Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Why would anyone want to play Vanguard?

I started to see a couple blogs and forums referring to a incident in Vanguard where characters were losing experience when they crossed into a different zone server. The bug was rare but rumours started circling that a couple of bans were passed out when players discovered they could regain the lost xp by re-zoning back. Apparently a GM simply noticed the 9% jump in experience and thought it best to simply ban the player for cheating. Some are using this incident to try convince the few people who play Vanguard to abandon ship. One post I read asked with all the bugs, errors, and lag why anyone would even want to play Vanguard?

It made me think a lot about what reasons I might have for picking up the game. While I did beta test Vanguard for awhile, I have yet to pick up a copy. This is mostly because I saw how unfinished the game was three months ago and doubted they would have it ready in time for January. Despite this the game does have some things going for it which have definitely peaked my interest more then the other MMORPGs which are releasing this year.

4 Reasons Vanguard Peaks my Interest:

1) Its Large
Vanguard is huge from what I have seen and has more square footage in it then any game I've played since classic Everquest. Now while most of this area is bland wilderness it at least allows room for the developers to expand. In the future they could allow player towns, new dungeons, or farms to be placed in these areas. A lot of MMO's don't like to plan ahead by including areas for future growth which is why they are always having to introduce newly discovered continents.

2) It has a higher Barrier of Entry then WoW
While I'm not a hardcore player I do miss the playerbase of classic Everquest sometimes. The barrier of entry for World of Warcraft is so low that anyone can cross on over. This has had a profound effect on player skill levels, guild loyalty, begging, and the general stupidity that is general chat. A lot of players think they are entitled to being run through a dungeon, given money, or given information for free. Basically, they treat everyone else as a NPC and themselves as the only "real" player in the game.

3) Its focused on PvE
Too many developers think they need to implement a PvP system but underestimate the amount of work it takes to integrated it with the rest of the game. Often this causes a near constant state of nerfs and buffs based on issues where the PvE and PvP side of the game overlap. A MMORPG needs to be balanced for one or the other and not yanked back and forth depending on who whines the most in your forums.

4) It has more Classes and Customization
The nature of class based games is that the complexity of group interaction depends on the variety of classes. A lot of the newer games such as Lord of the Rings and Warhammer are trying to stick with a small amount of classes in hopes it makes balance easier to achieve. However, I believe this will have the effect of squeezing too many players into classes they might not like. I predict much higher burnout in any game with under 7 classes to play as players might have problems finding one that fits their particular playstyle.

Honestly, at the moment I'm simply waiting for the developers to finish debugging Vanguard and fill in some of the empty spaces. I still have a lot on my plate with the Burning Crusade which has a decent amount of content left for me to play through. The way things currently stand I see myself being done with the Heroics and Kharzhan around the beginning of the summer. Since I don't plan on rejoining the full time raiding circuit I will probably pick up another MMO then. Here's crossing my fingers that Vanguard becomes a game worth playing by then.


Wolfgangdoom said...

Ditto. One of my friends is a subscriber to Vanguard and has no plans on returning to WOW just because of the douchebags who constantly ask him for gold and runs through the deadmines. He only played WOW for 5 months and his /ignore list was longer than my friends list. He has a short fuse.. haha

So now he is playing Vanguard and seems to be enjoying it despite the bugs and video complications he encounters. (Even with his system upgrade)

As for me, I will continue to play BC, level my priest to 70, maybe poke around in a raid or two, then high tail it out of there for another game. Will it be Vanguard? Who Knows. Age of Conan, LOTRO, and Warhammer are all on the horizon, so I guess it will just boil down to which game is actually finished and plays well.

Relmstein said...

I know people have knocked Vanguard as being a dinosaur and catering to the hardcore but its still much more casual then its predecessors.

I honestly just want a fun game I can solo to the max level with but not get there in only 14 days play time. I also wish there was some sort of game mechanism that taught people how to operate in a group. A lot of people in WoW seem to only have master the solo component of their class.

Gergor Bedstone said...

The funny thing is thatyour discussion about class system remember me as they implemented the classes at VSoH.

Geregor Bedstone
Dwarf, Florendyl
cleric 18 / armorsmith 22

Relmstein said...

Yeah the designers of Vanguard stuck with old hat fantasy design but introduced some interesting classes from what I have seen.

They ignored the PvP side of the equation in hopes it would help them stay more stable but it might cost them subscribers. Then again I think most people are getting tired of the constant nerfs a PvE/PvP game forces onto its players.

Geregor Bedstone said...

I think that the number of hardcore PvPers is overestimated. IMHO they don't are more than 10% the total MMO player population. They are more vocal but certainly they aren't half the MMO player population as they say at the forums and blogs.

So, if it is a big problem to create a game with PvE and PvP content, make sense dump the PvP part.

By the way, I think no one will create the perfect PvP. Not soon. The game that get nearest to the perfect PvP was EVE and I don't think there are a lot of games following EVE steps.

diskape said...

"A lot of the newer games such as Lord of the Rings and Warhammer are trying to stick with a small amount of classes (...)"

24 classes in Warhammer =/= small amount.

Relmstein said...

diskape: My understanding with Warhammer was they were going to have 4 different classes. But each of the 6 races/factions would have different names for the 4 classes.

I'll have to look at the preview websites but I don't think the play mechanics would be different for each race's version of the four classes. Then again I am not in the know for Warhammer so I could be wrong.

Jupei said...

I have to pile on, I also don't believe that the hardcore FFA pvp market is as nearly big as they like to claim. Shadowbane, for example, was heavily slanted towards PVP and it fell off the radar quick.

Its my opinion that the sting of PVP setbacks and the masochistic grind of PVE just don't mix, and they never will. Us carebears already take enough abuse from the PVE content--why would we put up with regular gankings/griefing on top of that? I think you'll always have either great PVE and tacked on PVP or the other way around. Any game claiming to have both, one will be unsatisfying.

I played the Vanguard final beta, and I agree: it seemed unfinished. My wife and I both felt it had its charms, being EQ1 veterans, but both agreed we would have to build new PCs before we really committed to it.

I've recently hung up wow after a couple karazhan runs, but wifey is still going strong. I think I've suddenly metamorphosed from hardcore to casual, because now the idea of large-group multi-night raiding and DKP and gear all makes my stomach turn now.

Anyway, I dig your blog and its nice to see somebody who looks realistically at the big picture. Most people like to deny the impact of wow regardless of its success. I've seen MMO after MMO's pre-release forums spouting "go back to wow" and ... well, most people did!

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