Alganon Dev Tour
I had the opportunity to view Alganon 2.0 along with CSGM Steven Kasparek and I am left with an abiding sense of right when it comes to the game. On Alganon 2.0's release on April 28th, it is my feeling that players, whether fans or foes, will find that a lot has changed in Alganon in all the right ways. It's hardly the game they remember. New fans will be pleased as well.
For the uninitiated, Alganon 1.0 was released, prematurely according to Kasparek, in December 2009. The game was panned and quickly dismissed by most within days. But Alganon did not die or disappear. Over the next several months, turmoil surrounded Quest Online and resulted in the departure of the original lead. Shortly after, Derek Smart arrived on scene to try and make something of a game released far too soon.
Since the 'changing of the guard', however, Kasparek told me that the Alganon project is "a tightly run ship" and that the team has gotten a stunning amount of work done because of "Derek's up front and open leadership". Everything from bug squashing to feature implementation has been attended to in one form or another. Kasparek indicated that the major work for 2.0 had been completed in just over two months, coinciding with Smart's arrival at Quest Online.
I had the chance to play Alganon 1.0 (through the mid-March patch) as word was getting out about Alganon 2.0's forthcoming release. I jumped into the 1.0 version about a month ago. While there were definitely things that I liked about the game, I had serious reservations about whether or not Alganon could ever come close to turning a profit. Many of the game's mechanics were clearly broken and caused game-ending problems for me. In fact, Kasparek mentioned that Alganon was no fun to play because folks were fighting the game itself. I couldn't agree more. In my initial experience with Alganon, monsters ran through my character and began whaling on her back which nearly drove me insane. Being attacked by a monster hidden inside a rock or tree was enough to make me want to throw down my toys and stomp off.
After writing my initial impressions of Alganon 1.0 I did not touch the game again...until today.
Alganon 2.0 bears scant resemblance to its earlier version. Oh sure, it looks pretty much the same but that's about where the similarities end. Gone are the days of the phantom rock attacks and monsters running through players. Gone are the rather flat graphics. Gone are most of the game-ending bugs that plagued players.
The changes in Alganon are apparent right from the start once a 'toon has been created. Depending on which faction players choose, they are treated to a very well done opening cinematic leading them to a starting area. This beginner's location is important and gives players the basics of the game's lore. Watching over each faction's starting area are the game's principle gods. These guys are HUGE as you can see from the screens. Once characters have run around on a few basic quests for information, or blessings of the gods, they are sent through a one-way portal to the actual fighting grounds for their faction.
The Marketplace the the Tribute System
I had asked to be shown the most important improvements in v2.0 and I was not disappointed. Kasparek gave me a generous amount of 'Tribute' with which to play in the Alganon Marketplace. Tribute is the real money currency that players can use to buy so-called luxury, or Marketplace, items. Tribute is shared by all player characters.
As with most free to play games, the Alganon Marketplace has elixirs, mounts, pets, tokens and more. The Marketplace is quite large and contains a lot of cool and interesting items. Kasparek told me that the items in the store are not needed to play the game in any way but are mainly vanity and fluff or simply a shortcut to gaining suitable gear rather than collecting it piecemeal throughout the game. For instance, my character was leveled to 50 and purchased a level 40 Soldier Gear Set that included a helm, shield, sword, armored pants and chest piece. The gear is solid for a level 40 fighter, but nothing spectacular and rather underpowered for my level 50. Kasparek said that the gear is not better than can be found in the game but is simply a 'shortcut' to gaining level-appropriate items. Gear sets can be purchased at levels 20, 30 and 40 but there is also, for instance, level 22 or 46 gear that can be found as well that renders the Marketplace items obsolete.
One very cool feature of the Marketplace when purchasing a gear set is that the items in the set are displayed and can be highlighted to see what stats they give and whether or not it's better than what is already being worn. There are also Random Loot Boxes in magical, enchanted and epic forms that will give players one of up to 12 items contained in the box. Again, items are displayed but only one will be given when the box is opened.
Keep reading to find out about instanced dungeons, the customizable UI, graphics, the game map and the final word.