Tired of being a copycat of every other player you see running around
in your game of choice? How about being fed up with being expected to
use the same play style day after day after eternally dragging day? If
you answered yes to either question, then listen up folks because style="font-style: italic;">Alganon
may be the cure for your gaming woes.
is a new MMOG being produced by Quest Online, LLC (QOL) and is the
brainchild of industry veteran, David Allen, President and Co-Founder
of QOL. The game recently went into open beta and players have been
flocking onto the servers to see what it’s all about.
In some ways, the game really is your grandfather's MMOG, and for me,
that's a good thing. style="font-style: italic;">Alganon
has the deep lore, history, and character development of what I like to
call old school MMOGs, but with the conveniences of the modern world
that players have grown accustomed to.
This combination has led to some inevitable comparisons, most notably
of Warcraft. The interface,
movement, camera controls, and specialization system will be very
familiar to the swarms of players that have spent any time in the world
of Azeroth. Just like WoW, during its development process, Alganon
didn't set out to reinvent the wheel when there was no need to do so.
This approach was a bit of a double-edged sword.
When you first step foot in the world of style="font-style: italic;">Alganon,
there’s an initial feeling of familiarity. On one side of the
coin, this means the game is instantly accessible. You already know how
to move, swivel your camera, and have the very basics of combat under
your belt within seconds of entering the game. On the other side of
that same coin, there is a sense of "been there, done that" as well.
It won't take long before you’ll see people comparing the
game to WoW in the chat channels and complaining that this is yet
another clone or that the game sucks. Do yourself a favor, and take a
look at their level before you decide to believe their words. Most of
them are level 5 or below. The game may feel similar to WoW in the
beginning, but it doesn't take a lot of effort to dig below the surface
and see how style="font-style: italic;">Alganon
easily stands on its own merits.
When players first log into the game, they'll choose from two races,
four core classes, and five families. The Humans are considered the
good guys, while the Talrok are considered evil. Looking at both sides,
you could make an argument for either case, but for the sake of
simplicity, they each stand on their respective sides of the alignment
scale. The four classes to choose from are Soldier, Ranger, Magus, and
Healer (more on these later). This brings me to an immediate difference
and its predecessors - families.
Families are divided into
various play styles: Achiever, Competitor, Explorer, Socializer, and
Crafter. Choosing this "sub-category" at the beginning of your
character's creation gives players a sense of community and belonging
before they even enter the actual game. If players choose a family that
truly represents the style of play they enjoy the most, they'll have
access to a number of other like-minded players without having to spend
an eternity shouting over the general broadcast chat channels. Being
part of a family will also give you access to special items within
capital cities from Family Merchants.
After character creation is complete, it's time to jump into the world.
Any of my long time readers should find it no surprise that I chose to
create a Talrok Magus and check things out on what I always consider
the more interesting side. Right off the bat, it was time to quell a
rebellion. My brothers and sisters have been lax for the last few
hundred years in spreading the word of the gods. It's time to correct
One of the most interesting things to me about style="font-style: italic;">Alganon
is the fact that the gods play a significant role in the world. As time
goes on, there are plans to have the gods walk the lands, being played
by company personnel for live events. One of my favorite things in the
early days of style="font-style: italic;">EverQuest
was the battle of the gods when Cazic Thule fought with Firiona Vie,
thus changing the lands for a time.
While things in style="font-style: italic;">Alganon
won't be the same, the fact that the gods will have a significant role
in the world is an exciting prospect. Future plans include various
areas of the game being under the domain of certain gods. Followers
will get some type of bonus, while followers of opposing gods may find
themselves at a disadvantage. The prospects of such divine intervention
are exciting to say the least.
As I mentioned earlier, some things in the game will be very familiar
as you complete quests and level through the game. The specialization
system is similar to the talent trees in WoW. Like other aspects of the
game though, this too is different in scope compared to earlier games.
Each and every core class in the game is designed to have more than one
purpose. Want to be able to tank with your Magus? Climb your way up the
Frost tree and you'll find yourself with protection just as good as
heavy armor. Combine this with abilities in the tree to heal yourself
while raining destruction and you've got yourself a mage the likes of
which have never been seen.
If you want to concentrate on single target damage, go up the Fire
tree. For those more interested in helping their party and providing
crowd control, the Storm tree is the one for you. No one wants to pick
a class and have to continually fulfill the exact same role over and
over. With this system, you’ll no longer have to.
