Yet another MMORPG has joined the ever increasing ranks of games that have gone free to play over the last few months. Titles like ‘Star Wars: The Old Republic’ have been forced to switch to the format in order to attract old and new subscribers again after less than stellar starts. In this case, its Sony Online Entertainment’s 2007 offering for the PC, ‘Vanguard: Saga of Heroes’. The company recently announced that from now on ‘Vanguard’ will be a free to play videogame, with the standard option to upgrade to a paid membership for extra benefits.
From now on, old and new players alike have two options of play once they own a copy of the game. Choosing the ‘free’ option exempts the player from any extra fees, but also restricts them to six races (out of the full 19), four character slots and a limited quest count of 15. For $14.99 per month, the ‘Gold’ membership allows full access to what ‘Vanguard’ has to offer. This includes 12 character slots, a quest count of 50, access to Caravans, Brotherhoods and Housing along with the ability to create Guilds. The full support from customer service is also only available to the paid subscriber, with just the knowledge base available for free users unless it’s related to real money transaction issues. The full table of differences between the two subscription services can be read here: http://www.vanguardthegame.com/free.vm
Sony Online Entertainment has a long history in the MMO market, having been responsible for the critically acclaimed series ‘Everquest’, ‘Star Wars Galaxies’ and MMOFPS ‘PlanetSide’. In a recently published press release, the President of Sony Online Entertainment, John Smedley, stated:
“SOE recognized the successful evolution of free-to-play online gaming early on and we were one of the first publishers to truly embrace the business model. We have a long history of providing rich and compelling content to our online worlds through the free-to-play model, and with Vanguard‘s transition, we continue that legacy with one of our most popular titles.”
These sentiments were shared by SOE’s Director of Development, Andy Sites who said:
“Moving to a free-to-play model allows the opportunity to expand the Vanguard universe by adding and tailoring content to appeal to all types of players.”
To read the press release, go to: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/vanguard-saga-of-heroes-is-now-free-to-play-166134226.html
‘Vanguard: Saga of Heroes’ has been around for 5 years but hasn’t had a particularly great or promising history. When launched back in 2007, the game gained reasonably positive reviews but was overtly buggy, had a lack of content and has generally been considered to be a rush release before it had been completed by SOE. Sales reached around a quarter of a million copies, with paid subscriber numbers at the 130,000 mark. This figure steadily decreased while in 2010 several servers were merged so only two remained in operation. GameSpy gave ‘Vanguard’ the unwanted award for ‘Biggest Disappointment’ of 2007 citing the major bugs throughout while adding: “the game was released early for “financial reasons” which forced early adopters of Vanguard to pay for what was essentially an early beta test.”