It’s been almost a year and a half since my last post here. The reasons for that are many, but the long and short of it is, I just haven’t had much time to play games. I still manage to pop into a game now and then, but there hasn’t really been anything that has grabbed my interest and pulled me in to the extent that I’d want to write about it… until now.
In the year and a half since my last post I’ve dabble with quite a few different games. I may not have much time to dedicate to them, but that hasn’t prevented my Steam library from expanding beyond a sustainable rate. Many games lay in wait, reporting nothing more than a few minutes played; just enough to check them out quickly to see what they look like. Some poor souls remain un-played at all; purchased on the cheap during one of the Steam sales, and to this day have never even been launched. It’s ridiculous.
One game has finally hooked me though, and it was a little unexpected. A few friends of mine have started playing Neverwinter, the recently released free-to-play MMO. I initially rejected their suggestions that I try it; I was done with MMOs I said. Eventually however, I relented and checked it out. My first impressions were positive; it looks gorgeous, and seems very accessible without obvious restrictions for those who want to play for free. As I played though, I found myself just going through the motions, it wasn’t grabbing me. It did however, spark an itch.
Neverwinter left me with just a hint of a longing for an old-school MMO, a taste for recapturing the feeling I had while playing EverQuest II during my heyday of MMO gaming. I wanted something a little different from EQII though, that game having run its course for me long ago. It was then that I decided to step into the world of Telon and give Vanguard: Saga of Heroes another try.
I bought Vanguard at launch, paying $60 for the game, but didn’t play it right away. Having played in the beta, I was all too familiar with the many bugs and various issues plaguing the game at launch, so I decided to wait before starting my subscription. It wasn’t until quite some time after launch that I finally activated my first 30 days, but unfortunately, I had completely burned out on the MMORPG model of the day, and had no motivation to continue.
I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Vanguard. Yes, it had its problems, but I can remember the last day of the beta, when I was able to create a max-level (or close to it, can’t remember) character, and obtain a flying mount. As I flew all over Qalia, I was amazed at the detail of the world, and that impression never left me. Since then, I’ve always maintained that I would love nothing more than to fly all around Vanguard’s world, and just explore.
So, I loaded up Steam and downloaded the now free-to-play Vanguard and re-visited Telon. My old character was still accessible, but I had no idea how to play him, or where I needed to go, so I decided to start anew, creating a Thestran Human Shaman, and started on the Isle of Dawn.
It didn’t take long for a nostalgic wave to rush over me. It took me back to my first days with EQII; not knowing exactly how the game worked, or where I was going. I was hooked. The graphics are beginning to look a little old, yet still look great. My machine can now handle the game at its highest settings without a problem; definitely a switch from my first go around with the game.
The Steam client tells me I’ve logged 17 hours played in Vanguard. To me, given all my “real life” responsibilities, that’s a lot. I’m hooked; so much so that it’s inspired me to come back after a year and a half and write this. I have even, for the first time ever, spent real money in a free-to-play game. As you can see in the first image of this post, I’ve purchased a flying mount… and I love it.
As of tonight I have finished all the adventuring and diplomacy quests on the Isle of Dawn. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed doing the diplomacy quests; it’s not something I would have thought I’d be interested in, but here I am, a level 9 diplomat, having completed the main diplomatic quest line on the Isle.
As soon as I finish this post I’ll be hopping back into the game, and finishing off the last quest of the adventuring series which will take me off the Isle of Dawn to one of the main continents, where the first thing I do will likely be to fly all around Vanguard’s world, just exploring.