to the 1,315th
of Loading...

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

With no loss of life, very limited property damage, yet with huge implications to air travel over Europe, the volcanic event in Iceland over the weekend was more of a natural disruption than a natural disaster. As a result, we weren't able to bring you live coverage from Ankama Convention #5 last weekend in Paris, but we are able to wonder where video games would be without the natural disaster motif in Loading... Disastrous Beginnings.

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The Pulse

You vote with what you
view at Ten Ton Hammer, and the
is the Ten Ton Pulse ( href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/thepulse/" target="_blank">What
is The Pulse?).

are today's top 5 Pulse results:

  1. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow">World
    of Warcraft
  2. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/eq2">EverQuest
  3. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/ddo">Dungeons and
    Dragons Online
  4. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/aoc">Age of Conan (UP 1)
  5. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/vanguard">Vanguard:
    Saga of Heroes (UP 3)

movers today

  1. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/306">Jumpgate Evolution (UP 14 to #19)
  2. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/140">City
    of Heroes (UP 12 to
  3. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/swtor">Star Wars: The Old Republic (UP 8 to #16)
size="-1">Recent Releases
  • size="-1">2/1 - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/926">Global
    Agenda (release date)
  • size="-1">2/2 size="-1"> - Star
    Trek Online
    (release date)
  • size="-1">2/16 - href="http://everquest2.station.sony.com/expansions/sentinelsfate/index.vm">EverQuest
    2: Sentinel's Fate (expansion)
  • size="-1">2/16 - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/81479"> LotRO:
    Oath of the
    Rangers (content update)
  • size="-1">4/5 - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/83086">Pocket
    Legends (iMMOG - release date)

  • size="-1">April
    - href="http://www.cityofheroes.com/news/game_updates/issue_17/issue_17_overview.html?utm_source=COHemail&utm_medium=US&utm_campaign=banner">City
    of Heroes - Issue 17: Dark Mirror
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">Spring 2010 - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/1801">Mytheon
  • size="-1">Summer
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/998">APB
  • size="-1">TBA
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/2079">Final
    Fantasy XIV size="-1">


  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">6/15 -
    6/17 - href="http://www.e3expo.com/">E3
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">6/25 -
    6/27 - href="http://www.lfgexpo.com/">Looking
    for Group
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">7/22 -
    7/25 - href="http://www.comic-con.org/">Comic-Con
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">8/5 -
    8/8 - href="http://events.station.sony.com/fanfaire/">SOE
    Fan Faire 2010
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">9/3 -
    9/6 - href="http://www.dragoncon.org/">DragonCon
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">10/22 -
    10/23 - href="http://us.blizzard.com/blizzcon/?rhtml=y">BlizzCon
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">2011: 3/24 -
    3/26 - CCP FanFest

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Congrats to our Guild
5th Anniversary Winners!
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Congrats to the following White Mantle costume winners:

  • TrueNordicSoul
  • mattipasila
  • Jaycii
  • Dutch Sunshine
  • jasonjetlag
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And these Shining Blade costume winners:

  • MarcusBlackwolfe
  • duskmantle
  • alvinxie
  • Roan
  • Ellipsys
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Winners will be contacted via email this afternoon.
Keep an eye on http://www.tentonhammer.com/giveaways for more chances to win!

Loading... Daily

I'd hoped to use today's Loading... to wrap up my experiences at Ankama Convention #5. My first experience with DOFUS was at an E3 booth some five years ago, and to my discredit the only thing I can remember from the experience is when a player came peddling herself, in all her pixellated miniscule buck-naked glory, through the common area mid-demo. DOFUS, now DOFUS 2.0, has come a long way since those strange early days, and I was as anxious to get a fresh take on DOFUS's now formidable and certainly less prostitution-oriented array of games.

