This morning, Massively put up a preview detailing the planned end-game of Allods Online (already playable in Russia), where the focus will be on player-controlled ship vs. ship combat in the Astral between allods. I had previously done some reading up on this aspect of the game and this newest article further confirms that Allods Online is unique, compelling, deep and complex. The Astral Ship combat looks completely amazing. And I will never get to see any of it.
I haven’t played Allods Online since the second closed beta, when I found out that the PvP lands that open up in tier 2 areas are non-consensual. I simply do not have the time or the inclination to allow my gaming experience to be affected by someone else who wants to fight me when I do not wish to fight, neither do I have the time/inclination to consistently travel in groups to afford me protection against enemy player ganking. I think Allods looks like a fantastic game, I’m pleased to see that it’s being well-received by virtually everyone who tries it, and I wish it every success, but it is not a game that I will be able to enjoy for that reason alone. The reveals about the central activity of end-game content consisting of player-run ships only cement my decision not to invest any further time and effort into the game.
I am used to being excluded from high-end game activities; after all, I am about as casual as they come. I have played Guild Wars for nearly 3 years now, and I have never been to the Underworld, the Fissure of Woe, or the Domain of Anguish, not to mention the high-end Eye of the North dungeons. I am limited by time, by skill, and by group composition (I am guilded, but don’t have 7 good friends to run dungeons with at any given time, even if there were no other barriers to entry). However, there is so much to do in Guild Wars, so much story to live and re-live, so many other avenues of advancement such as skill and armor collecting, faction building, metagaming and titles, casual PvP, etc. that I have never really longed for those dungeon experiences. They are not a fundamental aspect of what it means to play Guild Wars, unlike the raiding endgame of WoW or now, the Astral Ship combat of Allods Online, and I regret that about those games.
Allods Online and Star Trek Online have taken diverging paths with regards to their ship combat, and I am glad for it, because it provides two options for two playstyles, and I welcome the opportunity to choose. After all, I wouldn’t want every game to be as accessible as STO any more than I would want every game to be as co-operative heavy as Allods Online.