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Reader Comments (24)

Posted: May 22nd 2008 3:40PM (Unverified) said

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This sounds pretty good... is there a free trail or anything and how big is the client?

Posted: May 22nd 2008 3:41PM (Unverified) said

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Sadly, there's no free trial yet (it's something they're working on), but I believe if you go ask in the official forums you may be able to score a buddy key from someone to try it out.

This is exactly why they need another press launch, in my opinion.
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Posted: May 25th 2008 6:51PM (Unverified) said

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I was not able to register on the forum so when someone has a buddy key please email me at jhj_saat@hotmail.com thanks! I really love to try this out.
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Posted: May 22nd 2008 4:05PM Scopique said

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Being someone who has played and supported VG since launch, I'm very happy to hear a positive "return story" about it (considering it's usurped' AO's "Worst Launch Ever" award).

I'm not going to go all fanboi on it -- it's a niche game, like EVE, and is not for everyone -- and it's unfortunate that the general MMO community has a long and stubborn memory that means a lot of people will continue to disregard it based on what they read in a forum post back in January, or because a "friend of a friend of a guildmate" claims to have had a bad experience with it.

I agree that VG deserves another look from those who had tried it, and a test-drive (when available) from those who have not.

Posted: May 22nd 2008 6:46PM (Unverified) said

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I got VG's Collector's Edition not long ago for 10 dollars and I'm quite pleased with my purchase- but I no longer play the game. I meet the system requirements and the recommended specs by a long shot yet I can't get the game to run at more than 20 FPS in woodland and 10 FPS in a city on even medium settings.

On the lowest of low settings with every last bell and whistle turned off I get something that appears to be out of the PS1. According to Can You Run It? I'm well within the Recommended territory. Compare this to the fact that a game with similar graphical beauty, LotRO, runs at 40 FPS outdoors on High settings and you can see why I quit in frustration. The engine is too inefficient.

It's a shame because VG has promise for all the reasons you outlined. I heard people saying that the game runs smoothly for them and I agree in terms of *stability* it's fine, but the graphical performance was very lacking and I don't know why.

There's also the issue of polish. Approaching Leth Nurae I came across a High Elven camp- a mini quest hub- and it felt so thrown together. The trainers were in a row on the side of the road just standing there. The wolves nearby were all just loitering near the camp in geometric patterns.

Vanguard has promise but I wish it was more polished than this. I know the team must be deadlocked with all of the graphical and engine issues that they have to fix but when you look at LotRO and how *alive* their NPCs are... (i.e. the blacksmits smithing, the guys leaning back in chairs whittling or polishing shields), you see what is possible with current technology.

Lastly, Queen Florendyl, who based on her quest text has a Galadriel air about her, looked just like any other High Elf female in the city. Same dress, same face. Were it not for the floaty text I'd have never know who she was. These are the polish issues that are obstructing a grand immersion that VG has plenty of potential to achieve. The grand beauty of the dialogue with the Diplomacy system showcases that potential, but again polish polish polish.

Far be it from me to dissuade you from having fun, Mr. Sorden, and I apologise if I come off that way. But I'm just explaining a big issue I think might be keeping people out of a game that has a lot of room to grow.

I'll try again in six months and hope. =/

Posted: May 23rd 2008 1:59PM (Unverified) said

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Hm. I've had some technical issues at times but I haven't had crawling framerates, even in the forests of Kojan or the big city in Thestra (after the initial loading of everything).

If you wanted to try messing with your settings some more and checking out the technical forums, you might be able to isolate the setting thats giving you trouble and turn that down while leaving everything else turned up.

I think they're also working on retooling the character models. Check it out again in a few updates, like you said.
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Posted: May 23rd 2008 12:06AM rifraf said

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I was one of the unfortunate ones who bought VG when it first came out. I bought the pricey collectors edition and hyped from all the news about the game beforehand. I hated it. And not because it was slow or was glitchy, but the character generation and visual design just killed it for me. The characters (player or npc) were not realistic, and their body physics were horrible. When they moved, they looked puppets! The gameplay and missions were actually fun, but I just couldn't get into it because of the characters. If that hasn't been fixed, I will never go back. Oh well, I'm off to buy Conan tomorrow :)

Posted: May 23rd 2008 1:58PM (Unverified) said

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I believe they've talked about redoing the character models soon (though don't quote me on that-- I could have misunderstood something I read).
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Posted: May 23rd 2008 12:05AM (Unverified) said

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I bought it at launch and almost immediately un-installed. Last night I got the urge to give it another shot as I had heard it has improved and a lot of the openness kind of appeals to me. So far I am digging it. It is running a lot better. I am only level 10 right now so that could swing to really love it or hate it as I play more, but it at least is on a better footing this time. So I will stick with it and see where it takes me.

Posted: May 23rd 2008 12:05AM Ayenn said

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i'm experiencing something akin to what you describe. the "war" between VG and AoC rages on in me. i am a graduate student examining MMORPGs through the lens of New Media Studies and Narratology. both VG and AoC are among the, if not the, strongest narrative landscapes out there for MMORPGs, but strong for distinctly different reasons.

i recently made the statement that VG is representational of the best second gen MMORPGs have to offer for structure, narrative landscape, and direct narrative interplay while AoC is a very strong tentative first entry into the third generation.

indeed the skeletal work suffers. my wife describes the animation as being like "one of those rubber bendy dolls with the heavy wire inside them". i am personally annoyed by the "Altered Beast" appearance of the animal races and a guild member pointed out how the lack of tails on them makes them "feel" really strange.

other than these issues, and the oddly weighted graphics sucking FPS out, it is a fine game and seriously promising for the MMORPG genera in general.

