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After playing VG again (have station anyway), I felt, despite the flaws, it still is a game worth to be saved. If we are honest here, the game is on the verge of being closed. The merge is kinda the last change, and if this fails, what then? I still feel the classes, the combat and many other things are good enough to justify saving it. However, IMVPO Vanguard REALLY needs to leave behind some semi-religious "do's and dont's", and quickly. There are some things people in modern MMOs are used to. We have to accept that. As we see, and as is OFFICIALLY admitted, VG is not even a niche now, its a niche of a niche, based on the number of ppl playing it now. So, I think "extreme" measures are more than justified. This is a list of things I felt VG needs. Again, yes. Call it my last approach to give some input to save VG.
I do NOT include bug cleaning or lag. Why? First, it has been said many time, and second, there are many bug-ridden and laggy MMOs who still thrived for a long time. SWG in the first year was terribly bug ridden and is STILL quite laggy, and despite all this many people played and enjoyed it a long time. I just dont think its the real issue many people never even tried VG.
A) SHORT TERM GOALS
1. Raise loot drop and quest rewards. I am serious about this. I never have seen a game with so many misers as quest NPCs and such poor loot drop. Especially in the first 10-15 levels people need to feel good, they need cool, nice things to be given. What we have now, is one of the most shabby loot/reward I have seen! The first 2 dozen quests in Khal for instance give all boots, belts and gloves, all the smalles parts on the body with silly look, all look the same and NOTHING to really enjoy. New boots looking 1 wee bit brighter than the one before. yay. It was a lesson EQ2 had already gone through. People DONT want to loot rat teeth, zombie brains and vulture livers!
2. Spit out more coin, especially in the first 15 or so levels. The starter game experience must be good, poople must get some money to buy things. As it is now, you can buy nothing with the meager coin you make in the beginning. Not that noobs should get rich, but thats really, really poor atm.
3. Radar and real map. People want to know where they are. Period. I dont discuss this. Look which games prosper and which dont. Make it so you can deactivate this, but give it to those MANY MANY who are used to it.
4. Take out Corpse Run. The vast majority of players is not used to it and APPARENTLY doesnt want it. Its called "voting by feet" - they go! If you really want some death penality, make it like WOW or old EQ2 where you are a ghost. The CR just makes the chance too big you can loose more money and XP in an evening than you gain, and NO ONE want to log out with a bad feeling. I feel this is a BIG fun killer for many potantial gamers today. Almost 100% of EQ1 vets I know in my quite big EQ2 guild, who played EQ1 a long time, told me they didnt try out VG because they dont want a CR anymore today.
5. Stop fighting gold sellers. For now. Whatever your "moral" is about, a game without gold sellers is a dead game. If some people want to buy gold, well so be it. At this time we need EVERYONE. EVERY bit to ease the game must be accepted. We can tighten rules later again. Without players the entire moral debate about gold selling is superficial anyway.
6. Allow ppl to take more than 20 quests.
7. Creatures should not follow you all over the world. Give players a chance to escape, even without burst run.
MID/LONG TERM GOALS
1. Make a story for the world and connect the quests with it. Overall make the quests less Everquestish, where all quests are totally exchangable. Quests should have meaning and further a story. Its not so difficult to rewrite some of the quests texts as start.
2. Add voiceover. People expect this 2007. Its just so old fashioned to have to read everything. Maybe EQ2 spoilt me, but thats how I feel. Oh and lip synch of course.
3. Add some instances. FEW. None you can enter often. Use them only to tell stories with small scripted events, as LOTRO does. I dont want ppl "vanish" in the instances as DAoC, where suddenly the world was empty. But if you use instances sparsly, you can do some great storytelling.
4. Rework the entire starter quests. A new player needs to be lead and introduced to the world and his class, as EQ2, WOW or LOTRO do. You get lore about your race, your region and info about you. As it is now, you are plunged into a world and "good luck see for yourself". Guide new players to understand their class, race and region.
5. Guided questlines. I feel they work great to give you something to understand the world gradually. You can still roam free, as LOTRO does. But you CAN follow a guided storyline which covers the entire world. I never felt connected to most parts of Telon, because there was only a vast selection of quests and most told me zero about the regional and global "story" going on. Put some more soul into those icy-cold & sterile quests.
6. Rework Journal and Guild window, to see the info better. The EQ2 journal and guild window are a good example. People, who have quests, should find which quest they can/want to do when they log in easily. That includes giving a better way to sort them by type, region, reward, difficulty asf. The current journal is utterly primitive.
7. Focus on making local teleporters, instead of a rift system or anything the like. The idea is, there are teleporters, some in cities/villages, some in the wild, and you have to unlock them, by reaching them once on your own. Basically, like the WOW griffins. Make one porter in each area, and several in each dungeon, so once you reached a certain new dungeon area you can get there again.
8. Rework some of the textures. I found especially those on flat areas, like elements of buildings, bridges asf look especially bland. Working with light, shadow, colour would do the game great in order to make the landscape and architecture feel more with atmosphere and soul. There are too many textures looking like plastic.
I am sure some may not agree, but I feel we are in a situation where we have little choice but to dare a real change of paradima. To save the game we HAVE to sacrifice much of the "vision". Now.
People don't ask questions to get answers - they ask questions to show how smart they are. - Dogbert