Welcome to the 1,073rd Edition of Loading...

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

Though it's still early, we've seen something of a buzz over Runic Games action-RPG styled Torchlight, the spiritual successor to Mythos (which met an uncertain fate under Hanbitsoft when Flagship folded). In the first in-depth interview we've seen, Max Schaefer reveals Runic's overarching plan for the game - that it will be released as a single player game first, followed by a "true MMO" more than 18 months later. We'll read between the lines of this interesting interview to discover what amounts to a financing scheme that may work for gamers and the game developer alike. That plus EVE correspondent The Mittani spins an incredible tale on the power of email and the convenient interpretation of facts in his latest Sins of a Solar Spymaster column, an exclusive Perfect World Intl. dev diary explores the Genie system, and we have Ten Ton Hammer guides galore in Loading... Operation Torchlight!

Need more newsletter? Play World of Warcraft? Jay "Medeor" Johnson's weekly WoW newsletter "The Overpull" comes out every Tuesday and keeps you entertained and informed on all the latest developments in WoW. Sign up!

The Pulse

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

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

  1. World of Warcraft
  2. EverQuest 2
  3. Age of Conan
  4. Warhammer Online
  5. Vanguard: Saga of Heroes

Biggest Movers in the Top 20 today :

  1. Ultima Online (down 3 to #16)
  2. Star Wars Galaxies (down 2 to #9)
  3. Lego Universe (UP 2 to #13)

Loading... Daily

Plenty of ex-Flagship fans and hopefuls were shocked and disturbed when Hanbitsoft made like Miyazaki and spirited away the Mythos license to development at San Francisco-based Redbana, from whom we haven't had a peep aside from an assortment of high level job postings. Yet Runic Games, crewed largely with castaways from the Flagship's sinking, knew a good thing when they developed it, and are incorporating the Dungeon Siege / Diablo action-RPG styling into their marquee project, Torchlight.

The first real interview on Torchlight was posted yesterday at Gamasutra, and it's clear that Runic isn't stopping the innovation train at gameplay unique to MMOs. Chief among Torchlight's eyebrow-knitting notions is that the game will be released as a single-player game more than 18 months before the full MMO is released. Add another year to that 18 months and you'd have the same timeframe between when Warcraft 3 and WoW was launched. Unlike Torchlight's setup, were separate games, so we'll graciously spot Blizz a year and note that it took WoW much longer than 18 months to get out the door. But, in any case, why shouldn't another game developer imitate WoW for a change?

But I have three admittedly early objections to an 18 month MMO incubation period. One: though I have no psychological studies to back this, I'll assert that most of your gameplay habits are formed within, say, a year of launch. By the time any kind of overarching multiplayer comes along, will people be willing to relearn the game? Is such a move more likely to enhance or ruin their initial experience?

Two, I can count on one hand the number of single player games that have kept my interest for 18 months. It's not impossible, and goodness knows that if there's any gaming genre that's produced a disproportionate number of classics, it's the isometric-perspective action-RPG (in addition to the two mentioned above, I'd toss Neverwinter Nights and Dawn of War into that category). And three, the end product sounds more like a multiplayer or heavily instanced dungeon crawler than a persistent world-based MMO. That's completely fine, but I'd like to hear more about what will Torchlight a "true MMO" rather than a lobby-instance style game, and a free-to-play microtransactions model alone doesn't count. The tenor of this interview is eerily reminiscent of those during another game's concept phase. That particular game tried to tack a revenue model onto a hub-and-instance game and call it an MMO, but hopefully Runic's ex-Flagship designers learned a lesson or two from Hellgate: London. But that's for another interview.

This interview with Max Schaefer , while enthusiastic, wide-reaching, and as in-depth as promised, has more lurking in between the lines than in the words, quips, and quotes. I admire any developer of quality games that attempts to make money in new (and ethical) ways, but the single player side of the game sounds more like a hedge against the potentially mammoth costs of developing an MMO. Should it flop: show's over, and at least you have yourself a single-player game to show for it. If it succeeds, you have a huge revenue influx to propel MMO development forward. It's brilliant, actually, and I'm surprised that the games business-oriented Gamasutra folks didn't run with that angle.

Looking forward to Torchlight? What did you think of this interview?You have the ball in the Loading... forum, or send me an email!

