So far I’ve tried 5 different classes – Blood mage, Rogue, Monk, Bard and Paladin. Each has played very differently – re-employing the basic game mechanics in subtle different ways. It’s very cool.
Our choice of Kojan as a starting continent was perhaps not the best, because its the least polished and least finished – but credit it with the fact that it’s also been a lot of fun. I think it makes the austere, feudal Japanese/Chinese setting more believable.
I updated my nVidia drivers to the latest version and relaxed the overclocking of my system and the game has become stable, and I can run at extreme quality settings which really does render a beautiful game world.
First and foremost: Vanguard is not the soulless, unforgiving, child-beating beast from hell that it somehow seemed to advertise itself as during development. I’m not saying it isn’t more “hardcore” than “mainstream”, when you die, you drop a tombstone that you have to go collect to get back any of your stuff that isn’t “soulbound” and recover some of the experience you lose by dying.
But it is littered with well designed features that even WoW could afford to take note of. The “hardcore” element appears to be mostly confined to the concept of the game-world – you will travel in Vanguard, even if it means taking a flying horse. Of course, they couldn’t get boats working (again) so there are teleports to be had.
I think, however, that the dev team made the same mistake that Playnet made during the early years, and allowed themselves to believe that developing a game is fundamentally an art. Developing any cutting edge application of any kind is, in part, art, but it is based on the science of writing good software.
This absence of base discipline shows up in various fundamentals in Vanguard that you have to be willing to overlook, steer around and avoid in order to get at the tasty meat that otherwise lies within easy grasp. I consider it a price worth paying for the adventures in design and creativity that was exercised, but I can see why Microsoft didn’t.
Granik and I branched out to the Bard and Necro classes and alts. I’ve only played her for 3 hours, but I really enjoyed the way the bard plays out – I couldn’t put my finger on it but its infinitely more satisfying than the class I tried in beta. We’re hoping that Easting is enjoying the game and will play tank for this combo.