Welcome to the 1,122nd Edition of Loading...

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

Talents, appearance, gender, faction... just about every core decision a player makes can be swapped out at will (for a small fee) these days. It's just one more way MMOs are becoming increasingly commercialized, but what's the long term effect on players and games. We'll discuss character appearance and stats as you like it when you like it in today's Loading... No Sacred Cows.

Coyote 's daily column explores all things geek with Coyote's trademark wit in It's All Geek to Me. Read it daily at Ten Ton Hammer! Today's topic: Okay... these women just HAVE to go... (three female parts that sci-fi shows should part with)

The Pulse

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

Here's today's top 5 Pulse results for today:

  1. World of Warcraft
  2. Champions Online (UP 6)
  3. Aion (down 1)
  4. Age of Conan
  5. EverQuest 2

Biggest Movers in the past 7 days :

  1. All Points Bulletin (UP 16 to #18)
  2. Champions Online (UP 4 to #6)
  3. Vanguard: Saga of Heroes (down 1 to #8)
Recent MMO Releases

Important Dates

Upcoming Releases

Loading... Daily

One of my least favorite MMO trends is that today, it seems like any core decision can be changed at any time. The latest WoW controversy, as you can see in today's epic thread, is that WoW players will soon be able to change faction from Horde to Alliance or vice versa. EverQuest 2 has always offered a similar "service" - a betrayal quest that occurs in-game, i.e. not a monetary transaction. Blizzard might make a lot of money, but they also have sky-high stockholder expectations to deal with at this point. Nonetheless I really don't like this West Side Story approach to monetizing game design ( ♪ "Everything's free in Azeroth, for a small fee in Azeroth." ♫ )

EverQuest 2 and WoW offer gender swapping, and the EQ2 "Norrathian Witness Protection Program" potion that makes the change is one of the hottest sellers in the Station Cash store. In just about every MMO except WoW and AoC you can change your appearance without changing the gear that gives you stats. The ability to re-spec your talent and AA choices used to be expensive if even available, now its almost a weekly activity. I can't help but think that the more picky-choosey we are with our characters, the less we identify with these characters on their own merits. Instead of enjoying a character's strengths and weaknesses, as we would with a character in a good story, we become like a spoiled angry little girl playing with her Barbie dolls, upset that Mattel didn't make Ken's horse an Arabian.

Personally I've never really felt an impulse to change anything about my characters, unless something like a talent revamp changed things under my feet. That's not to say that I make perfect decisions, but moreso that I'm not really willing to waste such incredible mental effort on constantly second-guessing myself in a game. If that means I'll never get server firsts or be in a top raiding guild, so be it. My gaming roots are like those of corn, they grow wide, but not especially deep. And I think I'm in the majority.

But as games grow and the marketing pressure mounts to give gamers what they ostensibly want ("for a small fee in Azeroth"), we'll only see more of this. And that makes me sad. Maybe we should rename the category RCGs - role choosing games, since to look at some of the latest talking points you'd think that players spend more time and energy getting every detail of their character just how they like it than actually playing the game.

Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts in the Loading... forum, or as always feel free to email me.

Shayalyn's Epic Thread of the Day

From our WoW: General Discussion forum

Has the shark been jumped?

Well, it was a good game while it lasted...

On June 29th Nethaera posted a bombshell on the World of Warcraft official forums:

We wanted to give everyone a very early heads-up
that, in response to player requests, we’re developing a new service
for World of Warcraft that will allow players to change their faction
from Alliance to Horde or Horde to Alliance.

responses on the WoW forum have ranged from "Awesome!" to "Z0MG, WTF?!"
and the debate has raged on for over 300 pages.

Now we're discussing the topic on our own WoW general forum.
LiquidAppo wants to know what the faction change announcement means for
WoW. Is it an act of desperation? Has WoW finally jumped the shark and
taken the turn down that dark and lonely lane toward Has Been Road?
(Yeah, I mixed a metaphor. Deal with it.)

We want your opinions, so post them!

