Vanguard shows some ankle
Jan 31, 2006 13:44:00


Sigil has not been incredibly forthcoming with details on Vanguard up until this point, but a few features and descriptions have been released along with a vague but hopeful release date of ... 2006.

Sigil says: To greater degree than any other MMO, Vanguard rewards collaboration among players. Full experience points are granted to all members of the adventuring party. Certain quests require the close collaboration of high level adventurers, diplomats and crafters.

Shall we translate this into "no soloing will be possible or will at least be extremely painful"? Brad McQuaid has made it abundantly clear on a number of occasions that Vanguard will not be a game for those who give up easily or don't like their games to be too hard. Whether that translates into EQ Classic's definition of difficult which boils down to "LFG!" will remain to be seen. Several of the older MMORPGs can't seem to find a balance between the unrelated extremes of: "easy enough for a 6 year-old to cap out while soloing" (true story, see this month's issue of PC Gamer magazine) and "you need a balanced group to kill goblins no matter your level". There should be a level of play in there somewhere that can be described as "you can solo or group, but either way, you'd better know what you're doing or you'll be road kill in under 5 minutes." That is what the (sorry for using the term, but) elite MMORPG players want to see. Hopes are high that Vanguard is the game that will be providing that experience. (Anyone else wondering what a diplomat is?)

Sigil says: Encounter the world as one of 19 classic fantasy races including dwarves, barbarians, a variety of elves and exotic human/animal combinations. Guide your character along the path of one of 15 exciting professions including Paladin, Ranger, Sorcerer, Psionicist, Bard, and Rogue.

The sweet smells of EverQuest Classic are in the air. There is an enormous class and race diversity here, something that no game has accomplished since the original EQ. Sigil should get serious kudos for tackling the monumental headache of creating so many models and animations as well as facing the Herculean challenge of balancing this array of characters. It will not be easy and it may even spell disaster, but if accomplished, it will pay off in a richer play experience.

Sigil says: Build chains of special attacks and reactions with Openers, Bridges, and powerful Finishing moves.

Sounds like this might be one of those click-fest combat systems we've been hearing about from Turbine and Khaeon, or perhaps this describes and EQ2-like heroic opportunity-like system, or perhaps they only say things like this to frustrate writers who try to decipher the meaning of it all. Yes, that is probably the answer.

Sigil says: Unique spells are distinctively enhanced when you possess special items.

Grrrr... (see above)

Sigil says: Collect essential materials and use skills such as blacksmithing, alchemy and ship building to create valuable and powerful items. Travel on horseback, join a caravan, or take your entire group on a sea-based adventure to discover faraway lands. Make Telon feel like home by furnishing your own house with unique items.

Ok, crafting, mounts, boats, wagons, and player housing. Fairly straight forward.

This is promisin
g to be one of the more impressive titles of the year, but the hype around DDO, LoTR, Spellborn, RF Online, Auto Assault and the WOW expansion seems to be drowning out everyone's interest in Vanguard. Perhaps Sigil is in a blackout period as they work toward an open beta release, or perhaps they're not as close as we'd like to hope. If the game releases in very late 2006, it may very well be in their best interest to let the other game studios and publishers blow their horns all year, and when all is quite they'll release with a bang.

One must wonder what kind of reception a mature system such as Vanguard promises to be will receive in a MMOG landscape increasingly populated by games where the water is knee deep at best. Will it be the savior of the MUD genre that has come to be known as the MMORPG, or will it be struck down under heavy criticism as inaccessible and antiquated? Something tells me that both Sigil and the players pining for this game half hope it will be the latter, and they'll hide themselves away in this quiet corner of the Virgin Universe and enjoy the heck out of themselves, with not a Night Elf in sight.


Submitted by Brent on Jan 31, 2006 13:44:00 CST (comments: 0)


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