Welcome to the 1,055th Edition of Loading...
Loading... is the premier daily MMORPG news and commentary newsletter, only from Ten Ton Hammer.
In Loading... A Sporting Chance, we give sports "MMOs" a sporting chance with a very timely look at MLB Dugout Heroes and pay tribute to the contribution that athletics have given the modern MMO. That and links to a Jumpgate Evolution exclusive video and a bunch of guides well-suited to this holiday weekend await you, but on a much sadder note, we join with the rest of the gaming world to mourn the passing of Dungeons and Dragons Co-Founder Dave Arneson.
Need more newsletter? Play World of Warcraft? Jay "Medeor" Johnson's weekly WoW newsletter "The Overpull" comes out every Tuesday and keeps you entertained and informed on all the latest developments in WoW. Sign up!
You vote with what you view at Ten Ton Hammer, and the result is the Ten Ton Pulse (What is Pulse?).
Here's today's top 5 Pulse results for today:
Biggest Movers in the Top 20 today :
Good Friday greetings. As promised yesterday, we have an exclusive video with Jumpgate Evolution's Hermann Peterscheck on the design philosophy behind Jumpgate Evolution. NetDevil has had nine years to refine what they want their want their first MMO to be, and the result is a complete rewrite in JGE.
We also have something a little more seasonal for you. Ten Ton Hammer CEO Pat Connoy recently attended a San Francisco Giants preseason game to meet up with David Chang of GamesCampus whose latest title, MLB Dugout Heroes, continues their fine tradition of online lobby-styled sports games. While not exactly an MMO (our functional definition of an MMO - more than 92 players pursuing game objectives in a persistent online space), we hope you'll forgive us since spring is in the air this MLB season opening week.
Speaking of good things, sports games, and the definition of an MMO, DC Universe Online's Chris Kao voiced an interesting comment at NY Comic-Con a few months ago. He argued that the biggest MMO isn't World of Warcraft or even one of the gargantuan free-to-play or browser games - it's fantasy football, which reins in from 15 million to 18 million players each year and continues to grow 7 to 10 percent a year (source). In post-GDC terms it's a "freemium" approach that's fundamentally ad-driven - free-to-play with premium bonuses for those who pay, yet all get to look at lucrative targetted ads. I wouldn't be surprised if fantasy football and yahoo mail aren't about the only thing keeping Yahoo in the search engine race at this point.
I'm also not sure that fantasy football meets the standard definition of an MMO - I believe a league could count as a single persistant space, but if your league has 93 team slots, you can be sure I won't be signing up for your draft next year. Nonetheless it's interesting to think about the contribution of sports to MMOs. We rightfully give Dungeons & Dragons a lot of credit for laying the foundation for the digital RPG, and together we mourn the passing of DnD co-founder Dave Arneson. A few members of the Ten Ton Hammer team have even met and played DnD with Mr. Arneson and say that he wasn't only a first class nice guy, but a gamer's gamer.
But as important as DnD was and whether or not you consider yourself a sports fan, the first games, contests, or competitions were sports, and sports existed long before drawing straws, dice, chess, go, or any other board game. Sport is artificial war, war with rules agreed to by all sides and usually without fatal consquences for the loser... unless your playing with Aztecs and Mayans or maybe Scottish soccer hooligans.
No athletic game breaks down into a spreadsheet more beautifully than baseball (hence the reams of statistics produced each game), so it's not surprising that in 1971, Don Daglow's Baseball (actually spelled BASBAL do to the six-character length restriction) was among the first distributed computer games. That's not counting Tennis for Two, which was basically pong on an oscilloscope. Looking at games like MLB Dugout Heroes, it's great to see how far we've come, even if the core of the game has fundamentally stayed the same.
What are your thoughts on sports MMOs? Is it possible to make an MMO out of two teams competing on one field? Share your thoughts in the Loading... forum, or send me an email! And here's hoping you have a very pleasant Easter weekend.
Shayalyn's Epic Thread of the Day
From our Articles, News and Events Forum
The Secret World: First Interview with Producer Ragnar Tornquist
There's quite a buzz developing over the new information released about Funcom's horror-themed MMOG in development, The Secret World.
Fans have several threads about TSW going on our forums, but I picked
this one because it contains links to our recently published content,
including the exclusive interview mentioned in the thread's title.
If Funcom has piqued your interest with the idea of a completely skill-based MMOG (no classes or levels), set in a world (our world) where "the wonders and horrors of the secret world are re-emerging into our reality," head on over to our forums to talk about it.
