Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, obtained by SOE on May 15th, 2007, was a game that many hoped would trump the legendary EverQuest. It was well known that there were problems with Vanguard, even before SOE had controlled the game. The reason I mention SOE is because I have played EverQuest for quite some time (almost 5 years at the time of writing this) and still occasionally play. When I think of an MMO after EverQuest, I have a big problem relating to the monotony that I hardened myself against while playing EverQuest.
The monotony in EverQuest could easily be neutralized by simple applications such as MacroQuest. Even though MacroQuest was a big part of how I played EQ, I still wanted to go for a game that I thought was fun enough to not want to cheat. I guess, the biggest reason I write this now is because I’ve reached the level in Vanguard that I have no problem going directly after high tier items that other people took months of combined time to obtain – and I’m stopping myself. So. Vanguard has bored me.
The biggest thing that I really experienced was being in the community, leveling three different types of XP at the same time and working on skills, and traveling the obnoxiously large world. The game, after the just the shock value of tuning it to work on your system, has some impressive things going on – graphics are all rendered real-time, the amount of data being processed, just the sheer load of what a computer is handling is impressive…and also not very energy efficient at the same time.
The best thing that I can think of Vanguard at this point is being a decent benchmarking utility, but when you’re building a computer for someone else, how often do you want to transfer 20GB for one program to test a few minor settings? Could be an interesting service, but I doubt you’d find that many consumers wanting someone playing on their gear.
I really hated the fact that once I was actually out in the world, playing the game, that I could see the limit that the developers left on the game. I know that designing a working MMO isn’t an exact science, but there was no sense of impending doom that lurked over the whole world – or even something in my general area that taunted the NPC’s in general was somewhere or something I should be doing. When I realized the thought of “should be doing”, that’s when the I feel like my ability to have fun was inhibited. I really felt like the game was misguided, or got lost in the translation.
Sure, I should be doing something else – like not padding my blog with rich content that’s well past expired or expecting cool things from a pretty box. In conclusion, Vanguard sucked balls and still does. It does not match up to the mathematical complexity, the ability to manage character development, and the creativity that I expected from the creator of EverQuest, Brad McQuaid.