Awesome Quotes from the Epic Thread

then, I can see it now! Weeds blowing in the wind in front of
Stormwind, rabid fungi growing amongst the sacred groves of Darnassus,
Ironforge will become nothing more than a hollowed out mountain, and as
for the Exodus? Nothing more than a shrine to a once prosperous race.

the camera pans over the front of Orgrimmar and...wait! Whats this?
That has GOT to be one of the BIGGEST parties I have ever seen! The
entire server has rerolled Horde and are now partying away out the
front of Orgrimmar!

- Beerkeg

Have you spotted an Epic Thread on our forums? Tell us!

4 new Ten Ton Hammer articles today! 47 in July! 812 in 2009!

New MMOG Articles At Ten Ton Hammer Today

Exclusive Articles:

  • Aion Class Guide - The Sorceror
    The next Aion beta weekend event is fast approaching and players need to be prepared when it's time for them to choose their path of ascension. Join Dalmarus as he breaks down the ins and outs of the Sorcerer in this Aion class guide.
  • Champions Online PvP Event Highlights Video
    In part one of this series, we learned a little bit about where Champions Online is in the development process, plus saw Nemesis character creation and the first Nemesis showdown instance. For this second video, Champions Online Executive Producer and Design Director Bill Roper takes us on a tour de force of the game's PvP facets, including dueling, UTC, BASH, and an "Apocalypse" Stronghold instance where Champions train for world-ending scenarios. You'll also see the newest pumped-up PvP trailer for Champions Online.
  • World of Warcraft - The Ultimate Guide to Ulduar's Flame Leviathan
    World of Warcraft's Ulduar was introduced in Patch 3.1. This new dungeon found in the heights of Storm Peaks offers end game players a large new raid zone with lots of bosses, and tons of loot. Would-be raiders, beware! This instance is not for the feint of heart. Blizzard stepped up the challenge meter a notch or dozen with this one, and many of the new fights can be tough. But we've got your back. Join us on a trip to Ulduar, first stop - Flame Leviathan. Here we discuss the Flame Leviathan strategy, its loot, how to attain the various achievements from the encounter, and a video to help you along. Everything you'll need to defeat the first encounter of Ulduar is included!
  • World of Warcraft Concepts - Diminishing Returns
    In our latest WoW editorial, Stow takes a look at what makes those disables balanced. Well, maybe not balanced, how about what keeps them from ruining this game. Diminishing Returns is present in all aspects of combat in this game, both defensive and offensive. From stun lock to spell lock, here's what you need to know about Diminishing Returns!

Other Goodies:

  • Jumpgate Evolution - Quantar Nation Images
    The team behind Jumpgate Evolution released two major announcements recently. First up is the playable race called the Quantar Nation. The JGE Galactic Database has been updated with information about the culture of Quantar and how the Nation's philosophical beliefs bind it together through various Paths, and how the Nation has changed since the days of the Shift - adapting their ways and living amongst the stars and asteroids to aspire to a new sort of existence. Secondly, the JGE team provided details on the first regions of space Quantar pilots will encounter, which consists of five unique sectors each with their own enemies, threat levels and history. The Galactic Database contains the full story with an update to the factions entry and a new entry on the Quantar. Meanwhile, Ten Ton Hammer has scooped up the latest images to accompany all of this exciting news.


Hottest Content:

  1. Champions
    VIP Interview - Cryptic Bucks, PvP, and More
  2. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/70988">Aion href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/70988">Class
    Interview - The Spiritmaster
  3. EVE
    Sins of a Solar Spymaster #19: Hacking in New
    Eden - Myth and Reality
  4. A
    Beginners Guide to Crafting in Aion
  5. Age
    of Conan
    2009 Update Tour, Part One
  6. An
    Intro to All Points Bulletin (APB) with
    Chris "Ulric" Dye
  7. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/70855">Aion href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/70855"> Flight Facts
  8. Champions
    Power Set Interview - Dual Blades, Single Blade,
    Fighting Claws and Unarmed
  9. 38
    Developer Discusses Level vs. Skill
  10. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow/guides/classes/warrior/raidgear">World
    of Warcraft
    - Comparing Raid Gear

Real World News - We couldn't make this stuff up if we tried:

Thanks for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer network!

-Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle and 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.