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News & Features Discussion  » Vanguard: Saga of Heroes: E3 Update

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  Stradden

Managing Editor

Joined: 7/08/05
Posts: 6729

 
OP  7/18/07 12:09:36 PM#1

MMORPG.com Writer Carolyn Koh attended this year's, modified, E3. Now that she's back, she's filing this report on her conversation with the SOE team now working on Vanguard: Saga of Heroes and catching up on what's going on now that SOE has control.

At the Barker Hanger in E3 this year, I found Bill Fisher, Senior Game Designer and Adventuring Content Lead at a single lonesome demo station. Bill Fisher came to Vanguard from EQ, has been with Vanguard since day one and stayed with Vanguard. I simply asked him to tell me what was happening at Vanguard.

"We are improving and polishing the game," he said, telling me about the optimizing that has taken and is still taking place. "Players have reported as much as a 20% improvement in frame rate." He went on to list the things they had done. Increasing dedicated Quality Assurance staff, to be sure nothing falls through at patches, and a dedicated Bug Team were two. "We fixed 1,200 bugs in the first 1 ½ weeks after SoE took over the game. Game updates are scheduled for approximately every six weeks, and the ability to construct Guild Halls will come on live very soon."

Read the whole report here.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

  Alienovrlord

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/28/07
Posts: 1528

7/18/07 12:31:15 PM#2
At the Barker Hanger in E3 this year, I found Bill Fisher, Senior Game Designer and Adventuring Content Lead at a single lonesome demo station.
 
The writer makes it sound so sad!  But I guess tragic is a good way to view Vanguard.
 
 Players have reported as much as a 20% improvement in frame rate." He went on to list the things they had done. Increasing dedicated Quality Assurance staff, to be sure nothing falls through at patches, and a dedicated Bug Team were two. "We fixed 1,200 bugs in the first 1 ½ weeks after SoE took over the game.
 
Yipes. 1,200?? Nice job on the new QA crew but it doesn’t say much about the way Sigil was conducting itself does it? I guess the horror stories we heard about Sigil management's handling of QA were true.    And so much for all those people posting on these Forums saying the game ran fine. Now we get some cold, hard numbers that tell us the truth.
 
I was informed that John Hegner was recently also designated "Lore Master", and his task is to straighten out the many stories that are in Vanguard and mesh them into a cohesive whole. As Bill tells me, John has also been with Vanguard since day one, and is an avid table-top gamer. "The stories in Vanguard were disconnected. John's task is to bring them all together and also lead us into future story arcs."
 
That’s a new one. So the original story arc writing was that bad too?   Not surprising I suppose given the other weaknesses and this flaw was probably overlooked with all the other problems. 
 
 We are also finalizing the Brotherhood system. This will allow you and your Brotherhood members to share XP, even when your characters are offline." Bill explained that it was a device to keep friends together.
 

Now THIS is a great idea! Neat new take on a way of keeping friends together in a MMORPG.  It will be interesting to see if they can make this mechanic work.

As part and parcel of the optimization of the game, the Vanguard team is also working on a new level 1 - 10 "trial" island. Partly a marketing tool since that will allow new players to try the game for free through level 10, the artists and designers are using the same engine to build this area as the rest of Vanguard.

Free trial, also nice.  After reading this article I might just try a trial of the game to finally see what it's like.  This has been one of the first interviews regarding this game I have ever read where rational comments were coming from the developers as opposed to outlandish hype that made me feel like I was listening to snake-oil salesmen.

But the main reason to convince me to try a trial of the game, nowhere in that article, not anywhere, was Brad McQuaid quoted, referenced, or even mentioned  

Maybe Vanguard has a chance afterall.   

  Gameloading

Novice Member

Joined: 2/27/04
Posts: 14174

7/18/07 12:34:31 PM#3

I would have loved to see a Vanguard: Saga of Heroes E3 update. Game designers often brag about graphics and FPS, like "All of this is running at 60 frames per second" or "This game runs at 60 FPS ".

