So, who IS to blame for the recent Vanguard announcement?

In the recent announcement on the official Vanguard forums, Lead Developer Silius basically said “We are sorry, but no more new raid content, the world is going to end…blah blah..server merges..”

Of course, everyone is posting their usual.

And while I think most of my readers would know this already, let me explain to you where the blame rests. At least, of course, in my humble opinion. A quick short history, though, about my involvement with the game: I started hosting the Voyages of Vanguard podcast almost 2 years ago. I have posted about 4500 posts on the official forums. I was voted “Player of the Year” and have interviewed the development staff quite a few times. While I stopped doing a VG specific show/blog a long time ago, I have noticed that I am still one of the only bloggers/podcasters that still talks about the game with any positive light.

Are there other people in the community that shine positive light on the game? Of course. I just don’t know of too many.They can talk about themselves on their blog.

This is not an attempt to say that I am “somebody”, being that in this community there are no “anybodies” at all (the most famous representative of us is that girl from the Guild. C’mon bloggers.) but this is simply an attempt to point my finger squarely at certain members of the community and laugh. OK, wait, I mean to mock. OK OK I mean to blame. That’s right, to blame.


First of all, I am aware of how SOE has ignored Vanguard. Well, how they have ignored it in some ways after sinking millions of dollars into it. They took a chance and it didn’t grow out of being a small game. That’s enough for any developer. But, SOE has allowed the servers to go on as well as the staff (although knocking them down to very small numbers) which, again, is enough. No re-announcements or re-releases would do much of anything. Even with a flood of new players, there is just a certain type of player that will stick around a game that has the issues, complexities and unique game-play that VG does.

Ryzom has the same issue. It’s never going to be bigger than a few servers. But, the new developers seem to know this. So do the developers of Fallen Earth and Darkfall. But, that small physical size of their game does not stop them from working wonderfully with what they have. They are the types to grab the blank white box and to add a use for it everyday, while other developers take the blank white box, shrug and go “put some pencils in it I guess?”

VG needs to tighten up, be smaller. Thanks to SOE they are going to be that. While I would hate for anyone to lose their job, the game needs to be streamlined. And now, SOE has made sure that it does that or does the way of MxO or Tabula Rasa. For the record, I am in no way ignoring the fact that SOE does not want to do more with the game. I am simply acknowledging, without spite or malice, that they did many things for the game even if it isn’t cool to say so.

And in those games where the developers acknowledge that growth is only going be so much, the community seems to pick up on the vibe. They seem to enjoy themselves a bit more. The Vanguard community, since the very beginning of my involvement, has for the most part been nothing but a bunch of whining, complaining and bitching sad-sack gamers that have done absolutely nothing for the game but log into it. Let me tell you this, and this holds true especially in this age of a million MMO’s and a million choices: just logging in is not enough for smaller games. It is not. Throw on the constant whiny Emo posts that absolutely FILL the official forums (as well as sad forums like Silky Venom) and smirky developer jokes, and you have a community that (mostly, I am not talking about the amazing community members that there are. They know who they are.) does absolutely nothing in a situation that completely needs positive community representation.

I’m so sick of gamers that think that they are somehow entitled to their favorite type of game-play in their favorite game. Not only that, but I am so sick of theory-crafting Hardcore players that do nothing but suck the very life out of the game. I am so glad to see that Blizzard has (very wisely) decided to take the “hardcore” (meaning too much time spent in a video game to be healthy) out of their raids. I am in love with the fact that the days of “elite” attitudes (as though there is something to brag about spending 8 hours a night for 6 months in a game) are going..going…gone. May Blizzards example lead the way.

And let’s hope that this recent announcement spells the end of these same attitudes in Vanguard. Let it get down to it’s 2 servers (Fallen Earth is ONE. Two servers will be just fine for VG.) and let the dev staff stop working on content for level 55 plus. All the work taken to build, code and host a series of events as in Pantheon could easily fill out several incredible quest lines, some live events…hell, maybe a new Lore website?

