Welcome to the 1,045th Edition of Loading...

Loading... is the premier MMORPG news and commentary daily newsletter from Ten Ton Hammer. Play World of Warcraft? Jay "Medeor" Johnson's weekly WoW newsletter "The Overpull" keeps you entertained and informed on all the latest developments in WoW. Sign up!

The Pulse

You vote with what you view at Ten Ton Hammer, and the result is the Ten Ton Pulse (What is Pulse?).

Here's today's top 5 Pulse results for today:

  1. World of Warcraft
  2. EverQuest 2
  3. Warhammer Online
  4. Age of Conan
  5. Vanguard: Saga of Heroes (UP 1)

Biggest Movers in the Top 20 today :

  1. Darkfall (UP 15 to #12)
  2. Aion: The Tower of Eternity (UP 13 to #9)
  3. Champions Online (down 5 to #16)

Loading... Daily

Loading... the asset-light, niche-catering, grassroots gaming initiative newsletter delivered to your inbox.

We link to real world news at its craziest on a daily basis, so here's a less crazy bit of news that has an unexpected MMO industry tie-ins. Earlier this week, while venturing out of my cave to pick up a pack of post-it notes (my PDA), a 72mm lens cap that a hotel in Iceland now owns, and a toothbrush, I listened to a story on NPR about how Hispanics were migrating from construction jobs to landscaping in unbelievable numbers. The simple wisdom is this: small failures are far more survivable than big failures. A developer going belly-up on a multi-million dollar strip mall you're building will gravely impact an entire region's construction industry - from contractors to builders, plumbers, electricians, roofers, painters, etc. - not only in terms of lost revenue but lost time as well. The loss of a landscaping account may be unfortunate, but its not likely to bankrupt anyone, and the "churn" of such accounts involves very little inherent cost to the landscaping cost, since they're paid by the job.

The games industry paralells are interesting, but I'll get to that in a moment. First, an eyewitness account of this year's GDC. According to WAR Creative Director Paul Barnett (our GDC 2009 blog correspondent, if you will, and with whom we spoke last night on Loading... Live), a darker mood prevails at this year's GDC. Students and out of work ex-employees are wandering the halls of the Moscone Center in search of employment, as is the case every year, but this year they're joined by entire third-party companies and developers seeking publishers and partners for their projects.

Where you can find a cool game being demoed, it's behind closed doors and under the protection of an elaborate NDA - the recession has made devs twice as paranoid that their best ideas will be stolen and developed by a more resource-rich competitor. Due to the record high pricetag on a GDC pass this year, much of the business isn't being conducted inside GDC at all, but rather in coffee places and lunch cafes across downtown San Francisco. The heroes and rebels this year, according to Paul, are the developers of asset-light games - makers of flash, mobile, facebook, and XBLA games. In other words: the landscapers, not the contractors, of the games industry.

Despite the caterwauling of those who don't see a future for MMOs and other typically high budget games (we've been hearing it ever since EverQuest was at its peak), Paul noted that we would always have the asset-heavy games among us. The trick will be making these games accessible to a broader public, perhaps through the use of streaming technology that takes the high-end console and even OS concerns out of the equation (Paul mentioned one such product that had him playing Crysis Warhead on a MacBook Air).

Still, Paul noted that as a creative guy who cut his computer gaming teeth on text-based MUDs, he's not afraid of a shift to asset-light niche gaming that iterates more on creative gameplay than cutting-edge graphics. He pointed out another trend in games - "time control" - explaining that much of Guitar Hero and Rock Band's popularity stems from its five to ten minute individual game sessions (i.e. the songs). You're not committed until the group disbands or you find the next save point.

We'll have more from Paul Barnett when the vooncast is posted next week. But in short, Paul Barnett believes the trend towards casual, asset-light niche-based online gaming will continue despite the sudden popularity of more hardcore projects like Darkfall. Do you agree? Post in the Loading... forum or send me an email, and have yourself a great weekend!

Shayalyn's Epic Thread of the Day

From our EVE Online forum

Kenny renamed the new BoB

Just shy of 2 months ago EVE Online's largest corporation, Band of Brothers (oft known as BoB) was infiltrated and forcefully disbanded--ooo, ya gotta love the espionage! At the time, Ten Ton Hammer's Cody Bye dug up dirt by
chatting with the infiltrating corporation, Goonswarm. After a while,
the furor died down, and Ten Ton Hammer found itself with a new EVE
Online correspondent, Goonswarm's own The Mittani.

now the conversation is sparking up again. I'll admit I'm not an EVE
player, so the EVE drama often eludes me, but our member blehack33
used his thread to accuse EVE developers, CCP, of giving the ex-corporation, Band of Brothers, a free leg-up.

