Welcome everyone to another edition of the Wayback Wednesday recap. I managed to pull myself away from a certain MMO long enough last week to sit down with the fine folks over at Sony Online Entertainment responsible for Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. As it turns out those fine folks do have names and they are: Salim Grant, Creative Director for Vangaurd, and Andy Sites, Director of Development.
I spent about an hour talking with Salim and Andy about Vanguard's past and the plans for Vanguard's future. Recently the game made the conversion to a free to play, or what some would call a freemium, business model. I asked Andy as the last holdout MMO in Sony's stable that had not gone free to play why change Vanguard now. Andy was very candid with his reply. "Not to beat around the bush but the game had died off quite a beat since the heyday of its original launch." SOE had to inject the game with a larger development team and breathe new life into the IP. With this move Sony has recommitted to Vanguard and hopes that it can be around another 5 to 6 years. In the end based upon player feedback Vanguard made a number of changes to their membership tiers. The first 10 minutes of the video provide a lot of commentary on the business of Vanguard.
A major difference between Vanguard and the Everquest F2P option is the availability of all the races and classes without having to pay upfront. In Vanguard you are able to make any race and class combination that you choose. Once you reach level 20 is when you will have to determine if you want to pay for a premium class or race. This is a wonderful decision. Now players will get a chance to try every class and race before they buy it. If they like it they'll pay for it. If not, no harm no foul; and you won't go broke in the process of figuring out what you really want to play.
As part of the new focus and commitment on Vanguard the day after the live stream they introduced a content patch that we had the chance to talk about. This patch introduced a new raid mob into the game. If you would like to know more you'll have to watch the stream for answers (at 44:30).
On a side note (and not to steal Vanguard’s thunder) I’d like to say thank you and offer a fond farewell to the people over at Paragon Studios. Parent company NCSoft recently decided to shut down Paragon and stop all work on City of Heroes, leading to a shutdown of all game services on November 30th. I had the opportunity to cover CoH on two live streams and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Paragon had a fun, albeit quirky, game that lasted for over 8 years. I had planned on doing an episode of Wayback Wednesday in October covering CoH before I found out about the shutdown. I still plan on streaming it, only now it will be as a farewell.
Tonight is our second week in a row featuring a SOE game. This time Wayback Wednesday takes its second trip down memory lane with the Godfather of MMOs, Everquest. EQ recently added in a new Hero's Forge feature and we will take an in depth look at what the forge adds to the game. If you have any stories about Vanguard that you would like to share please leave them in the comments below. You can also friend me on Facebook or harass me on Twitter. As always thanks for watching!