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Role Playing (Games) Businesses

Why Vanguard Sets a Bad Precedent for MMOGs 135

Posted by Zonk
from the don't-ship-it-unless-its-fun dept.
The ever-enjoyable Gamers with Jobs has up a fascinating look at the recently released MMOG Vanguard . The article's author, Elysium, takes pains to point out that it's not a review. He didn't play the title long enough to get a firm grasp of the game; he just didn't care enough to spend the time. He outlines what makes Vanguard a bad game, and then points out that the game's creator Brad McQuaid himself has as much as admitted it was released too early. Sony Online Entertainment saved the game from bankruptcy, and released it when the schedule said to and not a moment later. In Elysium's mind, this sets up a really, really bad precedent: "Now that the game has released in its incomplete state, in a state that McQuaid himself describes as requiring patches, bug fixes and new feature implementation on par with a beta product, Sigil essentially comes to the consumer as the third investor in the process of the development cycle, and that is not just a terrible way of doing business, but an irresponsible step in the wrong direction for complicit consumers. Let me put it bluntly, if a game is not ready for retail when the money runs out find another investor or shut the doors. We are customers, and the retail end of the industry is bad enough about not supporting incomplete or inoperable products without developers and publishers assuming we are investors in the development process. Your job as the industry is to create product, and then, and only then, we buy it."
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Why Vanguard Sets a Bad Precedent for MMOGs

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  • by Wind_Walker (83965) on Friday February 23, 2007 @11:54PM (#18131744) Homepage Journal
    Anybody who investigated the game online knew that the game was rushed (or they did a poor job investigating). I was among those on internet forums talking about major game-wide changes being made in the final month of production. They changed how XP was awarded, they implemented item durability, and they put in flying mounts within the last 4 weeks of Beta.

    Of course there were still the die-hards who dismissed these with their standard "Go back to WoW" line, but everybody knew it was true. The die-hards often commented that they knew they were going to be funding a retail Beta, but didn't care because they "believed in the vision"

    So I don't think it's setting a bad precedent - the precedent was there long before Vanguard. Asheron's Call 2, Dungeons and Dragons Online, The Matrix Online, Star Wars Galaxies... all beta'd by me, and all forced out the door too soon. It's no coincidence that they're all doing poorly, with one (AC2) dead.

    World of Warcraft was not forced out the door, and in fact slipped over 2 years from its initial announced release date of Winter 2002. I beta'd WoW, and while there were still a few small bugs (and their servers were underprepared for the launch) it was polished and it shows in its subscriber numbers.

    The only way we can change the precedent is by being informed customers and not buying crap when we know it's crap. The only way a company like SOE will stop rushing release dates is when they see long-term dissatisfaction outweighing short-term development costs. If they threw another $2 million into development and pushed Vanguard back a few months it would have made a world of difference, giving them subscribers for years to come. Blizzard understood this.
    • by AugstWest (79042) on Saturday February 24, 2007 @01:52AM (#18132222)
      I agree, this precedent was definitely not set by Vanguard. I played Vendetta Online for a bit, and it had issues, and ws under constant development on a day-to-day basis. It added a very nice feel to the game.

      ATITD had the feeling of being in regular development as well, although it was very stable.

      Don't even get me STARTED on Eve Online... There are bugs affecting everyday gameplay that have existed pretty much since launch. Every patch breaks something that previously worked, and getting acknowledgement of the bugs from the devs is like pulling teeth.

      These bugs have become so commonplace that they're now part of the game, and finding exploits and utilizing them is an arms race.

      So yeah, Vanguard may have been pushed out early, but it's definitely not the first game to go through it.
      • Don't even get me STARTED on Eve Online... There are bugs affecting everyday gameplay that have existed pretty much since launch. Every patch breaks something that previously worked, and getting acknowledgement of the bugs from the devs is like pulling teeth.

        While I agree there are quite a few broken things in Eve, I would have to say that SWG takes the cake for being rushed out. I payed to play the SWG beta. While it had it's fun moments, I would say 90% of the quests I tried where bugged in someway, and I couldn't even finish them because the mobs the quest was supposed to generate never appeared. It was also very unbalanced and messy. When they announced that it was going to go retail, I seriously could not believe it. I thought it needed at least anot

    • by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Saturday February 24, 2007 @03:35AM (#18132580)
      Thats the thing this industry still has yet to learn...

