There has been a trend lately of releasing "classic" MMORPGs; games that veterans would recognize as similar to MMO classics such as EverQuest, Dark Age of Camelot, and World of Warcraft. When it met the press, Alganon was introduced as a game that would grow and develop alongside its players, a game that offered both "innovative" elements and the things that everyone loved about other MMOs.
Two months after its release, Alganon may not have yet had time to grow, but it has had time to get over any initial bumps in its launch and offer its product to gamers. The question remains: does Alganon offer a game worth its price and subscription, and does it have potential to become something better?
Character progression in Alganon is typical to many other MMORPGs; players gain experience to level up, and then train skills in town with one of their classes' skill trainers. Each level also introduces a talent point, which can be placed in one of three specializations, similar to the system found in World of Warcraft.
There are twists on these classic systems, however. The most commonly mentioned difference in Alganon's character progression is the Study system, which allows players to enhance their character abilities via gated, passive study that persists even when a character is offline. Studies range from combat and magical abilities to general and social studies. At first glance, the benefits for the studies are fairly minor: the kind of small increments to stats, critical strike and hit ratings, and resistances that only the hardcore min/maxers would really worry about.
There are two benefits less talked about the come from studies, however. First is the opening of quest lines among several lines of studies. This means special lore, rewards, and experience for those who invest time into them. The second is a bit more devious: special abilities which open up as trainable within major cities after certain studies have been learned. These purchasable skills, such as increased weapon damage, increased weapon skill-up rates, and increased movement speed (to name a few) are worth far more than the studies learned to unlock them. Unfortunately, the study system is also flawed in that it allows only one character to study at a time. This causes a huge roadblock to those who want to level alts while improving their main character - many studies take a full 30 real world days to master.
The other twist on the classical MMORPG system that Alganon offers is that classes are stretched beyond their archetypal roles. Although only four of the original seven planned classes are currently available (Assassin, Warden, and Prophet are missing), there's enough variety to be had among the current classes to make things interesting. Theoretically, any class can take one of the three core roles of tank, healer, or DPS. This doesn't show in function, at least currently: Soldiers, for instance, can still only tank and DPS. But it may surprise players to find that their party's tank is actually an Ice Mage, or that their healer is a lifeblood Ranger. Despite these differences, however, there are also striking similarities to other games, such as a Soldier's use of "Anger" as their mechanic, which builds up when dealing or receiving damage.
Questing & Immersion
Quests are the most common form of leveling that a player will find in Alganon. A player character starts out in Alganon with a quest-giver placed right before them, and the trend of kill task and Fed-Ex style quests will not be broken easily here. Unlike many games that lead you from quest to quest, Alganon does not always lead you directly to every quest giver. While quests chains will eventually get you from one major hub to another, players who explore will find whole new chains hiding deep in the wilderness. Eventually, however, quests thin out by the mid-30s to level 40, leaving some leveling to grinding.
Immersion, on the other hand, is a mixed bag. Some quests draw you deeply into the lore of the world of Alganon, referring to gods and events before your character's time and driving the player character down the path of the hero. Other quests feel nothing more than the age old fetch and get, with no real story or purpose behind them in the larger scheme. There is immersion, but it isn't as in depth as some players may like for an RPG. However, the game is young, and previous developer talks have hinted that players will become an integral part of the story.