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

I've observed different people having different starting experiences with Vanguard. Elysium's anti-review sounds somewhat similar to my own experience - my character started in some desert on top of some hill and everything looked very washed out and bland. It was only the lucky coincidence of the-other-game-I-play patching and MxO only holding my attention for 17 minutes that I decided to try another character, and found a much richer and engaging world.

But that's still relative. Vanguard didn't recapture that early EQ1 experience that was the hype that got me sold on it, it just recaptured the miserable design elements that slowly drew away from it. I thought I was the only person in the world who thought "elligible" was the wrong word for "death penalty" beyond sheer time and embarrasment.

Vanguard is the MMORPG catch-all for people who like their MMO dark and bitter. It's got lore out of the wazoo for the Tolkein fans, who find that lore adds depth merely by existing. Most people, however, like their lore to have purpose or relevance. Vanguard has real hardship - travel times, death penalty, corpse recovery...

Ultimately, I find Vanguard is a great game for people who want a virtual life; to invest in their little avatar a full personality and story in a world big enough for them a 50,000 other people doing the same thing. Not your average, typical gamer.

kfsone wrote:

Vanguard is the MMORPG catch-all for people who like their MMO dark and bitter. It's got lore out of the wazoo for the Tolkein fans, who find that lore adds depth merely by existing. Most people, however, like their lore to have purpose or relevance. Vanguard has real hardship - travel times, death penalty, corpse recovery...

Ultimately, I find Vanguard is a great game for people who want a virtual life; to invest in their little avatar a full personality and story in a world big enough for them a 50,000 other people doing the same thing. Not your average, typical gamer.

Oh man, now I am actually interested in this game.

I like my MMOs like I like my coffee, I guess.

(And my women. :lol:)

I read your anti review , and I am glad to see that someone finally says what they really feel about a game when they review( anti review) without real fear of hurting someones feelings or angering some company. I have alot of times bought games due to reviewers being to afraid about being honest about the game.

I unfortunatly bought VG before reading this and I have to agree. The game is not done and alot of things in the game are boring or dumb. If i want a card game ill buy yugi oh for my console.

wordsmythe wrote:

I like my MMOs like I like my coffee, I guess.

(And my women. :lol:)

Hot and with a spoon in them?

Quintin_Stone wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:

I like my MMOs like I like my coffee, I guess.

(And my women. :lol:)

Hot and with a spoon in them?

In a plastic cup.

wordsmythe wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:

I like my MMOs like I like my coffee, I guess.

(And my women. :lol:)

Hot and with a spoon in them?

In a plastic cup.

For a flat monthly fee ?

Alimony by the glass?

wordsmythe wrote:
BlackSheep wrote:

I'm pretty sure there will be no need to go back and address every point and riposte to my original statements. One of the inherent failings with online forums is that it allows for only a partially realized form of communication that generally rejects all but the word written (including tone, body language, some form of intimacy with the participant), especially for us unknown coffee grinders of the forum. That allows for a heavy glossing (as we fill in the blanks that we think or that are implicitly missing) of others posts.

Does this count as intimacy?
"Finger --> butt"

On topic, I'm not a regular MMO player, but I've had a couple thoughts in response to BlackSheep's posts. In short: I agree.

  • Storytellers -- If you're going to have players interacting with an overarching plot to the game, you need people watching what's going on and reacting to it. You can set up a general story, but -- at least in the PnP realm -- role play ends up being "how much freedom can I allow myself without breaking the DM's plot/soul?" This is why a good DM in PnP is able to adapt to what the characters are. You take what the characters do and work with it. Frankly, I don't think the MMO developers have the will or finances to keep enough creatives on hand to handle this.
  • PvP & Realism -- Letting characters' actions (even non-combat ones, mind you) effect the world goes a long way here, but there's some specific points that get missed. If you want players to do more than grind and chat, you need to encourage role play. You need to encourage things like setting up their own shady guilds. You need to have things like pickpocket skills, and you need to let them be used. If you're in some giant, London-esque city, and someone decides that they're forming a street gang on one block to be their "turf," that is RP gold. I understand that newbies don't want to get ganked, and there is a time and a place to protect the younglings, but if this kind of things was encouraged -- if sometimes exploring means being afraid for the life, property, or anal virginity of your character -- I will certainly start playing, and I know plenty of folks that will join.