I’m tired of the community (the bulk of, I should say) in VG thinking that since they pay 15 dollars a month that SOE is going to give them everything they want. If they wanted the game to succeed, they should have left the seclusion of the SAME RAID NIGHT AFTER NIGHT AFTER NIGHT and maybe, I don’t know, spread the word a bit? Hosted a live event, host a blog or podcast…SOMETHING.

So yeh, I blame SOE. That’s a given. But that’s like blaming Target for wanting to sell designer sheets. It’s what companies do, and SOE does other things that are freakin’ brilliant.

But coming up very close behind is the blame for the members of the community that have literally done nothing but make smart ass remarks every time a dev posted, played a game that they bitched and moaned about instead of leaving, and been probably one of the sourest bunch of nerds I have ever come across. The recent announcement, and the eventual closing of VG can be squarely placed on the immature gamers that could not simply accept what many of us grown-ups learned long ago:

Sometimes, companies don’t do exactly how you want them to. You either whine about it like a child, leave the products of the company behind, or accept it and try to make the situation better by shining light on the killer products that you DO enjoy.


Beau

Author: Beau Hindman

I write for a living, which means that I sit around in my PJs all day. I love it. www.beauhindman.com

11 thoughts on “So, who IS to blame for the recent Vanguard announcement?”

  1. I believe it was you who said on twitter (paraphrasing here, not exact) that people who are enjoying their game, are not trolling the forums, not writing about it on their web sites (by the way, next issue of Beckett MOG has a big VG article in it, trying to bring awareness to the game in every way that I possibly can) but are IN THE GAMES playing it and enjoying it.

    I find that this is true for Vanguard, at least where I still play. Most of the people I encounter on a regular basis are not out there on the forums or bringing awareness to the game, they’re content with how things are going. Would they like a larger player base? Sure, probably, who wouldn’t. But they’re not out there screaming that the sky is falling every time one of these “announcements” cross their path.

    Maybe they don’t even know it’s happening.

  2. Woah. Harsh, but straight to the point. I agree, turning Vanguard into a one or two server game might be the way to go. Put the community closer to each other, take a long hard look at the business model of FE and Ryzom (even though I doubt that Winch Gate are raking in the cash). It could work, absolutely, and it would fit Vanguard as well.

    1. Oh, I agree that there are plenty of players that are playing the game and enjoying themselves. Point being that as soon as someone goes to the forums or does get involved, they quickly realize that the community is not only tiny but not very into anything community. Now, for the record, I am not saying that there is anything wrong with that. Log in and play the game, that’s fine. But I am addressing very specifically those players that have been on those forums (and other places) posting nothing but the same old whine.

      Oh well, this might be a good thing for VG. I hope so. 🙂

  3. I have to say, this is one reason why Horizons (Istaria now) is STILL going strong after basically being as dead as a game could be for a LONG time now. The fans rally and defend their game all the time, to the point where now a group of them basically OWN it. If they can keep it afloat, more power to them, but that’s one example of a hyped game that failed miserably being kept alive (and even added onto!) purely by the positive energy of it’s community.

  4. Holy crap Horizons is till alive? Damn.

    On topic though, you are overall correct. In a smaller MMO like VG, the players NEED to do something to help out. One look at EVE University and the success it has had should be enough for anyone to realize the players CAN make a major impact on the future success of a smaller game. I mean hell, if DarkFall can set up NEW and have it actually work and get new players into the game before they ragequit, any game can.

    It makes me wonder why (based on your post, I don’t play or follow VG myself) the VG community is so negative and unhelpful, which is unlike most small MMO communities. Is the shadow of the games hype and quick failure really that long?

    1. Well, I have to say that it is not the bulk of their community that is like this. It’s like Darkfall (I’m sure you know this) …mostly made up of cool people. The problem is, those cool people are in playing the game. When you have (as in VG’s) “community rep’s” that continually bash the game that they are hosting fan-sites for, or people that post almost as much as I do that do nothing but bash the developers and the game, that any new player coming to to see what the noise is about will find that the community can full of some of the worst gamers I have met.

