Welcome to the 1,225th edition of Loading...

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

Once upon a time, World of Warcraft and EverQuest II came along and
took MMOG gaming to the next level, setting a benchmark for 2nd
generation MMOG design with their polish and innovation. But have we
seen a game since that could truly be called a 3rd MMOG, much
less a 4th? This, plus WoW patch 3.3, Fall of the Lich King, in today's
Loading... Generation X.


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 are today's top 5 Pulse results:

  1. World
    of Warcraft
  2. EverQuest
  3. Lord
    of the Rings

  4. href="http://tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/2213">Dungeons
    and Dragons Online
  5. Age
    Conan: Hyborian Adventures

Biggest movers today:

  1. Star
    Trek Online
    (Down 3 to #14)
  2. style="text-decoration: underline;">Champions Online
    2 to #13)
  3. Aion (Up 1 to #8)
Recent Releases

  • 12/15
    - EverQuest:
  • style="font-weight: bold;">2/2
    - Star Trek Online
    (release date)
  • 2/16
    - href="http://everquest2.station.sony.com/expansions/sentinelsfate/index.vm">EverQuest
    2: Sentinel's Fate (expansion)
  • Early 2010
    - APB
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Q1 2010
    - Global

    (release date)

Loading... Daily

World of Warcraft's patch 3.3 has been released into the wild. I'm not
a WoW player myself, but I'm sure that if I was I'd be grateful that
Ten Ton Hammer has the patch available for download so I don't have to
fight against the teeming masses to get me some. Grab your patch href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow/patches">right here
and get back into the game to explore the new content sooner
rather than later.

A couple weeks ago, I promised to visit the topic of 4th generation
MMOGs. When I brought this up to a gamer friend last night he
commented, and rightly so, that first I'd have to show him a convincing
3rd generation MMOG. While many developers talked about ushering in
the fabled 3rd generation, it doesn't seem to have happened yet. I
figure which
particular generation we're entering, 3rd or 4th, is open to
interpretation, so let's just focus on next gen MMOGs in general.

is an acronym for The Exiled Realm of Arborea, and the name of an
upcoming game by Bluehole Interactive that loudly proclaims
itself The Next Generation MMO. "Created by a development
staff of over 200 people, and led by the core
members of Lineage® II team," the game's marketing materials
state, "this upcoming title will take the gaming
world by storm." A pretty bold statement, that one.

I'm skeptical; I'll believe it when I see it. While I'd love to see a
game that sets a new standard for MMOG development, I've heard this
before. Vanguard was supposed to be a next generation MMOG--undoubtedly
a notch above its predecessors, games like World of Warcraft and
EverQuest II. I've always felt that EQ2 raised the bar for innovation,
and WoW raised the bar for polish back in their day; they were indeed
next generation MMOGs following on the heels of earlier titles like
EverQuest, Ultima Online and Dark Age of Camelot. But was Vanguard
advanced enough to call itself the next generation? I think we all know
what happened there. Not only was Vanguard less polished and (generally
speaking) less innovative than either WoW or EQ2, but it launched early
and fell flat on its face, largely due to performance issues born of
steep system requirements and poor optimization.

Off the top of my head, I can't really think of a game that has
launched around the time of, or since, Vanguard that
represents a benchmark in MMOG design, or so much innovation and polish
that we would be forced to admit that it represents the next step
forward. Some, like the distinctly different and much ballyhooed Tabula
Rasa, tried to cut themselves from the herd and failed. (In Tabula
Rasa's case, the highly-anticipated game folded about a year after
launch.) NCSoft's Korean export, Aion, certainly set a high water mark
with amazing visuals, but many (myself grudgingly included) find it
little more than a grind with wings. Polished? Mostly, although Aion's
plague of botters and in-game gold spammers leaves much to be desired.
Innovative? In some aspects, sure. Player flight is something that
hasn't been explored extensively in any MMOG to date. But while Aion
has some innovative features, in most ways it's a newer, shinier
version of the same old same.

