Last week on Wayback Wednesday we ventured into Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. Joining me on our journey was Sony Online Entertainment Game Designer Corey “Ceythos” Lefever. Corey has worked for SOE for the past 6 years and has spent the majority of that time working on Vanguard in one capacity or another. While he got his start as a GM he has spent the last two years as a full-time game designer
We started the evening off talking about one of my favorite topics in MMORPGs: Crafting. While not entirely unique, Vanguard has a very robust crafting system. It is so in-depth that it is almost a game unto itself. There are multiple stages to crafting to Vanguard and at each stage you are provided an opportunity to increase the quality of your output. You harvest materials, refine the materials, and then finish your item. While you are adventuring through the world, you can have fellow adventurers assist you in harvesting a node and increase the amount of materials that you receive and increase the chance you will receive a high quality item. While you are forging your base materials to create a finished item you can add components that will add resists or stats to your items as well as increase the quality of the item. During the finishing process you will again be presented the opportunity to increase the quality of your output. Crafting also presents itself like a mini game requiring you to make choices as you work on your item. You will not find yourself just compiling a list of items and pushing a button to receive an output. There are even different items you can learn to create based on what continent you are on.
Something else that you don’t see every day in most western MMORPGs but is central to Vanguard is the amount of different equipment sets you have: Adventuring, Crafting, Harvesting, Diplomacy, Mounts, Appearance. All told there are almost 75 different equipment slots for you to fill on your journeys. You will almost always be able to upgrade one item your character has so you will be able to constantly improve yourself in some way.
Vanguard also features the Diplomacy system. Diplomacy plays out in the form of a dialogue but functions more like a card game. Throughout the game you can increase your skills in diplomacy and earn new cards that represent expressions or other various ways to make your argument.
During the episode we were afforded the opportunity to see some of the new areas that will be added to the game for 24-player raid content. While the zones were not populated we did get a chance to see what the environments were like. (You will start to see them about 45 minutes into the video). While I feel they should populate this lost lush oasis with dinosaurs, I highly doubt that will be the case. While Corey would not give a specific date as to when these areas would go live in the game he did say it would be sooner rather than later.
While Vanguard did have a lull in development it is clear from the tour that the team has a lot of content planned for the game. It is also true that Vanguard has had a few rough patches, especially at their original launch with a few more bumps transitioning from a subscription model to free to play, it has a number of systems that make it well worth your time to look at now. Like all of SOE’s other MMOs the client is free to download and you can play every class and race combination for free. With a vast open world home to plenty of places to explore and get lost in, this game is an explorer's dream.
The next Wayback Wednesday will not be until after E-3 in early June. Until then you can catch me every Thursday night hosting the Neverwinter Foundry Focus on our MMORPG.com stream channel. Thanks for watching!
Robert Lashley / Robert Lashley is a Staff Writer and Online host for MMORPG.com and RTSGuru.com. Rob's bald and when he isn't blinding people from the glare on his head talking in front of a camera you can chase him down on twitter @Grakulen