An volcanic system in Iceland had other plans, however, and my flight remained grounded long after the event concluded as the ash continues to clear from the not-so-friendly skies above Northern Europe. But despite causing the greatest airline snafu since the 2001 terrorist attacks, in historical terms this eruption is small potatoes. The Laki fields eruptions combined for a Volcanic Explositivity Index of 1. Contrast that with the biggest eruption in recorded history: the 1815 eruption of Indonesia's Mount Tambora that modern volcanologists have reported was a 7. The explosion - 480 times larger than Tsar Bomba, the 1961 Soviet nuclear test that still holds the world's Strangelovliest record with a 50 megaton yield - was heard 1,600 miles away, and the plume was estimated to reach the stratosphere. 71,000 died in the eruption and millions died from famine as livestock ingested the ash and acidic fallout. Evidence of the ash has been found as far north as Greenland and as far south as Antarctica, and more than 3,000 miles away the American northwest was covered with a "dry fog." Global temperatures plummeted, rivers iced over in July as far south as Pennsylvania, effectively transforming the summer of 1815 for most of North America and Europe. In short, as Tambora tells, mother nature has quite a masochistic streak at times.

Most of us have a certain morbid appetite for mass destruction, especially when there's nothing we can do about it, and volcanoes are easily the most visually gratuitous of terrestrial natural catastrophes. Like earthquakes, you might be able to tell where ground zero will be, but it's far harder to say exactly when the hour will come or, when it comes, to escape the locus of destruction. As such, natural disasters tend to provide an excuse for the start of an MMORPG. Big new worlds require big new disasters: World of Warcraft and Guild Wars 2 will reinvent themselves through the efforts of colossal rampaging dragons. EverQuest 2 got its start when Norrath's moon unceremoniously exploded. Aion's world was magically, dramatically ripped apart at the seams, with only a thread holding the two halves together. EVE Online got its start storyline-wise when the EVE Gate exploded and humanity lost its only link to Earth.

Natural disasters are a believable way to hit the storyline / character development reset button, as are a close cousin - the extra-dimensional portal that opens up in expansions to City of Heroes and WoW - but other plot devices could work just as well. The "rise of the arch-villain" or, better yet, the "itinerant evil" is a popular one you'll find in games like Mass Effect and DragonAge, where the Darkspawn / whatever insidious thing the Protheans have turned into come around once every eleventy thousand years. Then there's the "MacGuffin," as Alfred Hitchcock termed it - the object of incredible power that the hero must quest for, but the object itself isn't really important to the story. The Arthurian legends and Indiana Jones movies are fundamentally MacGuffin quests, with "The Lord of the Rings" representing an interesting sort of an anti-MacGuffin story.

The problem we encounter in PvE-centric MMORPGs is that one disaster won't do. We must have a constant crisis - we have to have a reason, drawn out over months or years, to grow more and more powerful. And the bigger and bolder everything gets, from story to loot character developers, the greater the possibility that things will start to break or become ridiculous. Perhaps it's better to start out with a tame, Vanguardish sort of world, but then again, that sort of game wouldn't (and didn't) market well. A lore-obscure crisis such as we saw in games like Chronicles of Spellborn and Mortal Online failed to or is failing to captivate, too.

So is it fair to say that we must be hit over the head with a colossal disaster of some sort to kick off an RPG or MMORPG? Is there anything fundamentally interesting about playing in a different world than ours, or isn't it a game without a crisis? Share your thoughts in the Loading... forum!

Shayalyn's Epic Thread of
the Day

From our Articles, News & Events Discussion Forum

From Tabletop To Online: 5 RPGs That Would Make Kick-Ass MMOGs

this great Ten Ton Hammer feature today, Jeffprime delved into
his pen-and-paper RPG days to bring up 5 IPs that he thinks would
make amazing MMOGs. With myriad tabletop RPGs to choose from, I have a
hunch some of Jeffprime's picks will have you saying, "Oh, hell
yeah!" while others might leave you scratching your head. Or maybe
you'll love every single pick. At any rate, without a doubt, you'll
want to add a few tabletop RPG IPs of your own to our list. Share your choices!


Awesome Quotes from the
Epic Thread

RPG: A setting which might remind you of the one usually found in Final
Fantasy. The background though is one of the best I have read,
extremely rich, varied and detailed. With a really strong mythology and
endless possibility of adventures, dungeons and raids.

