During the first few weeks of retail, I was incredibly frustrated with V:SOH. I had bought an upgraded video card (went to an AGP NVidia 7600 w/512), but that was all I intended to do, and it was still a laggy mess. Then, through no fault at all of Vanguard's of course, my motherboard crapped out.
It took several weeks to overhaul my system and I went ahead and made a few leaps forward in tech. (Finally migrated to a PCI-E video card, for instance.) My system is by no means "tricked out" - I'd say that it is now running pretty standard mid-range gaming hardware - but it is now all "up to date". Between the newer hardware and the work the team has clearly done, V:SOH has been almost glitch-less since I started playing again this weekend. I don't know how much is the result of the dev team really cleaning house over the last several weeks and how much has to do with my upgrades, but... yippee.
My re-starting experience has been nothing like my starting experience. I'm not frustrated, I'm not running into bugged quests (although, admittedly, I'm only four days back), and I'm not running into angry players griping about things every time I go into town!
I hope that SOE does a big marketing push a few months from now. Having taken a break and come back, I can see how quickly things are getting better and can only imagine that people who first experience V:SOH six months from now will be just flat-out awed. (How you feel about the fact that the awe will take some months to deliver is up to you... I'm okay with it, don't really care whether you are or not, that isn't what this post is about.)