Vanguard Game Update #1

Didn’t Lineage 2 use some version of the Unreal engine?

Can you? If there were five hundred people dancing on the bridge in IF the whole server would grind to a halt. I seem to remember on a GF4400 (which was I guess mid to low end of the spectrum at the time WoW launched) IF crawled at less than 15 FPS during such situations.

For the graphics, I think.

No, I’m just illustrating that WoW players have fuzzy memory when it comes to their vaunted game of choice. When the game first came out it had huge problems. Maybe you were playing on a $5,000 machine at the time and on a server with a very low population, but not everyone was so fortunate. Shit, the great gnome uprising crashed the server months and months later so it’s not like they fixed “after 3 days” some of their server population issues.

Edit: I’m not really trying to defend Vanguard, but I think people should just be mindful that all MMOs have had very rough starts. EQ2 had big performance problems when it launched as well. DAOC still runs like a dog even today.

I can’t tell if you’re talking about graphics performance or server performance. $5,000 machines help with one, low-pop servers help with the other.

At launch, WoW played at a perfectly acceptable framerate on my aging PowerBook with mediocre graphics hardware. Ironforge lagged a fair bit, but it was playable.

At launch, on Argent Dawn–one of the higher-population servers–lag was a persistent problem. However, the game was playable most of the time. Raids and large-scale PvP may have had problems, but day-to-day questing was generally fine.

I wouldn’t hold WoW up as an example of a perfect launch in terms of server performance. There were definitely problems, although I think you’re overstating them. WoW’s graphics, however, performed superbly right from the start, even on aging hardware. Vanguard’s…don’t.

PC gamers can’t really deal with the idea that a game could be designed for tomorrow’s PC; for an MMO, it’s not an entirely unreasonable idea,

You mean you actually buy in to that line of bullshit? EQ2 tried to pull that line and the game still runs like a pig. The problem with building for tomorrow’s PC is that well tomorrow’s PC doesnt actually exsist which lets you make wild claims and blow off the fact that your graphic engine actually just sucks.

though it might be smarter of the company to actually limit the graphic options at launch and then enable higher-end ones at a later date.


Yes, maybe in questing. Not in IF, where hundreds of people congregated to show off their e-peen raid armor, run horses around, and summon infernals a week after the game’s release. In such a case walking between the bank and the auction house was about 12-18FPS at best at 1280x1024 (19" monitor resolution) on a P4 2.8Ghz, GF4400, and 1GB of PC3200. Maybe you were playing at 800x600 on your Powerbook with the details dialed down?

Regardless, Vanguard during the beta ran about the same framerate in small towns on a FX-52, 1GB of RAM, and a 7900GTO. I can imagine that in big cities it would be a slide-show.

The only people who know what’s coming out are those on architecture boards like Carmack is for both ATI (now AMD) and Nvidia. That’s why his games actually work at some basic level of framerate for current hardware and you can dial them up to drool-inducing glory on future hardware.


Too bad it’s still pig slow. I’m convinced that games built on NetImmerse/GameBryo are doomed to horrid framerates.

I can’t tell if you’re talking about graphics performance or server performance. $5,000 machines help with one, low-pop servers help with the other.

I think perhaps Kunikos’s point is that if the framerate slows to a crawl, it looks the same to the player whether it is because of a system-hog engine or a laggy server. My experience of WoW is the same as, I suspect, many others’. It runs smoothly most of the time, except moments of heavy chop in IF/Org (particularly when first entering) and slide-show-city on some of the old World PvP raids. I am also finding Shattrath City pretty choppy these days. (My box was built to play Half-Life 2 in 2004 so it was fairly state of the art when WoW came out.)

I don’t think my WoW chop has ever been a purely graphical/polygon count issue, though I might get some of that slowdown when at a high altitude in Outlands.

I had a 6800 and I never had an problems with framerate. EQ2 on the other hand ran like shit.

WoW’s a memory hog (like all MMOs it seems,) and the more characters it has to render the more RAM it eats, which is why major cities are subject to poorer performance than wilderness areas and towns. That’s not an engine design issue so much as it is a limit of having to deal with a wide range of resource demands. It also needs a lot more information from the server in a highly populated area, so that creates additional server strain and more bandwidth usage (though I’d guess that in reality bandwidth isn’t a meaningful concern.)

In general the WoW client is a champ, and has been since release. It can’t magically give your computer more memory to work with, though.

Yes, in the single most graphically-intensive place in the entire game–a place where there are no enemies to fight and where people only go in between sessions of actually playing the game–the framerate got pretty bad. Not unplayably bad, but pretty bad.

As opposed to Vanguard, where the framerate is that bad just standing in an unpopulated newbie yard. After cranking down the graphical sliders to “ass ugly”. I shudder to think what Vanguard’s equivalent of Ironforge feels like.

I don’t want to get in the way of a dude’s hyperbole when he’s grinding his axe, but that’s patently untrue.

I know it’s pretty fashionable to bash Vanguard, and the engine certainly needs work. But I can attest that it’s capable of looking good and running smoothly enough on decent hardware. If you want to hate the game, there are plenty of legitimate reasons that don’t involve just making up things.


