Vanguard - The Anti-Review

"We will have a lot of work to do post-launch and the first couple of months post-launch will be just as busy as beta 5 with lots of patches, bug fixes, new feathres[sic], etc." – Brad McQuaid on beta concerns for Vanguard: Saga of Heroes performance

Honestly, you've got to respect the man's candor. Many criticisms may be laid at the feet of former Everquest Vision™ junkee and current Sigil Games Vision™ proselytizer Brad McQuaid but indirectness is not one of them. To be fair, I've poached a single sentence from one of a million forum posts by the guy, taken it out of context and placed it in italics to give it a weight beyond the scope of the original statement, so let's not pretend that this is some kind of mission statement on releasing the game. The thing is, having played Vanguard: Saga of Heroes whenever I could muster the fortitude over the past two weeks, Brad's post is a pretty salient commentary on the state of the game's release.

When in early February, a Vanguard review key wandered into my grasp I, as something of a Massively Multiplayer gaming addict, set out immediately with the intent of investing dozens of hours into its three-tiered gameplay structure to construct a fair and well-informed review of the title. I even joined with a colleague in what we termed a "blood oath" to achieve at the very least level 20 so that we had a clear impression of both the solo and grouping content of the game. What happened instead is that I kept finding excuses not to play a game that was mediocre at its best and flatly annoying most of the rest of the time.

My goal was to inform myself to a complete enough degree to write a review. This is not that review. That review will never exist, because I am simply not willing to force myself to play long enough to construct a fully realized impression of Norrath. No, wait. Norrath was Everquest. What's this place called again? Let me look it up, and I'll get back to you "…

"… Telon! Right, that's the place I've been avoiding.

Now, I'm going to stop fans of Vanguard right here, because I don't care about your vehement and impassioned emails. I honestly don't. First of all, as I mentioned this isn't a review, and I'm not pawning this off as a complete examination of the entire game, but more importantly I'm under no obligation to like Vanguard, and I'm not going to trot out the tired old conventions of picking out small and often insignificant things that don't suck to balance out against the overwhelming majority of things that do suck.

So, what's wrong with Vanguard? How long you got?

The engine seems tailor made for a Sony Online game – despite Sigil's years of work with Microsoft only to be unceremoniously, and maybe not mysteriously, dumped in 2006 – in that it:

1) Makes everything appear to be made of shiny plastic and,

2) Doesn't work

The landscapes feel lifeless, designed either as great open spaces where oddly shaped creatures wait to be slaughtered and harvested at the whim of the local constabulary, or equally often as tightly confined valleys between vertical cliffs of ridiculous proportions that look exactly like what I'd make with Maya if I wanted to try my hand at cliff making. Also, between these cliffs of insanity, are the same oddly shaped creatures, the slaughtering, and lazy constables. The quests come verbatim from The Big Book of MMOG Quests, and every phase of character development feels awkward. On any given swing of a sword a character might gain familiar skill increases for usual offensive and defensive attributes, but along with those one might receive upgrades in tactic recognition, spell recognition, perception, detection, light fandango tripping and smoothie making. Every conflict fills my chat bar with information that I don't really understand, and ultimately don't care about.

Much of Vanguard seems intentionally obtuse and as counter-intuitive as possible while at the same time wrapping itself in tired trappings that have been done far better. Judging an enemy's relative difficulty is itself a multi-layered exploration in cryptography. For example, a level 5 – 2 dot creature is actually less difficult than a level 4 – 3 dot creature. Do you know what that means? Well neither did I for about nine levels, and let me tell you it makes more than a marginal difference! Would it surprise you to know that, where at level 1 you hit creatures for the traditional handful of hit points, by level 6 you might have a critical hit for several hundred damage? Would it further surprise you to find that those hundreds of points of damage against a newbie mob won't do much serious damage, you know unless it's a level 6 – 1 dot. Obviously I'm talking about a level 4 – 4 dot or level 5 – 3 dot, which are clearly far more difficult that some 6-1!

