Cloud Pirates is an upcoming multiplayer action game, developed by Allods Team and My.com, set in the Allods Universe. In the Cloud Pirates Closed Beta, players can take control of Steampunk airships to battle it out in a multiplayer arena setting. There are a variety of game modes, ship and captain customization options, and aesthetic choices to create your own unique airship.
Although the game is said to take place in the Allods Online universe, it mostly seems to borrow from the lore and art style. According to the official game lore, the world of Sarnaut was split by a cataclysm 1000 years ago, which led to the creation of countless islands floating in Astral space. Eventually, treasure hunters invented airships to explore these island and found artifacts, treasure, and all kinds of riches. In order to protect themselves, these hunters formed squadrons that eventually led to a sort of faction warfare.
New Take on Similar Gameplay
While there are a handful of other airship combat games on the market, Cloud Pirates doesn’t really play like them. Instead, it feels much closer to recent space shooters, such as Dreadnought or Fractured Space, in terms of movement and fighting mechanics. Airships can move forward, backwards, left, right, up, or down but there doesn’t appear to be any strafing, which actually makes sense in this type of game.
In an attempt to keep things as realistic as they could be, weapons on each ship also have certain arcs of fire. From the ships I’ve tried so far, this consists of a separate set of weapons for the port, bow, and starboard, and there don’t appear to be any weapons that can fire from the stern. This is incredibly important because a lot of objectives in the game require players to be constantly moving, which means your teammates need to provide cover when enemies attempt to flank.
Cloud Pirates Closed Beta Game Modes
Even though the combat mechanics feel very similar to a few recent games, Cloud Pirates already has a good enough game mode variety to keep things interesting. Instead of simply playing team deathmatch over and over, there are treasure hunt, point capture, and escort game modes. However, killing enemy ships also provides point contribution regardless of the mode. This creates a nice balance where objectives and destroying enemies are both important.
In the treasure hunt game mode, multiple chests will spawn around the map and players will need to go gather them. As an added little twist, each chest will turn a specific color once picked up and needs to be turned in to the respective colored trader located around the map.
This is honestly one of my favorite game mode ideas because it forces players to constantly be on the move and greatly discourages any type of camping. It also plays into the strengths of each ship. Do you want the heavy, slow ship to grab the chest or your quick, fragile vessel? It all depends on your team composition and how the enemy is reacting. If they’re constantly contesting chests, it might be better to have a battleship pick it up, but if they’re leaving your team alone for the most part then the fastest frigate is best for the job.
Point capture is basically what we’re used to, but it works incredibly well with the map structure in Cloud Pirates. Instead of having a tiny point to defend, each capture zone expands the entire vertical portion of the map. This means there is a lot of space to cover when defending a point and many directions to infiltrate when attacking, which is a lot more fun than camping the same choke points.
Finally, in the escort mode, each team first needs to capture a beacon that will spawn the payload ship. The escort target has a massive amount of health, which seems to scale based on the tier of the players, and will simply travel from point A to B. It’s not a very complicated mode, but again it keeps players moving. Additionally, it’s possible for a team to capture and escort multiple ships at the same time. This allows for many comeback scenarios, but it can also let a more dominate team end a match quickly.
My biggest complaint with Cloud Pirates is similar to many other games in the same vein; the progression system rewards raw power instead of horizontal upgrades. It is focused on tiered power upgrades, required research prerequisites, and has repair cost penalties. All of these things are incredibly anti-fun, but the degree definitely depends on how punishing the system is.
In the Closed Beta, so far, things aren’t that bad in Cloud Pirates. While I’m not a fan of tiered progression, I never felt underpowered in any of my matches. This could have to do with a solid matchmaking system or the upgrades not being too overwhelming. Furthermore, I was able to reach Tier III (the second highest tier) in an afternoon. If they don’t slow down the progression too much, it should be possible to unlock a decent variety of Tier IV ships in a couple of weeks with casual play.
Moreover, the gold and free experience received, which can be used on any ship, seems rather generous at this point. After every match I could at least unlock one, or more, module, so progression never felt stagnant. Even if the research points and gold per match were cut in half, the current system would still be tolerable.
Another thing that makes the progression interesting is receiving new weapons and utility modules. There are about a dozen different types of ships and each one has different abilities and weapons. Each tier also unlocks a variety of main weapon choices and a new ability or two. This keeps things fresh and gives players more options than simply doing more damage.
Overall, the combat and controls handle very well at this points, but there are still some bugs in the game (hence Beta). The most prevalent glitch I had caused my abilities to not work in-game after I installed new tactical modules. Although annoying, this didn’t make the game unplayable but did put me at a strict disadvantage.
Still, Cloud Pirates can be a lot of fun, depending on what you’re looking for. If you want World of Tanks style progression with Allods aesthetics and airships then this will be perfect for you. However, even someone not familiar with either of these can have a good time. I recommend that anyone even remotely interested register for Closed Beta and keep an eye out for open testing.Related: Allods Team, Beta, Cloud Pirates, My.com, Preview, PvP, Shooter, Steampunk