to the 1,308th
of Loading...

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

McDonald's, WoW, and Facebook games... can Ethec take on all three in a single Loading... and survive? He can try! Thoughts on the current "mutations" in the evolution of social games today, and whether these games represent true progress towards more fun games, in today's Loading... McMMOGs!


The Pulse

You vote with what you
view at Ten Ton Hammer, and the
is the Ten Ton Pulse ( target="_blank">What
is The Pulse?).

are today's top 5 Pulse results:

  1. World
    of Warcraft
  2. Age
    of Conan
    (UP 1)
  3. Dungeons
    & Dragons Online
    (UP 2)
  4. EverQuest
  5. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/43">EVE
    Online (UP 1)

movers this week

  1. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/38">EverQuest
    (UP 8 to #9)
  2. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/34">City of Heroes (UP 8 to #19)
  3. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/926">Global Agenda (UP 4 to #18)
Recent Releases



  • 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 17: Dark Mirror
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Spring 2010 - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/1801">Mytheon
  • Summer
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/998">APB
  • TBA
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/2079">Final
    Fantasy XIV

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


  • style="font-weight: bold;">4/17 - 4/18 - href="http://www.ankama-convention.com/en">Ankama
    Convention #5
  • style="font-weight: bold;">6/15 -
    6/17 - E3
  • style="font-weight: bold;">6/25 -
    6/27 - Looking
    for Group
  • style="font-weight: bold;">7/22 - 7/25 - href="http://www.comic-con.org/">Comic-Con International
  • 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 - DragonCon
  • style="font-weight: bold;">10/22 -
    10/23 - href="http://us.blizzard.com/blizzcon/?rhtml=y">BlizzCon

Congrats to the Star Trek Online Season One Giveaway Winners!

These members won some awesome prizes with the Star Trek Online Season One giveaway. You could be a winner too in the next Ten Ton Hammer giveaway, so watch for it!

  • Grand Prize Winner: Bitter Beard
    • Killer Xeno Pro NIC, Star Trek Online Collector's Edition with a 6 month subscription
  • First Prize Winner: MissMacLeod
    • Killer Xeno Pro NIC, Star Trek Online Collector's Edition
  • Second Prize Winners:
    Ranger081, Fatemaster, Malthol
    • Killer Xeno Pro NIC, Star Trek Online Digital Deluxe Edition
  • Third Prize Winners: Raizer, Popalx,
    Ohm, Radic202,
    liontooth, jlAristotle,
    • Star Trek Online Digital Deluxe Edition

Loading... Daily

At the Fallen Earth meet-up at PAX East 2010, I wondered out-loud why Lee Hammock wasn't present. Mr. Hammock was long a staple of the Fallen Earth away team, and the Fallen Earth folks simply exchanged a look and replied that he didn't make the trip.

Now we know why. That Lead Game Designer Lee Hammock is leaving the Fallen Earth team is a bombshell announcement for the innovative young developer. Fallen Earth is in many respects Mr. Hammock's brain child, and it's far from an abject failure, so it must have taken quite an offer for him to leave. As it turns out, it did, and Ten Ton Hammer's Reuben "Sardu" Waters is getting the scoop even now at Triangle Games Conference in Raleigh, NC. Look for more tomorrow.

Ten Ton Hammer has a definite soft spot for indies(self-published and distributed, like Fallen Earth) and quasi-indies (games with distribution agreements if not publishing deals) - these being the risk-taking, innovative core of the MMO genre, perhaps of social games in general. Games like WoW... check that, WoW... is a lot like McDonald's - it's convenient, it's a known product - you know exactly what you're going to get, and there are plenty of rotating happy meal toys to keep the little ones mesmerized. Plenty of folks eat at McDonald's and find other eating establishments objectionable, mostly based on price and value. McDonald's fulfills the urge - if you were somehow marooned on an island with access to a magical drive thru window and a lifetime supply of Arch Cards, you'd be content in the hunger category, if not exactly blissful. In short, McDonald's is the opiate of the hungry motoring masses, much like WoW is the somnolent of today's MMO hordes.

But that's changing. Many of you felt that Mattlow's editorial on Facebook as a potential or actual WoW-slayer compared apples to oranges. I don't profess to know exactly what is going on in Mattlow's head, but I think I know what he was driving at: the urge that used to drive people to play Ultima Online or EverQuest or Dark Age of Camelot or (most recently) WoW is the same one that is driving people today to play Mafia Wars and Farmville. It's simply the next stage (or, better yet, mutation) in the evolution of social games, an evolution that hasn't been going on long enough to efficiently weed out bad ideas in favor of good ones. As Xerin pointed out in the comments, there's nothing new about the gameplay - these games closely resemble BBS games from the very early days of the PC. The magic is nothing more than their rote simplicity, coupled with the universal, no-install accessibility and social synergy offered by the Facebook platform.

But like WoW, like McDonald's, we should be asking whether Facebook games are a healthy step forward. Three thousand Loadings... ago, in the early days of WoW, we noted a shift in how players interact. WoW came to be known to some as the anti-community MMO - indeed as the anti-MMO - since most players started bringing their own cliques into the game rather than meeting new friends online. "Pick-up group" came to have a negative connotation, since WoW's accessibility seemed to mean a never-ending supply of greedy softheads. So we huddled up, and you were unlikely to spend much time in-game with anyone who wasn't, at the very least, a friend of a friend.

