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Bladewir's Bellowing Blog

I'm back! I usually blog about MMORPGs and my experiences with them here, as well as other topics at my other blog located at http://knvpradio.blogspot.com

Author: MMOPlaya

A Casual Players View of Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, Part 2

Posted by MMOPlaya Sunday November 4 2007 at 3:51PM
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Vanguard Saga of Heroes is a HUGE game.  No doubt about that.  Heck, it even exceeds 17 gigabytes on my hard drive!  I am of the ilk of casual mmorpg gamer that likes to incorporate roleplay into my gaming time, and Vanguard affords me many opportunities to do so.  But because I spend anywhere from 0 to 3 hours a night playing the game, I am also rarely involved in large, multi-tier quests that many groups like to run through in one sitting, and I doubt that I'll get much opportunity to raid, once the mechanic is incorporated into the game (coming soon™ with Game Update 3.2).

And that is fine with me.  I have actually only really explored 80% of Thestra, maybe 20% of Qalia, and maybe 1% of Kojan.  And I'm level 30.  Take a look at the photo below, for an example of just how vast this game world is:

Somanthia taking in the view over-looking the port city of Khal from atop the Cliffs of Ghelgad in Karibasa Village

That is non-instanced folks.  From the cliff wall below me, to the ocean that runs through the city, to the mountains on either side, with every door, cave-entrance readily available to explore PLUS the gameworld was created / coded in such a way that when it comes time to expand...and this just blows me away...they can build downward and upward almost the entire length of the continent up to almost a mile up and down (all to scale of course...not a real mile)!!  Can you imagine an entire city the size of New Targanor underwater like a lost city of Atlantis?  Think about it.

For this casual player, just in the distance it took to walk down that cliff on my way to grab a bite to eat at the tavern in Khal down below (on a path of course) I discovered almost 8 different encounters, from roaming mobs to cave entrances leading to more quests and baddies, and ruins to explore than I knew what to do with.  It's that big.  And that's mostly without a single quest in my journal.  There were vendors selling their wares out of carts or straight off their camel's back along the path too.  Plenty to do and see.

In a game this size, you really do need a mount.  This plays into the roleplay too, as it totally immerses you into the game world.  Now this is not for everyone.  Some players prefer to travel instantly to meet up with their friends so that they can quest together quickly.  And I agree that a mechanic like this is necessary, due to the size of the world.  So the devs created a quick travel method called the Riftway.  They are also working on getting flying mounts into the game (for player consumption) in the near future as well.  Imagine pulling out your personal Wyyvyrn or Griffon and flying down that cliff into the city below.  Once down at the harbor area, you can call your ship and sail from the port city off to far-reaching place you have yet to really explore.

This is the kind of casual play that I am talking about with on this blog.  And this is why I'm sticking with Vanguard for a very long time, because it offers multiple opportunities for me to explore and envelop myself into the world of Telon.

Have a great day!

______________________________

If you like what you've read here, please come check out my website where we discuss subjects such as these, and cover just about every type of MMORPG game and category imaginable.  You can follow the link here.

Speiberbob writes:

Well they seem to turn the game even more to the casual

gamer, thats not the original *vision* and not what they promised any more.

Though the game was good the times i played, this dosent make me want to return.

 

Good text by you anyway.. i just dont think 3 hours per night is casual.

regards

Sun Nov 04 2007 8:54PM Report
MMOPlaya writes:

Hiya thanks for reading.

If I recall, around mid to late beta, and into release, Brad (McQuaid) wrote many a post discussing the fact that he designed (and thought he executed) a game that covered BOTH the hard-core gamer and the casual gamer so that they could co-exist.  Take the Diplomacy and harvesting spheres as an example of casual gaming.  You could even realistically consider crafting to be a casual aspect.  Drop in and drop out.  Adventuring on the other hand was more of a hard-core aspect but if you stayed away from the larger and longer quest series, you could theoretically drop in and drop out as well.

Thank you for the compliment on my text.  I appreciate it.  Take care!

Sun Nov 04 2007 9:30PM Report
Speiberbob writes:

:)

 

sure, Vanguard is still a beauty on the eye,

and i also considered comin back.

But to many signs that i dont want to risk putting

may playing time and effort into a mmorpg when i dont know where its going.

Enjoy it

Sun Nov 04 2007 11:08PM Report
Ekibiogami writes:

Good To see Other people Loveing Vanguard as mutch as i do.

Im a Casual player also, I have been sense beta. After playing wow Hard as i could to try and catch my friends who were 20 lvls higher than me Ive just said to hell with trying to be hardcore in any MMO anymore. Its my money if i feel like standing in the middle of Knowhere and Yacking in General, I Do. and to hell with the world around me.

Mon Nov 05 2007 12:25AM Report
Roguewiz writes:

The big problem, as McQuaid found it, is actually finding the good median between Casual and Hard-core.  Should the game be overly simplified so that you can get alot accomplished in a short amount of time, or should they be made long and difficult so you get a feeling of satisfaction that you accomplished something?

Many games nowadays are boasting, "We are casual friendly!"  Most of the time, this isn't the case.  Let's take World of Warcraft for example, in some regards, this game is casual friendly.  There are alot of quests that can be completed, and most of them are rather quick and easy.  You can easily log in for 1-2 hours and actually get something accomplished: new equipment upgrades, progressing nice quest, or getting some nice experience.  However, anything beyond a few nice quests for the casual player, would be near unreachable, particularly the 5-man quests and maybe some instances.  Outside of PvP, which isn't for everyone, the casual player will hit the progression wall once they hit the 60s.  They'll get the gear the need to continue leveling, but it won't improve past quest gear.

