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SOE Converting Another MMO to F2P: Vanguard

Sony Online Entertainment is converting yet another subscription-based virtual world into a free-to-play MMORPG -- Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. Andy Sites, SOE's Director of Development, made the announcement on Friday after he addressed the fan base with a thank-you for their support over the last five years.

The PC game originally launched back in 2007 with mostly negative reviews, initially selling around 242,000 copies. But over the next three years, the team would fight to stamp out performance issues, leading to more criticism. Eventually Vanguard's player base dwindled down to next to nothing, forcing SOE in July 2010 merge the three remaining U.S. servers into one, bringing the total worldwide number of servers at a meager two. Population reportedly didn't begin to pick up until last year after new content and two updates were released.

"We've had a dry spell of game updates over the past few months," Sites reports in his update. "That said, I'm happy to announce the drought will be coming to an end this week, with our first scheduled update since last December.  We plan to roll out game updates MUCH more frequently than years past, which will include general improvements, new content and more."

"A few weeks ago, we began ramping up the Vanguard development team with some familiar faces.  Our criteria was simple; we wanted the most Vanguard-knowledgeable, passionate developers," he continues. "While we plan to continue growing the team over the next few months, I wanted to briefly introduce a few of our team leads, including Salim "Silius" Grant (Creative Director), Todd "Hobart" Schmidt (Technical Director) and me, Andy Sites (Director of Development).  Fortunately, I am the only noob to the world of Vanguard, although having been part of the original EverQuest, EverQuest II, Free Realms, and Clone Wars Adventures teams, I've spent most of my career working on MMOs."

As for the game adding a free-to-play mode, he didn't provide specific details, only stating that fans can expect to see something similar to what SOE offers with EverQuest, EverQuest 2 and DC Universe Online. The company just recently added the F2P model to EverQuest after 13 years on the PC gaming market, and also just recently injected DC Universe Online with the F2P model at the end of 2011. EverQuest 2 and FreeRealms were the first of SOE's MMORPGs to support the freebie model.

Vanguard is expected to go into F2P mode this summer. Until then, fans should see additional game updates and more information about what the F2P model will offer sometime within the next few weeks.

  • alidan
    eq f2p kills any of the higher end content, however, everquest, the best part was the 1-60 gameplay, so its all good

    i dont know much about vanguard besides the dev team was fairly screwed, microsoft was original going to publish it but only if it went dx10 only, than they had to go back to soe, and were kind of screwed there too. if i remember right the team was old venerant the people who made eq. may have to check it out if they dont butcher it for f2p
    Reply
  • Marcus52
    Quality leeches form MMOGs in the name of selling to players who have no standards. "Cool. I can play free!" is the cry, as currency leaves their pockets just the same - or more.
    Reply
  • jalek
    Broken in beta, broken in release.
    I tried it again last year, and was stuck inside a rock looking out within minutes.
    Still too high a price.
    Reply
  • Raid3r
    Too many of you denounce f2p's. There is tons of evidence out in the big wide world that proves money does NOT inspire development. I for one don't think this shifty 60 bucks for a limited play time, followed up by monthly payment, followed by "buy our expansion!?!?" is a reasonable or relevant business model. Nor have I ever. Talk about welfare, talk about over valued fantasy junk. Think about it. As you do, but on my end I will continue to rail against this horrible business model that I feel has disrupted a good thing.
    Reply
  • I actually loved this game on release, played it for a month, but could not get into it due to the lack of pollish on the game engine.
    Performance was the biggest issue for a lot of people and i think that really ruined the potential of Vanguard, but now it is released on F2P, i am quite interested in what it is going to do :)
    Reply
  • alidan
    Raid3rToo many of you denounce f2p's. There is tons of evidence out in the big wide world that proves money does NOT inspire development. I for one don't think this shifty 60 bucks for a limited play time, followed up by monthly payment, followed by "buy our expansion!?!?" is a reasonable or relevant business model. Nor have I ever. Talk about welfare, talk about over valued fantasy junk. Think about it. As you do, but on my end I will continue to rail against this horrible business model that I feel has disrupted a good thing.
    i believe that the base game should cost money, and you should pay mothly, but expantions are a hell no, in most games that will cause people the be haves and have nots, where you need the expantion to keep playing.

    i dont know the overhead for serve costs on an mmo and would love to know.
    Reply
  • Raidur
    alidaneq f2p kills any of the higher end content, however, everquest, the best part was the 1-60 gameplay, so its all goodi dont know much about vanguard besides the dev team was fairly screwed, microsoft was original going to publish it but only if it went dx10 only, than they had to go back to soe, and were kind of screwed there too. if i remember right the team was old venerant the people who made eq. may have to check it out if they dont butcher it for f2p

    If you like the 1-60 gameplay check out "Project1999". It's a private EQ emulation that started off completely classic, zero expansions, no maps, with actual boats, etc... How EQ is supposed to be played.

    They released Kunark a few months back raising the cap to 60, on schedule with how SOE did it back in the day. The developing team is simply amazing and the community is rock solid and active.

    I play almost every day, check it out!
    Reply
  • scannall
    Vanguards biggest problem was that it launched in a very bad beta state. And by the time they got it straightened out it was too late. There is so much good about that game that it really pissed me off that they launched it so early.

    I'll likely go back and play it more since it is going f2p, as there really is a lot of good stuff in it.
    Reply
  • alidan
    RaidurIf you like the 1-60 gameplay check out "Project1999". It's a private EQ emulation that started off completely classic, zero expansions, no maps, with actual boats, etc... How EQ is supposed to be played.They released Kunark a few months back raising the cap to 60, on schedule with how SOE did it back in the day. The developing team is simply amazing and the community is rock solid and active.I play almost every day, check it out!
    project 1999 if base eq, level 1-50... i don't think eq was good back than, though i played it religiously because that was really it, there was nothing else good like it at the time. i believe the game opened up and became very good around the 5th expansion, planes of power. it removed the stiff, and i mean VERY stiff penalty go death in the game, i believe added the first instanced raid content (guilds didn't compete over the same content anymore) and made travel in the game fun, instead of tedious and costly as it was before.

    it may be fun to go back and play all that content again like it was before... but... i just cant see myself doing it without friends who would be dedicated.

    last time i played eq before the seeds of distrcution expansion, i had to wait in pok for 6 hours trying to get a group, and i was the best non raid melee dps you could get. i just cant go back to that. it would take either a dedicated group, or mercs...
    Reply
  • airborne11b
    Vg launched about 6 months too early according to brad mcquad *eq and vg head dev*. But it wasn't out of greed or stupidity, it was because they ran out of funding. Had they had the funding, the release would have been great, which would have meant better reviews/fan reception, more sales, more money, and a lot better of a game. This is, however, the reality of most games that try to be revolutionary. Not enough time/money to put their ideas into a working game.
    Reply