Did CCP help BoB "cheat," as blehack33 suggests? What are the implications of GM intervention on behalf of a corporation? Join the thriving conversation in our EVE Online forum and have your say.

Epic Quote from the Epic Thread

I first heard of the name-changing yesterday, I assumed it was the
action of a rogue lower-level GM and that the IA department would come
down on him like a ton of bricks; no big deal. After GM Grimmi's post
today, things seem more rotten in the state of Iceland than I'd

However, I can't help but feeling like I'm watching our enemies shoot themselves in the balls on this one. 

- The Mittani

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

7 new MMOG hand-crafted articles today! 117 in March! 377 in 2009!

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

  • Warhammer Online: Paul Barnett's GDC Blog # 2 - WAR Pants

    Mythic Entertainment's Paul Barnett continues his ongoing GDC blog by giving us a small update into what his first day at the conference will entail. From his descriptions, it sounds like its one part love and one part hate. If there's ever anyone that can translate an inner voice into equally entertaining words on the paper, it's Paul Barnett. Make sure you take a look, then check out all of his GDC '09 blogs.
  • Beginner's Look at Darkfall - Or, How to Get Ganked

    Every week, Ten Ton Hammer's Cody Bye takes some time to write out his latest thoughts on competitive MMO gaming. When he decided to take a spin with Darkfall, however, Cody got more competition than he bargained for. In this commentary, this Ten Ton Hammer staffer explores the differences in Darkfall and where the game initially falls short. Plus, you get to see a picture of him getting ganked. Enjoy!
  • Vanguard: State of the Game

    It's been quite some time since the Ten Ton Hammer crew gave a report on the state of Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, and what better place to do so than this week's edition of Forever Fantasy? Few games come to mind that had more of a rough start than Vanguard, but time has been kind to the game and its improvements from opening day are vast indeed. Join Dalmarus as he takes a look at why the current state of the game is still one of the best kept secrets in the industry.
  • World of Warcraft Comic: Gooob & Begud - "May Cause Leakage"

    Ten Ton Hammer's weekly World of Warcraft webcomic is back with some very dirty mental imagery. Goob & Begud were so close to escaping the lair of the Death Knights. But hey, when bad things happen, there's always hallucination to turn to! Be sure to read up on all of Goob & Begud's travels here.
  • World of Warcraft: Northrend Reputation Guide for Shamans

    World of Warcraft: Northrend Reputation Guide for Paladins

    Getting good gear in World of Warcraft has never been easier. Wrath of the Lich King introduced several new factions in the expansion, but also offered ways that grinding out the faction wasn't so tedious. Joe Iuliani takes a look at some of the Northrend reputation rewards for Shamans, while Jay Johnson delves into the Paladin side.
  • Warhammer Online: Choppa Ability List - Levels 1-20

    Warhammer Online is filled with green, and it ain't leftovers from St. Patty's day. The Choppa's are on the move for Destruction and they've already proven to be pretty tough. However, whether or not YOU join the ranks of Destruction as a Choppa will depend on what your playstyle is, and nothing plays into that decision more than the types of abilities a class has. Whether you're looking for a good starter class or you're a veteran of WAR, what they do and how they act on the battlefield is key to your enjoyment of the class. So take a few moments and see if the Choppa is up your alley with Ten Ton Hammer's Choppa Ability List: Levels 1-20!

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

  1. Exclusive Game Update Q&A with Aion's Brian Knox from GDC 2009
  2. Exclusive Interview with EverQuest 2's Ryan Favale
  3. EVE Online New Player Experience Revamp
  4. How can Champions Online integrate Playable Villains?
  5. Exclusive Gatheryn GDC '09 Interview - Creating an Advanced Casual MMOG
  6. geeked: "Naivety"
  7. Exclusive Jumpgate Evolution State of the Game Interview
  8. The Final Frontier: What Does Jumpgate Evolution Need to Do to Survive?
  9. Loading... Live #9 - 38 Studios Dev Chat w/ Curt Schilling, Steve Danuser
  10. The Necessity of Espionage - Sins of a Solar Spymaster

Real World News

Thanks for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer network!

-Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle and 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.