I wonder what Sony would say.

"Yes folks, its true. This game is running at 21 Frames per second"

  Hexxeity

Novice Member

Joined: 2/21/07
Posts: 850

7/18/07 12:35:43 PM#4

So kudos to the team for getting their act together six months after release?

Sorry, but it's just too late.  It would be easier to start from scratch and create an entirely new game than to fix everything that's wrong with Vanguard.

  Vaedur

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/26/07
Posts: 435

7/18/07 12:40:34 PM#5
Originally posted by Hexxeity

So kudos to the team for getting their act together six months after release?

Sorry, but it's just too late.  It would be easier to start from scratch and create an entirely new game than to fix everything that's wrong with Vanguard.

LoL know your facts, sony has not owned it six months and has been terrific with it since they owned it.. and no, your totally wrong w/ the easier part, why do you think sony buys these games..

  Lucifrank

Novice Member

Joined: 10/23/06
Posts: 356

"Those who are willing to forsake their civil liberties for security deserve neither."

7/18/07 12:54:59 PM#6

I don't know if it was the writer's tone or what, but this article made me feel sad for these poor bastards.

Basically, six months into release, these guys are still stuck cleaning up other people's messes. This game has been on shelves for half a year and all they've got to talk about are improving frame rates? Imagine being stuck at a booth at E3 with all this exciting gaming stuff going on and you have to be the guy to tell people, "We've almost gotten the disastrous game I work for to a subpar level." And hey, we have a new Lore Master so we can develop some semblence of a believable world and storyline to go along with this bit mapped mess.

I think it's great that SONY is bothering with V:SoH, but man, what a bummer. It's not SOE's fault, or the current team burdened with this title, but it's just too little too late for most of us.

At least these guys were among the 50% who got hired at SOE once Sigil axed everybody. At least there's one bright spot here.

  Beery

Novice Member

Joined: 7/05/06
Posts: 184

"Dear Buddha, please bring me a pony and a plastic rocket".

7/18/07 1:34:01 PM#7

The folks at SOE need to learn that it's virtually impossible to fix a game after launch.  I would have thought SWG would have driven that point home.  Apparently not.  I feel sorry for the boobs who are left with the job of fixing the mess.  Post-release fixes take ten times as long to fix as they would pre-release, because the developers are forced into reacting to the criticisms of the playerbase rather than working to a logical plan.

  holifeet

Novice Member

Joined: 10/09/05
Posts: 534

7/18/07 1:53:41 PM#8

Originally posted by Beery

The folks at SOE need to learn that it's virtually impossible to fix a game after launch.  I would have thought SWG would have driven that point home.  Apparently not.  I feel sorry for the boobs who are left with the job of fixing Sony's mess.  Post-release fixes take ten times as long to fix as they would pre-release, because the developers are reacting to the criticisms of the playerbase rather than working to a logical plan.

SWG was actually a very good game at one point, especially community-wise. SOE just had no faith in the game and so they changed it to the NGE. That was when SWG turned sour.

 

Sigil were the same in many ways. They had a definite plan sometime back (since Vanguards announcement really). That plan was a harder game that challenged its players and did something new in the world of MMOs. They went back on that plan by forgetting the challenge in favour of subs. They got neither in the end because the game was (and is) such a mis-match of styles. There are games that do just one thing and are so much better, so people play them. Why play Vanguard when there are a number of other games that do the thing you want well and don't try to do everything else (badly)?

I had to laugh reading the article. Bill Fisher said that if players offered constructive criticism they would listen. 'Tell us what is wrong and we will fix it' he added. I've been doing that since they gave up the path Vanguard was always meant to take. Many other people have been saying the same things. They never listened to us.

They asked how people would like to see a teleportal system implemented and many, many people said they would like to see it class based, a la EQs druid. They then made the Riftway (or whatever it is called).

They asked the RP server if they would like to be merged and the majority said no. Now they merge it.

People said that double experience weekends were not necessary because experience was fast enough as it was. They announced another double experience weekend and pushed the levelling curve even farther beyond a reasonable level.

