I’ve gotten my ranger in Vanguard, Skip Skipperson, to level 17, and I’m glad to report that I still find him a blast to play.  Typically, I play casters in MMOs, but have never shied away from rolling archer toons, as they’re a good alternative (ranged DPS) class for the way I like to play.

I’ve played archers since Ultima Online, but I’m thinking the ranger class in Vanguard may be my favorite.  Groovy ranged and melee abilities, stealth similar to World of Warcraft‘s rogue class, and the ability to tame and control animals (albeit briefly), all make Vanguard‘s rangers pretty serious contenders.  In short, they get shit done.

“But how’s the current state of the game compared to when you played at launch”, you’re certainly not asking yourself.  Well, it’s tremendously better.  Technically the game is much improved, and I really like how they’ve added things to improve travel in the game’s HUGE world, like Pegasus mounts that can be rented by even low level toons, and “Riftways” for long-distance teleportation.

Fighting a dragon in Vanguard Saga of Heroes

Hopefully the population will pick up so I can actually have a chance at slaying such awesome beasts.

But all is not well, and while traveling around the Asian-inspired continent of Kojan (the only place I’ve been playing since I left “Newbie Isle”), I’ve noticed that the game wants to periodically freeze up for two-to-four seconds.  Of course, it’s hard to pinpoint precisely what’s causing this issue, so I’ll refrain from eRaging on the development team…but damn is it annoying.

The only other issue I’ve found to be a downer is that the game seriously needs a population boost.  While running around on the starter island, it was common to find other players in-game, but once let out into the vastness of Telon, coming across other players is alarmingly rare.  It kinda feels like you’re playing on a player-run server that no one else has access too.  I’m confident that the game going free-to-play this summer will give a much needed boost to the population, just like it did with Lord of the Rings Online, Age of Conan and many other post-World of Warcaft titles that had to throw in the towel and take on the “freemium” business model.

So, at this point I can still recommend playing Vanguard, and if you decide to give the free trial a spin, here’s a couple helpful reads for the new player:

  1. Vanguard Saga of Heroes – Starter Tips
  2. Things you wished everyone who played Vanguard knew about…