With MMOGs, one thing we like to say is 'Content is King'. There's nothing more challenging than filling a huge virtual world up with interesting content, points of interest, quests/missions, NPCs, etc.
We believe very strongly in a hand-crafted, interesting, immersive world, and this takes the artists, world builders, and designers a long time to make.
So, from our perspective, creating one vast world as opposed to a traditional 'shard' system just wouldn't be worth it... the content would be spread out way to thin and you'd probably just have repetitive terrain going on and on for hundreds of miles. An MMOG world should be interesting; in fact, it should be more interesting than the real world, with more fantastic views and settings, and more of them.
Currently, in order to provide enough interesting and compelling content, we think multiple game worlds or “shards” are the way to go.
Source: Official FAQ
I think there will be a demand for MMOGs that only use one shard at some point in the future. But I also think there will still be shards co-existing.
The main reason we have the shard now is that we simply don't have the budgets and time to build a single world with enough content. Eventually, in other words 'when' not 'if' this may change. If it does, I personally would like to work on a single shard game, despite many additional challenges such a game would present in addition to the technical and the content creation issues. - 29 November 2005
This is really one of those controversial issues where there's no point in us taking sides. There are lots of reasons why one character per server is good and also bad. We think the answer is to have this functionality part of the ruleset associated with the server, not the game.
Some team members prefer to play in a single character per server world for a variety of reasons (most especially so that you could have different factions/races/nationalities without players easily being able to play different sides, although a second account still gets around this).
But for others, that’s not true – some are willing to give up the flexibility of trying out all sorts of character combinations because they tend to fixate on one character. Others here at Sigil, however, LOVE to have multiple characters in the same world, to play one of them one day, then dabble with another combination the next. If you told them they had to do that on different worlds for each character, well, they'd not respond kindly.
So there's really no 'right' or 'wrong'... this is a preference, and preferences can generally be accommodated by varying the non-core rules on different servers.
Source: Official FAQ
There will be max per shard, but we're not releasing that yet. We are also toying with the idea that once a player has a character(s) above a certain level on a shard, additional slots open. This also is related to possible RP and other alternate rule set servers which only allow one per shard, race war servers that only allow a subset of races to be made per shard, etc. Lots of cool ideas, IMHO.
We plan on having single character servers. At this point, though, I can't say whether we'll have them at launch. I am a big proponent of them for RP servers, PvP racewar servers, etc. in addition to why you find them attractive.
That said, given the size and scope of Vanguard, its different continents, the different races, the myriad of classes, in general we encourage creating alts -- even to the degree of not really considering them 'alt's, but rather simply different characters you play in order to experience all that Vanguard will offer, which would be difficult with only one character. - January 2006
Source: Aradune Mithara
Will this server be available at launch?
I'd love to have it so, but I definitely can't promise that. Like I just posted, it depends on how many total servers we launch with. How many alternate ruleset servers you launch with depends first on how many servers you launch with period, and it's far too early to know that. - January 2006
We think an MMOG needs to choose a focus and stick to its guns... say cooperative PvE, ala EverQuest, or PvP, ala Shadowbane. BUT, we think a LOT can be done via alternate rules servers, including exploring PvP in an otherwise PvE game, RP servers, etc.
Before Brad McQuaid left Sony Online, one of the last things he worked on was Firiona Vie, the RP server, and we think it turned out pretty well (in fact, he leveled a Ranger there to 47). At Sigil and with our first MMOG, we plan on really pushing alternate ruleset servers to their limits.
Source: Official FAQ
Lastly, before stressing again that this is something we're going to test in beta, not something written in stone, I might also add that it could be something done with some of the servers and not all of them. If this is truly an issue that divides players in any siginficant way, alternate rule set servers are often the answer. I'm a big believer in them in general, for PvP, for RP, for all sorts of ideas. If you have a strong base that likes the core of your game but there are a few issues here and there that are controversial, where the community is perhaps split (not necessarily evenly, but to a meaningful extent), then altering the ruleset while still adhering to the core vision of the game is a good way to go in my experience. - 27 October 2005
Yes, and hopefully several variants. How many might be available at launch is up in the air at this point.