- Lauraliane

Have you spotted an Epic Thread on our forums? Tell

and Exclusive Content
Today at Ten Ton Hammer

4 new Ten Ton Hammer
today! 69 in April! 428
in 2010!


From Capes To Beyond! A Q&A with Cryptic’s Bill Roper


Ton Hammer has learned that Bill Roper, Executive Producer of Champions
Online, has been promoted by Cryptic Studios to Chief Creative Officer.
After some sniffing around, and some hefty bribes, we finally tracked
Bill Roper down in his secret underground lair to get the inside scoop.


Ten Ton Hammer Live Podcast 3 - Project 1999's Nilbog and Rogean visit to take us back to the EverQuest 1.0


This weekend
on Ten Ton Hammer Live! the forces of evil attempted to stop us from
broadcasting to the world (and for a time did). Turns out talking to
some of our guests made someone very angry and they decided to "express
themselves"... but that's ok...because here is the podcast!
is joined by Project 1999's Nilbog and Rogean as well as OMFGs Leto,
TenTonHammer.com's Ben de la Durantaye, and the lovely Danielle from
YouTube's Trade Chat.


From Tabletop To Online: 5 RPGs That Would Make Kick-Ass MMOGs

only a few exceptions, there is a ton of pen-and-paper RPGs that would
make kick-ass MMOGs. Why haven’t game companies taken advantage of
these games, with their detailed settings and rich background lore,
instead of trotting out the latest WoW clone? Jeffprime looks at 5 RPGs
that would make great MMOGs.


Capitalizing On The Tyrannis Patch For EVE Online

major patch for the EVE Online game changes things, but the upcoming
Tyrannis patch tinkers with some of the core aspects of EVE Online's
economy. A savvy investor can surf on the waves of economic chaos to
the beach of financial prosperity, but a foolish investor may find
himself running aground on the rocks of broken dreams. Space Junkie
explains some ideas about speculative investments, and what we do and
don't know about the Tyrannis patch.

Preview of Battle.net 2.0 in Starcraft II

been waiting since the days of 14.4 modems for a true revision to the
beloved Battle.net. Starcraft II is finally delivering a remodel of the
system, and with it come many changes to the problems that have cropped
up over the years, as well as taking many of the good traits from other
multiplayer platforms. Being able to message your friends in a raid of
the Lich King while you storm the battlefields with Battlecruisers is
now a possibility, and that's only the tip of the iceberg!

Four Great WoW Comics to Get Your LOLs On

needs a good laugh sometimes, especially after a tough day at work, or
being forced to sleep on the couch because you decided to raid instead
of attending your in-laws’ anniversary dinner. A hearty laugh is
something we all should take part in from time to time, and what better
way to achieve that than to incorporate something we all love; World of
Warcraft. WoW comics are literally everywhere, scattered across the
internet like stars in the night sky, and finding one to fit your
personal style can be a difficult task. Join us this week as Mem shares
some of his favorite WoW web comics in the hopes that garner enjoyment
from them as well.

Hottest Articles, Guides, and Features

  1. From Capes To Beyond! A Q&A with Cryptic’s Bill Roper
  2. Ten Ton Hammer Live Podcast 3 - Project 1999's Nilbog and Rogean visit to take us back to EverQuest 1.0
  3. From Tabletop To Online: 5 RPGs That Would Make Kick-Ass MMOGs
  4. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/83356">WANTED:
    Your Questions for TERA's
  5. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow/editorials/celestialcashcow">WoW:
    Blizzard's Celestial Cash Cow
  6. Capitalizing On The Tyrannis Patch in EVE Online
  7. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/83246">Pure
    Artistic Vision - A style="font-weight: bold;">Guild
    Wars 2 Concept Art
    Q&A with Daniel Dociu
  8. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/dmail/1">D-Mail
    with Sean Stalzer #1: You've Got D-Mail!
  9. A Preview of Battle.net 2.0 in Starcraft II
  10. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/83273">Borderlands href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/83273">:
    Add-On Pack

for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer network!

- Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle
the Ten Ton Hammer team

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.