Goodbye Vanguard, from a Guide

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I have been thinking about how to word this post ever since they made the announcement that Vanguard would be shutting down and I still can’t seem to find the proper words. I played in beta and immediately fell in love. The open world was my first experience of the sort, and even though we constantly “chunked” across zone lines, it was still amazing to me. Yeah, there were bugs, but I never spent much time getting upset about them because I was busy having too much fun.

I was one of a small handful of guides for Vanguard for almost three years. Our job was to interact with players and run quests and events for them to partake in. Vanguard may have been a dying game but it had a fiercely loyal fan base of players who would log in and it made my day a lot more fun to see them interacting with one another.

Some of my favorite guide events to run included transforming all of the players into frogs and shooting them into the air. We had quests where we role played that we were zombies and were unable to talk, requiring players to some how cast a spell on us and “cure” us from our ailment. My favorite quest was a fortune telling one. Since I was a dark elf I would always tell a fortune about how the player was going to be meeting a beautiful stranger – and then proclaim the fortune telling device worked because low and behold, there I was, a beautiful stranger.

I stopped just before the announcement of its closure was made, and I have no regrets. I met some of the most wonderful people, explored some of the most beautiful zones I have ever seen, and my blood mage will probably always be one of my favorite characters to play. Finally a game that got healers right, where we could participate in DPS and keep a raid up. The crafting was top notch, complex but not too complex. I took pride in my creations. My house, which was there until the end.. I built by hand, brick by literal brick.

Goodbye Vanguard. You will be missed.

(Note: I had a post about Blaugust scheduled for today, but I’m moving it to tomorrow instead, so keep an eye out here for that).

My Favorite Vanguard Memories

ScreenShot_00223It wasn’t a surprise when I heard tonight that Vanguard would be closing its doors, but that doesn’t mean that I was any less surprised, and maybe even a bit hurt. Still, 7 years is nothing to sneeze at, most companies probably would have closed the door long ago. I wanted to share a few of my favorite Vanguard memories, I’ve been playing off and on since beta, and this game has been one of my favorite for MANY different reasons.

– I was a volunteer guide with the SOE program for approximately two years in Vanguard. I met amazing players through the program and was able to interact and RP with them in ways I always wished I could. This was one of my favorite things to do in game.

– Vanguard was the first game I ever played where I quite literally built my house from scratch, brick by brick. I still own the house.

– Vanguard was the first game I ever played that attempted a ‘seamless’ open world without instances. It didn’t exactly work out the way it was intended, but it was always beautiful.

– I ran a lot of events in game, including a scavenger hunt for my guild ‘Safe Haven’. I eventually joined the EQ2 branch of the guild because they were just that amazing.

As I sit here and think about everything I’ve done in game and browse through the thousands of screenshots I’ve taken I can’t help but get a bit teary eyed. I doubt any but those closest to me know just how much of myself I poured into this game and how much it has given back to me over the years, helping to keep me sane when the world around me was a disaster. I’m so very thankful and grateful that it was allowed to run for as long as it did and I will miss this game very much.

SOE Live and Vanguard #Vanguard

ScreenShot_00366SOE Live is only 9 days away and while a majority of people this year are eagerly awaiting news on EQNext (I am assuming) I am looking forward to what we may hear concerning Vanguard. Yep, that quiet little game that no one admits to playing but secretly deep down inside, still yearns for.

Vanguard has a few panels this year which is fantastic because I remember the years when Vanguard wasn’t even a blip on the radar. You can check out the SOE Live lineup for full details, but as far as Vanguard is concerned you’re looking at the following:

  • Friday August 2nd – Vanguard Live Quest: Employing Diplomacy in Old Targonor
  • Friday August 2nd – Vanguard Past, Present, and Future
  • Saturday August 3rd – Player panel: Vanguard – Recruiting and Retention (sadly this is also at the exact same time that a panel on EQNext is going on about classes, but I still hope they get a good showing)
  • Saturday August 3rd – Vanguard Create your own adventure

When you have a lot of games to promote in your three day faire I can only imagine just what a huge deal time management must be. If you’re like me, and play multiple SOE games, there’s no way you’re going to be able to catch it all. Hopefully the majority of the information will surface over twitter and youtube videos, and other social media so those who are unable to attend can still get great information about their favorite games.

Of course just because I’m eagerly awaiting news for Vanguard doesn’t mean that I’m not equally as excited about EQNext (or any of the other EQ franchise games for that matter). I’m just taking it slowly, and we’ll see where all of this goes.

What are you most looking forward to hearing about at SOE Live? Let me know in comments!

Adventures Through Telon #VGD #Vanguardsoh

ScreenShot_00364Level 40. My shaman switched from bird to bear, and it’s been going pretty well. I’m thinking once my partner in crime (Hampooj, level 40 death knight) reaches level 45 I may switch back over to my blood mage. The shaman is a fun class but it’s not really my *favorite* class, they have a combination of spell and melee and you can choose to buff particular aspects. They seem more of a ‘jack of all trades’ healer. My blood mage on the other hand is a pure spell caster (cloth wearing to boot) and also my highest level crafter. Thus I have a bit more attachment to her.

I started out adventuring in Qalia but the sand there is just so bright, it hurts my eyes. So we moved back to Thestra and off to the northern part of the map to deal with skeletons and undead. While I was struggling to find quests to complete from 35-39, 40 seems to be one of those magical levels where a lot of content opens up. It should (hopefully) bring me fairly close to 50 – although like I mentioned above by then I may switch back over to my blood mage. Then there’s also my disciple who has been sitting at 50 for quite some time now (I haven’t leveled anyone to the cap of 55).

I noticed the store has gotten a few more items in it as of late, but I’ve been pretty good about not spending all of my station cash. I’ve saved up quite a bit from the last triple station cash day, although I did purchase a mount for my level 50 character – I noticed there’s also one for level 40. I’m debating picking that up for my shaman, it’s just not really a colour that I enjoy and if I’m going to spend station cash on something I want to make sure it’s something I’ll use. The mount in question is a giant flying dragon / lizard type creature, and a shade of green that I don’t particularly care for. Still, flying around Telon is an amazing action all in its own. I really enjoy being able to explore out of reach areas that way.

As always, happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!

Vanguard Brings Good News to Members and Free to Play #VGD

Vanguard released some really awesome news this week in regards to their free to play model as well as their membership plan.

“We have decided to expand and improve on the free- to-play offering forĀ Vanguard. That means everyone can play any race, any class, to any level for free. You can also own a house, create guilds, and do a bunch of other things.”

So if you were hampered by the free to play model before (although Vanguard has quite an open one compared to most games) there’s a little more incentive to get in game – and if you happen to love it as much as I do, there are some extra perks for becoming a member.

“With that said, there will be increased XP and faction gains, discounts on broker fees, the ability to purchase additional housing plots, and other exciting benefits. You can see all the membership benefitsĀ here.”

As Scopique said on G+ “Exactly! Membership should be something that people are COMPELLED to do, not something they should be SHAMED into doing.”

I think he brings up a really good point. Games spend a lot time telling you about all the things you CAN’T do without a subscription. Vanguard has taken a different approach and tells you about the things you do get as a free to play member, and about the things you get as a member. They don’t mention what you ‘can’t’ do (and there’s very little to that list). I think this is fantastic, and I really hope it works to get Vanguard in front of a larger audience.