Fan Faire Updates about Vanguard
Although I personally was not at Fan Faire this year, I’ve been trying to find any information at all about Vanguard, especially since Nomadic Gamers (the guild) is growing by leaps and bounds, and I like to keep players informed on what is going on. The only information I could find comes from Complete Heal, a great blog about some of my favorite games. They had this to say about Vanguard:
When SOE said Vanguard wasn’t on the official list of Fan Faire games – they weren’t kidding. I couldn’t find a single developer in Las Vegas this year for Vanguard. They didn’t make the bus trip. They also had a kiosk running the game last year but this year? Nope. There was a live quest on the schedule but I took my wife out to lunch instead. There was still a Vanguard banner hanging in the main hall but that was about it. The bold portions are added by me.
I did learn a few things about the game – even though the developers were absent. First, there are no plans to shutter the game. I spoke to John Smedley, President of SOE, directly about the game. Let me say that he was open and honest and we had a great dialogue. He was a pleasure to talk to and regardless of what people say about the guy he is a gamer at heart and cares about the games we all play – including Vanguard. I asked him if the game was in maintenance mode and he said it’s a step above maintenance mode. The truth is that the remaining developers are shared with other games (EQ2, EQ Next etc…) and they allocate time for them to work on Vanguard as the schedule permits. I basically understood it to mean that Vanguard doesn’t have any more full time developers. That was a bit of a disappointment but Smed stated that he thinks the game will stick around for a few more years. He’s also open to ideas on how to make the game more popular.
He acknowledged the chicken and egg problem with spending money on the game and I thanked him for all the effort and money they put in the game since they acquired it from Sigil. It’s truly come a long way. We also talked about doing some kind of free to play server for Vanguard but he wasn’t sure how the “core gamer” that’s left in Vanguard would respond to such a thing. Russell Shanks, EVP / COO of SOE was sitting next to him when we spoke and they both were interested in giving Vanguard a spark of life.
Another developer told me they might end up moving the Vanguard servers to the East coast. Not sure really what the point of that would be but it would be closer to me so that can’t be all bad. This same developer said VG was considering the F2P model but the recent staff reductions hit VG pretty hard and he didn’t feel like the resources were still there to invest that much time in the game. That was also a bummer. I was pitching an idea of a free to play Vanguard server to let people who bought the game come back and see how much progress had been made since release and maybe they would transfer over to the Telon server or subscribe to keep the game alive. At this point, why not do it? What’s the alternative?
Be sure to head over to the site to read the rest of the post, as he goes into some great details about the other SOE owned games. My personal thoughts? We all know Vanguard suffers from a lack of player base. Money. Developers. It’s been that way for quite a while now, and I don’t expect it to get any better. Personally I’m going to keep playing the game until it closes. I give it a year or two, which still gives me plenty of time to explore everything I want to see. It’s more time dedicated to playing a game then a lot of others I try. I will be incredibly sad to see it go – but thankful. I feel that it’s really one of the best games out there, that it fits my personal play style better then anything else at this time. Instead of running around screaming that the sky is falling, I’d rather get on my shadow mount, and enjoy the walk through Telon while it’s still around.
Happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself. I’ll see you in Telon.