Friday, February 17, 2006

Brad McQuaid responds to my /. comments

I posted earlier in the week about the Vanguard : SoH preview at IGN.

I also posted the commentary over to the original /. posting that lead me to the previews.

Brad McQuaid responded;
"That it would take the average player, the 'core' gamer as we have described our target audience on our message boards (e.g. the group of players that sit between truly casual and truly hard core) 6-12 months to hit max level doesn't seem unreasonable. The players who have hit 40+ in beta have gone through various tweaks of the exp curve, levled up to varying degrees in the other spheres (crafting, diplomacy), etc. And for the record, we play the game on all sorts of systems, as well as test on different systems, from low end to high.

I did bring in one high end system to show off the game on a 30" monitor with all of the options turned way up (both because it looks great and also so people in the room could see the game from the various places they were sitting). And, yes, it was my system and I do play often on it, with the new Dell 30" monitor that came out -- not sure what your issue is with that unless you are assuming that's all we play the game on (high end systems) which most certainly isn't the case. Also, for what it's worth, the fact that you *can* play the game at a playable framerate at 2560x1600 with all the options turned up on a 3.8 ghz system with a x1900xtx is testament to how optimized the game is.

Obviously to run at a more typical resolution of 1280x1024 or 1600x1200 even, you can do so on a much lower end system. We're also not done optimizing, and by release, systems and graphics cards that are on the high end of things today will be much more reasonable price-wise. So while the game does take advantage of the latest hardware, shader model 2.0, HDR lighting, etc. and not just in closed off 'FPS' areas, but also outdoors where you can see for 4+ km in a truly seamless world, it will not require an 'uber' machine to run. More power than, say, WoW, yes, but nothing crazy or that would make it such that the majority of gamers couldn't or wouldn't enjoy."
Of course I responded;
Well Brad I "will" play your game at "some" point because that is the fair approach? No? I can hate all I want, but you never know I may be terribly mistaken about Vanguard. In all honesty there is even parts (housing, crafting, and mounts with bags) that intrigues me about V:SoH. Maybe it was IGN and Gamespots lackluster previews that set me off? I mean both articles are written obviously fanboi centric with nothing more than "This game is Everquest with better graphics".

I understand the media blitz. I understand the "show off the game" approach to the previews. Doesn't mean I have to like it and blogging about it surely doesn't mean I have to be constructive about it. That is what folks like Darniaq are for.

Personally I would conduct the preview in a totally different way and probably wind up with my rear on the front steps of your office. Not for being rude or unruly, but for asking questions that wouldn't be sufficient for the media blitz that you are conducting for VSoH. Now if you are so inclined and curious as to how such an interview would be conducted you can check Heartless Gamer or e-mail me yourself at or hell if I would be so inclined to be granted an interview through (now defunct) I may even be at your office someday. All three of which I hold no high hope for aside from blogging about it.... cause I'm cool like that.

Banter aside Brad, I hope your project the best of luck. Do I think its the right direction for such a large title? No. Does my opinion count. Probably not in the grand scheme of things. I'm not Koster and I'm not Lum. I don't make games. Therefore you can dismiss my ranting and go along with your day. It will still make me happy to post my thoughts.
So back to my blog and (now defunct) I go...

Update: 29 Nov, 2009 - Edited post, corrected spelling, removed broken links, and applied label.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:32 AM

    Damn, he sure does find every commentary on his game, doesn't he? I'm thinking someone does nothing but look it up all day long for him.

    You know, I followed his forum back when he left SOE. I lurked a bit here and there. Basically it was a following of people who hated what EQ1 had turned into. The game was dumb-downed, too easy, yadda yadda. Let's not forget. They blamed The Smed for that.

    Chiming in loud and clear was Furor on his neighboring sounding board. The two mindsets meshed like the Odd Couple who drowned their sorrows together, even though they had nothing else in common but bad memories.

    I hardly doubt I was the only one peeking in on the both of them.

    Fast-forward four+ years after a tremendous amount of wallowing in self-pity, righteous indignation, and venting, Sigil bore the child prodigy, Vanguard. Or, child parody, depending on how you want to look at it.

    Now say what you will, and I'll be fair now, but you have to understand, this is the history that shadows this game. It promises, it was even CREATED, to avenge every crime SOE and/or Verant has ever been accused of. Daddy Brad vowed to make it right. His mantra was christened, "the vision".

    [insert loud noise from groupies here]

    Anyhoo, here's the ultimate question no one wants to answer honestly:

    Is the gamer of today honestly willing to go back and recapture the olden days? The days when grinding is all they knew due to lack of content, avoiding trains was a sign of intelligence and death was the price you paid for being stupid?

    Some would say feeling the grind IS due to lack of content. That trains are the fault of programmers and dumb-ass players. And death is a time-consuming inconvenience that no one in their right mind, well, has TIME for anymore.

    Followers of Vanguard promise to keep true to "the vision". But I have a suspicion that even Brad has his doubts of their loyalty.

    If it's any indication, and he should take note, that his beta, according to the leaks, did not hold a fraction of the interest he imagined, then it's time to re-assess.

    There are reasons why gamer strategists theorize the way they do. They do what developers don't have time to engage in, and that's keep a check on the heartbeat of the fans.

    And this finally, for the Brad man himself. You had 4k people believing they wanted to recapture the olden days. You ported them back graciously. Just ask yourself, what happened then?

    Did they stay and sing your praises or did they log off and say, "Aradune, who?"

    And if the latter is true, then you should adjust the mechanics accordingly.

    Unless of course, you just want to make a game that pleases you and a few others, that's fine. There won't be any profit in it, but you will have achieved that goal.

    Either way, I hope you achieve whatever it is you conclude Vanguard will be.

    Just remember that Furor blasted hot fires from heaven himself, only to wind up in Blizzard's cold lap.

    Times change. People change. Interests change.

    It's something to think about before it's too late.


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