      Ship a bad game on time and no one cares.
      Ship a good game late, and people won't remember how late it was.

      Hardly anyone has such faith in their products anymore...
      • by GoofyBoy (44399)
        Thats the opposite of what is happening.

        Ship a bad game (on time or not), it gets slaughtered. Think about any bad game, does the fact that it shipped late factor into why its bad?
        Ship a good game late and people will still love it. In the long run, if its good no one complains about how they waited two months for it. They are too busy playing it.
      • Ship a buggy MMO on time and you get an instant cash influx, a good amount of people that will pay for a few months regardless, and a large majority of people who will still resubscribe or buy the game once it becomes more stable. You basically get people paying to beta and it doesn't lose you many players.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by garylian (870843)

      So I don't think it's setting a bad precedent - the precedent was there long before Vanguard. Asheron's Call 2, Dungeons and Dragons Online, The Matrix Online, Star Wars Galaxies... all beta'd by me, and all forced out the door too soon. It's no coincidence that they're all doing poorly, with one (AC2) dead.

      World of Warcraft was not forced out the door, and in fact slipped over 2 years from its initial announced release date of Winter 2002. I beta'd WoW, and while there were still a few small bugs (and their servers were underprepared for the launch) it was polished and it shows in its subscriber numbers.

      I beta'd most of those same games, as well as WoW. WoW wasn't completely finished, either. And the beta community was telling Blizzard loud and clear that certain things needed to be fixed. But Blizzard had delayed release too many times, and they needed to get the damn thing out the door. So, they pushed it.

      But the simple fact is, no MMO is released as a full gold. They haven't been for a long time. They know that once they go past the beta, all sorts of bugs are going to turn up, and their server i

  • by Cecil (37810) on Saturday February 24, 2007 @12:05AM (#18131800) Homepage
    There have been several cases where an eagerly anticipated game ran out of capital before it was "finished" and so it simply got canned. That sucks too. I would rather have a buggy release where I *can* buy it and as such hopefully fund some future patches, eventually resulting in a complete game. Worst case scenario at least there is a possibility that the community can come up with an unofficial patch.

    So no, it's not really a very bad precedent at all as far as I'm concerned.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SB5 (165464)
      Community come up with an unofficial patch? You know we are talking MMO's here, that means you connect to one of the game company's servers and pay a monthly fee, and must use their patches.

      Your idea of of buying it will fund future patches is also faulty. That money goes directly to paying the current debt, and any money left over goes to the investors, and they MIGHT think about reinvesting it back into the project but would you want to depend on that all the time?

      Worst case scenario is you end up with a
    • One of the problem with the games that folded before release is that everyone involved can play "what release would have been like" with impunity. Too many developers promise the world and then get crushed trying to deliver it. Some suffer feature creep as the go along forever not finishing the game as intended simply because they cannot stay focues.

      Its probably best they do not release, if the developer cannot be realistic before release how can we expect them to be so after? I have been in games where
    • Yeah, but what sane gamer wants to actually play a Pavlovian - er, I mean, Brad McQuaidian - 'game'? Much less pay to beta test it so it 'might' get better? The guy has about the same game design skills as what they shovel out of the elephant pen at the local zoo.
  • by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Saturday February 24, 2007 @12:16AM (#18131842) Journal
    "Hello, Game master. I can't zone out of the starter area, and the mobs are mocking me."
    • Anarchy Online belongs in an entirely different class of game launches, a class whose only other member that I know of is World War II Online. These games were not just rushed, and not just broken on release -- these games were coded and/or managed by incompetents.

      At least Vanguard is playable on launch. AO and WWIIOL had bugs so disastrous that they made the game in some way unplayable or just plain laughable. Flying Panzer tanks in WWIIOL. Doors in AO that led outside the rendered world. Skills that
  • Setting precedent? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Volante3192 (953645) on Saturday February 24, 2007 @12:19AM (#18131852)
    In Elysium's mind, this sets up a really, really bad precedent:

    The precedent has already been set. Microsoft, Sony (and I'm thinking EQ expansions here more than PS3), whoever released NWN2...I'm sure there's more but I don't want to bother google searching for this junk. Only company that bothers to release stuff as best they can is Valve I think.

