Tenfold Hate

Vanguard Week Two: An Overview
December 17, 2007, 1:08 am
Filed under: Vanguard: Saga of Heroes

Admittedly, I didn’t clock in as much game time in Vanguard this week as I did last week. I enjoyed the time I did spend playing it, but it didn’t quite scream to be played like other games have in the past. I haven’t yet found the answer to the question, “Why Vanguard and why NOT WoW, EQ2, or LoTRO?”

I rented a wyvern and took a bird’s eye tour of Qalia, but otherwise I’ve just been knocking off quests with my blood mage feeling like I’ve done this all before in a slew of other games. If this was my first MMO, I’d probably be in love. But it isn’t.

Vanguard is a fine game. There’s just some intangible that’s not quite sucking me in. For all of their faults, both WoW and LoTRO have a stylized, coherent feel to their respective worlds. I’m just not getting this from Telon. I’m not a big PvPer by any means, but I do miss having a vaguely meaningful way to mix things up a bit when I want a breather from kill and collect quests. And frankly, if I am going to pursue the pure PvE route, I’d much rather do it in Tolkien’s world than McQuaid’s.

Admittedly, I was never a big EQ fan. I know this is the closest thing to blasphemy that can cross an MMORPGer’s lips, but it just wasn’t for me. I have a wee bias against EQ’s brand of high fantasy. I think rainbows and unicorns are the stuff of little girl’s bedroom wallpaper, not high adventure. Vanguard is a little darker, a little grittier, but also a little too similar mechanic-wise from what I’ve played in the past.

I can be a little testy about this stuff. I loved Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. When San Andreas was released, I tooled around with it for a couple weeks then dropped it like a hot potato. Outside of a few different mini-games, it was the same old song and dance beneath the surface. The same can be said for most video game sequels. This is one mark of Nintendo’s genius. The Mario games are all similar enough where there’s some level of brand continuity, but they’re always offering enough new elements to keep things fresh and appealing.

The whole fantasy MMORPG genre sometimes feels like those too-numerous-to-name, competent but unspectacular, sequels pumped out by any number of console game makers. So you like Pac-Man? You’ll love Ms. Pac-Man!

I hope I’m not sounding too negative here. But I think for any fantasy MMORPG released at this stage of the game, there has to be an answer to the question, “Why this game and why not EQ2, WoW, LoTRO, GW, et al?” In week two, I have yet to find the answer. I hope I do.

Perhaps I’m spending too much time daydreaming about the copy of Tabula Rasa I hope to find under the Christmas tree this year. Perhaps my real life WoW cronies’ proposition to start up a weekly casual play group this winter has got me nostalgic about peeking my head back into Azeroth.

After a year of licking my wounds from raid burnout, maybe I feel like if I’m gonna go back to a familiar playstyle with gear-oriented advancement systems, I might as well do it in a game I had a year-and-a-half invested in rather than under the guise of a “new” game.

But for now, I’ll keep plugging away at Vanguard and having a perfectly okay time doing it–unless either Funcom or Mythic decide to drop beta invites in my stocking. But I’m not gonna hold my breath on that one.


Rainbows and unicorns? Well, I remember unicorns in Lesser Faydark, but you mostly killed them — they were evil unicorns — and the only rainbow I can remember in the original EQ was in the Plane of Air, on Xegony’s island, and that one was full of spiders.

Hmm. I’d probably at least try a My Pretty Pony MMO 🙂

I agree, though, that Fantasy MMOs could use a harsh infusion of new ideas. New *fun* ideas.

Fixed that.

Comment by Tipa

Heh heh. Bad example on my part, Tip. My comment wasn’t meant as a slam at the EQ series by any means. I’m a finicky prick when it comes to what appeals to me on a visual/atmospheric level.

Outside of Tolkien, I’ve always leaned towards the Robert E. Howard side of sword-and-sorcery than “high fantasy” is all.


Comment by tenfoldhate

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