The Syndicate - Premier Online Gaming Guild
In May of 2009, The developers at Quest Online graciously accepted a series of Interview questions from The Syndicate about their upcoming fantasy MMO titled Alganon. The following are those questions and answers which definitely give players a deeper dive into the world of Alganon and what fun, fame and fortune await adventurers daring enough to travel there. We were particularly impressed with some of the guild management features that they have planned including the ability to SMS text members of the guild important guild information.

1) For a veteran gamer who has been playing MMOs for quite a few years, what makes Alganon special? Why play it when there are so many other choices out there?

A. Alganon was designed for veteran MMO players, by MMO players. Everyone on the team plays MMOs, and we are passionate about them. We've played every MMO in the Western Market, and a good deal of MMOs where we were the ones using translation tools to communicate. When you see people who love these games as much as you do begin to suffer in real life because the game demands every waking moment, you begin to wish there was an MMO that wasn't a "jealous game," that demands you spend all your free time with it, and makes you suffer if you choose to play another game for a few days.

When a game's patch notes are the exact opposite of their suggestion boards and the only dev response you ever hear is "working as intended, lrn2play" you begin to wish there was an MMO where the developers listened and cared about what their players were interested in. That's a huge reason why we are making Alganon. We want to make a game that has all of the features you love in other games. We want to make a game that adds fun to your life, even if you decide to go to the movies instead. We want to make a game where the developers are a part of the community. Why? Because we want to play a game like that too.

It's not easy, though. We need to launch the game before we can have players. We need players before we can have a community. We need a community before we can listen to that community. We need to listen to that community before we can make a game based on the community's wishes. It's a bit of a Catch 22. That's why we designed Alganon to be iterative. We'll make an educated guess about our community based on existing MMO players and our forum members. We'll make a game designed for that community. We'll launch and bring in players. We'll use our tools to turn those players into a real community, and then we'll grow and expand Alganon with that community in mind, and then repeat the process.

We'll keep repeating this pattern until we've reached our goals, but we can't do this without people like you getting involved in the game, becoming founding members of the community, and giving feedback to our development team.

2) Is there enough variation in character selection and gameplay with just 2 races and 4 classes being released at launch to allow for an enjoyable and diverse experience?

A. Yes, and then some. There are two areas of diversity that players are interested in. One is in diversity of appearances. In Alganon, we have a large range of items that alter the player's appearance. This is not one of those MMOs where a Soldier looks the same at level 1 as they do at level 100. Different items have different appearances, creating a wide variety of looks amongst players. The second concern is diversity of gameplay. Our classes utilize a dual role system, where, in addition to their core role, classes can also specialize in a second role of combat. For example, while every Magus can take on the core AoE role, there are three additional roles they can also perform. This provides diversity amongst characters of the same class.

3) Alganon boasts "custom dynamic quests specifically for your character". Can you expand on how it will work in game? Am I going to get 20 "go fetch" quests addressed to me personally, or will these be more involved and unique? If I play another class, would I see a different set of quests?

A. At launch, this system will not be very extensive. Our launch content is an introduction to the world, and we want to be certain that every player has the same introduction and starts with the same potential. The content we add after launch will be driven much more by player actions. We have the opportunity to branch off the quest threads based on what choices you made in the past, such as your class, race, deity choice, and how much favor you have with a given deity, as well as what quests you have completed. Once players have a firm understanding of how Alganon works, this system will expand. There is one excellent example of how this system will be present at launch - by choosing different Studies; you will open up quest chains. Since there are several years worth of Studies in the game, players will have to decide which Studies they want to undertake. These choices then open up quest lines and other rewards that players who made different choices would not have access to.

4) "Some instances will have restrictions on the number of players allowed." - Can you please elaborate on this some more? Are you targeting a single group type of instance or a larger raid style instance, or a mix of both?

A. The idea behind that statement is that you will not be allowed to gather 100 people and overrun an instance balanced for a 3-person team. Our instances are designed with a certain number of players in mind. There may be a 3-person and a 30-person version of the same instance, but you will not be allowed to take 30 persons into the 3-person version.

5) Can you give some examples of the different mount types that will be available? Will one be better than another or are they all basically set at the same speed?

A. Our technology allows us to set different mounts at different speeds. For example, the starter Moole is much slower than the later mounts, but still faster than walking. As we continue working on Alganon, we plan to continue adding new mount types. Varying their speed is one way we plan to make some mounts more valuable than others.

6) Tell us more about how you enhance items. What sorts of enhancements are available? Does enhancing come with a risk of destroying the item, or if it fails do you lose some sort of components that went into the process?

A. Our current design is to have items which can be applied to weapons and armor to provide enhancements. For example, a tailor may be able to work in enchanted threading to increase resistance to fire, or a leatherworker can create a cover that increases the block value of your shield, or an alchemist can create oils that you can use to enchant your armor and increase your strength. There is no risk of destroying the item or failure. One of the core ideas behind crafting in Alganon is to have every crafting profession viable for every class. You should never think "I am a Magus, so I have to do tailoring. Nothing else makes sense." Instead, a Magus should be able to look at Blacksmithing and think "That looks like something I could use." Our goal is to be able to say: "Every profession is viable to every player."

7) What sort of information can players contribute to the library? For instance, could they add entire articles on how to advance their characters?

A. The information posted to the library that is available to everyone is only contributed via Scrying - players will purchase Scrying Crystals, use them on a given target, and then return those crystals to a librarian for a reward. However, allows players to setup blogs and news posts where they can add this information so that they can share it with other players. This is where players will enter their own custom information.

8) Can you describe a bit about how guilds will work and what sort of interfaces and options are available to them? For example, will there be a 'Message of the Day' in the game, ranks, a roster, or even a guild's own bank vault?

A. At launch, Guilds will be very similar to how players of other MMOs will expect them to be. Players will be able to form a guild by purchasing a Charter. Guilds will have their own chat channels and be able to set a Message of the Day. As a bonus, they will also have some additional features, such as the ability to send mail messages to all members of a guild, access to a guild vault, and many guild announcements that can be broadcast to all members. These features will be tied into, allowing access to much of the guild tools through the web interface, and even allowing guild leaders to message their members via SMS messaging!

9) How are the very best items in Alganon obtained? Can they be crafted? Do they come from dungeons? Are they purchased only with very high factions?

A. One of the core design philosophies of Alganon is providing options and alternate methods of advancement. The most direct route to the very best items will be by running a large group dungeon raid and completing a difficult series of encounters, hoping for the item to drop. But that isn't the only way to obtain the item. An unusable item from one of these encounters can be salvaged into tokens that are combined to obtain the item. Epic (long, difficult, and expensive to complete) quest lines can be completed for the same tokens. Dungeons balanced for a single endgame party, or even some balanced for just three players, can be completed for lesser tokens that can be upgraded into the higher tokens needed to obtain the item. Lastly, items with equally high stats can be crafted by the most skilled and well-studied of crafters. We believe that players shouldn't be forced to do something they hate (quest, raid, craft, PuG, etc.) in order to do something they love (quest, raid, craft, PuG, etc.)

10) While developers are always shy about delivery dates, since players tend to take every hint dropped as being etched in stone, can you give us a rough time frame of when the first expansion is due out?

A. We plan on releasing the first expansion around 6 months after launch. While this is not "etched in stone", we designed Alganon to be an MMO that has definitive expansion potential, so you will see a solid amount of new content on a regular basis.