It has potential, but it just isn't good enough... yet?

User Rating: 5.7 | Vanguard: Saga of Heroes PC
Being a MMORPG veteran, i have awaited Vanguard's release for a long time. It seemed that my prayers had been granted, when the guys at Sigil announced Vanguard, which would not be another: "Lets get to level 60 in a week game".

Unfortunately, Vanguard has been released (be that too early or not) as a somewhat generic world regarding content. The graphics are excellent and the views from atop the mountains are astounding, but the world is just about the only thing that seems to have been finished in time. And even that is a truth with modifications as the world becomes utterly barren, the second you venture beneath the waves. If you find a fish or perhaps a generic snake (just change name and level) consider yourself "lucky".
The game has nothing of the beautiful underwater landscape as seen in World of Warcraft and that is bordering a crime, since the graphics Engine would allow spectacular underwater environments. Like Everquest 2, it seems as if the designers has chosen to keep the underwater world nearly empty.
Furthermore, as soon as you leave the starter areas, you will rarely encounter anything exciting to do. As i mentioned the architecture and the landscape in general is gorgeous, but when all you meet are generic spiders, snakes, boars, glowing things and a few other critters, the novelty of the landscape quickly wears off.

When in comes to quests, the game takes of as any other MMO out there, with a bunch of easy quests of the "go there and kill x of those" kind. Unfortunately, this never changes (at least not the first 15-20 levels). Generally it must be said, that the standard adventuring part of Vanguard is just about as generic as it gets. It seems as if the designers didn't go to any kind of trouble imagining new quests, but choose to stick with the formula that have been used since the time of Everquest I personally don't see the difference between choosing to kill 20 spiders of my own free will or doing it as a part of a quest, but you will of course earn more experience, if you do a quest and that again shows the utter lack of imagination regarding quest design, that Vanguard suffers under.

The crafting part is perhaps an even bigger disappointment. If you have played Everquest 2, you will instantly be at home with the crafting system, as it seems as if the code has been taken directly from this game. There is nothing that sets this crafting apart from Everquest 2, unless you look at the fact that you have all the time in the world to correct the random happenings that occurs to disrupt you crafting. In Everquest 2, this was on a timer, and you had to at least be semi-awake to complete the individual crafting sessions. Furthermore, nothing has been done, to make the crafting interesting. It is simply just a tedious "move the cursor to the next little icon and .... click it" session.

The newest addition to the MMO genre and the one that i was looking forward to the most, is the Diplomacy part. Instead of bashing away at monsters all day long, you can now talk to nearly any NPC and by using various cards with different values, you can "win" a conversation and gain faction, complete quest or the like. It all sounds very nice, but after you complete the initial Diplomacy quest, which is individual for all the races and very well designed, you enter the Vanguard world of lacking content again. There are frustratingly few Diplomacy quests in the game and those that are available, usually has Diplomacy requirements set so high (Diplomacy uses a term called "Presence" which roughly corresponds to levelling), that you must grind away at the same conversations over and over and over... So if you thought that you, by exploring the Diplomacy line, could avoid the tedious xp grind, think again. Basically, it is exactly the same treadmill, just wrapped in another way.

As final thing, it is very hard on the "immersion factor", when many of the quest lines are broken at some point or another. At some point 9 out of 20 quests in my log was broken...

All in all, Vanguard is a very nice looking but basically generic shell, that seems to be waiting for the developers to complete it. I would suggest anyone to wait at least 3 months before starting to play and then check out to boards to see if anything new has happened. As it is now, you will just be paying for Sigil to actually finish the game and when it is finished, you will have earned the right to continue paying the for playing...

Just not good enough... yet?

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