That's listening is it? Sigil had a gameplan they wanted, as do SOE now.  They know what they want to do and as many customers as possible could argue that the game should do this, or that, and they will listen little. That's the problem Beeny. Vanguard could be fixed if they put in all the stuff they chucked out before beta 2.5. By my understanding it was a good game back then.

All hail the Pixel, for it is glorious Orange!
.

  quixadhal

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/11/05
Posts: 197

7/18/07 2:10:48 PM#9

Well, when I cancelled my subscription, I bought one 30 day game time card and stuck it in my desk drawer.  If and when they finish their server merge, I plan to fire it up and see what real changes new management and 4-6 months have made.

I hope for the best, as the game was a lot of fun to play, even with the many(!) bugs and the huge empty cities which should have been full of players.  However, if it never materializes, I can probably use that 30 day credit for Pirates of the Burning Sea, which now has SOE's claws embedded in its underbelly.

 

  Bahamutff10

Novice Member

Joined: 6/23/07
Posts: 3

7/18/07 2:11:30 PM#10

Originally posted by Alienovrlord

 We are also finalizing the Brotherhood system. This will allow you and your Brotherhood members to share XP, even when your characters are offline." Bill explained that it was a device to keep friends together.
 

Now THIS is a great idea! Neat new take on a way of keeping friends together in a MMORPG.  It will be interesting to see if they can make this mechanic work.

 

This is a very old idea thought up by Sigil and was called the Fellowship system. I don't remember Sigil implementing it but they still deserve credit for thinking of it.

  Valentina

Novice Member

Joined: 5/28/06
Posts: 1665

7/18/07 4:04:39 PM#11

They're doing a great job with this.

  shrunken_man

Novice Member

Joined: 1/19/04
Posts: 38

7/18/07 5:25:05 PM#12

I hope Vanguard can be fixed. Despite all the negativity, I still want to play it.

I'm just waiting for the polish.

  Alienovrlord

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/28/07
Posts: 1528

7/18/07 5:32:53 PM#13

 

Originally posted by Bahamutff10

 

Originally posted by Alienovrlord

 We are also finalizing the Brotherhood system. This will allow you and your Brotherhood members to share XP, even when your characters are offline." Bill explained that it was a device to keep friends together.
Now THIS is a great idea! Neat new take on a way of keeping friends together in a MMORPG.  It will be interesting to see if they can make this mechanic work.

This is a very old idea thought up by Sigil and was called the Fellowship system. I don't remember Sigil implementing it but they still deserve credit for thinking of it.


If Sigil thought it up, why didn't they implement it? 

I can say I thought up the idea for anti-gravity boots.  That doesn't mean I should get credit for them if someone else makes a working pair.

Talk is cheap.  Getting an idea to work is what makes one deserving of credit.  Of course, the SOE people sitll have to show they can implement the idea successfully.

  Valant6

Novice Member

Joined: 11/03/05
Posts: 50

7/18/07 5:39:13 PM#14

Man.... none of you people get it do you? You totally missed the one thing in the review that points out the that speaks volumes about the ludicrous ideology that  not only killed this game, but will still kill whatever is left of this game....

 

OK, lets all get one thing straight here...Vanguard is leaking monthly subscriptions faster than the Titanic.... SOE doesnt have time to act cute with this game, and thats exactly what they are doing- once again showing how moronic they are as a company.

 

Did you guys not hear what the review said? Both the reviewer AND Bill Fischer made remarks about the overwhelming amount of resources needed to complete a guild hall. So what is SOE's solution to that ideology? Nothing....Bill Fischer just shrugs it off and use references like "Well, if it was real life....."  WAKE UP YOU MORONS! This is not real life, and your game is notoiously labeled as 'Vangrind' for a reason! You think people are going to come back to a game famously known for being a monotonous torture-chamber-Korean-like grindfest when you sit here and marvel, in a national review on a prominent MMO site, about how players almost need to quit their jobs due to the sheer amount of work it takes to own something actually cool in this god forsaken game?? Yeah Bill, thats REALLY going to pull your playerbase back and make them shake with joy!

