Welcome to the 1013th Edition of Loading...

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The Pulse

First, you vote with what you view at Ten Ton Hammer, and the result is the Ten Ton Hammer Pulse (What is Pulse?). Here's the top 5 this past week:

  1. World of Warcraft
  2. Warhammer Online
  3. Lord of the Rings Online
  4. Age of Conan
  5. Atlantica Online (UP 1 to #5)

Here are the biggest movers in the Top 20 this week:

  1. Shin Megami Tensei (UP 18 to #16)
  2. Exteel (UP 40 to #13!)
  3. Perfect World International (UP 24 to #15)

Loading... Daily

Loading... a worm in the Big Apple.

Special thanks to photographer Joe Iuliani. All event pics have been uploaded to the NYCC '09 gallery!

Yesterday I gave my impressions on DC Universe Online from New York Comic-Con 2009 last weekend, and today it's time to give Champions Online its due. Unlike DCUO where we were demoing the game with a dev and seeing more than a few aspects of the game for the first time, I was trying to gauge Champions Online more by players reactions.

Unfortunately, CO had a couple whammys against it even before NY Comic-Con goers took the plunge. On a asshatedly functional note, the 15" monitors mounted flush to the Cryptic booth did not do the game justice in the slightest. This is a game thathas been unjustly criticized (I think) for its lack of graphics appeal, but it's hard to point out the quality handling of shaders, draw distance, and animation on a hand-me-down screen from the public library.

For two, the setting of the game isn't typical superhero material, what with urban environments making up only a part of the diverse CO world. The game did seem to lose some curb appeal on that score alone. It's hard for a mainstream gamer to picture a superhero having an excellent reason to be out in the middle of the desert fighting robot cowboys. I know that's a valid Champions scenario - I even think Snake Gulch is pretty cool - but my thought is that if players are going to start in Millenium City and to some extent call it their home (the newly announced arena testifies to this), then a vertical slice of Millenium City should have been square one.

I'm not as convinced that fitting the UI onto an X360 controller will result in mindnumbingly simple gameplay. Both DCUO and CO will have a loadout system - with Bill Roper hinting that you can change roles in a pinch as the situation warrants. And as long as the action stays intense and there's some mechanic for limiting the effectiveness of pure button mashing (such as paying attention to a mob's "tells" in CO and blocking their special attacks at the appropriate time), I think I'll stay entertained in the short term, but I may not stay grouped for any length of time. So here's hoping both games offer ridiculously cool incentives to group up.

Customizability is well and good, but someone this weekend noted that you can look totally different than everyone else only to have to go out and do the same things as everyone else. You need not look beyond Spore to see a game where infinite customizability and lackluster gameplay do not an awesome game make. Maybe my biggest problem with Champions Online as it stands is the lack of overarching storyline significance - it's perhaps been presented a little too often as a superhero sandbox.

That's my take. From a broader perspective, I think Champions Online is a game that's currently suffering from Vanguard syndrome: there's too many of the wrong kind of people playing the beta at the wrong time. Plugging in players anywhere except at the start of the game is a little like airing Firefly out of sequence - it isn't fair to the audience or the property. Whatever your feelings about Bill Roper's handling of Flagship, it was obvious to me and just about everyone that attended the MMO Roundtable last Saturday that he's definitely learned a lot from his Hellgate: London experience. For the sake of myself and everyone that's a fan of Champions Online, let's hope he and Cryptic Studios can turn that experience into something positive for for Champions Online. It's nowhere near too late for Cryptic to turn an okay game into something great, and they've certainly done it before.

Your comments are welcome in the Loading... forum or email me if you like.

Shayalyn's Epic Thread of the Day

From our Articles, News and Events Discussion Forum

Comic-Con 2009: Images from Day One

Q: How many slave Leias does it take to change a lightbulb?

A: Does it really matter as long as she makes your light saber go schwonnnnggg!?

This slave Leia
from our New York Comic-Con photo gallery captured the hearts (and
illuminated the throbbing light sabers) of gamers, geeks, and closet
pervs everywhere. (The one that Annatar posted...maybe not so much, but you've got to admire her confidence.)

Head over to our Comic-Con Day One image gallery discussion to talk about your favorite images!


Awesome Quotes from the
Epic Thread

"Remember to forward all therapy bills that image is causing to:


13th Oh-My-God Ave

It Burns It Burns, PA


- SirRobin

Do you have a favorite Epic Thread? Let
us know

3 new MMOG hand-crafted articles today! 41 in February! 177 in 2009!

New MMOG Articles At Ten Ton Hammer Today [Thanks Phil Comeau for links and Real World News]

New York City ComicCon 2009



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

  1. [New!] DC Universe Video with Wes Yanagi: Lux Luther vs. Doomsday
  2. [New!] Star Trek Online Character Races Demo Video
  3. [New!] Champions Online Q&A Video with Exec. Producer Bill Roper
  4. MMOGs, the Final Frontier: Star Wars combat in The Old Republic
  5. Why Not YNK? Giveaway!
  6. Geeked: "Original"
  7. Top Ten Free-to-Play Games: Click for Kicks
  8. Star Trek Online video: Craig Zinkievich on Races, Exploration, and More!
  9. Warhammer Online video: The Choppa with Adam Gershowitz
  10. Warhammer Online: First Glimpse Video of the Slayer

Real World News

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 Champions Online 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.