The older Vigilant models had problems but only the reputation of the earlier models stay in everyone's memories. Just like high school and hormones
You'll hear comment often about the early models when VC was trying to make a wood burner into a coal burner. It didn't go well but the Vigilant II 2310 is a success for me...
I've owned a VC Vigilant II, model 2310, for six seasons (and a VC Defiant wood burner for 20 + yrs.). Not one problem after I got them set up. No problems with the shaker system. I burn four ton /year. The 2310 has been redesigned for coal, not a multi fuel. I get 10 hours on a load when it's in the single digits and the house doesn't cool down. Up to 18 hrs. in the mid 40s. No complaints about maintaining it either; feed/shake/empty the ash pan/top off/damp = <10min in am and again in the pm. The grates are in nearly new shape. It is only 50,000 BTU, so if you need to heat the basement, you will need the bigger stove, especially if the house is leaky.
I can't say which stove is best for you, but my house is a 10 yr old 3,100 sq. ft well insulated h/wrapped house with good windows. It has an unfinished walk out basement with two 3-0 double hung windows and a sliding patio door with insulation but not sealed (perforated) sofits outside above it for 12 feet. I don't attempt to heat the basement and it will get down to 48F when it's real cold outside. The only constant heat source is the water heater that doesn't have any extra insulation on it. The oil burner is down there as well but it rarely runs, only if the stove is out. Used 100 gal last year, don't plan on more than 25 this year (see Reducing Grate Area for Spring Burning
). The Vigilant II heats the house fine. The 2310 is on the first floor and the ceilings are nine foot, not too hot ( 72), bedrooms stay in the sixties as do the further reaches of the house that's ~seventy feet long. Stove is located on the north east side about 15 feet from the outside wall.