Sorry, but this deserves its own thread, since I know a lot of people have an "interest" in Derek Smart, but not in Alganon...
Yes, Deres Smart is the new CEO of Alganon, and as if thats not enough, he posted this epic epic post over at their forums...
Hey folks, Derek Smart here.
I just wanted to make a few things crystal clear so that we're all on the same page.
1. Dave Allen didn't "depart". I fired him back in February for insurbordination and for acting against the best interests of the company.
Shortly after the investors of the LLC unanimously voted him off the LLC.
So yeah, he has been gone since Feb 22, 2010.
I am not at liberty to go into any further details at this time but only to say that eventually everything we do can and will catch up with us. It is only a matter of time.
I also fired Jason Blood - his long time buddy - shortly after that and for the same reason.
Hue Henry, the third person in the group (all three of them are buddies and they started this game), quit shortly after I fired David, but on favorable terms. He felt that it was time for him to move on to an opportunity that he had been putting off.
2. The Dec 1st launch of the game should never have happened. It was a mistake that has not only cost the company money but has also cost people their jobs and put an otherwise exceptional product at risk.
As a game developer, I know all too well that if your game is not finished and you release it, thats just asking for trouble. No matter how great the game and technology are, it can and will fail. Especially in this industry climate.
The average gamer is as finnicky as a hummingbird on acid, with a very short attention span and a penchant for being largely unforgiving. In other words, pulling a stunt like that is the death knell for many a game and company.
3. I was brought on board by the majority investors in QOL since late December to "help" David and the crew move the game and company forward. He wanted to continue doing his own thing, didn't recognize my authority (even after I was made President and him demoted to COO) etc. We all just got fed up and the decision came down after he did one last thing that was the final nail.
4. I have been developing games for a very long time; most of them on a budget that is well within the limits of a small indie studio. I don't and never have catered to the "run of the mill" mass market and that is primarily why I'm still in business long afer most are dead, gone and forgotten.
Thus I intend to stear the team and company toward the goal of making Alganon the best that it can be and to help it find its own niche. We don't want meeelions of gamers, though it would be nice. All we're interested in are those of you who find value in what the team has built and who actually do like playing the game. You are the future of this game and without you, this is all a waste of time.
5. The team currently in place are stellar. I have worked with a lot of people in my career and I can spot flakes a mile away. These guys live, breath and love this game. They are true professionals previously caught in the middle of a rock and a hard place in terms of being unable to reign in powers that end up making bad decisions for the game and company. At the end of the day - and in this economy - you'd be hard pressed to disagree with the guy who controls your paycheck.
I have changed all that by introducing effective policies and strategies that have a single common goal: to operate as a "team".
6. As a result of my involvement, quite a bit of changes are coming to QOL and to Alganon. They are too many to list, but here are the highlights:
a) This whole "WoW look-a-like" rubbish, is gone. I've essentially asked them to throw it all out and for the artists to come up with the game's own unique look and feel for for both the web UI as well as the game UI itself.
You don't go competing with WoW when you don't have a WoW sized budget or the manpower to match. But thats what David wanted to do and I've pretty much tossed it all. The team was unable to actually do this previously due to David wanting it that way, even though they knew it was a terrible decision.
b) We're also getting rid of the monthly subscriptions. They are currently suspended, but will be gone for good. I put that plan into place since Dec 2009 with a view to making the game "subscription free" but supported via sales (I was the one who had the client price reduced to $19.95 as well btw) of the client as well as micro-transactions. It is not a traditional F2P game, but if thats what we have to do in the long run, then so be it. For now, we're taking baby steps.
c) 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.
d) EVERYTHING that was added to the game - when it should have been about fixing the game, tweaking it etc - has been disabled/removed on my orders. The team is focused on fixing game bugs, tweaking things etc and a new patch is out either today or later in the week.
The game's official launch currently scheduled for Apr 8th will only happen if the UI changes and some critical elements and features are in place, tested and profiled. Otherwise we're not releasing it, but would continue pushing patches for the pre-existing build for you guys to take apart and continue to play SUBSCRIPTION FREE.
There is a LOT more, but I am pressed for time.
The long and short of it is that nobody knows what the future holds for the game or whether or not it can in fact recover from the troubles of the "soft launch" and the stigma associated with its stability, missing features, WoW look-a-likeness etc but we're going to give it our best shot and with my direction and experience, the team is going to focus on the goals mapped out.
The best part is that a few months from now you will get to look back at Alganon's Dec 2009 launch and see the changes. We don't know how long it is going to take for the game to find its footing and gain its own niche, but we're going to throw every goddamn thing at it.
My community sticks with my games because I've always stayed focused on the people who actually buy and play my games. Those are the people who I have catered to. QOL is going to focus on the community that buys and plays Alganon. If you don't like Alganon the game for what it is and not what you want it to be, fine, don't play it, don't come here, go and play something else. No hard feelings.
If you know anything about my industry career in gaming, then you already know that I value the people who keep me doing this. So if you stick with this game, I will take it as far as I can and with everything at my disposal. Having a stellar team makes it that much easier because at the end of the day, a game is bigger than any one person.
And no, Alganon is not going to be QOL's only game. I will let you dwell on that for a bit, but until then, my lips are sealed.