Allods Online is a Russian MMORPG of the Allods series of games by Nival. Like those games, Allods Online takes place on a series of islands known as "Allods", surrounded by a sea of volatile and demonic energy known as "The Astral". While travel between Allods was possible only through a Portal Network in previous installations of the series, the main plot point of Allods Online is the invention of astral ships by the race of Gibberlings, allowing direct travel between the Allods.
The game features six races split into two factions waging a Forever War on each other: Humans of Kania, Elves, and Gibberlings for the League; Humans of Xadagan, Orcs, and Arisen for the Empire. The visual style of the League resembles Kievan Rus' (or, to be exact, a Theme Park Version thereof) while the Empire is Soviet Union , which gives the setting some flavor of the Russian Civil War. These styles, however, run against the previous games of the series, where Kania was a Medieval European Fantasyland and Xadagan's style was "Arabian Nights" Days.
The development of this game itself is a long story with a Bittersweet Ending. Allods Online has been envisioned by Nival and its CEO, Sergey Orlovsky, for many years, with first plans dating back to late Nineties. Seeing that the project was very much ahead of its time (specifically, due to the lack of high-speed Internet connection in Russia back then) they postponed it for a decade, producing three single-player games in the setting in between. When real development started under the sub-brand "Nival Online", later renamed to "Astrum Nival", the game was much anticipated by the Russian gaming community which looked forward to what would become the first Russian MMORPG apart from the "lesser" browser games.
However, during the Open Beta of Allods Online in 2009, Astrum Nival was sold to "mail.ru", a large provider of Internet services infamous for its Corrupt Corporate Executive tactics. Driven by the goal to yield as much profit from the game as possible, the new owners subjected the project to heavy Executive Meddling. As a result, the free-to-play model quickly passed the Allegedly Free Game terrain right into the realm of Bribing Your Way to Victory, which is especially blatant in PvP battles. The prices for items were sometimes ridiculously high, with a set of runes being as expensive as $50,000. Just to scale: the average wage in Russia is about $670 per month. As a reminder, this all happened during the Open Beta. The release of the game in 2010... didn't quite improve it.
Apparently, the policies of mail.ru led to a significant exodus of players, because in the early 2013, they have added a pay-to-play server without the item shop and with a surprisingly moderate subscription fee. It is yet to see which effects this will have on the community and the project as a whole.
The game contains examples of the following tropes:
- Allegedly Free Game: The game not-so-subtley urges you to invest some real money. Without cash shop items, the difficulty of the game at higher levels is vastly increased.
- The full extent of it had become obvious when the subscription server was introduced. At first, it was merely a copy of the regular server, but with cash shop stripped out. As it turned out, without those items players were barely able to kill mobs at all, which prompted for rebalancing.
- An Adventurer Is You: it's a MMORPG, so it naturally has a character class system. The standard classes have varying names depending on the race, for example the Elven paladin is a Paladin, the Imperial paladin is a Comissar, and the Orc paladin is an Enforcer.
- The Tank: Warriors and Paladins
- The Healer: Healers and Summoners
- The Nuker: Mages
- Pet Master: Summoners and Wardens
- DPS Class: Scouts
- The Jack of All Trades: Bards
- A Tankard of Moose Urine: the AFK animation for a female Orc character is sipping from a bottle labeled "9", a reference to a brand of cheap Russian beer "Baltika 9".
- It also has the wine counterpart to that trope: the "Three Axes Port", which is a reference to the Soviet/Russian 777 brand of bum wine.
- The Beastmaster: Wardens, who are nature-aligned characters who always has their pet following behind. Summoners might also count, as they can only have a single pet out at a time, but has a bit more variety.
- Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism: Male orcs are hulking brutes with tusks. Female orcs are muscular gray-skinned women with Cute Little Fangs.
- Blood Magic: Summoners use Blood Magic to heal their allies.
- Church Militant: Paladins.
- City Noir: Nezebgrad. It looks like Moscow in Soviet times, only with street gangs and a Serial Killer mini raid boss.
