It seems the people on Isle of Dawn are being harassed by mutated hobgoblins. Who better to help out than a_nameless_hero_438, aka you, the player. First I was asked to rescue some people from a town that’s being raided and burned by hobgoblins with fire imps and explosive magic, then I get to close four of their portals. Yes, this isn’t much better than a fetch quest and it’s probably not on par with Guild Wars 2’s super-interactive environments, but it’s an improvement over EverQuest 1 and more fun than the kill-ten-rats boogie.
Once I did all that, I am sent directly to some cave where hogboblins seem to dwell and do hobgobliny things. Here’s us (the pet wandered out of the shot) watching the watchers:
Ah hah. At first I was scared, thinking these guys have EverQuest aggro radius. It turns out they’re not too bright, and you can sneak by the side of the cave so the only ones you have to fight are the ones right at the entrance. And in I went:
A beautiful feature in Vanguard is that there was no portal to walk through, no loading screen, nothing to break my immersion when entering the dungeon. I just seamlessly entered, the sunlight was blocked out and I could almost smell the green fumes from further down the cave.
Also, no instances. This one instance of the dungeon is all you get, and you have to share it with everyone else on the server. People who started playing MMORPGs with WoW or later might find this strange, but I think this is the way it should be. Instancing does solve some problems, like people camping the same mob or dungeon for weeks, but it also takes away a lot of atmosphere. Why should everyone split off into instances just because they enter a dungeon? Why shouldn’t others be entering ahead of you, behind you? Why should every dungeon play like a map in an FPS game, shared only between a handful of players?
The open-world, non-instanced dungeon system is the same as in EverQuest, and I love it. I can see people run in, run out, I can randomly pick up a group, I can shout through the dungeon to see if there’s already someone inside and if they’ve painted themselves into a corner, my group and I can fight our way in and help. Hilarity ensues, everyone has a great time, it feels like a proper multiplayer game.
And thus it happened that I died.
I was doing quite well against people like this guy:
But then a group of those swapped from my pet to me because I was healing the pet a bit too much (heal aggro! Hard to master):
I don’t quite understand Vanguard’s death penalties yet, but it didn’t feel like I had lost too much of anything, so I went straight back to the dungeon. And that’s where the whole group and open dungeon thing came into play: I noticed another person running towards the dungeon, and to keep the story short, we grouped and went in there together.
Half an hour later, we had fought our way all the way down the dungeon, picked up a quest from a ghost, finished that quest and fought our way back out again. Awesome!
Here’s some of that dual-necro action:
And next time, I’ll try to group with someone who’s not also a necro. Plus, some words about necro spells. Soon!