Death is a fact of life for the early adventurer, and not just the kind of death that comes from hyper-fast respawns and wandering creatures several levels higher than you, but the really annoying death that can only be achieved by not understanding what the holy hell is going on. Fortunately characters are not "eligible" for death penalty for the first few levels. I put eligible in quotes because I was always struck on my many young deaths by not being eligible to be penalized by a game. I wondered if there were people at level 5 running around anxiously anticipating that glorious day when they, like their fathers before them, would be "eligible" for in-game punishment.

But, of course, adventuring, such as it's called, is only one of the spheres of Vanguard's three-sphere gameplay model. There is also Crafting and Diplomacy in which, theoretically, one could invest themselves entirely without paying much attention to improving their Bleeding From Puncture Wounds skill. Of the two spheres, Diplomacy most intrigued me with its collectible card style play.

In Diplomacy parleys you and your mob opponent both start with a pool of points. The first person to get rid of all their points wins the conversation. There is a marker that is moved by playing cards, and at the end of each turn whichever side of the board the marker is on gets rid of one of their points. If you, as the player, remove a point from your own pool then the conversation progresses.

Here are the problems:

1) Despite having names like Forceful Demand, Complimentary Comment or Obfuscating And Slightly Suggestive Imperative, the cards themselves do nothing to altar the static flow of conversations. Even as you play Angry Non-Sequiter, your side of the conversation may end up being conciliatory and diplomatic.

2) Card Gameplay gets redundant. It's one thing to hit the millionth local bandit with a sword, but grinding a card game is a whole new level of hardcore that I'm just not prepared to explore.

3) Vanguard doesn't do a great job of drawing you into the stories. Names of places and people seem so equally unfamiliar as to be interchangeable, and proper nouns suffer from more apostrophes than an all-night marathon viewing of Conjunction Junction. I can only care for so long that the Jaa'bba'lly of F'za'nnnjj province want Kwagzatz of the Hoohanie dead, which is why they are hiring Zv'ii'tz of the K's'tt''ll clan to concoct a slow acting poison to be applied to Kwagzatz's F'oo'd', and it's your job to convince nine different people to give you the nine different components of the poison.

4) There's no real sense of advancement. Occasionally you get a new card, or some new piece of diplomatic clothing that grants you an extra green dot at the beginning of each parlay, but who cares?

Diplomacy is a clever idea that's not nearly engaging enough at lower levels to encourage the player to move forward. The Diplomacy game lacks the levels of nuance and strategy that make CCG games so addicting, and the actions of parley seems only barely related to what's transpiring in the game. It would be like giving your character all kinds of interesting combat skills, but every time you activate those skills you just swing your sword the same way.

But, so what? Right? Tired and redundant gameplay, barely interesting story, artificial environments populated with lame quests and an over population of sword fodder; I could be talking about any MMO on the market. The whole damn genre has run off the rails and become a parody of itself. Click the button and a gamer-treat rolls occasionally down the little pipe activating neurotransmitters in the brain that beg endlessly for more tiny little gamer-treats. So why pick on the little guy?

Fine, you want to know what really pisses me off about Vanguard; what voices me with the attitude that Sigil stole my lunch money? Vanguard sets a bad precedent for development and product release. In the months to launch Brad McQuaid made it very clear that regardless of whether Vanguard was actually ready for launch Sony, which had saved the game from cancellation following Microsoft's parting of ways, had set a firm timetable for retail, and come hell or high water the game only had enough money and time to reach that date. So, now that the game has released in its incomplete state, in a state that McQuaid himself describes as requiring patches, bug fixes and new feature implementation on par with a beta product, Sigil essentially comes to the consumer as the third investor in the process of the development cycle, and that is not just a terrible way of doing business, but an irresponsible step in the wrong direction for complicit consumers.

Let me put it bluntly, if a game is not ready for retail when the money runs out find another investor or shut the doors. We are customers, and the retail end of the industry is bad enough about not supporting incomplete or inoperable products without developers and publishers assuming we are investors in the development process. Your job as the industry is to create product, and then, and only then, we buy it.

