Like Ardwulf, I’m currently serial leveling characters to 10th to ‘sample’ different playstyles and to grab them the vet rewards coming pre-F2P relaunch.
My latest character is a dwarven paladin – a somewhat unoriginal choice of character, race and name but I do love playing the paladin archetype. Dwarves in Telon, like everywhere else it seems are somewhat drink obsessive, since there are quests about recovering lost ale supplies and as a reward I’m given a silly amount of beer buff drink; that said I’m happy with the characterisation and models of the race in Vanguard.
The starter area is nicely realised as well, dramatic mountains and by default or by chance lots of snow falling as I ran around. I haven’t played paladin enough yet to know if I’ll love the class as much in this game as I do in say DDO, seems a good mix of melee damage skills, buffs and healing though. Vanguard certainly does a good job of making the classes feel unique to play from an early point though, all the classes I’ve played so far I’ve liked enough to want to level them at least till 10; it’s more a dilemma of limited play time and what priority order to give to them.
Although I really like the questing in Vanguard, with good solid writing and some very nice characterisation of the NPCs that engenders empathy in the reader (or at least in me), I have noticed the common enough tendency for conflicting agendas among quest-givers in the *same* area. MINOR QUEST SPOILERS FOLLOW:
One of the early quests in the dwarven area involves taking a baby spider to ‘train’ it against the invading kobolds. This is bad enough given my utter dislike of arachnids, but the plot-breaking quest was given by the next dwarf I met – yes I take a little spider with me and fight things to get it used to my company and to train it to dislike kobolds. But the next quest I encounter is to kill larger versions of the same spider species to obtain some venom samples. So I have junior helping out with some extermination, even patricide potentially, of course he doesn’t shirk from getting stuck in…
These particular specimens are pretty damn ugly, I’m glad it wasn’t late at night when I played through this quest chain. I’ve seen plot holes like this many times in many MMOs, I do wonder whether Storybricks or some other evolution of questing might actually break this tendency for conflicting orders. It’d be nice if the little spider ran away or refused to attack a big one; equally if we’re tasked with saving pigs in a different game by one NPC we shouldn’t get a reward if we follow another’s instructions to slaughter same pigs (e.g. from Keen, paragraph marked ‘the problem’).
I don’t have a screenshot of the little spider with me due to a rather annoying feature of Vanguard that I haven’t worked around yet. The default keybind for screenshot is ‘-’ (minus symbol), so while playing I happily hammer print screen to no effect, a binding which works in almost every other game (except Guild Wars if memory serves). I’ve tried binding print screen as the secondary key for this but it just doesn’t work, the game doesn’t override the default O/S behaviour of copying the screen to the copy buffer without saving it to a file. Not a huge deal but given that I play other games concurrently these little idiosyncrasies can be really annoying.
Despite these minor points I’m still very keen to see more of this starter area and of the paladin class in Vanguard. I really have enjoyed playing paladins in DDO and Rift (not so much in WoW sadly) as they represent interesting and versatile melee combatants with a good dose of healing/spells, so I hope Vanguard’s version is equally engaging to play!