I had the opportunity to go to FF this past weekend. It was a whirlwind weekend of way too much to do, way too much alcohol and way too much clothing. In the midst of all that, I did make it to a Vanguard panel, and took some notes on what they said, and the questions that were asked. Some of this may be redundant to what you've already read, and for that, I blame Labyrrinth.
This is from the Vanguard State of the Game panel.
The people at Sigil that were working on the game, also had to contend with a number of other buisiness related issues (e.g., making payroll next week.) With SOE buying them, they no longer have to worry about any of those issues, and can now concentrate on making the game.
Many CTD issues (I wrote down about 1/2) are fixed, and they are continuing to work on the rest.
The Item Preview window is currently in QA.
Update 2 (LU2) will be on test for about another week, and then it will go live (assuming no major issues found of course.)
In case you were wondering why merges have not happened yet, well it's because LU2 has some fixes that they need to get in place for the merges. The merge will be a week or so after the update goes live.
Internal tools are being developed and fixed. These allow the devopers to get content out to us much faster and with less bugs (and the devs love them.)
Performance and optimization is the programming department's main goal going forward. This is a massive game with a capital "MASSIVE", so it will take some time. However, LU2 should help reduce hitching.
Trial island will be a free download. It has something like 20-60% better performance than existing areas. Art will be using these techniques in older areas to help improve performance. Design is working on creating fun and engaging gameplay on the trial island, that will encourage players to try out all three spheres.
Raid content is coming. Ancient Port Warehouse (APW) is going live in LU2. The entry section will have shallow loot tables, but they will get better as you go deeper. There will also be many overland raid mobs to search out and conquer. (Maybe as soon as LU3. Could be 24 man, my notes are not clear here.)
Back to APW. . . Each section should last 1.5-2 hours, but there will be multiple sections (so you can raid for 6 hours if you wanted to.)
Content: They are working on bringing Adventure/Crafting/Diplomacy up to a more consistant standard, and there will be better sphere interdependence in the future.
Lore will become more cohesive and apparant to the player. John "Zahariel" Hagner (sorry if I got the name wrong . . . notes again) has begun communicating some of that lore to the players. The Devs want to tell the story of Vanguard. Previously, the primary way the lore was discovered was through diplomacy. Speaking of diplomacy, they will be adding in little gnomish commanders that sneak around and you can parlay with.
There is a giant backlog of features they want to add, but the main focus is getting the core of the game fixed first.
When enough of the "future feature" items are added, the game will be "relaunched." It's a marketing push, and no, you will not be wiped.
They emphasized this: "We are extremely committed to the future of Vanguard."
I think this is where the presentation ended and the questions began.
The ability to save Diplomacy decks is on the list for things to do.
Raid instances. . . not planned (just in case that's not clear. Raids are planned, instances are not.)
Lockout timers for raids will be per individual.
People should (and do) actively report bugs, providing as much information as possible. < author's note: bug reports go to QA for verification and to document the steps to reproduce them. Then they are assigned to the appropriate dev to be fixed. So providing as much detail as possible in your bug report helps them get it fixed faster. >
SPAM FILTERS ARE COMING SOON!!! Possibly in the # of /tells or mails you can send. Using something similar to EQ2. As soon as it's ready, it's getting pushed out.
They did note that the free trial keys are almost used up, so that will help reduce spam. The new keys will be for the free trial island and players will not have the ability to send you tells from them.
Kojan higher level content: no plans to add at this time. They need to focus on other areas first. However, they may consider adding overland raid targets.
They will look at the broker limit (I suggested that anything over the limit get diverted to my character, but they didn't seem to thrilled with that idea.
Inventory issues: Player housing and guild halls are generally the places to put thhings. However, they will consider increasing the inventory and/or bank space.
Transition from Trial Isle to Main Game: This has not been worked out yet, but you will keep your levels from the trial island.
BOP/BOE: They will look at adventure items and ensure that they are sellable. The only non-sellable items should be quest items (and possibly raids items, notes are spurious again.)
Someone asked about the population. They don't give out the population numbers, but it is lower than they wanted. Interesting note is that they are still selling boxes of the game.
They want to make it so you can go through the game several times and each time, experience a different game.
Hacks and Warps: they are working on things to help out with that, but they wouldn't go into more details (for obvious reasons.)
Diplomacy quests: They will look at making them scale better. This was my question. Get frustrated when you start a long quest and the 2nd NPC you have to parlay with requires a presence of like 50.
Interdependence between spheres: Making it so the 3 spheres interact with each other. For example, a quest is enhanced or perhaps has a short cut if you have a diplomat with you.
OK, that's all I wrote down. Hopefully, you found something out that you didn't already know.
EDIT: I did a few edits to fix typos and a couple changes to make the wording flow better.