Alganon has been offline for two months, is now owned by Derek Smart’s 3000AD

Nine years ago on Massively-that-was, we began covering the MMORPG known as Alganon – you’ll recall it as a bit of a World of Warcraft clone, long before that phrase was trite. You’ll also recall it as a game that weathered a major controversy back in 2010, when the game’s president, David Allen, was pushed out of the company. Why? According to none other than Derek Smart, who replaced him, Smart “fired” Allen “for insubordination and for acting against the best interests of the company,” investors, game, and team, arguing that he himself had a better plan for the game’s business model. Allen retaliated, accusing Smart of a “smear campaign” and suing him to boot (the lawsuit was settled in 2010 and Quest walked back some of Smart’s statements).

Since then, the game has muddled along without making headlines for much of anything besides an expansion in 2014. But that might be changing, as over the past few months, the game’s future has appeared less certain.

Back in October, Smart told Steam players that because of the game’s low population, the team hadn’t been investing much into the game for the prior year. “We were planning a visual update, and another DLC,” he wrote, “but those plans are on hold for now.”

But then in November, the game went offline for what Smart characterized as a server maintenance and migration. The store page, he wrote, would be disabled “to prevent new people from buying the game and being unable to connect.” It’s apparently been down this whole time.

Just two weeks ago, Smart posted that the switchover is more than just “unplugging a machine, moving it, then plugging it back in and turning on the power.” He said most of the servers were old and needed maintenance or replacement; moreover, apparently his company, 3000AD – which operates Line of Defense – has taken over the game.

“There are other business related issues which are also a part of this on-going process. e.g. though not announced yet, my company 3000AD which took over and has been operating the game since 2010, now owns QOL as well as the game, having bought out the majority investors of Quest Online. The ink on the deal has barely dried. Alganon will be back with new servers at a new datacenter where 3000AD hosts its titles, instead of where QOL has hosted it since 2006. And we’re also planning on releasing in other territories, as well as doing some marketing, and possibly an RTS game similar to what we did with our multi-platform game, Line Of Defense Tactics.”

“Like all other MMO games that were sunset, if we were doing that, we would say so,” he wrote.

That, of course, hasn’t stopped speculation about a de facto sunset on Reddit.

Source: Steam, Reddit. With thanks to DK.
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102 Comments on "Alganon has been offline for two months, is now owned by Derek Smart’s 3000AD"

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dixa
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dixa

Two months has to be a record – if the game ever returns.

I dont know of any other server migration in the mmorpg era that took more than a few days.

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Fisty

I’d like to note that all of Derek’s ranting about Star Citizen below reminded me I was going to buy it when I got a little extra cash in. Which I just did.

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Kevin McCaughey

I think we need a new internet where there isn’t so much nastiness about. Surely we are all a bit sick of it now? I know I have had a bellyful. I remember back in the early 1990’s using IRC and being amazed I could talk to people in other countries and places. And it was all positive and we were happy to be in contact with each other. Compare that to now and take a look at yourself. I have taken a look at myself and am trying (mostly succeeding) to keep things sensible and positive. Maybe we should all be doing the same and the comment section would be a more pleasant place. I will admit there is the odd “troll” that is hilarious and I always keep a spare portion of popcorn, but long-term we have got to clean it up a bit or it will just be bad for our mental health.

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Jack Pipsam

If they’re going to all this effort to turn the game back on then that’s more effort than most would put in. I bet most would just leave it be dead, so if this game is turned back on, despite the chances of it not ever really growing in reality, that’s pretty awesome for the players who do enjoy it.

I’ve only ever attempted Alganon a couple times, it was a interesting game, some of the writing from what I saw was pretty good. Although I had lag problems personally, so I couldn’t really get past the jank from lag.

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Robert Mann

I wonder… what might have been if Allen had really been in control? Would it have been a little better, a little more popular, or more successful in some way?

Just one of those things that we will never really know, but how much might it have been different?

Xijit
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Xijit

Hell no: that ding bat was / is worse than Smart: he is the idiot who slapped together a shoddy ass copy (not even a clone, just a flat copy) of WoW, and then wanted to run it as a P2P title, in the middle of WoW’s heyday & Runes Of Magic was still leading the F2P market.

… there was literally no reason to play the game, since the alternative was that you could just play WoW for the same cost & have a game that was 100 times less shitty than Alganon.

The god damn thing naturally catered the second it launched, and Smart wasn’t brought in by the investors until after it was a smoldering ruin: Smart’s input as a consultant kept the game from going under, and Allen tried to throw a tantrum at the board, so they demoted him to lead director & made Smart the CEO … Allen still wouldn’t do what he was told*, so Smart fired him and has been running the game ever since: Smart “owning” the game and moving it over to his own company is just a formality since he was “acting” CEO of QOL for the last 10 years.

*the story goes that Allen wanted to work on coding the Cash Shop, Smart told him that the Cash Shop could wait but the game’s bugs need to be fixed or the Cash Shop would be redundant, Allen left, told everyone they were supposed work on finishing the Cash Shop, and then came back later to tell him that the Cash Shop was done, so Smart fired him.