    The whole plan is 'release now, patch later.' Patches are too ingrained in the norm these days. Heck, people practically EXPECT patches. If a company didn't release patches, people would begin to think they're leaving their product unsecure or something. Catch-22. Blame the public for accepting patches.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      If a company didn't release patches, people would begin to think they're leaving their product unsecure or something.

      Or just out of date. And they'd be right; for one thing, Vista breaks games.

      No, the model you want to look for is id software. Game works flawlessly out of the box, only problem is they can take awhile on their Linux/Mac binaries. Once released, they patch it, and patch it, and patch it, until they don't want to patch it anymore and just release the source, so we can keep it rolling.

      Patche

    • "Only company that bothers to release stuff as best they can is Valve I think."

      When Duke Nukem Forever comes out, it will be so perfect that it will require negative patches to scale back the brilliance.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Swift(void) (655825)

      Only company that bothers to release stuff as best they can is Valve I think.
      It is almost offensive that you did not name Bioware along side Valve. There is barely a game they release that is not top notch and highly polished.
    • (and I'm thinking EQ expansions here more than PS3)

      EQ expansion 'problems' were entirely intentional. When Runes of Kunark was released, they made everything drop desirable items at intense rates. Their online store was also 'broken' such that you couldn't just buy the expansion pack. However, you *could* buy the full game + expansion pack combo. Within a few weeks, the store was fixed such that the expansion pack was once again for sale by itself, and everything stopped dropping such good items. Bait and switch if I've ever seen it.

  • by RichPowers (998637) on Saturday February 24, 2007 @12:24AM (#18131878)
    Every Vanguard preview indicates that it's the same old stuff we've seen for years - high fantasy, level grinding, questing. The screenshots look dull and uninspired. The plastic player models convey zero personality. In other words, the game will have a small fanbase but it's not going anywhere. And no, I haven't played the game because nothing about it sounds compelling. Why should I settle for a second-rate product when I have WoW, GW, or even EQII to choose from in the "fantasy/MMORPG/questing" genre? And frankly, you need a damn good product to sway people away from WoW or whatever. You're asking them to give up their time investment and spend hundreds of hours in your gaming world. Or you could innovate and create an MMO for people like me who hate the current crop of MMOs :P I read Vanguard's forums since early development and the devs had some awesome ideas. They just failed miserably in the execution. As my friend said when I showed him some Vanguard screenshots/previews: "Don't they already have 5 games just like this?"
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Phrogman (80473)
      So in other words, you haven't tried it, you have only seen some screenshots you didn't like the look of, and you are already a fan of WOW so why should you switch? And from this you draw the conclusion that no one should switch or consider playing the game. Just how subjective can a person be?

      In fact, Vanguard has massive potential. Yes, its buggy and incomplete - but every single MMORPG released that I can recall has been buggy and missing some content at release. The fact is that these projects are so la
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Sage Gaspar (688563)
      The draw of Vanguard is that they built a compelling fantasy world first and then put a game around it. In EQ2 or WoW (and I'm guessing GW) every area is crafted to maximize gameplay, which leads to some very artificial feeling areas. Vanguard also has some of the deepest dungeons I've seen in any MMO liberally scattered across the countryside and a lot of things for you to find just exploring. If you don't care about this sort of thing then Vanguard doesn't really have much more to offer you than any of th
    • by everphilski (877346) on Saturday February 24, 2007 @09:44PM (#18139068) Journal
      WoW, GW, or even EQII

      Having played all three, and the original Everquest for most of the eight years of its existance (I've been flaky the past couple... I'm now a married man with children) I will say that Vanguard has potential that none of these games have. It beats EQ2 (a lot of reviewers call Vanguard "EQ3"). Comparing it to WoW is a joke. Social interaction is much improved over any MMO I've ever played. Diplomacy is a great and interesting feature that is a game within itself. The crafting of homes and massive ships is beyond what most MMO's have promised, much less delivered.

      Only reason I'm not playing it is I'm expecing my second son in a few weeks. I played the beta and enjoyed it thoroughly. I've let my other subscriptions lapse. When I have time again, I'll definitely pick up a copy.
  • One MMO that came out around the same time WoW did was Everquest 2. At the time, it had its own issues, but it had time to mature, it had a few big expansions, and a couple mini adventure packs (which are worth the $5 or so for the time having fun playing them.)

