Welcome to the 1,155th edition of Loading...

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

What's the biggest mistake today's MMOs make at launch? Is it
letting players get burnt out on beta? Not putting enough work into the
endgame? Too many servers? I tend to think it's something much
easier to fix or prevent than any other content related issue. It's
something I've seen before and I continue to see it with the first two
top tier MMOs we've seen roll off this line in the past month. What is
it? Check out Loading...  Worst Foot Forward to see!


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's today's top 5 Pulse results:

  1. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/41"
    target="_blank">World of Warcraft
  2. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/860">Champions
  3. EverQuest
  4. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/115">Age of
    Conan (UP 1)
  5. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/254">Aion
    (down 1)

Biggest Movers today :

  1. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/175"
    (UP 1 to #15)
  2. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/47">Guild
    Wars (UP 1 to #16)
  3. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/38"
    target="_blank">EverQuest href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/38"
    target="_blank"> (UP 1 to #17)
MMO Releases



Loading... Daily

A lot of people say that graphics don't matter as much as good
gameplay, and that's true to an extent. But good graphics do matter,
largely because it's one of those rare criteria that you, your
girlfriend, and your grandma can summarily judge in just a few minutes
of watching someone play the game.  

And whether you like your graphics stylized or photorealistic, many
games have made huge strides with graphics in the past few years. Case
in point, I actually tricked a visiting family member into thinking
was a football game on television last weekend with Madden 10
demo reel last week. WoW's graphics, once thought immune to
the constant pressure for more polygons due to clever and extremely
efficient art direction, is going back to the drawing board with
Cataclysm. In addition to subtle improvements to the water and
landscape, According
to J. Allen Brack
, Lead Producer, the four new races (Blood
Elves and Draenei with Burning Crusade, Worgen and Goblin with
Cataclym) simply put (or will put) the vanilla WoW human character
model to shame. Blizzard's currently looking at a way to up the
character model graphics without disappointing those that feel a
certain attachment to the old model set.

Some MMOs (LotRO,
and Vanguard
for three) have made marketing hay over DirectX 10 support, and DDO,
for example, does look noticeably better with how shadows flow over
moving characters, for example. But href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/41708">Age of Conan,
ever the whipping boy for DX10 promises gone temporarily bad, made the
Vista-born feature something of a blue-baller among gamers. No one can
slight Aion's
visuals, for example, even though the game's entirely done in the much
more widely adopted and relatively bug-free DX9.

But, regardless of DX9 or DX10 (or DX11 for that matter, with Windows 7
coming out on href="http://windows7news.com/tag/windows-7-release-date/">October
22nd), graphics in most of today's MMOs leave at least one
thing to be desired. With hundreds of thousands of man
hours invested in art and animation for today's top-tier MMOs,
you'd think game developers would want to put their best foot forward
on that special moment of moments, that very first time you login and
see this completely new game world for the very first time. Not so.

When I logged into the last release and pre-release ( href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/1012">CrimeCraft
and Champions
), I was greeted with high-performing yet painfully
fuzzed-out 1024x768 resolution, made ever more crappy by my 30"
monitor. No wonder people think these games look hopelessly out of date
at launch. It's easily remedied by a quick trip to the options
-> graphics settings screen (and glorious über-HD 2048x1536),
but first impressions are everything nowadays.

I seem to recall that EverQuest
, to SOE's immense credit, promptly implemented a feature
that checked your framerate and punched up the graphics a bit if you
had power to spare. Correct me if I'm wrong, active EQ2 players, but if
you were in a raid environment where tons of spell effects were
painfully slowing down out your machine, it automatically tamed down
the graphics settings to get you to a playable framerate. Best of all,
you can turn it off if you just plain want to slog through poor
framerates to see the shinies. Good thinking, SOE.

Like developers need one more thing to do in the launch crunch, but I
can't help but think that some kind of conservative graphics matching
for available hardware is a necessity for today's MMOs. More adept
users will continue to tweak the settings, but please, please establish
a good looking baseline. Everyone wants the most out of the hardware
they paid good money for, and in my opinion it's a pretty extreme
disservice to your game if you're rendering it on the bottomfeeder
1024w resolution out of the box. (With all apologies to the min-spec
folks and laptop gaming crowd - I'm sure 1024x768 looks mindblowingly
awesome on your netbook.)

What say you? Has changing up the graphics settings in an MMO out of
the box been like getting a much needed pair of new glasses? Has
increased resolution ever significantly improved your first impressions
of a game? Share your thoughts
and ideas in our href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?t=45887">Loading...

Shayalyn's Epic Thread of
the Day

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

a bad person, no really think about it.

World of Warcraft community manager, Xerin, says you're a bad person.
Really really really. "Let's look at the bad things you've done," he
says. "You tortured a poor servant of Malygos for having a different
about magic. You caused him severe pain to get information out of him."