So, what to say in capping off my thoughts on Vanguard. First, to you Vanguard faithful who, even now, are anxious to point out all the little things that make Vanguard great on which I completely missed the boat possibly because I'm just some World of Warcraft lamer who can't handle a man's MMO, go suck a sock. I don't care about the stuff I missed because the larger picture, the game itself that's supposed to facilitate my giving a crap about the exploration was barely functional, obtuse and uninspiring. To the guys who made Vanguard and for whatever reason maybe put themselves through reading this, I'm sorry to kick your baby down the stairs, but too many game writers these days are so busy tap dancing around offending someone in the industry that they've lost sight of telling consumers not to buy mediocre games. And, finally, to the reader who is wondering if Vanguard is worth playing, had I to do it all over again I sure wouldn't, and my copy was free.

- Elysium

Comments

Wounder wrote:

Wow. It's like a trainwreck of misunderstanding. Take care, folks.

Indeed. Check, please?

I dont like rts's. Does that mean all rts's are bad games?
Summary of your "its not a review" review, I dont like vanguard therefore Vanguard =bad game, therefore no one buy vanguard. As a gaming community site this is a irresponsible article. You point out the performance issues and bugs and criticize as you shld, however the rest of your critiques are based on the games design which you make out to be flaws.?. You fail to acknowledge that this game is not for everyone and there are many (myself included) that are truly enjoying themselves in this game. You may have saved many people who wouldnt of liked the game some time and money, but you failed in the fact that you probably wrongfully turned away many potiential buyers that would of loved the game for years to come.
You also rightfully sent a message to developers we will not accept buggy games but also sent a message we as gamers only want games designed for the mainstream, and games designed catering to different playstyles will not be accepted.
Please in the future try and be more open minded.

kab, I understand where you're coming from, but what you're saying assumes people can't make up their own minds or consider other sources before they decide whether a game is worth playing. It's not the author's job to present both sides, especially when it's clearly been stated that the article is not attempting to be a proper, unbiased review.

Readers deserve more credit than that, I think.

Sigh... unfortunatly Certis you dont understand where im coming from. As a GAMING SITE any ARTICLES pertaining to a game the authors or journalists job is to present both sides. If he is unwilling to do so then maybe the article shouldnt be written.
If he wants to write about his own personal opinion and write a biased review, he should do it on his own personal blog, myspace or whatever. Writing it here as a front page articles just makes this site look very amaturish and immature(sorta contradicts its name).
Readers do come here excpecting more then some random forums posters opinion and take these articles more seriously. I really feel this is doing the gaming community a disservice.

Just wanted to add, i understand many people dont like this game. Any serious review should strongly warn any potential buyer about the many bugs and performance issues aswell as discribe exactly who the game is geared towards. That said I am personally glad i tried this game, i'm having more fun then i have in years in gaming.

Elysium wrote:
Or maybe they know their job as a reviewer is to look out how the game is designed, judge it on those merits and inform the public how it works.

Aside from the fact that I pointed out twice in this article that this is not a review, the game is simply not very good. Compared with other MMOs on the market I can't come up with a compelling reason to recommend this game to anyone over far better games. Were I doing a review, which again I'm not (though I see I have been linked as such) my job would be to be honest with readers, not to be confined within only the scope of the game's abilities to meet its own arbitrary goals of design.

I'm glad you're enjoying the game, though.

The fact you are writing an article on a gaming NEWS site makes you a journalist. Writing a disclaimer (this is not a review) does not release you from your obligations as a journalist. That being said you have the right to write anything you want biased, unbiased true or false , but thats irresponsible.

I cant come up with a compelling reason to recommend curling( the sport) to anyone over a more exciting sport like football or hockey. Yet I recognize that many people love that sport, maybe for its more slow pace and stratigical aspects, idont know honestly. Maybe i dont see it and dont appreciate it yet its there.

The fact you are writing an article on a gaming NEWS site makes you a journalist.

I know you are new here so lets just clear up that this isn't a news site. If you want a news site that is why we link to the escapist and had the Press Pass at one time. This is a opinionated forum with featured posters on the front page. A community above all else.

Edwin wrote:
The fact you are writing an article on a gaming NEWS site makes you a journalist.

