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MMORPG news, coverage, and
commentary newsletter, only from Ten Ton Hammer.
What do you expect out of an MMOG? All tastes vary, but there is a
universal truth that everyone wants to feel like their subscription
money is worthwhile. This week we interviewed Cryptic about the endgame
in Star Trek Online to see
what carrots will be dangled for players. We
take a look at this and the theory of constant content today in
Loading... Never Gonna Stop.
With the amount of MMOGs being launched in this era I have to wonder if
developers haven't changed their goals a little bit over the years.
There was a time when any new MMOG was shooting to have long-term
membership, where players would be entertained for years at a time,
steadily paying their monthly subscription fees. Now things seem to be
a little different.
Perhaps its due to gamers' desire for instant gratification. Perhaps
it's a choice developers or publishers have made in order to get big
box sales at launch and then move on to the next game to develop.
Whatever the reason, it seems now that fewer and fewer devcos are
aiming to make products with a long lifespan. This isn't to say they
don't want their players enjoying the game, but it's interesting to
note that almost all recent launches have had a big start and rapid
exodus a month or two after launch. Some of this can be attributed to
players' tastes; sometimes it's due to a buggy launch, but more often
than anything it's due to lack of content at the endgame (or sometimes
Making a game with lasting appeal can't be that hard, can it? There are
ways to keep players interested well past the level cap. We've href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/77770">discussed
these in the past. It would seem though, that many of these tricks may
clash with the players' desire to get everything easily and quickly. I
don't think you can have both. Well, I know you can't have both. So
developers are stuck in a tough spot. They either make content that
their customers can blow through in a week and have them complain that
there's not enough to do, or they can make things more challenging and
have the players complain there's too much of a grind or it's not
Let's take a look at the upcoming Star
Trek Online. This week we spoke with Zeke Sparkes about the href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/79456"> endgame in STO.
The surprising news to many was that Zeke said he believed players
could make it to endgame in about 80 hours of played time. Yet we
needn't look much beyond the official forums to see posters feeling the
leveling is too slow. Ok... so speed up the leveling even more, and
have all the content that's been created get blasted through in a few
hours so that players can reach endgame to... what? There are only a
few endgame episodes which will be rolling out after launch. Why the
rush to get there?
This all makes me think back to another issue we discussed not too long
ago about skill vs. leveling systems. I say abolish levels all
together. If there are no levels, no one is going to complain that it's
too slow. They won't be able to complain about lack of endgame content
either, as without levels everything's endgame content, technically.
The game will last longer as at that point there's always going to be
something for players to do. Very few people want to go back to a
dungeon or quest series they didn't do once they're level capped and
the content doesn't offer experience or worthwhile loot. But if it's
always within their level range suddenly every story line, every quest,
every dungeon could potentially see a lot more use and there would be
much less wasted content and in turn less wasted development time. Keep
everyone on the same playing field and there will always be things to
do and people to meet and group with.
There are three elements that keep players coming back to enjoy any
MMOG--Immersion, Progression, and Socialization. Immersion comes from a
well developed story and world with lots to see and do. Progression
comes from always having something available that gives the player some
sort of reward for their time, which we spoke about here. And
socialization tends to happen on its own if your game can successfully
address the other two elements (though good tools are also needed). All
of this seems to be attainable; at least on paper. Maybe it's just time
that we gamers change our focus from complaining about everything to
offering clear succinct feedback as to what we're really looking for.
I, for one would like to see someone put forth the kind of effort
needed to develop a game that is meant to last by employing the simple
I love new games as much as the next but the market is already
saturated and it's frightening to think that it could potentially only
get worse from here if developers continue to focus on initial box
sales and not game longevity. Am I wrong? Let us know in the forums.
Shayalyn's Epic Thread of
From our href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/forumdisplay.php?f=664">STO
General Discussion forum
SirRobin, who got his Star Trek Online groove on via Ten Ton
Hammer's beta giveaway, posted his impressions of his beta
experience so far. Here's a snippet:
"STO feels like it has a lot of content. You hit the
sector map and see all the stuff moving about... Well, it feels
like there is and will be a lot to do. Hopefully that keeps up or, at
the least, Cryptic frequently adds more content. So kudos Cryptic, STO
does not feel content light. At least not for the Federation."