I'm pretty sure intimate speech doesn't have to necessarily involve fingers and/or butts in any capacity.

As for storytellers -- I honestly believe that there are people out there that would be willing to do this service for free. If you make their character very powerful, yet also make them permadeath, it would create an interesting dynamic, I think to the world. Not that it wouldn't take a special person to run this, yet imagine finding yourself meeting Emperor such-and-such in game or Prince blah-blah. These characters could be NPCs when not driven by PC presence and *retire* to attend courtly matters during a PCs time off. Imagine the politicking that could occur over garnering favor of these people. In fact, it could even be that (like SWG promised about Jedi and permadeath) if you chose to try to be a figurehead yourself, your own character would then have all of the benefits and the drawbacks, including permadeath if you so chose.

Ok, ok, I'm getting back on topic after this discussion or I'll have to make a new thread or some such thing.

wordsmythe wrote:

[*] PvP & Realism -- Letting characters' actions (even non-combat ones, mind you) effect the world goes a long way here, but there's some specific points that get missed. If you want players to do more than grind and chat, you need to encourage role play. You need to encourage things like setting up their own shady guilds. You need to have things like pickpocket skills, and you need to let them be used. If you're in some giant, London-esque city, and someone decides that they're forming a street gang on one block to be their "turf," that is RP gold. I understand that newbies don't want to get ganked, and there is a time and a place to protect the younglings, but if this kind of things was encouraged -- if sometimes exploring means being afraid for the life, property, or anal virginity of your character -- I will certainly start playing, and I know plenty of folks that will join.[/list]

I'm not holding my breath on GM events, or spontaneous RPer organization - haven't seen that since text MUD days.

But we wouldn't even need to go that far if developers would start thinking outside the box, hire some quality writers, and dedicate themselves to getting some real content into these games, even if it means pushing back a release date or two.

Take WoW for example, you can't RP WoW effectively, even with a GM, because the lack of depth in the game won't support it.

As an illustration, which of these sounds more likely to foster an RP environment (or more fun, for that matter)?

A) You've decided to roll a Wizard. You log into a game. Read some tutorial tips. Wander around a bit, accept a quest to kill 10 wolf cubs because they've been eating Grandma's chickens. Kill kill kill, get lost, get killed, more killing, DING!, more killing, turn in quest for "oooo-shiny!" bauble, make way to major city for new fetch-me-the-remote quests, start tradeskilling, start grouping only because your exp is really starting to suck, kill, do instance/major dungeon, kill... and REPEAT for the next 45+ levels.

-OR-

B) You've decided to roll a Wizard. You log into the game, and your town is on fire. Brigands/dark minions/whatever have set the town on fire, and the villagers blame you. They banish you and your dark magic powers, and you set out on your own. Along the way you start making some practical use of your powers to survive, and decide to join a mages guild in a nearby town.

You start as an initiate, running errands for everyone from the local cook to the guildmaster, fetching herbs from the garden or killing rats in the basement. Just as you start to get the hang of things, maybe a rival tries to kill off the competition, you kill him. DING. You're now level 4, but that hardly matters, you're still a pitiful initiate. Then a mentor summons you and sets you off on a task that, if completed, promotes you to Novice (and you get a cool new cloak/title/staff/series of spells/etc.).

This continues for a while, you continue to rise in levels and rank within the guild, your superiors entrusting you with more and more challenging tasks that send you further and further away from home. Along the way, your reputation grows, townsfolk start opening up to you and requesting your help and services. You are now entrusted with matters of great importance, and rumblings of a growing conspiracy are being made plain to you... so you set off to do something about it...

========

A = every MMO ever released.
B = snowball in hell.

Sure, cheesy fantasy cliche, but it took me all of 3 seconds to dream up and I'd still rather play in that world than the alternative. There my actions might actually mean something to me.