I know you are new here so lets just clear up that this isn't a news site. If you want a news site that is why we link to the escapist and had the Press Pass at one time. This is a opinionated forum with featured posters on the front page. A community above all else.

Then if its a gaming community site dose it not owe it to the gaming community to give fair unbiased artcle?
My apologies. Even though this "was not a review" he did refer to himself as a reviewer so you could see how I was mislead.
That said i still dont see how that changes the validity of any of my points, just ask yourself "what is the purpose or goal of this community site". And does this artilce uphold those goals and purposes?

Just havta tell you the way I found this review er not review was on many other gaming sites people were talking bout the thrashing vsoh got on gamers with jobs. Now I gotta tell you im sure at least some people have been influenced by this.

Up till now everyother major site has given vsoh a fair review(not always good but always fair)I think up till now the average rating is about 7 outa 10 , i think thats about what it diserves.
This site says "game sucks, dont buy it, dont even try it". Think thats fair to the gaming community?

"what is the purpose or goal of this community site".

To perpetuate the awesomeness of oogaba (boobs for you since you don't know).

This site says "game sucks, don't buy it, don't even try it". Think thats fair to the gaming community?

I think you're taking it way too seriously. It's just an opinion as are all reviews. Just because it doesn't line up with what is the norm doesn't mean it's bad.

A general response to concerns I've seen raised here and elsewhere:

Well, let's clear a few things up all around. We're not a news site. We never have been, and I can't imagine what gave anyone the impression that we are. We, and by we I mean myself and our staff of freelance writers with countless credits in professional gaming outlets, write opinions. That's the whole point of the site.

Also, I'm not a journalist.

I do have a responsibility, though. That responsibility is to meet the expectations of my readers. Now, when I say readers please understand that I mean the thousands of people who read GWJ every day, who participate in our forums and support our unique - and I appreciate all the more how unique it is now - community. That's my only responsibility.

Now, if bluesnews, and slashdot and whomever else decides to link to my article, then that's really out of my control, as is how they characterize my comments. Even more out of my control is how fans with a chip on their shoulder respond to my characterization of Vangaurd on their own private forums, but like I said before it comes with the territory, and I would never invade their private communities just to defend my work, not that it needs defending. The point is, my responsibility hasn't changed just because someone on a forum linked to me. Now, if you can show me that readers of GWJ feel like I haven't met their standards, then, and only then, you can talk to me about not meeting my obligations, but for people who come in here with no idea who we are, what we do or why we're doing it with some broad declarations of "responsibility", well I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed with my response.

Now, what I hope is that we've found a few people (maybe just one or two) who will find this review as a gateway to our community, and will find something not in the review itself but in our community to be interested in. Like I said, if I had to guess we're probably just talking a handful out of the 10,000+ who have clicked the various links to my article. They're the folks we're after, and they're the only people toward which I feel any responsibility.

The rest of this is just the stuff we have to endure in trying to find people who fit our site.

This is the last thing I will say about this painfully mediocre game. I played Vanguard, both in beta and in release. I put in far more hours than I'd have liked. Bad bad game. If in the process I've saved some people some money and disuaded anyone from participating in the support of the kind of consciously buggy releases that constantly infect an industry that I care about, then you'll pardon me while I feel at least as justified as I do unapologetic, if not moreso.

Now, since no one else in the industry is particularly excited with or talking about Vanguard, you'll have to forgive me while I forget I ever played it and get back to my actual responsibility, taking care of our readers who're even now avoiding this thread like the plague. I welcome those of you interested in gaming in general to explore our forums, join our community, read an article from another of our writers (our staff includes contributors to The Escapist, Massive Magazine, CGM, Wired, and other professional outlets) or give our podcast a listen. To those of you interested only in Vanguard, or worse defending it with angry commentary and ridiculous accusations, we're not a one trick pony and if a game isn't very good we aren't really that interested in pursuing long discussions about it. There are numerous conversations on the precise degree of my incompetence on plenty of Vanguard fansites, and I invite you to join one of them.

Yeah, new guy here. But this discussion interested me and I wanted to toss my $.02 into the mix.

