Sony Online Entertainment has spouted a fountain of news. First and foremost, it's closing a quartet of old MMOs: Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, Wizardry Online, Free Realms and Clone Wars Adventures.
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Brad McQuaid - a decorated MMO developer responsible for the original EverQuest as well as Vanguard: Saga of Heroes - is making a new MMO.
"NOW FOR YOU, INSECTS! BOLDLY, YOU SOUGHT THE POWER OF RAGNAROS. NOW YOU SHALL SEE IT FIRSTHAND!"
Sony Online Entertainment has announced that it will be introducing sanctioned real-money trading to its fantasy MMO, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes.
Ten Level Test is the new Eurogamer feature series in which MMOs compete for our love in a knockout competition. We pair them off, play each for ten levels, and then uninstall the one we had least fun with. For a full explanation of the rules and quite why we'd attempt this madness, and for an introduction to all eight contenders in the first Ten Level Test - EverQuest II, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, Lineage II, Final Fantasy XI, Star Wars Galaxies, City of Heroes, Guild Wars and Dungeons & Dragons Online - visit the Editor's blog. Here, we'll waste no time in getting stuck into the first two gladiators in our test, Sony Online Entertainment's EverQuest II and Vanguard: Saga of Heroes.
We've now had the first two entries in a new feature series on Eurogamer MMO: the Ten Level Test.
Sony Online Entertainment's fantasy MMO Vanguard: Saga of Heroes will have its level cap raised to 55, see two new dungeons, and introduce a new high-level advancement system - all for free, and in "the next few months".
That's according to an Allakhazam interview with lead designer Salim Grant.
After Game Update 6 focused on revamping the starting experience for new Vanguard players, the latest plans are all aimed at the business end of the game.
Valve and Sony Online Entertainment have linked arms to bring some of the MMO operator's games to Steam.
Sony Online Entertainment boss John Smedley has told Massively that there are no plans to bring the Station Cash item sales just introduced to EverQuest and EverQuest II to SOE's other current games.
Former players of Sony Online Entertainment's fantasy MMO Vanguard: Saga of Heroes are being offered free reactivation of their accounts to try out the game's latest update.
Sony Online Entertainment's other fantasy MMO - no, the other other one - Vanguard: Saga of Heroes is on the brink of receiving a major revamp.
According to the official site, Game Update 6 will go live "as early as next week", which is a bottom-covering way of saying "next week".
Game Update six - which was first detailed back in July - will add a new starting area for the first ten levels, called the Isle of Dawn, and updated character models.
I have an admission to make: even though I've played MMOs for years, I guess I believed the stereotypes, and I expected Sony Online Entertainment's annual Fan Faire in Las Vegas to be filled with shuffling, socially-awkward freaks with poor dress sense, using obscure science-fiction references to mask their conversational inadequacy. The reasons for this are quite simple: having played MMOs for years, I'm a shuffling, socially-awkward freak with poor dress sense, and I use obscure science-fiction references to mask my conversational inadequacy.
In a producer's letter on the official website, the makers of Vanguard: Saga of Heroes have revealed details of a major update to the Sony Online Entertainment fantasy MMO, due in the next couple of months.
According to the letter, the update will go live "very shortly after" SOE's Fan Faire convention, which takes place in Las Vegas on August 14th-17th.
It will consist of new starting area the Isle of Dawn, the second phase of revamps to the player character models, and the sixth regular game update to the game.
Sony Online Entertainment has launched a brand new update for Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, adding new mounts and a faction reward system for the game's loyal fans to play with.
Sony Online Entertainment has announced the date and location for the sixth of its annual Fan Faire conventions.
Fan Faire 2008 will take place at the Las Vegas Hilton over four days, from August 14th to 17th.
Tickets go on sale later this spring, but the hotel can be booked now at a discount rate. Check the official announcement for details.
Last time we looked at Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, it was in a somewhat lamentable state of affairs. Just after its launch nine months ago, the game was a mess of bugs, dropped features, broken quests, regular crashes and system requirements no mortal man could hope to achieve. It was, frankly, a disaster.
And yet, we couldn't help but note that in spite of its disastrous implementation, Vanguard was full of good, ambitious ideas. We liked the concepts underlying such things as the diplomacy system, which allows you to treat conversations with NPCs as a kind of card game, and the excellent crafting system. We liked the idea that we could build our own houses or even boats; we liked the combat system, whose chained attacks and clever manipulation of resistances made most other MMOG combat look staid and boring.
The problem, back in February, is that these concepts were like rough-hewn gemstones being carried along in a river of human excrement. Vanguard was so utterly, painfully broken, both technically and in some key design ways, that reaching for its finer moments was like sticking your fingers into a leper's weeping sores to extract a nugget of gold. Other equally pleasant metaphors spring to mind. I'll spare you.
Time stands still for those of you playing massively-multiplayer online games, but we get dizzy and fall over when trying to keep up with what's going on. So, in an effort to catch the news before it runs away from us, we've cobbled together some recent genre-specific announcements for you.
Vanguard: Saga of Heroes
Sony Online Entertainment has released the second game update for Vanguard, ahead of the big server merge starting next Tuesday morning. Full notes and details of which servers are merging and when can be found on the official site.
Sony Online Entertainment has stumped up the dosh to acquire Vanguard: Saga of Heroes developer Sigil Games Online, GamesIndustry.biz is reporting.
