It was a day when I had been playing another FPS game released on the market with a friend, when he told me he had been beta-testing a game called Vanguard and if I'd like, I could join him at the release day and play with his guild for some Team PVP fun. After I finally got around to buying the Collector's Edition for 69 bucks, I got 3 free months (along with an existing subscription), afew goodies like a soundtrack cd and a world map in a common textile material. Once I got started on the game (this was a few days after release-date), I was kind of lost. I didn't enjoy the beginnings of it, being a fairly unexperienced MMO player in my life, but as I learned more and more about it, I really liked the outcome of buying this game.
The world is pretty damn huge, and all of it is done in a very realistic matter (in opposition to World of Warcraft). The graphics are fairly decent, but if you have a computer that's good enough, you won't have a problem resting your eyes on the graphics! I myself am having trouble playing the game at higher graphics (salary + computer costs = negative value), so it can sometimes be a bugger to know that this game really has an intensive amount of graphical layers, and even more makes you wonder when you're raiding enemy territory with 6-10 buddies and the spikelag starts appearing. The server's connection aren't the best to be honest. I ping amount 150ms on the european Team PVP server and I'd say it's abit far up evne though you don't notice it too much.
So what's the deal with the game? Well, as other MMO's, you can concentrate on Crafting (which offers different sub-trees for material like harvesting skin/wood/plants, you get the drift), Diplomacy, and Adventuring. Honestly I haven't tried Diplomacy yet, but I do know it's a card game which isn't too popular among the hardcore players. Crafting is decent too, it offers varying tasks in different professions; Outfitting, Blacksmithing and Artificing. I won't go into details about these things, but I'm sure you get the opinion of how they offer a good variety from adventuring, which is just about questing and slaying monsters.
When it comes to classes and races there are more than plenty. For example being a healer definitely doesn't mean you will kick ass. Being able to cast tons of buffs while other classes barely has one buff for self cast is a major difference, and healing abilities offer not just one more strategy, especially when you're in a guild where people really need your skills to make successful raids.
Tank races don't seem to be too good in gameplaying apart from their obvious task, being tanks. If you ask me, tanks can be quite boring to use with grinding (killing monsters at the same spot for a long time in order to level), while classes like the Sorcerer can use their Area of Effect spells to kick 5 different monster arse at once. Don't worry though, a sorcerer is truly a weakass in combat and if someone can reach to them, they'll be dead after afew seconds. After what I've said here, you should know that all classes offer different in-game climates, and I'm the kind of person who'd have some wicked-ass spells for the price of being a paperdoll in combat.
I must also mention that I think many people have under-estimated this game and judged it by the bugs and such. If you ask me, I think this game has both catched up in player-amount ("hardly seeing any other player" my ass), and seems to be living up to my expectations in more than one way of being a great game for not just a week. If you do not like this game, you might just not like it because it takes abit more to level-up compared to WoW, and the realistic graphics of the game might be sucking up too much of your computer to be able to play at a decent fps. And for those of you guys who think WoW used to be better when everyone was still leveling to level 60 (70 now), this game at the current state of it is exactly what you'd prefer.
I grade this game a B due to the bugs and premature release of the game, but the reason it didn't get a lower grade is that most of the time I really enjoy playing this game, sometimes even when I'm grinding. If you want to have a go at the game, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I might just have a 10-day buddy key left for you. The actual game can be downloaded at www.joinvanguard.com/install!
PS: Sorry for not including pictures but I'm sitting at a public computer as I am writing this review. I think the official review of Vanguard is really unmotivated and should not include the opinion of that he has played too many fantasy games including World of Warcraft in a way that makes this game look bad. I haven't played WoW, but my friends are telling me they think this game is better than WoW, which proves that this game isn't just an addition to the pile of games trying to be like WoW. ;)