First off a bit o' perspective. I disliked EQ. I have no fond memories of it. Pretty much in 1 week I knew EQ was tripe and never went back. My real introduction to MMOs from years ago was Asheron's Call. Loved it. Still compare games to this day to stuff that Turbine did back then. Over the years I've played pretty much every MMO that went to market. AO, E&B, MCO, Horizons, Planetside, WWIIOL, Shadowbane, EQ2, AC2, CoH, (only tested CoV), SWG and, of course WoW. Not an exhaustive list but enough I think to give perspective on were I'm coming from.

Originally I had no intention of picking up Vanguard. I read the reviews, many of which were like those presented here. Furthermore I absolutely cannot stand SOE in terms of how they handle their products. Their treatment of Planetside alone is an absolute travesty. Only SOE could take a hot property like Star Wars and screw it up as bad as they have. I didn't play Vanguard in the beta. So no SOE/Vanguard fanboy am I.

But I'm sitting here in Vanguard with a level 12 Monk. I bought it in spite of the bad in the reviews. In fact, it was the reviews which got me to overcome my loathing of SOE and give it a try. Why? Precisely because of many of the problems people here and elsewhere have retold.

Not the graphics (which are growing on my but still, could be a lot better) nor the bugs (those can be fixed) nor even the fact it is unfinished (that too, is fixable). No, it was the fact that people were lamenting that Vanguard is so big and empty. Also they, and the screenshots, detailed features which showed that in spite of the rush job (thank you SOE) Vanguard has been so far Sigil seems to be attempting to bring the MMO genre back from the boring precipice it has been edging towards for years now.

MMOs have grown too soft, too small. As I say elsewhere (mmorpg.com for one) the Massively in MMORPG should not only apply to the player base on the server at any given time. I want huge worlds, not small instances with fewer players than on my local Counter-Strike server. I want death to have meaning, not just be another pretty time-sink. The game should be about the journey and not end-game. I hate to break it to many MMO players who complain about the level grind but I've played an MMO where I never hit the cap (AC) and a games where I hit it way too soon (CoH and WoW) and there's no difference save one. CoH just ended, WoW you're just gear and rep grinding. In AC there was constant improvement. A good piece of gear meant something because you might have it for more than a few hours. It wasn't about a rush to the end-game just so you could experience the few decent dungeons or areas the developers put more than a few passing moments of time into.

Does Vanguard fulfill that promise? I honestly cannot say. But what drew me to give Vanguard a chance is that it at least made the promise. That is something many of the recent MMOs have not even dared to attempt. They have focused smaller, faster, easier.... until you hit end-game where it either dies out or flips from being solo friendly to guild of 20-40 people required. It is on that promise I put down WoW:TBC in frustration and am giving Sigil a chance. The promise to expand the genre instead of contract it.

As an aside I want to address one technical issue outside of the game's merits. I have a AMD 2500+ Barton core w/1Gb of 2700 RAM. I'm running an ATI X1600, pretty much the last of the high end AGP cards. This is by no means a powerful machine, certainly not up to some of the specs posted in this discussion. In fact I am barely above the minimum specs and nowhere near the recommended specs. Vanguard as of right now (yes, posting as my character sits there) can pull 15-20fps even while fighting. I don't have all the options turned up but given my setup would you expect me to? On the other hand I don't have them at bare minimums, either. I find the framerate playable and some of the visual effects are quite eye-catching. But anyway, yeah, the frames are there and it's not that hard to find them.

New guy here as well;)

Ive played vg since the open beta and am currently playing it..Would i subscribe if it wasent on sation access...not really..the game has great potential but and its a big but its unfinished and buggy..At least they were honest that they released early and id have to say the game ran soo much worse in beta and was so much more buggy..Ive given up on diplomacy way to predictable but i like the adventuring ..the graphics are fine on my pc but i have to wonder how many ppl will still be playing after their free month runs out.Hopefully the game will get more content and the harcaore players wont be listened 2 or the game will die as it will just be grind grind grind...I mean if u want to play old style eq then play eqmac that really is old style eq..

MMOs have grown too soft, too small.

