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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 MMORPG.com post. After writing it, I realized in retrospect that it provided a good summary as to where my apparent appreciation for Vanguard comes from...

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Though my posts here on MMORPG.com 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 until the very last hours of beta, systems of critical import are being patched in, and there will still be some left on the "to do" list even after release. I fully expect that my Kojani Diplomacy quest tree will be broken at a quest that, appropriately, involves communing with the dead.

Yet, even knowing all this, I preordered the game last night. I'm not made of money, it wasn't the kind of decision I can make lightly. It seems that as far as MMORPGs go, most of them are quite shallow and minimalist. That has been a source of perpetual disappointment to me. I burned out from World of Warcraft in 4 weeks - it was as a fun game, but as a MMORPG, fundamentally lacking in breadth and depth. MMORPG.com's podcast comparing World of Warcraft to "fast food" when you're looking for "fine dining" struck home with me. I don't care if the McDonalds of MMORPG does have 8 Million Served, I'm sick of cheeseburgers. Playing Vanguard over the last week, coming to appreciation with their more interactive interpretations of three spheres of adventuring, crafting, and diplomacy, I've come to find that there's fine dining to be found here. I've played EverQuest 2, FFXI, City of Heroes - excellent MMORPGs of their own right - but it's Vanguard alone that has me feeling hope for the genre.

In the end, it come down to this: What's fun doesn't need to be perfect. In time, the rough edges will be worn away by the persistent efforts of the development team. Vanguard is the most ambitious MMORPG in a long time, and I'm planning on "moving in" with my free time as it goes live. If you're looking for a polished, simpler game that doesn't meaningfully challenge you, there's always World of Warcraft.

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In any case, Vanguard Beta ends tomorrow, 11:59pm PST. The next few posts will probably be about me gnashing my teeth about class to play... although, actually, I'm enjoying the Disciple enough I may well start another one in retail and stick with it all the way. That'd be a very auspicious start for me, as alt-a-holicism is usually the first step to my losing my groove in a MMORPG.
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