That part of the Story I believe because I was following the train wreck out of morbid curiosity, and the other developers at the company were not at all shy in Allen being gone … but then Derek Smart had to be Derek Smart and start running his mouth on Reddit / Twitter and started a flame war with Allen that ended up with the settlement because Smart just made himself look like and ass.

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Robert Mann

I don’t really know the history there that well, was just curious. XD
What little I do know is that the big kerfuffle seemed to be about subscription or not… which likely it would be a dead game with a sub (although I don’t think F2P has done us many favors all in all.)

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dsmart

I have tried to avoid the nonsense over the years, but someone on Reddit who was also following it, has a pretty good synopsis of it.

FYI, I wasn’t taking a payroll from the investors for running the company and steering the project since 2010. I was given a share of the company, and made the managing member of the LLC by all (over a dozen of them) the investors. I later invested and have been running it since. Amid two (within a span of two years) Allen lawsuits, which cost over $500K, we finished the game, fixed the bugs, changed it from subs to F2P, built the cash shop, created a DLC, got it localized, got it on Steam (under 3000AD account) etc.

Last year, the investors decided to cash out, and were looking to sell it. Since like my own games, I have long term plans for the game, including launching it outside NA etc, I opted to buy them out. So now only myself and Greg Wexler, the original co-creator and angel investor since 2004, own it, with 3000AD (my company) as majority owner.

And part of the effort, is moving the game servers (30 of them, all of which do various things) from the more expensive co-lo server cage, to our more cost effective ISP, as well as moving the game to cloud (AWS) servers due to most of the HW servers being old, and not worth upgrading.

With over 300K accounts, the game wasn’t doing great, but it was doing OK. That’s the thing with indie ops, we tend to have very low overhead. What it really needed was marketing, outreach, as well as launch in other territories (especially Asia). All of which cost quite a bit of money in the long term.

Anyway, the Reddit thread is the usual alarmist nonsense sparked by those Star Citizen guys. You know it makes perfect sense to buy something, only to shut it down. Yeah.

“but then Derek Smart had to be Derek Smart and start running his mouth on Reddit / Twitter and started a flame war with Allen that ended up with the settlement because Smart just made himself look like and ass.”

That’s false. I was never on Reddit, and never got into an argument with Allen or anyone over it. He sued the investors for removing him from the LLC as managing member and president. He still had shares in the LLC which they bought out. That was the extent of the first lawsuit. The second lawsuit was because he came back and claimed that we had breached the settlement agreement by saying bad stuff about him. That too went nowhere, and he filed bankruptcy during that proceeding. It’s all up on Pacer btw. Better to read that, than for people to just make shit up out of thin air.

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Kevin McCaughey

Sounds like a sensible and believable explanation to me. I don’t understand why people feel the need to make this into something it is not. We may not like his stance on SC (well, to qualify that I think SC is going to be a train wreck too) but that is no reason to just blindly argue the opposite of what he writes.

Estranged
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Estranged

Kudos to you for trying to keep the game alive.

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Armsman

Yeah, it’s about as ‘Alive’ as Derek’s other amazing game hit “Line of Defense”…oh, wait:
http://steamcharts.com/app/350660
(Basically it was averaging between 1 and 2 player a day from 2015 until the shutdown for server migration. But that’s a 200% to 200% over what LoD is doing.)

Estranged
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Estranged

Armsman, does Derek pay rent to be in your head so often?

At least make him pay for food.

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Armsman

What? Just because I reply to a comment by him in an article about him and provide facts?

Estranged
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Estranged

Armsman, we can spot a Star Citizen mark a mile away. This horse has been beaten. You guys wouldn’t care about Derek’s work, if he had remained silent concerning SC.

That is what I’m talking about.

dixa
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dixa

Hrm.

I was an Electronics Boutique manager when 3000AD hit the shelves and I remember the insane amount of attempted returns I had to deal with and pissed off customers. I had this one customer – very well off. He bought every single PC release we got. every week. didn’t matter what it was. Stuff i thought was probably worse than 3000AD.

But 3000AD was the only game he tried to return.

There has been nothing in the last..20?…years that has changed my opinion, and i find it laughable the person that put such an abomination on the shelves would have some sort of weight to their opinions about any other game.

I also care just as little about star citizen until there is a finished product.

arandomusertoo
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arandomusertoo

I have tried to avoid the nonsense over the years, but someone on Reddit who was also following it, has a pretty good synopsis of it.

This comment has been removed, but this is what the “good synopsis” was before the removal:

For someone who is a moderator of /r/chrisroberts the maker of Star Citizen this is disingenuous even for you guys who have nothing better to do but to attack that project’s most prolific critic, Derek Smart. I guess his latest blog, Star Citizen – The Fall, hit too close to home?

According to Alganon’s Steam announcement page, Derek Smart has apparently bought QOL and Alganon, and the game is currently undergoing server migration. For an MMO game, why would they still be selling it if the servers are accessible. That’s why Steam devs disable store pages.

