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Posted: Feb 18th 2009 7:34PM Graill440 said

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They need to take the buggiest ten levels of every game tested and include support in the test. It's called the real world, use it.

Tests like this with artificial goals mean nothing and are a waste of time, filler anyone?

Posted: Feb 18th 2009 7:40PM Tom in VA said

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Thanks for putting up the link for this review. I really enjoyed reading it. I have never tried Vanguard, but the author's take on EQ2 pretty much mirrors my own experience. I left EQ2 pretty quickly, wondering why on earth anyone in their right mind would pay to play it when WoW offers pretty much the same thing only with much more polish and a much greater "fun factor", imo.

I'll be interested to see what the author has to say about Guild Wars, WoW, and LotRO, all of which, in my opinion, start off well. WoW, of the three, does NOT hold up well at you level up, and its endgame/higher-level content is the least fun of these three games, though, of course, that part of these games won't be covered in these "Ten Levels" reviews.

Still, it's a nifty review concept -- since a "poor beginning" in any game can be its death sentence. Few people are willing to persevere in an MMO if the first few levels are a bore, a chore, or a pain.

Posted: Feb 18th 2009 7:56PM Scarecrowe said

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The first 10 levels of Vanguard (with the new Island trial) are indeed awesome. But it appears that the author did NOT review the trial island for EQ2. I personally found EQ2's first 10 levels to much more respective of the rest of the game. VG's island trial gets you excited but then you're out on your own with no clear direction. Granted, the community of both seems to be quite good but EQ2 seems to have a higher population so it appeared IMO to be easier to find a "home" with a guild.

Posted: Feb 18th 2009 8:46PM Spron said

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Tom, did you try crafting in EQII or WoW? Those systems are entirely different and WoW certainly does not "offer pretty much the same thing" in that respect.

With that said, I've played both and now play neither.

Posted: Feb 19th 2009 6:15PM wjowski said

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Vanguard's crafting system is a royal pain in the ass. EQ2's was as well until fairly recently.
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Posted: Feb 19th 2009 8:18AM Tom in VA said

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Nope, Chris. I did not get to crafting, which is usually something I try later on in a game. What is crucial to me is the combat/gameplay/world environment (graphics).

EQ2 did not even come close to WoW on all fronts in my opinion. People like to harsh on WoW, but the fact is a great many people find it a fun and engaging game, and I myself had a lot of fun with it for quite some time before moving on to something else.

Ultimately, I wanted an MMO with a similar combat mechanism, a better community, a more "realistic" look, and a story I cared about. I found all of those things in LotRO -- for now, anyway.
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Posted: Feb 18th 2009 9:36PM (Unverified) said

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Age of Conan will do great in a "first ten levels" contest but how accurate is that for judging the game as a whole?

Posted: Feb 19th 2009 10:50AM (Unverified) said

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It's probably not good for judging the game as a whole. But one more metric to discover quality comparisons in these games I don't believe is a bad thing.

These guys chose Vanguard over EQII, and while I've played both and enjoy EQII more, their study has made me do a double take. So hats off to them.
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Posted: Feb 18th 2009 11:02PM venekor said

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I found both games to be bland and boring. Both had boring combat and both I struggled to find a class I found fun. Like he said alot of them are just two sides of the same coin which makes them feel really bland and all the same. Infact with every game but WoW I often hear how people struggle to find a class they like and they end up quiting the game because of it. However with WoW people instantly love their class becuase each one is unique and very different and fun to play.

Their graphics are both ugly with ugly character models, specially Vanguards and EQ2's Humans. Their worlds are both empty and boring to explore and the art in both games is horrible. I just had no interest in my character or exploring the world and that is obviously a major downer in an RPG.

Another thing was I found it hard to find any groups to do content with and found myself alone. I want to be constantly grouping in an mmorpg and I just couldn't do that. Atleast WoW has so many players that I can usually join a group for every time I want to play and thats a game based on soloing.

Both games had unfun and slow combat with bad animations and effects. That in turn made the whole game pretty unfun to play for me and specially PVP which is an important part for me that these two games don't do well and WoW does.

So in the end, why play Vanguard and EQ2 when theres a much better WoW out there? Even if WoW wasn't out I would still not be playing these games... I'm not playing WoW because I got bored of it but if you're a new player, go with WoW 100% of the time.


I'm going to wait for SWG2 and PS2.

Posted: Feb 19th 2009 8:50PM (Unverified) said

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Oh my do I take issue with your first paragraph Moo.

I dislike every single class in wow. Druid my latest roll is about the best thing I have played in wow, even then there are some days where I find I am pushing myself to log on. 1-20 I almost quit a couple of times but pushed myself through to kitty form which is semi interesting but at this early stage feels like a combat rogue. With more skills I will feel like a Sub rogue. Did that from 1-70 no thanks. I could play a Boomkin but wrath spam doesn't quite excite me.
Anyone that has played a healer in wow also knows that Blizzards imagination flew right out the window with the every healer must be a ranged caster method.
So I guess I am in that small percentage that find the wow classes absolutely boring. Yes I have a ton of alts and found myself quitting in the past due to this exact issue you state only it is within WoW.