Rather than four classes
being a limiting factor in your gameplay, it actually creates a sense
of individualism. Instead of trying to create a number of different
classes that are little more than minor variations of each other, the
team chose to concentrate on four classes for style="font-style: italic;">Alganon's
initial release and make those classes the best they could be. Each
plays very differently from one another, just as they should. Too many
times, we see a company create a myriad of classes just to find that in
reality, they’re actually little more than a small number of
classes with different paint jobs. Fortunately, that isn't the case
As odd as it is, the biggest reason I've been enjoying playing the
Magus so far is that I've died... repeatedly. This isn't a cry saying
the game is too hard, or anything of the sort, but rather a testament
to the need to pay attention. Personally, I think this is something
that is sorely missing from the majority of games on the market today.
If I've taken the time to choose my target, set my distances, and have
an exit strategy ready, I've been good to go. Whenever I've gotten
complacent in my hunting though, I've found myself in a world of hurt
and struggling for all I'm worth to keep from eating dirt yet again.
Although dying is little more than a minor inconvenience in terms of
time and money, I still have that strong urge for survival I've had in
games with much harsher death penalties. Rather than being worried
about some arbitrary punishment for failure, it’s the focus
required during combat that keeps me involved. I like the fact that I
haven’t been able to play the Magus with my brain on
One of the first "innovations" to be found within Alganon is the Study
System. Similar to that found in style="font-style: italic;">EVE,
is the first fantasy-based game to implement a method of character
development that continues even when you're offline. Skills can be
queued up for easy management, and while there's technically no limit
to the amount of skill points you can have (thus theoretically being
able to learn all skills in each tree), it would take over three years
to learn all the current skills available. The development team will
undoubtedly add more skills before then, so rather than trying to learn
take some time to concentrate your efforts.
Sounds easy enough to master, right? Not so fast there, Spiffy. Even
though your Soldier doesn't use any magic, you still have access to the
Basic Magic skill path as soon as your character is created. Why in the
world would you ever need something like this though? Knowing how
players can't resist trying anything and everything they can in a game,
the development team wanted to make sure there was never a time when a
player's choices would be a complete waste. As such, there are items in
the game that require certain skills.
For example, there may be a
ring called Ring of the Fire Lords that increases the attack rating of
a player. To wear it though, they may be required to have a Fire Magic
skill of level three. Things like this go a long way to ensure a player
doesn't feel as though they've wasted their time in case they've made a
"mistake" in the progression path of their character. This system also
means that running into a duplicate of yourself is going to be far
rarer an occurrence in style="font-style: italic;">Alganon
than it is in other games (* style="font-style: italic;">cough*
Probably the biggest innovation of style="font-style: italic;">Alganon
rests within the game world itself, though indirectly. How many MMOG
players do you think hit various websites seeking assistance on any
number of quests, skill progression charts, mob locations, etc, on a
daily basis? More than either you or I could possibly imagine, let
alone count. The style="font-style: italic;">Alganon
development team decided there should be no need for anyone to have to
go somewhere else to learn something about their game, so they created
the Great Library.
Having problems with Quest X? Need to know where Mob Y is located?
Looking for some history on your class? How about wanting to look over
your upcoming skills? All of this and more can be found within the
Library without ever leaving the game. Everything (and I do mean
everything) in the game can be located in the Library - every mob,
item, spell, NPC, etc. The Library is also directly tied to the game,
so it will always have accurate information.
If the stats for Item A get changed because of a patch, the moment the
servers come back up, the Library will have the correct information.
Your characters are also tied to this so information on them is always
up to date as well.
To test this system, I logged onto another computer and went to href="http://myalganon.com" target="_blank">MyAlganon.com
to search for my character as soon as I leveled up. When the page came
up, there it was... the new level I achieved 15 seconds prior, the new
cloak I had equipped just a few minutes before, everything. All of it
was up to date within seconds of it happening in the game. No more
waiting for server restarts, 2am database updating, or anything else.
The Library is a feat worth heralding as pretty amazing and long
overdue in this day and age.
Overall, I've been enjoying my time within style="font-style: italic;">Alganon.
The game is still in beta, so things aren't always perfectly smooth,
but that's to be expected. For all the players that have been crying
for years there are no more games left with that old school feel, I
suggest you give style="font-style: italic;">Alganon
a shot during the beta. Don't let the first thirty minutes decide the
game's fate. The early parts of the game are obviously designed to get
players comfortable, so do some solid exploring before making your
final decision. You’ll be glad you did.
I'd take the time to discuss this further, but there's a certain quest
boss I owe a beat down to as soon as I gather up my corpse. See you in
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