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Vanguard: Saga of heroes


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For anyone who doesn't follow the upcoming MMORPG market, Vanguard: SOH has been on the hot radar since the summer of 2004 when the first screenshots began to make an impressive apperance on the net. I've been in the games closed beta (NDA was in affect until last week) which is now in open beta (which I also participate in). This means I am finally able to talk about the game, which launches january 30th (pre-orders get to start 3 days before launch on the official servers).

Brad McQuaid is the head of this project and his new company "Sigil". For backround information Brad was the mastermind behind the original Everquest, designing the game before it was picked up by a major developer and publisher. He headed the game for a few years until its rights where sold off to SOE and he began to work with his development team on Everquest II. SOE wanted the direction of EQII to change because of the target audiance of MMO's changing (due to WoW and games like it) so Brad and his team quit as the games face had completley changed, and been replaced with a more simplistic formula. Sigil was formed by Brad along with also former EQ mastermind Jeff Butler and they began to create the new MMO "Vanguard: SOH" The goal of the game was to create a true sequel in spirit to the original everquest, taking away the newer style that MMO's have been going down of endless quests leading you level to level and dumbed down difficulty and gameplay.

So, I am going to be writing a full beta review / preview over the next few days and post it up, but if anyone has any questions I will surely answer them. - The graphics are amazing, I play in first person mode which reminds me very much of the days of everquest (FP mode done well and playable unlike WoW), the world is absolutly massive and the maps are barely marked so you get a real feeling of exploring and adventure. Group play is the best I have experienced in an MMO since the EQ days aswell, each party member actually feels like they have an important role. Combat is rather standard as far as MMORPG's go, and battle animations arent spectacular (the look of everything more than makes up for it) but the combat system receives no complaints from me and keeps it simple, and still fun. (Huge list of abilities and skills for each class aswell). Also, the horse mounts are availible at any level aslong as you can pay for it (many different mounts as you progress though) and the game also is the first MMO to have mounts that can fly over every zone in the game with no problem. Some people may not like this aspect, but I love it - no more instances. Although they had been helpful in end-game for WoW, I prefer to not be instanced into dungeons, even if people are camping a certain spawn or boss because in a living breathing world, everybody doesnt get their own copy of a dungeon.

The crafting system is one of the most advanced and interesting in any online game yet, which even include the ability to build and place player / guild housing and boats (boat style is a mixture of EQ long boat ride time, and UO's ability to own and navigate one yourself!!). A new innovation is the addition of the Diplomacy trade ofwhich you can base your entire character on (or use as a side trade or minigame on your normal leveling up character). Diplomacy is a game using cards that represent word phrases and expressions, through this you can wager to win Experience, Gold, Loot or Reputation. (You also receive different honorable titles from your kingdom on your name depending on your level of diplomacy). - It's an interesting feature I've never seen another game attempt to do. (Perhaps if FFXI implemented the Tetra Master into the actual MMO, but unfortuantly SE did not).

The world is massive as I've already said, and it is split into 3 kingdoms each with an absolutley distinct design including an ancient china influenced kingdom where buildings, armor, mobs and the music is all inspired by ancient chinese lore and mythology. The other kingdoms replicate a very middle-eastern style area and a more typical medieval fantasy area. The kingdom of Thestra (more medieval themed kingdom) has the Dwarf, Halfling, High Elf, Lesser Giant, Thestran, Varanjar, Vulmane races to choose from. Qalia (arabian nights themed kingdom) has the Dark Elf, Gnome, Kurashasa, Mordebi, Qaliathari and Varathari races to choose from - and finally Kojan (asian themed kingdom) has the Goblin, Half Elf, Kojani, Orc, Raki and Wood Elf races to choose from. not all races can be specific classes, but the classes to choose from are: Bard, Blood Mage, Cleric, Disciple, Dread knight, Druid, Monk, Necromancer, Paladin, Psionicist, Ranger, Rogue, Shaman, Sorcerer and Warrior. - I must say how impressed I am with how many races and classes their is to choose from, each totally unique and interesting.

I hope I gave a pretty good amount of information about the game, if you've heard anything bad its only because of beta server performance and bugs in the game (these are expected in an MMORPG's beta, I've beta tested many and I know... It's in better shape than WoW was in it's Open Beta.) It's the best experience I've had with an MMO in years, and may become my all-time favorite. I'm already in a huge guild (stormhaven.guildportal.com) that spans many games and formed in 99 (ultima online) and is filled with mature players, married couples, and the most friendly people i've gotten to play a game with. It makes the experience so much better not to have endless 12 year old kids running around /shouting and harrasing you. This game blends the best that Everquest, Ultima Online, and Dark age of Camelot had to offer and sparkles the better new age aspects of World of Warcraft on top while also adding plenty of originality and unique features to create the best upcoming MMORPG. I highly suggest lovers of MMO's and RPG's in general pick this up on it's launch of Jan. 30th, or if you pre-order now I'll see you in the game 3 days early! I'll see you in the world of Telon.


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Ok, since I am a recently retired FFXI person; and that was the only MMORPG I have ever played, how does this compare to that game? Apples to Oranges I know but its all I have to go on for a reference point.

I am kinda reluctant to start with another MMORPG, but this one seems a little interesting to me. I've read up on a few previews of it and looks kinda cool.

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Ok, since I am a recently retired FFXI person; and that was the only MMORPG I have ever played, how does this compare to that game? Apples to Oranges I know but its all I have to go on for a reference point.

I am kinda reluctant to start with another MMORPG, but this one seems a little interesting to me. I've read up on a few previews of it and looks kinda cool.

Oh man, that really sucks. FFXI should be no man's first MMORPG.

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Also, Me and my guild play in Beta server 1, its just labled "Beta Server".

When the game launches we'll get you on our server aswell as you'll love our guild, right now 160 members, with a tight playerbase that uses teamspeak, its a guild of all adults and mature people and we have a ball playing together doing dungeons, quests or just exploring the world.

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