He may have a point there.

"You've got more blood on your weapons than most. By the time you reach
level sixty you'll have killed thousands of different sentient beings."

And again.

Things aren't looking good for you. Head over to our WoW forum to href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?t=45846">redeem
your soul before it's too late.

Awesome Quotes from the
Epic Thread

"I think someone needs a

- Raxter54

Have you spotted an Epic Thread on our forums? href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?t=32559">Tell

4 new MMOG home-grown articles today, many from
BlizzCon! 82 in August!
942 in

New Coverage and Guides At Ten Ton Hammer Today


  • Exclusive
    Champions Online Launch Interview with Bill Roper

    last few days leading up to a major MMOG launch is an exciting time for
    the developers and fans alike, and Champions Online is no exception.
    Ten Ton Hammer recently had the opportunity to sit down with Bill Roper
    to discuss the end of the open beta, the importance of player feedback
    and what kind of content updates players can look forward to once the
    game officially launches on September 1st, including a sneak peak at
    the Blood Moon event coming this October.
  • WoW:
    Q&A with Lead Producer J. Allen Brack

    Ten Ton Hammer and a number of fansites and community representatives
    were invited to a Blizzard press conference with J. Allen Brack, Lead
    Producer on World of Warcraft. We had a chance to voice a few questions
    from our WoW community as Brack touched on a number of hotbutton and
    general interest topics for WoW players. In addition to the standard
    questions about lore, raid difficulty, the Warcraft movie, of
    particular interest were Brack's responses regarding the mood inside
    the studio after news of Cataclysm leaked out weeks before BlizzCon,
    level 80 accounts sold and "laundered" by a Battle.net merge, and why
    levels 1-5 weren't playable for Worgen and Goblin characters at
  • Final
    Fantasy XI
    : Moogle Kupo d'Etat Walkthrough Tour

    With Final Fantasy XIV on the way, many gamers have turned their
    attention back to Square Enix and their previous MMO offering Final
    Fantasy XI. Luckily, the folks at Square Enix have just released their
    latest major content addition to FFXI in the form of a Moogle Kupo
    d'Etat: Evil in Small Doses. The Ten Ton Hammer staff recently had the
    opportunity to check out the content included in this mini-expansion
    and were intrigued by what they found.
  • Aion
    Class Preview - The Cleric

    We continue our look at the specific classes of Aion this week with the
    second of the Priest archetype choices - The Cleric. Choosing which
    path to follow when you come to that fork in the road will shape your
    game experience like few others. Make sure you have all the knowledge
    to make the choice that fits your play style best.
  • DC
    Universe Online
    Reveals the Green Lantern

    New screenshots from Sony Online Entertainment's superhero-based MMOG,
    DC Universe Online has been released showing the Green Lantern in
    action. The new screenshots show some of the Green Lantern's powers as
    he displays them against several enemies within the created world of DC
    Universe Online.


  • Fallen
    Beta Key Giveaway

    Just a few days remain for the Fallen Earth open beta, so seize
    your chance to test out the game prior to launch with a key from Ten
    Ton Hammer!
  • Two more Ten Ton Hammer beta key giveaways begin

Hottest Content:

  1. Exclusive
    Champions Online Launch Interview with Bill Roper
  2. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/blizzcon09">BlizzCon
    Coverage Portal
  3. Final
    Fantasy XI
    : Moogle Kupo d'Etat Walkthrough Tour
  4. World
    of Warcraft Cataclysm
    Q&A with J. Allen Brack
  5. Aion
    Class Preview - The Cleric
  6. StarCraft
    Preview from BlizzCon 2009
  7. Heroes
    and Monsters in Diablo 3
  8. DC
    Universe Online
    Reveals the Green Lantern
  9. EVE
    Sins of a Solar Spymaster #25 - Unholy Dust
  10. Video:
    Fan Impressions from style="font-weight: bold;">BlizzCon 2009

Real World News
(courtesy of Phil Comeau. Have some real world news Phil can mangle
into something funny? Send
it to him!
  • href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/space/20090827/sc_space/deathraysfromspacehowbadarethey">Death
    Rays from Space, and how they can kill you!
    Death Ray insurance premiums skyrocket on the news.
  • Cornhole
    players prepare for big weekend

    Tournament to be played on brand new Astroglideturf surface.
  • href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/celebritynews/6098870/American-Pie-actor-Jason-Biggs-attacked-by-Gibraltar-ape.html">American
    Pie actor Jason Biggs attacked by ape
    I know it’s been ten years, but Stiffler’s Mom has really let herself

Thanks for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer network!

-Karen "Shayalyn" Herzberg and the Ten Ton Hammer team

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