Source: Official FAQ
While PvP is very important to us, expect EQ-like PvP at first (though hopefully more balanced). Please don't take this as an indication that we don't feel it's important. It's really just a matter of how much time we have to finish the game. I would much rather keep improving PvP after-launch than rush it, or rush something else.
We're at a point now where we're more focused on what it will take to get this game out the door. We have to change from idealists to realists. I'm letting you guys know this to manage expectations -- I think it's the right thing to do.
We have a LOT of ideas for alternate ruleset servers, and not all of them are PvP related. We are architecting things such that implementing variations in the mechanics won't be too hard. So we have big plans, but we also have to draw a line somewhere and say 'this is good enough to ship -- Vanguard will be an awesome game at launch, but then become even more awesome'.
Source: Aradune Mithara
You can definitely hope for PvP in Vanguard, because it's in the plan, as alternate ruleset server(s). Some players want more of a challenge. They want to be victorious against another player, and they want to be defeated too. How else to learn and get better? While Vanguard's focus is PvE, we have not forgotten PvP. I think we will launch with some cool stuff that will then evolve over time into some really amazing enviornments and challenges. And the ideas won't just evolve, they can fork into different servers as the game grows, again with varying rule sets and ideas. - 27 October 2005
Source: Aradune Mithara
I think people will like the PvP as we're definitely going to take it a lot farther than, say, EQ. But Vanguard is still primarily a PvE game, so for the person looking for the next Shadowbane or some such, they may or may not be satisfied with Vanguard. When we're ready to announce how our PvP system works (other than to say it's cool and will be on PvP servers), we'll look forward to your feedback. - 27 November 2005
Yes, at least one. How many alternate ruleset servers we launch with will depend on how many people we estimate to be playing Vanguard right away, which will depend on demand, initial sell-in, and other factors. - January 14, 2006
There will definitely be PvE servers with alternate rule sets. Some sets might be perceived as more 'RP' than others, but because people have different definitions of what 'RP' means, we will likely label these server types with more specific names.
We're implementing. One of our goals for Vanguard was, from inception, to appeal to several specific types of players, including those who count on the world to be immersive enough to support and enhance their role-play experience.
I also don't think that an M rating would keep away the people some of the posters in this thread don't want to see in the game anyway. People of all ages are going to play the game regardless. Annoying jerks are going to be in the game no matter what, and we will do our best to deal with them from a CS standpoint and with game mechanics that will hopefully curb unacceptable behaviour.
Lastly, as I've posted in the past, I don't think it's accurate to pin bad behaivor on an age range. There are great players out there whether they are 12 or 60 years old, and there are jerks out there whether they are 12 or 60 years old too. - October 2005
This issue is a little more complicated than it would appear at first. The technology limitation is a bit of a misnomer. We have two things we're really talking about.
First, if you allow every English speaking person, regardless of location, to play on every single English speaking server -- then this is the problem that it creates: You patch the US servers first, and then 8 hours later, patch the UK servers. What happens to the person running v1.0 in the UK that logs into a server running v2.0? There's some ways to bypass this, but it is an issue. So it's a trade-off.
If we wanted to have separate patching schedules, which is theoretically possible, we could segregate UK servers from US servers and your account is only able to access one.. but most people don't want that and it doesn't adhere to our Vision of the community.
That being said, we really want to make sure that the impact of patching or downtime is as minimal to as many people as possible, and we're going to work toward that.
Localized Servers on seperate patching schedules isn't as easy as it sounds, and it complicates the issue of patching and server execs by a factor that adds in many more things that can go wrong.
There's a customer support issue here, load to Tech Support, Operations overhead.. and the increased complication of adding all of these things together that allows for many more potential fault points -- places that things can go wrong.
All in all, please be assured that it is something of which we are ever aware and we'll do what we can to minimize the effect on all international players. -April 2005
Also, after my tenure as Game Operations Manager at SOE, I have been working on a few new tricks to minimize downtime across the board. I hate long patch windows as much as the players do. Rest assured, one of my main focuses going forward is reducing the downtime and refining the patching process. -April 2005