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style="font-weight: bold; color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">Top
Free-to-Play Games

of Apr 18 - Apr 24, 2010

1. Dungeons
and Dragons
Online: Eberron Unlimited

of Magic

href=""> style="text-decoration: underline;"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;">3.  href=""
target="_blank">Atlantica Online

4.  href=""
target="_blank"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href=""
target="_top"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;">FreeRealms

5.  target="_blank"> href=""

6.  target="_blank"> href=""
target="_top"> href=""
target="_top"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href=""

 7.  href=""
target="_top"> href=""
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target="_top"> href=""
target="_blank">Sword of the New World

8.  target="_top"> href=""
Chronicles of Spellborn

9. target="_blank">Allods Online 

10.  target="_top">Requiem: Bloodmayne href=""
target="_top"> href=""
target="_blank"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href=""

style="text-decoration: underline;"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href=""
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When I asked the question “Can an MMOG ever have a second chance to
make a first impression” I assumed that the answer from our gaming
community would be a resounding no. Imagine my surprise however when
several players responded in our forums that they would do just that
and several more sent me private messages asking for more information
about Alganon, the game in question.

Armed with this newfound and, in some
cases, renewed
excitement I set about to learn more about the proposed changes and
was treated to a play session on a version of the new client set up
for yours truly. Read on to find out how the changes have affected the
and whether the efforts of the developers have matched their lofty
goals of
revitalizing a game that was released before it was ready, in this
Microcosms: Reinventing The Wheel. 

href=""> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 225px; height: 120px;"
alt="Alganon Boss Mob"

Alganon Makes Good Use of  Instancing.

My first impression of Alganon
was far from a flattering one, but hardly a damning one either; I found
several good elements at the core of the game. While the overall look
was bland and the UI was definitely an uninspired ripoff of WoW, the
gameplay and combat were fun enough to pique my interests.
Unfortunately, the thought of paying a monthly fee for the game made me
doubt that this beta would yield a successful game.

Fast forward several months and my worries were justified as the game
that launched was in no better shape than it was in beta. With the
negative reviews piling up and the player base quickly eroding, the
company’s developer and publisher, Quest Online, made a bold move and
made sweeping changes to the staff…starting at the top.

In a highly public and highly controversial set of
maneuvers, the original head ofAlganon’s development team, David Allen, was removed and
newly appointed company president Derek Smart set about to fix the
game’s issues. The revamped team halted all new content plans and additions
and focused their attention on bug fixes, a UI overhaul and stabilizing the games network code. It may be
easy to talk about changes, and to offer a vague re-launch timeframe,
but the team at Alganon
put their money where their mouth is, so to speak, and created a test
realm with most of the new features to give us a look at how the
proposed changes have improved the game. The games Lead Customer Service GM, Steven Kasparek, was our gracious host and tour guide.

href=""> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 225px; height: 120px;"
alt="A Re-Skinned UI is Coming Soon"

A Re-Skinned UI is Coming Soon.

The User Interface is the first visual clue that things have changed in
but those who create a new character will notice a much more pronounced
difference. Newly added to the game is a brief tutorial-type intro area
to help players acclimate to their new game world. This is a major
improvement; prior builds simply dropped new characters in front of a
quest NPC with no lore or explanation as to how they came to be there.
Being a purely PvE based game, Alganon
is steeped in lore and backstory and this starting area, even as brief
as it is, ties it all together nicely.

A complete UI re-skin addresses one of the primary complaints about the
game--the fact that most of the UI was a carbon copy of WoW. While a
familiar UI is actually a plus, it is nice to have your own unique
look, and the Alganon team has done that here. While many of the
windows, key bindings and even the minimap have a definite WoW feel to
them, it’s nearly impossible (and a bad idea to boot)  to
design a game these days without giving players, a majority of whom
have cut their teeth on the Blizzard MMOG, a solid point of reference.
The major improvement in the UI, in my opinion as well as the opinion
of my gracious host, was the ability to move almost every element of
the interface with ease, fixing one of the most nagging issues I had on
the live servers.

As we rode through the world I couldn’t help but notice how much
smoother it felt, as though it had been optimized somehow. I was
informed that this wasn’t a graphical improvement or a game source code
improvement, but rather a major overhaul of style="font-style: italic;">Alganon’s network
code. It seems that it was pretty sloppy due to the game’s
much-too-soon soft launch, and it was the primary complaint of the
player base. I was further surprised to learn that Quest Online
actually plans to visit the idea of doing a ground-up reworking of the
code for even greater performance.

href=""> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 225px; height: 120px;"
alt="Alganon Boss Mob"

Players as Low as Level 17 Can Engage Instance

We visited several instances, ranging from one of the first available
to the game’s current apex encounter. What most impressed me here
wasn’t the layouts, which were nice, or the creature skins, which were
much more impressive than I would have expected from a typical
free-to-play. No, what impressed me the most was that two max level
characters with GM privileges couldn’t duo most of the encounters we
came across short of using a kill command. Each encounter was designed
in a way that requires the coordination and combined effort of an
entire 6-player party to complete, which is a refreshing change from
many of the zerg style encounters one comes across in games today.

The item shop of Alganon
was also on display for me on this realm, and I am glad it was--being
as this is a column dedicated to microtransactions it was definitely on
my list of hot topics. There were several things that impressed me
here, and the most important is that while you may not be able to loot
the exact item you could buy via a real money transaction, you will be
able to loot something as good or better if you have the time and the

Another well-designed item shop feature is that of random loot and gear
set items that players can preview and purchase. Each class has fairly
decent level appropriate gear sets they can pick up to kit out their
character. You can also spend tribute (the game’s RMT currency) on a
bag with a random item inside that ranges from rare to epic quality
loot, but rather than it being a completely haphazard grab bag, you
have the ability to see the loot table that the item will be generated
from to help solidify your decision.

href=""> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 225px; height: 120px;"
alt="Alganon Boss Mob"

Massive Enemies Give Instances an Epic Feel.

 The only portion of the item shop that may face some scrutiny
is that of the upkeep items and the temporary items. In my perusing of
the Tribute window I noticed some very fast mounts that had a rather
low price point. Further inspection revealed that these mounts required
a cash infusion to keep them useable after a period of several days.
There was an option to purchase a permanent mount but with a much
heftier price tag. I personally think this is rather smart move on the
developer’s part as it encourages players to save up for that big
purchase while allowing newer and undecided players the ability to
travel about the game world quickly without having to make a huge

The process of reinventing an MMOG is an arduous task that not many
developers can pull off, but the folks at Quest Online have put in the
work and look to have a very real chance at making it happen. Stay
tuned to Microcosms in the coming weeks as we will be rolling out a
series of game reviews, focusing on one game per week, that will
feature not only your standard review topics but a unique twist that
pertains solely to the realm of free-to-play and microtransaction
games. Until next week, be safe and, as always, keep it free.

style="border: 0px solid ; width: 640px; height: 341px;"
alt="Alganon Boss Mob">

style="font-style: italic; color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">
 Alganon's Boss Mobs Await Your Return

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Alganon Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016


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