Friday, April 20, 2007

SOE Poised to Purchase Vanguard?

As I mentioned yesterday, something's afoot! SOE has been in the news as of late, so I figure they probably have something else in the works. What could it be though? A new game? Another complete rebuilding of Star Wars Galaxies? A purchase of IGE? A new acquisition?

The evidence points towards the latter: a new acquisition. SOE is definitely ramping up it's business operations globally. They have recently modified the Station Exchange service. Plus, SOE is certainly not afraid to snatch up flailing, on the verge of death MMOGs, like The Matrix Online. Also, they have shown the ability to keep low-population games going. For example, Planetside.

It just so happens that Vanguard: Saga of Heroes isn't doing very well, as evidenced by this in depth population analysis on Silky Venom. SOE has already financially bailed Sigil out, allowing them to launch the game. SOE currently is Vanguard's publisher. Over at players can even "help SOE make a business decision." LFG, admin, has the rumor on the down low that SOE plans to purchase Vanguard from Sigil.

Vanguard, as Sigil's flagship, determines whether Sigil remains a financially viable company. Now is the time to sell, before rock bottom is hit. The facts just don't look good for Vanguard. There has been a sort of mass exodus as of late. Server merges are most likely in the works. I hear it is really (and I mean really) hard to find a group on most servers. Speed hacking seems to be running rampant. Vanguard is being trashed.

And who better to save it, again, than SOE. SOE wants to be the big player in this market, and whatever number of b-rate, down and out MMORPGs it takes to get there is more than worth the price of admission.


  1. While I haven't really played a lot in terms of SOE games (about a month of EQ2) I can't imagine that they could do any worse than Sigil. All I know for sure is that I want to try this game out in about 6 months, regardless of who has creative control or ownership. Obviously I won't if I don't hear anything better about it, but I want to want to play it :)


  2. Well, what can I say. Silky Venom is not up right now, so how about you give us the skinny on it.

  3. Anonymous8:13 AM

    I think you have a lot of rumor here and not many facts. Anyway, I have another rumor to add, based on my own experience: While it does seem that many people left, there also seems to be a lot of people coming into Vaguard as well. And I have little problem finding groups. I am having a blast (yes, this a vanboi post) playing Vanguard. I was playing EQ2 and I just can't go back to EQ2 after playing Vanguard.

  4. William, from player run tools that monitor the number of active players level 2-50 per day, the population of Vanguard has dropped nearly 80% since launch.

    According to Brad McQuaid, the game sold between 200k-250k boxes. According to the reports there aren't even 50k active CHARACTERS logging in anymore. It is assumed, on average, that one character is played per account. However, we all know there are people playing several characters. So, that is less than 50k people still playing.

    Further, McQuaid, specified that Vanguard needs 250K+ active subscribers to get close to breaking even. They need a lot more to turn a profit. Every day they don't have 250k, is another day closer to the death of Vanguard and Sigil. It doesn't look good, and therefore a buyout is the likely outcome.


    We'll see, but a buyout by SOE is very possible. You just don't like the facts.

  5. Myself, well, I had heard about Vanguard for the longest time. Back in the original days of the announcement where it was all vague and kept in the secret wrap. And for the longest time I hated the vision that Brad had come up with. From back in the day of EQ mind you. It was the concept of him just back then not listening to concerns of the players, and sticking the guns.

    So just before it came out, I made a personal decision to alter my usual playing style, and to focus on team oriented game play. (One of the big goals of this game.) And I would get into the RP server and just go for it. I was willing to work hard for my levels, as LONG as I was having fun.

    And so I got the game, digital download no less. (Blech waiting in line at stores anymore sucks.)

    And then I started playing during the headstart. And just got in and experienced it all.

    And day after day, as I got higher level, I would encounter more and more bugs. And I wasn't speed demoning it either. I tried all three spheres, and for a while I was in the top 40 for gear made and worn on Floryndel. And to me that achievement orientation was just a personal goal. But was happy to see something of its ilk at all.

