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Daily Column

Loading... putting the 'Mo' in MMOG.

First, the Ten Ton Pulse, your finger on the beating heart of the MMOG industry.

If the Top 10 isn't enough, we also show the Top 20 and Top 50 lists as well, available to everyone on our homepage. (What is Pulse?)

  1. World of Warcraft - 200 BPM
  2. Warhammer Online - 128 BPM
  3. Age of Conan - 110 BPM
  4. Lord of the Rings Online - 29 BPM
  5. EVE Online - 27 BPM
  6. Tabula Rasa - 22 BPM
  7. Atlantica - 20 BPM
  8. EverQuest II - 14 BPM
  9. Vanguard - 9 BPM
  10. Stargate Worlds - 8 BPM

Travel sits right up there with completing a Derek Smart interview on my list of things I care to do. Misery loves company, I hate you Battlecruiser. So, you my lucky reader will get to hear about what it is like to attend a gaming event, in this case Comic Con '08 in San Diego.

Rewind: The day before - pack, kiss the kids, go through checklist of things that I need on the trip. Kiss the kids again and go through the checklist again.

03:00 - Get up for the drive to Toronto's Pearson Airport.

03:30 - Stumble into the SUV and start the drive.

04:30 - Stop at Tim Horton's for a coffee. Spill it in the SUV. I'm too tired to even curse. I drive with a lap full of steaming black coffee. Why do they make those frickin' rip tops on coffee cups impossible to actually open?

05:30 - Arrive at Park N Fly and leave my SUV for the future stars of NASCAR to drive for a week. Maybe they'll get the oil changed.

05:45 - Park N Fly mini-bus shows up to take me to the airport. A cheerful person who I cannot understand is behind the wheel and politely asks me something. I respond, "Air Canada U.S.". She nods and smiles some more.

05:55 - Arrive at Terminal 1, promptly head to the Air Canada check-in labeled "H" as directed by the ever so helpful attendant at the door.

06:00 - Check-in attendant at "H" tells me I should be at "A" which is at the far end of the airport. I notice the door attendant continuing to send people to the wrong check-ins. That's a job I want. "Where are you going to today sir? Insert place here. Superb! Just head over to (slot machine spins in my head) check-in 'R'. Have a great flight!" (If you can find it!)

06:10 - Check-in. Attendant tells me that I'll need to claim my bag in Vancouver (my layover) and move it from one belt to another to get it to San Diego. I think to myself, don't we have belts to move things from one belt to another? I nod, smile and move along to security where I realize that though I have flown well over 100 times I have never, ever, ever flown domestically within Canada. It's a pleasant change not to be be interrogated by U.S. Customs. I get to save that experience for Vancouver. I can hardly wait. I'll be ornery from a five-hour flight. This could go badly.

06:15 - I head to my gate. 45 minutes until boarding. All is well. The airport has 3G cellular connectivity. I don't need to ante up $10 for an hour of Internet access to some company that thought it would be a good idea to call themselves Boingo. My iPhone sings, then it dances, then it sings some more. I can't cut and paste, it doesn't have an alarm clock [Ed: it does have an alarm, but it is cleverly hidden under "clock"], refuses to admit that blackberry PINs are godlike and won't let me remove icons like 'Stocks' and 'iCal' from the home screen, but it sings and boy it dances.

06:45 - We should be boarding in 15 minutes, but there is no plane at the gate. The Air Canada personnel are on the phone pondering the problem with someone, somewhere, presumably with a spare plane.

07:00 - We have pilots. We have flight attendants. We're missing a plane. Perhaps I'm an extra in a bad Stephen King movie. While everyone around me catches their flight I'm trapped between home and my destination, an apparition, with 200 others ghosts, fated to ply the halls of gate 137 for eternity. Ah, wait...there's the plane being pulled up now by a team of clydesdales. Apparently it's an Amish plane.

07:20 - We're loaded in like so many gumballs in a giant machine, tumbling over one another as we try to find our seats, which were evidently built for children. No wonder the plane was late, they couldn't find one for adults. The seats are so small that you have to wonder if they were lifted straight out of some 1950s crop duster. Something bumps into my foot. It's a can of DDT.

07:25 - Those of you who read Loading... regularly are well acquainted with the dramatis personae that accompany me on nearly every flight. Today let me reintroduce you to crying baby and bone-weary mom. They skipped my last flight , but just like dirty laundry you can't avoid them forever. On today's 4.5 hour flight they will be seated directly in front of me, beside an elderly lady who is apparently deathly allergic to children, or mothers, or both.

07:26 - For the love of all that is holy, why don't developers sponsor my flights like they do for Woleslagle? Yeah, yeah, I know why, it's that talent thing. Remember dearest reader I'm one of you, so keep the heckling to a minimum. You're living your lives vicariously through me, which in itself is a statement of your character.

07:28 - The gray-haired lady has called the flight attendant over to see if there are any empty seats that she can move to, but guess what? The flight is full. I'm confident that some of the language she used wasn't taught in the one-room schoolhouse that she attended. I step in and do the "right thing". I offer to switch seats. She gets a window, albeit behind the wailing tot and I get an aisle seat on the bulkhead. It's not like I can't hear the little cherub where I am and if I don't offer to switch I'll have to watch an 80-year-old woman break out in hives, or worse.

07:30 - We switch seats. The flight attendant thanks me. The mother who is apparently a prolific apologizer begs forgiveness for a good minute and a half before once again trying to calm the distraught tyke. The dear cherub is now lashing out with his arms at the window which is apparently goading him into further protestations. This isn't getting any better. The child-hater behind me continues to remonstrate. I make a fist. She quiets down.

