Updated: September 2nd, 2016
Am lvl 70 League Priest (elf healer) on New Frontier server and have called guild Valiance my home for over 5 years. Since I took a long break from the game, the guild died in the process when gPotato quit and Allods Online went under My.com. Thus my precious home is a ghost among the living. Been through whole Gorluxor's Tower, Dead City and Tep's Pyramid but have never tried Eclipse, Ancient Mound, Gate's Project, Fractal or Winter Palace as those 8 are/have been the main end-game raid dungeons. Current max level in game is 70.
How I started playing Allods?
It was coincidental stumble that I found Allods' North America website back in 2010 when it was under gPotato. I was looking through dozens of free mmorpg pages to find a new game. But Allods was the only one that even remotely caught my interest. So I downloaded it, made an account and made Gwiniel. Played first few hours and I was hooked for good. For the first time I actually started loving a game - it was nearly perfect.
Why I like or dislike Allods?
I love the intriguing lore, the art style and mesmerizing scenery and the unique music in the game. I like how the actual interactions and game mechanics works. I am a person who likes questing and exploring the maps and Allods Online delivers that with magnificent abundance.
My personal dislike is PVP, since I don't like that in any game. In Allods Online you don't have separate servers for PVP and PVE - the content, however, is surprisingly well balanced regardless of that. Another dislike is heavy focus in Item Shop (cash shop) goods necessary for end-gaming. I'm all ok for having Item Shop vanities but when they dramatically affect your surviving in game, it becomes a controversial factor that can ruin a perfect game.
The conciseness in character creation and modification is a + and - factor. I'd like some more choices but I do appreciate that players are forced in using racial features existing in the game. I know in some games you can modify your character so far it doesn't seem to belong in the world anymore and that's something I wouldn't want to see in Allods Online.
Since March 31st, 2016 when Allods Online went through a massive overhaul changing mostly everything about stat distribution, gears, skills and builds in the game, I have been greatly disappointed. To an old Allods player like me it felt like a death as the new system and skills are worse than ever before, in my personal opinion. I haven't quite learned to adapt to this change and have thus become very inactive in the game. Also I dislike the new gearing process - it's very discouraging for a non-PVP-player like me. I continue to play Allods Online but for the time being I have stopped gearing and processing - I mainly do daily quests and level my many incarnations and pray that Allods Online will improve after a year or two when patch 8 will hopefully arrive.
Is Allods pay-to-play, pay-to-win or free-to-play?
New Frontier is the so called Free-to-Play server but the end-game experience is mostly Pay-to-Win in my opinion. While leveling content is 100% free without any Item Shop (cash shop) requirements, the end-game isn't, if you want to maintain some level of competitiveness.
PVP experience is nonexistent without Item Shop goods as most older players/high levels have considerably high runes, battle mounts, extra talent points, extra rubies, extra stat points and extra gear slot + bigger bags and banks. Those are worth millions in game gold or thousands of euro in cash. Runes alone can cost around 5000 € (If you desire to be at the top).
Smuggler's Paradise is Pay-to-Play server in other words a subscription server with a monthly payment - not very expensive though. While not having Item Shop at all, this server has end-game content that is near impossible to complete due lack of character power - meaning that some dungeon bosses are so hard that a full raid of geared people can't kill them before next patch. Haven't personally tried this server so the comment was based on forum knowledge.
Each patch pushes in more Item Shop items needed in order to survive in the game in New Frontier server or altering the way those items are obtained. Strongboxes are a marvelous example of that. At first you either got something or you didn't. Then they invented tokens; pieces of certain items you needed to collect a certain amount to actually get the item - typically 10 tokens = item. Now you need 100 tokens for the item. Then came fragments requiring about 100 - 1000 to get the item it is for. These fragments are particularly to the special items, only received from buying and opening strongboxes that are sold in sales. It's a clever way to cash in to keep the game running and make some profit. The newest cash-in fashion seems to be in "rental" equipment - i.e. you can purchase a fast mount with special skills, strong or animated weapon or a morpher (to change your class) that is usable for 180 days before it disappears.
Patch 7.0.0 removed Glyphs that you needed for end-game gears to have stats and Relic gears that gave boost stats.