- Combat Medic: Healers are exactly what their name implies, but they can also pick up a few powerful melee and magic attacks.
- For this reason they're a force to be reckoned with in PVP, where they strut around in the heaviest armor and using the deadliest of melee weapons like a pure fighter class, only with tons of magic and self-healing to boot.
- This is also one of the few games where the healers do NOT start with a healing ability.
- Crystal Dragon Jesus: Tenses.
- Crystal Dragon Lenin: Nezeb.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Empire is based on the Soviet Union: the main city named after one of the leaders Nezebgrad, a snow covered area called Siveria; the Arisen culture resembles Ancient Egypt (e.g., mummification), etc. The League is based on Ancient Rus and Imperial Russia. The Elves resembles the French somewhat.
- Floating Continent: The entire game world.
- Good Republic, Evil Empire: The League is democratic and generally seen as the good guys. The Empire, however, isn't always painted as evil, so this can be seen as a case of White-and-Grey Morality.
- "Groundhog Day" Loop: There is a place on Kirah where one day before famous battle repeats itself endlessly.
- Just the First Citizen: The Imperial leader and archmage Yasker notably doesn't style himself "Emperor".
- Knight Templar: The Xadaganians somewhat appears to be like this.
- Magic Knight: Many classes combine magic and melee in this manner, particularly Wardens and Paladins.
- Magitek: Lots of it. The setting borders on Dungeon Punk, but doesn't take itself quite seriously enough for that.
- Also the Arisen are the entire race of magical undead cyborgs.
- No Swastikas: During the Closed Beta, the Empire featured the Sovied five-pointed star as one of its symbols. It was later removed to prevent controversies.
- Not So Different: Quests concerning League-Empire War bluntly show that both sides have virtually the same goals and are keen to use identical methods to achieve them.
- Our Elves Are Different: They look more like over-grown fairies than anything else, with their wings. The game also loves playing with how vain and concerned with their looks they are. In that sense, you could consider them an Affectionate Parody of elves from other mythos.
- Our Orcs Are Different: Mostly Warcraft style, though a bit darker colors of skins.
- Our Zombies Are Different: Arisen are undead, but also cyborgs. They have mechanical limbs and a love for science and magic.
- The Political Officer: the Empire has them in place of priests and paladins. The Imperial paladin is called "Commissar", and the Imperial healer "Political Officer".
- Patron Saint: Every character has a patron Martyr and can pray to them for healing and buffs. The Martyrs grant more powerful abilities as the characters level up. In addition, during a festival in honor of a particular Martyr, a character with this Martyr as patron can spend "Jubilee Coins" to get gifts.
- Psychic Nosebleed: An implicit, non-psychic variation. In the Empire tutorial, a Kanian Cleric has created a barrier preventing you from moving forward. He's currently locked in a struggle with two Xadaganian scientists. When you tip the scale and destroy the barrier, the Cleric dies as a result.
- Squishy Wizard: Mages. Summoners can qualify too. Strangely, this does not applies to healers at higher level.
- Shattered World
- Shout-Out: many. If you are not well-versed in Soviet/Russian culture and history you'll miss a lot of them though.
- Yasker's tower in Nezebgrad looks like the projected-but-never-built Palace of Soviets in Moscow.
- There is a place on Koba Plateau that is surrounded by a Cordon and has some anomalous places with strange artifacts various characters try to recover for profit.
- Stone Wall: Paladins, one of the tank classes that even has a special mechanic that lets one further mitigate damage. Warriors can also be this.
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: With gibberlings, it's just about all hairstyle.
- Überwald: Darkwater in Kania.
- Wings Do Nothing: Played with, the Elves never run on their feet, but strangely the wings do not let them hover over water.
- At least when they are moving, it appears the elves' wings can't fully support them. When they "walk," their wings flutter and they take long, loping steps. Very long. About equivalent to a good ten or twelve average human steps.
- Prop wings are also a popular fashion accessory in the game. Of course they do nothing.