Take the dancer from FF11, brilliant. Or for the sake of the article the Disciple, or bloodmage (the interesting take off of the caster healer mechanics.). That is how you do a healer.

I play wow for one reason. My friends. That is it. I find the game a bore and have since put my DK(80) on hold because the thought of grinding out Giant rep makes me want to delete my character.

The DK starting area is the best thing to happen in WoW since 2004. WOTLK zones are also well developed but going through BC content was really difficult due to the boredom factor.

The Heriocs after the first time through are boring, simple and become a faction grind after awhile. Minus Occulus due to it's difficulty factor.

Naxx boss fights can be interesting and fun but the zone itself is some of the most boring architecture WoW has ever put out. Sorry Moo but wow isn't for everyone as you so put it.

I recently returned to EQ2 and stumbled across problems right off the bat. Keymapping is a PITA.(ESDF user) The fonts are so painful to look at after 15 mins of play I had to log off because I was becoming dizzy. (If anyone has a fix for this I would love to hear it. Got 28 days left on my month. Could be the new Nvidia drivers?)

I found that the article is bang on for the most part. Great Read!

Vanguard has some of the most interesting mechanics for game play more devs in the industry should take notice and quit focusing on old tired negatives.

Would love to return to Vanguard but dragging some friends along with hundreds of hours in wow ain't happening right now.

Someone @ eurogamer also mentioned that FF11 would get killed due to the grindiness but forgot to mention it was going up against the king of all grinds. Found that humorous.
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Posted: Feb 18th 2009 11:13PM Pigeonko said

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I like EQ2 but I can see how a new player would feel like he did with the first ten levels.

I do think some MMOs will get eviscerated for this ten level test thing. Final Fantasy XI more than likely will because I'm not saying the game sucks, but well... those familiar with the game will know just why. The concept is interesting though.

Posted: Feb 19th 2009 2:46AM Dread said

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Why bother because there's a much better WoW out there you ask?

WoW is generic, bland, extremely simplistic and ultimately unsatisfying. But where its screwing over the industry is that people have a lot of time invested in their high level toons they've had for years. Why put away for good that L80 epicced main and your handful of end game alts to start a new toon in a new MMO? Having to go through that several month grind to max out your first toon...its never going to be as satisfying as your first main is it? Plus, you don't want to be left behind in the next big rush in new content/expansion do you?

Its that time invested in a mediocre game that will kill off far better rivals. Vanguard is a great game! It doesn't cater to the Ritalin addicted button mashing 12 year olds, you have to use a bit of nous, it rewards thinking players. If it could draw across a decent audience from WoW it wouldn't be a 'bland boring and or lifeless world' it would be a rich satisfying game.

But that would involve giving up that 'time invested' in that other game.......

Posted: Feb 19th 2009 8:35AM Tom in VA said

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Dread, I don't think you give people enough credit. WoW is popular because it's fun (for those playing it). Clearly, you don't like WoW and that's fine, but a lot of people do. I played WoW for quite some time and leveled several toons to 70 and had fun with it. Then I left to play other games.

When WotLK came out, I did not renew my sub to WoW because I just wasn't interested in WoW anymore. People play games to have fun; they leave when they are no longer having fun. That's the nature of things. No one stays in WoW despite hating the game, as you infer, just because they've invested so much time in leveling a toon. That would be totally moronic.

The whole nature of the success of a game for an individual is whether it is enjoyable to play or not. If Vanguard is as good as you say, people will play it. The Ten Levels review was positive enough, for my part, to want to give Vanguard a try.

But claiming Vanguard is failing by dissing WoW players is faulty reasoning, in my opinion. Vanguard hurt itself deeply with a piss-poor launch -- that was no one's fault but Vanguard's. Now, it appears they are improving the game and coming back from the brink, and I think that's great.

Vanguard's major problems, however, are all self-inflicted and not the fault of "Ritalin-addicted button mashing 12 year olds" playing WoW.
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Posted: Feb 19th 2009 3:29PM ultimateq said

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I completely agree with Dread. I'm an old school EQ hardcore raider. After I finally stepped down from EQ, I sold my 2 main accounts so I would have nothing to go back to.

Shortly after, my friends of 6 years moved to WoW. I joined them, got up to 70, raided, made several characters that are 60+. I gave up on WoW because it is all trivial. There are no raids, just big groups, you don't need a guild to get raids done, just big groups. The raids are ridiculously easy because everyone relies on addons that tell them exactly how to play.

The game doesn't really reward you for accomplishing anything. The biggest reward is at 55 when you unlock the DK. You -Should- have to grind to work up your crafting, leveling, factions. Because then its not trivial. If everything requires no work or thought then what is the point of having the system in place to begin with?



