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

Blizzard makes a game and it's automatically considered beyond reproach. A publisher seriously fubars a promotion and Star Trek Online is tossed out with the bathwater. Does our focus on the companies making and publishing these games bias our criticism of the games themselves? Our take on the events of the week in Loading... Image is Everything.

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The Pulse

You vote with what you
view at Ten Ton Hammer, and the
is the Ten Ton Pulse ( href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/thepulse/" target="_blank">What
is The Pulse?).

are today's top 5 Pulse results over the
last week:

  1. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow">World
    of Warcraft
  2. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/eq2">EverQuest
  3. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/43">EVE
    Online (UP 3)
  4. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/ddo">Dungeons and
    Dragons Online (UP 1)
  5. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/lotro">Lord of the
    Rings Online

movers in the last 30 days

  1. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/183">Guild Wars 2 (UP 67 to #14)
  2. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/2213">Dragon Age: Origins (down 4 to #16)
  3. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/254">Aion
    (down 3 to #10)
size="-1">Recent Releases
  • size="-1">12/1
    - href="http://www.lotro.com/gameinfo/464-answer-the-call-of-war">LotRO:
    Siege of Mirkwood (expansion)
  • size="-1">12/1
    - href="http://www.eveonline.com/Dominion/">EVE
    Online: Dominion
  • size="-1">12/15
    - href="http://everquest.station.sony.com/everquest.vm">EverQuest:
    Underfoot (expansion) 
  • size="-1">2/1
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/926">Global
    (release date)
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">2/1
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/1004">Mortal
    Online (release date)
  • size="-1">2/2 size="-1">
    - Star
    Trek Online

    (release date)
  • size="-1">2/16
    - href="http://everquest2.station.sony.com/expansions/sentinelsfate/index.vm">EverQuest
    2: Sentinel's Fate (expansion)
  • size="-1">2/16
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/81479"> LotRO:
    Oath of the
    Rangers (content update)


  • size="-1">March

    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/998">APB
  • size="-1">April

    - href="http://www.cityofheroes.com/news/game_updates/issue_17/issue_17_overview.html?utm_source=COHemail&utm_medium=US&utm_campaign=banner">City
    of Heroes: Issue href="http://www.cityofheroes.com/news/game_updates/issue_17/issue_17_overview.html?utm_source=COHemail&utm_medium=US&utm_campaign=banner">17
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">Spring 2010
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/1801">Mytheon
  • size="-1">TBA

    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/2079">Final
    Fantasy XIV

  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">Spring 2011
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/swtor">Star Wars:
    The Old
    Republic size="-1">


  • size="-1">3/9
    - 3/13

    - Game
    Conference 2010
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">3/26 - 3/28
    - href="http://www.paxsite.com/paxeast/index.php">PAX
    East 2010

Loading... Daily

Gameplay is nothing, developer and publisher image is everything, obey the image.

This hideous co-opting of the sometime Sprite motto is brought to you by gaming communities worldwide, and nowhere is it more evident than with the Atari marketing fiasco. Discountgate couldn't have come at a worse time for Star Trek Online, as it's the week for those ever-so-telling one month subscription renewals.

But as Medeor aptly points out in today's Captain's Blog, none of this needs affect your enjoyment of the game itself. Without excusing Atari's pitfall (sorry), you do business with companies with dubious business practices every day. You eat vegetables picked by exploited workers, you wear clothing produced in sweatshops, you eat hamburgers made from cattle fattened up and slaughtered in grotesque ways, and, most painfully of all, you may or may not have required the services of a traffic court lawyer.

I have too, and no matter how socially conscious you are, you're going to violate your own principles someway, somehow. Modern society is just too interconnected to allow for total innocence. And as the circles of marketing hell go, this particular violation is in the breezy upper reaches, especially since Atari and Cryptic are backing their agreements in the end.

Second verse, the opposite of the first. I was one of the lucky (if misplaced) few who find themselves in the StarCraft 2 beta, despite playing the original StarCraft very little. If you as a complete newb are envying me, perish the thought, because I've faced an unremitting string of legendary ass-kickings in SC2. And what's more: I can say so because there's no NDA. (And I do exactly that in my sidebar of the premium "StarCraft 2 Multiplayer First Impressions" piece that will be out later today for Premium Members and next week for the public).

To bring it back to my point of how most gamers' enjoyment of any given game is super-saturated with their image of the development company, its pretty apparent to me that Blizzard can do no wrong. If the mech-like Thor is bulky, expensive, and a magnet for focused enemy fire, I'm not deploying it or supporting it correctly. If missile turrets seem too fragile, I haven't built enough. If zerg air units seem overpowered, I haven't built enough mobile anti-air.

In the community's eyes, Blizzard is faultless, but to their immense credit, being their own harshest critics, the big B continues to tweak the game. If you fail, you just don't know how to play their game. In my case, that's in 9 out of 10 cases true, but if it were another developer, I don't think the playerbase would be so forgiving.