    I took up EQ2 a couple months ago (after just burning out of WoW), and have been extremely pleased with the UI, the playing style, the graphics, pretty much everything in the game. I almost say that EQ2 is EQ2.5, because of all the major positive w
    • In that case, they should call it an open beta and not charge us for it. Or call it a closed beta and charge us, whatever.

      As TFA says, we are customers, not investors, and we should expect to be treated as such. So if everyone took your advice, Vanguard would be dead. Which means that if I do check it out in six months, and buy it (which I might), I will essentially be buying a game that's funded by idiots.

      I don't have a problem with it being funded by idiots, but I would much rather games be released whole
  • by bigbadwlf (304883)
    After the way SOE butchered SWG, I'll pass.
  • Sony does seem to have a problem with releasing products too soon and not finished enough...
  • This has basically been SOP for many MMOGs, especially the ones that come out of Sony/Verant's stable. Asheron's Call 2, Anarchy Online, Everquest several times over the years, Star Wars Galaxies... If the players are lucky, the developers will admit that things need to be fixed and will actually work to fix them. If they're not, then they'll get to sit back and be told that 'X is working as intended', where X might be the Plane of Mischief, the Sleeper's Tomb, unlocking a new race for play, or the abilit
  • Sony Online Entertainment saved the game from bankruptcy, and released it when the schedule said to and not a moment later. In Elysium's mind, this sets up a really, really bad precedent

    I can't imagine it was any worse than SWG, pretty much everything was broken at launch. MMO's have notoriously launched in a less than stable state (to say the least). The dev post on the SWG beta boards in response to the beta tester outcry when the launch date was announced, was something to the effect of "the game is in

  • How does this set any kind of precedent? It's certainly not the first MMO to ship before it's bug-free, or even feature-complete. Sony has a long history of releasing EQ expansions when they're ~50% complete, banking on it taking players N months to get to that point. This Anarchy Online review [somethingawful.com] shows that it too fell victim to being pushed out the door well before its time. The only MMO game I've seen that was significantly complete at almost every step of the way has been WoW.
    • by Krater76 (810350)
      WoW had it's share of 'release now/fix later' features.

      Blackwing Lair was pretty much beta tested on the live servers. After that debacle Blizzard went to having longer public test realm segments. Ahn'Qiraj was also questionable. It required a long 'gate opening' world event that kept people out for at least a few weeks before they could even start the encounters. Once people got to the bosses a lot of changes were made because they were somewhat difficult if not impossible.
  • It's sad too... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lonin (876821) on Saturday February 24, 2007 @01:26AM (#18132112) Homepage
    It's kind of sad to me, and a few others I know because this didn't have to happen. Sigil spent a LOT of money on Vanguard, not WoW money, but more than pretty much any other MMO out at the moment besides EQ2. Not only that, but they had lot's of time too, something like 5 years of development time. Unfortunately, they pissed it all away. They just made mistake after mistake that eventually lead to the current state. I was part of the most active guild in beta for a long time and most of us left about 4 months prior to launch even after putting in months of playtime on characters we knew would be deleted. It just became obvious to us, people who had big plans, tons of time and resources invested and really wanted to enjoy the game, that it was just going downhill fast. I really feel sorry for some of the developers and other Sigil employees that we got to know. Most of them joined Sigil because they expected greatness from McQuaid, he was one of the creators of Everquest after all, but instead they got screwed just like everyone else, but more so. It became pretty plain that even the devs were losing hope and enthusiasm for the project, and when that happens the game is doomed. As for Vanguard settings bad precedent, I agree, but not for the same reasons. Like someone else mentioned, MMO's releasing before they finished is nothing new and if anything Vanguard lack of success is going to further show new developers that to release an unfinished MMO these days is essentially suicide. Where I think the bad precedent comes from is that Vanguard was originally being built as the last crack at a "hardcore" MMO. Now that Vanguard is essentially a failure investors will be far less likely to put their money on another "hardcore" style MMO which is really a shame since the style of the game was not why it's failing. I don't know if we'll ever see a mainstream Everquest style MMO again, but I'm sure we're going to see a long line of WoW clones hoping to ride the coattails. Whether you like one style of game or another it's always nice to have more choices. Finally, another important thing to gather from the Vanguard release is that it will most likely be Brad McQuaid's last. He used up every ounce of fanboyism and nostalgia that he gained from Everquest and totally wasted it. He made a lot of big claims and hard-nosed statements concerning Vanguard and didn't deliver on any of them. He's truly eating his words right now as he's basically become a MMO pariah. And frankly, after seeing what he did (and didn't do) with such a promising "Vision" of Vanguard, I say good riddance.
  • by hedwards (940851) on Saturday February 24, 2007 @01:26AM (#18132116)
    This game was much better 25 years ago when Atari released it.
    • Has it really been a quarter century since my parents bought that game when we first got our Atari 2600? Oh, how I miss blasting Mist Ships, Harley Rockets, Grimeys, and the final boss: the Gond...
  • One has to boggle at the thought of whoever is in charge of calling the shots on when these MMOs are released. Just how many MMOs in a row do they have to rush to market and have fail miserably, before they learn that the short-term money savings just does not at all justify pushing out a beta product? SWG suffered from bad bug-testing methods, incomplete content, and being pushed to market months too early. It's death spiral took longer than usual because of the extreme power of the Starwars name, but any
    • Sony not learning from past mistakes? I would never imagine that the company that brought us betamax, minidisc, memory sticks, and blu ray would repeatedly release products with the same glaring design flaws.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by KillerBob (217953)
        Y'know? Betamax is actually a superior technology to VHS. There's a reason it's what TV stations and recording studios have been using until they went digital.... It records better picture quality, and better sound. VHS won out because of marketing.