@Wjowski
Oh no a crafting system that requires a little bit of work! I don't think its a "royal pain in the ass". I think its fantastic and well polished, it leaves a lot of customization, similar to SWG.

Just because it takes WORK to do something in a game, doesn't mean that its bad. World of Warcraft's crafting system is atrocious because it crafts for you. What the hell is the point of putting in the system when it levels for you. Just click the Craft All button, walk away, come back and you've leveled up 20 times! Go buy a some new mats then do it again!

The more I dissect the systems in WoW and really analyze them, the more I'm appalled at myself for ever investing 10 days of play time into it.


Off that subject, but back on subject for the actual post. While I am really biased toward Vanguard, I figured EQ2 would probably win. Its been around a lot longer and has a good bit of polish. The character progression with their AA system is neat. I can't wait to see how Vanguard does their AA system.

I love MMOs, I'll probably play them all the way to my grave. I'd rather spend $15/mo on an MMO that I love, than $100-200/mo on new games for some random console.

Forgive my typos and possible bad grammar. I have no witty excuse except the fact that I'm to lazy to go back and read through that entire post.
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Posted: Feb 20th 2009 5:59AM Dread said

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Tom, appreciate the response ;) For the record I do have an Epic'd out L70 Tank I'm just jack of playing WoW...although playing is a misnomer, a second job is more realistic ;)

Like you, WOTLK was nowhere near enough to drag me back into it. As I thought it was just more of the same, been there done that, I have no urge to grind for 2 hours a day to pay for the 4 hours a night raiding. As for my Ritalin addicted 12 year old quip, I was referring to the simplistic game style. Basically WoW is catered for the lowest common denominator. There is nothing in the game that would stretch the brain matter of your average Ritalin popping, button mashing 12 year old ;) Even the hardest encounter in the game are a matter of stand here, mash this button, watch that, now mash that button, rinse and repeat till big bad monster falls over then enter into frenetic DKP bidding war to maybe scoop a bit of loot once a week. My rambling point was that Vanguard is a more adult orientated game that does require a little thinking, there is no instant reward and you need to work for things, the crafting system is a perfect example.

If Vanguard could capture more of the jaded WoW audience then the game would be far more appealing. As they say success breeds success. If enough people gave it a go and got into it then that would encourage those who are hanging off because they hear the game is under popped and groups are hard to get. But people are reluctant to leave those high level toons they have spent 2-3 years building up.

Vicious circle really....

Vanguard is failing because of a craptastic launch - very true. Vanguard is also failing because of a lack of desire for 'doing the hard yards' grinding back up to max level as well. Especially in a game known for being a lot harder to play. And even more so when you compare it to the near constant insta-dinging that WoW has now become with all of its bonuses, greater XP gains, lower XP needed between levels, Friend bonuses etc. Accelerated levelling is a great positive reinforcement...especially when you don't need to do much skill wise and time wise to do it.
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Posted: Feb 19th 2009 4:34AM redavni said

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I don't think EQ2 can be called an MMORPG anymore. It's pretty much just a chat room for stay at home moms. Vanguard is an actual RPG, and will appeal more to people who like their MMO's to be more than just a social experience.

Posted: Feb 19th 2009 8:04AM (Unverified) said

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I don't think EQ2 can be called an MMORPG anymore. It's pretty much just a chat room for stay at home moms.
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What??????????????? does that opinion have to do with anything.

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Vanguard is an actual RPG, and will appeal more to people who like their MMO's to be more than just a social experience.
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Lord forbid you have any "social experiences" in your MMORPG...WTF are we thinking, right? More solo grinding is what they should be focusing on. More kill task I say!!!! Bring on the rats!



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Posted: Feb 20th 2009 6:06AM Dread said

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EQ2 is for stay at home Mum's??

Shit! Why am I only finding this out now???

I'm off to download a trail now!! MILF City here I come!!!!
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Posted: Feb 19th 2009 5:01AM Minofan said

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That was an enjoyable article, and I'll certainly read the rest of the articles as they appear (if Massively link them, 'cos I'm too lazy to remember & go look ).

I think that WAR and AoC will do great in a 10 level competition, with Guild Wars success varying by campaign ; Prophecies would be the strongest by far, with some of the later ones - being designed for veterans - would rush you to 10 in an hour or two !

I do agree of course that the competition itself is silly and not a good indicator of overall MMO quality, BUT as entertainment the series could be top-notch.

Posted: Feb 19th 2009 5:12AM (Unverified) said

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There's a side-article in which they outline which other games will be featured and why they were chosen.

The "big hitters" - WoW, LOTRO, WAR and (if memory serves) AoC - will NOT be included, as the point is to introduce players to other games they may not be familiar with or that don't have such large user-bases. The reasoning - I assume - is because they have higher player-bases/retention rates than some of the other games and the point is - again, I assume - to shed some light on why somebody would continue to play LOTRO but not EQ2, for example.

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