Alganon: March Developer Journal
David Allen, the CEO of Quest Online, writes this March Developer Journal about the upcoming MMORPG Alganon.
March has been quite a month for us here at Quest Online. As we prepare for the upcoming Private Beta of Alganon for April, our team is working around the clock, solidifying our client and server systems, integrating gameplay features, and testing the core data (related to quests, studies, items, actions, etc.). On top of that, we have the continued growth of MyAlganon and the upcoming integration of the online Library system, which should launch in the next few days. This will give players a sneak peek into all of this core data for Alganon, going above and beyond existing databases for games like Thottbot for World of Warcraft.
A ton of effort has gone into solidifying the content of the game. To put things into perspective, we currently have 1,168 Level 1-30 quests just for the Human and Talrok sides that span 3 domains. This includes nearly 2,000 unique armor items and 700 unique weapons. That doesn't include custom items, support items, etc. One thing that's hard to communicate is how large our domains are. Asheran Forest for the Humans is huge. A character can level from 1-30 just in that one domain, focusing on many of the subdomains located within.
The core structures for Families, Kudos, Studies, and other unique systems are being finalized over the next couple of weeks as well. Lots of exciting stuff here we can't wait to show you. We've also been working on the "GOD" system, our main CSGM tool, ensuring the core functionality is working before we enter Private Beta, which begins April 1st! The ability of smiting players out of the blue with the click of a button or transforming them into a duck is critical! Public Beta will follow a couple of months later, and before we know it we will be at release!
Something else we've decided on is a 'Limited Release Schedule'. We've been keeping an eye on the other MMOGs that have launched lately and learned from their mistakes. They buy a ton of hardware for "possible" subscription numbers that quickly become vacant and consolidated just a few months later due to poor retention from high initial sales. Simply put, if you build a damn fine game, people will play it and their friends will play it. Your retention will be high. If you don't, you may get a high number of initial sales, but it will cost you in the end because of the amount you spent on hardware and support staff.
It is for these reasons we will be limiting the number of subscription keys we release on a periodic schedule, using on a first come first serve basis. This not only addresses the above, but it also prevents server instability at launch through oversaturation. I think it's ridiculous for a MMOG to just "sell" to as many people who will buy. The underlying structure doesn't support this method, which is why we have seen so many bad launches. We will stabilize the number of people coming into the game and expand based on that number and the associated retention. This also allows for improved support for those actually playing.
One of our goals is to offer a quality long-term experience to the community, not make a quick buck and then deal with the rest of those that survive the aftermath. We can do this by properly planning and learning from the issues players have experienced with other games at launch. This is only possible though if we work together to communicate those issues. We rely on all sites like MMORPG to help us in this goal. I hope to keep reading about your suggestions, concerns, and excitement for Alganon!
Well, back to work; we've got a lot to do over the next few weeks!
- David Allen, CEO of Quest Online, LLC.