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Vanguard's past, present, and future with producer Thom Terrazas


It's been two years since the world of Telon opened its doors to a rocky launch and unstable future. The team of Vanguard: Saga of Heroes had much to overcome after launch with a whole plague of technical hurdles, incomplete content, and a dwindling player base.

Yet, two years later, Vanguard managed to stay on its feet thanks to an aggressive development team and a steady schedule of tackling performance issues and bugs until they could open the doors for new content -- one of the few games to make it through with such a rough launch and begin to see a new growth years after opening.

Massively was able to sit down with Vanguard producer Thom Terrazas and talk to him about where Vanguard's been, where it is now, and what the future looks like for the expanding fantasy title.

Two years! Wow, it doesn't even seem like it's been that long since Vanguard launched. What has it been like from your perspective?

Thom Terrazas: To give you a little insight of my experience, I started working with Vanguard when I was at Sony and [Vanguard] was still owned by Sigil Games. I started helping out with the launch of the game from Sony's point of view, and after it launched I took less of a role with the project.

When Sony acquired the game, I think it was within 6 months of it launching, I then joined the team 100% of the time. When looking back at those two years, I completely agree, it went so fast.

It's amazing that Vanguard has been out for 2 years and the stride that the development team has made has been huge.

Those strides have been amazing, especially with the rocky launch.

Thom: Ah, yeah, I wouldn't disagree with that. You nailed it. I would say bumpy, rocky, just it goes to show you if you have a great launch that great things can happen, but if you have a bumpy launch it holds you back a little bit.

It does hold you back, but you guys have proven that you can come back from that and move forward with the development process and make something of it. Keeping that in mind, what do you think is the best improvement the team has made on Vanguard since launch?

"And I am a true tester of that situation. When I tried to play Vanguard at launch, I had huge issues. When I took a lesser role and then came back, it was amazing how in four months it was just vastly improved."

Thom: As far as the game goes, I would say performance for the various machines out there. Since launch, because of the bumpiness, the team made huge strides in simplifying some of the code, getting rid of the bugs, just polish stuff that wasn't at launch.

Many people say that if the game was launched the way it was now, it would be 20 times what it is now. It's huge. So I would say the performance.

People who played the game at the beginning and witnessed the rockyness, and haven't come back to check it out lately, I would say that they're missing out. It's a completely different experience.

And I am a true tester of that situation. When I tried to play Vanguard at launch, I had huge issues. When I took a lesser role and then came back, it was amazing how in four months it was just vastly improved.

With such a complex development process, has there been anything that has held the team back from progress?

Thom: You know, probably our own organizational skills have been the only things that have held us back. Everyone has their own pet projects for what they want to add to the game, and the main roadblock is deciding what we should add first. Deciding what option to take at that given moment.

Do we work on the content that was promised on the box at launch that isn't in the game yet? Something that was over-promised and had to be pushed under the rug? But, really, it's touching base with the players and getting over the hurdles of letting them know that only certain things can be worked on at any given time.

In regards to touching base with the players, I saw in the producer's letter that you are going to be working on a customer request update. What are the players requesting?

Thom: Well, we're still in the middle of compiling all the votes and comments that players have posted about what they'd like to see. We've put some messages of the day up with the customer service team in addition to the forums, so they've been helping us get the word out about this project.

A lot of the requests are a mix of high-end content requests. You know, keep delivering higher end content so that progress doesn't stop for our players. In addition there are many requests to fix current content. Those are the two things that the players have requested the most.

What's the timetable looking at then, for a release like that?

Thom: As far as development timetables, we're looking to put out Pantheon of the Ancients within the next month, so right at the beginning of the March for Pantheon. As soon as that is into a state where the testing has gone through and reported back any things that need to be fixed, then we'll be transitioning to doing bug fixes and simultaneously work on the requests of the players.

So I would say that we're looking at April that you can expect a customer service request update.

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