Welcome to the 1,153rd edition of Loading...

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

A few days' head start has been a popular MMO marketing tactic
ever since Dungeons & Dragons Online offered the benefit in
early 2006, and is a rare instance where marketing and tech
objectives align.  But is having a wave of your most
experienced and dedicated players go through the game long before
public launch players arrive the best thing for the game in the long
run? We'll examine the question in today's Loading... False Start.


The Pulse

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

Here's today's top 5 Pulse results:

  1. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/41"
    target="_blank">World of Warcraft
  2. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/860">Champions
    Online (UP 1)
  3. EverQuest
    (UP 1)
  4. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/254">Aion
    (down 2)
  5. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/115">Age of

Biggest Movers today :

  1. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/2216"
    (UP 108 to #17)
  2. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/1012">CrimeCraft
    (UP 18 to #16)
  3. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/2213"
    of Magic
    (UP 4 to #11)
MMO Releases



Loading... Daily

At the Syndicate World Conference,  SOE President John Smedley
told the story of the first 11 minutes of EverQuest in 1999. EQ had
10,000 concurrent users online in the first 10 minutes (a gargantuan
number for 1999, mind you), and all went smoothly until minute eleven,
when everything crashed due to an overage in bandwidth demands. That
the provider had sold a dedicated T1 line to SOE and 4 other businesses
in the San Diego area despite only having one actual pipeline was only
part of the reason. It turns out that all the work SOE had done to
optimize bandwidth had worked except for one important thing - someone
had forgotten to do the bits & bytes conversion, meaning that
EQ was using an order of magnitude more bandwidth than was needed.

MMOs have only become more complicated since EverQuest, which designed
by a 56-person studio in 3 years for an incredibly petty sum of $4.5
million (according to John Smedley in the same talk). You could build 5
EverQuests, inflation adjusted, for what href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/73369">Turbine is
suing Atari for. In-game bandwidth demands may not have grown
on the same scale as the rugged filesizes we see with more recently
released MMOs. To take some of the strain off of launch day (or perhaps
to use a game's most dedicated players as guinea pigs), pre-order head
start programs became popular when DDO announced the initiative prior
to launch in February 2006. It's one of those rare moments when the
stars align for marketing and tech, so Guild Wars and just about every
MMO since has followed suit. Two of the fall's biggest MMOs haven't
taken exception with the practice. Aion just announced their pre-order
program (2 days of character selection on Sept. 18th-19th followed by a
pre-order headstart on Sept. 20th-21st), and Champions Online's
headstart begins tomorrow (yup, that soon!).

I don't fault NCSoft or Cryptic for taking advantage of what's become a
popular marketing gimmick, but I do want to raise the question of
whether having a wave of your most diehard fans sweep through the game
two days before launch is the best thing for the game.
There are plenty of folks (more than you might think) that take
vacation days around a game launch and power through the content, find
themselves a guild, and get quite comfortable well before
the walk-in public, which would benefit the most from the
beta-fueled experience of the pre-order crowd, finds their way into the
game. I imagine that many of the public launch folks could be swept
into a more hardcore mindset if they were playing alongside the most
hardcore folks. As it stands, having a pre-order wave seems only to
widen the leveling gap at the most crucial point. That could have
long-term consequences too, as the most hardcore - the vocal minority -
clamor for more endgame content while the bulk of the playerbase is
still poking their way through the vanilla game.

What do you think? Is a head start a false start or a good start for an
MMO? Voice your opinion in the href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?t=45788">Loading...

Epic Thread of
the Day

From our href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/forumdisplay.php?f=576">Champions
Online General Discussion Forum

style="font-weight: normal;">Champions Online Beta

Champions Online beta is wrapping up in preparation for the game's
launch. Ten Ton Hammer's own Mattlow, JoBildo and Sardu discussed their
of the game's beta
and now we bid you to do the same. Did Champions Online deliver the
fun? Are you sold? Or will you wait for the next big MMO launch to come
along? href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?t=45726">Tell
us and give us your own thoughts on the Champions beta.

