Brotherhoods and Caravans

I was reminded recently about two really neat features in Vanguard: Saga of Heroes: Brotherhoods and Caravans.

Brotherhoods, similar to the mentoring system I spoke about in my last entry, are all about allowing friends to remain close enough in levels to play together.  A brotherhood is formed just like a group, but with with a catch — Any experience you earn is equally divided amongst all brotherhood members.  This means you can play at different times from your buddy yet remain the same level.  The only real catch is you may not get back equally what you put into the brotherhood’s exp pool.  If you’re always playing and your bud logs in once a week, obviously he can’t contribute what you can, but he can still play with you!

Caravans are another tool to keep friends together.  The group leader forms a caravan.  If someone in the group logs out, when the logged out player logs in next they will be given the choice of appearing where they logged out or where the group leader’s bind point is located.  This allows friends and guilds to move around the world together.  It’s simple but effective.

I think these are great features.  When I gave it some thought, the reason I came up with for why they aren’t copied in today’s market is simple: The worlds don’t require them.  The worlds aren’t big enough, they aren’t dangerous enough, and any distance between friends is quickly negated by fast travel options for a caravan to make sense.  Leveling is too quick, too painless, and not at all a journey.  Catching up with someone in a game like WoW is easy vs. catching up to someone in a game like Vanguard which can be very daunting.  We miss out on some neat ideas as games become more streamlined. Food for thought.


  • I’d love to have both of these systems implemented in TOR. Unfortunately, my friends and I will have to stick with what we always do: have one toon dedicated to our static group, and the other for everything else.

  • I played Vanguard from launch and tried both of those features out early on. Neither of them were well-implemented in my opinion, nor do I believe they were widely used. I think what people expected from the Brotherhood system in beta was a kind of mini-guild, limited to six members. I know that’s what people kept asking for it to be. When it became clear what it was it was a disappointment.

    The main effect of the Brotherhood system appeared to be to slow my leveling down a lot. I used it with Mrs Bhagpuss for a while to try and keep two characters close in level, but it seemed mainly to act as a brake on both of them. It turned out be far easier just to let the lower character catch up to the higher character by grouping without the Brotherhood. Level range grouping in Vanguard is not particularly restrictive. I’d personally much rather have a straightforward “switch xp off” button, which Vanguard added later, so that you can have more direct control over your character’s leveling speed.

    Caravans sound MUCH more exciting on paper than they actually were. I think again in beta we expected something dynamic, with an actual Caravan trailing across the countryside or at least a static camp that we could see and move around in the gameworld. In practice it was just a “log in at the same point your group logged out” feature. Mildly useful for some, perhaps. Since I almost always return to a city or my house at the end of every playsession in every MMO I play, it wasn’t much use to me. I’d be interested to hear if any groups did make much use of it – I never heard it discussed much at the time.

  • @bhagpuss: True. Neither, at launch, were implemented perfectly. However, the feature (on paper, mostly) is what I am really referring to.

    Brotherhoods did slow you down IF the others in your group were not truly pulling their weight. Some brotherhoods actually formed for powerleveling and it worked well. in the end, though, it’s all about staying at the same spot as your friends/spouse.

    We got a ton of use out of it. I don’t remember the continent names, but we’d bounce around and traveling could take over an hour or two just to move leveling spots. To be able to log in and skip those hours of travel made it a very convenient system.

    Combine the two, and it made playing with friends a lot easier. These wouldn’t make sense in a game that didn’t have those attributes, though.

  • Well I have been playing Vanguard for about two weeks now and I know Brotherhoods are used quite a bit.. in my guild every day people are making alts with others and leveling them up in brotherhoods.

    Brotherhoods work.. just everyone has to pull their own weight.

  • I had totally forgotten about those features in Vanguard.

    It’s really a shame. Vanguard is probably the largest heap of great ideas, topped off with a sauce of code rot and turd. Someone ought to redo the game, take all the great ideas, and make the game out of it that the ideas deserve. 🙂

  • This is something I agree with, the MMOs these days have been watered down, in game maps, fast travel points etc. I am an old Dark Age of Camelot player like yourself, I played in the beta and then held a stable subscription up until last year, And do you remember how much fun exploring the world of DAoC was? There was no in game map when it first came out, you got a world map on paper that you had to refer to, If you wanted to find somewhere you had to look at the map and figure it out, the map had a pin up place beside my monitor for year when DAoC first came out, It made the sense of adventure so much more, you felt happy when you discovered a good exp place. No if you ask me its too easy to go anywhere in the world, think of all the little corners that just don’t get explored/farmed any more, its really such a shame. But I can see why the MMO scene has went down this route, people don’t want to explore/grind they want max level so they can enjoy the high level content. It would be interesting to know your views/feelings Keen on how MMOs these days appear to have a very boring linear approach to leveling to achieve an end goal of max cap, then the game begins. As a old skool MMO’er who has probably tried 80% of the paid MMos out there I need a new approach!

  • Group Harvesting was the idea Vanguard had that was by far the most memorable to me it was such an awesome idea. Basically people could group up and harvest the same nodes and the amount of mats that would drop would be far more than any of them could gather on their own combined.