Almost 4 years ago, shortly after I began work as a neophyte community
manager for Ten Ton Hammer, I ran a contest on our href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/ddo">Dungeons &
Dragons Online community site. DDO was ramping up for launch,
forum avatar. A stunning likeness?
contest asked gamers to
character and create a backstory for
them. Many rose to the challenge, but one person, who went by the forum
name of Ralsu, put forth contributions that were undeniably high
quality. This guy could write!
At the time, I was desperately searching for a minion...er, an
assistant to help me
handle the enormous load of DDO content we were trying to publish in
preparation for the game. Clearly, this Ralsu person was a skilled
writer, and he seemed to know an awful lot about Dungeons &
Dragons (almost to epically geeky proportions). I fired off a private
message in Ralsus direction asking him if hed consider working for
the network part-time.
The rest is, of course, Ten Ton Hammer history. Danny Ralsu Gourley
did indeed take
us up on our offer, and he quickly proved himself as not only a
talented writer, but an all-around-good-guy. As he moved through
positions--from DDO community manager to Vanguard community manager
to contest manager, href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/features/free">Top 10
Free-to-Play MMOs columnist, and pony harvester (its an
inside joke that harkens to a time when no one knew precisely what
Danny did or what his title was, just that he did it well)--everyone,
from his co-workers to his readers to our forum community members, grew
to respect and admire him.
And now Ralsu is leaving the Ten Ton Hammer fold. He has a good
reason--his full-time job with
Washington State University occupies his
days, and hed really rather his family get a chance to occupy his
nights and weekends for a change. Even so, and even though he promises
to frequent our forums, were going to miss him.
There was an exciting time during which I was Ten Ton Hammer's Vanguard
site lead and Danny was once
his lovely wife, Sarah.
again my assistant. The site was so busy
and thriving in the months surrounding launch that we brought in a
couple more part-time writers to pitch in. But it soon became clear
that Vanguard, the game, wasn't going to be the epic success
we'd all hoped it
would be. There were too many cooks in our Vanguard community site
kitchen, so it was time for me to move on and leave Danny, once
again, leading the site. Danny's two staff writers were Eric "Dalmarus"
Campbell and Ben "Machail" de la Durantaye.
Ben, who later moved on to become Ten Ton Hammer's full-time
found a friend in Danny:
don't care what bleedin' pipes are callin', they have no right to take
our Danny boy away. From boss to colleague to friend, Danny's always
been a kindered spirit to many of us. He's listened to more of my rants
and ramblings than anyone, and that alone should earn him his stripes
in any industry. It's going to be a different network without him,
there's no doubt about it. I'll miss him.
Eric, who took over as Vanguard site lead when Danny stepped up to a
position as main site editor and contest manager, echoed Ben's
that Ive gotten to know the Ten Ton Hammer team as well as I have.
Even after moving on to other duties, he was always
there to lend advice and an ear to all of my hair-brained schemes (and
believe me when I say there were some pretty wild ones).
Over the last couple of years
here, Danny has also always been someone I could vent to about
anything. Whether it was to assist with a problem I was having getting
something published, or to just listen to me going on about something
that happened at work, he always made time. Even though hes leaving
Ten Ton Hammer, he wont be able to get away from me that
Without a doubt, Danny has played a major role in making my stay here
as enjoyable as its been.
a press tour of an impending FF XI update and developed the hots for
When Danny stepped up into the role of Pony Harvester (his catch-all
term for him being a catch-all kind of staff member), he fell under the
leadership of managing editor Cody Bye, who says:
always remember Danny's passion when it came to the games that we
covered. I can't count the number of times he was ready to go up in
arms with individuals that either A) called out a game for unfounded
reasons or B) called him out because of his opinions about a game.
On a personal level, Danny was always a complete pleasure to work with
and never - not once - complained about his work load to me. Very, very
Other Ten Ton Hammer staff members may not have worked with
Danny one on one, but they did find him a friendly confidante.
David "Xerin" Piner valued Danny's ability to think like a gamer, and
not just a gaming journalist:
is an amazing and charismatic individual--a rare find. His enthusiasm
for his work is impressive, not because of his dedication to
game companies and developers, but instead his complete dedication to
players like you and me. He's always worked hard to get the fans what
they wanted, and to push forward the issues that players found
important, or to get the swag and beta keys everyone hoped for. From
DDO to Vanguard and beyond, Danny has been a shining example of the
inquisitive gamer and the perfect friend.
