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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 end event planned and they were just going to drop the beta servers in silence?

Less than half an hour until the end of the beta, I did a little web browsing and discovered that the end game events were taking place on servers 1 and 3. I logged out of beta Server 2 and into Beta Server 1 and there were over 40 players (the viewable cap) on the /who again. Not bad for 11:45pm PST on a Tuesday. A giant boat sat in the inlet next to Tanvu, mocking me with its inactivity: I had missed all the fun. However, a regular procession of developer broadcasts were going over the channel, including a tribute to the late Keith Parkinson, whose artistic vision made a definite mark upon the game. A last staccato of developer hints and encouragement, and the servers dropped at the scheduled deadline of 11:59pm PST.

So, now I'm excited, waiting for my chance for my preorder access to begin on Friday. Excited enough to be browsing Vanguard message boards and apparently even blogging about Vanguard. I've homework to do, but am procrastinating simply out of anxious anticipation for an event about 40 hours away.

Does this make me a fanboy? You could say that, but then, I'm not sure if it's possible to be a fanboy if you've already played a game for a week and a half. Video game fanboyism is more characteristic of not having played a game yet.

Besides, as I indicated in the first paragraph, there is that certain something in Vanguard that makes it a worthwhile game to play. One of the things I attempt to do here in this blog is to take a 24 year computer gamer's tastes and use them to help you to find the diamonds in the rough. Of course, the trouble with that is I can only tell you what's fun for me - there's a certain amount of subjectiveness which cannot guarantee the same results for you. Nonetheless, if there exists a core of gaming knowledge to be gleaned from my experiences, you've grounds to believe me when I say Vanguard's going to make it as a MMORPG.


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