    And then I continued levelling, and getting more and more frustrated and aggravated with the game, and what bugs were in it. Further, a guild I joined, had a nice variety of players, and I got to hear daily how often they were encountering this or that bug, all up to the point the Guild Leader encountered a vicious bug that cost him three quarters of his xp, and delevelled him. And when he petitioned about it. He was told after two days. Tough, no reimbursement of his lost xp.

    What with me falling under the Gulgrethor Fortress, anytime I was feigning death and being summoned, (happened enough times to suck much ass)..

    I decided that this time. I will NOT support a paid beta. I won't do that. So I didn't sub when the paid month was up, and cancelled the account. What aggravates me about all of this, was I gave it a chance, and a game was put out in a beta form. I remember reading somewhere that someone mentioned, if you can't present a stable product before the money runs out, and you can't get any more money anywhere. Then you close the doors, and sell the IP and what you have to another group. Cause you couldn't produce.

    And thats what I feel about it. I tried to like it, I was willing to put up with the grind, and then when encountering bug after bug, and people I played with were disrespected and not reimbursed. See ya.

    So there ya have it. And I took a run at the LOTRO. It felt so uninspired.

    Me I'm just waiting for one game in particular, WAR! Warhammer Online, Age of Reckoning. It's got some hawt predesigned RVR and a great IP to work with. And I've always enjoyed DAOC.

    *Shrug* oh well, I'll just stick back and forth with City of Heroes, and beta other MMO's as they come out again.

  6. Anonymous4:29 PM

    Lets just say - if this happens...I have a LOT of "I told you so"'s to spread around ;)

  7. Anonymous7:53 AM

    I purchase Vanguard 15 days ago. I'm a casual player who play mostly off peak times and with no friends currently playing MMOs.

    Let me do some math here. Complex MMORPG + Casual Player + Weird Play Times + No Friends = It doesn't look good. But, I'm having a good time playing Vanguard anyways.
    I never had any problem to find casual groups to advance in the most difficult areas and I do not think that the advance of my character is slower than other games (in fact I think is faster than EQ2, or at least I'm enjoying this more).

    I read about people leaving the game in almost every forum about Vanguard, but in the game it appears to be more people every day. I don't know what is happening, or maybe if this is only happening on my server (RP server). I do not have any numbers with me neither, I just only know what I see.

    But let's say that this is true. People is leaving the game every day. Sigil in fact could not maintain the game for a long time with a low population, but Sony can do it, and if they want to do it I'm with them.

    I think Sigil is a great group, but they didn't know how to handle the community. The game also still have tons of bugs and balance issues, but I could no find any play stopping bug yet. I don't know, I will keep playing.

  8. Anonymous10:39 PM

    I like Silky Venom's numbers, but I also have reservations on those numbers because I personally know about 5 people who are paying but not playing. Their comments run like "its not worth my time to play, but I'm going to keep my subscription active..." I tell them to cancel, and come back if it gets better, but they don't seem to mind paying.

    Do I think there are 200k people doing this? No. But I figure the number is sizable.

  9. Anonymous5:55 PM

    The game code is so crappy that Sony is one of the few companies with programmers that can fix it. Sigil is filled with artists not coders. Fixing the messed up code will help stop the hacks, the performance issues, etc.

    As for the number, I too see more and more people showing up in the game lately. This is due to the amount of hard work that Sigil has been putting out in the form of patches, content, etc. Its also due to it being summer. To WoW's expansion being used up already. To people who are willing to give the game another try.

    I figure either way buy or sell by the end of the summer numbers will be fine, and personally I hope Sony does take the game...keeps the direction of it...but fixes the damn code.

  10. First, people are leaving Vanguard, not joining. The numbers definitely show this.

    Also, Vanguard is not picking up people who are bored with WoW's expansion. More copies of WoW and it's expansion are sold every single month than the subscription totals of most MMORPGS! If people are bored of WoW, then we would see a decline somewhere in WoW's numbers. There is no indication of that.

    The numbers we have for Vanguard show it has lost 80% of it's active characters. The translation from characters to players is up in the air, but let us just assume it is a 1 for 1 exchange (because that is the best case for Vanguard). That is an 80% drop in players. That is equivalent to WoW losing over 6.4 million players. So, you tell me how Vanguard is growing again.


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