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PvP-oriented MMOGs lived and
died by the quality of their matchmaking systems, matching players of
similar levels and abilities to ensure an even playing field. These
matchmaking systems have made their way into more PvE-friendly MMOGs,
such as LEGO Universe with their “affinity system.”
This system plugs a player, after entering a new area, into the
instance where any players from their Best Friends or Guild lists are
located. But why stop there? Can’t a matchmaking system go
further than this and be more refined? Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle delves
deeper into the possibilities in href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/loading/2010/oct/15">Loading...
Matchmaker, Matchmaker.

cellspacing="0" width="100%">


You vote with what you
view at Ten Ton Hammer, and the
is the Ten Ton Pulse ( href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/thepulse/">What
is The Pulse?).

top 5 Pulse results:

  1. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow">World
    of Warcraft
  2. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/43">EVE
    Online (UP 2)
  3. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/eq2">EverQuest 2
    (down 1)
  4. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/99">Lord
    of the Rings Online (down 1)
  5. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/115">Age
    of Conan: Hyborian Adventures 

movers today

  1. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/1234">Runes
    of Magic

    - UP 4
  2. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/starcraft2">StarCraft

    - down 3
    style="text-decoration: underline;">
  3. style="text-decoration: underline;"> href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/38">EverQuest

    UP 2
size="-1">Recent Releases
  • size="-1">7/27
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/starcraft2" target="_blank">StarCraft
    II: Wings of Liberty
  • size="-1">8/17
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/140">City
    of Heroes: Going Rogue (release)
  • size="-1">8/18
    - href="http://everquest2.com/free_to_play">EverQuest
    II Extended (release)
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">9/7
    - size="-1"> href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/aion">Aion:
    Assault on Balaurea (free
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">9/29
    - Everquest
    2 Extended

  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">9/30
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/ffxiv">Final
    Fantasy XIV (release)


  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">October
    14-15, 2010
    - Dungeons
    and Dragons
    Online: Update 7
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">October
    26, 2010
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/170">LEGO
    Universe (release)
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">October,
    - Champions
    Online: Demonflame
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">November,
    2010 - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/eve">EVE Online:
    Incursion (expansion)

  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">December
    7, 2010
    - World
    of Warcraft: Cataclysm


  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">Early 2011
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/1407">DC
    Universe Online (release)

size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">

  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">10/22 -
    10/23 - href="http://us.blizzard.com/blizzcon/?rhtml=y" target="_blank">BlizzCon
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;"> 3/24
    3/26 (2011) - href="http://fanfest.eveonline.com/" target="_blank">CCP
style="font-weight: bold;">Rift
- Ask the Devs!

Have you got a question about style="font-style: italic;">Rift:
Planes of Telera?
Well, you have a chance to ask the devs at Trion Worlds directly. Just
submit your questions href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?t=53660">in
our forums.
href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/playerscore/scoreboards"> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 580px; height: 249px;"
alt="World of Warcraft PlayerScore"

your PlayerScore?
World of
Warcraft players, find out at href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/playerscore">playerscore.com.

Loading... the original daily
contested spawn.

Contrast the newbie gibfest that was style="font-style: italic;">APB
with Global
, where even if your
shooter skills leave something to be desired, you won't be matched
outside your level range against players with über unlocks
(and there's always co-op PvE). There's little doubt that PvP games
live and die by the quality of their matchmaking systems.

But matchmaking isn't just for PvP-oriented online games anymore.
During a dev chat I attended yesterday, style="font-style: italic;">LEGO Universe
Creative Director Ryan Seabury briefly discussed the game's system for
matchmaking players by server instance. Dubbed the "affinity system",
the idea is that when entering a new area of the game, the game will
check to see if any players from your Best Friends (i.e. friend list)
or Guild (when guilds go live), are in the same area and automatically
plug you into their instance.

Such a system only works in games with the same sort of architecture as
the original style="font-style: italic;">Guild Wars
or Hero
108 Online
, where you have
high player concurrency branched into multiple instances of the same
zone. It also works best in a level-less game - style="font-style: italic;">LEGO U
has Zelda-style "heart" progression, where though you're player gains
more "hearts", looks cooler, and plays tougher, you'll never outgrow
the benefits of helping new players. But devs (particularly our friends
working on Guild
Wars 2
) have time and again
pointed out the negative social impact of ubiquitous MMO game mechanics
like contested spawns, and it's nice to see a game taking steps to
redress the co-op balance.