Massively multiplayer games, from a writer's perspective, are a peculiar and often troublesome beast. On one hand, when they're truly at their best, they offer us a chance to write about a living, breathing game-world whose human inhabitants make it more unpredictable and fascinating than any single-player experience could hope to be. On the other hand, though, they defy the conventional tools of our trade. We are used to writing about monolithic products, chunks of code and content which are etched onto a disc, sold in a box, and form a single, locked down product - something you can play for a certain number of hours, form an opinion on, and even stick a number on the end of the review which represents, in theory, what you thought of the game on some abstract level.
You can't do that with an MMOG - not in the same way. We first encounter MMOGs when they're at the alpha or beta stage, clumsy and accident-prone toddlers just learning how to walk, and we are challenged to try and talk intelligently about how they'll look when they're past the age of majority and out there for anyone to play with. Even at that stage, however, an MMOG's life is merely beginning - with the content of the game changing on a monthly, weekly, and sometimes even daily basis. The best we can hope for at any point is to take a snapshot of how the game looks at one point in time, and to return months down the line for another snapshot, and another.
That lengthy caveat is simply a long-winded way of saying something quite simple: this review is merely a snapshot. We have played Vanguard throughout the beta, and given our impressions of that experience; now, having played since the launch of the game at the end of last month, we can talk about how the experience is at this moment in time - reviewing not the game as a whole, as such, but rather the game as it stands in February 2007. A snapshot.
Sigil Games Online's long awaited fantasy adventure Vanguard: Saga of Heroes has launched simultaneously today across Europe and the US.
Early access to the full version of Vanguard: Saga of Heroes will be offered to players who've pre-ordered from 26th January at 10am PST (6pm GMT), Sigil Games announced overnight.
The Vanguard: Saga of Heroes open beta will close just before midnight on 23rd January according to Sigil Games Online and publishing partners Koch Media and Sony Online Entertainment.
That's in anticipation of the game's launch on 30th January, of course. Those who have pre-ordered the game as part of its special campaign will be able to gain access early - with more information due soon.
As for what will happen to your beta characters - Sigil says that they will be transferred over to a test server, which will become active at some point after launch, the idea presumably being to help, well, test things.
Sony Online Entertainment has announced that Vanguard: Saga of Heroes will launch across the US and Europe on 30th January.
Koch Media has announced details of its Vanguard: Saga of Heroes pre-order campaign, which is exclusive to GAME stores in the UK from tomorrow, 12th January.
As well as offering access to the beta, the pre-order box will allow you to access the full game three days earlier than everyone else. It'll be available in-store and via the GAME website.
Other goodies in the box include a special account key, which will allow your character to sprint for longer periods of time thanks to an exclusive in-game scroll.
Perhaps, on reflection, Sigil Games might feel that putting the word "Saga" into the name was asking for trouble. Calling a game a "Saga" of anything, aside from inviting silly jokes about old age pensioners that don't play very well beyond England's shores, also practically guarantees that your development process will indeed become a Saga - a long, drawn out and somewhat painful experience abounding with whispered half-truths and vague generalisations. Still - even given the number of misconceptions and conflicting views which exist on the topic of Vanguard, Sigil's developers can at least count themselves lucky that they avoided the "Forever" pitfall, eh?
The moment you've all been waiting for (not very patiently, by the way - there'll be no supper for you) has arrived: we're giving away Vanguard: Saga of Heroes beta keys.
In order to get a key, you need to register for Eurogamer. Then simply visit the official beta key page and hit the big button. You will then receive a key and instructions on how to use it within 24 hours (it may take this long because of the enormous level of interest in the beta test, although we expect you'll receive your key sooner).
When you receive the email containing your key, you will find instructions on where to go to complete the process and download the Vanguard beta files. The link provided in the email will hold all the clues to getting it working - so please don't blitz us with requests for technical support, because we can barely operate the front door, let alone advise you on how to make your PC work.
If you go down to the woods today, or to Eurogamer TV, you'll find a feathery new trailer of a Griffin, one of several flying mounts that players can choose from in Vanguard: Saga of Heroes.
The game is another MMORPG, and quite a promising one at that. It's developed by Sigil Games Online, the company founded by Brad McQuaid and Jeff Butler of EverQuest fame. Sony Online Entertainment and Koch Media are both involved, and it's due for release in Q1 2007.
Players will have to be above level 45 to hop on the back of a flying beast and take to the skies of Telon, where they're free to flap around until their heart's content.
Sigil Games' upcoming MMORPG, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, will enter an open beta phase next week, and Eurogamer will be the only place to come for keys.
The European beta kicks off on Monday, 8th January, and on that date we'll start offering keys, available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Obviously we'll also have a crack at the game and let you know if we think it's any good, and you can already pop over to Eurogamer TV to see some of the game's flying mounts in action.
You may already have spotted it, but this afternoon Eurogamer TV is hosting an exclusive video of the Wyrm, one of several flying mounts available to players in Vanguard: Saga of Heroes.
Developed by Sigil Games Online in partnership with Sony Online Entertainment and Koch Media, Vanguard is a massively multiplayer online RPG due out in Q1 2007. Sigil, in case the name is unfamiliar, was founded in 2002 by Brad McQuaid and Jeff Butler, of EverQuest fame.
Vanguard will offer flying mounts to players who reach level 45, after which they're free to explore the skies above the world of Telon.