07:35 - We're getting ready to push back from the gate, when the flight attendant, a smile beaming from her charming face asks me if I would mind switching seats again. "Where is your carry-on", she asks before leading me through the magical curtain where only princes, rock stars and gas station owners dare tread, the business class section. The floor shifts beneath me feet as if to prove that I do not belong. Three rows of what I can only describe as 'pods' appear before me out of a mist I assume is made when 100 dollar bills are vaporized. "How is this?" she asks pointing to an unoccupied pod that has most certainly fallen directly from Heaven. "That will do just fine", I say, then, "I'd kiss you, but instead how about a hug?" She laughs. I hug her. She stops laughing. The well-to-do in the pod behind me grunts at me. I make a fist and settle into my pod of contentment, the wailing and carrying-on drowned out by my euphoria.

07:45 - Take-off.

08:00 - I've got power, a desk, an ottoman and a new belief in karma. Off to work... (Are you reading this big bosses? I'm working on a plane. That has to be worth the price of business class.)

08:15 - Balance rears its ugly head when I realize that my flight arrives in Vancouver at 9:30 and leaves at 11:30. That's a two-hour layover right? Kinda right. I 'saved' three hours flying across the continent thanks to Sir Sanford Fleming and his fancy timezones. With the layover my travel time, not including the drive to the airport in the dead of night is 10 hours.

08:16 - Time to hit the "ZZZ" button on this chair (it really exists, true story) and get some sleep. [Note to self, remove this before the big bosses think you slept on the plane]

9:00 - There's a crying child somewhere and he is keeping me up. So, is this guy speaking over the public announce system. Why do pilots all talk while plugging their nose? Every one of them sounds like they have the worst head-cold in the history of aeronautics.

9:30 - Land... taxi... rush the door.

9:32 - Walk the entirety of Vancouver International Airport to get from the gate I landed at to U.S. Customs. I took so many turns I expected the minotaur to leap out.

9:47 - Wait in line with everyone else that is connecting to the U.S. while a single miserable U.S. Customs worker interrogates the would be vacationers one at a time.

10:15 - Note that line has moved 12 feet.

10:20 - A second customs official arrives, doubling the efforts to get us into the U.S.

10:40 - Reach customs and tell the young lady interrogating me why I'm going to San Diego. "Why do they have the show there?" she asks. "You've stumped me", I reply. "Why are you wearing a German soccer shirt", she asks? Thinking quickly I say, "It was one on the top of the dirty laundry pile." She waves me on.

10:50 - Pick up my bag that has been circling the carousel like a vulture for the last 45 minutes.

11:15 - Board the plane to San Diego.

11:45 - Take off.

11:50 - Work and work and work... never stop.

15:15 - Land in San Diego. Wipe the sweat off my brow and the blood from my relentlessly typing fingers. Find Phil waiting for me in the airport and trundle off to get my bag which is the fourth one off the plane! A cab is waiting and we are on our way.

16:00 - Check into hotel and remember that it's really 19:00 at home. Call home. Those of you who travel, leaving your family at home know what I mean when I say that it is a heart-wrenching experience. Your kids are crying as you drive away. Your wife is upset that your kids are crying. It's dismal. The call home makes everything better on both sides of the equation.

Now it's time to meet up with Phil and Jeff for dinner and some stories. More tomorrow!

In the meantime read a blog by a guy who actually has something to say, Chris Klug - Creative Director for Stargate Worlds as he ponies up and writes a Dev Blog just for Ten Ton Hammer readers. His first entry is titled, The Blog is a Lie!

I know you're thinking something. Share! The Loading Forums await you. Do you feel the need to contact me personally with naughty pictures or derogatory comments? Here's my E-mail.


Guiding You to the Next
[Thanks Karen Hertzberg]

Let there be no doubt; our community site teams work hard
to put out quality guides to help you get the most of your gaming
experience. And now we've got your weekly guide to the guides. Here's a
recap of the information and updates published on our community sites
last week.

Age of Conan

Lord of the Rings Online

Tabula Rasa

Vanguard: Saga of Heroes

Warhammer Online

World of Warcraft

[A big thanks to Phil Comeau for putting together the links and Real World News.]

26 new MMOG hand-crafted articles today! 240 in July! 1818 in 2008!

New MMOG Articles At Ten Ton Hammer Today

Comic-Con 2008

Exclusive Blogs from E3!

ChinaJoy 2008

Premium Content








Hot Content - Or, what I took a fancy to

  1. Stargate Worlds: Chris Klug - The Blog is a Lie!
  2. Champions Online: First Gameplay Footage
  3. Fallen Earth: New Vehicle Screens
  4. DC Universe Online: Epic Battles
  5. Warhammer Online: Inside the Realm War with Scott Stricklin
  6. Crusades: A New Sci-Fi Contender
  7. Age of Conan: Lost in Hyboria - Public Service Announcement
  8. Age of Conan: Confessions of a Forum Junkie - A Guide to Forum Safety
  9. Whittle Me This: A Launch Date Editorial
  10. KOTOR Online: A Guide to the Old Republic Jedi
  11. KOTOR Online: Star Wars Revisited and the MMOG Marketplace

Real World News

  • ...will return Thursday, because Phil is a lazy git!

Have you seen some Real World News that you think Phil can try to make funny, and fail? Send it in!

Thanks as always for visiting TenTonHammer.com.

- John "Boomjack" Hoskin and the Ten Ton Hammer Team

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Hoskin 0
Dissecting and distilling the game industry since 1994. Lover of family time, youth hockey, eSports, and the game industry in general.