style="width: 581px; height: 130px;"
style="background: rgb(57, 65, 76) none repeat scroll 0% 50%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial; overflow: hidden; float: right; display: table; width: 300px;">

style="font-weight: bold; color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">Top
Free-to-Play Games

of Aug 22- Aug 28, 2010


2. style="text-decoration: underline;"> href="" target="_blank">  href="">Dungeons
and Dragons
Online: Eberron Unlimited href="" target="_blank">

href=""> style="text-decoration: underline;"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;">3. href="">Lord of the Rings

4.  href=""
target="_blank"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href=""
target="_top"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;">FreeRealms

5.  target="_blank">  href=""
Chronicles of Spellborn

of Magic

 7.  href="">Perfect
World International

8. target="_blank">Aika href=""

9. target="_blank">Allods Online

10.   href=""
target="_blank">Atlantica Online href=""
target="_top"> href=""
target="_blank"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href=""

style="text-decoration: underline;"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href=""
target="_blank"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href=""> style="text-decoration: underline;"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;">

From the title of this week’s article the last thing you would probably
expect to find in the opening paragraph would be a plug for a WoW
addon, but it’s not as strange as you might imagine. One of my least
favorite aspects of WoW is the current trend which sees players defined
by something as arbitrary as a gear score (an amalgamation of the total
value of your equipped armor, weapons and jewelry based on an item
level system), but this new mod brings a much needed depth to the
equation. Like it or not gear scores, or some derivative thereof, are a
part of the game and aren’t going away. href="">Ten Ton
Hammer’s PlayerScore adds achievements, past experience and
the ability for other players to rate each other, giving raid and group
leaders a much clearer picture of the largely intangible factor of a
player’s skill. If you play WoW, I recommend you pick up PlayerScore
and read last href="">Monday’s
Loading for even more commentary.

Last week also saw some innovations in free-to-play gaming as well. The
recently released Allods
patch has proven to be both popular and polarizing
because  some of its aspects have drawn the ire of players.
Rather than simply shrug their shoulders and turn a deaf ear to the
fans, gPotato recently invited fans into a discussion on how to improve
the patch. Associate
Producer Darren Allarde
and his team took to the phones, ran
a survey and even hopped on Ventrilo to chat with guilds in an effort
to make the game better. The result is a href=""> region
specific update to the patch that went live this week. Would
your current game’s publisher do that for you? Keep in mind that
gPotato isn’t the game’s creator and it becomes even more
impressive.  That is going the extra mile for a player base
that doesn’t even have to pay for the product. My hat is off to them
and I hope their efforts are rewarded.

href=""> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 210px; height: 131px;"
alt="wow" src="">

Harbinger of genre death?

From the outside looking in the MMOG genre has never appeared to look
healthier, but looks can be deceiving. Developers are launching new
games at a record pace and overall subscription numbers are higher than
ever before. Could the segment’s flagship franchise, style="font-style: italic;">World of Warcraft,
which is credited with this unprecedented explosion in popularity, also
be the cause of its ultimate demise?  And if MMOGs really are
on the verge of a decline, how could they possibly be saved by a
segment vilified by the vast majority of players?

Prior to WoW’s launch in 2004, MMOG players were a fairly unique breed,
even in the already marginalized realm of PC gaming. While most
dedicated PC gamers had an above average understanding of the inner
workings of computers and had been forced to gain troubleshooting
skills in order to play their games, by the end of 1999 the majority of
PC games and the machines that ran them were stable and featured simple
install instructions. The one area that still remained daunting to all
but the most tech savvy was networking and games that required an
internet connection. Popular video game reviewer Yahtzee once noted,
“MMORPGers are the nerds that are to other nerds what nerds are to
normal people,” and that description was born from these early days.

href=""> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 210px; height: 131px;"
alt="wow" src="">

We were always LFG

This mindset led to a group that was a bit more patient, a bit more
forgiving, and spoke a similar language. This commonality helped create
a group that reveled in their new found social medium and, within this
new structure, many formerly recluse individuals embraced community.
Creativity flowed as developers were given previously unheard of
amounts of time to build and expand their gaming worlds. EverQuest
showed that these undertakings could be profitable and allowed other
companies to begin development and launch their own visions of
persistent world games. It could be argued that there wasn’t much
innovation - most of these games were fantasy based, but that is owed
to technological limitations and ease of implementation instead of lack
of vision. Without these early models of success, Blizzard’s ambitious
undertaking would have likely never have seen the light of day.

Taking the genre mainstream may have never been the prime directive of
the WoW team, but it certainly was the result. The explosion of
popularity that WoW brought with it is undeniable and its level of
visibility spans across all aspects of modern life. This heightened
awareness allowed even more companies to sink even larger budgets into
developing MMOGs and soon everyone was trying their hand at the newest
fad in gaming. But something happened to the forgiving and patient
crowd that once allowed this fledgling genre to blossom; it was invaded
by console gamers and a new breed of PC owner that had little desire to
give even an inch of latitude when it came to game development. It’s
hard to fault them, though, because their past experiences were of
products that were load and go, not load and hope.

href=""> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 210px; height: 131px;"
alt="AoC" src=""> style="font-style: italic;">

A vicitim of unrealistic


While an unheard of number of games were released to the newly swollen
masses, an even larger percentage began to fail at an alarming rate.
Games that at one time would have been hailed as innovative were kicked
to the curb by the end of the 30 day trial because they weren’t as
polished or as developed as WoW. The mantra of the WoW masses was that
they would never pay a monthly fee to play a game they considered to
still be in beta testing mode. The same crowd that once signaled the
onset of a new market and unparalleled growth has now become its most
stifling opponent.

An act of both brilliance and desperation to save a failing title has
shown developers the key to saving MMOGs. Turbine knew they had created
a great game in Dungeons
and Dragons Online
; not only was it innovative and fun, it
was based on the cornerstone IP of all role playing games. While the
court of public opinion may have ruled against DDO, its backers knew
that if they could just get it back in front of the jury, the premature
conviction would be overturned.  In order to do that, however,
they had to remove the biggest obstacle: the subscription fee. It’s a
fact that people love to get things for free, and DDO would prove no
different. The turnaround that DDO experienced has been unprecedented.
That success will likely be replicated as two other critically
acclaimed titles, Lord
of the Rings Online
and style="font-style: italic;">EverQuest 2, follow
their lead. It isn’t just existing franchises that are reaping the
benefit of free-to-play, however; many riskier and more innovative
ideas are now being brought to market based on these successes in games
like Black Prophecy.
Removing the up front cost factor and allowing a game to reap its
rewards over time are the keys to long term health and survival.

The unrealistic expectations propped up by WoW’s unprecedented success
could have very well extinguished the flame of MMOGs just as it began
to burn the brightest, but free-to-play gaming will be the spark that
keeps it going. Remember to keep checking in with Microcosms, the
weekly free-to-play feature here at Ten Ton Hammer for all the latest
news, and be on the lookout for some exciting changes in the near

style="border: 0px solid ; width: 640px; height: 335px;"

style="font-style: italic; color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">
 EverQuest2 Extended could be an even bigger hit than DDOU

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016