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So I played Vanguard after release and several times after, but it was never *playable* for several reasons. But I went back for f2p, even though I always have serious doubts about the f2p model. But I was surprised, huzzah.
First off, f2p is actually right in Vanguards case, since the main classes and basic races are unrestricted. Play them all the way to 60 without spending a cent. There are other limits like the currency cap and the gear quality limit, but you *can* play to max level, that is amazing.
Second, the sales make everything absolutely affordable. Over the weekend there was a double station cash sale, I dropped the massive sum of $5 over the weekend, and because of the sales in the item mall I unlocked the Ranger and Paladin classes, and the woodelf race, with station cash left over. The item unlocks, which make an item useable by a f2p character, are the equivalent of 50 cents each, or 25 cents if you're buying double station cash, even less if you buy triple.
Third, there aren't any extras you need to buy, like quest packs or zones or skill packs. Everything is open and explorable, all the quests are available if you're the right level.
So there it is, I think Vanguard is the most affordable MMO on the market right now, not to mention one of the best. It absolutely deserves more attention and more players.