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Daily Column

11 new MMOG hand-crafted articles today! 36 so far in December!

First up, my apologies to those of you who took up the torch and after reading my ramblings yesterday about game publishers pressuring for positive editorial content tried to purchase a membership here at TTH. Your show of support is appreciated. Now, if only the store had allowed you to make the purchase. We could make it harder for you. We're just not sure how. We tried our best by having you click 23 times to get to the purchase page where we then asked you to register and go through the 23 click process again. Then once you had traversed the labyrinth a second time, we timed out your attempt to finally give us money. Our team is working on a more streamlined (21 click process) with a working credit card gateway (it will only hang on you nine out of ten times). In the meantime, hold that thought and feel free to send me hate-mail. It will make you feel better.

In happier news, one of the funniest guys that you are ever likely to stumble over in a dark alley on the wrong side of town, our own Coyote Sharptongue, has entered a fancy-pants comic creation contest. After checking out his entry and those of the competition I can't see how he can lose. He is currently in the #2 spot behind someone who obviously has a website with naughty pictures that link to the contest's "Vote Now" button. Loading... readers are bigger than the porn industry. Push my boy to the top! Check out "Avast Ye"! Vote today and vote often!

I was asked yesterday why Blizzard doesn't take over the market by releasing a World of Starcraft and/or a World of Diablo MMOG to run alongside World of Warcraft. My answer is long, complex and full of immense words that I would have to look up. Now if only there were a book with words listed alphabetically that spelled out their meanings. Alas, there isn't, so I'll keep this brief and under two-syllables.

  1. Blizzard already owns the market. World of Warcraft is so much larger than anything else in the subscription based channel that there really is no current need for a title to take its place. They would be competing with themselves.
  2. Don't tell anyone, but I would wager that a Starcraft based MMOG is in the works. Shhh....quiet. Don't spill the beans. I would also wager that it will have substantially different gameplay, maybe even innovative gameplay (puts pinky finger to corner of mouth) that will target not only the WoW market, but at least one other unrelated market. It may for instance have a real-time-strategy component, a squad based component or a first-person-shooter component.

Blizzard stated once upon a press conference dreary that they had a model that would build a MMOG in three-years for $50 million dollars. Let's assume that they have that model in play and that Starcraft is the intellectual property (IP) that they have chosen to work with. Let's also assume that the ads on their recruitment site are real ads and that they are hiring developers for a "Next-Gen MMOG". If you were Blizzard, which IP would you work on? You already have a team building Starcraft 2. Doesn't it make sense to take some of that pristine lore and incorporate it immediately into a second game?

On the other hand, there are so many issues with building a MMOG from Starcraft that I couldn't possibly list them all here. One issue, from the players' perspectives is that they will expect to be able to pilot vehicles. This sounds like fun to me, but adding vehicles to the mix makes the design much more complex. Just ask the Tabula Rasa team of Paul Sage, Starr Long and Richard Garriott or the NetDevil team that worked on Auto Assault. In a traditional sense, vehicles break the MMOG design foundation. It's fun to careen around at 100 MPH like a mechanical schoolgirl with bats in her hair, but it isn't quite as much fun to try to form a cohesive group at that speed.

MMOGs live and die by the people that you congregate and interact with within them. A MMOG cannot be successful without an exceptional social component. The speed at which players move in the environment directly affects how easy it is to group. Everquest was a slow paced game with plenty of downtime. Groups formed, moved to a "camp" and all but one of the group would then sit down and wait for a monk or a bard to pull one mob at a time to its impending doom. After the mob died, they all sat down again and the monk did his thing one more time. There was ample time to chat, joke and be social.

Some players complained, as some players are wont to do, about the downtime. They wanted a faster pace, more action and less chatter. Developers listened (to the players with the least social ability or inclination) and we now have games with much less downtime and much less social interaction. Everquest had its problems, but I don't believe that the social aspect was one of them.

/Rant: Hats off to my ISP (I'm going to start naming names soon) who for the fourth time in five days had found a way to stop delivering service to its customers. I enjoy most of the perks of living 20 minutes from the nearest city, but when it comes to Internet access and clearing snow out of the driveway I long for the urban life.

/Rant 2: If you are signing up for this newsletter remember to "OK" the [email protected] address in your incredibly annoying spam filter service. No, our automated mailing system isn't going to click on the reply link and type in six random alpha-numeric characters to prove it is human. It ISN'T human, though I do talk to it each morning, cooing, oooing and aaahing at it so that it delivers the list to you.

Comments, questions or naughty pictures? Hit the forum or hit my mailbox. --Boomjack

New MMOG Articles At Ten Ton Hammer Today

Hot Content - Or, what I took a fancy to.

  1. Tabula Rasa: Review
  2. Dungeons and Dragons Online: Interview Featuring Module Six
  3. Op/Ed: How Raiding Hurts WoW More Than It Helps
  4. Age of Conan: New Screenshots
  5. Warhammer Online: High Elf Career - Archmage

Real World News

Thanks as always for visiting TenTonHammer.com

- John "Boomjack" Hoskin and the Ten Ton Hammer Team

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Hoskin 0
Dissecting and distilling the game industry since 1994. Lover of family time, youth hockey, eSports, and the game industry in general.

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