        The rest of that stuff... can't really argue against it. It's all overpriced and mediocre. But I'd like to point out that SOE probably learned from Everquest (the first)... Millions of subscribers paying $13 US/month to beta test it makes a pretty compelling argu
        • by Rayonic (462789)

          Y'know? Betamax is actually a superior technology to VHS. There's a reason it's what TV stations and recording studios have been using until they went digital.... It records better picture quality, and better sound. VHS won out because of marketing.

          TV stations used Betacam, not Betamax. The formats are somewhat related, but incompatible.

          Oh, and VHS won because they came out with bigger tapes sooner. Betamax launched with 1 hour recordable tapes.
  • Remember the normal subscription model doesn't entirely apply to Vanguard.

    Sony have what they call Station Access ( http://station-access.station.sony.com/ [sony.com]), for $24.99 a user gets a subscription to Vanguard, EQ1, EQ2, Matrix Online, SWG, Planetside and a few others. Sony do not need Vanguard to be a smash hit runaway success, what they need is for a supply of extra games added to the pass so that:
    a) people buy the boxed game ("Hey I'm already paying for the pass so why not give Vanguard a go")
    b) people

    • by 0123456 (636235)
      Indeed. I used to play EQ1 and EQ2, so when Vanguard was released I decided I might as well pay for the station access pass and be able to play all three... so that's $25 a month that Sony wouldn't have got without Vanguard.

      Equally, now I'm paying that there's no way I'll be paying more to play any pay-per-month MMOG that isn't SoE, unless I cancel all three games.

      Which is a shame given how many bad SoE experiences I've had in the past. Unfortunately they own all the games I've tried that I actually wanted
  • Don't Forget WoW (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vjmurphy (190266) on Saturday February 24, 2007 @07:54AM (#18133404) Homepage
    Let's not forget that World of Warcraft also had its problems: the queue, the general issues in the beginning, etc. It's par for the course with games these days.

    I'm a little more concerned about console games needing patches: wasn't the whole idea with console was that they were different from PCs? The same "push it early, then patch" mentality seems to be affecting consoles, too.
    • by SB5 (165464)
      What exactly do you mean by "General Issues"? Almost everything has "general issues" related to it, and the reason why is because its a nonspecific term. I am sure most things have general issues, especially in the beginning because it takes time to figure out what is expected behavior and what isn't. Can't expect to put together an engine and expect it to run the first time perfectly.

