Note: This was after my limited appearance at this years FanFaire, just some notes I took and thoughts after the "Game Design" panel for Vanguard. I have to say I am really excited about all of the new developments in VG. Anyways I'll post my FF recap tomorrow, so as not to inundate you guys with posts.
Well I just got out of the Vanguard "Game Design" panel, it was very interesting. There are a ton of updates coming with regard to diplomacy that frankly make me want to reinstall. They are introducing diplomacy bosses who have incredibly long dialogs going up to 50 lines, the first diplomacy boss Eldor will have a huge loot table and be repeatable which will be interesting. There are many other diplo bosses in the works as well.
One thing I found particularly interesting is "Animacy" the future feature that will allow players to resurrect recently killed NPCs and engage in diplomacy with them. This sounds incredibly bad ass and the crowd seemed impressed, also mentioned is the possibility of newbies to follow around other groups and perform Animacy on their recently killed mobs, it will be interesting to see how they handle this and what possibilities it will present.
A quest designer went through basically the anatomy of a quest, and how from start to finish quests are designed, using the Unicorn mount quest as an example. This was quite interesting to see, but not wholly surprising in any way.
One of the reward(loot) creators was also demoing some new tier 5 weapons with new tints and other cool stuff. There were some awesome new items and armor sets that will be introduced in future updates, including a new direction w/ armor including "warcrafty" like pauldrens, though they don't get too nuts as WoW has.
I have to say if this game continues to improve as it has I can easily see switching as soon as I can get a beastly machine to play it on. What I see as a large part of the problem is that there is a lot of legacy material that the devs are working with, often the original designer no longer works there and they are having to deal with their problems and their design. I can see this being a huge problem for the first year for VG, and as EQ2 has seen, can plauge them in the future. But once this hurdle is mostly cleared I can see VG becoming a real feature complete, straight up awesome game. And I for one can't wait for it.