Vanguard – Saga of Heroes Review: For Serious Roleplay



By Rick Charbs (Jammart), Onrpg writer

Vanguard: Saga of Heroes was an MMORPG developed primarily by Sigil Games Online, and was soon taken in by SOE (Sony Online Entertainment), whom now run and develop this title. Without much experience in the 3D MMORPG genre, I compared this title heavily to Everquest II, a game I had previously played, and found many similarities (which seemed to have been relevant as they are now both currently developed by the same people).

Being a p2p MMORPG, it is clear that a lot of time and effort has been put into this game, but is it truly worth the money? This review should offer you a little insight on the matter.



General Gameplay

With many races, classes, and items to choose from right from the beginning, it is safe to say there are almost limitless possibilities to customise your character with. In fact, it is rare to find a character that looks identical to yours, which is a definite plus! Along with this near customisation factor is the in-depth skill system, which furthers the character classes’ uniqueness. This basically goes to say that if you enjoy having a personal connection to your character and enjoy role playing, Vanguard may just be that one game for you.
To look on the wider-spread gameplay aspects of Vanguard SoH (Saga of Heroes), three aspects of game play are divided into groups called spheres: adventuring, crafting, and diplomacy. There is also known to be a harvesting sphere, but it lacks so much in content that it is often set aside and ignored. Each of these spheres is a whole new way of playing the game, and so there are individual inventories for each sphere (this way, when you go craft, for example, your crafting equipment will automatically equip and save you the hassle).
First order of business: the adventuring aspect of the game. Much like most traditional medieval MMORPGS, the adventuring aspect of the game involves conquering dungeons, completing quests, fighting baddies, and of course, collecting treasure. One may choose from 1 to 15 adventuring classes, and all are encouraged to play in groups. Solo content is available; however the best rewards are saved for those who fight together. Groups are generally composed of a wide variety of classes to improve effectiveness in tight situations (ranging from tanks, to healers, to damage-dealers).

Secondly, the crafting aspect of the game! The crafting sphere offers a system of collecting recipes and materials to then produce them into items. At most times, the smaller harvesting sphere compliments the crafting aspect (you must harvest to collect raw materials). After acquiring a set amount of experience in one specific crafting trade, one of three more specific crafting classes may be chosen which then branches off to other classes: Outfitter (Tailor or Leatherworker), Artificer (Carpenter or Mineralogist), and Blacksmith (Armorsmith or Weaponsmith). Outfitters create cloths, linens, and leather armors, artificers build ship parts, house parts, jewellery, and many other trinkets, and the blacksmith takes care of crafting plate armors and weapons.

The third playable sphere in the game is the diplomacy sphere. This unique sphere basically consists of a card game. Without getting into detail on how this card game is played, the rewards for advancing in this sphere are nearly requirements for high-end characters. Things such as character titles, guild houses, and special guild buffs are awarded to players who are at a high diplomacy level of experience.

Lastly, the harvesting sphere is often looked over. As previously mentioned, it simply consists of gathering items from their raw sources in order to use them in crafting.

Another wonderful part of this game is the geographical complexity. Home to three large continents and various islands, Telon (the game world) is host to many different climates and regions, and thus allows for a great deal of exploring!



Graphics and Sound

Vanguard SoH has a wide variety of both graphics and sounds, and they were pretty good quality (I suppose you get what you pay for), although personally it lacked in originality. I kept hearing and seeing the same things over and over even though they were different, either I had seen them or heard them previously in the game, or in a different 3D fantasy MMORPG. The sounds and graphics work very well with the game; they just failed to leave me in awe. I would not discourage someone from playing the game based on its appearance and its sound.



Personal Recommendation

It is quite difficult for me to judge this MMO as I enjoyed so many parts of it, as well disliked many parts of it. I feel somewhat indifferent towards the title. I really enjoyed the customisation, the various classes, the easily explored world, and the three main spheres of gameplay that allowed for such varied playing of the game. I disliked the graphical aspect of the game as it lacked some serious uniqueness, and I also disliked the traditional MMO barrier this game had. There was room to grow, but you really need to enjoy a raw fantasy setting to thoroughly indulge yourself in the game’s storyline.

Vanguard has a lot to offer, such as player housing, guilds, various mounts, tons of skills and attributes, many races and classes—the whole lot. If you are ready to roleplay seriously, and pay the subscription fee, which in my opinion is too expensive for what it’s worth, then Vanguard SoH is definitely the game for you. If you wish to simply try it out, a short trial version of the game is available; check it out! Happy gaming!


Pros

- Great customisation

- Varied aspects of gameplay

- Many races, classes, skills, and items

- Wonderful game world



Cons

- Subscription fee

- Lacks originality

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