Play it now — Alganon: After the Dawning

Way back when, I wound up with a place in the Alganon MMOG closed beta. I really liked it. I haven’t really played it since launch, though, and there’s been a lot of water under the bridge at Quest Online, the developer. A change of management, bringing in Derek Smart (of whom I understandably have mixed feelings), lawsuits and more.

Anyway, Alganon went free-to-play last Friday, so I figured it was time for another look.

Back in beta, Alganon wasn’t really all that much to look at. It had decent, but unpolished graphics, though, as well as strong, witty, correctly-spelled and grammatically correct text(!)

Plenty of the game mechanics hadn’t been completed at that stage, but the writing was sometimes laugh-out-loud, and the gameplay was straightforward, challenging and fun.

Well, polish has been poured over the game. Graphically, it’s much improved, and a whole lot slicker. Most of the text is without error, and the attention-to-detail that that implies does show throughout.

The league of necromancers would like Targon to make up his damn mind for a change.

Yes, there’s bugs, but no more than you’d expect for an MMOG title that’s just a few months old. Probably the most irritating is where a specific and otherwise ordinary mob goes troppo and winds up doing one-shot-kill damage on every hit (damage in the hundreds of thousands range) to any player unlucky enough to get into a scrap with it.

They call it the tainted well. If anything, that is an understatement

The other major glitch you’re likely to encounter is in the launcher itself, which cannot call home if your Internet Explorer options in the Windows Control Panel specifies a proxy; fix by adding an exception for *

Most of the rest of the game, at least at the lower levels, seems to run pretty smoothly. The writing is good, and the storytelling is fine for MMOG fare.

The city of Asheran, early morning

Character creation involves two distinct factions, the slightly superhuman Asharr, and the animalistic Kujix. Each character is also enrolled in a Family, based on the basic Bartle types. There are five (Alganon adds ‘Crafter’ as a fifth type).

There are four classes available to the player: A warrior, a ranged-combat type, a spell-caster, and a healer.

Each of the four classes can double up in combat roles, so there’s some versatility in the possible builds.

Alganon’s presently unique (so far as I know) in the fantasy MMOG space in that it allows character development based on realtime (both online and off).

There's plenty of things for your character to study while you get on with other things.

The character can be set to study a variety of things which will provide improvements to character statistics, abilities, resistances or open up new quest possibilities. The character will work through that study queue whether you are online or not. At the earliest stages, new things can be studied in minutes. Later they will take hours or days to complete.

In short, you don’t have to be grinding online all the time to better your character, though the improvements from studies are incremental.

The free-to-play model that Alganon is using limits your level cap (to 30, instead of the VIP’s 50), and limits some of your other options (sending in-game mail is not available, and neither may you speak on some of the chat-channels) without buying the appropriate capabilities pack.

The free-to-play model is probably a good one. Alganon’s just not attracted enough players to give it that effective MMOG vibe, and to make the whole crafting dynamics quite work as intended. Starting on Friday, that seems to have changed, with a sharp rise in the number of people working their way through the lowest levels.

Back when I was in the beta, a number of people told me that Alganon was just a “World of Warcraft” rip-off. Mind you, I’ve also heard people say that EVE Online, Second Life and Lord of the Rings Online were World of Warcraft rip-offs.

I’ve never played or seen World of Warcraft, so I’m not the one to tell you whether it is or it isn’t a copycat, and I don’t really much care if it is.

I’m just here to tell you that it’s fun. Obviously, if you don’t like fantasy genre MMOGs, Alganon isn’t going to be the one to convince you, I shouldn’t think.

If you do, though – well, it’s free and I at least think it’s a good bit of fun.

Play it now.

5 thoughts on “Play it now — Alganon: After the Dawning”

  1. Actually, the skill model where you pick from skill trees for training in real time is notoriously from Eve Online (which is an awesome game to the people who like it…:)

  2. True enough. I go both ways, as it were. I am downloading the current version, maybe I’ll see you in there…:) I was in the beta and liked it, but didn’t think they’d reach critical mass. It bothers me that they have Derek Smart involved, but on the other hand, I haven’t made a holy oath to never send him money (see SOE, SWG vets, holy oaths, Shava in tags…:)

    Seems like a game with an eve-like skill system is a *great* F2P game to have as your non-primary game.

  3. Well I would have given it a whirl but after email verification it then demanded a cc number (what part of free is that) so I thought oh well I’ll just download this here viewer. After getting stuck at 22 meg of a 3.5 gig (say what?) required download at a measly 22 mbs (not at my end) I decided – no you have already ruined my user experience AND I HAVEN’T EVEN GOT INTO THE GAME YET!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Another great example of total Snafu

  4. No problem playing here, except that when I have Second Life (Snowglobe) up on the second monitor, Alganon doesn’t appear to respond to keyboard/mouse events (same problem occurs with Champions Online, btw)

    Things work fine if I start SL after either of these games though.

    I’m liking the character studies feature, I’ve got stuff queued up past September 20th 😛

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