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Daily Column

Loading... making you feel like every day is launch day.

First, the Ten Ton Pulse, your finger on the beating heart of the MMOG industry.

If the Top 10 isn't enough, we now show the Top 20 and Top 50 lists as well, available to everyone on our homepage. (What is Pulse?)

  1. Age of Conan - 200 BPM
  2. World of Warcraft - 52 BPM
  3. EverQuest 2 - 18 BPM
  4. Lord of the Rings Online - 18 BPM
  5. Warhammer Online - 14 BPM
  6. EVE Online - 12 BPM
  7. Lineage 2 - 12 BPM
  8. Guild Wars - 10 BPM
  9. Vanguard - 9 BPM
  10. Dungeons and Dragons Online - 7 BPM

[Contest Update: A Dream of Mirror Online giveaway is rolling along.]

I received far too many e-mail questions yesterday regarding my initial Age of Conan experience to let my answer pass for another day. Let me throw out a couple of quick comments to quell a) the haters and b) the panic stricken.

First up, it's a beta. My experiences are why it is a beta. I have reputable people telling me that there are much more stable builds internal to Funcom. Everyone relax. I can only describe to you what I experience. I can't tell you that a game is a disaster if it is good and I can't tell you to rush out and buy it if it isn't worth playing. You shouldn't be concerned about these things anyway, unless the game is live. Beta is there so that the developers can first denote and then fix any problems. My beta experiences with EverQuest II and World of Warcraft were similar to the one I'm currently having with Age of Conan. There is no need to panic. Please go back to your homes and wait there. Blaring loudspeakers will inform you of any changes to the situation.

BLARING LOUDSPEAKER: Deleting all shader cache files in the Age of Conan directory made the game not only playable, but quite enjoyable.

Apparently my video card had done some nasty things when I changed settings in the game. Nuking the offending files created by said nefarious card and letting the game do the rest let me play relatively lock-up free last evening. If you see a Priest of Mitra running around with the name Boomjack it's probably me, or the prick who stole my name on at least one beta server. I chose the priest because he gets a spell called "Repulse" which is what I did to females in high school. How cool is that?

Side note: I called Voodoo PC, the guys who built the computer that drowns out the sound of airplanes flying over my house and chainsaws cutting down trees outside my window to see if I could put a NVIDIA card in the box of multitudinous decibels. Not being a hardware guy I figured it was as easy as taking out one card and sticking in another. Apparently I was mistaken and swapping cards requires a full-fledged logistics team akin to the one that planned the invasion of Normandy. According to the chap on the phone I needed to change just about every piece of gear in the box to swap cards. I think even the tattoo on the case was an issue. Anyway, no NVIDIA for me. I've heard good things about a company called MainGear though. Maybe my next machine will come from there.

Before those of you who feel obliged to do so begin berating me about not building my own machine let me tell you this... I'm the guy who gets Home Depot to assemble the kids' playground kit because the money spent is worth every penny, especially if the kids want to ever see the thing put together. I'd pay IKEA to build a bloody night table if they would do it. Telling me to build a computer is like asking a cat to consider you their master. They just can't do it. They don't have the gene.

Those of you in Open Beta (Let's call it Stress Test instead), are getting a treat on the last day of testing which happens to be May 10th.

  • All servers become PvP servers. You can kill each other - no level restrictions on killing or getting killed, but you cannot PvP in the major cities.
  • All level 13 characters becomes level 20. Their inventory is wiped, but they have "tons" of money and really nice equipment suitable for level 20's. Shopping bonanza!
  • You have access to ALL zones and ALL levels after level 20!
  • You will be zoned to your Race's Hub. (Cimmerians - Conarch Village, Aquillonians - Old Tarantia and Stygians - Khemi!

In other Age of Conan news, I feel a bit like the AoC Town Crier, the server names are incoming... I vote, early and often for a Ten Ton Hammer server.

Just to ease my mind that the column hasn't become all Conan all the time, I'll leave you with this little bit of joy.

The CEO of Activision (ActiLizzard or BlizziVision are my preferred names) has been uttering nasty comments about their closest rival, EA.

"That’s the biggest difference between us and any of our competitors. We built a model that celebrates entrepreneurial, opportunistic, independent values. It’s almost the opposite of Electronic Arts, which has commoditized development. It did a very good job of taking the soul out of a lot of the studios it acquired." -- Bobby Kotick at Portfolio.com

Ars Techinca has a great list of studios that EA has purchased and closed.

The Vice President of Corporate Communications for EA, Jeff Brown had this to say to Newsweek about ActivisionLizzard.

"They've got three great franchises [presumably referring to World of Warcraft, Guitar Hero and Call of Duty 4--Ed.]--it's great that one of them was actually developed at Activision." -- Jeff Brown at Newsweek


Until tomorrow. The Loading Forums await you. Do you feel the need to contact me personally with naughty pictures or derogatory comments? Here's my E-mail.

[A big thanks to Phil Comeau for putting together the links, headlines and taglines.]

12 new MMOG hand-crafted articles today! 64 in May! 1083 in 2008!

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Thanks as always for visiting TenTonHammer.com. Thanks to Phil Comeau for doing the heavy lifting with the links, headlines and taglines!

- 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.