Awesome Quotes from the
Epic Thread

"It's nice to hear the
positive highlights of CO instead of the usual
negativity on the forums or in some articles I've read. I think you've
done a great job pointing out the innovative points of CO such
killing boars (although you do kill some wolves and bears in Canada,
but hey they're Mutated Wolves & Bears!);
style="font-style: italic;">instant gratification (with
travel powers early, usable & useful powers early on in the
game); [and
a] huge amount of customization in your character's looks, powers, and

- Validus

Have you spotted an Epic Thread on our forums? href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?t=32559">Tell

4 new MMOG home-grown articles today, many from
BlizzCon! 78 in August!
938 in

New Coverage and Guides At Ten Ton Hammer Today


  • Fallen
    Beta Key Giveaway

    A little less than a week remains in the Fallen Earth open beta, so
    seize your chance to test out the game prior to launch with a key from
    Ten Ton Hammer!
  • Hands-On
    Impressions and Overview of World of Warcraft's Cataclysm
    Blizzcon may be over, but the Cataclysm is
    still on everyone's minds. We take a look at the highlights of the
    newest announced World of Warcraft expansion and its possible
    implications on the game, and the industry as a whole. An industry
    first in many respects, the reshaping of World of Warcraft promises to
    be one of the biggest and most important expansions in MMOG history.
    Find out what's in store for the game, and share some thoughts as to
    how the game will be changed forever.
  • Turbine
    Sues Atari
    Over DDO, Seeks to Recover $30 Million
    With Atari and Cryptic's Champions Online prepping for
    deployment next week, this is the worst possible news that they could
    hear on a relatively quiet Wednesday. Turbine is seeking to recoup $30
    million in losses that Atari helped to perpetuate. For those of you
    that always wondered about the seeming lack of distribution efforts
    concerning DDO in stores around Europe, you may have your answer. The
    PDF explains that although Turbine took control of the North American
    distribution of DDO, Atari was the exclusive distributor in Europe and
    didn't live up to their end of the bargain.


  • Champions
    Guide: Millennium City Tutorial Guide
    The tutorial zone in Champions Online is not your typical
    festival of "press this button to move forward" commands. No, there's a
    full-scale alien invasion going on right as you enter the game. William
    "JoBildo" Murphy has compiled this handy little quest guide to help you
    either get every last detail, or to burn through the tutorial and into
    the real world as quickly as possible. Take a look! 
  • Aion
    Zone Guide: Verteron
    After ascension, every Aion Elyos player will find
    themselves in the big and dangerous lands of Verteron.  There
    is much to see here from levels 10 through 20 and lots to miss if you
    don't know where to look.  Get all the vital zone info and
    some great tips for adventuring the lands along with a list of
    available quests in this all-inclusive Verteron Zone Guide!
  • World
    of Warcraft
    Glory of the Hero Achievement Guide: Ahn'kahet
    the Old Kingdom
    Achievements are a fun and interesting addition to World
    of Warcraft. There are a variety of achievements that players can aim
    to achieve, Glory of Hero is one of these. With 2 patches and gear
    upgrades, getting these achievements have gotten easier. Most of these
    can still be difficult if you do not know how to do them. Yadiera is
    working towards writing a complete guide of all the different instances
    and achievements and what you must to in order to gain the achievement.


Hottest Content:

  1. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/blizzcon09">BlizzCon
    Coverage Portal
  2. EVE
    Sins of a Solar Spymaster #25 - Unholy Dust
  3. Video:
    Fan Impressions from style="font-weight: bold;">BlizzCon 2009
  4. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/randybuehler/interview">iPhone
    / PC MMOTBS Mind Twist - An Interview with Randy
  5. Behind
    Closed Doors with Blizzard
    - The 2009 Blizzard Summit
  6. Blizzcon
    '09: Starcraft 2
    Hands-on Preview
  7. BlizzCon
    2009 - The Changing Face of Battle.net
  8. Video:
    Fan Impressions from BlizzCon
  9. BlizzCon
    '09 Opening Ceremonies - WoW's Cataclysm
    and Diablo 3's Monk Class
  10. In
    the Business of Fun: A Video Q&A with The Syndicate's
    Sean "Dragons" Stalzer

Real World News: href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090826/ap_on_fe_st/us_odd_exhibitionist_hotel">

  • href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090826/ap_on_fe_st/us_odd_exhibitionist_hotel">New
    park offers X-rated views of hotel guests [Link courtesy of
    Joshua McC!]
    Certainly not the craziest idea for a theme park ever, I
    suppose.  Just look at EuroDisney.
  • href="http://www2.insidenova.com/isn/news/local/article/richmond_spca_ceos_dog_dies_in_hot_car/42123/">SPCA
    CEO's dog dies in hot car
    How the dog came to be in possession of a stolen vehicle is anyone’s

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.