There's no reason dev's can't approach this level of sophistication or better in games, it's just that there's no money in it. Creative talent costs money, and real content (storyline, questing, RP-friendly gameplay, etc.) is the first thing to be cut to satisfy some publisher's oppressive deadline.

Greyed wrote:

First off I was talking about /played. I didn't make that clear. But the average time from 0 to 60 in WoW pre-TBC was about 12 days /played. For most of the WoW player base... that's just shy of one real-game month. About 3-3.5 weeks.If you don't believe me take a trip over to warcraftrealms.com and look at the census numbers. On pretty much any server older than 4 weeks you'll see most of the characters are 60+. TBC increased the 0-cap from 12 days /played to about... 18. So now we're up to a whopping 4.5-5.5 weeks of real time play for most players. That's not months, that's barely over 1 month.

Good lord, man, are you serious?! Who the heck, other than high school students, can play 288 hours of games in a 3-3.5 week timespan?!

[edit]I say this recalling that I did exactly this in high school. I've never had that kind of time to game again since then, except when I was unemployed for a couple months, and gaming was not on my list of priorities at that time.[/edit]

On a week where I have lots of game time, I might get 20 hours of gaming in. More often, I don't. It's typically more like around 10. When I'm not taking night classes and am just managing a full-time job with moderate overtime (I'm a computer tech at a large corporation) that weekly time climbs by around 5-10 hours. And I think I put in a fairly hefty amount of game time in each week. That amounts to roughly 80 hours per month on average throughout the year. If I spent ALL that time in WoW, I might go from 1-60 over the course of 3-4 months according to the 12 days /played calculation.

Kel wrote:

B) You've decided to roll a Wizard. You log into the game, and your town is on fire. Brigands/dark minions/whatever have set the town on fire, and the villagers blame you. They banish you and your dark magic powers, and you set out on your own. Along the way you start making some practical use of your powers to survive, and decide to join a mages guild in a nearby town.

You start as an initiate, running errands for everyone from the local cook to the guildmaster, fetching herbs from the garden or killing rats in the basement. Just as you start to get the hang of things, maybe a rival tries to kill off the competition, you kill him. DING. You're now level 4, but that hardly matters, you're still a pitiful initiate. Then a mentor summons you and sets you off on a task that, if completed, promotes you to Novice (and you get a cool new cloak/title/staff/series of spells/etc.).

This continues for a while, you continue to rise in levels and rank within the guild, your superiors entrusting you with more and more challenging tasks that send you further and further away from home. Along the way, your reputation grows, townsfolk start opening up to you and requesting your help and services. You are now entrusted with matters of great importance, and rumblings of a growing conspiracy are being made plain to you... so you set off to do something about it...

Maybe we all could use a new model. Something absolutely groundbreaking, like a hybrid WWIIOnline/Planetside experience with what MMORPGs have become, which are way too overly fond and needy of franchise tags just to generate interest (SWG, LOTRO, Conan, etc) as opposed to actually offering something that fixes the percieved problems of the long line of listing and sinking MMOs in the market today.

Obligitory sentence about Vanguard, since this does happen to be a Vanguard post: Diplomacy could have so been used as a means of getting to Part B, by opening various quests effectively to create a cool storyline and could have even been used as a possible option for something other than our standard, "pull, let tank hold aggro, heal tank, DPS it with the offensive warriors, spam nuke it with the DPS mage, heal tank, tank taunt, loot corpse" method. In a tangentally related post, I really despise the kiddos that tell me to know my place in an RPG.

"You're DPS so you have to do this"
"You're main tank, so you have to be our meatshield."
Sad, sad stale tripe that the homeless would think twice before eating, but the gamer contingent just dives right in.

Kel wrote:

There's no reason dev's can't approach this level of sophistication or better in games, it's just that there's no money in it.

Ding ding ding! We have a winner.

Very worthwhile discussion. Hopefully by the end of next week I'll have a little tea party set up where we can all throw in our two quatloos.

BlackSheep wrote:

I'm pretty sure intimate speech doesn't have to necessarily involve fingers and/or butts in any capacity.

