Brackish Waters

how my gaming and life coalesce.

The Evolution of Vanguard

SOE posted a big teaser last week of the next update to hit Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. This will be the largest change to hit the game since the last “Game Update” and the first real addition to the game by its new owners. Its plain to see that SOE is rushing to prove to the community that it can change this game for “the better” by removing or changing actual game mechanics that have been in since beta.

As I read through the update, I couldn’t help but organize the changes into various categories:

The Simplification of Vanguard:
Equipment Expertise was a difficult concept to grab initially and a frequent question among every new players. It was not hard to maintain your gear after you understood the basic rules of it, and they were pretty basic. SOE decided that it was indeed to much for new players and simply sacked the system, trading it for the more traditional level based item requirement.
I’m going to echo the aggravation that Troy is showing in his recent episode of Voyages of Vanguard. This really was not a hard system to understand once a player read about the mechanics and it did offer some great advantages to character customization. I feel that they removed this system merely because it was a unique concept that players were not familiar with and SOE was afraid the system repelled more players than it attracted.

Deconstruction is now a chore that anyone can partake. Currently, players are only permitted to deconstruct those items in which they can craft in their chosen profession. This limits the amount of special resources that are needed by most crafters, from reaching the general population. This is because dusts and a variety of catalysts for crafting are either found by deconstructing rare items or found through random adventuring encounters.  Its not a great system and far better than it was without deconstruction at release. The idea to move this to a single click deconstruction will make the basic components reach the market sooner and in more quantity, but did they have to make it so basic?

The Improvements of Vanguard:
The crafting changes in which they are adding Bind of Equip and Bind on Pickup have been desired by almost every crafter in the game. Items simply never left the game before and you would see the armor you made 3 weeks ago, up on the AH being sold for probably the third or fourth time. It was painful for almost everyone but those who created boats and housing for a long time.

One of the biggest aggravations I had while crafting was the abilities that some of my items had when finished. I would jewelry and off-hand items for casters to use and almost every one of these had some passive or “proc’d” ability that went without description. After scouring the boards and crafting sites for information, I managed to gather some data on half of these abilities, but it was still very hard to relay this to potential customers. I am excited that tooltips will now be in game for each of these abilities and also the “chance on hit” percentage. I am glad they chose to finally fix this small annoyance.

The dreadful Looking For Group window that was packaged with Vanguard was a nightmare for the game. It always left me with a feeling that there were fewer players than there actually were and that nobody in fact wanted to find other people to group with. In a game with as large a world as Vanguard, creating a LFG tool that is powerful and flexible and allows you to find people across the entire continent(s) is of the utmost importance. Nobody likes to find out that they are alone in a zone.
I truly hope that this new tool will work as good as it sounds. I like that you can actually post which quests you are on and then sort by that information. This should allow players to continue traveling around while waiting for other players, not limiting them to single zone play.

The True Evolution of Vanguard:
Out of all of the improvements I read, there was one update that stood out as the true meaning behind Vanguard.

Diplomats will be needed to obtain permissions to construct the Guild Halls as well. Without the correct documents obtained from the local government, the land owner will not be allowed to build a Guild Hall. However, obtaining this documentation will not be a simple task.

Before I left, items were coming into the game that crafters could make for Diplomats and these seemed to be very powerful items.  I like this sphere interdependence and it is something that always drew me to the game.  I never got a chance to progress far in diplomacy but I hope there is more of this content available.

I really will need to log-in after this update as I am very curious now how things have progressed. I told myself that I would give SOE until September before resubscribing, but I think I just need a peek.  While I don’t agree with everything that SOE is doing, I am appreciative that the game is progressing, even if I am not.

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July 30, 2007 - Posted by | Vanguard

2 Comments »

  1. I logged in to Vanguard over this past weekend to take a peak at what had changed since launch. I wasn’t on for long, but I did see some improvements. I encountered far fewer bugs. In fact, I only recall running into one and that was a minor one. The overall performance seemed vastly improved for me. As I moved around, my computer didn’t get jerky or start freezing as it tried to keep up with the constantly changing graphics. All in all, the game was much more fluid for me than it was right at launch. I enjoyed actually playing the game enough that I am going to give it some more looks later this week as I have time.

    Comment by rao | July 31, 2007 | Reply

  2. I am still a bit annoyed that they threw out EE, but it’s something I can learn to live with. The other changes seem to be working out so far. I crash with the occasional recall or chunk line, but I’m used to that. What worries me now is the server mergers that are coming up next week. How bad will that screw up the economy and such of the game and how long will the screw ups last? I’m currently riding the wave in hopes of better things in the long run. Pop over to Gulgrethor…soon to be Xeth…and look up Wings of Justice if you’re looking for an active group.

    Comment by Romulus | August 21, 2007 | Reply


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