If you’re looking for a miracle in the way that Vanguard has progressed, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. I spent most of yesterday playing (and attempting to play) – and while there has been buckets of progress, well. It’s still far away from being even reasonably acceptable (in my opinion). I had one hard crash to desktop as I flew Randolph around Telon, which was far better then the typical crashes I had when Vanguard released. So. Here’s what I noticed – and please remember, Vanguard is experiencing a heavier amount of traffic with all of the new players returning to check things out, and they also just implemented a patch that broke a lot of stuff (which is what today’s patch of 6 hours is supposed to fix).
1. Graphics. Yes, it does run slightly smoother on my machine, but I still hitch, still lag, I still have graphic glitches. I still have to /flush and /flush all. Yesterday trees (small shrub height) refused to render their branches and just looked like twigs. Tips and pop ups would be a mesh of graphic goo and I’d be unable to read them until I flushed. My character’s armor had a huge hole in the back of her shirt every time she ran. Just little stuff like that. As far as computers go, I know I don’t have the best top of the line, I run a intel core 2 cpu 6400 with 2.1GHz, 2 gigs of ram, and I have a NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT, I play at 1680 x 1050. Now, I don’t actually know what any of that means because I’m honestly not a computer person. I just know how to run directX diagnostic tools.
2. Quests. I’m not sure if it’s server lag, or the npc’s are not responding to me or what, but twice yesterday I had to delete and go get newbie quests because the npc’s were unresponsive when I tried to turn them in / progress them. That’s a new one for me, I’ve never had npc’s just not update my quest when I spoke to them.
I’m of course going to continue playing. I do enjoy the game, despite the flaws it still has. Why? Well, because right now it’s free. I’m not sinking any money into it, just spare time that I’d have no matter what. I don’t mind sending off bug reports or trying out things in the mean time. I still think the game is by far one of the most beautiful games I’ve ever seen. I still enjoy the “hardness” of it. I love the spheres of adventuring / crafting / diplomacy. I think it’s wonderful in all those regards. I still don’t think it will ever cater to a huge crowd of players (there are only four servers right now) but I do think they can tap into a niche of players and keep them playing.
3. Customer service. They’re under staffed right now, which is why things are moving slow — but. SoE’s customer service has always been very good to me, and in Vanguard it’s no different. Before I left the game previously, I deleted my level 23 blood mage. I petitioned early yesterday to see about getting her returned to me, and a TSR responded and said it would take some time, but that they’d to it. I was grateful of course. The problem is, once she was returned, it’s as though she’s not really there. She can’t petition herself. She can’t send mail. She can’t add anyone to her friends list, nor can anyone add her. Slightly annoying. So I relogged over to another character to send off another petition. It took roughly 12 hours to have the first one answered. I know they’re experiencing a lot of traffic though, and they’re still helpful.
So if you’ve got the free month active, why not install it and give things a whirl anyhow. I’m playing on the Seradon server, and actually bumped (almost literally) into MrrX who was giving things a second glance as well. He was asking how to take screen shots and I replied in a tell (not knowing it was him). Talk about a small world. I have the utmost respect for those players who’ve stuck through with VG through all of it’s bugs and issues for the past year. Here’s hoping a few more people are swayed that way. Even if it’s just to get station access and peek in every so often.
Since the game is down for 6 hours today, I’ll post tomorrow about more experiences. Hopefully this patch will fix my blood mage, and whatever else they broke.