 

I mean seriously, you guys have got to be kidding me with this review....Bill makes it sound like its not a big deal, and that its a fun thing that players have to grind for 6 months just to obtain the necessary resources to build a guild hall....my lord....If I didnt know what Vanguard was before and I read this review, I darn sure wouldnt want anything to do with it now. If nothing else, it proves there is still the same inflexible, grind worshipping, basless philosophy Mcquaid developed this game on in the first place- and is the exact reason why SOE cannot pay people to pick it off the shelves.

 

1,200 bugs is alot, but are you actually going to sit here and tell me you still think players left your game due to to the bugs? Whoever still thinks that needs to get a grip, because bugs were not the the key issue of why this game has failed....Its always funny to me that bugs in good games are minor nuisances at best, but in SOE's point of view, bugs are what sent the players away screaming in agony and totally destroyed every fabric of their community. If you believe this, you're falling under SOE's Jedi mind tricks people...

 

If this was actually a fun game, you wouldnt hear half of what you do about all the 'bugz OMG' problems. Bugs dont kill games, because they are always eventually worked out for the most part...bad games and bad ideology kill games...that simple. If Sigil put together an MMO that was actually fun to play and not a carbon copy grindfest version of EQ2, they wouldnt be in this situation at all.

 

Bugs are the thing SOE wants you to think killed Vanguard...but in reality, the bad gameplay design like combat, idiotic death penalties and slow travel, unimaginative quests and monster AI, overall grind nature, slow cashflow and overpriced land plots and minatenance fees, and bad philosophy like "overwhelming amounts of materials, manpower and labor' to complete one stinkin guild hall- all have much more of a major role of why Vanguard is the POS it is today.....

 

If Bill actually stood up and said they lowered the land costs, maintenance fees, and materials needed to build player cities in game , THAT would be something to get excited about...but not this terrible PR review that basically laughs at the amount of work needed to own a fun feature in the game, and not the 'brotherhood' system that was supposed to be in at beta for crying out loud (better known as the Fellowship system Brad always boasted about)

 

Most of you people commending this review are why we have sub par MMO's out on the market right now....

  METALDRAG0N

Novice Member

Joined: 7/11/07
Posts: 1693

I really like my Avatar Picture :)

7/18/07 5:51:10 PM#15

Valant this is jsut the first batch of changes being made to the game to fix its 'Basic' problems. Timeenough later for the more higher level problems like land costs and grinding to be fixed.

 

I personally like theh idea of a free trial island so soon i may actually try it and see if this game will be for me.

"Kill one man, and you are a murderer. Kill millions of men, and you are a conqueror. Kill them all, and you are a god."
-- Jean Rostand

  Valant6

Novice Member

Joined: 11/03/05
Posts: 50

7/18/07 5:59:15 PM#16

I think you missed my point....

 

I dont care if this is the first or the last changes made to this pitiful game. If SOE continues the same ideology that killed Vanguard in the first place, you wont even have a little 'trial island' to experiment on.

 

I thought Bill made it pretty clear they dont care about the grind problem when he just shrugged off the fact that players need to make Vanguard their second job before being able to own a guild hall (which WAS one of the few interesting features VG had going for it...I guess not anymore). Theres something very fundamentally wrong with that.

  mk11232

Novice Member

Joined: 6/22/06
Posts: 218

7/18/07 6:09:36 PM#17

Did anyone else miss the fact that the interviewer went up to the only vanguard developer at E3 who was in one booth with one machine and....had all the freaken time at E3 to talk at length about the game. Lol I get teh distinct impression that the interviewer was probalby the only person wanting to know whats going on with vanguard.  The sad truth is that the game sunk and eventually all the rats will flee, come on only 4 freaken servers left after the server mege.  Only one of the 4 is a EU server, which is also a pvp server.  Games dead, completely dead in the EU market and teh most famous RP server had to be merged becasue it had no player base.

