I do not remember the last full week of game play that I had in Vanguard? But today marks the first full week back to playing the game in a long time. I am the type of player that doesn’t just “mess around” with a game. I either jump in with both feet or I just don’t play it. In the old days I had two accounts, those that followed me from Everquest I and Everquest II and hence they also made their way to Vanguard. I also toyed with the idea of playing for free, but it isn’t as if $30 a month kills me financially and I don’t like the feeling of missing out on stuff because of it — so I resubscribed.
I was a bit dismayed that Sony does not offer other ways to pay for the accounts. I would have liked to used Paypal but in the end just put it on a credit card. I was thinking of doing the 3 month plan for $30 but opted for the standard $14.99 a month. I would like to note that a reason for seeking other sorts of payment options was because I have often had problems using a credit card with Sony Online. A card that works flawlessly on Amazon will balk and fail on buying a subscription at Sony.
Originally I started playing almost immediately at launch, and according to the various websites, this would have made it probably around February or March of 2007. At the time I was listening to podcasts over at http://www.virginworlds.com with a weekly show by Brent Lassi. It was specifically Vanguard that made me want to make my own show and thus I created a Voyages of Vanguard. I played Vanguard furiously for at least 2 years, using my experiences as my commentary at Voyages of Vanguard. I had a great host named Karen that made shows with me back then, and she is now writing for many online MMO websites. By 2009 I had stopped playing and for 4 years I had nothing to do with the game.
One of the many detractors from Vanguard was the that I had friends playing other games. Vanguard is also a tough and unforgiving world and as time went by the writing was on the wall. It also seemed that Sony had given up on the game. There was great chaos it seemed over at Sony and Vanguard simply slipped through the cracks — and it was highly obvious.
Back last August the smartest thing Sony has done in years they made the game free to play. Although that sort of model does not fit well for me, and nor have I ever truly supported this model, it made perfect sense for Vanguard. They also made some very intelligent moves in making the game liberal with what you got for free — so much so that it is my opinion more players are using Sony Cash to buy ingame items. My verdict is out still on some items you can purchase as it circumvents crafting and questing, something that seems wrong. Time will tell, but I hope they do not fall victim to the idea of placing all highly sought after items in the game as something you can just buy.
I am having a great reunion with the game. My friends and I are back to playing it. They are playing for free and love it. I am paying for two subscriptions and having a blast too. I am doing both adventuring and crafting, but perhaps will venture into diplomacy sometime too — but that seems as daunting as crafting. I have made up so many new characters it is ridiculous. Each class plays differently and they all seem so fun to play. A ton of adventuring quests keep me busy at night with friends. And trying to level in crafting on the odd times is both exhilarating but exhausting.
Many troubling aspects are still in the game. They lag and the chunking are as bad as ever, but now at least we all have computers with so much more horsepower that it is less noticeable. I tend to fall through the earth at least once a week and die horribly or get snagged on some simple rock and spend 5 minutes figuring out why I can move. Many quests are broken and some character classes seem far more powerful than others.
Overall though I enjoy my return and tell others that it is worth downloading and playing — Hey! It’s free so how can you go wrong and my friends can attest you really, really don’t need to buy anything to have a blast in the game.
I am even thinking of returning to Podcasting. I am waiting a month or two but would love to hear from others on if they would be interesting into listening to my show again.