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Vanguard's free-to-play option brings Telon to the masses

Ian Harac | Jan. 14, 2013
Vanguard: Saga of Heroes was one of the long-awaited MMORPGs of 2007, coming from the original designer of Everquest and promising "old school" challenging gameplay with modern graphics and interface concepts. Despite multiple release delays, it was still shipped in a very buggy condition, with features promised on the box not yet implemented, and hardware requirements well beyond the standard desktop machine of the time. Recently, it has made the conversion to free-to-play, which is tempting enough to bring back some of the original players and possibly attract new ones.

Another factor that might surprise those used to newer games is that death in Vanguard hurts. You lose some experience points when you die, though you can recover most of them if you make it back to your tombstone.

Also, nothing in Vanguard is instanced. The whole world is open. This can make things feel more immersive... and it can also lead to multiple groups of players "camping" the same dungeon spawn.

Vanguard has had only sporadic content upgrades since release. Many areas are unchanged from when I first played back in 2007. With the seeming surge in population since the F2P conversion, this might change, but large-scale updates are unlikely.

The Free-to-play model is extremely intrusive. Rather than have one or two classes reserved for paying customers, the bulk of character choices are off-limits. Quests are limited to 15 at a time. Vanguard gives you constant small reminders that free players are second- class citizens. Other F2P games, such as Lord f the Rings, offer more for free and are less prone to constantly throw up "You can't do that!" reminders.

Vanguard was launched with tremendous promise, and many planned features, such as a fourth continent and strategic warfare, never emerged. The current version is mostly identical to the launch version, with the bugs fixed and missing content (such as flying mounts and visible helmets) added. Those looking for a game that offers more of the classic style of older EverQuest, but with modern graphics, should check it out. Given that it's free to try, if you even suspect you might like that style, check it out.

Note: The Download button on the Product Information page takes you to the vendor's site, where you can download the latest version of the software.


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