Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Vanguard - Stargrace says it depends on us...

Stargrace at MMOQuests had a post about how some players feel about trialing new games..

Specifically one player asks
“I’ve got an account for Vanguard but never tried it beyond a few minutes when it first launched. Never really had the time to devot to yet another MMO but… is it worth it? Should I try it? I’m already heavily into EQII, started to dabble with both LOTRO and am trying to get set up with DDO after discovering I have an open account for some reason. Am I going to find something in VG that will grab me?”

She had this to say...
"I tried to think of a simple answer for this and failed - there really is no simple answer. I can’t answer whether or not someone else will find something they enjoy and that will grab them in a game, any game. I can point out the aspects that I personally enjoy (and there are a huge amount) and I admit from the start to everyone that I am very biased towards Vanguard in particular. I never seem to have the number of problems that others have with these games, it runs just about flawlessly for me and when it doesn’t run a quick /flush all command takes care of the minor glitches I may have. I love how complex the game is, the three spheres, diplomacy, crafting, the ability to actually own a house. I love the brotherhood idea - and Prezzer if you’re going to give VG a try then by all means let me know and I’ll do my best to play too so you’ll at least have someone to talk to. I play on the Seradon server"

And it made me wonder why I have an issue with Vanguard.

I started a comment on her site, and it turned into a novel, so I have brought it here...

I devoted time to Vanguard, and it never did it's magic on me, like it did for you (Stargrace).
Maybe it is due to the issues?

Or is it something else?

I like certain features in a game (music, visuals, how the world connects)

And VG did these things for first.

Several classes (hello...Blood cool is that) just really grabbed me.
The music ...especially in the Elven district so worked for me..
The thought of doing diplomacy...excellent. I love discussion pieces in games (Bioware is excellent in handling conversation trees)
The mobs and the world were gorgeous..

But, shoddy performance on a high end system just seemed wrong to me.
Crashes seemed messed up to me. (**I will note several game engines just seem to not like newer hardware...EQ2, LOTRO and Vanguard to name a this could be me being "Cutting Edge" getting in the way of enjoying these titles...)
The model revamp from before made the characters look funny (they are slightly better now...but not great)

And the TIME...OMG...

This is probably the true issue and maybe where we differ.

YOU have time to dedicate to your games. And I want more action in less time...which could be my problem.

We both joined Xfire at about the same time (I actually was almost a month before you I think...during the Xfire and games discussions on various sites. I remember when we all started getting the software..Ardwulf, you and I..).

Now look at our hours.

My highest time on a game so far is Guild Wars at 300 hours...

You have EQ2 at 500 hours, and an overall game time of 700 hours.

I have 460+ hrs.

I think Vanguard and even EQ2 require commitments that I am not able to do. I cannot craft for hours, do many HQ's, stay caught up in large grouping endeavors. Raids and Guild functions are not something I can do on a regular basis.

I have an hour or two at a time, and must move on.

Each time I played Vanguard I was running across vast landscapes for minutes at a time. I would die, and be stuck either running back to my corpse or reviving and having to gain back my losses.
I got a horse, yet it still felt like things took forever. Fights were long, and leveling was not very fast.

This might be why EQ2 grabbed me for so long, as leveling did go much faster at first. But, after 8 months, I still did not have a max level character and did not have the time to dedicate to get the money to buy the goods I needed.

And I let it go.

Guild Wars I can hit max in less than a month. Age of Conan had me halfway to max in just one month. EQ2 was close with me hitting 40 in about 2 months.

For Vanguard, in a month I had maybe reached level 20? And that was putting in massive time on the weekends.

Overall, I think for Vanguard, it has nothing to do with it being a bad game actually, but instead being a game I cannot play with.

The world requires more of me than I can offer.

I think if people wish for a game that keeps them enthralled, and they have the time and patience to play it, then they should try it. Vanguard and EQ2 offer these in spades. So much to do, so much content.

I wish I could play like I did back when I started.

WoW, Lineage 2 all required time, and I had that in spades. Guild Wars first campaign even requires dedication (as it takes longer to level once you reach level 15..)

Nowadays, I have maybe an hour or two at most for a session, and I need some variety and some fast paced action.

I also think this is why WAR has not grabbed me.

