Daily Archives: January 11, 2007

Vanguard Half Elf Female

After some of the comments and the pictures in the soon-to-be-gone Vanguard forums I thought I had better give the “attractive female avatar” effort another try.

I suppose what I really need is somebody to setup a “Hot or Not” site for people to which people can submit screen shots of their Vanguard characters.  Then I could submit my own attempts and see how they rate.  (Does that mean that art and beauty do not exist in a vacuum, that it is all relative?)

In the absence of VanguardHotOrNot.com, I will put up my best attempt at an attractive female avatar.  I found that some of the races were easier to work with than others.  Half elf went the best for me, with Thestran Human in second place, and had the bonus of starting in a full set of armor (which you quickly lose as part of the story).  Here she is:

High Performance

Not exactly a Lineage II level character model, but the sword she is holding is about the right size. (You lose the sword too.)

I think the body proportions settings are the most risky when making an avatar.  A wrong move there can really make your character very hard on the eyes.

I actually went up a notch on visual quality to take this screen shot.  As a comparison, here she is at the lowest visual quality setting, which is what I have to be in to play if there are any other players around:

Highest Performance

After I finished creating her I mistakenly played with the lupine character race and now I am afraid I will never get the vision of the Pre-Op Big Bad Wolf with Dolly Parton knockers out of my mind.   Why oh why did I move that slider all the way to the right?

The horror!

Vanguard – January 30th

Just last night I was writing a comment about how Sigil had only committed to Q1 for Vanguard and maybe even that was aggressive, but now I see (via GameBunny) this SOE press release announcing that Vanguard will be available on Tuesday, January 30th, 2007.

So that is it.  Ready or not, here it comes!  I hope I get access to the beta forum before that point, not that there will be time to read and review anything I might add.

I am intrigued/amused by the lead in fluff about the game, which says,

Currently in beta, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes features vibrant environments reminiscent of oil paintings, a robust character customization tool and three distinct spheres of advancement in a seamless world without zoning or instancing.

1) Currently in beta: Yes, and since they are now 19 days away from being done, they had better have a serious ace, in the form of a patch, up their sleeves if they are looking for a good opening day with lots of happy reviews.  If it is going out as the game currently stands today they are not going to see that.  I work in software, and have for 18 years now, so I know that miracles can occur in less than 19 days.  But I also know that miracles work on their own schedule and do not care one whit for your release date.

2) Vibrant environments reminiscent of oil paintings: Ah, they have seen how fast the game plays on my machine (which falls in the “recommended configuration” range) when I get out of the lowest level of detail setting.  Reminiscent of an oil painting is about right.  Yet I keep seeing these great screen shots, especially on Journeys with Jaye, so there seems to be some validity to the statement.  I have a new video card coming in this week, so perhaps that will allow me to experience these vibrant environments at some decent frames per second.

3) Robust character customization tool: Of course I went to Merriam-Webster online to get the definition of “robust,” just to make sure I was fully armed for this one.  They have six definitions.  Given the options, I chose number six:

of, relating to, resembling, or being a relatively large, heavyset australopithecine (especially Australopithecus robustus and A. boisei) characterized especially by heavy molars and small incisors adapted to a vegetarian diet

I have already demonstrated that one can indeed create australopithecines in the Vanguard character creation tool, so I am with them on this, though I could easily have gone with definitions 2 or 3.

4) Three distinct spheres of advancement:  Two of which won’t matter a lick if the main sphere, adventuring, is not fun. 

5) Seamless world: Well, three cheers for that at least!  I heartily endorse this seamless world concept.

So how will this do on January 30th?  What will people see when they run home and install that evening (and patch) and (maybe) log in to the game?  Will there be enough there, through all the problems that happen on the first day of any MMO release, to make people want to keep playing?

I think back to day one of EverQuest.  I could barely play the game.  I got kicked off of the server regularly.  But I could see that it was something I had to play.  If they cannot get that feeling from people, there is going to be much disappointment as history shows that bouncing back from a bad launch in the MMO world is very tough.