In an unexpected twist of fate, this new developer spotlight Q&A on the official Vanguard: Saga of Heroes website reveals that original EverQuest and Vanguard designer Brad McQuaid has rejoined Sony Online Entertainment after spending a handful of years out of the public eye following SOE's acquisition of his company, Sigil Games Online. It sounds like he was primarily re-recruited to help prepare the game for a free-to-play launch, but it wouldn't surprise me if he winds up helping them with an EverQuest III at some point:
How long have you worked at Sony Online Entertainment?
I joined Sony Interactive Studios/989 Studios in 1996. Our group spun off later into its own company, Verant Interactive, which was later bought by SOE. If you group all of that together, I was directly or indirectly part of Sony for five years. Then, after a long break, I returned to SOE in February of this year. It's great to be back!
What exciting plans do you have in store for Vanguard?
As MMOs grow older there are often areas in the game where the loot and rewards aren't as good as in other areas. This unfortunately encourages players to choose a specific region or quest line for their level and ignore much of the rest of the game. One of the things we're working on to get ready for the free-to-play (FTP) launch is a re-itemization of the majority of regions in the game. This means we're going through areas and making sure that quest rewards and boss loot drops give you great items. As a player you'll be able to explore and level up in different areas of your choice without having to worry that you're missing out on great loot that drops elsewhere.