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Showing posts from January, 2007

Looking Forward In Telon

This weekend promises to be the busiest Vanguard weekend until word catches on it's not so broken. SOE/Sigil seems to have strengthened their account servers which are now stable enough to accept customers.

My retail population estimate is moderate. Through manipulation of the /who command, I can see perhaps 100-200 players in the Tanvu zone. Tanvu is one of the more popular out of dozens of places players can potentially start. This puts my shot-in-the-dark estimate at about the 1500-2000 player count, and that may be optimistic.

I managed to eke out four hours to play today, but I've a certain responsibility to my classes that prevented me from playing as much as I'd like to. I did, however, write up a little player review of Vanguard for Gamespot.

Vanguard's Release: Both Hardcore and Not

Today I saw Vanguard reveal some Hardcore Web Features, and Not So Hardcore Account Server Issues

Here's the hardcore bit: Vanguard's old URL now forwards to a brand spanking new website. However, this website isn't just for looks, it actually performs some vital game functions. Case in point: My totally kickass automatically generated Vanguard Blog.

The Blog includes a screenshot of what was on my screen whenever I made a major achievement (such as uncovering a new item or gaining a 5th level increment). Here's the interesting thing: I didn't take those screenshots. Does this mean the Vanguard client actually takes and uploads screen shots every time one of these events occurs?! If so, that's awesome. Sure, some people might find that an invasion of privacy, but I have to say that I'm stunned to have this kind of functionality built into the game. Automatically taken, uploaded, and web served screenshots of achievements must be…

A difficulty of perspective

I've learned to loathe when somebody asks what is the "best" game (though it happens). The inherent problem with the question being posed is that I have no idea what the other person would really regard as "best". The most I can do when confronted with such a question is stammer, "Best in what way?" Yet, it doesn't matter how well you explain it, I can't pick your brain and see the preconceived notions living there that will color your opinion towards a given game. You, yourself, may not definitively know what you mean by "best".

Enter: the "jaded" MMORPG player. The jaded player has built a preconceived notion that MMORPGs suck, probably because he or she has played one until they were sick of it. Something inside of them tells them they still like MMORPGs, and that works so far as to purchase one when it comes out. Yet, should this new MMORPG fail to amuse them absolutely immediately, it has failed them. They don&…

The Great Telonian Land Grab

In this issue: Vanguard Opens, I Play Vanguard.

As this is the three day preorder access head start weekend, Vanguard is released. There may be those who say that this is still the pre-release phase, but it's been my experience with MMORPGs that most of the impact of release comes with the pre-order access phase. As a result, I don't expect a major impact on the 30th (the official release date) although tens of thousands will trickle in when the word gets around that Vanguard is worth playing. The servers are already showing solid "medium" populations - this morning the European PvE server even hit "high".

Much to the disappointment of those who were expecting an absolute train wreck in Vanguard, the game has launched relatively free of complications. The European worlds came up about 8-11 hours after the US ones, but they did come up on release day. There has been much patching, two or three patches a day since release. I find that encouraging, as it …

Precursor to the Vanguard "paid beta" phase (a.k.a release)

Vanguard beta is over, and the retail will begin soon. Out of the starting gate perhaps 2 months early, there's a certain school of thought that the game will abruptly bomb. I don't think so. Vanguard is not flawed in the same way Asherons Call 2 or Earth and Beyond were. For it to be that broken, you need to have a game mechanic that fundamentally does not entertain. Vanguard's can entertain, assuming you find that kind of game fun. The delivery is rough but, for many MMORPGs that have gone on to be successful, that's business as usual at release.

My last day of Vanguard beta was anti-climatic. I had an obligation last night towards homework which I had to meet (and, for that matter, tonight too). I mostly hung around Beta Server 2, giving a passing glance to my assigned reading as I went. I was a little worried that things seemed to be abandoned, there were less than a dozen players in the Tanvu zone. Was Vanguard really so doomed after all? Was there no e…

The Unbaised Vanboy

Once in awhile I like what I write well enough to cross post it somewhere. So, if you would, please pardon my vanity in the following post. After writing it, I realized in retrospect that it provided a good summary as to where my apparent appreciation for Vanguard comes from...


Though my posts here on have been predominantly supportive of Vanguard, I like to think that I'm able to sit somewhere in the middle.

