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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 means the developers are demonstrating their spirit to work in the post-release environment. However, the patches have resulted in several hours of down time for some of the servers, including the one I play on. There have been pretty disruptive bugs here and there, such as the broker still not letting me sell items unless I have as much money in my inventory as I'm selling it for (instead of just enough to meet the deposit). However, as a whole, the game functions and functions well: train-wreck averted.

After three or four rough starts as I ironed out the details of my character, life begun for my new Kojani Disciple on the Targonor server. One of the Player versus Environment servers, this seemed as good as any. Besides, some guys I knew from F13 were going to play on that server. Given the absolute hugeness of the game world, I'm not sure if I'd ever meet any of them... but at least the option is there. I named my character "Geldon" so they can clearly recognize who is spamming up the Kojan OOC channel. A friend of mine joined me. This being the first time in the game for him, he's been slowly learning the ropes, but he really doesn't have much time or patience for MMORPGs. At least, so he seems to think... but I know for a fact he was intimately into EQ2 lately, and I suspect that it's just a matter of getting used to things.

Geldon, my new Kojani Disciple, made reasonable progress over the weekend. As I write this, he's a level 9 Disciple, a level 4 Outfitter, an amateur skinner (125 skill harvesting) and a Clerk of the Empire. I even earned a few silver off the broker, selling things I recovered from the Ra'jin stronghold. Immediately on his to-do list is to start crafting some more martial artist gloves to put up on the market before its absolutely saturated. As it is, he's fighting with a knuckle on his offhand... a stupid thing to do, as Disciples have no knuckle skill.

To give you an idea as to what level 9 means, I should probably say that Vanguard has a respectable grind. I've noticed using the /who list that there was nobody above level 12-14 after the a full day into the game. Looking now, about 48 hours live Targonor server time, I'm seeing only two players at level 18 and nobody higher. This indicates that there are no quick and easy shortcuts in this game, which is a surprise - usually the developers leave a few exploits open when are promptly found and abused.

But enough comparing levels. MMORPGs, like life, are a race only for the foolish and materialistic. The wise attempt to experience life in the present. Would that I were wise enough to remember that more often!

After I get my the necessary work done, I'll likely spend the rest of the weekend further experiencing Vanguard. This isn't an easy task for me, however, as I am a craven procrastinator. This Blog entry is one of many ways I have today. I won't get another chance to play until late Monday evening or even Tuesday, and that's the pity, as that means my preorder head start is about at an end.
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