When I previewed
Vanguard: Saga of Heroes I had a number of reservations, I also praised the game for its potential. Itís probably worth reading the preview before this review. I doubted the game would be ready given the stated release date. It appears that I was right, the game simply doesnít feel like a finished product. So Iíve started on a negative note, that doesnít mean that the game is a complete failure in fact there are many things that deserve further praise.
When creating a character rather than races being separated by faction (such as World of Wacraft) you choose by continent. Whatís impressive is the difference between starting locations. The early quests for each race can be massively different and make a huge difference to how the game plays out. For once in a MMO game I wanted to try different races to see how the early story lines played out. The range of classes is excellent with each being fairly well balanced, every gamer will be able to find the right race/class combination to match their play style.
One important point to consider is the games size. Some games are big, some are huge, V:SoH fits into the next category, immense. The scale of the game is somewhat overwhelming and with the time I have spent playing the game I have barely scratched the surface.
Itís good to see that criticism was taken on board by the developer. The inconsistencies with waypoints that I discussed in the preview have been resolved. Now when you are given a quest, it will list important waypoints, with a simple click you can add a marker on your map and compass, this massively reduces the frustration in questing and makes the whole experience far more enjoyable.
Like all MMO games V:SoH is frequently updated with bug fixes, new content and resolved balance issues. Fortunately for gamers this has meant that many of the broken quests have been resolved and odd bugs have been eliminated though the game is still far from perfect. I still believe that the game was released a little early with a few months extra the game could have been significantly more polished and could have been a much better experience. Itís always more difficult to change things when you have well over one hundred thousand subscribers. Apparently the game was released early due to the funding for the project running out
If I had to choose a game that V:SoH feels like then I would have to say Everquest. This is no surprise really as Sigil Games is made up of the original Everquest developers.
Due to the size of the game and the often vast distances between areas mounts (thankfully) are available very early on in the game. As the game progresses other transport options are made available to you.
Gameplay doesnít stray from the standard MMO formula, early quests will have you carrying out tasks in an easy starting area, such as collect a number of items or killing a certain number of enemies. This slowly builds your character and offers improved weapons and armour as rewards. Gameplay features and skills are introduced slowly so as not to overwhelm the gamer. There is nothing innovative with this system, but to be honest no-one really expects anything different. We have all come to accept that this is the best way to start a MMO game, and games which do things differently rarely succeed. One thing that the developers have done a little differently is the respawn rate, itís remarkably fast. I was expecting this to change from the beta to the full release as I assumed it was there to make the testing a little easier, though it has made it through to final release. It means that there is always an abundance of enemies though if you are not quick enough to make your kills itís quite easy to get swamped by enemies.
Once you gain a few levels a good set of armour and the rest of your basic adventuring equipment you get a bit more choice in where you are headed. Like all MMOs areas are limited by level, you canít just wander anywhere as you are likely to get slaughtered by a high level enemy.