You Have Learned: Destroy Everything.

Last year at Fan Faire, Vanguard players got a chance to watch movies made by Lenny “Tiraslee” Gullo, which gave us a sneak peak at things to come in Vanguard.

This year, things took a different turn.  Tiraslee was without his nicely edited movies.  Instead, he sat next to Lead Developer and recently promoted Producer, Salim “Silius” Grant, who let us see the up and coming for Vanguard directly from the game's Test Server.

In the A Look Into the Future of Vanguard panel, a packed conference room got a chance to be walked through what is on the horizon for Vanguard.

What is that horizon? Pantheon Part B (PotA-B), AAs, new dungeons, new loot and new overland raid bosses.

First, there are three major new dungeons on the horizon.  The first of those being the second part of Pantheon of the Ancients, PotA-B.  This is where the Ancients themselves were slaughtered and sealed in by the Gods, built by Artera.  This was her first pantheon to build. 

Within PotA-B, there are six main points representing the six near god like warriors created by Artera, these warriors who in turn destroyed PotA-B after they went insane post-cataclysm.  This dungeon will feature no trash mobs, but your raid will need to clear initially non-aggro bosses, which you can even talk to, in order.  Without successfully clearing the first five, you will not be able to take down the main boss of the dungeon.  Due to the nature of this dungeon, the development team is currently looking into a short lockout timer.  Exact time is still to be determined.  Completing this story will lead you into the storyline of the Nexus, which will dwarf APW to the size of a closet rather than the warehouse it is.

Silius also talked about Stirhaad and Pankor Zhi, but no where near the detail of PotA-B.  These dungeons have been in development since last year's Fan Faire, due to limited resources.  Of these two dungeons on the horizon, Silius says, “I'd love to see one of these two new dungeons out by Christmas.”  In fact, he'd love to have them both out, but in stating that “Vanguard will be Vanguard,” it is a fight of what they want versus what they can do in a reasonable amount of time.  Veteran MMO players rejoice, though, as Stirhaad promises to be an old EQ-style dungeon crawl, with little questing involved.

Another sneak peak showed us class epics.  The Ancients were an intelligent race with very few fighters.  The 15 greatest fighters each have an epic based on them, each with its own unique storyline.  There are also group and raid versions of each.  Fighting in Pantheon of the Ancients part A, you will have the chance to obtain your Soul Prism group version.  They are called Soul Prisms because you attune your soul with the fighter the epic is based on.  By adventuring into PotA-B, you will be rewarded with your Shattered Soul Prism version.  Visually, the difference between the two will be particles.  Each model is stunning, 13 of the 15 designed by talented artist Chris Atkins.

Epics will allow you more freedom with your character.  For example, the Paladin epic will switch between sword and board or two-hander.  Due to design, the two-hand version has the shield wielded to it, allowing the Paladin access to shield based abilities while even using a two-handed sword.

Taking this a step further, each player with an epic can continue to take their epic with them throughout their time in Vanguard, even if a better weapon or focus is put into game in the future.  This is due to Vanguard's enhancement system.  This will allow you to equip another weapon, but with enhancing it, you can keep your epic's look and stats.  All epics are enhancements which go into Soul Slots.  All tier three Pantheon and better items will have Soul Slots.  With this system, you can take your epic stats with you, giving you extra stats on what you have.  In Silius' words, there is “no reason not to” with the way they have created the epics.

Silius and Tiraslee also showed us a new overland raid boss, Sparkles the Stranded, a roaming mob.  When you approach this sad little turtle, he has a quest for you, “Delectable Dragon Deliciousness.”  He wants you to bring him a Lesser Dragon Meat, which by the time you get it back to him, it's rotten.  This makes Sparkles very, very angry.  Our tiny, sad friend turns into a giant beast renamed Sparkles the Irritated.  It should be noted it's mostly his bowels which are extremely irritated.  One of his special attacks is when this irritation gets the best of him, he drops neon green poo which explodes and covers you in Waste Covered Parasites.  Another special attack, Topsy-Turvy, turns the inflicted's screen in reverse.

Near the end, we got to see two new flying mounts, the “I finished Pantheon” reward, according to Silius.  The Nightmare of Chaos is a flaming winged black horse, fire trailing behind it while you explore Telon.  The other side may obtain the Pegacorn of Order, a white winged horse.  Instead of flames, this one trails rainbows.

It's obvious that the development team for Vanguard has a great sense of humor, which they carry over into their game.  During the panel, Silius was asked about factions such as the KDQ versus immersion players.  With tactful candor, Silius replied, “if you hit me with a real life sword, I'm going down.”

He also gave us a run down of what players will hopefully see between this Fan Faire and the next.  Extended banks are on the horizon, with the bonus of allowing players to access any continent's bank from any banker.  It sounds like they plan to have tabs rather than a purely combined system.  With new crafting content, there will also be larger house boxes.  A player asked about Station Voice, which might not happen.  “We'll have to see,” Silius told us, but it is ending up being more work than what they have resources for.

“Vanguard will probably never have a shelf expansion,” Silius informs us, but that does not mean lack of content.  AAs are the number one system for them to work on.  They're still working on the fine points, so not a lot was said on this system.  In addition to AAs, the devs want to come up with new ways for players to progress the three tiers.  More informative tool tips are on the horizon, as part of the mouse over character sheet function.  Players will be able to see what their crit rating, accuracy, etc. are, without the use of spreadsheets, mutli-function calculators and the like.  Players can also look forward to the new dungeons, finishing the Kamelot, Pantheon and Giant stories and even a new Veteran Reward, due to go live within the next week or two.  This reward features a win-back reward, an illusion which will turn players into dreaded Etter Caps.

What is out there for the Ulvari, scheming Gnomes, Ancient warriors and rainbow trailing Pegacorns?  Only the world of Telon can answer that for you.

Patsy "Vendolyn" Anderson can be found across the lands of two Norraths, Telon and Arteria.


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