When I hear people putting 5 hours (or 12 hours like one hardcore blogger I know) into trying to get renown, I have an adverse reaction. And the game does not look good to me either...but that is a whole other issue.

Maybe when I retire, I can then make games my

I really think when people decide on an MMO, they need to take time into account nowadays.

Do YOU as a player have that time to dedicate to a large guild, a large group of online friends?

It does depend on us, and our lives overall in our MMO decisions.

Thanks for a great post Stargrace...

Cheers to you!


Anonymous said...

Haw! I do that all the time - start writing a comment and blow it up into something lengthy enough that I end up posting it at my place instead.

As you know, I have a great fondness for Vanguard, and some of the reasons for that are elusive. Part of it may be that Vanguard, due to its crappy launch and persistent issues, seems the underdog, and I tend to root for the underdog. Mostly I think it's the vast and persistent world, though, that gives me a sense of freedom lacking in other games despite the smaller amount of pulse-pounding excitement. I'm not a lore-junkie by any definition, but I love the lore in Vanguard - it seems to me to be the best-designed MMO setting out there, from the perspective of one long-steeped in the rich settings of tabletop gaming and fantasy literature.

I do think it's possible to play Vanguard (and EQ2) in short chunks, but in order to do so you need to accept the fact that your progression will be pretty slow in both cases. I don't think either is what I'd call 'good for casual players.' You can play just about anything casually, but some games lend themselves better to that.

My recent 30+ hours per week in WAR is very atypical for me - 15-20 hours is less unusual, although right now my personal schedule happens to have more loose time in it than normal. Despite that, I think that WAR is considerably more casual-friendly than Vanguard or EQ2; I've actually been moving too fast, and needed to take a few days off to let the crest of advancing players catch up a little bit.

Not sure what my total Xfire hours are right now - but I do know that Stargrace started using it very shortly after I did, and my hours are something under 250. I don't think I ever put in 12 hours in one sitting of anything - but I did drop about 20 in a weekend when Age of Conan launched, and probably did a few 6-7 hour sessions when in the first couple of weeks of WAR. But again, that's atypical for me.

Stargrace said...

I agree, I have a lot more time to dedicate to games then I'd say 90% of the blog sphere out there. Though with it all out in the open like this I'm thinking maybe I should start hiding my Xfire status. =p

There's a few key things to remember here though. How much of that time is actually actively spent playing the game - and not just hanging out doing nothing. Which is what I spend a lot of time doing. I leave Xfire (and games) running on my computer while I do other things, while I go out and do groceries, when I'm off watching a movie.

Anyhow, that's certainly one thing to look at. I dislike games that give everything to me in an hour or less, and I also tend to disagree that you require vast amounts to play either VG or EQ2. I know a lot of people who play for a few hours a week, and have caught up to me just fine in levels, both crafting and adventuring -- where I surpass them is only in the plethora of alts I have in every game. That's where my 'time' can be noticed.

Anyhow. Great post. Glad to hear your opinions on it all. :)

Zeebrat said...

I've been playing WAR for a while now. The leveling isn't as fast as some other games. However, the leveling isn't all that important. The level cap is 40. The game is so new that I don't even know what kind of end game they have. I really don't want to know either.

While low level in WAR you can accomplish, and be a part of so many things. Leveling is an after thought for me.

Being able to jump into PvP at any level, and automatically being boosted up to an appropriate level for your bracket is a really nice touch. PvP even gives normal experience, which is actually how I got my last 2 levels on my Sorcerer.

The Public Quests, and Open Groups make it easy for you to jump in and get your hands dirty without having to commit much time to anything. You even get the class tailored prizes at the end from the treasure chest, and the Rally Rewards guy.

You don't have to be max level and raiding to get great loot. You don't have to be max level to Gank Bitches in PvP either. You can jump in at any point and make something happen.

I've found that if you can't find anything in your neighborhood (Greenskins tend to be sparse on my server.) You can always fly to another area and look for people. I've found the Dark Elf areas to be the most highly populated on Destruction on the Drifing Castle server. Getting a full group or two for a Public Quest is really easy there.

The character models of WAR really do leave something to be desired. I'm not even sure why they released the game with the models they have currently. I've decided the gameplay and flavor of the world more than make up for it though.

I'm really enjoying myself. I think you should give it another shot without worrying so much about maxing everything out. Just enjoy the ride.