Thursday, June 24, 2010

Allods Online removing Fear of Death debuff

I just received news that in Allods Online patch 1.1.0, the Fear of Death (FoD) debuff will be removed:
The upcoming Allods Online Patch 1.1.0: Revelations of Gipat introduces new content and gameplay mechanics. In fact, one of the most controversial aspects of the game, Fear of Death, is being eliminated!

Fear of Death is a debuff that players receive upon death which reduces all of their offensive stats by 25% for an amount of time proportional to their level. It can be removed by spending Drops of Myrrh that can be bought from vendors, using Incense that can be bought from the Item Shop, or just waiting it out. However, most users will rejoice in knowing that Fear of Death will no longer be a part of the game.
For those that have followed Allods Online's progress from beta to launch, FoD was the most controversial topic. It is the reason Keen, and I suspect many others, decided not to stick with the game.  Personally, I disliked FoD, but came around to an agreement with myself that it wasn't that bad since I only played the game casually.

I didn't agree that it was a cash shop or micro-transaction issue.  What I didn't like about FoD was the fact that it didn't make sense in terms of gameplay.  Reading these upcoming changes, I feel somewhat vindicated in my prior stance.  If FoD was a mechanic meant to create revenue, as many argued, it wouldn't be getting yanked from the game.  This to me, is evidence enough that it was just a bad gameplay mechanic awaiting replacement. And now Allods is getting that replacement:
When a player dies in the upcoming patch, instead of receiving a debuff to all of their offensive stats, players will have a very small chance that a curse will be cast upon them. The curse will randomly land on one of a player’s item slots; however, if the curse lands on a slot that is empty or contains an item that is Uncommon or Common, the curse will be deflected, leaving the contents of the item slot unharmed. If the curse lands on an item slot that contains an item that is Rare, Epic, or Legendary, its stats will become inverted.

Bosses in dungeons and raids will now also drop Cursed Items in addition to the items that they usually drop. This means that means that players will have a chance to receive more loot, which can be used once the curse is removed.

In order to remove a curse from an item, players can purchase Scrolls of Purification from the Item Shop, or buy them from other players. Players can also avoid items becoming cursed with each death by wearing Holy Charms. Players may have up to 1000 Holy Charms equipped at a time and each time the player dies, one charm will be used to deflect any possible curse. Holy Charms are available for purchase in the Item Shop, and can also be bought from other players.
There are no hard numbers to substitute for the "chances" mentioned in the blurb above, but as FoD was in effect 100% of the time, this is already a better system.  Also, it does a better job of defining the Cash Shop's role in the death penalty revenue scheme.

While I don't like the idea that any game penalizes players and then tells them to go into a Cash Shop to remove that penalty, the proposed system has a couple of tricks up it's sleeves.

First, the items are player trade-able, creating a currency system of sort for players that have real life cash and want to exchange it, legally, for in-game goods and services.

Secondly, it offers proactive and reactive items to be purchased allowing players to decide how they want to pay.  Players can pay up front and carry Holy Charms to prevent the curses or they can pay on the back end after a curse has hit via the Scrolls of Purification.

Or, players don't have to pay at all by keeping stashes of spare equipment on hand to replace any cursed items.  This may not be efficient or advisable, but it does allow players to continue their free rides.

Allods Online is still a great game and I am looking forward to getting back into at some point and the upcoming Patch 1.1: Revelations of Gipat will be live July 7th!

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