Shayalyn's Epic Thread of the Day

From our Jumpgate Evolution Forum

Constant whining on the official forums

Ten Ton Hammer forum has seen its share of whiners, particularly
whenever there's an influx of members surrounding the release of a new
MMOG. But when it comes to serious bitching and moaning of the epic
variety,  not even Ten Ton Hammer can hold a candle to an official

And that's precisely what AngryBeaver is cheesed off about in this thread in our Jumpgate Evolution forum:

"My questions are: if these people hate JGE so much, why do they stay on
the forums to complain about it? Why not just go and find a game they
do like?" the Beav says. "What they are doing would be like me going to the EverQuest II
forums and complaining about how it's not like WoW when I could and
should just go and play WoW."

you've got something to say about whiners, or you just like the irony
of complaining about people who complain, head over to our Jumpgate
Evolution forum to discuss it.

Awesome Quote from the Epic Thread

" I don't get it either but it could be worse. You ever read the Darkfall [official] forums? It makes me appreciate the community we have here. "

- kageyfna

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

7 new MMOG hand-crafted articles today! 15 in May! 542 in 2009!

New MMOG Articles At Ten Ton Hammer Today [Thanks Phil Comeau for links and Real World News]

  • EVE Online: Sins of a Solar Spymaster #10 - Bastard's Bluff
    Play time's over, and now it's time to get to the nitty-gritty. For the last few weeks, The Mittani has been "playing nice" and showing everyone the softer, albeit still warfare-laden, side of EVE Online. No more. For this week's column, The Mittani gives a detailed account on how a simple exchange of threatening emails convinced an invading entity to stop attacking a Goonswarm-friendly alliance. The twist in the story comes at the end, so keep your eyes peeled!
  • Perfect World Dev Diary #2 - The Genie System
    Last week, Ten Ton Hammer published a brief Perfect World International developer diary that recapped the events of the last few months and teased players with a glimpse of the Genie System. In the second part of our developer diary series, the PWI folks open the treasure chest and give us a glimpse at these brightly-bloomed floating entities.
  • geeked: Mr. Bakula, this one's for you

    Ten Ton Hammer's very own satirical webcomic on all things geek-related is here with all the anticipation of a Beverly Hills 90210 convention's panel day. Star Trek's newest movie is due out in just a few more days, and the lads of Geeked are starting to get worked up.
    Be sure to catch up on any issues of Geeked you've missed by visiting our Comics Portal. Don't forget to rate your favorites while you're at it!
  • How LEGO Universe can match the success of Free Realms
    With Free Realms taking over his household, Danny "Ralsu" Gourley had almost forgotten that NetDevil is hard at work on a LEGO MMO titled LEGO Universe. The building block dynamic has mass market appeal, but SOE's game has a lengthy head start. Ralsu examines some ways NetDevil can succeed by employing the same strategies used by SOE.
  • World of Warcraft: Selecting Talents for the Shaman

    We have recently updated our Talent guide for the Shaman in WoW. The new information contains the changes made to the Shaman with patch 3.1
  • World of Warcraft: Selecting Talents for the Rogue

    We have recently updated our Talent guide for the Rogue in WoW. The new information contains the changes made to the Rogue with patch 3.1 and includes all three schools.
  • World of Warcraft: A Survival Guide for PUGs!

    There are not many phrases in the gaming vernacular that strike as much fear and sense of impending doom into the heart of MMORPGERS as one small three letter acronym – PUG.
  • World of Warcraft: Guild Basics and Organization

    Guilds in the World of Warcraft are like plants and weeds in your real life garden. Some come up and grow into maturity and provide a positive benefit to those in and around them. Others spring up, cause issues, wither and die or are stamped out. What makes one guild be considered a weed and another considered a flower? That’s what Byron “Messiah” Mudry looks at in this guide to the basics of guilds and their organization in the World of Warcraft.

Hot Content - Or, what I took a fancy to:

  1. Fallen Earth - Exclusive: A Front Row Seat to the Apocalypse Part 2
  2. Champions Online: Powers Preview
  3. Champions Online: Character Creation System Preview
  4. Guild Wars: Fourth Anniversary Event Recap
  5. geeked: Make Love, Not Warcraft
  6. Perfect World International "Age of Spirits" Dev Preview
  7. geeked: Not Kid-Friendly
  8. IPs vs. Originality - Which is Better?
  9. Premium Content: Running the Marathon - Funcom's Journey of Change
  10. Free Realms to Become Everybody's Second Subscription?

Real World News

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 Torchlight 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.