Heh.. exactly the kind of player The Quaid loves.. I do enough work in real life so the last thing I want is a game that feels like work and punishes me.

As I stated before theres a target market for this type of game.. and I'm really (really!) glad theres somewhere else for all you people to go and get together.

I skimmed this entire thread!

Great article, Elysium. Personally, I appreciate the harsher tone. It feels more honest.

kab wrote:

Then if its a gaming community site dose it not owe it to the gaming community to give fair unbiased artcle?

Let me guess: in your mind, "unbiased" means "agrees with kab"?

If I have problems with something and I write about them, that's not bias. It's experience, it's opinion, it's judgement. On the other hand, if my views are pre-colored by the track record of the company, personal enmity between myself and a developer, or some other connection not directly related to the game, that could be called bias. I can't say I saw any of that in Elysium's review.

I dont understand what anyone else is frustrated about. All i know is our Baelgun guild lost Certis and Demiurge to this thing called a Vanguard Lvl 20 Bloodoath. If anyone should be mad, its us!

Now how to get the point across... maybe some warm and inviting american hospitality?
"Ya'all hurry on back now. Ya hear?"

or maybe in umm, Canadian, to subliminally plant that feeling of coming home to Baelgun?
"Come back hey? There's instances and good times awaitin hey?"
(And I never thought that movie Strangebrew would come in handy.)

Oh and dont worry, I'm not mad or frustrated, I havent peeked in P&C yet today. (I joke! I joke!)

Irongut wrote:

Oh and dont worry, I'm not mad or frustrated, I havent peeked in P&C yet today. (I joke! I joke!)

You know, as a P&C frequenter, I think lately this thread has been more blood-boiling than that entire subset of our forums.

In fact, I'm gonna go read the P&C just so I can calm down!

Alien13z wrote:

You know, Lum the Mad parlayed this type of commentary into a free trip to visit Sony headquarters. Maybe you could get the same deal.

Point of order: I paid for the trip. Well, SOE didn't charge me an admission fee, so that part was free.

Lum wrote:
Alien13z wrote:

You know, Lum the Mad parlayed this type of commentary into a free trip to visit Sony headquarters. Maybe you could get the same deal.

Point of order: I paid for the trip. Well, SOE didn't charge me an admission fee, so that part was free.

You parlayed this kind of commentary into a job at Mythic, I seem to recall. How's NCSoft treating you? Do they make you play Lineage?

TheGameguru wrote:
MMOs have grown too soft, too small.

Heh.. exactly the kind of player The Quaid loves.. I do enough work in real life so the last thing I want is a game that feels like work and punishes me.

Having a large world to move in is punishment? I'm sorry, but if I wanted small environments I'd buy a single-player game or, at most, one of the many games which allow me to set up my own server. As I said up front Massively in MMO should apply to the world, too. In today's day and age of instancing it makes world outside the instances little more than a pretty server browser.

Look at it from the perspective of First Person Shooters. We've had FPS which give us 32 players for half a decade now, 64 is quickly becoming the norm. But in each case how large is the map? You're lucky if it takes you 2 minutes to see pretty much all of it. The look at Planetside and WWIIOL, both of which have been out about the same amount of time. Battles between hundreds of people, maps that can take 15m to cross (Planetside's smaller continents) up to hours to cross (WWIIOL's 1/4th scale Europe). It introduces a different dynamic, one that would be lost if new MMO FPS were to "instance" everything into oblivion as the current MMORPGs have done.

As for punishing do other games "punish" you for messing up? RTS if you lose a battle you... start over. FPS if you lose a fight you... start over from your last save (sometimes that's the begining of the level). Puzzle games if you mess up you... start over. MMOs if you mess up you... uhm, don't have hardly any negative factors applied. CoH you got an experience debt which was easily mitigated and really didn't stop any forward progress. WoW you lose *time* it takes to run back, as a completely invisible and invincible ghost, to your body. Trust me. I've capped out several characters on both games and that's no detriment at all.

Do I think we should go back to the days of early EQ where you lost *everything* when you died? Nope. AC's vitae and partial inventory loss was a great balance. So is Vanguard's. Any item which I have not bound to me (which takes a whole 50c reagent) is on my grave... which I can teleport to me if I don't feel like going through a body recovery. There's minimal XP loss but nothing that I've ever felt.

