Welcome to the 1,145th Edition of Loading...

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

This week we'll have some exclusive content from the Syndicate World Conference 2009 in Austin, Texas, but some of the most valuable insights I uncovered during my time there dealt moreso with guild leadership. Thoughts on how a guild can stay together for 12+ years and why the majority of guilds fall apart in 12 days in today's Loading... Syndicate World Conference 2009.

Coyote addresses all things geek with his own trademark wit and widom daily with It's All Geek To Me. Today's topic: 3 ways that geeks should NEVER attempt to make money...

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:

  1. World of Warcraft
  2. Champions Online
  3. Aion
  4. EverQuest 2
  5. Age of Conan

Biggest Movers today :

  1. Guild Wars (UP 3 to #17)
  2. City of Heroes (UP 3 to #14)
  3. Lineage 2 (UP 3 to #15)
Recent MMO Releases

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For those of you just joining us, I spent all weekend with The Syndicate guide at their 8th world conference in Austin, Texas. They're a great bunch of people, and Austin, despite never getting below 92 degrees, was a nifty countercultural setting for the conference. SyndiCon continues to grow too, in prominence if not in total size (since the event is only open to The Syndicate's guild members. Richard Garriott, John Smedley, and Curt Schilling made an appearance at this years event among others, and all had some surprising things to say. You'll see some of that as my content rolls out this week before Blizzcon, but some will have to stay behind closed doors for now.

The Syndicate still numbers only in the six hundreds despite receiving over a thousand applications a week, a problem exacerbated by their repeated appearances in Second Skin - the MMORPG documentary set to make its DVD debut later this week. I interviewed Sean "Dragons" Stalzer on how the guild keeps it fun despite a growing emphasis on the business side of the guild - they just opened their own print guides studio in partnership with Prima and have something of a consulting service going with several developers - but I was treated to seeing some of the diplomacy in action as Sean and the guild leadership dealt with a hotbutton issue that arose during the con.

Sean encouraged everyone to speak their mind, noting that the longer it stays behind closed doors, the longer it festers, the harder it'll be to deal with. It wasn't done for show or for my benefit either - I wandered in in mid-argument. It was fascinating to watch it unfold though - while Sean is fond of noting that The Syndicate is not a democracy, it was clear that no one was afraid to speak up. Sean's wasn't always taking the devil's advocate position, but presented counter-points and supporting data as necessary, and ultimately kept things in perspective by saying that if the hotbutton issue didn't work itself out to their satisfaction, it wouldn't change who they are or what they're doing. It makes me wonder if Sean's second book won't be a Guild Leadership for dummies style book that would greatly benefit some of the guilds I've been in and (to be completely honest) that I've led.

What's been your longest experience with a guild? What made it work for so long? Or conversely, what was your shortest, unhappiest experience with a guild, and why did it fall apart? Feel free to stop by the Loading... forum or email me with your thoughts.

Shayalyn's Epic Thread of
the Day

From our Aion
General Discussion

Aion Noob Question? Ask it Here!

Flocks (pun intended) of players have flown
(heh, I kill me!) to Aion's closed beta weekends to discover the game
where fantasy takes wing. (Trifecta!) You may have been among them,
having ascended and earned your wings over the course of these beta
weekends. Or you may be anxiously awaiting open beta, which we should
see appear on the horizon in a week or two.

And, like any noob, you likely have questions. When do you get your wings? How do stigma stones work? How PvPeevish is the PvP?

Got a question? Or maybe you have lots of answers? This is your thread.


Awesome Quotes from the
Epic Thread

"Games like this actually
encourage finding a good group of friends and grouping. There's
strength in numbers and people are much less likely to gank/grief you
if you've got handful of buddies with you. It doesn't make PvP
'optional' per se, but it does allow you to PvP on *your* terms and not

- Chilidawg


Have you spotted an Epic Thread on our forums? Tell

7 new MMOG hand-crafted articles today! 54 in August! 914 in 2009!

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

  • Aion In-Depth Class Interview - The Cleric
    Over the last few months, Ten Ton Hammer has brought you the in-depth details – straight from the mouths of the developers at NCsoft – concerning the eight major classes in Aion, NCsoft’s upcoming fantasy-themed MMO. Today we continue our interview series with the Cleric class! Again, we sat down with Associate Producer Lani Blazier, and she gave us all the info we desired regarding the playability of the Cleric in groups, solo, and even some strategies on how to excel with this particular healer. Check it out!
  • World of Warcraft: Horde Outland Leveling Guide (Zangarmarsh)
    Our Horde Outland Leveling Guide for World of Warcraft just got another massive update with levels 62 to 64 being added. This composes the entire zone of Zangamarsh and includes the latest changes from patch 3.2. Instructions for those with flying mounts? Of course! Detailed maps and step by step instructions with detailed screenshots is always available. Premium members get double the love with a Zangarmarsh quicklist and a large map available for download. So what are you waiting for? Get to leveling!
  • Sins of a Solar Spymaster #24 - Interview with an Agent
    For the latest installment of Sins of a Solar Spymaster, the Mittani sat down with one of the most effective and long-serving agents in GIA, Vile Rat, to discuss his role as both an agent and a diplomat in Goonswarm. In the interview you’ll discover what makes the spy game in EVE Online resonate with Vile Rat, and why he considers it an aspect of the game that should be taken advantage of.
  • World of Warcraft Patch 3.2: Restoration Shaman - Nerf or Buff?
    It has almost been two weeks since Blizzard injected Patch 3.2 into the World of Warcraft universe and with that, you can literally hear a huge totem party all across the world. All I have to say is Restoration Shamans FTW! This week please join Russell as he dives deep into the changes that Patch 3.2 introduced to the Restoration Spec of the Shaman Class.
  • A Myriad of Choices - Exploring the Lands of EverQuest II
    It had been years since Dalmarus had visited the lands of Norrath in EverQuest II, but he's back in the game with a vengeance. The training wheels have been kicked off and it's time for some serious exploration. Join on him on this journey of rediscovery as he revels in his character's newfound freedom.
  • Aion - Asmodae Ishalgen Quest Guide
    Questing is definitely the quickest and most rewarding way to progress your character in Aion. Don't miss out on any questing opportunities, check out this quick reference guide to questing in the Asmodian's Ishalgen beginner zone to ensure you are making the most of your time in game!
  • The Balancing Act: The Challenges of Class Balance in MMOGs
    Balancing classes in MMOGs may be one of the most daunting challenges of the industry. Few games are immune, and no game has ever claimed complete perfect balance. So how does a developing company deal with the ever-impending demand to keep their games fair in both PvE and PvP environments? Ten Ton Hammer Editor-in-Chief, Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle, spoke with four industry professionals about the issue in an effort to glean some answers.


Hottest Content:

  1. Guild Wars - Rediscovering Tyria
  2. Star Trek Online Closed Beta to Begin in October?
  3. Champions Online: Exclusive Interview on Sidekicks, Super Groups, and Supervillains
  4. World of Warcraft - New Expansion = New Tamable Pets?
  5. World of Warcraft - Vanity Pet Collecting Checklist
  6. Age of Conan - A Year Later, Part 2
  7. The Hollywood Cycle: Comparing the MMO Industry with the Silver Screen
  8. Flight or Fight: A Look at Advanced Flight and Combat in Aion
  9. The Co-Op PvE side of Global Agenda: A Q&A with Exec. Producer Todd Harris
  10. An Advanced Guide to Crafting in Aion

Thanks for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer network!

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

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.