Welcome to the 1,126th Edition of Loading...

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

In an interview yesterday, Global Agenda Exec. Producer Todd Harris noted that one of the focuses (focii? focal points?) of alpha testing was making sure that the game was fun for level-cap players. This was the first time I've heard about such attention given to the endgame from so early in the testing process. Is designing backwards, rather than from the ground up, one of the keys to making an MMO that's fun to play at all levels? That's the topic of discussion today in Loading... Designing Backwards.

It's a short week for Coyote, followed by drunken geekless debauchery at ComicCon. Be sure to get your fill of It's All Geek to Me today with Coyote is on VACATION!

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

Biggest Movers this month :

  1. Torchlight (UP 20 to #13)
  2. Runes of Magic (UP 15 to #16)
  3. Lineage 2 (UP 15 to #17)
Recent MMO Releases

Important Dates

Upcoming Releases

Loading... Daily

Here's an exclusive for Loading... readers! Hi-Rez has graciously offered 10 Global Agenda beta keys to go along with our Preparing for Closed Beta - An Interview with Todd Harris posted today. Click the link and check the article for more instructions.

From the first time I saw Global Agenda, I liked it. First of all, it's the only persistent world shooter that isn't afraid to label itself an MMO, which to me is more than just semantics. They're targeting an MMO audience and a shooter audience, not just accommodating one and hoping to attract the other. For MMO players, by and large, that means more of a focus on PvE and co-op play. And that, plus character development and other MMO-y factors (like the player economy), is a big focus for closed beta one, according to our latest interview with Exec. Producer Todd Harris.

But it was what Todd said about alpha that really caught my ear. All alpha long, Hi-Rez has been testing out elder game characters to tweak the fun of combat at the highest levels. It's sort of like designing backwards - you know your endgame is fun because you focused on it first. Other games spend far too many iterations on the "new player experience" and not enough on the endgame. The stickiness of the newbie game is important, no doubt, but who wants to play through the low and mid-levels if the endgame isn't any fun? Even if you never reach endgame, it's what you're always working towards - the carrot on the stick. The MMO audience has matured far past the NPE marketing gimmicks, and I'm glad that developers like Hi-Rez are giving us some credit.

Note that I'm saying that Global Agenda is off to a good start. I won't be going out on a limb predicting a major success until I see how the campaign map - GA's grand strategy element - plays out, as well as how the co-op PvE missions and guild-level socialization progress. But Hi-Rez has made good decisions so far, and there's no reason to think they won't continue to do so.

Do you agree? Is designing backwards one key to a high quality MMO experience, or at least staving off that endgame disappointment that's been the undoing of more than one MMO? Share your thoughts in the Loading... forum, or as always feel free to email me.

Shayalyn's Epic Thread of the Day

From our Champions Online General Discussion Forum

Another micro-transaction game? WTF!!!!

Are MTs the wave of the future?

Like 'em or hate 'em, microtransactions in online games are a swiftly-developing trend. The latest game in development to announce impending MTs
is Champions Online. Although the statement from Cryptic made it clear
that most of the microtransactions would be aesthetic, and that
anything available through MTs that does have an affect on game play
will be something players can also earn in-game, Champions fans are,
for the most part, up in arms.

Are microtransactions in MMOGs
always going to be unwelcome in the Western world? Are there any games
you know of where MTs work well? Does the announcement that MTs will be
in Champions Online affect your interest in the game? Tell all!

Awesome Quotes from the Epic Thread

wouldn't say that the MMOG industry is destroying itself with
micro-transactions in addition to a monthly subscription. The
average MMOG monthly subscription fee has been $15 for the past five
years. $15 doesn't go as far today as it did back in 2004. However, in
order to remain competitive with World of Warcraft, MMOGs can't afford
to raise their monthly fee. So, they came up with an additional revenue

- CelestialLord


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

5 new MMOG hand-crafted articles today! 66 in July! 831 in 2009!

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

  • Global Agenda: Preparing for Closed Beta - An Interview with Hi-Rez's Todd Harris
    ***Included in this article is a code that you can use when registering for Global Agenda beta. Hi Rez will pick 10 lucky folks that use this code at 4pm EDT today for invites to closed beta this weekend!*** Global Agenda's first closed beta session is set for this weekend, and we caught up with Executive Producer Todd Harris to catch some of the excitement going on right now inside Atlanta's Hi-Rez Studios. Todd tells us how those invited to the first round of closed beta got so lucky, plus what the initial focus of testing will be and what testers can expect when they log in this weekend.
  • World of Warcraft: Dual Talent Specialization - How Has it Changed the Game?
    WoW players are a vocal bunch and make loud and urgent pleas about many an issue. The desire to have a secondary talent spec was an issue at the top of the list. This week Medawky explores the results of this change throughout the game.
  • Video: Bill Roper Discusses Champions Online PvP
    Cryptic Studios has gone to great lengths to insure that players will not only be able to craft the exact character they want in Champions Online, but that they’ll have plenty of interesting gameplay options to choose from. For example, want to add in a whole new layer of excitement to beating the living snot out of supervillains in Millennium City’s rough-n-tumble west side? Add in a dash of B.A.S.H. and the west side transforms into one of CO’s coolest PvP zones!
  • From Azeroth to Millennium City: Transitioning to Champions Online
    It's easy to get used to a lot of familiar trappings in today's MMOGs. But Cryptic is throwing players a curveball this summer when they release Champions Online. There are a number of features in Champions Online that aren't quite like any other game on the market. William "JoBildo" Murphy details a few in this feature.
  • Jade Dynasty Dev Journal: Guide to Pet Crafting
    The Ten Ton Hammer staff has received the latest dev journal from the folks at Perfect World Entertainment, and this time the article focuses on crafting with your pet in their newest game, Jade Dynasty. While it may sound strange at first, pet crafting sounds like an intriguing system that cuts through a lot of the extra effort many crafters go through to make their equipment.


Hottest Content:

  1. Global Agenda: Preparing for Closed Beta - An Interview with Hi-Rez's Todd Harris
  2. Video: Bill Roper Discusses Champions Online PvP
  3. From Azeroth to Millennium City: Transitioning to Champions Online
  4. Champions Online: Ten PvP Tips from the Devs
  5. World of Warcraft: Dual Talent Specialization - How Has it Changed the Game?
  6. Lord of the Rings Online - Vol. 2 Book 7: Leaves of Lórien Epic Guide
  7. EVE Online Secrets of a Solar Spymasters #20: Inside the Failure Cascade
  8. World of Warcraft: Healing Comparison - Discipline Priest vs. Holy Paladin
  9. Upgrades and Devices in Champions Online
  10. Dungeons & Dragons Online - Ten Facts You Should Know Before Playing

Real World News

Seen news you think I can mangle into a vaguely amusing snippet of text? Send it to me.

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 Global Agenda 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.