to the 1,296th
Loading... is the premier daily
MMOG news, coverage, and
commentary newsletter, only from Ten Ton Hammer.
Sometimes you just get a bad or misleading dose of information and - with no ready means of corroboration or correction - you accept it as truth and unwittingly put a dent in your game experience. Garbage In, Garbage Out was coined as a teaching mantra by IBM's George Fuechsel in the seventies, and it's only more true in the age of instant communication. Today's newsletter examines one such instance of bad assumptions causing unnecessary frustration in Loading... Fuechsel's Mantra.
are today's top 5 Pulse results over the
- href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/eve">EVE Online
- Age of Conan
movers today :
- Black Prophecy (UP 12 to #28)
- href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/2462">Vindictus (down 3 to #19)
href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/117">Star Trek Online (down 2 to #10)
Online (release date)
2: Sentinel's Fate (expansion)
- href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/81479"> LotRO:
Oath of the
Rangers (content update)
of Heroes: Issue 17
style="font-weight: bold;">Spring 2010
style="font-weight: bold;">Spring 2011
- href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/swtor">Star Wars:
style="font-weight: bold;">3/26 - 3/28
- size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">4/17 - 4/18 - Ankama Convention #5
style="font-weight: bold;">6/15 -
6/17 - href="http://www.e3expo.com/">E3
style="font-weight: bold;">6/25 -
6/27 - href="http://www.lfgexpo.com/">Looking for Group
style="font-weight: bold;">8/5 -
8/8 - href="http://events.station.sony.com/fanfaire/">SOE
Fan Faire 2010
First, a few rare bits of news (rare for a Monday morning) to report. Congrats to the folks behind Runes of Magic on its first anniversary and a reported three million active players. Also, Realtime Worlds has "issued a warrant" for more beta testers - apply here!
If you've been reading Loading... for any length of time, you know that one of our themes here is that a game community is often its own worst enemies. For however quick we are to blame devs, publishers, marketeers, and Jack Thompson, most of us (truth be told) quit games because we either can't get our hooks in a guild, leaderboard, or some other manifestation of the game's community. Or because we do. and don't like what we find.
But often that sort of negativity is nothing so dramatic. Sometimes you just get a bad or misleading dose of information and - with no ready means of corroboration or correction - you accept it as truth and unwittingly put a dent in your game experience. One could argue that good game design minimizes these invitations to personal disaster, but unless we have an unremittingly low view of the average player, the onus has to fall on the player at some point. And there's no denying that the bulk of players nowadays (unfortunately including me, as you'll see below) are given to snap judgments.
Case in point, this weekend I came pretty close to ripping my graphics card out of my machine and, unforgivably, without another card to put in its place. My frustration had its roots in a conversation at GDC 2010 where the relative merits of Nvidia chipsets were compared unfavorably on heat, drivers, overclockability, etc. with more recent ones from ATI. Medawky noted he was getting artifacts in a game and figured it was his aging Nvidia card, so he swapped it out for a new one of the exact same make and model, and the artifacts persisted. So he went with ATI and hasn't looked back since.
It's no great secret that ATI is on the upswing since stepping back from card manufacture and sales to concentrate on their chipsets, and review after review of the Radeon HD 5970 finds me salivating like a butcher's dog. So, upon returning home, I began to view my Nvidia 8800 GT with suspicion. The 8800, admittedly, is on the dull side of the cutting edge, so I should explain that my main rig is a Mac Pro 4,3 (yes, as a sign of its sophistication, Apple names its Mac Pros in Cartesian coordinates). For the most part I love it; the 8 cores and 24 gigs of RAM shred through high quality video renders and I've had no problems whatsover bootcamping Windows 7 64-bit or, until recently, running games.
But the downside of anything Mac is that OSX will only recognize a slender handful of GPU chipsets, the most recent of which are ATI Radeon HD 4870 and Nvidia GT 120. Should you wish to upgrade, you have two options: 1) fork over a mortgage payment for one of these custom modified cards, ready to install out of the box, or 2) pay about half that price to get twice the memory (you read that right) and go through a harrowing set of instructions to re-flash the card to work in OSX, probably voiding any number of warranties in the process. I was already leaning toward the latter when my Battlefield Bad Company 2 saves and two of the early beta MMOGs I wanted to try crashed to desktop this weekend.
At first I wasn't alarmed - the "B" in Battlefield has historically stood for buggy and these kinds of problems are to be expected with games in beta. But when my Mass Effect 2 saves did the same thing and Napoleon: Total War started crashing just after I'd set up my toy soldiers, I was convinced that the 8800 GT was the culprit. I made sure the drivers were up to date - yea, Nvidia hasn't released an update for two months (more evidence for the prosecution). Giving it the benefit of the doubt, I blew out the case and checked all the contacts since the weather had been unnaturally warm this weekend - maybe it was a heat thing? But no dice, and now the first weekend I've had to game in weeks was in peril. I phoned all the electronics retailers in the area, all of which had probably stopped selling the 4870 years ago.