I know you're thinking that this is yet another Loading... where Ethec
has a nerdgasm over some simple sounding feature in some MMO, and
granted that putting you and your friends in the same place only makes
sense. And it does. But if you pull on the thread of the affinity
system a bit, you begin to see how socially transformative it could be.
What if we grouped players by demographics, by game type status, by
guild status (guilded or unguilded), or even chat preferences... not in
some draconian hardline way, but just in terms of seasoning certain
compatible types of player a little more into the mix. Or what if
players with the same unfinished group quests simply found themselves
in the same instance - a sort of passive Dungeon Finder in an overland

Ryan was the first to point out that the system runs into some
complications if you dig deep enough into social network logic, but
we're not the only ones to contend time and again that if you aren't
playing an MMORPG to tap into a like-minded community, you'll probably
be happier sticking with single-player games. Not to oversell the
concept, the promise of something like the affinity system is that
finding interesting people and potential friends online may be almost
as effortless as in the days when the Internet was young and the magic
of playing alongside players in another part of the world was reason
enough to be friendly.

What's your take on style="font-style: italic;">LEGO Universe's
affinity system? Should MMORPGs make more of an effort to play the good
host and group players by interest? Have your say in the href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?t=54164">Loading...
forum, then have yourself a
wonderful weekend.

Epic Thread of the Day

From our href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/forumdisplay.php?f=139">WoW
General Discussion forum

Small Questions That Do Not Deserve Their Own Thread

World of Warcraft patch 4.0.1 live, and Cataclysm just around the
corner, there's no doubt that WoW is evolving fast. If you haven't had
time to keep up, or you're new to the game, or you have a simple
question that needs answering...there's a thread for that. This epic
thread has a long history of helping WoW players, so step up and href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?t=20388">ask
(or answer!) questions.


Quotes from the Epic Thread

where is my addons button in the login screen?

- href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showpost.php?p=444046&postcount=572">LDIxCarcass


and Exclusive Content
Today at Ten Ton Hammer

2 new Ten Ton Hammer
features today! 53 Ten Ton
Hammer features in September! 1113 in 2010!


Hands-On with The Lord of the Rings Online Free-to-Play


But what is style="font-style: italic;">The Lord of the Rings
like for new players taking their first steps into a well-established
world and experiencing it all for the first time? There's no better
teacher than hands-on experience, so in the interests of research,
Gunky made a free-to-play account, joined one of the brand-new servers
and rolled a new toon. Get the scoop on his hands-on experience in
our LotRO hands-on.

to Level to 85: How should you do it?


is coming soon! It's time to start thinking about methods of leveling
to 85. We're going to look at the three most common and obvious
leveling paths: Questing, Instancing, and BGing. Each method has pros
and cons and, as with most things in WoW, the personal tastes of the
individual player will determine which path is best for them.Want to
sort out which path is best for you? Read on!

Top 10

  1. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow/guides/patch401-resources"> style="font-weight: bold;">World of Warcraft's
    Patch 4.0.1 Resources
  2. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/ddo/previews/update-7"> style="font-weight: bold;">Dungeons & Dragons
    Online Update 7 Hands-On
  3. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/gw2/features/previews/charr-arena-event">The
    Last Whiskey Bar - An Exclusive First Look at the Charr Arena Event in style="font-weight: bold;">Guild Wars 2
  4. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow/guides/cataclysm-pvp-gearing">Gearing
    up for WoW
    Cataclysm PvP style="font-weight: bold;">

  5. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/rift/interviews/reader-submitted-questions-part2">The
    Rift System - style="font-weight: bold;">Rift: Planes of Telara
    Reader Submitted Q&A #2 style="font-weight: bold;">

  6. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/war/interviews/carrie-gouskos-skaven-10.5.10">Skaven
    Exclusives! A style="font-weight: bold;">WAR
    Q&A with Carrie Gouskos
  7. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/main/reviews/Medal-of-Honor"> style="font-weight: bold;">Medal of Honor
  8. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/eve/guides/politics/newbie-mistakes">Top
    Ten Newbie Mistakes In style="font-weight: bold;">EVE Online
  9. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow/guides/cataclysm_druid_talents">4.0.1
    Updated Cataclysm
    Druid Talents & Moonkin Mechanics
  10. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/lotro/features/free-to-play-impressions">Hands-On
    with The
    Lord of the Rings Online


for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer network!

- Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle and the Ten
Ton Hammer

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our LEGO Universe 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.