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Every MMORPG has a wall, a point where it's not really any fun to solo anymore. The story dries up, quest rewards are lackluster, the leveling or progression grinds down to a withering monotony. Thankfully, nothing is permanent about this MMO wall, as Age of Conan's latest expansion attests. Can a newly announced and dated free expansion do the same for Aion? We'll look at this topic and more in today's Loading... The Wall.



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

top 5 Pulse results this week:

  1. World
    of Warcraft
  2. EverQuest
  3. Age
    of Conan
  4. Dungeons
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  5. Vanguard:
    Saga of Heroes
    (UP 3) href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/eq2">

movers over the past 24 hours

  1. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/swtor">Star Wars: The Old Republic

    - UP 7 to #14
  2. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/42">Star Wars Galaxies

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  • September
    7, 2010
    - Aion: Assault on Balaurea (free expansion)
  • September
    30, 2010
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/ffxiv" target="_blank">Final
    Fantasy XIV

  • style="font-weight: bold;">October
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    - LEGO

  • style="font-weight: bold;">November 2, 2010
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  • style="font-weight: bold;">7/22 -
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  • style="font-weight: bold;">8/5 -
    8/8 - href="http://events.station.sony.com/fanfaire/" target="_blank">SOE
    Fan Faire 2010
  • style="font-weight: bold;">8/18 -
    8/22 - href="http://www.gamescom-cologne.com/en/gamescom/home/index.php"
    target="_blank">Gamescom 2010
  • style="font-weight: bold;">9/3 -
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  • style="font-weight: bold;">9/3 -
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  • style="font-weight: bold;">10/22 -
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  • style="font-weight: bold;"> 3/24
    3/26 (2011) - target="_blank">CCP

Loading... Daily

We awoke this morning to news of Aion's first expansion, "Assault on Balauria," due out digitally worldwide on September 7th with boxed copies of the full game and expansion soon following. Throughout the updates leading up to the expansion, the Aion team has worked to address many player complaints, especially the interminable mid-level grind. With the recent server merge announcements, the Aion community really needed a boost. NCSoft delivered, and now we finally have word on the much-anticipated expansion, and perhaps best of all it's free to new and current subscribers.

"Assault on Balaurea" should be a big step for the game, not just because AoB introduces "new and updated instances and zones, an increased level cap, new weapons and items, new skills and added flight mechanics" and "functional pets equipped with in-game benefits." AoB will be big because, like any first expansion, it's Aion's first real chance to reintroduce itself.

Aion has closely followed the trajectory of another graphically gorgeous game that is, at the same time, very different. Age of Conan, like Aion, had significant pre-launch hype and a fairly smooth launch followed by a crippling wave of disappointment as the bulk of the playerbase moved into mid-level play. In both games, the slowdown in leveling gains and loot was so noticeable that the contrast to the exciting, story driven earlier levels is akin to hitting a wall. In both games, that (at least in large part) led to the humiliating necessity of server merges.

Every MMORPG has this wall - the point where you're continuing to play not for the sheer fun of playing, but gaming purely to grind out levels. I'd argue that WoW's greatest selling point, along with the accessibility factor (or maybe part and parcel with the accessibility factor), is that most of WoW's players didn't hit said wall until the late 30s on their original playthrough. Through clever ideas like offline levels and vast improvements to the mid- and 80s- game, Age of Conan broke through many of these wallks with their recent Rise of the Godslayer expansion.

Has Aion broken down it's wall to the point that an expansion will truly revitalize the game with new players? Where have you hit a wall with the MMORPGs you've played? Let's discuss in the Loading... forum, and have yourself a great weekend!

Shayalyn's Epic Thread of
the Day

From our Star Wars: The Old Republic News & Announcements forum

It's Official: Game Testing Underway

This is the thread in which you beg BioWare to look at you, because you're the biggest Star Wars fans ever
and you've been waiting for Star Wars: The Old Republic since it was
just a rumor, you have this really massive collection of Star Wars
memorabilia, and...and.... Whatever your angle, it probably won't help
much to stand in our forums and shout, "Oooo! Pick me! Pick me!"...but it sure can't hurt.


Awesome Quotes from the
Epic Thread

"Dear BioWare,

I think
my game testing invite got lost in the mail since I just KNOW you
wouldn't crush the hopes and dreams of your very biggest fan evar. Just
resend it ASAP so I can stop sobbing, kay?



- Savanja


and Exclusive Content
Today at Ten Ton Hammer

2 Ten Ton Hammer
today! 49 Ten Ton Hammer
in July! 761
in 2010!


Exploring the Lore of Guild Wars 2 - An Interview with Jeff Grubb
Wars 2 is a game rich with lore and few people know that lore better
than ArenaNet Game Designer and co-author of the Guild Wars 2 novel
Ghosts of Ascalon, Jeff Grubb. Ten Ton Hammer recently caught up to
Jeff to talk about the upcoming novel and how it will tie into the
upcoming MMORPG, Guild Wars 2. Join Jeff “Ethec” Woleslagle as he
learns more about the story that will help shape the future Guild Wars


EQ2 Predator Sample Alternate Advancement Spec

EverQuest II Rangers and Assassins are a couple of the most utilized
classes in game and some of the most rewarding to play. They are not,
however, without their pitfalls and having a strong alternate
advancement spec is important. We have put together a solid general AA
build to get you started. You may use these builds as is or customize
it to your playstyle. Either way, you have the perfect starting point
for better playability.

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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 Age of Conan: Unchained 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.