August 9, 2005

Vanguard will be an Everquest rehash...

Reading up on an article over at it seems that Vanguard is going to be another treadmill game. From the article I have grave reason for concern...

Jeff Butler mentioned at the demo that downtime will be making somewhat of a comeback as it's an important factor in socialization and community building. Players will have mental and physical stamina that they will need to replenish, but it will be reasonable for lower level characters.

-Holy shit! How socialization comes out of having my character sit on their proverbial ass is well well beyond me. I'm guessing these developers have no idea that players actually want to PLAY the game when they are logged in. Sitting, resting, or "replenishing" is not FUN. Remove fun and you remove me. Socialization and community come out of two things. Putting players together and having community driven goals. Both of which require as little downtime as possible.

Without details I don't want to go too overboard here, but unless they have taverns that push real beers out of my CD drive...

Another breakthrough feature is called demeanor. Each player will have to evaluate the demeanor of each NPC they come in contact with and apply their diplomacy skill to get the desired result. Vincent also stated that each class will be able to utilize different strategies for getting the same results. A rogue may choose to steal something from an NPC to complete a quest. A warrior may choose to use diplomacy to achieve the same ends. Also, the "hail" command will be back and each NPC will have something to say depending on your diplomacy level and their demeanor towards you.

-Breakthrough? Hardly. Retarded? Possibly. Most gamers I know ignore 99% of the quest text and NPC text that is dribbled their way. It is the reason games like DAoC and WoW have quest journals that abbreviate the goals on a given quest or task. Sometimes more detail is nice... most of the time it is not. Once again it comes back to the fact that gamers like to play the game... not read NPC text and hope they are persuading a NON-PLAYER CHARACTER to respond to them.

As the crafter progresses, he will eventually outgrow the village and need to move on to a more advanced town to learn more skills. This will have the effect of opening up his workshop slot to junior crafters. A crafter can pass on the location to a fellow guild member or friend. Each village will have a finite amount of crafting slots available. Also, many advanced crafting recipes will only be found in dungeons.

-Oh... so.... the players with no life who are logged in 24/7 get to control the crafting market? Great plan! Well guess this is good considering this game is shaping up to be powergamers'R'us.

Another inspired feature is that players can learn more exotic combat and spell skills using a skill called tactic recognition. Players can do this finding and fighting various mobs. Skills can also be learned just by grouping with other players. For example, a Thestrian warrior could learn a skill uniquely Qalian combat move just by grouping with Qalian warrior.

-Ah yes. Instead of trainers... or hell just giving us a skill tree to click on we will be scouring "spoiler" websites looking for the location of the fuzzy fuzbugger to get the fuzzy fuzzbugger attack. I'm doubting this will reward explorer types... considering that there will most likely be a line when they get there anyways.

It was important to Brad that Vanguard brings back a sense of accomplishment to players by providing a world where players can succeed by employing skill and tactics. He echoed what other Sigil staff had told me by stressing that Vanguard was about letting players make their own stories with more of an emphasis on open ended, non-linear game play.
-If it was "important" to bring back a sense of accomplishment they may want to stay far away from treadmills as possible... and clearly so far that is not the case. The old cliche of "You only won because you have no life." is ringing in my ears... and it is quite loud. If they think accomplishment = time spent... they are sadly mistaken.

True Heartless Insight... the THI effect.