Updated Mon, Dec 17, 2012 by jeffprime
Heart broken: Shayalyn
The first MMO I fell in love with was the first MMO many old school gamers fell for--EverQuest. I had fond memories of the way that game’s harsh mechanics--from the inability of most classes to solo to raid corpse recoveries in the Plane of Fear--brought players together as a community. But, by mid-2006, my time in EQ had passed, EQ2 had left me a little bored, and I was itching for the next game that would steal away hours of my free time (not to mention sleep.) Then, along came a game called Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, in development by EQ co-creator Brad McQuaid and a crew of the faithful known as Sigil Games Online. It promised to be EverQuest’s “spiritual successor,” and to address the needs of the “core gamer”--someone who appreciated the challenge of older MMOs like EverQuest but, due to having a busy work and family life, might have a limited time to play. The core gamer would enjoy old school mechanics, with a few more modern conveniences thrown into the mix.
I was certain that Vanguard was the game for me. I hung on every word that Brad McQuaid uttered about The Vision™. I couldn’t wait to get into beta, and...eventually I did. And that’s when Vanguard broke my heart.
You see, it wasn’t anything like I’d expected. For starters, at least to me, it felt a bit dated from the moment I accepted my first quest to kill 10 something-or-others and bring back their droppings. I expected it to at least have some of the bells and whistles that EverQuest II had adopted, but it didn’t. Not only that, it was so bug-infested and poorly optimized that it was nearly unplayable, even on the PC I upgraded specifically to exceed recommended specs.
There’s no doubt that Vanguard went through more drama during its development than any game has a right to. When Sigil’s Director of Operations asked a bunch of employees to gather in the office parking lot, where he told them they were all fired, bitter rumors of an inter-office affairs, drug addiction, nepotism, and a cobbled-together game engine that made development a nightmare ran rampant. Vanguard became a saga of fallen heroes, and its servers became ghost towns.
In August of 2012, long after it had become recognized as their redheaded stepchild, Sony Online Entertainment made Vanguard free to play. Just recently, the team released the long-awaited City of Brass game update. Vanguard still has its enormous open world and a variety of interesting races going for it, and your PC will likely run it now, but...it’s still Vanguard, and SOE’s attempts to rescue it are likely too little, too late. Heartbreaking indeed.