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Vanguard Goes Free to Play Early August 8, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Sony Online Entertainment, Vanguard SOH.
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Almost six years ago the trailer for Vanguard: Saga of Heroes had the tag line “Set Yourself Free.”  Well, now the prophecy of that line has come to pass.

Vanguard was slated to go live as a free to play title on August 14th.

But instead, surprise, it is live and free as of yesterday.  Or I guess it is.  The statement over at the new Vanguard site reads:

In case you haven’t seen the news, we’ve announced the official date for the Vanguard Saga of Heroes free-to-play launch: Tuesday, August 14, 2012!

We didn’t want to keep you – our most loyal and dedicated Vanguard citizens – waiting any longer, so we’ve released all of the free-to-play features for you to experience FIRST!

Since SOE has a single, unified account system, I have to imagine that “dedicated” citizens includes anybody paying close enough attention to have noticed that post.  You certainly seem able to download the client and such at this point

SOE has also posted the final feature matrix for launch.  It remains a two tier system, eschewing the middle, or Silver tier that EverQuest and EverQuest II have, but a few details have changed since SOE originally posted about it.

First Day Feature Matrix

If you compare that with the earlier one, you will see that they have changed brokers and mail access.  You now just paying higher in-game fees to use those services.  There will also be no restrictions on chat access for free players.

Meanwhile, the standard inconvenience restrictions on things like item quality, total in-game coins, quest log entries, remain in place to push people to subscribe.

The Vanguard Marketplace is also open now and will be offering things in the categories of “Services, Mounts and Pets, Housing, Appearance and Equipment.”  I will be interested to see what ends up in the cash shop.

There is also a new FAQ up about the game.

All of which now leaves PlanetSide as the sole monthly subscription title in the SOE arsenal of online games.  SOE has bet heavily on its particular flavor of the free to play model. It is what I might call the “push to subscribe” subset.

John Smedley says that PlanetSide is not going away when PlanetSide 2 launches. (Smed’s twitter account seems to be the new official news source for PlanetSide 2. He was clearly telling the truth when he said that PS was his thing.)  But I do not think it can remain a subscription game, so I wonder what the plan is.

[Addendum: Massively has an interview with a bit more information posted.]

Comments»

1. bhagpuss - August 8, 2012

I’m just home from work, read through my Reader and about to log into Vanguard. There were the most humungous imaginable patch notes. It looked like they’d re-itemized the entire game but according to the interview you linked it’s just Part 1, levels 1-31. Rest of levels to be re-itemized for launch next week.

Logging in now and planning on writing something about it over the weekend.

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2. Professer - August 10, 2012

I’d love for PS to go F2P and get some more people in there. Last time I was in PS (couple months back) there was usually only one battle happening at any given time.

PS2 will be great but I don’t have the time in the future to play it.

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3. Beth McSherry - August 11, 2012

will there be any race/class restrictions beginning Tuesday and will any of our characters be grandfathered in??

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4. Wilhelm Arcturus - August 11, 2012

@Beth – From the FAQ I linked in the post:

“As a special thank you to players who have ever had a subscription to Vanguard, characters of all levels that were created before the free-to-play conversion will all be available regardless of your membership type. In addition, these players will have 12 character slots (or your previous maximum number, whichever is higher) available on their account regardless of their membership type.”

I wonder if that applies to me. I never subscribed only to Vanguard, but had Station Access when it came out, bought a retail box (marked down) and entered the code for it. We shall see, if I get around to it.

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