Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Vanguard Backlash

I've been stewing about about the post that Brad McQuaid put up recently, giving his take on the current state of Vanguard. It gives a good look into this guys mind. From what he says in this post, his heart is in the right place for this game. Although my impressions of Vanguard are a bit mixed, one thing I think I've been consistent about is Sigil's high commitment to this game...and this may be the deciding factor over whether this game will succeed or not.

A recent Broken Toys article asserts that the MMO industry has turned a quality corner. What I mean by that is since the release of WoW, MMO players now expect a certain quality level in their games....and why shouldn't we. Since the financial model of most MMO companies count on monthly payments as a revenue stream, quality out of the box translates directly to bottom line. If players get a buggy game, they vote with their monthly subscriptions. This is a something Sigil is aware of from a business perspective, but with all of the feedback they're getting, other MMO companies must be taking note. As we saw from comments from GDC, the message is polish, polish, polish. The big question is whether or not other MMO organizations have the cash to polish their games.

What it looks like right now is that MMOs are skipping part of their quality processes, or are making high risk quality decisions that come back and bite them in the ass later on. I don't think thats the case for Vanguard. For Vanguard its the simple case of not reaching a "Feature Complete" on many project and design milestones. True, they had to get the game out due to financial considerations but now they've got to reap the whirlwind. It's obvious that other companies don't want to go through that same kind of pain...interesting times indeed.

Given this recent post about their plans, I think they are learning that though lesson that I mentioned back in January. They're looking at teleporting options and the current XP penalty for people who don't want to corpse run, as well as other issues. Looks like they're close to the formula that most gamers are expecting of their games these days. Given all of the fantasy titles coming out this year, its going to be interesting to see where Vanguard settles.

D out.

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