Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Alganon Didn't Fail Because It's A WoW Clone

There's a bit of bantering going on over at Gamusutra between Derek Smart and one of the recently departed QOL team members (**edit-more than one now**), who stated "I'm very sorry if this next comment makes things rough on Alganon's players. They are the one's we built the game for, so I've avoided statements like this is the past, but: Yes. The game Alganon failed. It failed because despite being fun and all original work, it appeared and played too similar to World of Warcraft. I failed because I did not realize that was a "deal breaker" for so many people."

While I realize the similarity was constantly discussed, when you talked to people who played and left in frustration it had nothing to do with any similarities. The game at release was mostly unplayable. Constant disconnects and crashes, mobs warping, broken game mechanics, tons of bugged quests, and as low end as the graphics appear, it requires a pretty decent system to play well. And as the months progressed and much of the bugs were worked out, where many could remain logged in and start to enjoy the game, it became apparent there wasn't much content beyond 30 and lesser still after 40.

Then add to this mix the crafting. The interdependence wasn't much fun, and even less so with a dwindling population causing more frustration for players. So how do they address this? They added an interdependence requirement for the gathering skills as well which now required rare components from other crafters just to raise your gathering skill.

Seriously, I wondered if they played their own game. But I think Derek Smart gets it. He's stated the game failed because it wasn't finished and he intends to finish it. Yeah I know people don't like him and he's said some abrasive stuff in the past. But to be honest, after all these months of the community getting the runaround and given very vague answers on the forums, his directness is refreshing. He has ruffled a few feathers on the forums though. His prior games seem to be of the boys' club type and guys speak differently when women aren't present. Alganon has a large percentage of female players. Give him a few months with us and maybe you'll have a kinder, gentler Derek Smart.

I've also noticed a different posting style from the other devs. There almost seems to be this tension lifted and there are more lighthearted responses in their posts. So whatever has been happening behind the scenes, it seems to be positive.

If you read the entire Gamusutra comments, it reveals a heck of a lot. Too much to go into detail here. But I've come away from it with a little more understanding and hopefulness in Alganon's future.


wilhelm2451 said...

Looking at his comments on the Gamasutra article, he is not the Derek Smart of the Usenet wars of the late 1990s. He seems to have mellowed a little.

On the other hand, if you look at the number of comments he has under that article, he hasn't changed completely. He never could let a thread die without getting in the last word.

Aspendawn said...

Boy the responses have multiplied since I posted. Didn't expect it to carry on further.

I think the one fellow said it well with this response: So much awesome for what should have started, and ended, with "So and so moved on to explore other options. We wish them luck." It's rapidly becoming some sort of black hole of unprofessional insanity from which no resume can escape.

Randomessa said...

Sweet, tasty, internet drama, nom nom nom!

That aside, I'm fascinated by every one of these developments. Dodgy past or not, I like this Derek Smart guy almost as much as I liked Paul Barnett back in the day. I've downloaded Alganon for another go and will see how far I can get in my 7 day trial.

Aspendawn said...

Hope you have fun with it. If you move past the trial server, Adrios is definitely the server to choose and the human side definitely has more players.

Jergis said...

-He just needs to shut up and get to work.

If he isn't able to deliver on his statements all this chest-thumping will be just another footnote on his 'resume'.

As i said before, i am not convinced he is any better than DA yet.

We'll see.


wilhelm2451 said...

Wow, that Gamasutra thread just won't stop. It just keeps getting better (or worse).

And yet, he is still more mellow than 1990s Derek. He hasn't even brought up his PhD yet.

Aspendawn said...

Jergis - Yeah we'll have to see. I'm sure he's put some players off to the point of not playing anymore, but at the same time sparked interest in others. But we'll see where things stand three months from now. Not sure how much can be done at this point regardless of who is at the helm.

Wilhelm - Maybe slightly more mellow since there's another company and investors involved. But have to wonder what they're all thinking about this now.