MMO companies are known to be very reserved with their communications to the public. When Mark Jacobs left Mythic the company was very careful in its wording announcing it. They assigned no blame and were very vague in their wording. This is the norm for the industry.
Quest Online, makers of Alganon, are not your normal MMO company.
Yesterday word came down that David Allen was leaving the company. It was a fairly standard notification and, with the horrible quality of the game, completely expected. The announcement that Derek Smart was taking over was not expected and came from left field but, even so, the announcement itself was par for the course.
Now comes this.
Now, this, is a bit different. Very different in fact. Smart comes right out and says that Allen was fired for “insubordination”. Not only that but his “best buddy”, Jason Blood, was fired for the same reasons. Not only does it state in, no uncertain terms, the reason why they are not with the company, it also comes across as pretty condescending because of the “buddy” remark.
Smart also goes on to say that he is scrapping the entire UI of the game because of how WoW-like it is. Matter of fact, he calls it complete rubbish and states that the team never wanted to do a WoW-a-like game but David Allen insisted on that direction. Ergo, the entire UI and art direction is being dumped and started anew.
In addition, all subscription fees paid up to this point are going to be refunded. All of them. The quote:
All paid subscriptions are going to be refunded 100% with the game’s official launch and there will be an email address setup for you to request your refund.
I already approved the budget to do this. Believe me, nobody likes giving money away, but I felt that it is the right thing to do given the current circumstances and the team valiantly backs me up on this. For me, it is an apology of sorts because the game you paid up to a year for is not the game that you got when you signed up. Though I wasn’t around when it happened, I would still like to apologize for that.
The entire post is an interesting read. Totally different from what you have come to expect from a MMO development company.
So, what is my take on this?
Well, my feelings on Alganon are already known. I found it to be completely derivative crap that bordered on plagiarism. I could find no redeeming qualities in the game that would entice my to play it rather than WoW.
But, this has me intrigued. Really intrigued. Derek Smart has a unique reputation among PC gamers, to say the least, but this post comes across as something so different and so surprising that I can not help but root for them. For once, a MMO company lets someone speak to the customer without double speak, without worrying about marketing and PR. This came across as honesty and frustration and, perhaps, a willingness to make it right with the fans.
I hope Derek Smart and Quest Online can pull it off. I hope they can right that ship and show other companies that honesty just may be the best policy. The odds are against them, perhaps way against them.
I still hope they can do it. Good luck Mr. Smart and Quest Online.