If you think that is punishment I truly wonder what you think about other genres that "punish" you when you mess up. I wonder, really, why you play games at all if the prospect of losing and the consequences that come with it are such a bother.

Having a large world to move in is punishment? I'm sorry, but if I wanted small environments I'd buy a single-player game or, at most, one of the many games which allow me to set up my own server. As I said up front Massively in MMO should apply to the world, too. In today's day and age of instancing it makes world outside the instances little more than a pretty server browser.

Having played IoK then EQ and various other MMORPG's after that..I cant say that having a HUGE world ends up making that much difference in the end.. I'd say that 80% of EQ as it stands right now is barren. What matters it not simply how many zones or how much land mass you have but rather the quality of that "area". IMO I'd rather have quality over quantity.

Look at it from the perspective of First Person Shooters. We've had FPS which give us 32 players for half a decade now, 64 is quickly becoming the norm. But in each case how large is the map? You're lucky if it takes you 2 minutes to see pretty much all of it.

again Quality over Quantity.. some of my best FPS online times were on the smaller maps in ET..

If you think that is punishment I truly wonder what you think about other genres that "punish" you when you mess up. I wonder, really, why you play games at all if the prospect of losing and the consequences that come with it are such a bother.

I play games to have fun.. I play WoW for the end game challenge and the enjoyment of playing with my friends in the guild. Playing it the 'Quaid way usually isnt fun.

Whats hilarious is that most of Vanguards faithful and fans of that style of MMORPG would want nothing to do with 90% of the people who wouldnt be playing Vanguard anyway. The first time some casual wiped your group you'd all be yelling newb! or stfu loser! and kicking him/her from your group because of your death penalty. I dealt with the kind of player EQ and Vanguard appeal to and I want nothing more to do with them.. they caused a game that already felt like work to become even more stressful.

So in the end your taking offense to an article about a game you really don't want people playing with you that wouldnt be playing with you anyway. (article or no article).

TheGameguru wrote:

Whats hilarious is that most of Vanguards faithful and fans of that style of MMORPG would want nothing to do with 90% of the people who wouldnt be playing Vanguard anyway. The first time some casual wiped your group you'd all be yelling newb! or stfu loser! and kicking him/her from your group because of your death penalty. I dealt with the kind of player EQ and Vanguard appeal to and I want nothing more to do with them.. they caused a game that already felt like work to become even more stressful.

So in the end your taking offense to an article about a game you really don't want people playing with you that wouldnt be playing with you anyway. (article or no article).

Hmmm, when I played WoW I got the exact same feeling from the community on that server. When playing Vanguard I'm always running into people willing to help, and since playing I've only ran into 2-3 people that have really made a situation bad by being inconsiderate. The thing is, a lot of times it may just be the server your on that has a bad community. It wouldn't matter to me who played, as long as their in good spirit. But no matter what game you play, you'll end up running into people that just bring the game down for those around them.

I'd say that 80% of EQ as it stands right now is barren. What matters it not simply how many zones or how much land mass you have but rather the quality of that "area". IMO I'd rather have quality over quantity.

That's EQ, the game is pretty old, and what does it have to do with Vanguard besides the fact that a few of the developers help start EQ. The quality that you guys seem to say isn't there is confusing. What qualities does Vanguard not have that it should? Personally I think there's great quality. For example when you can explore a massive world and find things you can say "Wow, you guys gotta see this" at just about every corner of the world, there's something to be said about that. It's nice to be able to not see everything an area has to offer by turning in a circle.

I play games to have fun.. I play WoW for the end game challenge and the enjoyment of playing with my friends in the guild. Playing it the 'Quaid way usually isnt fun.

Everyone has there own version of fun. Some people like when there's risk involved, a challenge that video games have provided for quite some time. Some people like to play a game where the only challenge is to take your time up.

meh.. time to move on.. I've said my piece... at this point its beating a dead horse. Enjoy your game.

