E3 2006: Vanguard: Saga of Heroes updated impressions

Today at E3, we met Jeff Butler, president of Sigil Games, at his new publisher Sony Online Entertainment. Jeff also happens to be the executive producer of Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, the highly anticipated, massively multiplayer online role playing game.

We’ve seen Vanguard before, but the smug look on Jeff’s face betrays a man who has made his dreams a reality. One look at the new version of the game tells us Sigil has made incredible strides in artistic appeal. The team has forged amazingly deep player customization and added robust housing that makes every other MMO to date look dumbed down.

Jeff is obsessed with little details, and it shows. We literally cannot stump him with questions about how Vanguard’s complex environment will affect gameplay. Yes, that blowing snow will knock down the power of your fireball spell, and the rain will make shooting arrows less effective.

Setting sail on the endless ocean aboard a galleon (yes, it’s player crafted), he demonstrates how we’ll need to tack against the unfavorable prevailing wind if we want to get to the city in the distance. Frankly, we were just content to weigh anchor and take in the amazing reflections that the full moon cast on the water.

Next, we’re flying on an enormous mount - a Swamp Dragon - where we can just barely make out the rider. Yes, he’s already thought about mounted aerial combat engagements that will be implemented sometime after release (damn). Winging over to a massive dungeon, we swoop down and actually fly underground inside the first level. We get it: big.

Every pinnacle and chasm we pointed at, we could travel to. Vanguard is massive and dense, and has no use (and little need) for instances. Jeff is building a persistent and incredibly interconnected playground; and his Cheshire Cat smile says he knows we will come.

He’s right.

May 11, 2006


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