Posted: May 22nd 2008 9:27PM (Unverified) said

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Couldn't agree more. Just blogged today about Vanguard as well. I'm loving it and haven't even seen the dungeons yet. Which low level dungeons would you recommend? My highest is only 24 with many lower level alts.

Posted: May 23rd 2008 1:59PM (Unverified) said

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I love the floating islands north of the Wood Elf city on the Asian continent. That's a great dungeon if you have a partner. I also really enjoyed the quests surrounding the Tomb of Lord Tsang, and on the Desert continent I found a sunken ship on the northern coast which is a really cool and deep dungeon.

Honestly, the game has so many dungeons that I haven't even seen enough to recommend any. One of the great things about it. :)
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Posted: May 23rd 2008 9:20AM (Unverified) said

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This is a good review and I will pretty much agree with that Vanguard has come a long way since launch. So much so that it runs a lot better on lower end hardware now crashing to desktop has nearly been eliminated.

Content and the feel of the game has always been amazing.

They are in the process of building "Trial Isle" so that folks can downoad a trial version.

Posted: May 23rd 2008 4:07PM (Unverified) said

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The "minimum specs" listed for the game are an optimists dream - you can get it to run well on medium on that if you read the major tweaking threads in the performance issues forum and make sure all your drivers and everything are up to date.

the next update (due very soon) should also increase performance quite a lot - it increased my avg fps by about half (test server for the win).

The author of the article is also correct about the character models - they're getting optimization passes (some of it has been done already).

Posted: May 23rd 2008 4:56PM (Unverified) said

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I agree with you 100% !!!


I am new to vanguard also and so far its amazing!!!

Posted: May 24th 2008 12:00PM (Unverified) said

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Great review, Cameron. I couldn't agree with you more :)

Dalmarus
Vanguard.TenTonHammer.com

Posted: May 27th 2008 2:21PM (Unverified) said

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For what it's worth.. it wasn't a crack SOE team that brought VG to where it is now. It's the same people who made VG to begin with (albeit a pared down version of the team) under the direction of Salim Grant (lead designer). They just happen to work for SOE now.

I think people have some misconception that SOE put a new team in place to fix VG when that's just not the case.

Posted: May 31st 2008 12:01PM (Unverified) said

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Well, but also keep in mind that they also went in the right direction when SOE came into power, so they did something right. Brad is an amazing visionary, but he did management very poorly.
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Posted: May 28th 2008 6:56PM (Unverified) said

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Very nice write-up! I'm glad to see that new and returning players alike are enjoying the game.

Posted: Jun 1st 2008 3:40PM (Unverified) said

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I was a huge fanboy of Vanguard since 2004... In mid 2006, I participated in Beta and played the game until launch. Back then I felt the game was good enough to go live, "If only they could address the performance issue, warping issues, and hitching issues" it would have been great! Personally though, even with all the problems surrounding the game, I still played from launch until mid May of 2007 before finally quitting. During my time, I managed to get my wood elf Shaman, "Gloomcrow" to level 38, and my rogue to level 20. What killed the fun for me was how horribly bugged the dungeon Thelaseen was. I spent levels 32-38 in VT and Thel working on those incredibly long class specific armor and ancient weapon quests,,literally for a month. Everytime we'd do Thel, we'd end up wiping due to all the hitching and warping issues regarding the mobs. It eventually became to frustrating and no longer was fun. Also combine that with the performance low framerate and lagspike issues equaled time for me to finally leave. Thats not the only reason I decided to leave. SOE decided to reconstructure the game and change some features I enjoyed, such as the Item expertise system. They changed it to match EQ2's armor and weapon equip system, which I hated. Also, many of the armor and weapons of "blue uncommon" items were beefed up while the rare, heroic, and legendary items were nerfed. This also killed it for me. I literally worked hard over a month to acquire my legendary weapon and after it was nerfed, blues were almost as good. SOE should have just left all that alone to focus on fixing what was truly plaguing the game,,,, "fixing the performance, hitching, and warping issues"

Well, I did eventually come back around christmas time, when everyone recieved a free month to play. But during that time, I was busy beta testing AoC and another blockbuster MMO due to come out later this year, WARhammer Online. So I didn't really play it that much.

Now that AoC is out, I'm already becoming a bit bored with it. The game does NOT play like a true MMORPG like EQ, Vanguard, and DAOC. It's more of a single player structured RPG rather than a MMO. The graphics are great, but graphics aren't the important feature for a truly successful MMO. It's gotta have replayability, a great lore and background, enticing races, Unique Classes, many group oriented Dungeons, a family oriented community, and great gameplay. This is what I miss,,what I crave,,and what may bring me back to Vanguard because I miss it so much. But now that it's summertime, I probably wont make a comeback at least until September, so we'll see what happens. Until then, I'll be periodically trolling the forums on some updates and such to see how things are progressing.

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