Reuben "Sardu" Waters, who now heads up Ten Ton Hammer's Champions
Online community site, attributes his position with the site to Danny:
anecdotes to share (well, apart from the time he called me every night
at 4 a.m. for a week straight and proceeded to sing the Star Spangled
Banner at the top of his lungs... or did I just imagine that whole
thing?) Danny may not realize it, but he played a fairly large role in
the bizarre series of events that eventually landed me my seat on the
Ten Ton Crazy Train. It's one of those things I've always meant to
thank him for, actually. I'll spare you the boring details, but the
important part is that I've always respected Danny's openness and
honesty, whether it was writing about the churning seas of F2P [games]
otherwise. I hate to see one of our awesome staff members go, but I
hope that Mr. Ralsu McDoomburger III enjoys his escape!
Although Danny and Jay "Medeor" Johnson differ in their opinions on
free-to-play games, Jay respects Danny's ability to appreciate them,
play them, and report on them objectively. At least, I think he does:
and I tete-a-tete in the free-to-play versus pay-to-play octagon of
death! Even though I've often scratched my head in wonder at Ralsu's
diehard addiction to F2P games, I have to respect his dedication...and
patience! Who else could wade through the quagmire of F2P games and
provide some positive feedback without wanting to jump off a bridge?
And while he is misguided in most of his love for free-to-play
[offerings], I do
appreciate all that he has done for the network, and me personally
(it's really all about me anyway). It's all in fun, but I know deep
down Ralsu is clicking to move his character within striking distance
of me even as I type this.
Best of luck in your future endeavors and may your play be free and
your game not suck!
Continue on to our member tribute...
And while Danny has made a dedicated and hard-working Ten Ton
Hammer staff member, it has been his
Runes of Magic character says, "I'm on a horse!" Take a good hard look.
dedication to the community that
always shone through. I couldn't ask the entire Ten Ton Hammer
community to send me their thoughts on Danny, so I sent private
messages to a handful of our prominent community members
asking them to share their thoughts and experiences:
JenSweet appreciates Danny's one-two punch of wit and valuable
to be sad to see him go. I hope he keeps his promise to still frequent
Ten Ton Hammer and grace us with his witty remarks! I think he is
hysterical and always looked forward to his imput on things.
Kitsunegirl appreciates Danny's patience:
liked Ralsu because hes
patient, or at least long-suffering. Numerous
times I posted complaints after not winning a contest. His replies
didn't come off sounding trollish or abusive, which I think says
something great about his character. Just not sure what that is
really... does he have daughters? lol
Danny, "Whoopdee-freakin'-do, a yellow ribbon."
one of our forum friends in Germany and a supporter from back in the
early days of our Vanguard
community site, had plenty to say:
the things Danny wrote here at Ten Ton Hammer speak about his
for MMO gaming and his patience for the gamers involved. You need
patience if you post something that the "unified gamer" is supposed to
read AND get new information--or, even better,
new impulses--out of. Passion and patience, competence and
insight--that sums up what I have to say about Ralsus posts and
As we played Vanguard
together, I grew stronger on my impression that
Danny has an open mind and welcomes people with a friendly attidude.
Overall, and to summarize it, style="font-style: italic;">he is mucho sympatico style="font-style: italic;">. For me he has been
one of the major pillars that holds Ten Ton Hammer upright in a sea of
mediocre MMO communities.
Danny's Top 10 Free-to-Play Games feature was a hit with some community
members, including AngryBeaver:
top ten free to play games list. The site was never the same when he
stopped doing them.
And Beerkeg adds:
eh? Is he not that creepy old hermit guy who lives under the
forum stairs, randomly popping out to give away prizes that he stole
from passing game developers? If so, then he is truly an amazing guy!
Always helpful and full of inspiration for those of us who
broke when they do not win any of his prizes. He's been a loyal
community member and a
great person in all. I'm going to miss him when he leaves his job.
(Though Ten Ton Hammer is like a bad itch that just
won't go away, and feels SO good when you scratch it!)
All the best, Danny! Whereever life takes you, always remember that
you're welcome at Ten Ton Hammer (though as a member, so now were
free to ridicule you!)
I speak for the Ten Ton Hammer staff
when I say that along with his written contributions we're going to
miss things like Danny's willingness to help, his dedication to the
network, and his dry humor in our internal email communications. And I
think I speak for the entire Ten Ton Hammer community when I say that
we're all hoping to continue seeing him on our forums, even if he's in
Personally, I'm proud to have been the one
to bring Danny into the Ten Ton Hammer fold. During his tenure here,
I've had the opportunity to write href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/63469"> fanfic-style
quest journals with him (even though the only fans
we managed to attract were ourselves), href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/58324">raz him,
enjoy him href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showpost.php?p=364273&postcount=1791">razzing
others ( href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showpost.php?p=350693&postcount=4">way
more than once), and call him friend.
Good luck, Danny! Don't be a stranger. And may every roll of life's
20-sided dice bring you nothing but good things.