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to the 1,372nd
of Loading...

As Ten Ton Hammer's ed-in-chief, I'm supposed to be a big-picture guy, separating the winners from the losers, separating genuine shifts in the evolution of online games from fads and gimmicks. It isn't easy in today's crazy game development landscape, and sometimes I have to think out loud about where all this is going. So put on your thinking cap and join me for Loading... Liquid Lives to close out the work week. We'll take a quick look at how bona-fide social trends have impacted and will continue to impact MMOG development.



You vote with what you
view at Ten Ton Hammer, and the
is the Ten Ton Pulse (What
is The Pulse?

top 5 Pulse results this week:

  1. World
    of Warcraft
  2. EverQuest
    (UP 1)
  3. Age
    of Conan
    (UP 1)
  4. Dungeons and Dragons Online (UP 4!)
  5. EVE Online href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/88">

movers today

  1. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/306">Jumpgate Evolution

    UP 16 to #17
  2. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/287">Free Realms

    UP 7 to #16
  3. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/52">Pirates of the Burning Sea

    down 5 to #18
Recent Releases

  • July
    13, 2010
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/1801"

  • July
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/2461"
    for Speed World (release)
  • August
    17, 2010
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/140">City
    of Heroes: Going Rogue (release)
  • September
    30, 2010
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/ffxiv" target="_blank">Final
    Fantasy XIV

  • style="font-weight: bold;">October
    26, 2010
    - LEGO

  • style="font-weight: bold;">November 2, 2010
    - DC
    Universe Online


  • style="font-weight: bold;">7/22 -
    7/25 - target="_blank">Comic-Con
  • style="font-weight: bold;">8/5 -
    8/8 - href="http://events.station.sony.com/fanfaire/" target="_blank">SOE
    Fan Faire 2010
  • style="font-weight: bold;">8/18 -
    8/22 - href="http://www.gamescom-cologne.com/en/gamescom/home/index.php"
    target="_blank">Gamescom 2010
  • style="font-weight: bold;">9/3 -
    9/5 - href="http://www.paxsite.com/paxprime/index.php" target="_blank">PAX
  • style="font-weight: bold;">9/3 -
    9/6 - target="_blank">DragonCon
  • style="font-weight: bold;">10/22 -
    10/23 - href="http://us.blizzard.com/blizzcon/?rhtml=y" target="_blank">BlizzCon
  • style="font-weight: bold;"> 3/24
    3/26 (2011) - target="_blank">CCP

Loading... Daily

Sociologists have developed many a catchy term to describe the core gaming demographic, from Gen Y, Generation Next, to the Net Generation. The term I like best is Zygmunt Bauman's idea of "liquid modernity" - the idea that while life seemed solid for so much of human history (solid morals, jobs, values, family life), the increasing pace of social, political, and economic change has created a generation permanently in flux. Success is largely determined by who can bend the myriad transitions to their goals; goals such as knowledge, family, wealth, happiness, virtue, etc. that, conversely, really haven't changed much over the years.

Our liquid lives helped bring about online games. Technology aside, it's hard to imagine that such a concept would have sprung forth from an older age, when a person's entire community could be found within a 10 mile radius and that's likely the way that most people wanted it. Not to dismiss the many social and technological changes that made MMORPGs possible, but with the advent of the Internet and online games, we suddenly found ourselves playing alongside people from far off places- people that we're never likely to meet or perhaps even hear their voice or see their face. Joining up with a far-flung community of people with similar interests was a big part of the early magic of MMOGs for me, and I hope most of you had a similar experience before the so-called third generation of MMOGs made cliquish, "bring your own guild" style interaction (or lack of interaction) the norm.

Liquids have a few common properties. For one, liquids expand to fit their container. For a while, MMOGs were the largest container you could find for online gaming, then came the monetization of Facebook and (to a lesser degree, due to platform explosion) mobile games. In terms of Facebook games, you could also say that another property of liquids is that they always flow to the lowest point, but it's the weekend and I'm really trying not to be snarky.

But where is this all going? What's the next stage of social development? That's the puzzler, because if things like the Internet and MMOGs sprung out of decades of post-WW2 liquid modernity, what will spring out of the next stage, assuming the liquid phase is almost spun out? Figure that out, and you'll make awesome stock picks and have a great retirement. If we follow Bauman's progression from solid to liquid, things are heating up (figuratively speaking, at least), and the next state of matter is gas. I'm really not sure what a gaseous life is like, but it really doesn't sound good on any level. Gases are insubstantial, they float at any whim and have to be consumed or controlled to come to any good use. Not fun.

