Welcome to the 1,214th edition of Loading...

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

Ah, Thanksgiving week. The pilgrims abandoned the old world in search of a new, more promising one and found some friendly natives along the way. If you're given to exploring more than acheiving in MMOGs, that might roughly encapsulate some of your best in-game experiences. But with just about every MMO released, the world size is shrinking, and not in a Friedman-esque "world is flat" kind of way. We'll look at some of the ways game world size is determined, ask whether the explorer types are a doomed breed, and link to two exclusive EverQuest 2 and Star Trek Online interviews and more great Ten Ton Hammer content in today's Loading... Pilgrim's Regress (online version).

The Pulse

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

Here are today's top 5 Pulse results:

  1. target="_blank">World of Warcraft
  2. Dungeons and Dragons
  3. EverQuest 2 (UP 1)
  4. Lord of the Rings Online (UP 2)
  5. Aion (down 2)

Biggest movers this month:

  1. Torchlight (UP 20 to #14)
  2. Dragon Age: Origins (UP 6 to #11)
  3. Star Trek Online (UP 6 to #10)
Recent Releases

Loading... Daily

It's the week where we celebrate two cultures setting aside their differences to give thanks for what they have over a good meal. It's about the least objectionable holiday of them all, but somehow we got pilgrims confused with smallpox-spreading Conquistadors and bloodthirsty cavalrymen. The original pilgrims were just fleeing a harsh situation in hopes of a little freedom and found some neighborly companions in the process, which hints at why some of us still play MMORPGs.

The pilgrims probably had a notion that our game worlds are shrinking. It's probably as much a matter of perspective as facts, but the hard data is pretty convincing. Richard Bartle concluded that EverQuest's Norrath was about the size of Singapore, or 700 square kilometers. Estimates peg Guild Wars's Tyria, at about 300 sq. km. World of Warcraft's two main continents at launch weighed in at about 113 square kilometers, so with Outland and Northrend I'm guessing Azeroth covers about 200 - 250 sq. km. at present. I had thought world size would continue this trend and peter down to nothing, but then Dark and Light seriously upped the ante. Just to show that there can be way too much of a good thing, Dark and Light had a massive 26,000 square kilometer world. More reasonably, Thestra, Vanguard's largest of three continents is estimated to be about 288 square kilometers, so Vanguard's entire area probably covers a little more than 600 sq. kilometers. These figures were taken Tobold's and James Wallis's blogs and some archived forum posts and interviews; I don't pretend these are official numbers - except for DnL, which made world size it's (only?) promotional bullet point, but they feel about right.

Granted, much of this area is unplayable and even more is wasted space for achievers and explorers alike, leading some to prefer number of quests to acreage. World of Warcraft had about 3,200 quests at launch to cover an area the size of the New York City metro area at launch. On the other end of the scale, Dark and Light had 500 quests to cover a land mass the size of New Jersey and Delaware put together.

Size especially proves itself to be relative when you consider travel speed. The EVE Universe is thought to be about 121 light years across (1.14 x 10E15 km), but since stargates push you across undefined amounts of space instantaneously and all ships move at warp speed (and some ships can push 15 km / sec sub-warp), the EVE universe feels plenty big without daunting the casual player.

But as big as EVE is, there's seldom a reason to go ranging across the known universe solo, and ome of us like to feel the call of the great unknown. There was a day, before elaborate quest databases, leveling guides, or even in-game maps, when a game like EverQuest would reward you for exploring the world. Quests givers didn't necessarily come in bunches or have hovering exclamation points - you'd have to walk around and (horror of horrors) type out responses to NPC questions. Better yet, you'd stumble upon another player in need and join forces for a time. It was slow going, but you tended to feel a little more like an adventurer than a leveling / looting machine. I doubt we could ever go back to those days any more than we could give up our cell phones for land lines and pay phones, but I am anxious for a game that makes me feel a little more like a pilgrim in a new land again. Star Trek Online promises endless exploration through procedurally generated systems and planets, so perhaps I won't have to wait long.

What do you think? Do today's MMOs satisfy your urge to explore, or would you rather keep your game world small, scripted, and well contained? Share your thoughts in the Loading... forum.

Shayalyn's Epic Thread of
the Day

From our Articles, News & Events Discussion

Dragon Age Origins: PC Version Review

review of Dragon Age Origins (for PC) has stirred up quite a bit of
conversation on our forums. Since I seem to be one of the few gamers
not playing DAO, I'll have to rely on Medawky's and your insight as I
consider whether to pick up the game or not. Post your own review for
me and gamers like me who are debating whether to pony up the cash for
DAO (or whether to ask for it for Christmas). Share!


Awesome Quotes from the
Epic Thread

"Thanks for the review. Well done.

As for those who are miffed by the DLC, you'd better get used to it. It's very obvious that this model is here to stay.
Besides, once the old-school folks get over their annoyance with it and
start reaching acceptance level, most will realize it's a great way to
keep a game fresh with optional extra content.

