Friday, July 16, 2010

Vanguard Saga of Heroes

I've had a lot of fun playing the Vanguard Saga of Heroes trial. It's a game I looked over in the past and sort of blew off. Recently I've been taking a second look at games I've not given a real try in the past. I'd really like to sub to this game but I have a few hesitations. I think in the future I surely will though. This is indeed a game worth checking out.

I've seen a lot of new players asking questions in the channels which is nice and the starting area has tons of people running around, there is still life in this game! The mobs respawn fairly quickly in this area so there is plenty to go around. Even named mobs seem to be up always, respawning fairly quickly.

If you read the official forums, dig under the surface or know much of the rocky past this game has you know it's not been an easy road for the game or it's players. Many people say it was taken over by SOE in order to kill any competition for EQ2. Truth? It's not really the point anymore. It very well could have stood on its own if things were nipped in the bud long ago, if this game was nurtured as it should have been. It has a lot going for it still though.

The game is a bit harsh for those who enjoy the absolute solo experience. Sure, some classes excel at it, but you want to play the class that you desire not one that is hindered by not being able to heal, so this may turn off some players. In today's games this is something that can turn away new players. If you remember back to when EQ2 was released it wasn't as solo friendly as it is today. It's been molded into something different over the years. Though if you like a challenge this is something worthy trying.

While I have not had much of a chance to dwell in the Diplomacy and Crafting aspect, this game is widely known for the depth and enjoyability of these. It's nice to have something else to work on during the grind to the top. There are only 55 levels in this game. As far as I know the cap has only been bumped up once.

One of the niceest things about this game would be the classes, they really did a great job on these. The direction you can go with each is very cool. You want to be a Ranger? Melee or ranged? Some classes such as Clerics have different directions they can choose also. Some other things I like would be the appearance slots, housing and the mounts. I also like that the combat is very smooth and there are combo chains you can link together to preform different actions. It has depth. The UI is smooth, it's not clunky and hard to look at.

There is also the Brotherhood mechanic. This mechanic is new to me. Basically anyone in your brotherhood gets a % of all your xp. They do not have to be online. Don't want to out level your friend? Very handy. This was very appealing to me, I hate out leveling Dire's characters, it happens a lot.

The game is resourse intense. It runs quite well on my computer but my husband didn't want something that would run his computer so hard. I suppose that is something to consider. I do think the models are very nice. I really like the animations and feel of the characters. This game has some really cool races; Goblins, Wolves- (I forget the race... Worgen? Just kidding!), Dark-High-Half Elves along with many others. It is a very nice variety. The areas are quite lovely, the sky is gorgeous. I like the feel that the game has looks wise.

The music is soothing and very enjoyable. It's one of the few MMO games where I actually enjoy listening to the music. It was done very nicely! The sounds overall are good.

The bad? Grouping seems to be forced around level seven or so. Things get tough. My guess is some classes have it harder than others. You don't have to but I would think that some of the content is limited if you don't. Grouping is great but not everyone I ran into wanted to group to do a quest. I had to ask several people running around the area to join. Let me rephrase this. Any class can solo, you just might be limited to what you can solo.

The lag. I hate to mention this. From what I hear there are some reasons causing this issue that are being looked into and worked on. Sometimes it was so bad I couldn't get a heal off in time and this made me a very unhappy camper. Dying is not fun, especially over and over. Mobs go by a classification of dots. One dot is pretty easy- o. If you see - oo- these are a bit harder and if you get several of these type of mobs in a pull it can get pretty yucky, very quickly. They get harder with the more dots added.  With the lag spiking, at times I had three of these -oo- mobs on me, I had a real rough time. When the lag wasn't acting up it was a real thrill to try to keep up and triumph. The lag isn't horrible all the time but it's bad enough to make you have to do more corpse runs than nessisary.

Speaking of dying there is a death penalty. You lose experience, you may get your body back and return some of this lost xp but I'd gather that it isn't always something you can do, make your way deep into a dungeon and die... gah! On the starter island there isn't a death penalty. It gets worse as you level, other players told me. When I asked about this I was told "You don't die if you can help it!!" 

I like the aspect of flying mounts in this game. I hear on Christmas everyone gets a free Reindeer mount which can fly. Very cool. The best ones require a lot of help. I like a game that requires some effort so I'm not going to knock this. There are temporary mounts, such as the Pegasus mount in the picture at the top, but they last roughly five minutes. I wasn't happy when mine poofed in mid air parachuting me down into the middle of nowhere. If you can use it to get somewhere quickly it is a nice bonus though.

So what is to like then? I am sure the lag will get smoothed out in time. The game has a really nice feel to it. I like the look of it and the combat system, I do like a challenge. This is one game I will not write off. I was going to sub to it tomorrow but I am still considering things. If you're looking for a game with a challenge this is it.

