Diplomatic relations

I’ve spent some time – not a massive amount of time but more than five minutes – in Vanguard, which launched yesterday. In fact I pre-ordered the game and was able to play for a few days before then.

The feature I’ve been concentrating on is Diplomacy. Basically this is an alternative method of advancing your character separately from combat and crafting. The roleplay is that you engage in "parleys" with NPCs where the quicker-witted and smoother-talking protaganist will emerge the winner. In game mechanics terms this is represented as a type of card game.

You and your opponent each pick up to five cards from your deck. The cards represent debating techniques and have names such as Threat of Reprisal and Snippet of Wisdom. Each one may add or subtract from one or more of your or your opponent’s four pools – Demand, Reason, Inspire and Flattery – and may move the so-called Dialogue Point Marker towards you or your opponent. At the end of each turn you gain a point if the marker is closer to you.

Think of it in very, very loose terms as like the pazaak contests of Knights of the Old Republic.

The bottom line is that instead of running around whacking rats for combat XP you can do quests and play cards for Diplomacy ranks. Thus far I’m finding it quite interesting in the same way I enjoyed Bio-Engineering in SWG.

One of the quests on which I was sent did involve riding (yes, on a horse) some way out of town where I was at the mercy of aggro mobs patrolling the route. It remains to be seen how much Diplomacy you can really do without levelling up combat as well. Of course I do want to level up my adventuring abilities too. Up to now, however, I haven’t done so. My Ranger is level 2 and very weak.

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