Table of Contents
Part II: Company Factor
Welcome back to a detailed report on Alganon and the company behind it, Quest Online. In part one, we outlined the basic premise and strategy for the game and the company itself, as it was envisioned by the founders. Today, we take a look at some of the strengths and advantages that Quest Online possessed, both in terms of the technologies available to it, as well as its people.
According to Anthony Capucci, core competencies can be viewed as ‘collective learning in the organization, especially how to coordinate diverse production skills and integrate multiple streams of technologies.’ You can think of them as unique skills that a company has in terms of resources available to it. One of Quest Online’s key competencies lied within its employees. David Allen managed to cull together a team comprised of young, but talented employees. These individuals were not only knowledgeable in their fields, but hungry to learn and advance. On the surface, the management wanted to encourage communication and self-responsibility in order for Quest Online to remain flexible in the long run. This was meant to give the company an edge over its competitors. Thus, the overall goal was not to improve in all areas of the business, but only the ones that were vital to development at the time.
The company’s second core competency was reflected in its production strategy. Key team members familiarized themselves with the technology available to established players such as Blizzard and Turbine. Then teams added their own set of tools and assets to the mix, even adding improvements and certain middle-ware license deals along the way. This allowed Quest Online to create stand-alone game elements and modules at a smaller price and at a faster pace than its competitors.
Applying a concept of technology strategies proposed by researcher Chris Freeman in 1982, it is evident that QOL adopted a defensive approach that realized the company’s technological know-how to its full advantage. The company did this by focusing on innovation in MMOG production rather than Alganon itself. The result was a technological pipeline that was more efficient and quicker at producing games than any of the company’s competitors. As a testament to this, QOL planned to make use of this platform in all its future games.
The business model chosen for Alganon was similar to the major brands already on the market. It consisted of an initial purchase of the game, as well as a monthly subscription which ensured access to a persistent game world and planned future content patches. In this way, the game is viewed as a service to the consumer. One built with long-term goals in mind. The relationship between the company and its player base was paramount at all stages of development. Something Quest Online soon had to learn the hard way.
After several delays, set backs and financial injections, Alganon finally underwent a ‘soft launch.’ Players that pre-ordered the game were given access to an early build. The feedback was far from favorable, with the vast majority of players canceling their pre-orders and complaining about the unfinished state of the game. Not to mention the ‘copy-cat’ feel due to a close resemblance to Alganon‘s popular rival, World of Warcraft.
As a result of the feedback, the launch of the game was delayed once again, and additional funding made available. David Allan was replaced by a new leader, Derek Smart, under a ‘vote of no confidence’ by the initial group of investors who had provided all the financial resources up to that point. As of the date of this writing, the game has retained a core team and is still undergoing development with its business model having been shifted to free-to-play (F2P).