With so many MMO games in the market, it’s easy to let some slip by without even a glance. That’s unfortunate because there are MMOs out there with great features yet to be picked up by the major titles. Some MMOs release and fall into the shadow of the juggernauts because they weren’t polished enough. Some release and are barely heard from again because they don’t speak to the masses. Whatever the case, developers could improve the MMO genre by looking at these titles. They must not look at these games because they “failed,” but because they persist with innovative and interesting features.
Take, for example, Vanguard. I know what you’re thinking. If you’ve played Vanguard, especially at launch, you’re probably wondering why I ever wasted my time with it. In its current state, Vanguard is a wonderful game; a deep game. The classes and races are quite common but developed. The lore and setting is no surprise but intriguing and beautiful. There are areas in Vanguard that shine a little brighter than other games; areas that other games don’t even embrace.
There are three things that Vanguard does well that I wish were in other games. Vanguard does harvesting, diplomacy, and ship building right. Although harvesting is found in most major MMOs, Vanguard puts a fun and social twist on the otherwise tedious process. In a nutshell, players can group harvest. My friend and I are out questing and see a tree to cut down. Even if I’m not a lumberjack, I can help my friend. As long as he’s a lumberjack and has the right tools and skill, I can help him cut the tree down. He’ll get more wood for my help, too. It’s nice to help my friend and it gives me something to do instead of standing there.
Another outstanding aspect from this game is diplomacy. Like standard leveling and crafting, diplomacy used its own leveling system. Diplomacy utilizes a sort of card game in practice. Players build up decks and use them on NPCs to sway certain decisions. For instance, a player can enter a city and parley with an NPC. If the player wins the card game, he or she can convince the NPC to buff the whole city. Diplomacy is just another layer in the world of Vanguard that makes it a richer place. Although that type of minigame isn’t for everyone, it is a nice addition.
Finally, Vanguard includes sea travel. Of course, there are games that focus primarily on ship travel and include boats, but Vanguard integrates ship travel into a game with standard mounts and flying mounts. You can literally travel by land, by air, or by sea in Vanguard. Not only does that promote a serious type of customization and a new level to roleplaying, it also alters the economy. Ships were made to be sold whether that be in pieces or as an entire vessel. Boats can act like a mobile home with onboard storage and be used to traverse the world of Telon in style. No, it isn’t always convenient to use a boat, but if you want to the option was there. That is refreshing.
Perhaps this doesn’t peak your interest in Vanguard, but consider how these features would make your game of choice better. It’s a shame that Vanguard isn’t more popular, but maybe excellent features like those listed above can succeed in other titles. It’s probably wishful thinking but a girl can dream.