I gave Vanguard one heck of a good shot... maybe 40 hours ingame. I'm now of the opinon that anyone still playing it is holding on to the fantasy dream of what they hoped the game was going to be. I can see nothing about Vanguard that should make anyone want to play it over EQ2.
With renewals on SOE's Station Pass going up $5 next month, I expect a flood of people to go back to EQ2 or their other home SOE games. I think Vanguard's population will totally bottom out within the next 3 months - down to a Matrix Online level.
If they had only had the money to polish Vanguard for 6 months to 1 year more before release it could have made it. But, with such a failure of a release Vanguard will never be able to hold enough subscribers.
I'd say the same thing about LOTR except for the $199 lifetime membership thing. LOTR is pretty damn polished right now and ready for release. lifetiem memberships may create a very solid and permenant player base that could keep this game at or above EQ2's subscriber numbers for a good while. More people = better MMO.