Welcome to the 1,123rd Edition of Loading...

Loading... is the premier daily MMORPG news and commentary newsletter, only from Ten Ton Hammer.

While we all like to sit around and talk about the glory days of MMO gaming (all of what, 6 to 10 years ago?), we tend to gloss over some of the more painful aspects of those first-gen forays into an online world. Today's column lists five ways in which we've seen genuine improvement from the first MMOs in Loading... Blast from the Past.

Coyote 's daily column explores all things geek with Coyote's trademark wit in It's All Geek to Me. Read it daily at Ten Ton Hammer! Today's topic: Zombies... are WE really the monsters? (Are we?)

The Pulse

You vote with what you view at Ten Ton Hammer, and the result is the Ten Ton Pulse (What is The Pulse?).

Here's today's top 5 Pulse results for today:

  1. World of Warcraft
  2. Aion (UP 4)
  3. EverQuest 2
  4. Age of Conan (down 2)
  5. EVE Online (UP 2 )

Biggest Movers in the past 7 days :

  1. Torchlight (UP 27 to #14)
  2. Atlantica Online (UP 12 to #15)
  3. Jumpgate Evolution (UP 15 to #17)
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Loading... Daily

Yesterday's Loading... was pretty heavy, and judging by the comments a lot of you are feeling detached from or disillusioned with MMO gaming even as it's become much more mainstream in recent years. All of us have a tendancy not to remember the not so good parts of the good old days, whether we're talking about MMOs or the way downtown used to look. That's healthy enough, for a variety of reasons.

But while we give the first gen MMORPGs their due, we should look at the ways in which MMOs have significantly improved from what they used to be. All in all, I'd challenge any other category of games to show this much improvement in the same timeframe. Here's my list:

1) Session Length - All of us probably know someone from our early MMO days whose family life was seriously disrupted or destroyed by too much MMO gaming. Thankfully those days of 30+ hour gaming sessions are largely behind us, and the time it takes to make meaningful, sustainable progress in any of today's MMOs is anywhere from a half hour to around 2 hours max.

2) Accessibility - Mostly for the better, but for better or worse (because of the lost social opportunities), MMORPGs are getting more intuitive and easier to play. It's hard to remember a time when first gen MMOs like EverQuest didn't even have an in-game map, now we have in-game maps, a mini-map, and "circles" or icons to help you find you quest objectives. Quest givers now give much more detailed instructions, quests are less repetitive than they used to be (but still fairly repetitive, don't get me wrong), and there's much more of an emphasis on teaching the game and developing greenhorn players into endgame veterans.

3) User Interface - We've come a long way from the fixed UI that cruds up half the viewable area on the screen. Today's UIs are movable, you can enable or disable elements like hotbars and sidebars as needed, and in game's like WoW are customizable almost to a fault. Speaking of UI in its , more hardware (and support for hardware, such as PS3 and X360 controllers) and services (Vivox, Ventrilo, Teamspeak) make interacting with today's MMOs and other players much easier.

4) Graphics - Better graphics doesn't always make for a better game, but today's artists have increasingly learned that a stylized, idealized realism stands the test of time much better than a photo-realistic approach and provides much more of a fantasy feel. The exceptions to this rule, like Age of Conan, expressly want a gritty, real world feel, and often deliver. DirectX 10, long in coming, has helped the process even for DX 9 devotees by raising the bar.

5) Raids - Raids in Scars of Velious were primitive by today's standards. There's no shame in that, wading into an unholy yet wholly straightforward battle of attrition against Veeshan's dragons was epic enough for its time, but today's WoW raids have goofy twists, like vehicles, and require an unprecedented level of cooperation.

Have more reasons why MMOs are improving? Disagree with my reasons or my premise? Share your thoughts and opinions in the Loading... forum, or as always feel free to email me.

Shayalyn's Epic Thread of the Day

From our /OOC (Off Topic) forum

Your favorite cover songs?

"Bliiiinded by the light..."

now and then we need to take a break from our more serious Epic Thread
topics and wander off into some /OOC discussion. Today is that
every-now-and-then day. Beerkeg wants to know what some of your
favorite (and least favorite) cover songs might be. Come check out the
responses and post your own.

Awesome Quotes from the Epic Thread

granted I heard Metallica's cover of Astronomy before Blue Oyster
Cult's original, but BOC's sounds like a lounge act in comparison.
" [Ed. -  Perhaps it just needs more cowbell?]

- Miralyn

Have you spotted an Epic Thread on our forums? Tell us!

5 new Ten Ton Hammer articles today! 52 in July! 817 in 2009!

New MMOG Articles At Ten Ton Hammer Today

Exclusive Articles:

  • EVE Online Secrets of a Solar Spymasters #20: Inside the Failure Cascade
    According to The Mittani, "Nothing in online gaming quite matches the incandescent drama of a dying alliance." In the latest Sins of a Solar Spymaster, The Mittani uses a psychological lens to examine why alliances dissolve in EVE Online and what happens to the players involved when they do.
  • Statistics in Champions Online
    Cryptic Studios' Champions Online is due out now in just a couple months. But the game's not quite like any MMOG you've played before. Even your Hero's basic stats will take some learning. William "JoBildo" Murphy's here to help you out with what all those numbers mean when you're staring at your character come September.
  • Upgrades and Devices in Champions Online
    Like many other aspects of Champions Online, itemization blends familiar elements from previous MMOGs with a unique take on the concept, custom tailored to suit the unparalleled customization options present in the game. To help give you a better understanding of how these items, called Upgrades or Devices, fit into the grand scheme of things we’ve put together a handy guide full of useful information for your super-heroic enjoyment.
  • World of Warcraft: Ulduar 10 Hunter Gear
    When Blizzard introduces new instances into the World of Warcraft it often slips our minds to actually determine what loot is best for our class until we are faced with a screen full of unfamiliar purples.This week Mem makes an attempt to save you some time and possibly headaches as he takes a look at the gear Ulduar 10 offers the hunter class.
  • World of Warcraft: Healing Comparison - Discipline Priest vs. Holy Paladin
    When it comes to picking a healing class in World of Warcraft you would pick one that would be best for your play style. But what if two healing classes are almost the same? Discipline Priests and Holy Paladins play the same role in raiding - Main Tank Healing. Yadiera looks into the difference between the two class specs that are very similar to each other. Which would you choose if you had to pick only one of the two classes to raid with?


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  3. Upgrades and Devices in Champions Online
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  5. Champions
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Real World News - We couldn't make this stuff up if we tried:

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 EverQuest Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Jeff joined the Ten Ton Hammer team in 2004 covering EverQuest II, and he's had his hands on just about every PC online and multiplayer game he could since.