And if I were to criticize the bigger picture, such as the standard starting locations and hard unit caps and other aspects of the game that make it highly formulaic (at least in the early going) and thus rewarding to veteran players, I would be castigated for suggesting that Blizzard should imbalance a carefully balanced and matchmade masterpiece for the sake of newbs who should know better or not play at all.

Having met a number of Blizzard folks, I can say that they're human (at least their handshake is real enough) and presumably fallible. But Blizzard has three luxuries that only a handful of other development companies have: time to polish a product to absolute brilliance, loads of money (which is the same as time), and the respect and confidence of their playerbase (which is the same as money). Cryptic's team might be just as talented, and I think in many cases they are, but their products just don't have the kind of advantages that Blizzard titles can expect. The shame of it is that Blizzard games don't need those advantages to sell well on their own merits.

But what say you? Do we focus too much on the companies making and publishing these games rather than the game itself? Is this a fallacy that Ten Ton Hammer has helped player communities fall into? Share your thoughts in the Loading…

Shayalyn's Epic Thread of
the Day

From our Final Fantasy XIV General Discussion

Beta date announced at Vana'Fest 2010

I'm sometimes baffled by the things our community doesn't talk much about, and Final Fantasy XIV
is one of those things. I personally know several gamers who are Final
Fantasy junkies, and I also know several folks who are excited about
the game, but as a whole Final Fantasy XIV fever hasn't quite hit the
Ten Ton Hammer crowd. Yet. Perhaps the reason is simply that the game
still seems a way off. But...that's changing.

Ralsu (one of the aforementioned Final Fantasy junkies) posted a thread about the announcement
that FFXIV is entering its alpha testing stage, and that loyal Final
Fantasy XI players will be among the first to get the opportunity to
see the upcoming MMOG up close and personal. Does that pique your
interest? Want to learn more? Head on over!


Awesome Quotes from the
Epic Thread

"...start camping your inbox on March 1. "

- Ralsu


Have you spotted an Epic Thread on our forums? Tell

New and Exclusive Content
Today at Ten Ton Hammer

4 new Ten Ton Hammer
features today! 27 in March! 257
in 2010!


Aion Update 1.9 Interview with NCsoft
has been trickling in on Aion's upcoming update 1.9 that is geared to
impress a waning playerbase. While information has been smuggled out by
brave NCsoft CMs, Ten Ton Hammer took a more traditional approach and
snagged an interview with Aion Producer Chris Hager to find out more
about what update 1.9 will bring. Check out details on already
announced features and learn about a few new features that will give
hopeful players something to look forward to.


EVE Online Guide - Flying The Omen
isn't easy for newbies in EVE Online, which is why they need to form
fleets of high-damage ships like the Omen, an Amarr cruiser that
specializes in lasers. Space Junkie shows new players a fun way to fit
omens for PvP, and explains their basic uses in his latest guide.

Global Agenda Patch 1.1 Overview
Agenda Patch 1.1, the first major overhaul of the system since launch,
is live and brings new features to the table that everyone can
appreciate. We bring you the lowdown on the big changes.

Star Trek Online: Captain's Blog - Marketing Mayhem
has not been a good week for Cryptic and Atari. After offering a
discount on StarTrek Online plus 60 days of additional gametime, the
founding customers of the game lost their collective minds. The forums
boiled over and don't appear to be simmering down yet. With the wounds
still fresh, Medeor starts adding some salt. Crytpic and Atari should
feel the wrath of the player base to a degree commensurate with the
misdeed. The fervor on the forums has taken it to a whole new level
though. Maybe there should be a group hug. Maybe not.

Hottest Articles and Guides

  1. Aion Update 1.9 Interview with NCsoft
  2. CCP Interview About EVE Online's
    Tyrannis Expansion
  3. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/81501">An

    with Video Game
    Composer Matt
  4. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/81640">Aika
    Class Interview Series Part
    2 - The Cleric
  5. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/sto/captains_blog_5">Star Trek Online: Captain's Blog - Marketing Mayhem
  6. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/81640">Global Agenda Patch 1.1 Overview
  7. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/eve/guides/ships/omen">EVE Online Guide - Flying The Omen

  8. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/eve/guides/combat/calling_targets">Calling
    Targets As A Newbie Fleet Commander In style="font-weight: bold;">
    EVE Online
  9. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/81551"> style="font-weight: bold;">EQ2 "Digging
    in the
    Dirt" Heritage
    Quest Guide
  10. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/81479">A
    Sneak Peek at href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/81479">LotRO href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/81479"> Volume
    3 Book
  11. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/81345">A
    New Dawn with
    & Heroes -
    with Tim Schubert style="font-weight: bold;">

for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer
Have a great weekend!

- Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle
and the
Ten Ton Hammer team

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Star Trek Online 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.