I’m sorry to all my very loyal EQII readers, but since I’ve decided to test out Vanguard for a little bit, you’ll have to deal with some posts in that category. No worries though, anything WoW related is moved to a completely different blog *grins*. Alright. So, yesterday as I was reading the blogs that I read every day, I learned about the free re-activation SoE was giving to Vanguard accounts that had been closed for more then three months. The initial dates were December 18th until January 3rd. Just after the new year. As I waited and checked http://www.vanguardplayers.com forums, I was not surprised to learn that they’d rolled into some issues.
- Some people were told the announcement had come a day too early, and it was actually the 19th when the promotion started.
- Some people were told the date was wrong and it would begin on the 22nd.
- Some people were told their accounts would be ready within a few hours.
- Some people were told there was a critical error and SWG was released for their free trial instead of Vanguard (which others claimed could be true, except their SWG accounts were activated a few days prior to all of this.
Now, this does seem like a horrible way to set off their promotion, and if the 15 pages of posts is any indication, I was not alone in thinking so. There was a huge line of newly returning Vanguard players who wanted to get in on this promotion. Is it because it’s free? Of course. There was also news of people re-activating no matter that it was free, for a month, to test the water after all of the new changes they’ve heard about.
See, I never hated Vanguard, actually I loved a lot about it. I think it catered to a more ‘hard core’ niche, and it won’t ever rack in the numbers like WoW, or even EQII, but it’s a difficult game to play with many facets, and if you’re looking for something like that, with that level of difficulty, you’ll like Vanguard. Not to mention the artwork has always been amazing.
After waiting most of the day for some news about the activations, I got ahold of tech support. Twice. One person told me the date was wrong, and to wait until the 19th, the other person told me they’d move my request to a T2 support person, and it would be activated in 3-4 hours. At around 9pm EST I was able to log in and patch. I was expecting hours and hours of patching – but I was pleasantly surprised. I did buy the DVD Discs to install the game (which is still huge, but it seems to have been cut down some) and patched for 1 hour (which was smooth sailing). Found myself in game right away. SoE has also graciously extended the time that this promotion is active for.
New Dates: December 18th/19th – January 20th
So they’re giving a whole free month of play time here for people to check things out fully. Can’t go wrong with that I think.
The land is still gorgeous, and there are players, everywhere, right now. There’s so many newly returning people come to see how things fare. Now, I didn’t have too many issues with lag the first time I played Vanguard, so I wasn’t expecting too much now either. I did move my settings down from balanced to the one below it, and ditched shadows. They always seem to cause me a lot of lag and I don’t need shadows to be immersed in the game. It took me an hour to set up the keys the way I wanted them, and the UI, and there’s still a lot of commands that I forget and have to figure out. I did have one graphic glitch where the leaves on the trees wouldn’t render and instead my landscape was filled with sticks and branches, but that was fairly minor.
I didn’t get to play a whole lot yet, as it was late last night when I finished patching, and servers are now down this morning for a re-start. No doubt that with the sudden influx of players, they’re also going to have issues with populations and what not. Don’t let this cloud your judgment of the game though. If others are going to give it a shot, let me know so I can come play too. Right now I’m on the … I forget.. the server where the Rp server merged to. Starts with an S. I’m there, with my Paladin Ishbel at the moment. I’ll probably make multiple characters as always. I deleted my old bloodmage, but I’m trying to see about getting her back (a post on customer relations at a later date).
Some things I’ve always loved about Vanguard (if it were not for the bugs):
- When it gets dark outside, you have to actually turn on your torch, or you can’t see. Most games you never have to do that, lighting is never an issue
- The landscape, you can see forever. And you can reach everything you see some how. So if you see a small plateau with ruins on the top of them, you can get there. The land goes on forever, it’s beautiful, and feels like a HUGE world, as opposed to tiny zones cut up and smushed together.
- Crafting, Diplomacy, and Adventuring (at least in the past) there were always three ways to level up your character, making it quite diverse (not sure how these are today, I haven’t gotten to any of that yet really).
- The difficulty of learning a new game, playing a hard game. I find WoW very easy. There’s nothing complex about it (no offense to you WoW players, this is my personal opinion). It’s great if you want an easy game where you don’t have to think at all. EQII is some what difficult, but no where near the “hardness” of EQI, and with every patch they seem to dumb it down a little bit more. I think Vanguard can cater to the niche of people who are looking for this sort of game.
More information to follow of course as I explore a new world for a little bit! If you’ve never tried Vanguard before, and are getting interested (which I of course hope you are) they are going to be re-launching the game (with free trials, like the island ones from EQII) in 2008, so hang in there and give it a shot then! For everyone who left ages ago, I suggest you try out the free month, what could it hurt eh?