Maybe it's just a side-effect from settling down in my own personal life, but I think things are starting to become a little more solid again. Economic hard times have forced us, in many cases, to return to our roots - to perhaps new (and old) takes on foundational concepts like family and community, spirituality, etc. that have sustained people through hard times throughout history. When the trappings of prosperity fall away, we're left primarily with what we had in the first place- each other.

And to bring the discussion back to games, I think that bodes well for social games and particularly MMOGs in the future, since they do offer some solidity in a changing world. Whether you're at home, working in a strange place or abroad, or perhaps even on deployment, you can log into a community of people that enjoy many of the same things you do. In a sea of social and economic changes, online communities have always been sort of a nice island getaway.

What's your take on social trends and MMOGs? Are you leading a liquid life, and do online games and communities re-introduce some solidity? Do you think this will be more or less the case in the future? Tell us in the Loading... forum, and have a great weekend!

Ethec's Epic Thread of
the Day

From our Tavern of the Ten Ton Hammer

Getting her to play again.

Poor Darke's wife has succoumbed to the temptations of Facebook gaming. In his words: "I grow weary of wandering digital worlds alone...and I swear if I keep hearing Bejewled Blitz in the background things are going to get ugly!" He's looking for MMORPG suggestions that have a solid quotient of cuteness, competitiveness, depth, and style. What's your suggestion? Surely you can do better than, /gasp, Hello Kitty Online Adventures, or this one:


Awesome Quotes from the
Epic Thread

"Delete her facebook account and then set up a parental block to block that site for good?"

- Beerkeg

"You guys trying to get me killed?"

- Darke


and Exclusive Content
Today at Ten Ton Hammer

6 Ten Ton Hammer
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Exploring Middle-earth: Hands On with LotRO's Volume 3: Book 2

The Lord of the Rings Online will be joining the free-to-play market this fall with its Volume 3: Book 2 update and Ten Ton Hammer recently got to go hands-on with the Turbine developers and experience the new content first-hand. What did we learn? Join us as we trek through Middle-earth and find out.

Ten Ton Hammer Live Episode 14 - Pocket Legends - the World's First MMOG on the iPhone and iPad

This week on Ten Ton Hammer Live the boys are joined by the Super Best Friends over at Spacetime Studios to talk about their awesome game - Pocket Legends! The first and only MMOG for your iPhone or iPad.... and yes, it rocks. Also Jesse meets his new mortal enemy Cinco "Barnsey" Barnes.
In the news Davlen and Jesse talk about WoW and poor guest host Reuben is forced to suffer. But don't worry, we'll fill you in on all the juicy Cataclysm Beta details. All this and more, on this weeks Ten Ton Hammer Live!

Guild Wars 2: The Evolution of Death in Tyria

When the original Guild Wars was released in the spring of 2005, ArenaNet shattered many of the conventions commonly associated with core MMOG gameplay, and did so to great success. With the most recent gameplay reveal for upcoming Guild Wars 2, it seems the developer has aims to do so once again, as even the death mechanic has undergone some radical revamps since the original.


Getting Ready For Hulkageddon In EVE Online


As one of the major seasonal events in EVE Online, Hulkageddon brings opportunities for profit for some, but represents a major danger to others. In this guide, Ten Ton Hammer Contributing Writer, Space Junkie, explores some of the ways to prepare for and take advantage of Hulkageddon.

The Races of Guild Wars 2: The Asura

The Asura, a NPC race from Guild Wars: Eye of the North, will be a playable race in Guild Wars 2. This week we take a look at just exactly who are they, where are they from, and what will be their role in Guild Wars 2. Wondering how their xenophobic attitude will play out in GW2? Questions like this and more are answered in our latest article: The Races of GW2: The Asura.

EverQuest 2 Bard Sample Alternate Advancement Specs

The EverQuest II Dirge and the Troubador rock in a group or raid environment and can hold their own in solo gameplay, especially if they have a solid spec. Need help getting started on a Alternate Advancement spec for your Bard? We have interrogated all of our Bard friends and have come up with a spec that can get you onto the right path of awesomeness.

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  2. Ten Ton Hammer Live Episode 14 - Pocket Legends - the World's First Truly Mobile MMOG
  3. APB Post-Launch - An Interview With Creator David Jones
  4. Guild Wars 2: The Evolution of Death in Tyria
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  6. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/aion/interviews/elysean-council"> style="font-weight: bold;">Aion – The Divine
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  7. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/dcuo/yanagi-interview">Sock!
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  8. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/tera/video/e3-cutdown-press-demo-trailer">New
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  9. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/gw2/features/previews/humans">The
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for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer network!

- Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle and the Ten Ton Hammer Team.

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.