After November, what willc ome out, I can count 5 promising games and WAR early next year, how many people still playing vanguard (and i bet most because there is nothing else out there right now) will continue to hold hope to this game?

  Leodious

Novice Member

Joined: 2/28/06
Posts: 782

The best way to travel is by means of imagination.

7/18/07 6:13:55 PM#18


Originally posted by Beery
The folks at SOE need to learn that it's virtually impossible to fix a game after launch. I would have thought SWG would have driven that point home. Apparently not. I feel sorry for the boobs who are left with the job of fixing the mess. Post-release fixes take ten times as long to fix as they would pre-release, because the developers are forced into reacting to the criticisms of the playerbase rather than working to a logical plan.

This is only true as long as players believe it to be true. We create the business reality for the games no matter what we want to think. If it becomes a better game and people are willing to try it, it could be become a great success. But it is only possible if people are willing to let it be. MMOs last a long time. People spend more hours in them than probably any other genre. If you are willing to give it a go it could be awesome. I was thinking about buying it anyway, but I will wait for the free trial, and if it is good, I'll jump on it. I am craving a hard to play game. I tire of games where it is to easy to win. I also tire of too-easy 14-hour dungeons where I have to play with 600 other players. It's just too much. 12 people is a good raid size. I can handle that.

"There are two great powers, and they've been fighting since time began. Every advance in human life, every scrap of knowledge and wisdom and decency we have has been torn by one side from the teeth of the other. Every little increase in human freedom has been fought over ferociously between those who want us to know more and be wiser and stronger, and those who want us to obey and be humble and submit."

— John Parry, to his son Will; "The Subtle Knife," by Phillip Pullman

  joker1231978

Novice Member

Joined: 3/08/07
Posts: 30

7/18/07 6:46:49 PM#19

 

Originally posted by Valant6

I think you missed my point....

 

I dont care if this is the first or the last changes made to this pitiful game. If SOE continues the same ideology that killed Vanguard in the first place, you wont even have a little 'trial island' to experiment on.

 

I thought Bill made it pretty clear they dont care about the grind problem when he just shrugged off the fact that players need to make Vanguard their second job before being able to own a guild hall (which WAS one of the few interesting features VG had going for it...I guess not anymore). Theres something very fundamentally wrong with that.

I'm going to play the devil's advocate here.  I'm not going to comment on the the state of the game, but rather the statement made.

 

 

They said the amount of resources to make a guild hall is HUGE.  You think players would have to grind months and months to build one.  However, at what scale?  What I mean is the list may be huge for a guild of 20-30 players, but what if the guild had hundreds of people?  The larger guild....the less of an impact the resource list is.  With servers merges, having large guilds is quite possible.  When I was playing, there were guilds that had 400-500 people.  My old guild still has over 150 people.

 

Without true comparison of how large the list is compared to guild size, it's hard to really state the impact of what it would take to build a guild hall.

 

  Valant6

Novice Member

Joined: 11/03/05
Posts: 50

7/18/07 7:02:39 PM#20

Sounds to me like you're trying to convince yourself of something.....

 

Your reasoning throws up flags....what you should be asking yourself is- what  happens when you dont have a guild size of 150? The rest of the guilds are screwed and it will indeed take them months upon months to gather the resources necessary to build a guild hall? Hell, we havent even gotten into the maintenance costs that they will need to endlessly grind for as well....

 

Keep in mind- we're talking about a game that is notoriously known throughout the MMO community as a tortorous grind of monotony...Now when you get devs supporting a game like this laughing at the 'sheer amount of resources it takes to build a guild hall', and its time to put down the pipe and start walking away, because you know its going to be absurb-this is Vanguard and SOE afterall.

 

Also- I find it very hard to believe any current guild in that game has over 120+ active players....Sure, there might be a couple, but every guild I was in touch with at launch on our server has less than 20 active players still in this horrible game, and we had one of the highest server populations at launch.

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