So by now I was convinced it was an Nvidia thing. It was late Saturday afternoon, and I was mad. I eyed my computer, seriously considered buying an OSX-incompatible card just to salvage the weekend. I went for a jog (always good to clear the mind), came back, and realized I was so fixated on the ATI vs. Nvidia discussion that- embarrassingly - I'd neglected to patch these games. Mass Effect 2 had an update out and Napoleon: Total War both had updates out which specifically addressed the kinds of crashes I was experiencing. My BFBC2 saved game was still crashing, but I restarted the mission without any problem.
So if Aesop were to put a moral to the story, it might be to check your assumptions in the age of instant communication. I could just as easily cite clouds of misinformation that have wafted through game communities, such as in the early days of EQ2 when one of heroic opportunities - one of the game's biggest pluses (in my opinion), since it brought group skill chaining to the Western mainstream - was under suspicion for lowering overall DPS. It was never proven - in my experience, so long as lower DPS archetypes like warrior and priest traded on HO's it improved DPS significantly. But even as a healer I was kicked from pick-up groups for "spamming" HOs.
My main example was more on the hardware side, but has misinformation ever impacted your enjoyment of a game? Share your experiences in the Loading... forum.
Shayalyn's Epic Thread of
From our Articles, News & Events Discussion forum
Exclusive TERA Preview at GDC 2010
is stirring up a buzz in the MMOG world. Not only is it developed by
some industry vets (many from Lineage II), but it's supposed to be
enormous and innovative. So innovative, in fact, that its developers,
Bluehole Studios, and publisher, En Masse Entertainment, are calling it
a truly "next generation" MMOG.
Next gen or not, our members
are starting to chatter about this game. Their discussion was provoked
by our recent GDC 2010 first look. Have you taken a look at TERA? Got
something to talk about? This is the place!
Awesome Quotes from the
"I will cautiously fangirl this game now."
Have you spotted an Epic Thread on our forums? Tell
and Exclusive Content
Today at Ten Ton Hammer
5 new Ten Ton Hammer
today! 84 in March! 314
Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening (PC) Review
Age: Origins – Awakening is the timely expansion, to BioWare's
2009 hit tactical RPG Dragon Age: Origins. Can an expansion released
just 4 months after the original provide enough content and story to be
worth the purchase price? Mattlow put Awakening through its paces to
WoW U.I. Mod Review - Advanced Tradeskill Window
of the same old trade skill window? Need some help in your crafting
endeavors? This week Mem reviews Advanced Trade Skill Window, a mod
that claims to revolutionize the function of Blizzard’s standard trade
skill window. Will the mod live up to it’s claims, or will it join the
ranks of useless mods?
FEATURES & GUIDES
EQ2 Battlefield of Ganak Strategy Guide
you haven't yet tried EverQuest II's battlegrounds, the Battlefield of
Ganak is a great game to cut your teeth on. Though not as intimate as
Gears of Klak'Anon, this battleground pits 12 players versus 12 players
making the game bigger and more forgiving for new PvP players. Get a
few tips and tricks in our Battlefield of Ganak Strategy Guide that
will make duking it out in a capture the flag scenario just that much
Star Trek Online - Bridge Officer Abilities: Science
of trying to figure out what it takes to boost the effect of your
Science Officer's Gravity Well ability? You're not the only one. Join
Ten Ton Hammer as we pull back the veil of mystery on this elusive
knowledge of Science Bridge Officer abilities this week.
WoW: Fashionable and Inexpensive Non-Combat Pets
you have ever felt that your character needed a little something extra
then this is the article for you. Nothing completes an in-game outfit,
or character, like a non-combat pet. Non-combat (or vanity) pets can
set off your gear, send a message, or simply earn the admiration of
those around you. You may be thinking that vanity pets are too costly
for you, but that simply is not the case. This week Mem tells you where
to find some cheap but fashionable non-combat pets that will help
you complete your character’s look.
Hottest Articles and Guides
- Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening (PC) Review
- Age of Conan: Rise of the Godslayer GDC 2010 Video Presentation
- EVE Online Sins of a Solar Spymaster #40 - Make More Sandboxes
Wars: The Old Republic Lead
Writer Interviewed at GDC 2010
href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow/editorials/InexpensivePets">WoW: Fashionable and Inexpensive Non-Combat Pets
Turbine Reveals New
Facts and Figures at GDC 2010
- New Black Prophecy Trailer
Preview at GDC 2010
and Diplomacy - A First Look at Sid
Meier's Civilization V
Fantasy XIII href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/reviews/finalfantasyXIII">Review href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/gdc2010/vindictus">
for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer
- Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle
Ten Ton Hammer team