*Yoink!* ("Finger --> Butt" is a meme here.)

Kel and BlackSheep, did either of you ever play any UO private shards? There was some good RP going on a handful of those. My brain's been fomenting plans to try something like that in NWN2 with a perpetual world and nice, long RP qualifications applications.

I just happen to browse to this site on accident and found this anti-review quite by accident.

I think that beyond a game review, the one thing that has to be considered is each individuals taste.
For instance, a good movie to someone was a bad one to someone else. This applies to all form of entertainment. Some people consider death metal music vile, others love it.

If I had to write reviews for FPS games, they would probably be very much like Elysium's review of Vanguard. Since I hate those types of game, the games negative would jump out at me and I wouldn't make any effort to find the positives.

Its fine that a lot of people don't like Vanguard, but just because they don't like, it doesn't mean others won't or that it shouldn't exist.

I am sure that Vanguard is not a game for everyone and that is fine, but people should learn that somebody's trash is someone else's treasure.

wordsmythe wrote:

*Yoink!* ("Finger --> Butt" is a meme here.)

Kel and BlackSheep, did either of you ever play any UO private shards? There was some good RP going on a handful of those. My brain's been fomenting plans to try something like that in NWN2 with a perpetual world and nice, long RP qualifications applications.

Wonderful that we're trading cultural memes around this place; what the hell have I walked into, aside fromt the aforementioned finger? And is it clean?

I never played on a private server on UO. I was a Napa boy back in the day and part of a guild that was dedicated to roleplaying -- we had grand tourneys among ourselves, had a feudalistic structure we all adhered to, and generally built a brief, fleeting reputation as a quirky guild that gave away houses to its members (not true -- most nobles needed to be landed, of course, but you could be a knight errant)

Of course, when AC and EQ eventually wiped the guild, AC in particular was the vulture picking at the bones of what was left, I was the only person left. I actually made friends with the big griefer's guild, MDK (Murder Death Kill, which is appropriate in so many ways and has a nice ring to it) and they protected me like I was a baby chick in their nest, even going so far as bringing the heads of those that PKed me after I would follow them back to their houses as a OooOOOOoOO ghost.

Ah, the days.

I used to play NWN, but my computer literally ate my Install CD when the DVD/CD-ROM went bad and wouldn't let go.

BlackSheep wrote:

Wonderful that we're trading cultural memes around this place; what the hell have I walked into, aside fromt the aforementioned finger? And is it clean?

It's no more harmful than a covetous DVD drive. I believe the forum motto is "GWJ: Come for the articles, stay for the homoerotic banter."

Kel wrote:

I'm not holding my breath on GM events, or spontaneous RPer organization - haven't seen that since text MUD days.

Let me guess... never played UO? In the old school UO days (pre Tram/Fel split) UO was amass with GM events. Some were very difficult, in fact. I loved it. As far as RPing goes, the RP servers on Dark Age of Camelot was a great place for Roleplaying (at the time of my depature from the game at any rate). So much so that I knew people who played elven sort of characters, and were learning elven (elvish?) to speak colloquially.

And since I can't find (and won't look for) Greyed's post... like hell WoW's average to 60 time was 12 days /played. Maybe for someone rushing to get it (not hard core leveling, just rushing), but average was much closer to, if not over 20 days /played.

DreamInducedHaze wrote:
Kel wrote:

I'm not holding my breath on GM events, or spontaneous RPer organization - haven't seen that since text MUD days.

Let me guess... never played UO? In the old school UO days (pre Tram/Fel split) UO was amass with GM events. Some were very difficult, in fact. I loved it. As far as RPing goes, the RP servers on Dark Age of Camelot was a great place for Roleplaying (at the time of my depature from the game at any rate). So much so that I knew people who played elven sort of characters, and were learning elven (elvish?) to speak colloquially.

And since I can't find (and won't look for) Greyed's post... like hell WoW's average to 60 time was 12 days /played. Maybe for someone rushing to get it (not hard core leveling, just rushing), but average was much closer to, if not over 20 days /played.

