and new features are introduced. We hope that you join us on this amazing journey as the game continues to grow and reach new heights.” does this mean that you are prepared to change a lot of established plans (in terms of updates, game system changes, etc.) just because the game community does not accept it?
To delve further into this comment, this was our way of letting players know that Allods Online is in it for the long haul. We acknowledge that not all changes to game mechanics received player praise, but this game will continue to improve; Patch 1.1.0 isn’t the only patch that Allods Online will have! Also, we read all of our player’s feedback and suggestions, and are constantly discussing players’ concerns with Astrum Nival. This is not to say that every single suggestion can ultimately get implemented into the game, however, it is our goal to make the Allods Online experience the best it can possibly be for all of our players.
OnRPG: With the interview coming to a close, can you tell us what’s in store for players in the coming months ahead?
In addition to the update to Patch 1.1.0, we’re also simultaneously testing another brand new patch. We’re also in the middle of our major $50,000 giveaway, the Allods Online Quest for Chests, where players have the chance to win 52 inch flat screens, Alienware computers, and Astro A30 headsets with customized Allods tags!
Needless to say, we continue to keep things moving, and are already looking forward to the changes in the upcoming versions. We will have a new zone called the Dream Factory, a revamped Arena of Death in Yazes Shard, and class mechanic changes with major improvements to the psionicist and scout archetypes. One thing’s clear: there are a ton of changes coming out in the future so stayed tuned!