Will TERA represent the next generation in MMOG design? Its href="http://www.tera-online.com/about_tera/overview/overview.php">game
overview states:

raises the bar, setting new standards in the gaming industry. It
is a visually stunning world with graphic quality above all other games
in the industry. You will experience a new ground-breaking gameplay
system where stereotypes of traditional MMORPGs will be broken. You
will have full control over the attacks and the fate of your enemy. No
more "pointing and clicking" and playing combat relay with the enemies.
Furthermore, not only do you control the action, TERA is also set in a
world where the players will dictate the flow of the economy and
individually impact the community environment.

I guess I'd call that a qualified maybe. The whole "visually stunning"
thing has been done. Games like Age of Conan, Aion and even Vanguard
have done wonders when it comes to beautiful in-game vistas.
If TERA can kick that up a notch, I'll certainly be impressed.
Ground-breaking gameplay? Heard it before. I'll have to see this in
action before I become a believer. Having "full control over my
attacks" sounds dangerously close to "this game is twitchy as hell" to
me, but I guess we'll have to wait and see as more information about
combat in TERA is released. Right now, very little has been revealed.
Bluehole also says that "players will dictate the flow of the economy."
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that how it works in most, if not
all, MMOGs? Or will TERA take things a step further and eliminate the
common economy-shaping commodities known as vendor trash and money
sinks and leave everything in the hands of the players? Again, it's a

I don't think the MMO gaming industry has fully realized a
next-generation MMOG since the launches of EQ2 and WoW set a new
standard. I feel a bit mean spirited coming down this hard on TERA,
because while part of me is cynically writing off the game as just
another upcoming fantasy MMOG trying to make us believe it's a Really
Big Deal, the optimist in me definitely wants to see Bluehole
Interactive pull it off. As Hewie Lewis proclaimed back in the 80s, "I
want a new drug." I know many of you are with me on that sentiment.
Together, we'll all see what 2010 (and beyond) will bring.

What will it take for a MMOG to be truly next gen? Are there any MMOGs
on the horizon that strike you as being capable of raising the
bar? Talk about it in the href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?t=48337">Loading...

Shayalyn's Epic
Thread of
the Day

From our href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/forumdisplay.php?f=139">WoW
General Discussion

style="font-weight: normal;">World of Warcraft: Beyond Arthas

Now that WoW patch 3.3 is upon us BlackDragon asks the all-important
question: which World of Warcraft villain has the style="font-style: italic;">cojones
to succeed Arthas, the Lich King, as top badass? It's a
question and one that bears further discussion. Hit our WoW forum to href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?t=48292">share
your opinion.


Awesome Quotes from the
Epic Thread

"Deathwing. style="font-style: italic;">"

- AngryBeaver

"Deathwing is a no one;
screw him.

- Xerin

"Someone needs a nap."

- AngryBeaver


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

7 new Ten Ton Hammer MMOG
features today! 36 in December! 2,217 in

New Exclusives, Features, and Guides today at Ten Ton

Today's Hottest Content

  1. Building
    a Fleet
    - A Star Trek Online Q&A with
    Lead Programmer
    Stephen D'Angelo
  2. Ten
    Ton Hammer's
    Gifts for Gamers
  3. State
    of the
    Republic - A Q&A with Star Wars:The Old Republic
    Producer Jake Neri
  4. Star
    Wars: The Old Republic
    - Press Tour and Gameplay Preview
  5. EverQuest:
    Underfoot Expansion Preview
  6. Global

    Robotics Class Q&A with Todd Harris
  7. style="font-weight: bold;">Age of Conan Evolved
    - A Synopsis of
    The Rise of the Godslayer Preview
  8. Dragon

    - Creating Your
    Own Adventures
  9. Gearing
    Up in Star
    Trek Online
    - An Exclusive Interview with Cryptic Studios
  10. Guild
    Wars 2
    Races of Tyria Trailer

Thanks for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer

- Karen "Shayalyn" Hertzberg and the Ten Ton Hammer team

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our TERA: Rising Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Karen 1
Karen is H.D.i.C. (Head Druid in Charge) at EQHammer. She likes chocolate chip pancakes, warm hugs, gaming so late that it's early, and rooting things and covering them with bees. Don't read her Ten Ton Hammer column every Tuesday. Or the EQHammer one every Thursday, either.