Sponsored Post: The History of Allods Online
Following May's launch of Allods Online (finally), we're going to be running a series of posts looking at the game and its inspiration, and talking to some of the people involved with Allods.co.uk. First off we're going to look at the unusual history of the game and (a bit of a tounge twister) the allure of Allods lore.
Astrum Nival, the Russian studio begin Allods Online, has never been a company to rest on its laurels. Though its first releases Allods: Sealed Mystery (released as Rage of Mages outside of Russia) was a combined role-playing and strategy game, since that series the company has moved from genre to genre with the air of a glutton with his nose in a smorgasbord. In 2001 they made Etherlords, a game that mingled Magic The Gathering and Heroes of Might & Magic to good effect; they followed this with the 2003 WWII tank RTS Blitzkrieg (which was seriously enjoyable and tough) and the 2005 WWII X-Com riff Silent Storm (which I reviewed for PC Gamer UK back in the day - the US review gave it 83% and called it “Refreshingly different, Silent Storm is a must-own for fans of the squad-tactics genre.”) They even made the official game of the superb Night Watch books / movies, followed by Heroes of Might & Magic V.
Basically, Astrum Nival have been quietly beavering away making kooky and original PC games for years, with few of them getting enough recognition or distribution in the west. This is a crying shame. Allods Online is their next game. Though it's an ostensible sequel to the Allods series they started with, it's entirely consistent with their drive to never do anything twice if they can help it; it's an Free-to-play MMO set amidst floating islands reached by player-run flying ships.
The world of Allods Online is the entire universe. Space, the developers posit, isn't just a void; it's a substance, which they call Astral and which behaves like a capricious living organism; sometimes it creates, sometimes it destroys. The planet of Sarnaut was destroyed by it, torn apart, but on the floating rocks that were left of it, its life survived, protected by the intervention of the Great Mages. These rocks are called Allods and just recently the inhabitants have discovered how to travel between them freely.
Those inhabitants are often known to us - the orcs, elves and humans we all know from RPGs - though a little different, more of a metaphor for modern Russia. For example, the orcs aren't just the brutal warriors we know from Tolkien - there's also something of the football hooligan about them. Moreover, there are other, unfamiliar races on the Allods. The gibberlings for example, a race of anthromorphic furries, that breed like rabbits and make a living from fishing. They also, inadvertantly, discovered how to travel between the Allods without the assistance of the Great Mages.
The races of the destroyed planet, Sarnaut, are now struggling for dominance, and have formed two factions- the League, consisting of Elves, Gibberlings and the Kanian humans; and the Empire, consisting of the communitarian Xadaganian (no, I can't pronounced it either) humans, the orcs, and the robot-mummies known as the Arisen. Both, however, live in fear of the allod-consuming demons from inside the Astral, and the misguided cultists who despairing have gambled that if they help the demons, they may be spared...
That's the world of Allods; tomorrow we'll look at Allods beta period and why it's gone on quite so long.
You can download Allods Online here.