In the first part of this look at Allods Online, I wrote a small bit about the importance of story originality in MMORPGs. I briefly described the introductory episode for the Empire side of Allods Online, and how I think it has what it takes to capture our attention and keep us playing.
This second part will look at the League side and how players begin the game for that faction. As with the Empire beginning, I think it has just enough of those same quality story elements to hook a players’ regard and have them wanting to continue playing.
After creating your League avatar (yes, they have elves – but with wings!), you enter the game in a much calmer environment than on Empire side. Standing in a round room in Clement’s Tower, you notice Svetobor Ratnev off to the side near the hallway. When you approach him, he says that you’re just in time to attend an audience with this allod’s Great Mage, Clement de Desirae, but you’ll need to hurry. He speeds off down the hallway, leading you into a larger round chamber where everyone else has already gathered for the speech.
Clement de Desirae stands on a dais in front of you, and begins eloquently speaking. Looking around the room, you take notice of the other races that make up the League, all dressed in fine raiment and listening attentively to Clement speak.
Suddenly, the space behind Clement grows dark, and from out of nowhere, a Shadow appears. With a ghastly growl, it strikes at Clement from behind, felling him with a single attack. An explosion of light knocks everyone off their feet, including you.
When you come to your senses, the room is in shambles, and almost everyone who was there is either now unconscious, or dead. The entire Tower is booming and shaking, pieces of the walls and ceiling crumbling down. The few remaining who are able to move, including Ratnev, dart up to the crumpled body of Clement and stare in disbelief.
Ratnev cries foul and wails in surprise and anger at what has just happened. He turns to you and tells you that the League officials must know of the assassination, and that it falls to you as your task to accomplish. He says there is a portal on the Tower’s first floor that you must now get to, and quickly.
Together with those that remain, Ratnev leads you all in a race down the circling Tower staircase, losing two souls to falling debris along the way. The next room you come to, Ratnev explains, is one of Clement’s laboratories, where he conducted experiments on rats. These rats are now on the loose, and must be dealt with before crossing the room on the way to the portal.
With everyone on the attack, the rats are dealt with handily. Ratnev hands you a piece of old armor he’s found, saying you’ll need all the help you can get. He’s then distracted by a sound from a corridor, and exclaims that someone is still alive! Directing you to check on who it is and their condition, you find Buslai Hopelesaev on the ground and in pain at the end of the corridor next to a large door.
With gasping breaths, he tells you the bad news: the attack on the Tower has been brought about by treason! The Chief of the Guards, Kurbat Meshersky, is the one responsible for leading the rebels into the Tower. He goes on to say he was fighting them with his brother, Leshko, when they came here. Leshko entered the next room, another of Clement’s experiment laboratories, in order to down the Mantikora that has been set loose. Hopelesaev asks you to go in and check on his brother, and if need be, slay the Mantikora.
Opening the door reveals a room full of cages housing a number of small beasts, but it’s the large uncaged beast that commands your attention when he attacks. The Mantikora’s huge claws slap and rake at you ferociously, but somehow you manage to survive. After the Mantikora falls, you have a moment to look sadly at the bodies of other League fellows, including Leshko, who were slain by the fanged beast. Another loud nearby rumbling snaps you back to the moment, and you hurry from the room and back to Hopelesaev.
Hopelesaev laments for a brief moment at the news of his brother, then warns you to hurry and leave the allod before it is swallowed by the Astral. He sends you back to check on Ratnev, as he’s just heard more of the Tower collapsing close by. Indeed, when you find Ratnev nearly buried under a large pile of debris, mortally wounded.
As his final order, Ratnev commands you to survive. He says you must get to Kania and tell the news to the League officials. The stairwell is now blocked by rubble, but he points to a hole in the floor, and tells you to drop through it and get to the portal. He will not be following you, preferring to stay with his fallen comrades.
You jump down the hole into Clement’s office, and are immediately attacked by one of the rebels. Off to one side of the room, a small Gibberling Scout has his hands full defending himself from a group of rebels, but he seems to be holding his own. You help him defeat the lackeys before turning on the last rebel, who happens to be Kurbat Meshersky, the traitor! Coordinating your attacks with the nimble Scout, Meshersky soon falls dead, and the Gibberling then introduces himself as Glok the Scout.
Glok praises your combat skill, and notices that you have been wounded. He knows that Clement kept all kinds of potions handy, and says you should look in a nearby chest for something to heal your wounds. What you find is nothing less than an Elixir of Invulnerability! Gulping it down brings you a grand feeling of power, and does indeed heal you back to full health.
Glok hands you another useful piece of equipment and then leads you to a door. He’s worried about his brothers, Shpok and Lok, and wants to find them, and gather up anyone else left alive to help with their escape. He mentions seeing Clement’s niece, Amanda, and says she has a plan for a way off the allod. Opening the door, he urges you to find her, and quickly!
