to the 1,324th
Loading... is the premier daily
MMOG news and commentary
newsletter, only from Ten Ton Hammer.
Online communities and ponds have at least one thing in common: they both need an inlet and an outlet to avoid becoming a cesspool. In our marketing crazed culture, we pay plenty attention to player population growth, but could is there such a thing as a healthy level of attrition too? Do developer communities attempt to prune their communities of the most toxic elements? Should they? That, plus new news on the Halo MMO front are under the microscope in today's Loading... Internet Pond Scum.
are today's top 5 Pulse results:
- Warhammer Online (UP 6!)
II (down 1)
(UP 6 to #7)
(down 6 to #15)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic (UP 6 to #17)
Agenda (release date)
Trek Online (release date)
2: Sentinel's Fate (expansion)
- href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/81479"> LotRO:
Oath of the
Rangers (content update)
Legends (iMMOG - release date)
2010 - 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 17: Dark Mirror
style="font-weight: bold;">Spring 2010
2010 - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/998">APB
2010 - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/2079">Final
Fantasy XIV size="-1">
style="font-weight: bold;">6/15 -
6/17 - href="http://www.e3expo.com/">E3
style="font-weight: bold;">6/25 -
6/27 - href="http://www.lfgexpo.com/">Looking
style="font-weight: bold;">7/22 -
7/25 - href="http://www.comic-con.org/">Comic-Con
style="font-weight: bold;">8/5 -
8/8 - href="http://events.station.sony.com/fanfaire/">SOE
Fan Faire 2010
style="font-weight: bold;">9/3 -
9/6 - href="http://www.dragoncon.org/">DragonCon
style="font-weight: bold;">10/22 -
10/23 - href="http://us.blizzard.com/blizzcon/?rhtml=y">BlizzCon
style="font-weight: bold;">2011: 3/24
3/26 - href="http://fanfest.eveonline.com/">CCP
Underfoot All-In-One Giveaway - 20 Copies Available!
Ton Hammer is partnering with Sony Online Entertainment to offer you a
chance to win one of twenty EverQuest® Underfoot All-In-One
Packs. For details and your free chance to win, follow the instructions
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Underfoot Giveaway page. Good
Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2 and City of Heroes This Weekend on Ten Ton
We have three guests booked for this Saturday's Ten Ton Hammer Live
podcast and they're all coming from NCsoft. Joining us will be Linsey
Murdock, lead of the Guild
Wars LIVE team, Eric
lead for Guild Wars 2,
and Melissa Bianco,
developer of City of Heroes.
This is one episode you won't want to miss. href="http://media.omfg.fm:8000/stream.mp3.m3u">Tune
in live Saturday night
at 7pm EDT or catch it in the href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/podcasts/live">Ten
Ton Hammer Live archives when it
becomes available Sunday.
Xerin, our resident IM muse here at Ten Ton Hammer, slapped me with one of his usual out-of-the-blue posers earlier this week. Im concerned about the industry, he said, not surprising me much. I steeled what was left of my general MMORPG enthusiasm for what came next. With more and more games entering the space and relatively few dying off, I mean, people have been calling the MMO market saturated for years. How much more saturated can it get?
Im on a diet from such questions, which usually make too many assumptions. Like: all MMORPGs compete directly with each other. Or that there ever could be some invisible force aside from sinking revenue that could put games out to pasture. I also dont for a moment think the massively multiplayer category is in jeopardy, but the massively multiplayer player the gamer who self-identifies as an MMORPG fan and plays just about anything that wears the tag for the social component - might be. Massively single-player games and what writer Christine Rosen called the Facebook-fueled networked individualism have taken their toll. I do have hope for the next wave of MMORPGs- that they might restore the social game to its rightful place at the forefront of MMO gameplay as this weeks D-Mail foretells.
But Xerins question got me thinking not of the macro machinations of the MMO market, but of saturation on a playerbase level. Players have, far and wide, become pitifully jaded to all new things, whether potentially good or ill. Exercise your grounded enthusiasm on just about any official or unofficial forum, and see if theres not an equal and opposite reaction in the form of the snarky comment (or maybe even a clever photoshop, if youre lucky enough to catch an industrious pecksniff between porn runs).
Which, in turn, got me thinking of the man-made pond I helped build during a summer in my mostly misspent youth. For anyone that hasnt had the pleasure, building a pond is fairly simple, but not quite as simple as digging a hole in the ground. You need a matching inlet and outlet to keep the water properly oxygenated so that the water stays reasonably clear and, in turn, something more attractive than stinking algae will grow and thrive.
MMOGs naturally gain and lose players. On the gain side of the equation, gamers love variety and, with the gravity of enlightened marketing and press efforts, will naturally flock to anything remotely interesting or different. On the loss side, its equally inevitable. New games come out that players like, new patches are released that players dont like, or real life events preclude your gaming habits temporarily or permanently. Before the free-to-play craze, the operative metric was churn rate, now its probably called retention rate.
I wish there were a metric for the rate at which an MMOG sheds dissatisfied players not the critically constructive types, but the negativity-spewing fixtures. Going further, as I make my quick bombing runs on o-boards, I sometimes find myself wishing there were marketing efforts aimed at shedding these types (maybe severance packs offering links to free trials in other games perhaps), because even if theyre paying, theyre poisonous. Left alone they become algae blooms that suck all the beauty and life out of the playerbase, or at the very least any kind of reasonable discussion on the official forums. If you joined a pickup basketball game at the neighborhood park and weren't having fun, you'd probably excuse yourself rather than bitch nonstop about bad calls, talent mismatches, and the like. In real life, you'd probably fear "accidentally" eating an elbow. But the only limit Internet sociopaths know is how far they're willing to go.
Of course the ultimate severance pack would be the so-called WoW killer, which in light of ActiBlizzard's 10-year publishing and distribution deal with Bungie Studios (who recently parted with Microsoft killer of MMOGs after the Halo MMO debacle in 1997), seems that much more possible. I don't think the majority of FPS or MMO fans are terribly excited about a Halo MMOG, but if such a beast were to spawn, it would be an excellent (if temporary) asshat magnet to clean out the scummiest of our online communities.
And if that sounds elitist, so be it. Elitist to me means that a game servers only the interest of the best or most invested players, I'm just hoping for online games which can be evaluated on its own terms, free of the taint of the permanently dissatisfied. Like it or not, the community is part of the game experience, and I feel that the communities have let down games just as often as games have let down their communities.
What's your take? What's the healthiest online game community you've been a part of? The unhealthiest? Can game developers take steps to clean out forum cesspools, or are we stuck with anyone stinkbot, so long as they're a paying customer? Have your say in the Loading... forum.
Shayalyn's Epic Thread of
From our /OOC (Off-topic) forum
Why does it burn when I pee?
somehow couldn't resist the title of this thread, which seemed epic
enough for a Friday as far as I'm concerned. Annatar posted a news
article about...well, never mind; you'll see. All I'm saying is that
the weekend approacheth and, particularly if you're in Australia, you
should probably be careful out there.
Awesome Quotes from the
Have you spotted an Epic Thread on our forums? Tell
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EQ2 Game Update 56 Preview
EverQuest II has the mother of all updates coming soon and players will
be pleased with many of the changes happening around Norrath.
Due out in May, this update goes far beyond being a patch and adds the
biggest content we've seen since Sentinel's Fate including new zones,
a graphics update, a travel revamp, and battlegrounds for all. The game
update is currently on test so Ten Ton Hammer patched up and logged in
to bring you a preview of GU 56's highlights.
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