Vanguard: Was I close?

There is some [as yet] unsubstantiated speculation flying around about Sigil, developers of Vanguard.

I’ve aired a few opinions about Vanguard largely as a reaction to the “hype”. Like WWII Online, prior to release Vanguard was as much a community as a game. And from that community, especially from certain developers’ posts, I drew the impression that Vanguard was going to be big by nixing the ‘mistakes’ that had been made when EQ1 began to deviate from The Vision.

Only, the so-listed mistakes are all stepping stones in the path to growth that EQ1 continued to experience.

Either the message was corrupted by that very anti-SOE community (something that seemed to be inspissated by Brad) or it was just chest beating, because towards the end the aspirations to WoWdom grew stronger. This was, perhaps, just Brad hyping the game. But honestly, Brad and I share something in common (and I don’t mean an FAQ):

I do take issue with the assertion that I promised a bunch of stuff we didn’t deliver. I do fully admit my writing style is verbose and I made a significant effort to hype the game, but at the same time I also made a huge effort to manage expectations and let people know what might not make it in release, what was an expansion idea, etc. Sure, that changed as we got farther along with development. You can look up my posts and look at old copies of the FAQ and see the scaling back that took place (both what Kendrick mentioned and other stuff). And thinking back on it, while I posted a lot of these changes, the FAQ should have been kept more up to date.

Frankly, I was starting to think I might be wrong when I said:

I would be surprized if it ships less boxes than EQ1 original/RoK did, but I would be very surprized if maintains more than 100k active, paying subscriptions for more than 3 continuous months, and startled if it manages to retain more than 60k subscribers for more than 9 continuous months.

If they are letting go of staff, then I might not be far wrong. I hope they aren’t – I’d rather be wrong than see a team go down. But either way, I’m going to take to heart the lesson of careless speculation about future features.


I feel exactly the same way as the author of the link. Blizzard has a great PR reputation specifically because it hires people to talk on the forums and allows NO ONE ELSE to do it.

Many companies have a policy of no blogs too. I also think this is a good idea, where the number of company blogs allowed is inversely proportional to the subscriber base.

/glare gnp. But you’re probably right. I think for a game like ours you need some of it, though; this is a niche, grognard game, for all that we throw BF1942 around like any day now someone will flip the switch that makes us into one of those million-box-sale games. That’s the trouble with being such a tightly defined niche is that what seems, from within, a 90 degree change in direction is, from without, less than a radian.

Blogs don’t make a damn bit of difference in development “leaks”. Maybe opinions, but when folks go read someone’s blog, they better make damn sure they understand that they are not official and most of the time it’s someone blowing off steam, fishing for contacts (networking), self-deprecation, or beating their chest. For instance, I know Oli likes to bloviate. :)

Luv ya man.

Ah, but will people make sure they understand this? Can you honestly count on it despite it being almost guaranteed it won’t be the case, or are you making a gamble that isn’t going to end well at all? ;)

You can counteract any stock readers will put in your blog by listing, at the top, your favorite movie, band and sports team. This will immediately offend 90% of your readers into not giving anything you have to say credence.

Heheh, I really didn’t mean that in any bad way for CRS. KFS is right that having blogs probably helps CRS. As shown with Rafter’s videos, CRS developers are becoming more and more famous to the subscriber base. The value I percieve is that you are selling the video game along with the developers who make it.

Some companies don’t percieve this as a selling strategy. Other companies name their game Richard Garriott’s Tabula Rosa =)

(all pokes and teases have been made in fun, still playing WWIIOL since day 1)

Toto you gave me a new word to use.


As long as the Game company is not publicly traded, blogs can serve their purpose for good or bad. With today’s blockbuster mentality of game releases, a publicly traded company can not afford the risk of a blog. A blog for them is a PR marketing piece fully approved by legal. Not a real developers blog.

For me; the Blogs are more important than the forums, except when the devs speak.

I could give a Ratz azz (no pun intended) what anyone else thinks just the devs. Sorry “anyones” :p

Smedly (whoever he is) speaks, Vanguard not dead: (copied from:

Hello Everyone,

Today I would like to formally announce that SOE has acquired the assets of Sigil Games Online, including Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. As a part of this acquisition, we are bringing on approx 50 people from Sigil in order to insure that Vanguard continues to grow. SOE is dedicated to making sure that Vanguard is well taken care of and that we provide the same level of service we do for our other titles. In the near future we will come out with a publishing plan that will largely be driven by the strong player community that Vanguard has already built up. We plan on supporting Vanguard for many years to come, and you can expect many content updates as part of your subscription. Down the line we will of course be coming out with new expansion packs, but right now the focus is on making sure Vanguard is running the way it should be.

We are also officially opening up forums. In the past, our deal with Sigil didn’t allow for this, but as with our other games we fill this is an important part of communicating with the playerbase. You can expect a strong presence from our community team as well as the development team members. While we realize that Sigil had said they wouldn’t open up general forums, at SOE we fill this hampers our efforts to communicate effectively with the players. We will continue to support the fansites in a big way, and will be contacting many of them directly to discuss what this change means. By no means do we want to lose the strong fansite support by making this change, but we do think it’s important to have a forum for players to communicate directly with SOE.

A few other items I wanted to mention

1. Brad McQuaid will be consultant to SOE as a creative advisor for Vanguard. Dave Gilbertson will be the person directly responsible for the day-to-day management of both the Sigil Carlsbad office as well as Vanguard.

2. We do not plan on making any major changes to Vanguard. Any changes are going to come from the team itself. We aren’t mandating any big changes to the game. We’ve learned a thing or two with our experiences with the NGE and don’t plan on repeating mistakes from the past and not listening to the players.

3. We do plan on spending a lot of time cleaning up legacy issues with Vanguard and making sure the game’s performance improves.

By way of comparison, this team is approx. the same size as the EQ2 team and I feel like that team has done an amazing job improving EQ2 since it’s launch. We intend to do the same thing for Vanguard and it is our hope that the players feel like we’re doing right by them.


Gnasche; think talking about your favorite toenail polish color would have a similar effect? ;)

The lack of leadership seems to be what done them in, at least from reading the post-sacked interview on F13. Allegely they had 1(?!) QA person for most of development.

I didn’t know SWG has only 20 people working on it.

Lol, “Bringing on approx 50 people” ?!

Just think what 50 Rats could do!

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

WorldIV » Learning from VanguardMay 15, 2007 at 12:38 pm

[…] reported everywhere, yesterday, the Sigil team was wiped clean. … at approximately 4:30PM today, Sigil […]

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