I remember the elves learning to do those sorts of things. Then again, Hibernians were all a little cooky anyway. We enjoyed really rushing down from the trees outside of their gate and spanking the lowbies. All us Midgaardians could do is grunt out replies.

BlackSheep wrote:

I remember the elves learning to do those sorts of things. Then again, Hibernians were all a little cooky anyway. We enjoyed really rushing down from the trees outside of their gate and spanking the lowbies. All us Midgaardians could do is grunt out replies.

Hey! You leave us Hibbies alone! *Goes to hump a tree then frolicks off stroking his... lute.*

DreamInducedHaze wrote:

Hey! You leave us Hibbies alone! *Goes to hump a tree then frolicks off stroking his... lute.*

Midgaard always seemed like the outnumbered group. Stupid kids wanted to play the "Knight in shining armor" or wanted to play the other overstressed class, the "Pwning Ranger, Sneaker/Shooter -- did I mention your Pwnage?!" What did Midgaard have? Er, a Spirit Mage, a Skald, and a bunch of Trolls. It took a special (read:stupid) person to play the bad guys of the mythology.

"You're DPS so you have to do this"
"You're main tank, so you have to be our meatshield."
Sad, sad stale tripe that the homeless would think twice before eating, but the gamer contingent just dives right in.

I have been wanting to get rid of the "healer" class for just this reason for a long time. Give the player health potions but put them on a cool down period and make them heal over time. I would design health potions just like they are in Diablo 2 except with a 5 second cool down.

BTW: I loved the Kobolds and Trolls from DAOC. My highest level characters were a Spiritmaster, Shaman and Skald.

fangblackbone wrote:

BTW: I loved the Kobolds and Trolls from DAOC. My highest level characters were a Spiritmaster, Shaman and Skald.

I adored my Skald because of the run song, except I could never quite get over the nerfing they took in the Beta. It changed everything about the class. It was *almost* as bad as what happened to the Bard in EQII -- one minute, my Bard makes everything almost unhittable in the group (by choosing my songs carefully, I could buff the entire group's dex by 90! and their strength by 45!) which made healing hella easy. Unfortunately, what is EQII's solution (which, I did need a nerfing, but this was the worst decision they could have made) except to make stats less important. In effect, they royally screwed everyone just to fix the Bard. Wow. They could have just toned the songs down, but I guess that didn't cross anyone's mind. Instead, they just made stats worthless!

I had a troll named Kumrub (Hey, EQ's name generator gave it to me!) that was a Shaman that I had a lot of fun with too.

The healer classes too are in need of a bit of change... if I had my druthers, I think the MMORPG I would piece together would significantly change the way a cleric/priest like class would work. Less *fight changing* healings and perhaps divvy out really cool powers of conversion of population, the ability to evangelize for monies in town, or the ability to add bonuses to other combatants through their blessings (buff-type things, but within a given area around the priest). I've always had the feeling that it should be a much more interactive class than it currently is, but we're in that mold of making them a support class that becomes the mortar of any group, but at the same time, they're pretty marginalized outside of that context.

On my server Hibbies were outnumbered VASTLY by both the Albions and Mids. And I mean vastly. At last count it was like 3:1, and 2:1. This made it that much more sweet when we had the relics.

And as far as Mids went, I loved the Skaald class, definitely my favorite. The effed up when they brought in the... what was it called... the class with "claw" weapons that could hit up to 4 times at once, literally killing anything in its path in 1-2 hits. Yeah, that thing.

Thanks for being honest, this is the worst MMO since a long time.
The experience is SO mind-boggling boring and SUCH a grind-fest I cannot believe how it has gotten decent reviews.
I have played this game for several weeks.

The experience of the game, the sheer emptiness of the lands, diplomacy being the most boring of all, finding out crafting consists of clicking for hours and HOURS to gain skill points.

I seriously wonder if some reviewers actually played this game before they gave it a good score, cause it doesn't deserver a 1/10 for me.