As I stated in my opening, where should the MMO be designed around?  If you make the game too hard-core, casual players will probably quit reather quickly.  If you make it too easy and simplified (from a hard-core player standpoint), then the hard-core players will play briefly and quit as well.  Designing a game that caters to both is a massive challenge.  A game like that would be massive.  Does Vanguard do a good job of this?  Personally, no.  After beta testing it and playing it live, it doesn't offer much in terms of "casual-ness" outside of Diplomacy and Crafting.  Even then, you can argue that the "grind" for both them is no different than the "leveling grind".

The only game that I have played that is slowly trying to incorperate the "casual", or solo, concept; is Dungeons and Dragons Online.  Sure, you can argue that it really isn't "Massive" because it is all instanced, but the concept they have for "solo" or "casual", is on the right track.  Alot of the Dungeons have a "solo" option.  You receive reduced XP and "maybe" lower level loot (never checked), to be able to finish a quest or dungeon in your own time, by yourself.  Games should take this concept to heart, and incorperate "casual" toggles for quests.  It doesn't have to be for all quests, but should be for enough quests to give the casual player a sense that they aren't being ignored and that they can actually accomplish something in game.

Anyways, sorry to hijack your post about Vanguard.  I enjoyed the game, but the main reason I left was due to the lag and stability problems, and the fact that my RL friends quit.  I "might" go back eventually, but that is all dependant on: Warhammer Online, Guild Wars 2, and/or the new Bioware/Lucas Arts MMO .

Mon Nov 05 2007 8:17AM Report
Alienovrlord writes:

 

I agree with Roguewiz (not only on their choice of upcoming games) when he says many games try to claim "We are casual friendly" and that applies to this blog as well. The OP is not casual.

"Four years (in SWG), 2 Guild Creations (and leaderships), 2 City Creations (and mayorships), 1 Combat Upgrade (CU), 1 New Game Experience (NGE), and 10 respec tokens later, I still find myself subscribed to this game"

This isn't a casual gamer.  Maybe not the 30+ hours a week hardcore type but creating and leading guilds puts them well beyond any casual player.  Use "dedicated veteran" or whatever, but these players are not the ones that swelled the ranks of MMORPGs and made them mainstream (which is why casual is such a popular adjective now).

I can't understand is why these players constant try to draw casuals into niche games like Vanguard and EVE.  Even if they try them, they won't stay with them so what's the point. 

Mon Nov 05 2007 2:56PM Report
Arioc writes:

It all depends on what you consider a casual player to be. MMO's really are designed to prolong the leveling and exploration experience, so the people who play 1-2 hours a night, or just a handful a week can be classified as casual in the popcap tetris game sense, but those people really only experience a tiny percentage of what the game has to offer.

Another deffinition is those people who do not focus their energy to level, get the best gear, raid the hardest dungeons. One can be a casual gamer without limiting their PC use to a few hours a week. People who indulge in roleplaying, foster social gatherings and try and enjoy every bit of content they encounter rather then power-ing through them to level faster to get better gear are also casual players. At least in my opinion. Dispite my craving for immursion and ambience, I find myself driven to level, to get better looking armor and weapons, to unlock new abilities to flush out my character.

Like many games following the EQ structure, your character starts out very limited and only comes into his full abilities at the max level. This makes you constantly driven to level just so you can be the class you choose rather then joe-everybody who can swing a sword. It's an ironic twist since we rush to 50 to get all those cool shadowknight abilities, then at 50 find there's little besides raiding to use said abilities on.

Mon Nov 05 2007 6:04PM Report
MMOPlaya writes:

Hello all, and thanks for the input. 

Might I suggest we coin a new term to describe what I'm referring to as "casual" instead of mincing words?

Please see my next blog entry which will address this very topic.

Thanks for reading!

Mon Nov 05 2007 9:45PM Report
Dajag writes:

I recently canceled my Vangaurd account..

I reached lvl 50 in both crafting and adventure speres months ago..  like around june only maybe 5 months after release..

after lvl 40 this game drags as a faction grind very BORING.. Sony has no Vision for this game and will be happy to re-release it on PS2 or 3 or 4 or what ever number they are on..

This game lags in most zones when they are heavly populated no matter what system u have (i have a great system)..

Charcter Customization is almost not there .. ie A class system with no variations .. races that have as few a 3 hair styles.. a slider system that only streches ur toon making them look fat or oblong or bug-eyed..

Sony will add EQ2 style advancement trees and I am sure they will add their famous huge numbers no IU style expansions in the future ( mobs just sit there and let u beat on them with no artificial intelligence short of casting a few spells but as u progress in lvls everything to include equipment and mobs see outragous increases in stats)

 I like to call this dumbed down.. no strategy just mindless but mashing till u win then on to the next mob standing still waitting to die.. this game was nothing short of a let down and is now doomed to become a EQ2 clone.

Mon Dec 10 2007 5:30AM Report
Dajag writes:

Oooh by the way this game does have zones and their are load times- just recently Sony had managed to fix most of the issues with zoning to new zones such as CTDs which plauged this game since release..

What this game does not have is instances .. depending on ur view is good or bad.. (I see it as bad for many reasons)

BUT I will bet Sony will have to add instances sooner or later because the lag issue with raids can be unplayable.. right now the max size of a raid can not exceed 12 players and even that lags unless u have a high-end system..

Mon Dec 10 2007 5:39AM Report

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