      I don’t mean that because I am mad at them, I really don’t care what they do. I mean that because I truly believe that the community leaders or the loudest few bear a lot of the weight of the game’s reputation.

      Oh well, we’ll see what happens. hehe

  5. Ok, here we go: let me first state that Vanguard is my second-favorite MMO of all time and I have my favorite MMO character of all the hundreds I’ve made and played there. VG is also Mrs Bhagpuss’s second-favorite (we both have EQ as our all-time No.1).

    We played VG from beta through launch for nearly two years. We’re unsubscribed at the moment but we both intend to return many times so long as there’s a server to return to. I take a back seat to no-one in my affection for the game.

    That said, I do not blame the community for the spiral of decline. The community has not been stellar, it’s true. There is a predominance of old-school, hardcore raiders that has fostered an insular, self-destructive attitude and it really hasn’t helped.

    HOWEVER…

    Vanguard has been a rudderless ship for far too long. Before Silius and his team took over, VG was moving enjoyably and productively towards a more modern outlook, apparently looking to sit somewhere between original EQ and current EQ2 in approach. In my opinion, that was the right way to go. A combination of that approach and some radical bug-fixing, followed by a bit of promotional effort by SoE could have turned the game around to some degree.

    EQ2 was in a similar spiral of decline six months after launch but they were able to save the game by a fairly radical re-design. The same type of hardcore players who have doomed Vanguard to obscurity tried to hold back the tide in EQ2 but that Dev team wasn’t intimidated by them. In Vanguard, the opposite happened.

    With the exception of the excellent “Isle of Dawn”, which shows that Silius small team has the capability to design and implement modern MMO content effectively, virtually all new content in VG since he became the main influence there has pandered to the hardcore. The focus has been entirely on catering to and retaining that small, committed audience.

    I don’t blame the players for that. I blame first SoE for failing to back the game or give adequate direction and second Silius for caving in repeatedly to the demands of his existing playerbase. When the game needed leadership and investment it got submission and underfunding.

    SoE in neither a reliable nor a predictable steward of the MMOs it houses and it is unhelpful to pretend that it is. For one thing, the SoE that reported to Sony Pictures in the USA is not the same SoE that now reports to the Playstation Division in Japan. There has been a complete revision both of priorities and approach, as must be evident to anyone who has played the games under both regimes. Maybe you think thinks are better now, Beau, but I don’t.

    Under either regime, the direction of each of SoE’s MMOs tends to bounce around depending on who sits in the Lead Developer chair and/or the Producer chair. When you get some who has vision and ability, the game improves. More often there is no focus, things drift. In Vanguard’s case, lack of direction means only one thing: decline.

    It’s also a totally inappropriate and unhelpful comparison to match an MMO such as Vanguard, from a major publishing house against a a minor like Fallen Earth from a new independent. Or to compare a game intended to be played by hundreds of thousdands on many servers with one meant to be played by tens of thousands on one.

    Of course I don’t care if an MMO I play has one server or a hundred BECAUSE of the number of servers. I play on one server, one server is plenty. The point isn’t whether I’m happy playing on one server: it’s whether the company that runs that server is likely to consider it worthwhile to go on doing so. If they have a business plan that starts with one server and hopes to grow until it needs a second, then my game is safe. If they are consolidating servers downward, when they end up with one server it is not.

    Since SoE closed MXO its reputation as the graveyard of living-dead MMOs is shot. I want Vanguard to go on. I love being in Telon, I love my characters there. If the whole thing falls down, as it may, it won;t be the players I blame most. It will be the mismanagement and politics at SoE.

  6. The game sucks, it has crap graphics with horrible character models and the worst PVP ever. No one wanted to play it, so now theres not enough players to fund development.

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