Welcome to the 1,044th 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. Jumpgate Evolution (UP 3)

Biggest Movers in the Top 20 today :

  1. Gatheryn (UP 79! to #10)
  2. The Chronicles of Spellborn (UP 6 to #18)
  3. Tabula Rasa (discontinued - down 4 to #19)

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GDC and other big shows tend to offer a lot of MMO news in a short time. Some of it's big, some meh, and a lot in between. So think of today's Loading as a GDC variety show, not so much Donnie and Marie as a pageant of the often bizarre, an MMO news Gong Show. Or the first 9 episodes of American Idol, if you prefer. We gonged most of the news already, but here's the choicest bits of what remains.

First, we offer you a different perspective on GDC: what it's like to give a talk (rather a "lecture"), and with a topic not of your choosing, at one of these events. That was the subject of WAR Creative Director Paul Barnett's first GDC blog today, and as we've shown you in the past, Paul is one of the most entertaining orators in the industry. People that could care less about WAR show up just to hear him speak. His topic? "Lessons Learned while Dazed and Confused in the MMO World" - which is coincidentally the subtitle of every Loading column. At least Paul didn't get stuck with the Mythic's other GDC '09 topic: "How Mythic Entertainment Solved Production Challenges using Autodesk Kynapse and 3ds Max on Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning." If that talk takes longer than it does to read the title, it'd leave me dazed and confused for sure.

You can catch a live Ten Ton Hammer chat with Paul Barnett from GDC tonight at 7pm Eastern / 11pm GMT in Voon room "Ten Ton Events" - click the link if you don't already have the free client.

The "stop the presses!" news today comes from Sony Online Entertainment, whose boss, John Smedley, revealed in his keynote that DC Universe Online and The Agency wouldn't hit store shelves until 2010. The DCUO side of this wasn't news - they've been saying 2010 all along - but we've all been scratching our heads wondering about The Agency. What we saw in the early builds was promising - at least promising as an FPS or a multiplayer game in a persistent world - sort of like Atari's Test Drive Unlimited or what we'd hoped Hellgate: London would become.

For those of us that spent way too many hours playing Goldeneye in college, The Agency definitely has the fun co-op spy-infused shooter side of things down, but the hooks that keep large numbers of players in a relatively small area - that critical density that leads to spontaneous social interaction, to put it confusingly - wasn't there and didn't seem to have potential to be there. Maybe that's as it should be - espionage and intrigue has always been (of necessity) an individual pursuit - we celebrate James Bond, MI-6 not so much. But who knows, maybe The Agency will surprise us with the MMO-ness of The Agency given a year or so.

The news continues to roll out today. CCP announced details of the 2009 EVE FanFest late yesterday, disappointing those of us that were hoping a devalued currency would provide a great excuse to see Iceland in the summertime. Following a trend started by BlizzCon, this year's Fan Fest will be a little more than a month earlier than usual this year, running from October 1-3. More info on the official site.

Finally, though Blizzard only has a recruiting presence at GDC this year, WoW continues to make the news. Arena Season 6 will see a number of matchmaking and ratings changes, as well as a drop in the cost of arena items. Naturally, the WoW oboard community - never needing much of an excuse to start waving the tricolor atop razed statues - is in full revolt. WoW continues to become even more candyass (odd word, candyass), the arena grind is back, and so on. I think it's brilliant - by making your game easier over time, you let the hardcore types have the "when I was your age" bragging rights while letting even more casual players ascend to the game's lofty heights. WoW may be the first MMO to continuously and efficiently market itself through making gameplay and character progression not just faster, but easier as well.

Your thoughts? Post in the Loading... forum, or jot me a note .

Shayalyn's Epic Thread of the Day

From our Tavern of the Ten Ton Hammer forum

Can we get...?

Bansaw wants to send Ten Ton Hammer's resident humorist, boob lover and author of our regular column, It's All Geek to Me, on a special assignment to the land of adult-themed MMOGs. He recommends Korea's 3Feel,
which recently entered closed beta. "Not only would we get an in depth
review of an upcoming blockbuster MMO," says Bansaw, "but it would also
give Coyote lots of material for his assorted
writings. I mean, if he started a character named Rod Yanker the Midget
the sheer debauchery and shenanigans that ensued would make for months
of entertainment!"

