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Daily Column

Loading... It's Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium for MMOGs.

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

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

  1. Age of Conan - 200 BPM
  2. World of Warcraft - 74 BPM
  3. Lord of the Rings Online - 29 BPM
  4. EverQuest 2 - 27 BPM
  5. EVE Online - 20 BPM
  6. Warhammer Online - 20 BPM
  7. Guild Wars - 18 BPM
  8. Vanguard - 18 BPM
  9. Lineage 2 - 16 BPM
  10. Tabula Rasa 12 BPM

The Top 10 has solidified, at least as far as which games hold the spots on a daily basis. Tabula Rasa is the only newcomer today, rolling into the #10 spot.

I didn't PvP much in World of Warcraft [Pulse 74]. I didn't see the point. It was fun in small doses, but doing it as the only means to an end (great equipment) at level 70 has given me a very different perspective on PvP in MMOGs in general. Yes, I could raid. I could join the Ten Ton Hammer guild on Hydraxis and experience Kara and the other equipment vendors, but I don't play enough at one time to commit to a guild. I rarely get two hours to play at a stretch. Raiding just isn't possible. That leaves PvP.

Blizzard prides themselves on getting things perfect, yet PvP is a dog's breakfast, an obvious afterthought,. The little things, the nuances that make World of Warcraft such an appealing game are overlooked in PvP which is unfortunate, as implementing it as a means to epic gear was a superb idea. It gave players with smaller windows of playing time an opportunity to gear up.

Here is an example of how battlegrounds are currently broken. As a test I played 10 games of Arathi Basin yesterday. It's a capture the node type of game where there are five nodes to control. The more nodes that you control at the same time the quicker you gain points. It takes 2000 points to win. Well, in my battleground we never started the game with more than 7 players. The problem is that it's a 15 player versus 15 player game. If you start with half as many combatants as the other team then no amount of skill or planning is going to net you a win. Players starting late are given no warning that they are joining a lost cause. Why not just wait until 15 people sign up before starting a game? Who thought that it would be a good idea to start a game where one team has 15 and the other 7? New players landing in a game that is for all intents and purposes over don't even try. They sit it out at a graveyard, dance or chat until the game is ended so that they can claim their mark, a token that can be turned in for experience or items.

Battlegrounds also give out extra points for being close to an enemy player when they die. On the surface this seems reasonable, until you understand that most battlegrounds and by most I mean all require that players stand at a node or a flag where it is unlikely that they will be in the thick of the battle. In a perfect world, players would own some modicum of strategic or tactical sense and fight at the nodes, towers, flags, etc. In the

battleground world all sense is discarded at the entry gate like chaff to the wind. Players mill about in the middle of the battlegrounds fighting each other for the Honor Kill (HK) points that come from being near an enemy when they die. In the thick of things you may get 30 or more HKs which add up to 60-100 extra points that can be spent on items. Typical bonus honor from winning is in the 150 range. We don't need to call in Scooby Doo and the mystery mach

ine to determine why people fight in enormous groups far away from any sensible location.

There are a few solutions.

  • Remove HKs. This would assuredly cause a revolt the likes of which haven't been seen since rivers of Alliance tears swept across Alterac Valley changing the landscape forever. No, this just wouldn't do.
  • Give more bonus honor for winning. This would require a revamping of the entire item purchasing system for PvP. Bad idea.
  • Give less honor for HKs. See "Remove HKs"
  • Give honor for staying at nodes to defend them or cap them. This might work, but how to best implement it? If you simply give some amount of honor per second to people huddling around nodes then that is exactly what people will do. We'll return to the days of the hippy. Sit-ins, passive protests and bell bottoms will begin to appear and things can only go badly from there.
  • What if, you gave more honor for fighting near a flag or node? It's like the axe effect, but for virtual combatants. If you draw the players to the sensible places to fight then when they are done fighting they will do the sensible thing and the victor will claim the node, flag, you get the idea.

What are your solutions to the current WoW PvP predicament? What games have done PvP right? (I hear you say Dark Age of Camelot [Pulse 5] ) Good answer now we need more. Let's solve this mystery Shaggy, Fred, Daphne and Velma. The The Loading... forums await you.

I mentioned MMOGCharts.com yesterday and like calling out Beetlejuice three times I made SirBruce appear in our forums. He has better teeth and is much more eloquent than Michael Keaton. He was kind enough to take some time away from his abacus to answer a few Ten Ton Hammer members' questions about his methodology.

Those charts showing market share, number of players, etc. are really at their core about money and so coincidentally is the current M16 Marketing Conference where Min Kim (Mabinogi [Pulse 0]and Maple Story [Pulse 2]), Daniel James (Puzzle Pirates) and other free-to-play game developers got together to tell us that free-to-play games are the future. What did anyone think that they were going to tell us. Those are the kinds of games that they create. If they don't believe in F2P then we have a bigger issue than whether micro-payments are feasible. We have developers making products that they can't justify. I'd hazard a guess that Mark Jacobs, Jack Emmert, Erling Ellingsen and Rob Pardo believe that subscription based games are the way of the future.

Here is your out of context quote to argue over,

"But, he offered, compared to a high budget game like World of Warcraft with its player base of some 10 million people: "There are 800 million teens in the world. That's not a success." " -- Craig Sherman of Gaia - Source Gamasutra

Don't forget to check out the Ten Ton Hammer Facebook page. Hook up with other fans and maybe, just maybe some of the staff.

I rambled, now it's your turn. The 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.


8 new MMOG hand-crafted articles today! 88 in April! 840 in 2008!

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- 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.