Exclusive Alganon Interview - The Appeal of Out-of-Game Advancement
One of the most intriguing aspects of Alganon is the “study system.” While players will still advance their classes through the normal means of completing quests and fighting monsters, players will also be able to “study” to improve some of their statistics and allow for alternate advancement through simple real time progression. Think of it like a blend of a normal MMO advancement with the time-based advancement of EVE Online. To learn more about this system, we fired some questions at Alganon community manager Mathew Anderson, who gave us all the details.
Ten Ton Hammer: Can you please give us a brief description on how the study system works?
Mathew Anderson: The Alganon Study system was designed to reward players based on real-time accomplishments, in addition to all of the rewards that come from gameplay time. This way, a player who has casually played Alganon for a year and properly managed their studies can compete with a power gamer who plays 18 hours a day for a month.
A few months ago, the Ten Ton Hammer staff was introduced to a game
that was intriguing in its premise, yet was flying completely
under-the-radar. But now, as more effort is placed in the marketing and
discussion of Alganon,
the MMO public is beginning to take notice of the game.
One of the most intriguing aspects of
style="font-style: italic;">Alganon is the
“study system.” While players will still advance
their classes through the normal means of completing quests and
fighting monsters, players will also be able to
“study” to improve some of their statistics and
allow for alternate advancement through simple real time progression.
Think of it like a blend of a normal MMO advancement with the
time-based advancement of
EVE Online. To learn more about this system, we fired some
questions at Alganon
community manager Mathew Anderson, who gave us all the details.
system is a major part of Alganon's gameplay.
Ten Ton Hammer: Can you
please give us a brief description on how the study system works?
study system was designed to reward players based on real-time
accomplishments, in addition to all of the rewards that come from
gameplay time. This way, a player who has casually played style="font-style: italic;">Alganon for a year
and properly managed their studies can compete with a power gamer who
plays 18 hours a day for a month.
A player could log on to Alganon
and choose a field they want their character to study. For example, a
character who has met all of the prerequisites could choose to study
Swordsmanship. After they initiate that study, their character will
progress in this area, whether they are online or not. After the
required time passes, their character gains the boons that come with a
completed study rank.
Different studies will take different amounts of time to complete, and
higher ranks in a single study will take longer than the earlier ranks.
For example, the first rank of swordsmanship may only take a few
minutes of real-time to study, while the first rank of strength
training may take hours, and the fifth rank of swordsmanship may take
Ton Hammer: What
skills and/or abilities can you enhance with the study system? Is it
focused on crafting skills, or will combat skills be included in the
and alternate advancement are the prime foci of the study system.
Studies can increase your character in two main ways. First, studies
can add to a character's statistics. For example, a character can
choose to study in Endurance Training and raise their endurance stat by
1 for each level of study.
Much like enchantments and gems in other gains, these statistic gains
are much more advantageous to a lower level player. Those players who
take a more casual approach will find that the stat gains they receive
from studies help them to catch up with the hardcore players who simply
have more time to play.
That's not to say that these stat gains are completely worthless to
players who prefer to race to the endgame. One point of endurance may
only grant you 10 additional hit points, but every time you look up to
find you have nine hit points left, you'll be glad you set time aside
for that one rank of endurance training.
The second way that studies effect characters is by providing alternate
forms of advancement. This is most common in the crafting areas of
study, but also assists casual players who enjoy endgame combat, but
are unable to schedule time for raids.
For example, you may see a powerful soldier wielding a trinket like the
Badge of the Peacemantle, and want one for yourself. Looking in the
Library, you may find it to be a 10% drop from Warlord Ha'skik - one of
the hardest raid-bosses in the game. Many players will get a raid group
together, and charge the gates of Warfiend Karr in order to claim one
of their own, but what if you are a casual player, whose real life
activities prevent them from scheduling raid times? Or what if you are
the type of player that prefers to stay in town and craft, and never
play the raiding game? What do you do?
We can do the same for rare crafting recipes, allowing the more
adventurous to obtain them from raiding, and the more "economically
minded" to obtain them through a combination of studies and quests.
This allows us to keep certain recipes rare and hard to obtain, but
allow equal access to raiders and those players who choose to never
leave the city gates.