Your experience is pretty different from mine, then. I had the visuals next to maxed at 1280 and still got about 15-20 FPS running around extremely detailed forests, chopping down trees for logging. If I dialed it down a bit here and there and changed the resolution to 1024, it wasn’t any faster though (oddly enough). Framerate didn’t really chug too badly in the noob town with other players running around with pets and whatnot, but it did lag every so often for quest turn-ins and talking to shopkeeps. I didn’t get to experience a very big city, but the end of the beta test they handed out free griffon mounts to players and teleported players to the location where the vendor was. It was very laggy and fairly choppy because there were hundreds of players, most of which were instant KoS to the guards because of their faction, and then the devs had a laugh by dropping scores of giant frogs out of the sky on the town. Once on the griffin and flying about int he sky the framerate wasn’t too bad, despite the huge draw distance and water effects of the port city.

The game’s engine needs tuning and also I was playing under Windows Vista where the Nvidia drivers are still pretty poor compared to the mature XP drivers.

If you want to complain about something how about how the animations drop sequence frames during low frame rate or lag and can look a little wonky at times.

Honestly, the game isn’t that great but I think Tom is spot on about it being fashionable to hate anything that Brad is involved in.

It appears that VG won’t be “hardcore” for long. With regards to the xp grind, it really isn’t that bad since you can quest all the way to 50 (yes even solo quests). In just one month there are already many people in level 40-50 range. I also see no reason why a casual player won’t be able to cap out in this game.

Looks like teleportation is happening soon. Quote from Brad:

Teleportation Systems

We’re looking into adding some teleportation. We don’t want to over do it and we want travel to still be meaningful, but as the game has become live, it has become apparent that some overland teleporation is necessary like you said for community building and keeping groups together and being able to travel long distances more quickly so you can get together with friends. Horses and other vehicles will remain important, but it is becoming clear that at times teleportation is appropriate. We’ll then get the best of both worlds – you’ll be able to more quickly traverse long distances, but at the same time exploration will remain key and we keep the ability to add new content to the existing world.

To my knowledge, nothing is set in stone yet and there are still meetings figuring out the details. My preference is that they are not class based, but rather fixed locations (that we can move if necessary) that allow for teleportation. But again, that’s just my preference. This is and always has been a team effort. The issue of teleportation should be determined fairly quickly and devs who play the game far more than me will weigh in as well and I’m sure we’ll come up with some good solutions that, as I mentioned, help community building, help people find groups more easily, but still maintain a large world with meaningful travel. I don’t think they are mutually exclusive and if you look up some of my old posts from very early beta, the fact that we might need some overland teleportation was always a plan B – we just needed to get the game out so we could have a better and more clear idea of what is necessary so we don’t go too far (nor not far enough). With any changes or additions like this you want to make sure the pendulum doesn’t swing from one side to the other by over compensating for a problem.

But I don’t hate anything that Brad is involved in. I’ve got a fair degree of respect for the man. I was tentatively hopeful about Vanguard ever since I first heard about it, and I generally like what I hear about the gameplay. The main reason I’m not playing it is that I simply don’t have the time.

The graphics, however, are terrible. If Vanguard looked better than everything else out there, I’d give them a pass on performance; top-notch graphics features require top-notch hardware, after all. That’s not the case, however. Far Cry, for example, both looks and performs better than anything that I saw in Vanguard in my (admittedly short) trial.

Vanguard screenshots (from IGN):


(From the official Far Cry site)

I won’t deny that FarCry scales better on lower end hardware though, but to be fair it doesn’t exactly render a whole lot of characters on screen at once nor do the textures or lighting effects come even close. Not to mention there are about 1/100th the number of polygons per object/character.

If it looks better at 1/100th the polygons, then it still looks better. You might consider that a major positive, saying that a game with far fewer polygons looks better then one with far more.

Compare any Far Cry shot showing jungle-covered mountains in the distance with any equivalent distance shot from Vanguard. Far Cry looks better. Close-up model detail isn’t as interesting in an MMO where you spend most of your time with the camera pulled back to see your surroundings.

And if we’re going to talk about lighting, Far Cry has excellent shadow effects which don’t need to be turned off to get an acceptable framerate.

Vanguard has many things going for it. The graphics engine isn’t one of them.

Far Cry doesn’t have to worry about rendering the player at all except for his hands and weapon(s), and IIRC there is no third person vehicle driving either. And I’m saying it’s subjective to some extent whether you think Vanguard “looks worse” than Far Cry. Frankly I think some of the distance stuff in Vanguard suffers because the world designers just didn’t bother to populate half the planet with trees, whereas Far Cry is a dense jungle island.

I still think that Tom is right that on a good system Vanguard looks great and isn’t as slow as you’d like people to believe.

I’d really like to get another person who is actually playing the game to chime in here, instead of one or two people who played the beta for a few hours.

I’ve never played the beta. I play the full game :)

Clip range, folks! Drop it down if it’s slow, and you can increase most of the rest,
depending on your generation of graphics card.

Yeah, that’s unsurprisingly the same trick to get WoW framerates up. :)

Try flying from Darnassus into Auberdine with all your distances maxed out and the amount of trees you can see can really crush an average video card.