What say you all? Is sending Coyote in
search of breasticles redundant, or would you like to live his
adventures in 3Feel vicariously? Mind you, pulling this off (yeah,
cheap pun intended) would require both Coyote's consent and a beta
invitation, neither of which (well, one of which) are a given. Have your say!

Epic Quote from the Epic Thread

"What a horrid proposal. You want to send poor Coyote into what will undoubtedly be one big mangina sausage-fest?!? It
is not hard to envision that less than 1% of the characters/avatars
will be male, and similarly less than 1% of the actual players will be
'real' women.

- Annatar

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

6 new and original MMO articles today! 111 in March! 371 in 2009!

New MMOG Articles At Ten Ton Hammer Today

  • Exclusive Game Update Q&A with Aion's Brian Knox from GDC 2009
    Ten Ton Hammer tracked down Brian Knox, Aion Producer for NCSoft West, to get an update on one of the most promising MMO titles scheduled for release in 2009. We ask how NCSoft West's localization efforts are progressing and when we can expect to play Aion, what a game that has it's roots deep in Korean gaming culture has to offer PvE-only players, how early in the game players can take advantage of one of the game's most compelling features - flight - and finally how the community can get involved while waiting for beta. All this and more in this brief Aion interview from GDC 2009!
  • Exclusive Interview with EQ2's Ryan Favale

    Believe it or not, EverQuest II is almost five years old and still going strong, even in this economy. With so many technological advances there are plenty of opportunities for upgrades, and Ryan "Imago-Quem" Favale is point man when it comes to graphics. Turning a minor graphical bug into a massive shader revamp he shares with us exactly what is changing and how it will affect your gameplay.
  • Paul Barnett's GDC Blog #1 - Learning New Things

    For GDC '09, we've nabbed WAR Creative Director Paul Barnett and all his humor to jot his thoughts down for us after each day. To start, Paul tells about about his dread of lectures and how the GDC speaking selection process works. Make sure you check back with us all this week to read all of Paul's crazy antics!
  • The Chronicles of Spellborn - Beginners Guide to Combat

    With a distinct lack of auto-attack options, combat in The Chronicles of Spellborn can be a bit tricky to learn at first for players more accustomed to industry standards such as the ability to open up a multitude of hotbars. But by removing all of the unnecessary UI clutter and adding in elements of FPS gameplay, players are able to fully immerse themselves in the action of combat to a degree rarely seen in MMOs. To help ease players into the experience, we’ve put together a handy guide to the basic elements to be aware of in Spellborn’s unique spin on MMO combat.
  • EVE Online New Player Experience Revamp
    In an effort to lessen the learning "cliff" that so many joke about it, developers of EVE Online spent some time reworking each player's first moments in game. Are more knowledgable and better equipped pilots coming out of the tutorial since the revamp? Lets have a look at what was changed and if it has been the savior for new players that they had hoped it would be!
  • World of Warcraft: Northrend Reputation Guide for Rogues

    Gearing up at level 80 in World of Warcraft can be done in many different ways, but one of the most productive ways you can go about it is by earning reputation. The advantages to reputation items is that they can be earned completely solo if need be (though it's much faster by grouping). Jeff Francis outlines for us some of the rewards rogues can look forward to with the proper Northrend Reputation.

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

  1. Exclusive Game Update Q&A with Aion's Brian Knox
  2. Exclusive Interview with EQ2's Ryan Favale
  3. Exclusive Jumpgate Evolution State of the Game Interview
  4. Paul Barnett's GDC Blog #1 - Learning New Things
  5. The Final Frontier: What Does Jumpgate Evolution Need to Do to Survive?
  6. The Chronicles of Spellborn - Beginners Guide to Combat
  7. The Necessity of Espionage - Sins of a Solar Spymaster
  8. All Hell Breaks Loose in Heaven - Ether Saga Online Preview
  9. Chronicles of Spellborn 3/20 Webinar Report
  10. Exclusive Earthrise Update Interview

Real World News

Will return tomorrow!

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 World of Warcraft 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.