Alganon Preview: It Shouldn't be an Excuse
By Vincent Haoson (Vincenthaoson), OnRPG Journalist
In the world of MMORPGs, the same formula in games made has been rehashed and repackaged over and over again. There have been basically no "mind blowing" new gameplay features added to any of the recently released games that have changed the gaming industry.
However, game developers already know this and have put a lot of effort in providing new packages, in this case gimmicks, to the same old gameplay system found in every other MMORPG. You can smell trouble for a game if it has in one way or another failed to make its own mark on a now jaded gaming population.
Such is the case in Alganon. You are welcomed by a character creation interface that feels all too familiar. The choices for your character remind me of a lot of other P2P games that I've played before however at least they made it feel like it was their own unlike Alganon where it feels far too much like "the MMO I played the last time".
Once you're inside the game, you get a feeling of familiarity with the starting area. Other games have managed to eliminate this feeling even if they're using the same MMORPG formula. Alganon has failed.
What Makes it Different
The problem with Alganon is that if you solely base your opinion of the game's quality of the interface, then my guess is that you are going to immediately drop this game especially if you have passed through WAR, WoW or even Dungeons and Dragons Online.
With the lack of anything new in the game's interface, Alganon tries to balance it with an addition of various game features that only a handful of P2P games (such as Eve Online) use. An example of a unique game system in Alganon is the Character Study System.
Characters should study too
The Character Study System serves as the skill system in Alganon. This is the biggest difference the game offers because the Study System enables players to have a vast set of skills ready to be used which are not determined by your character's level but by the amount of time you character learns the skill. Studying takes from minutes to hours up to days depending on the level of the study you want your character to accomplish. What's more studying only takes 2 things from you, time and a click. Even if you're logged out your character keeps on studying till it finishes that certain skill.
It is kind of ironic that even in an MMORPG, you have to study to get ahead in life. However, the addition of the character study in Alganon not only gives players a wide range in creating their own character build but also makes the whole game more interesting due to the huge possibility of builds you can create.
Levels are not as important
The other thing about the study system is that it makes leveling not as important in terms of strengthening your character. Every level up in the game only provides you with big chunks of stats dependent on your race and class and that's about it.The defining factor of your character's strength lies on the level of the studies your characters have. Basically, Alganon is skill driven and the skill system makes it all the more exciting to play because your character has a lot of things he can learn regardless of what kind of job class your character belongs in.
It may be true that Alganon has a decent gameplay system at work which is all thanks to character study however if you continue playing Alganon there are a lot of things that will gnaw at you as you play and majority of it is due to the game's interface.Basically, there is nothing wrong with how the game looks. The graphics are not really top notch but they still provide enough quality to not question the game's visual experience and the game controls follow the usual keyboard and mouse set up. However, it's the game's animation that will gnaw at you as you play Alganon.
Though it's quite normal in games that the animation seems chopped or clunky which is generally caused by lag however in Alganon, the character's movements are not that smooth regardless of lag or not. There are instances where your character looks awkward when he attacks, and being that this game is p2p you expect a lot more in terms of game animation.I tried cutting my internet load to check if it was just my net lag but sadly I was wrong. While there is no problem when you travel switching to attacking seems quite disjointed and it will eventually irritate you especially when you've paid for the subscription.
I think that Alganon has the makings of a great game especially with the character study system. However, the major problem with the game is that for a p2p MMORPG you're expecting more. You be expect a refined game where everything works smoothly, because any decent gamer will expect their purchase to be a good one.
Another issue I have in Alganon is the game's feel. Having a great game system and features can only go so far and the one thing that will really make players stay is the capability of a game to convince someone that they are in a world of their own. Here lies the second most apparent problem in the game. As long as Alganon doesn't make its mark this MMORPG will remain as generic as most of the games out there.
I'll be keeping my eye out on Alganon because it has potential, however my first adventure into the game left me disappointed, the game can still evolve and seeing that the patches are done quickly, it seems that it's on its way to becoming a solid MMORPG.