Sunday, April 1, 2012

Randolph Gets The Boot: Vanguard

The ineffably and appositely named Boots Randolph's signature tune would have made a fine backing track as I tramped up the ramp to New Targonor over and over this morning. Did you ever notice how long that thing is? Or how confusing the entrances to Ahgram are, never mind the maze of streets once you get inside?

Faster than a speeding camel...
I was on foot (or camel) because Vanguard is off life-support. Long ago, when the Vanguard dev team was down to two men and a dog and the dog was only part-time, Randolph the Thematically Inappropriate Reindeer became untethered from Glorian,Telon's version of Christmas (don't worry, I had to look it up) and became flyable all year round. Well, who knew how long Vanguard had left? Glorian might never come again.

But it did. Against any sane odds Vanguard clung on and now here we are looking at a future filled with Glorians-to-Come. In preparation for the once-thought impossible conversion to Free To Play, the dev team has "quadrupled". I think that means there are four of them. Anyway, it's wonderful news for everyone.

Except Randolph.They took away his magic dust. Randolph's hooves don't sparkle any more. More importantly, he doesn't fly. Not on April Fools Day (no Telonian equivalent, as far as I know). Not at Easter (ditto). Next December, for one month only, he'll take to the air. Until then it's shanks's pony. Or any pony. Just don't try to ride into town on a reindeer because this one doesn't only not fly, he doesn't even move. I think that's a bug. Nice to see some things in Vanguard never change.

The road goes ever on
I'm not as annoyed about Randolph's demise as I was when I replied to Ardwulf first thing today. Randolph was never meant to last all year and he does look pretty daft. Still, I think that they could have waited until the purported level 20 flying mount quest is in before removing him. It seems petty to do it this way round.

Let's not focus on the negatives, though. Randolph wasn't the only contentious freebie niggling away at some veterans' sense of justice. His presence rankled but so did the absence of the Bracelet of Lucky Charms from any character made before the Isle of Dawn tutorial appeared. All the way to fifty it's a best-in-slot item that you get for completing the main quest-lines on the starter island. It upgrades automatically every ten levels so that you never outgrow it until you hit the post-50 end game, when you can go for the grown-up version, the Kamelot Crystal Cog.

If you made your character before the Isle of Dawn existed, or if you decided to start in one of Vanguard's many very excellent racial starting villages, this must-have was a can't-get. Until now. If you're paying and playing today, there's a Bracelet of Lucky Charms waiting for each and every one of your characters (although I think you might have to get to Level 10. My level 8 Goblin just got a blank look). Which is why a procession of rakis, orcs, goblins and even humans from Team Bhagpuss were trundling up that ramp.

Fox included for scale
Along with the Bracelet they all picked up a title (The Loyal) and a foot-high banshee companion pet called an Ancient of Telon. I also took the trouble to grab the massive 88-slot Gatherer's Sack Of Collectables for everyone who didn't already have one. Get it while you can, I say. It's meant to be for the Mekalian Extravaganza of Science and Technology, which is only supposed to last a few weeks. The MEST Fair's been running non-stop for several years but how much longer will that be allowed to go on?

Beware, gnomes. First they came for Randolph...


  1. I grabbed one of those bags too, hehe. Glad I didn't bother subbing just to get that mount over the Christmas holiday. I do hope they implement the lvl 20 flying mount quest before long, the others are really hard or require lots of faction but on top of that tons of plat coins. Something like 350 for the Pegasus and 18,000 faction, ugh!

    I plan on writing a post about being back but thus far I'm really lovin' it, I couldn't resist grabbin' those rewards ;) I skipped the isle with my newest character, I just got a bit sick of it, so the charm was nice- but yeah I had to wait until ten to be able to obtain it.

  2. Hmm, I was planning to wait until I'd finished essay writing before starting Vanguard. I managed to buy it bargain price on Amazon a few weeks ago.

    Trouble is I'll be missing out on some of the 'vet' rewards if I don't get in game now and start leveling...


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