      The queue was simply and issue to solve the temporary problem of unexpected demand. Thats a simple logistics issues, you can
      • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

        by everphilski (877346)
        Well, up to a month ago I know for a fact WoW still had queues on the big servers - my wife sold her account, she wouldn't have it anymore. And it wasn't just queues and temporary problems that WoW had (I played for the first 2 months of WoW's existance...) they didn't have battlegrounds from day 1, or honor, or many of the instances that were supposed to come out of the box. My friends and I, being the relatively hardcore gamers that we are, hit 60 and had nothing to do. They stuck around and rolled more c
        • by SB5 (165464)
          Those "issues" all sound like natural problems that happen. Blizzard has offered free server transfers IIRC for those on the crowded servers. I am playing on one of the new servers and have never seen a queue. So they didn't have battlegrounds from day 1, or honor, or many instances. You can't expect to have all content ready for launch. Its better to launch with a system not in the game, then to launch with a system that isn't working 100% and maybe buggy and unbalanced.

          Nerfs and class unbalances also happ
  • I play Vanguard, it's not bad really, in fact I do like it. It was released too soon, but really, we can say the same thing about 99% of the games out there. The problem with Vanguard, interestingly enough, is that its developers listened to the players too much. Because of user input they kept changing core aspects of the game. Whole classes were redone even 3 days before release date (so much for testing them). With so many changes, they ran out of money and time. Graphically it's awesome, you do need
    • Graphically it's awesome?? No way, that game looks terrible. It's in the middle of EQ and EQII (which looks terrible). It should not take 2GB of RAM to run Vanguard. I'm playing an infinitely better looking MMO right now and it runs great with just 1GB. The characters also don't look like they were modelled and rendered in Poser.

      I can't say anything about the gameplay of Vanguard but damn, it is an ugly game.
  • Being released early sets a precedent? ...in PC games? ...in MMOG's?

    *blinks*

    Did this guy wake up from a 20 year coma as of last month?
  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday February 24, 2007 @01:13PM (#18135118) Homepage

    When you read the guy's actual review, most of the things he's complaining about are gameplay design decisions, not code defects. He's not complaining about rendering problems or bad collision detection. He's complaining about the plot and dialog being lame, and the terrain and characters being boring.

    That's not a "released too early" issue. That's a bad screenplay issue.


  • The act of releasing rushed and unfinished product on to the marketplace is as ancient as commerce itself.

    It doesn't hurt the industry as much as it helps those who have a high standard of production.

    The onus is on us, the consumers, to identify and asess quality prior to purchase -- as it has been for millennia.

  • This guy openly admits this is not a review, so I can't bash him for obvious bias. With that said, the guy obviously does not like the game, so I really cannot see why he'd take this much time to say so. He slames the game for needed a hefty hardware requirements (even though its a brand new game, therefore may not run on 3 year old hardware, duh), he slames it for having a corpse run penalty, and he finds both combat and the card game (diplomacy) boring. He never looks at crafting.

    With all that said, I pla
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by cthellis (733202)
      Oh, there are definitely a lot of bugs in Vanguard:

      Some quests are just plain broken.

      Items "disappear" from your inventory at random times, which seems to be a form of "virtual stacking" and takes you resorting a lot of items or logging off to clear up.

      "Soft-zoning" through chunks can have a lot of effects, ranging from breaking /follow and riding mounts, to shifting you from 3rd-to-1st person, to crashing the game entirely, to "teleporting" you way ahead virtually and getting you attacked by aggro mo
      • by DarkJC (810888)
        I've always wondered, why the chunking? If anything WoW has proven it's easy to have a seamless world without zone lines (aside from travelling between continents and instancing) so why does Vanguard have chunks?
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Lonin (876821)
        HA! Both the mob models disappearing and the inventory problems have been around for literally 9 months. These two issues were probably one of the most reported bugs in beta. If that's not a perfect example of the game, I don't know what is.
  • I downloaded Vanguard when it was released and to me it's a very well done MMORPG. I haven't experenced issues with the playability of the game and the graphics are better than any other RPG that I've played (mainly EQ2, NWN 1&2, with some WoW). The addition of Diplomacy has been a fun angle to the RPG side of the game that allows folks who want to have a sideline other than adventuring do something other than crafting. I'm playing it on a high end machine that I built up this summer for playing game

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