Quintin_Stone wrote:
kab wrote:

Then if its a gaming community site dose it not owe it to the gaming community to give fair unbiased artcle?

Let me guess: in your mind, "unbiased" means "agrees with kab"?

If I have problems with something and I write about them, that's not bias. It's experience, it's opinion, it's judgement. On the other hand, if my views are pre-colored by the track record of the company, personal enmity between myself and a developer, or some other connection not directly related to the game, that could be called bias. I can't say I saw any of that in Elysium's review.

Do you know the definition of the wor bias? Did you read any of my posts? I said basically vsoh would NOT be enjoyed by the majority of gamers, however it is enjoyed by many(myself included) that like its playstyle. So in essence your right (even though you were trying to be sarcastic) my view is unbiased since im looking at it from both sides.

The author on the other hand refuses to acknowledge that some enjoy this playstlye and refuses to even try and look at this from a different perspective. That is bias.

kab is banned due to the personal nature of his attacks in a post now deleted. I'll be watching this thread closely.

kab wrote:

The author on the other hand refuses to acknowledge that some enjoy this playstlye and refuses to even try and look at this from a different perspective. That is bias.

I dont think its bias. I think he has expressed his personal conclusion after having given the game a fair shot. He never disavows anyone's right to enjoy an unfinished or buggy game, however, in its current state, he could not in good faith recommend it to someone else nor will he extend his own experience beyond his level 20 blood oath. We all have different games that we sometimes overly invest hope in, that we see beyond the reality of what is delivered, don't take it so personal.

Look on the bright side, it could be worse, it could be Lineage 2 or Asheron's Call 2.

*grumps* Who let the damned Internets into GWJ?

Ouch, this entire debate has become painful to read. I wonder if Elysium had any idea this was going to happen when he wrote the article.
It's not the first time a game has been criticized on GWJ.

scrub wrote:

This thread amuses me:

http://www.fohguild.org/forums/mmorpg-general-discussion/27323-review.html

And ditto Farscry and jonnypolite.

You should check this one out then.

Anyhow I like the fact that when I read a review or an opinion piece here I know I will get an honest take on it. That in of itself is a great thing, but another great thing is I can count on people freely being able to post in agreement or disagreement respectfully. I think that is awesome. It allows for me to see not just one side, but the whole side.

I also don't see the WoWism that some speak of.

Well i got into beta of Vanguard and agree with the OP 100%. Fact is the game was a serious chore to play. I had to force myself to even want to. Reading the previews of the game i was excited, once i logged in and saw the game mechanics i was scared. So i played to level 6, and guess what, everything i had done was force fed to myself. I didnt like it, wanted to upchuck it, but tried my best to give it a chance.

I know MMO's sometimes drag out for 10 or 20 levels, but most times its quick, and not so painless. This was like a gaping wound, that i couldnt force closed.

They touted great graphics, and hardcore gameplay. However, i saw none of that. Innovative to me doesnt me "the suck". Innovative means, other games will be copying that new system for years to come because it changed how we view and use a game mechanic.
They said the world would be alive, and full. Well besides trees and grass and the occasion tenting area and caves, in the early levels i saw NOTHING. Not one thing had me wanting to explore either as the landscape was dull and sightless. I couldt tell if there was just bush ahead or actual cities, and being in a huge map with no indication of where to go, or if their is even life where your going is just discouraging.

I truely beleive their should be a standard of release for games. Im so tired of seeing beta copy's of games getting released as full versions, and have us pay per month to keep it developed. its bullsh*t. Us gamers have to stop letting the developers spoon feed us, stop letting the reviewers and previewers (who btw are looking for advertising dollars and dont really care much about reviewing properly) spoon feed us their bullsh*t reviews.

Its websites like these who will review a game properly, and give it the due it deserves, that should become a central hub for gaming reviewing.

As for anyone who actually liked Vanguard, stop looking for a Job already. Stop brown nosing. The game is obviously bad, is obviously released too early, and admittedly (by its own creator) is not up to the par it expected to acheive. You like this game, great, just dont tout it as a Great Game. It does nothing really new, or innovative and it fails to even meet the standards it set out to achieve.