Epic Quotes from the Epic Thread
"Excellent interview and the first solid peek at the game. I'm very
excited, not only about it being skill-based and about the fact that clothes
are aesthetic, but also about the plot and setting. I can't count how
many pen and paper RPGs I've played like this. Should be lots of fun.
Can't wait to hear more."
Have you spotted an Epic Thread on our forums? Tell us!
6 new MMOG hand-crafted articles today! 54 in April! 441 in 2009!
New MMOG Articles At Ten Ton Hammer Today [Thanks Phil Comeau for links and Real World News]
Exclusive - The Making of Jumpgate Evolution Video
The first time Ten Ton Hammer sat down with Jumpgate Evolution’s producer, Hermann Peterscheck, we knew that his passion for space combat games had the potential to emerge into a fantastic MMO based on those foundations. Today, Codemasters and NetDevil gave Ten Ton Hammer exclusive early access to the first “The Making of Jumpgate Evolution” video featuring Hermann discussing a number of core concepts behind their design philosophy. These concepts include diversity, playability, and the feelings the developers hope to evoke in their upcoming MMO. Don’t miss it!
Batter Up! A First Look at MLB Dugout Heroes
Baseball season got into full swing this week (pun intended), and we're celebrating America's favorite pastime with a look at MLB Dugout Heroes. Ten Ton Hammer's Patrick Connoy met up with GamesCampus's David Chang at a San Francisco Giants preseason game to take a look at this stylishly authentic hardball online lobby game that has much to offer MMO gamers. Read how Pat stacked up in batting practice, see screenshots from the game, and watch the official trailer in this entertaining MLB Dugout Heroes preview from sunny Arizona!
City of Heroes Issue 14: Architect Launch Trailer
City of Heroes Issue 14 hits the live servers today. This update opens a whole new side of this venerable superheroes / supervillains franchise, allowing players to create and play their own created content for normal experience and a token-based loot system. This trailer shows just how easy it is to create your own missions from start to finish, enjoy!
CrimeCraft NPC Video #2: Meet Jack Haffner
After their GDC '09 media blitz, the developers at Vogster are continuing to promote their upcoming PWNS (Persistent World Next-gen Shooter) CrimeCraft to the public. Their most recent piece of media features a video on the NPC Jack Haffner and his role in CrimeCraft. Even if you're not a huge fan of crime-based games, the video is still worth a look. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the shoot 'em up action!
geeked: Busted Plans
Ten Ton Hammer's very own satirical webcomic on all things geek-related is here with a peek into the twisted mind of a failed internet pirate.
Be sure to catch up on any issues of Geeked you've missed by visiting our Comics Portal. Don't forget to rate your favorites while you're at it!
The Chronicles of Spellborn: Gude to Spellcaster Disciplines
In The Chronicles of Spellborn, players will start their adventures as one of three main archetypes: Rogue, Spellcaster or Warrior. Upon reaching level 5, new Disciplines become available for each archetype – think of these as Spellborn’s version of subclasses. While each individual Discipline will focus on a set of unique abilities and skills, elements of the core archetype will remain throughout the leveling experience. To help players new to the world of Spellborn with their initial Discipline selections, we’ve put together a series of handy guides detailing the strengths and unique abilities of each potential path. We’ve also included a brief description of the first few Bodyslots for each Discipline. The Bodyslots themselves will be unique skills for each Discipline which can be used by a simple press of the F1-F5 keys (depending on which slot you place the skill into). This allows each Discipline to access certain skills or short duration buffs that can be used independently of the Skill Deck, and in most cases can be used outside of combat.
The second of Ten Ton Hammer’s Discipline guides for The Chronicles of Spellborn focuses on the Spellcaster archetype, highlighting its unique Disciplines; the Ancestral Mage, Runemage and Void Seer!
Hot Content - Or, what I took a fancy to:
- The Secret World First Interview with Producer Ragnar Tornquist
- Class vs. Skill: The Battle That Doesn't Have To Be
- Black Prophecy Gameplay Video
- World of Warcraft: Novel Giveaway
- The Secret World: First Trailer
- Are APB and Crimecraft the MMO Games of the Future?
- geeked: 'Naughty Vampire'
- Exclusive - Iconic Classes in Star Wars: The Old Republic
- Sins of a Solar Spymaster #6 - The Propaganda War
- Exclusive Alganon Class Interview #1 - The Soldier
Real World News
Phil's busy seeking Good Friday atonement for yesterday's Real World News, so RWN will return Monday!
Thanks for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer network!
-Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle and the Ten Ton Hammer team
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our MLB Dugout Heroes Game Page.