This is an EXACT copy of Everquest, I don't mean, idea's taken from it. No, the gameplay and design is EXACTLY the same. It makes me wonder if they have anyone that has an original idea in Sigil.

Thanks.

DreamInducedHaze wrote:

On my server Hibbies were outnumbered VASTLY by both the Albions and Mids. And I mean vastly. At last count it was like 3:1, and 2:1. This made it that much more sweet when we had the relics.

And as far as Mids went, I loved the Skaald class, definitely my favorite. The effed up when they brought in the... what was it called... the class with "claw" weapons that could hit up to 4 times at once, literally killing anything in its path in 1-2 hits. Yeah, that thing.

Beserkers?

No I think he is talking about the Savage class. They were introduced with the Bonedancers on Midgard's side.

Albion got Necro's and that whip/chain wielding class. Hibernia got the tree people and the classes were Animist and Valewalker ( the cloth wearing scythe wielding tank... hmmm I wonder where Guild Wars got their idea from?)

Ah -- I remember the Bone Dancers. That came with one of the expansions, if I recall. I started one for a bit, but just reverted back to my Skald in the end. Don't remember the Savage class. Probably just erased that from my mind.

You guys are making me want to fire it back up again. Unfortunately I know that the combat pacing and level pacing due mostly to downtime will make me quit again after a few weeks.

In an effort to keep this at least slightly on topic, let me just say that I just got done playing Vanguard for a few hours, a moment ago. It was "double experience" weekend, so I managed to level from 17.5 to about 19.1. So, essentially, two levels and 10 new skills. I have to say that leveling in VG is much more bearable with a full group, as opposed to just one other person. My best friend and I duo on EVERY game that we play, VG has been no exception. However, tonight where we were hunting required the enlistment of others, so others we sought. Of course, as with any "pick-up group" there's going to be that one sour apple, the one person who you could fully justify locking in a room with someone scratching their fingernails along a chalkboard, and tonight was no exception.

In regards to Elysium's "post" (not review) I have to say that I agree with a number of things, but disagree with a number of things as well. Grinding on this game is horribly tedious and largely monotonous. Questing when the game was new gave little experience reward, but that has since been patched and increased. Being able to have a mount at a low level (10) is one of the many perks. The run speed increase that Bards are able to obtain is simply... absurd. Which I like. The early implementation of the game was awful, it crashed constantly, lagged in game, mobs would disappear, crossing "zone walls" took, at times, up to a full minute (on a *good* PC), and a plethora of other issues. Despite all of that, I continue to play it (albeit occasionally). Why? Because it *is* something different. They may have adopted a few ideas from Everquest, but they have largely improved on the EQ idea.

I wish there was a way to get to other major cities faster (or even minor cities), I wish I could go a playing session without the game crashing on me or the people I was grouped with, I wish the quests gave better instructions and waypoints on more of them, but still... chances are I'll keep on truckin', as they say.

One last thought, the game also gets to be more fun as you get higher in level. At level 19 now I have almost three skill bars full of skills, spells, attack skills, etc. Not having to use the same spell/ability over and over helps break the monotony. Also, if you insist on running a duo with a friend as opposed to grouping, one of you ought to be a Shaman. Once they get their wolf form they get an ability that allows them to crit almost consistently for 1,000 damage. (My level friend's level 19 Shaman has topped out at over 1700 damage. And did I mention Shamen are healers?)

(Oh, and anyone who wants to try the game out, there is a free 10 day trial you can use instead of actually buying the game. I'd recommend that.)

I, too, am still playing, albiet intermittently at this point. I may have played for about 3-4 hours this weekend. I'm having fun, but for me, it is largely a forum where I get to hang with some friends, see some new sights, and experience, for all of its sameness, a new world.

Being a Bard, I get to run everywhere, which mitigates the suffering that many other people encounter, even with horses. At level 19, with my magic drum(!), I've got more zip than the mid-level horses running around. Top that off with my regular attacks going for 200/50 (dual wield) and my crits going from anywhere from 500 - 2000, and grouped with my Shaman buddy, we can do quite a bit together. The shaman class is definitely for those healers who hate to play healers.