Welcome to the 856th Edition of Loading...

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Daily Column

Loading... it's a virtual dilly bar, made out of text.

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

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

  1. World of Warcraft - 200 BPM
  2. Age of Conan - 169 BPM
  3. Lord of the Rings Online - 97 BPM
  4. EverQuest II - 39 BPM
  5. Warhammer Online - 32 BPM
  6. Lineage 2 - 31 BPM
  7. EVE Online - 22 BPM
  8. Dungeon Runners - 21 BPM
  9. Vanguard - 19 BPM
  10. Warrior Epic - 18 BPM

World of Warcraft regains the #1 spot in the Pulse after a long vacation at #2. Can Age of Conan regain the throne?

Those of you watching the EURO 20008 tournament will be cheering on either Germany or Turkey today. I've got my German jersey on, sorry Turkey, but you're cooked.

One Google alert after another ding-donged into my inbox, until I could take it no longer. Once upon a time Google alerts were useful. Now I get as many copyright infringements (Gold sellers ripping off legitimate content and interspersing it with gold ads) as I do bonifide MMOG information.

One particularly annoying alert was for a scientific conference being held in Azeroth (World of Warcraft's online universe). My initial reaction was that it was a publicity stunt and that is true to some extent, so I ignored it. Fortunately, it wouldn't go away, forming huge drifts of Google alerts in my mail. I was going to need to buy a backhoe if this didn't let up. Best to investigate.

Why bring scientists together in Azeroth? Well, the topic was "research in online game worlds", so it had that going for it, but and this is a big but, think Kirstie Alley big, wouldn't people researching in online game worlds already know more about the topic than they could learn from firing up a WoW account and running to a designated meeting spot? If the purpose were to introduce researchers to online game worlds then it makes sense. So, let's revisit the reason for this little soiree, publicity. There are any number of better places and better ways to hold a conference, many of them virtual. Raph are you reading this? Metaplace seems like a much better choice for instance. Having the conference in Metaplace wouldn't have given it the 10,298 Google alerts though. Publicity rears its head.

One of the conference organizers made the point that,

"If the goal is to immerse scientists in the game world, then we should take advantage of the game's native communication medium. People do use their own voices when adventuring in five-member parties, using Skype or other VoIP services. After all, there's just no quicker way to warn your mage that you're going to die unless he resheeps the Greater Lava Spider eating your leg. But for any social unit larger than a party, human speech is unworkable. (Virtual worlds are not yet sophisticated enough to encode the subtle volume control and visual cues that make crowded real-world conversations possible.) For communication within larger social units, the raid, guild, and any of Azeroth's town and city channels, everyone relies on chat: a scrolling column of typed words."

If you research involves online worlds then I would hope that you knew that players in huge groups, raids even, could talk to each other using their voice. Voice communication brought a revolutionary change to how MMOG raids are conducted.

That said, the article is very well written, entertaining and well worth the time it takes to read it. You're playing in a petrie dish. How does that make you feel?

The filthy teases at Blizzard continue to taunt us with their new splash page. It has evolved further and certainly looks like ice to me. The name of the background image is ice3.jpg, so I'm going to accept the apologies of the dozens of you who said that it was something else. Some gamers believe that it is a Starcraft 2 announcement. Some believe that Diablo 3 can't be far off. Others argue that it's ice and we all know Northrend is cold. It must be Wrath of the Lich King. Wrong!

[img_assist|nid=36698|title=Blizzard Splash 3|desc=Blizzard's teaser splash screen.|link=node|align=right|width=150|height=108]

The real story is this. Blizzard and Dairy Queen have been in a tight-lipped battle over the Blizzard name. That cool treat may indeed be the WoW killer. It is a little known fact, but Blizzard did not want to merge with Activision. Pressure from the ice cream cake giants forced their hand. Knowing that they were going to eventually lose the Blizzard name they buckled, threw around names like ActiLizzard, Blizzivision and my personal favourite, AcTard, before signing the intent to purchase papers.

This splash screen is just the beginning. An agreement has been signed. Wrath of the Lich King will now include mobs and spells the likes of which you have never seen. For instance, mages will receive a new spell, the Waffle Cone Wazoo which will cause their target to grow larger in the midsection making it easier to hit. The new zone, Peanut Buster Parfait will be a cross between Donkey Kong and Indiana Jones, with huge peanuts rolling down icy tunnels, crushing anything in their path. Watch your step! You don't want to fall in the molten chocolate river! I know so much, yet can share so little. That should be the Loading... mantra, maybe in reverse.

Do tell. 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 today. ]

7 new MMOG hand-crafted articles today! 245 in June! 1541 in 2008!

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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.