has announced that Allods Online is just about to enter its closed beta phase of testing, and there is now a sign-up form available for those interested in getting involved. The upcoming free-to-play title is being developed by Russian studio Astrum Nival, who are responsible for localizing and publishing a number of online games for the Russian market, as well as developing Heroes of Might and Magic V (though they were known as Nival Interactive at that time, the core team is now part of Astrum Nival). With Allods Online, the team hopes to create a game that stands out in the free-to-play arena due to its high production values -- with a US$12 million budget to work with, they certainly have the opportunity to achieve this goal. It is based on a popular Russian single player RPG called Allods (or Rage of Mages internationally).
So what's the game actually about? Here's the developer's rundown: "Allods Online is a free full blown MMORPG set in a fantasy space opera universe with player-built and player-controlled space battleships, creating a new dimension of co-operative game play. Join one of the 2 factions at war in the deep storyline by choosing from one of the 28 classes available." If this has you wanting to find out more, then make sure to visit the game's site and sign up for the closed beta. It's set to begin in the next couple of weeks, with further invites being sent out in waves after the initial batch. There are also some incentives for players who reach certain levels during the test. Head past the break to see a trailer explaining a little bit about the title's battleship gameplay.