Is it possible that they are having a good time? Or do social ties mean more than great adventure? Could it be that players simply have not found a game that they enjoy more than Vanguard, warts and all? We asked the players on the official forums and received a total of four responses. The thread was immediately pushed down by standard complaint posts. Could it be that the community has been the worst thing for the game, a game that needs, more than anything, positive word-of-mouth?
Click past the cut and we'll look into it.
The problem is that the game is commonly talked about by players who have not played it, players who currently play the game and sit in misery while development happens in other games, and former players who are still angry at Sony Online Entertainment for any number of reasons. The most important witness isn't saying anything but rather is busy playing the game, raiding, roleplaying or hosting newbie nights. Yes, those things are going on in Vanguard -- it is no different than any other MMO in that regard. Let this article shine some light on the matter, in case you have been interested in checking the game out but have heard nothing but the negative. This anniversary should serve as the straw that breaks your back and forces you to go look for yourself. While there are no guarantees of satisfaction, there are always promises of information.
Interesting comments, especially when you consider that he did not list which other game communities he is comparing Vanguard to. Still, he seems happy. Vanguard does offer many different "things" to do, yet it still offers a lot of the typical MMO fare. For example, crafting is something we see in most MMOs -- but it is different in Vanguard. It's more of a minigame and a more involved process than just combining items or having an NPC do it for you.
Perhaps the game's unique take on the usual classes is enough to keep the current playerbase plugged in? Normally classes in Vanguard do not just specialize in one or two things; instead, they often tout abilities that might normally be associated with other classes. A Ranger, for example, is able to cast a small heal at a certain level. The spell is far from a reliable source, but it is enough to help out in a pinch.
The world is also large and non-instanced. Dungeons are open, allowing outside players to waltz into the middle of a raid or adventure. While many might see this as a bad thing, it obviously casts a pretty unique spell on some. If you see it in Vanguard, you can generally explore it. Exploration has always been important, explains player Parmenion: "Yes, there are the quest hubs, but there are also so many places [where] you are running around and then you [go] a few steps down into a cellar in a ruined building. And then there's this whole underground complex, or that cleft in the rocks turns out to be a huge cave system. Most games are built with a big neon dev signpost saying 'look look we actually built a dungeon for you here!' VG isn't like that; it's a world to explore with hidden gems all over, many without signposts. Exploring has bored me in nearly all other MMOs because there just wasn't any point -- if you weren't sent there, somehow there was never any point in going."
On this anniversary, it's important to note that Sony Online Entertainment did, in fact, do its part in saving Vanguard from that horrible launch. Over the years, SOE has spent a large sum of money on the development that has taken place, as well as on advertising and campaigns designed to win back old players and welcome new ones. The introduction of the Isle of Dawn, an all-in-one introductory experience designed to streamline the newbie experience, has helped bring in many newer players.
"This was taken by some to mean that Vanguard might be receiving further development in the future. Others felt that it meant that Vanguard was obviously not a top or even middle priority, since Smed was talking about DC Universe Online."
In the end, the world of Telon has hung in there. It's seen many heroes come and go within its lands. The only thing for sure is that the game has come a long way and still boasts a very passionate playerbase. How long can it last, and how long can SOE keep the game running on fumes? If we knew that, you'd be the first to hear about it. While the possibility and repercussions of going free-to-play are hotly debated, players can already sell their gold, characters and loot through the Live Gamer service. It can be argued that free-to-play is the next step.
In the meanwhile, you can check out the Isle of Dawn free trial at the official site, read up on Krystalle's Choose My Adventure in Telon, or go visit the official forums to meet some of the community members.