Vanguard: Saga of Heroes

Vanguard: Saga of Heroes seeks to define a new age in the massively multiplayer role-playing genre. Under the direction of veteran game designer (and EverQuest co-daddy) Brad McQuaid, developer Sigil has set out to design what they're calling a "third-generation MMO": a next step in evolution beyond first-gen EverQuest and second-gen World of Warcraft.

That sounds good on paper, but the key to Sigil's revolution in role-playing games may already have happened while this game has been in development ... or maybe not. Chief among Vanguard's new features is the Advanced Encounter System, which claims to dynamically spawn creatures in an effort to overcome maddening MMO issues like camping and kill-stealing (where rival players monopolize particularly tasty monsters). Other games solve that with "instanced areas" - dungeons or other locales dedicated to a specific group of players for the duration of their adventure. However, that's something Sigil says it doesn't plan to pursue. The reasoning for this actually makes a lot of sense: if you have to separate yourself or your group from all of the other players in the world, are you really playing an MMO?


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