Honey? I’m Home.

I hemmed and hawed over it. It’d been installed for like a week. My finger hovered over the mouse button, cursor poised over the “Launch Game” button in the Station Launcher. The cursor drifted away back to Firefox and did some browsing, but the Launcher stayed open, all blue and tempting. Off goes the cursor again, and pauses… click.

The trigger pulled, today I was back in Vanguard. I hesitated for two reasons. One, because time is short right now and will be for the next two weeks, after which is my week-long “summer break” (I’m taking a class over the summer,) for part of which I will be out of town at an SCA event. I wanted to get as much as I could out of those 45 days, and maybe it would have been better to wait.

The second reason is more personal. Vanguard wasn’t my first MMO – that was EVE Online. But I started playing Vanguard very early on in my years in the MMO hobby. Lots of people had a formative experience in a certain game. For many, that was EverQuest, and for even more it was World of Warcraft. For me it was Vanguard. I may not have started playing MMOs with it, but I started blogging because of it, and that is still going strong now, more than four years and eight hundred posts later.

Even “Ardwulf” was the name of my Vanguard character. I’ve resisted the temptation that some fall prey to, of giving their characters the same name across every MMO. Ardwulf is and always has been in Telon. And today, he was again, for the first time in a long, long while.

My memories of Vanguard are very fond ones, but my last visit to Telon was frustrating, for reasons I don’t even remember clearly, but probably because I was trying to do stuff that was too difficult in the Wardship of the Sleeping Moon. Ardwulf never reached the level cap, or the end game. He never got around to buying a house or staying in a guild for long, or achieving his goal of building his own ship on which he could sail the seas of Telon. Even so, Vanguard was and remains something of a special home for me.

At the same time, Ardwulf the MMO gamer is a different fellow in 2011 than he was back in 2007. Real old-timers will roll their eyes at this, but back then everything was new and shiny and I wanted to see it all, so I did. I spent time in WoW, in EVE, in City of Heroes, in the EverQuests and in Star Wars Galaxies, and later in Age of Conan and Warhammer and Rift. By 2010 I’d tried a lot – about everything I’d wanted to try, so I started to settle in when I picked a game, which for a long while was WoW, which is a faily comfortable place to be – not too demanding and easy on the brain. But it seldom felt like a home. Telon was that home, and my fear in coming back was that I’d see the frustration and sourness instead and thereby taint the happy memory.

I didn’t. In fact, Vanguard is probably more appealing to Ardwulf 2011 than it was to Ardwulf 2007-8. I have a clearer idea of what I want out of an MMO than I did back then. Imperfect as it may be, Vanguard still comes closest to that ideal.

I said before that I was planning to log in and would “see how it went.” It went well. Well enough that, “main game” or not, you’re going to be seeing more Vanguard from me. I’m still thinking about what, and what I plan to do about the stuff I talked about yesterday, but there’s more to come.

7 responses to “Honey? I’m Home.

  1. I’ve never played Vanguard, but if I had the time and if it had some type of ‘pay as you go’ type option similar to LotRO or AoC’s upcoming switch (I just bought the boxed AoC:RotGS game and then it goes hybrid, which should work out great for me), I’d certainly like to add it to my list of MMO games I dabble in.

    There are three very nice Vanguard videos on YouTube (The Beauty of Vanguard: Saga of Heroes) by SubJunk which anyone even remotely interested in playing should check out (and watch them in 720p HD)… very nice looking game! The HD Director’s Cut video is also on there and worth checking out as well.

  2. I still play, and run a guild there although I am the only member these days.😉 Still my favorite game by far, even though SOE has decided to simply let it run without any development what so ever.

  3. I downloaded and installed it last night myself. Logged in briefly this morning to see what characters are still extant. Deleted the duplicate paladin since it’s a single server now. And that was it, didn’t make it past the character screen. That’s for tonight. . . . .

  4. The best MMO out there. I started in apha/beta back when MS was publisher and played up until this January. There is so much content 1-50 that the only way you could see all that the game has to offer is to turn off EXP (an option much like a spell) or have a few alts. I have my main and 4 atls at levelcap 55, 4 at 50-54, and 10 20-40, there is still some content I haven’t seen. Abet 51-55 there is a letdown, but you have several years worth of game to experence before you find yourself board.

  5. Vanguard huh? Man, that was one title that I had really high hopes for. For me it was the “second coming” since I had been a huge fan of McQuaid’s EQ. I hated what happened to it so I’d be very interested in reading what you have to say about it… 4 years later (I can’t believe it’s already been 4 years).

  6. Just a repost of a comment from the previous vanguard blog entry, because I like to spread it’s good name.

    And I quote:”
    There is nothing wrong with the game. It’s fine on life support as it is. You have to take and accept the game for what it is.

    And what is that? Its one of the greatest PvE MMOs in the world since the EQ1 days, and no other game comes closer to its oldschool rpg roots. Even being on life support, there is still 3 years of amazing content to be had in this ever-so-beautiful, adventure packed, world of Telon. I don’t care that there aren’t any dev’s making content for the game, because its 2011 and I sitll haven’t seen half of what Vanguard has to offer.

    Not to be a fanboy and all, just don’t talk down the game. There is nothing wrong with it. If you play the game for what it is, you will have much enjoyment.”

  7. Forgive me for double posting. I would edit the previous if I could here.

    I’m in the same boat as Theoquis.

    Quote from him “There is so much content 1-50 that the only way you could see all that the game has to offer is to turn off EXP (an option much like a spell) or have a few alts. I have my main and 4 atls at levelcap 55, 4 at 50-54, and 10 20-40, there is still some content I haven’t seen. Abet 51-55 there is a letdown, but you have several years worth of game to experence before you find yourself board.”

    I never played the 51-55 content, and I do hear its not the greatest compared to what most MMO games would want as endgame.

    But as you said, I am still running multiple alts up in levels just to see and play every part of the game I can. I have 4 characters (49 the highest) and I’ve still only played half the game.

    Much to be had in good ol Vanguard.