I think it is too easy to simply sit back and complain about what Vanguard did wrong. Certainly there are innumerable aspects of the game that need polish and perhaps even a complete overhaul, and there is a place for that. But the worse thing to do is dwell on only the negative aspects of a solid and well designed game, mostly since the game has done some really incredible things right.
I am curious what other players feel that the game got right. Here is my 10 aspects that Vanguard did right. Do you agree? The following list is in no particular order but represents my free spontaneous thinking of all the glory of what Vanguard does correctly.
Rich Character Development: I have said this before but I really enjoy characters that are full bodied with stats, scores, attributes, and skills. I hate the paper cutout games where one character simply is another with a skin. Vanguard nails this. The stats, skills, and attributes are robust. It feels like your character is always growing and developing.
Large World: Many MMOs have huge land but they make the mistake of inserting some kind of system to move quickly around in it. I know when I lived in Tokyo I never truly realized the size of the city because subways would wisk me around the city and it just felt so much smaller. In this way, other games do the same. Vanguard on the other hand just makes the world seem so expansive. Certainly they have some modes of quicker transportation including mounts, boats, riftstones, and even caravans but they do it just right where it isn’t too much or too little.
Mounts: Up until just recently I think Vanguard did the mounts right. Recently with some garish looking ground and flying mounts, I begin to question this but overall I like how it works. You gradually increase in ground movement speed as you level. You start with basic mounts at 10, so it feels like you can have something right away but there is so much to improve. I like how they get the crafters involved with horseshoes and barding and how that increases in level.
Classes: I love classes. I so dislike games that just glom all abilities together into generic pathetic classes. Vanguard nails it with unique and specific classes. Each class feels special and has its own unique way of playing. It doesn’t water down or generalize anything. I am a altaholic and specifically in this game I can never decide what class I want to play because each is so unique.
Races: I love races. I love a race that is more than a skin but has some special ability or something unique about the race. I so dislike games that make races just a graphic skin. Vanguard does this well.
Travel: Much in the way of two aspects above, the size of the world and mounts, but I love travel in the game. They do not trivialize it like so many other games. It takes a bit of time to get to places, so the travel feels real as well as the world. I remember the days before riftstones and the world felt even larger, but they implemented the changes well. Nothing more fun to be in the wilderness and see a fellow player run/riding past you on his way to some far flung quest.
Crafting: I was initially wrong when I said that crafting was a bitch. Well perhaps it is a pain in the ass, but that’s what makes it so special. That is what they did in the game. Other MMOs trivialize crafting because those devs think that crafting is tertiary to the game, but in Vanguard each sphere is challenging and fun. Each has its own quests and gear. They make all the spheres seems special. I so hate MMOs now that you just grind recipes until you can find that 1 item that you need.
Diplomacy: I have done very little in the way of diplomacy but that mere fact is cool that there is some aspect of the game that I could always turn to if others get a bit boring at the moment. So cool for it to be taken seriously and to have their own quests and gear.
Death: Don’t make death nothing more than respawning and running back into the fray. Vanguard does it right. You die and its going to hurt. You don’t go back to your tombstone — it’s really going to hurt. You don’t have the time to go to your tombstone? Well, summon it but take a hit on XP. Perfect. Simply the way it should be. Period.
Dungeons: These formidable places aren’t to be trifled with. Mobs inside these places are mean and dangerous. In other games I would just charge into a dungeon and not think twice about it, but in Vanguard you need a group and you need to find one. No instant dungeon group makers and other sissy lazy ass systems. You want to do a dungeon, you better have guildies or a network of ingame friends. Period.