You guys are so funny.

I don’t know why anyone would think that is a “good synopsis” of… anything.

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dsmart

Not sure which post you were reading, but the one I linked to and which is still in my cache, is below. It looks like the mods removed the whole comment thread. The text is below. If you want the embedded links, you can see them in the poster’s comment profile.

For someone who is a moderator of /r/chrisroberts the maker of Star Citizen, this is disingenuous even for you guys who have nothing better to do but to continue attacking that project’s most prolific critic, Derek Smart. I guess his latest blog, Star Citizen – The Fall, hit too close to home?

According to Alganon’s Steam announcement page, Derek Smart has apparently bought QOL and Alganon, and the game is currently undergoing server migration. For an MMO game, why would they still be selling it if the servers are accessible? That’s why Steam devs disable store pages.

You guys are so funny.

The game was already in trouble by the time Derek Smart got involved. It’s all over Google.

What happened was that the investors hired Derek Smart to come in and finish the game back in 2010. He then removed creator David Allen from the project who was working on it since 2004, unable to complete and ship it.

He then led the team to complete the game, and they re-released it as F2P instead of the original subscription based game. He even issued refunds to previous gamers who had bought the game, subs etc. After they finished the game in 2011, they also worked on a DLC which they released in 2014. The game hit Steam in May 2015 and has been going on since.

Somehow a game that was already 5 years in the making, released prematurely in late 2009 while still buggy, is Derek Smart’s fault. Especially seeing as he was the one who got it finished and released.

EDIT: Allen sued them twice, and lost both times.

arandomusertoo
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arandomusertoo

Looks like he edited the post at one point.

This synopsis really doesn’t help your point of view though, because all of it’s sources are… interviews with you, which is an obviously biased source.

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Armsbend

Can’t get more specific than this really. /thread

snowy30
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snowy30

“Anyway, the Reddit thread is the usual alarmist nonsense sparked by those Star Citizen guys. You know it makes perfect sense to buy something, only to shut it down. Yeah.” My my you cant leave SC out of it can you?

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dsmart

Yeah, because when the moderator of the /r/ChrisRoberts Reddit, and who, like the toxic SC fans, has been engaged in protracted personal attacks over the years due to my dissent over the game, then decides to create a bullshit topic on Reddit about me and one of my games, that’s TOTALLY not about SC, is it?

Nice try.

arandomusertoo
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arandomusertoo

then decides to create a bullshit topic on Reddit about me and one of my games

How is it a bullshit article?

It literally lays out a few facts… who wrote it doesn’t matter when anyone can look at the claims and verify them in under a minute.

Unless you’re saying the game is actually playable right now and hasn’t been inaccessible since 11/13/17?

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Armsman

From the article:

Alganon will be back with new servers at a new datacenter where 3000AD hosts its titles, instead of where QOL has hosted it since 2006.

^^^
Wow, I didn’t know Derek Smart still had a bunch of Pentium 120 MHz CPU PCs on dial up still sitting in his garage that ran all 3000AD’s games (like LoD). #FailedGameDev

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Jeffrey Meade

I very much enjoy reading the comments any time there is a news story about Derek Smart, especially when he responds.

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Roger Christie

Derek the Internet Warlord Smart. The Donald Trump of devs.

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dsmart

I come here from time to time, but opt to just read the articles (they have some really good ones, and which cover stories that nobody is writing or give a shit about) and move on. There is a limit to how many personal attacks one has to read before deciding the site isn’t a place that you want to be. Usually, if I happen to scroll comments and see such, I just flag/report them to @bree-royce and move on – never bothering to even engage.

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Castagere Shaikura

Alganon does have a cool studies system i wish other games had.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Yea, they copypasted it from EVE ONline like they copypasted everything else from WoW

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Space Captain Zor

*chuckle*

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dsmart

As someone else pointed out on Reddit, it’s hilarious to me that the creator of the Reddit thread, who not only failed to post any factual information about why the servers were down, that I now own (because buying something you intend to close, makes perfect business sense) it etc, is also the moderator of /r/ChrisRoberts

So yeah, whatever.

Anyway, the facts are all in the Steam bulletin above; and that’s all there is to it really.

nvidia
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nvidia

As someone else pointed out on Reddit

Come on, Derek, let’s not pretend that isn’t you who wrote that. It’s painfully obvious. Everything that account posts is related to shitting on SC or defending yourself and your shitty games.

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Oleg Chebeneev

So.. enlighten us, why after 10 months Alganon is still offline?
Actually dont, I can make a good guess. You buying Alganon has nothing to do with smart investments. Its just was dirt cheap (past owners were happy to get rid of it even for mere scraps) and since you was involved with it before and have money from other sources, you bought it as a trophy that can boost your ego and give a feeling of owning an MMO. For that, a game doesnt need to be online (and loose you more money), its why it isnt. Right?

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dsmart

You lost me at 10 months. I stopped reading after that. So have at it, and have fun!

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Bruno Brito

Wow, you didn’t made this a baitshow.

What an improvement, Mr. Smart. I guess your age is showing.