I cannot comment on high end as I've not had the pleasure to play that high, this is merely some time spent several days getting to know the game. If you are looking for something interesting to check out this may suit you. It is worth a look, you can't go wrong with the free trial.



  1. Wouldnt that be so wonderful to just really ride these creatures!!

  2. The promise of Vanguard was that it would be "the spiritual successor of EverQuest". These are words spoken verbatim by Brad McQuaid and Jeff Butler. This is what attracted so much interest initially.

    Microsoft jumped ship when they realized the game was so far behind schedule. Too much ambition for the initial release. SoE picked up the game, it is rumored, partially as a favor and partially because there seemed to be no real risk involved. McQuaid is, if anything, an excellent salesman.

    Before anyone really knew anything about SoE, information was being leaked by those in beta, informing everyone that things were changing for the worse. The game was being softened. Where they were getting information they needed to make the game more like WoW and less like EQ, I cannot say.

    With these changes being made, the soon to come announcement of SoE acquiring the game and several Sigil employees, Vanguard had no hope of becoming fully realized. Once in the hands of SoE, only a very small development team worked on the game. It was made clear by Silius (Lead), on just about every interview I read or listened to, that they were doing the best they could with that they had. There was no doubt SoE was not supporting the game.

    Over time, Silius made detrimental changes to the game that pulled it further away from what it was meant to be and more players continued to drop over time. Promises were made for updates to content, bug fixes, et cetera. They never came. I relaunch was promised. It never came. I think a lot of players were simply in denial for a very long time. Some still are.

  3. Personally, I grabbed two copies of the Collector's Edition on Ebay well over a year ago for $30 each. I just looked while typing this and there are still copies of the CE available for $20-30. We had planned on playing it eventually, if things ever changed. As of now, we both have them sitting in our closets and keepsakes of what could have been and what may be the only attempt to bring the magic of EQ back to the genre.

    It's a tale of complete and utter sorrow, in my opinion, especially for those of us who will forever hold EQ so near and dear to our hearts. There are currently only two servers in existence and SoE just laid off 35 employees ( I've left a lot out, but the picture is drawn well enough to understand, I think. The only positive I can think of in regard to Vanguard, is the development history serves as a cautionary tale worth paying attention to, not to mention SoE's equally depressing failure after launch.

    Actually, another positive. Mechanics and gameplay aside, Vanguard is a sight to behold. Whether I'm watching videos, listening to the music, or browsing screenshots, it "feels" like the EQ that never was. Maybe it's because of what I knew about it and what it was "supposed" to be or maybe it's something left over from everyone who worked on it. In any case, it's further affirmation the magic of EQ did not die with EQ. It is possible to reclaim it.

  4. Would you mind cleaning this up? I really have no idea what happened there. I'm sorry.

  5. *Waves* All fixed ;)

    I had planned on playing it years ago but it was too buggy while the game was a huge resource hog for my computer at the time.

    I liked it for the fact that it was designed by someone who had actually made Everquest. I still like it for that reason and yes... It feels of what should or could have been the great successor to EQ.

    Hey it's a good game, with the merge there are plenty of people to play with. If you have the attitude that every game sucks or isn't exactly what you want it to be you're going to lose out on a lot. I have thoroughly enjoyed myself playing it and glad I didn't miss out by passing it over.

    For what it's worth this is still a good solid game. I am still trying to decide if I am going to sub, I have a bit of time left on my trial but I am leaning towards a sub still.

    I just know you are as much of a lover of MMO games as I, but you hesitate where I jump in ;) Anyhow good to hear from you.

  6. @ Janet- Ah, yes, it would be too cool ;)

  7. I think we just have different mentalities where these games are concerned. I won't even install a game, unless there is at least the slightest possibility I may play it for a long while. Allods was probably the first one I took a gamble on and that was more due to my clearly flawed perception of images and videos, or that I was so desperately seeking something to play, I saw what I wanted to see.

    I wish I could give Vanguard another chance, but the writing is on the wall. I feel strongly Vanguard will not see a 5th anniversary, unless it changes direction very soon. I, for one, have no interest in investing my time in a future that is uncertain. Overall, that makes four games I loved initially that have fallen so far from their original greatness. EQ, SWG, WoW and Vanguard. I just can't take another major disappointment.

  8. Perfection is as one views it. I play anything and everything because I enjoy playing MMO games period. Even the 'bad' or the old ones.

    All these games you mentioned are still there with people enjoying them. Everquest is eleven years old with expansion still coming out. House of Thule is up next. I am excited to see what this one will offer.

    One day some of these games may be gone. Will you regret missing the chance to play them?

    I don't see vanguard going anywhere in the next year, it's still alive and kicking. But.. you'd have to log in to know that =p

    I know exactly the time and age of MMO games you crave, I just don't see it coming back. There are a few games out there that come close to it but we won't ever recapture it. They were some good time, I have a lot of good memories with good friends. Especially the cleric epic ;)

  9. Good times*.. I sound like a gold farmer now..