Since we are able to use the study system to gate access to quest
chains, training, crafting recipes, and even item use, we can provide
players with alternate ways to remain competitive, without requiring
everyone to run the same undead-infested fortress
Ten Ton Hammer: When a
player is "studying" are they learning passive enhancements that make
their character more potent in everything they do with a particular
skill? Or are they studying active items like different spells,
different abilities, etc.?
study is usually targeted to a specific 'category' such as swords,
tailoring, or tactics. This way there is no 'bad study' a player can
put time into, just systems they can build upon as their character
The initial release of Alganon
will focus on studies that enhance basic skills related to combat,
tradeskills, and a few other general topics. After the initial release,
we will be extending studies to include class-specific areas.
Ton Hammer: A
time-based training system (like what you have with studying) is an
uncommon trait in an active MMOG. Why did you decide to include
something like the study system in the game?
devs wanted a way for players to be able to catch up quickly to their
The current MMOs on the market are "jealous games." They are "time
vampires" that suck up every waking moment of your life and turn you
into a pale husk that exists only to feed the cursed beast.
But they are also a ton of fun. Everyone on the
style="font-style: italic;">Alganon team loves
them. Like many of you, we have libraries full of games that still sit
unopened, because our current MMOs devour all our free time.
Every single member of the Alganon
team is a passionate MMO player who loves to raid, to PvP, to craft, to
heal, to tank, to nuke, to loot... these are our favorite things, but
nowhere in that list does it say that an MMO has to be jealous to be
We want you to have a life outside the game - we want you to succeed at
work or in school, spend time with your family, network on
MyAlganon.com, even go out and play other games.
The study system encourages players to do just that. As long as you
remain a part of Alganon,
your character continues to grow, so that when you return, it is easy
to catch up with those players who spent every waking moment inside the
game. Not every game can say that.
Right now, as I answer these questions, I am losing ground on my
favorite MMOs. My friends are leaving me behind, moving on to greener
pastures and harder dungeons. Doors are closing and I may never get
them open again. I am losing. It's a horrible feeling. We don't want
Alganon players to feel that way.
If we were playing Alganon
right now, we'd be progressing. As we did this interview, we'd be
getting stronger, faster, smarter. Doors would be opening for us. New
adventures would be waiting for us the next time we logged on. That's a
great feeling. That's the game I want to play.
Ten Ton Hammer: Are there
any limitations to how much a player can "study"? Can a level one
character max out all of his studying simply by making sure he logs in
and readjusts his study queue?
When Alganon launches, there will literally be years of studies
available. If a player wishes to focus on combat, they may first choose
to max out Tactics, Anatomy, Swordsmanship, and Marksmanship. That
alone could take 6 months.
Other players may wish to focus on enhancing tradeskills by studying
Mining, Expedient Blacksmithing, and Rare Alloys. There will always be
something to study. There will always be some way to improve your
character, and more will be added as the game continues to grow and
We are going to build a "study queue" system that allows the player to
manage and plan their studies, but it is undecided how far in to the
future a player can queue their studies. We don't want a player to set
up 6 months of studies and never enter the game.
Ton Hammer: You are
going to be including classes in Alganon?
How will studying affect those classes? Will players be able to enhance
their class through studying?
class-based studying will not be included in Alganon.
Initially, the studies will be global in nature (i.e. focused on
enhancements that aren't class specific necessarily). While it may not
make sense for a Magus to study Swordmanship, they will have the option.
Later, as the game develops, we will add studies that are specific to a
given class, but we're going to look to how our players approach the
classes before we finalize and implement class-specific studies.
Ten Ton Hammer: How much
will "studying" actually influence the game? Will players with the
highest amount of studying (ie - have had characters the longest in the
game) be some of the most powerful characters?
extra 1% here and there quickly adds up. Characters that are older will
have that extra edge that younger characters just don't, and, in the
right hands, that edge can be the difference between victory and defeat.
However, even if they focus all of their studies in a single area,
players will never have a game-breaking imbalance. Studies will never
result in a player doing double damage, or one-shotting an opponent.
Instead, they will provide an older player with more situations where
they have a small advantage.
When a younger opponent realizes you have the upper hand in close
combat, and decides to move to range, you can show him you have the
advantage there as well. A younger student that has only studied Fire
and Flame will lose their study-based advantage if they switch to Cold
damage. An older character, however, may have studied both and has more
options available to them. An older player is more likely to study Lore
and History and use the alternate progression paths to improve their
Ten Ton Hammer: Is there
anything else you can tell the Ten Ton Hammer readers about style="font-style: italic;">Alganon?
It's coming along great. We just released our second in-game video and
have a lot more planned this month. Keep an eye on the main style="font-style: italic;">Alganon website
(http://www.alganon.com) as well as the MyAlganon website
(http://www.myalganon.com) as we're going to be announcing some new
features over the next few weeks!
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Alganon Game Page.