I acknowledge that Vanguard does need improvement. If you're not paying attention, you can get stuck even in very heavily traveled areas such as major cities. Yet, they removed the /stuck command and gave us a /rope command: like the rest of the game, a novel but problematic solution. [Editor's Note: They restored the /stuck command with an exploit warning in today's patch after this post was made.] More worthy of critique is that large tracts of land seem to virtually unpopulated, their potential unrealized. Most importantly up …

Apocolypse Genesis: Telon

In This Entry: Vanguard Combat Notes, Vanguard Tanvu Exploration, Vanguard Travel Abroad.

Yesterday's patch brought a slight tweak to the way Disciples function in that only critical hits light up the powerful finishing move. This naturally reduced Makkor's power a bit. I nonetheless appreciated that, as a player, I had to pay attention enough to know when I could use that attack.

If the other classes play half as interactively as my Disciples, Vanguard's combat is a step up from the other offerings on the market. Unfortunately, it needs a bit more refinement. Compared to World of Warcraft, Vanguard plays awkwardly and feels less sophisticated even though the actual game mechanic is better.

That refinement will be mostly post-release, it seems: It's the beginning of the end for Telon Prehistory, with Vanguard's beta drawing to a close January 23rd, a scant few days away.

To these ends, I decided I'd do a bit of exploring with Makkor. I completed work in…

Disciple Pre-History Telon Makeover

In today's entry: A nice XFire Update, Vanguard Disciple Changes, and Exploring the land Southeast and East of Tanvu.

Quite the kick ass XFire update rolled today. Not only did they add Vanguard to the trackable games list, but they integrated the login prompt to an internal screen and allowed it to relog automatically. I can't tell you how grateful I am for that, it used to be XFire would pop up an external screen login that would sometimes steal focus from the application I'm running every time they reset their server. Now if only XFire would stop mysteriously complaining when I eject an install CD and also stop equally-mysteriously trying to catch the exceptions when my games crash, I'd call it a fully reputable piece of software.

Yesterday's Vanguard patch really altered Makkor, my Kojani Disciple. His entire ability set was lifted and replaced with few healing spells as a lone exception. What was left in place of the removed ones, however, left little to …

Adventures in Telon Prehistory

I've been playing the Vanguard beta over the last couple of days. You may have heard that it is a buggy game that is slated for a January 30th release date, just 16-17 days away. If so, you heard right. However, Vanguard's the kind of game you want to like anyway, a common comment being, "Vanguard would be cool, if..."

If there's any one feature of Vanguard I can point out as being truly compelling, it would be the sheer epic scope of the world. This game's got soul. Yet, regardless of my conviction this is the case, this isn't a perception I can force on other players. Indeed, it wouldn't be right for me to do so. Like fine art appreciation, whether or not a significant meaning is found in the work is up to the individual.

My adventures in the Vanguard beta have been with Makkor Hin, Kojani Disciple. Why a Kojani? I like Eastern stuff. Why a Disciple? I like Eastern stuff. Okay, and the Disciple is kinda cool in how he has good manipulati…

Engaged in the Saga of Heroes: Class Assessment

This is my last day off in a long ol' time, I'll soon discover just how much free time 12 credits of university courses gives me. So, how did I spend it? Mostly in Vanguard, assessing the base class characteristics.

By playing each one for just a few minutes, visiting their class trainers, and verifying bits I'm confused against a third party source, I'm able to piece together a pretty good picture of how the interplay of classes works out. Scoff if you must, but being able to recognize these patterns after only a few hours of playing is something overgrown geeks who have been playing computer games nonstop for 24+ years can do.

Protective Fighters
Warriors, Paladins, and Dread Knights are the "tank" in groups, built to take the foes aggression away from the more vulnerable players. Many of their melee attacks will do bonus damage if allies are flanking their target.
Class: WarriorNotable Early Abilities: Melee Attacks, Counterattacks, Blocks, Battle Crie…

Decomposition, Creation, and Upgades

Well, looks like my vacation is winding to a close. Starting Monday, I'm a university man, having recently completed my AA and going for a bachelors in Digital Technology and Culture - a liberal arts approach to computers. Everyone seems to agree that's probably a good angle for me, as I enjoy using computers but only have a passing fancy towards the more technical aspects.

Still, here I just turned age 30 and I'm still a gamer. Hitting the big three-oh was enough to make me reconsider my position in life.  The whole thing has me realizing that I'm probably going to be putting a lot of importance on getting my 4-year degree finished. I'm not yet certain just how much my new university life, not to mention my apparent quarter-life crisis, will divert my attentions away from my lifelong passion: gaming.

As Lum used to say (and, for all I know, still does say) "Change is hard."

--- Neverwinter Nights 2 Module Completed: The Gauntlet ---

Neverwinter Nig…