After reading about Vanguard — Saga of Heroes and seeing that Sony Online Entertainment was involved with it, I started to wonder why Sony would want to be a part of this. Everything I’ve read about Vanguard made it sound like Everquest. After reading the FAQ on Vanguard’s website, I learned that Vanguard could be called EQ 1’s spiritual successor — a true sequel to EQ. It seemed odd that Sony would want a game that would be a direct competitor to EQ and EQ2.
Having never actually played EQ (I’m been scared of becoming an addict), all I know is that from what I’ve read of Vanguard and what I’ve heard about EQ (from friends who still have a leg in The Real World), they seem pretty similar. An MMO based in a fantasy world? Check. Backed by Sony Online Entertainment? Check. Harsh punishment for dying? Check. Persistent online world? Check. Basically, Vanguard sounds like any number of MMORPGs out now.
Despite its similarities to other MMOs and specifically to EQ, the developers at Sigil have also tried to make Vanguard different. One way it’s different is how it deals with death. When a player dies, he will leave a corpse and everything in his possession at the time of death behind. He can then choose to locate and resurrect his corpse, or to just respawn at a bind point and forfeit the possessions.
Another feature that distinguishes Vanguard from other MMOs is its focus on diplomacy. In Vanguard, violence doesn’t solve everything. Politics will play a big role in how players can interact with other players and NPCs. For example, bribing a guard to gain passage would be an alternative to killing the guard, especially if the guard’s 20 levels above you.
Now, why Sony would want a part of something directly competing against the EQ franchise? Delving deeper, I found that there were some employees who left Sony after working on both EQ games. Among these employees were Brad McQuaid and Steve Clover. Brad McQuaid (co-designer and producer of EQ as well as executive producer of EQ2), Steve Clover (designer and lead programmer of EQ) and some others from the EQ team got together, founded Sigil Games Online, and started working on Vanguard. Since Vanguard would be competing against EQ and potentially affecting its profits, Sony made a smart business decision to buy Vanguard. This way, if Vanguard is successful, Sony would just be competing against Sony and Sony still wins in the end.