Facebook takes that concept a step further. You're not even really talking or interacting with other players except to advertise the game to them through achievements, invites, and codes. These games deal in massive volume, so what used to be a rich (if imperfect) social experience, has devolved into an Amway sales contest. And, worse, how much time you're playing these fundamentally brainless games is out there for all your faux friends (and maybe even your future employers) to see. The end result is that you're going to be careful who you friend, and what was once a wonderfully inclusive web community will, over time, become more clique-ish and exclusive.

And if that's the next step in social games, count me out. I'd much rather see tomorrow's MMORPGs expand on the social ideals of yesterday's titles, become more of an escape from real life than a component of it, than chase the faceless scoreboard-driven pissing contest that is Facebook gaming.

Agree? Disagree? We've presented two sides of the issue today and yesterday, which argument do you find more convincing? Your opinion is welcome in the Loading... forum!

Shayalyn's Epic Thread of
the Day

From our /OOC (Off-topic) forum

Nikola Tesla would be proud

video find is electrifying--literally. If you thought you had problems
with static electricity in the winter, then you really have to see
this. It definitely goes a step beyond getting zapped when you touch a
metal doorknob.

Okay, so it's really not static electricity; if you want science, Wikipedia knows things. I prefer to watch the amazing video.


Awesome Quotes from the
Epic Thread

"In Soviet Russia, YOU zap LIGHTNING!"

- Beerkeg

Have you spotted an Epic Thread on our forums? Tell

and Exclusive Content
Today at Ten Ton Hammer

8 new Ten Ton Hammer
today! 38 in April! 397
in 2010!


Final Fantasy XIV - Escaping the Shadow of XI

analyze the problems and successes of the game and ask the key
question; how can Final Fantasy XIV attract the crowd jaded by Final
Fantasy XI?

MMOG Mulligan - Alganon Attempts a Second Launch

saying that you never get a second chance to make a first impression is
rarely more accurate than when it pertains to online
gaming. However, Alganon hopes to break that mold with a planned
re-launching of their game later this month. Can the game be saved from
it's admittedly premature launch? Will new leadership right this ship
before it capsizes completely? Join Ten Ton Hammer's own Jason
"Medawky" Bolton as he takes a second look at the game. While it is too
soon to tell what the proposed changes may do for the future of the
game, there are some interesting signs of life already present.


New DDO Screenshots and Trailer Offer a Look at Update 4

and Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited launched its fourth major update
today, which introduces new items and Sentinels and a brand new
Adventure Pack complete with zombie pirates. The only thing better
than zombies is when those zombies are pirates. Turbine has sent us a
few new screenshots of the update to show some of the newest content
and our new flesh eating pirate overlords.


An Introduction To Tackling In EVE Online

is critical PvP skill for veterans in EVE Online, but is accessible to
new players within hours of starting the game. Space Junkie explains
the fundamentals of tackling in this guide.

EQ2 Fighter Alternate Advancement Updates

II's Alternate Advancements are your chance to mold your character to
how you play. Making a wrong choice won't ruin your fun but not taking
the time to choose wisely can diminish the playability of any class. To
assist you in your research, Ten Ton Hammer has updated its fighter AA
info to reflect recent changes and to add both the Shadows and
Sentinel's Fate new abilities.

Starcraft II - New Economy Features and Basics

a new game in the groundbreaking series of Starcraft comes new
concepts, and that goes for the economy of the game as well. No longer
will you be able to just make Drones and Hydralisks and steamroll your
opponent effortlessly; you'll have to use each race's new
macromanagement ability to its fullest to compete and excel in Starcaft
II! We break down the pluses, and potential minuses of each in our
latest article on Blizzard's upcoming hit!

WoW: Blood Elves in Cataclysm - Loremaster's Corner

week's Loremaster's Corner, our World of Warcraft lore column, has a
look at Blood Elves and what role they could be playing in Cataclysm.
What will they do with their lands clear of evil, the Sunwell
reignited, and their heavy affiliation with the nefarious Forsaken?
Find out in this week's Loremaster's Corner.

WoW: Party and Raid Buffs – A Primer

time World of Warcraft raiders already understand how important raid
buffs are, but fresh 80s or new group leaders may not. That’s
where this guide steps in providing a list of the basic buffs required
when running instances and raids.

Hottest Articles, Guides, and Features

  1. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/features/everquest/nostalgia">Awakened
    Nostalgia - EverQuest Relived
  2. Final Fantasy XIV - Escaping the Shadow of XI
  3. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/pocketlegends/spacetimestudiosinterview">Pocket
    MMMOG for the IPhone - A Q&A with Spacetime
  4. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/facebookthewowkiller">Is Facebook
    the WoW Slayer?
  5. MMOG Mulligan - Alganon Attempts a Second Launch
  6. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow/uimods/reviews/xperl">WoW:
    U.I. Mod Review - X-Perl
  7. Free-to-Play
    MMOGs: Microcosms - Nobody's Fool
  8. PoxNora
    Q&A with Tony "RadarX" Jones
  9. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/paxeast2010/apb_impressions">PAX
    East 2010 - Hands-On with href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/paxeast2010/apb_impressions">All
    Points Bulletin
  10. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/paxe10/coh/bianco_goingrogue">City
    of Heroes
    Praetoria Q&A with Senior Designer Melissa Bianco

for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer network!

- Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle
the Ten Ton Hammer team

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our World of Warcraft 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.