- Lizante

Have you spotted an Epic Thread on our forums? Tell

8 new Ten Ton Hammer MMOG
features today! 86 in November! 3,058

New Exclusives Today at Ten Ton

  • Odus Comes to EverQuest 2 - A Sentinel's Fate Expansion Q&A with Alan Crosby
    Remember Odus from EverQuest? It was a small continent, but it packed a punch. If you had reason to go there (apart from starting an Erudite character), you knew you were going to be in for something challenging, fun, and rewarding. Now, Odus comes to EverQuest 2 with the upcoming expansion, Sentinel's Fate. We spoke with EQ2 Producer, Alan Crosby to get the skinny on this exciting new expansion. We were able to get info about new armor sets, raids, and how the Hole comes into play.
  • Interfacing with Star Trek Online - A UI Discussion with Cryptic Studios
    A fundamental key to making a good MMOG is its User Interface. A poorly fashioned interface will make it hard to enjoy a game, no matter what its other assets, and a good UI will be almost transparent as users start up the game for the first time and begin taking control, almost without thinking about it. We spoke this week to Amy Skopik, UI Designer for Star Trek Online and Craig Zinkievich, Executive Producer to unveil some of the challenges and innovation of STO's interface.
  • World of Warcraft - Pilgrim's Pride Guide

    Pilgrim's Pride has come to World of Warcraft is the newest full fledge holiday. Never before release, Pilgrim's Pride celebrates the American holiday of Thanksgiving and has a lot of food filled fun and achievements. Having trouble getting The Turkinator? Need tips on how to work through all of the cooking daily quests? Worry not, we now have a full Pilgrim's Pride guide that goes over Achievements, Cooking, and everything else. So get ready to stuff your face with fun and facts with our latest Pilgrim's Pride Guide.
  • Aion - Botting and You
    In our lust for power in Aion, we desire to level faster, time our special attacks perfectly, and wear the best gear possible. Automation can make all three of those effortless. Yet, it's not the answer to all of our problems. Botting makes our lives hell as legit levelers and we spit on bots at any given point in our lives. But Aion presents some particular aspects of botting that make it almost a respectable evil. In a break from our string of gathering and tradeskill guides, we take a look at what these AFK masterminds do for us legitimate players, and how to spot your next petition target.
  • Left 4 Dead 2 PC Review
    Zombies head south for a little southern hospitality in Valve's Left 4 Dead 2. The sequel to last year's cooperative zombie shooter received a big marketing push from Electronic Arts, but does it live up to the hype? This week Ten Ton Hammer takes a look at what's new in Left 4 Dead 2 and how the game measures up to the hype in our complete PC review.

New Features

  • Aion Weekly Newsletter - Botters Never Prosper
    Bots and kinah sellers are wearing down even the most dedicated of players causing gamewide frustration and disappointment. Is NCsoft doing enough? Maybe or maybe not but there are steps you can take to make your gaming experience just a little better and maybe stick it to those botters and gold sellers a little. Find out what you can do to lessen the bot annoyance, share your own tips, and get a review of the week's Aion news in this Aion Weekly Newsletter.
  • Star Trek Online Bridge Trailer and Space Combat Part 1 Video
    Star Trek Online is less than 3 months away from launch, so it's time to start brushing up on your ship to ship combat and customization skills. This week Cryptic sent us two videos to help sharpen your knowledge with the Bridge trailer and Space Combat Part 1 narrated by Craig Zinkievich, Executive Producer and Daniel Stahl, Producer, Star Trek Online.
  • New LotRO Siege of Mirkwood Screens Show Epic Story Moments
    The Lord of the Rings Online: Siege of Mirkwood expansion will finish off the Volume 2 story that began with the Mines of Moria expansion. This week Turbine released several new screenshots from the Siege of Mirkwood's epic storyline showing some of the people, creatures, and places players will see when they undertake the epic conclusion to the Volume 2 storyline.

Today's Hottest Content

  1. Odus Comes to EverQuest 2 - A Sentinel's Fate Expansion Q&A with Alan Crosby
  2. Interfacing with Star Trek Online - A UI Discussion with Cryptic Studios
  3. Left 4 Dead 2 PC Review
  4. World of Warcraft - Pilgrim's Pride Guide
  5. style="font-weight: bold;">Lord of the Rings Online: Siege
    of Mirkwood Beta Impressions
  6. EVE Online Sins of the Solar Spymaster #32 - The Most Dangerous Agent
  7. Star Trek Online Bridge Trailer and Space Combat Part 1 Video
  8. Down
    to Earth or
    Another Planet - a Star Trek Online
    Ground Combat
    Q&A with Dan Stahl
  9. style="font-weight: bold;">Global Agenda Medic
    Class Q&A
    with Exec. Producer Todd Harris
  10. Call
    Duty: Modern Warfare 2
    PC Review

Thanks as always for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer

- Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle and the Ten Ton Hammer team

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