Lots of progress made in Vanguard this weekend, and I had a blast doing it. First of all I managed to get level 12 diplomat. I love this sphere of Vanguard, and while at times it seems like brainless grinding, I don’t mind it. I did one of the web quests for Qalia, I have three more to do and they take a huge amount of time. Diplomacy is something (most) people do on their ‘off time’ in between crafting and adventuring, that night where you need a change (or you happen to wander by someone who offers you a diplomacy quest). The chain (if you actually read the parleys, I know a lot of people who do not) was filled with intrigue and murders and backstabbing and plots and all sorts of good stuff. In the end I got a good amount of gear (that can be combined with the items from 3 other web quest chains to form some sort of super armor) and I got a lot of experience as well as some evidence. You need evidence (they’re little scraps of paper, and there’s bunches of types per tier) to turn in to informants. You can get gear from doing this or buff items, or baubles (that can be turned into diplo gear, or are used for player made diplo cards). You need seven hearsay, five rumor, or three evidence before you turn them in. An informant takes them and viola you earn something in return. Diplomacy is also used for guild halls, aside from the tons of raw materials (and the 10p plot you have to buy) you also need close to 1,000 pieces of diplomacy evidence, and 150 baubles. That’s a LOT of parleys. It was one way of integrating the three spheres into game though. You also need diplomacy for APW, which is the one raid dungeon in game. For what exactly, I’m unsure of except zone wide buffs you can stick up. I haven’t learnt much more then that.

Adventure wise, Growlius and I both hit level 21, and we headed to Qalia to work on some Hunters League quests. We had a lot of competition last night which wasn’t so fun, it’s the only down side to doing some quests, the updates do not drop from every mob, and on most occasions only one person gets an update at a time, so you don’t want to do it in a huge group if you don’t have to, other wise you’re killing 5x the amount of stuff you need. Granted you do blow through it faster as well. We’re now sporting very fancy shoulder pieces, which have a fantastic graphic compared to the previous tiers, I’ll stick a screen shot up later.

Crafting, was probably where I made the most progress, and it’s not through actually leveling at all, but from finally figuring out how to create crafting macros. In Vanguard crafting is a series of mouse clicks, it’s not a continuous production like EverQuestII where you have to sit and watch while you craft, you can get up at any point in the craft and go tend to real life (which is nice). It also means a lot of mouse clicking though. Probably at least 40 clicks per combine (and there are sub combines to Vanguard). It can get sore on the wrists. Now, macro’s will not craft for you. That’s not their intention. But they will reduce the amount of clicking you have to do by having a text command for the craft that you can hotkey (or add to your G15 profiler, which is what I do). There are (at my tier of crafting) 5 steps with anywhere from 1-5 sub steps per each step. You also have to place items on your ‘table’ first- the items you’re going to use to craft. I’m restricted to four currently, but the number goes up as you get better at recipes. So I have a macro that will ‘load’ my table for me, instead of having to mouse click each item. I load water, solvent, bandages, that sort of thing. My wrists are so happy. It is also a time saver, it’s quicker to hit a macro to load a table of four items then it is to mouse click each one of those four items. I found fantastic macro’s written up here, and here. I am not typically a macro person, I suck at making them in fact. That’s why this took me so long to figure out. I’m so incredibly happy that I did though. I hit level 18 leatherworker with ease, and hopefully today I’ll be able to get 20 (and maybe even 21, where I can learn how to make barding for mounts, instead of the silly vendor sold saddles). Ideally I’d like my crafting to be 10 levels over my adventure level so that I can make my own gear, but that’s a lofty goal for now.

The GU4 is still highly in debate, I’ve turned off regionsay for the past few days to avoid the mobs of angry people. You can read the notes yourself here and there is a blurb about them here. I’m not ready to call this the end of Vanguard quite yet, we’ll have to see how things pan out. Losing all face customization really hurts though, I doubt I’ll actually wear the helms that they’re implementing. Silius himself (dev) was in the craft channel yesterday afternoon answering questions for people which I thought was great customer service (until the typically quiet and calm craft channel turned into a raging sea of frantic mobsters) and he did hint at some future changes. The largest type of boat is going to be implemented into the game shortly (galleons anyone?) and people questioned what was the point- with flying mounts you don’t need huge deep sea ships. However, Silius hinted at fishing, which will be galleon only – or maybe caravel. Gives people a purpose for all the hard work that goes into those sort of ships. He also mentioned integrating diplomacy into the world more, but wouldn’t explain how. I sent him a tell wondering when (if ever) facial customization will be reinstated (since it was said that over time it would be and I wanted a better idea of ‘how soon’) but got no reply. I assume he was probably swamped though since he did make a broadcast telling people if they had questions to send him tells. All in all, it’s just a matter of time to see what effect the changes will have on the game over all. I’ve copied my character to test (as per request of the devs, who are lacking testers it would appear) there are quite a few characters who are getting revamps in the next update, so it will be interesting to see how it goes, people seem very pleased with the druid revamps.