Racing down yet another staircase, doing your best to dodge falling chunks of the Tower, you come to another large round room. This one is in an almost pristine condition, untouched by the chaos going on around it. A tall ornate mechanical device stands in the middle of the room, and a slender female elf stands next to it in deep thought.
Hearing you enter the room, Amanda introduces herself and begins explaining about the device. It’s called a Resistance Sphere, one of many magic machines that were once used to keep the Astral from devouring up allods. She says that they have not been necessary for many years, but that now is the time to turn this one one to see if it may hold this allod together after. Saying that she is no Great Mage like Clement, she will try to activate the Sphere anyway, and that you should beware of the sudden appearance of Elementals. If any show up while she is concentrating on the Sphere, it is up to you to keep them away from her.
Of course, but a few short moments after she begins her spell on the Sphere, Elementals form up in the room and attack. As time seemingly slows to a crawl, you take on one Elemental after another, and do your best to hold their attention away from Amanda. Alas, her focus is disrupted by combat, and she fails to fully activate the Sphere. Her spell ends with a flash of light and the crumbling of the room as the force of the Astral proves beyond her powers to contain.
The good news is that she has managed to slightly postpone the destruction of the allod and Tower, and that you both now have a little more time to reach the portal. Bounding down the stairs once again, you abruptly lose the optimism of having enough time upon seeing the first undead minion guarding the way, a feeling doubled when another undead rises up from the ground not far from the first. This continues the entire length of the passage, slowing your advance with each fight.
Bruised and bloodied, you both do finally arrive at the first floor, and are thankfully met by Shpok the Knife, one of Glok’s gibberling brothers. He informs you that those undead are being summoned by the Demonologist who is now below with the portal, and that it was most likely him that conjured up the Shadow who killed Clement. His brothers are busy gathering the other survivors, so it’s up to you three to take revenge on the Demonologist and his zombie minions!
Sprinting down the last flight of steps, you rapidly engage the Demonologist in combat, gaining the upper hand in short manner. Seeing that he’s losing the fight, he jumps into the portal and escapes before you can end his days. not wasting time, Shpok says that he’s going to open the door so the other survivors can enter while Amanda readies the portal. Your job is to be on the watch for any more enemy who may try another assault.
Shpok opens the door just in time for a mass of survivors to rush through and make for the portal, with a horde little blue demons hot on their trail. Shpok rushes in to slow the demons down, and Amanda casts a shielding wall at the door entrance. As you look on, Shpok fights valiantly, but is soon lost from sight amidst the demonic onslaught. Amanda yells that she cannot hold the wall for much longer, just as a couple of the smaller demons break through. Stepping in front of Amanda, you take on the snarling demons directly, before they can reach her. A couple more manage to break through the wall, and you dispatch them as quickly as you can. Surprisingly, you notice all the demons turn and run away from the magical barrier, and for a brief moment you think they have called off the attack.
A brief moment it is, when in the next instant you see a giant Astral Demon running up to the barrier. As it begins to pound away at the barrier, Amanda tells you that she can hold it no longer. The barrier erupts in a flash and vanishes, and in steps the Astral Demon. It immediately attacks you and Amanda, and it’s all the both of you can do to hold your ground.
Things look to be about to end in horrible fashion, when Amanda yells at you to get the creature’s attention, she has an idea. Hoping you can, you step up your attacks on the Demon, and are very thankful to hear Amanda tell you to lead it over onto a magical trap she has set. Retreating steadily, the Demon follows you out of pure blood-lust, and fails to recognize the trap when it springs. A globe of magical energy surrounds it, stopping it in its tracks, and halting its attacks. Amanda then calls upon a deeper magic, and sends a series of small magical bubbles into the Demon. Unable to move, the Demon is helpless as each bubble reaches their target. As the last bubble slams into it, the Astral Demon cries out in agony and bursts into oblivion, at the same time that the Astral itself crushes the remaining Tower walls.
Finally able to catch your breath, Amanda tells you there’s no time to waste. You must get through the portal to safety before the allod is completely destroyed. As you both make your way to the portal, she hands you a small stone, telling you it’s a magical Meteorite Stone, used to stabilize the portal to help insure you make it through alive. Without further hesitation, you grasp the Stone in your hand and dash onto the portal, and are safely whisked away from the disintegrating allod.
If Allods Online hasn’t already piqued your interest, I hope these two brief looks at the beginning storylines do. MMORPGs are undergoing a drastic change, increasing their quality while lowering their price, and Allods Online is the most promising I’ve seen so far under this new business model. If you would like to see for yourself, then click over to the Allods Online website (http://allods.gpotato.com/) and sign up for the closed beta test #2. Also, I have two beta keys I’ll pass to the first two I see who tweet or retweet this article on Twitter. Just make sure to include @jimmoreno in your tweet so I’ll see it!