If you'd like to read SirRobin's thoughts, or share some of your own, href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?t=49002">this is
Awesome Quotes from the
"Something people have been saying is that the game gets
remarkably better once you hit level 11 and the ship diversity comes
Have you spotted an Epic Thread on our forums? href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?t=32559">Tell
New and Exclusive Content
Today at Ten Ton Hammer
9 new Ten Ton Hammer
features today! 73 in January! 73
FEATURES & GUIDES
Avoiding the Progress Trap - An MMOG
Massive pre-launch hype followed by rapidly declining post-launch
subscriptions has been a recurring cycle in the MMOG industry over the
last few years. While any number of factors may play a role, maybe we
as gamers are simply looking for a completely new type of MMOG
experience rather than a carbon copy of the same basic template thats
been endlessly recycled over the past decade. To take a closer look at
this concept, well analyze elements of what made MMOGs successful to
begin with, and how the industry can avoid falling into its own
progress trap moving forward.
Aion Ranger PvE Guide
People tend to think playing a ranged class is easy. Just point and
shoot, right? You'd be wrong when it comes to the style="font-style: italic;">Aion Ranger. They
might have some of the toughest tricks in the book to master, but the
rewards result in total dominance of all melee in the game until the
highest gear levels. You can't just auto shot your way to victory here,
you'll have more buttons than that to be the best Ranger you can be!
Champions Online : Munitions
Power Set Guide
Champions Online has a
tremendous amount of
powers for a hero to choose from. These powers are grouped together
sets based upon a theme. Your pals at Ten Ton Hammer are here to
guide to the Munitions power set, along with some thoughts on other
that can complement Munitions.
Specializing Alt Characters In EVE Online
Leveraging the spare characters on an EVE
Online account can give a
player a ton of extra mileage, for making money or running a
corporation. Ten Ton Hammer Contributing Writer, Space Junkie, shows us
how to make the best of them.
Microcosms - Issue #1: Shifting
While the 2000's were certainly the decade of the MMOG, an argument
could be made that 2009 was the year of the free-to-play and
microtransaction games. The emergence of several top notch free-to-play
titles coupled with the reinvention of a AAA title from a failing
subscription model to a thriving microtransaction has elevated the
genre to new heights.
It is with this in mind that we here at Ten Ton Hammer are proud to
bring to you a new weekly feature that will spotlight and chronicle
these games. Join Medawky as he explores new titles, revisits older
ones, and puts the microtransactions under the microscope each week in
Star Trek Online Career Guide
Star Trek Online style="font-size: 11pt; line-height: 115%;"> takes a step away from
the stereotypical fantasy
classes found in MMOGs because its like in space and stuff, but that
mean we cant find the traditional roles of tank, healer and damage
Each of the careers, Engineering, Science and Tactical correspond well
archetypical roles. Each of the careers offers specializations in
as well which really allow a player flexibility and customization.
pondering the choices? Read on for a deeper look into the STO Careers.
WoW UI mod review Sexymap
There are many map mods out there for World of Warcraft, however only
one promises to make your map sexy. That one is of course the
aptly named Sexymap mod. Byron Messiah Mudry takes a look at
this map mod to see if it truly has any sex appeal and to see what it
can do to liven up our in game map action in WoW.
World of Warcraft Profession Rewards
In World of Warcraft there
many different professions and bonuses that they provide. Which
one is best for which class though? Which bonuses will make your
character the best it can be in the end game? That is what Byron
Messiah Mudry looks at in this new guide to Profession Rewards.
WoW Weekly Report - "Ego and Class"
The Overpull is here again this week with the weekly World of Warcraft
news. We've got all of the hot news like the PPM nerf, a talk about the
lore behind the classes, and people with egos. This week's question is
all about what annoys you in WoW.
- Admirals Only -
An STO Endgame Q&A with
- Avoiding the
Progress Trap - An MMOG Retrospective
- Microcosms -
Issue #1: Shifting Paradigms
Trek Online Career Guide
- Specializing Alt
Characters In EVE Online
Trek Online Beta Journal #4 -
No Tank, Healer or DPS?
or Written in Pencil: Developers'
New Year's Resolutions
Ton Hammers Hands-On Beta Impressions
style="font-weight: bold;">Dungeons and Dragons Online: New
Character Build The Warchanter
Mission Types Interview with Exec. Producer Todd Harris
for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer
- Benjamin J. de la Durantaye
and the Ten Ton Hammer team
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Star Trek Online Game Page.