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Happy birthday, John! Despite appearances, John âBoomjackâ Hoskin wasnât able to write Loadingâ¦ for you today, as birthday party surprises have taken him unawares. Editors Cody âMicajahâ Bye and Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle are filling his shoes for today.
Hope you have a stellar time, Boomjack!
With birthday wishes out of the way, I want to remind you that we have an amazing contest that is just waiting for you to enter. If you want to go to BlizzCon but you didnât get a ticket, hope is not lost. We are giving away one all-expense paid trip and four additional BlizzCon tickets to lucky TTH members. Get your Murloc suit ready, BlizzCon awaits!
Also, you all know that you want one of our fantastic Ten Ton Hammer jerseys â theyâre yellow, blue, and full of hammer! Everything that you want from a jersey, right? Go get yours now!
Jeff Woleslagle leading off with this edition of Loading... Though we love all of our developer friends equally, we love some more equally than others. When we were just getting started as a network (all of two and half years ago, in an established market where most of the other MMO sites worthy of mention had been around for at least twice that), we found that it takes a special kind of development studio to talk to a young, upstart network like us. We knew we were going to be around for the long haul, but they had no reason to think that we wouldn't be here today, gone tomorrow like so many other sites.
EA Mythic, NetDevil, Perpetual Entertainment, SOE, and Flying Lab Studios are a few of the biggest names that come to mind as genuinely excited enough about their game to talk to a then nobody network just coming into its own like ours. Today, thanks to you, we've got a bigger audience than some of the biggest names and networks in this niche, and the time those developers took is paying off in terms of both market reach and relationship. Reach means we're able to show more of you the exciting things that these developers are doing, and relationship means that though our developers know we'll be honest and objective with our readers, they're more likely to trust us with insider info because we won't "burn" them with misquotes, unfounded allegations, and the routine shock jockeying that defines "journalism" for a lot of other sites.
That brings us to the news of the day today - Flying Lab Software just signed a deal with Sony Online Entertainment's Platform Publishing division for their flagship title, Pirates of the Burning Sea. A deal wit de debil?
I'm convinced otherwise. You think SOE debacle, and you probably think Star Wars Galaxies or, less justifiably, Vanguard. Yet lately, accounts from many gamers, even some predictably ornary ones, are positive on SWG. Is a Vanguard style buyout in the works? It's a relevant question, since Pirates of the Burning Sea has a growing fanbase as fiercely loyal to FLS and rabid about its success as any game in the works. But as CEO Rusty Williams points out, FLS has neither the money problems, time crunch, and (let us add) astronomical expectations of Sigil and Vanguard: Saga of Heroes.
The sour note is that Pirates of the Burning Sea won't launch during the summer as announced at PAX last year. Initially, FLS planned to distribute the game only as a digital download, and it takes time to market and publish a game in the retail channel. If Vanguard was any indication (and that was a trial by fire for Platform Publishing if there ever was one), we're looking at another 3 months, which puts us at September or October 2007. The good news for FLS (and anyone that likes a well-populated MMO) is that retailing sales rise dramatically during that period - kids and college students are back in school and on the hunt for distraction, not to mention that that time of year is the start of the holiday retailer ramp-up.
Rusty Williams goes into detail on the decision in an announcement to the community. It's definitely worth a read. If you've met Rusty, you know he considers all viewpoints and doesn't pull any punches and this letter is no different. Now over to Cody Bye for a few words on his trip to another of our favorite indy developers: NetDevil.
Cody Bye here. Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to head to Louisville, Colo., and join a gaggle of other press, fans, and family members in celebrating NetDevilâs 10th anniversary. In conjunction with this, NetDevil opened their new 30,000 sq. ft. studio for public viewing and denizens of the party were allowed to walk wherever they pleased, taking in all the sights and sounds of the NetDevil offices.
There was plenty to eat, drink, and be merry about, but the greatest bit of information that came out of the event was the announcement of Jumpgate Evolution, a complete reiteration of NetDevilâs original MMOG product, Jumpgate. Originally released in 2001, Jumpgate will be receiving a thorough graphics update, advanced AI upgrades, and a bevy of other enhancements in Jumpgate Evolution and I discuss many of them in my interview with NetDevil producer, Hermann Petersheck, prior to the eventâs opening ceremonies.
As a long-time player of MMOGs, I find updates to old, original IPs to be incredibly worthwhile, especially an update as thorough as what is occurring with the Jumpgate product. Jumpgate Evolution stands out from the crowd of games that have been âupdatedâ because the team behind Jumpgate Evolutions is being incredibly thorough in the enhancement of the game.
This isnât just a simple graphics revision; the team has looked at some of the elements that made Jumpgate difficult for new players to get into, such as the poor mouse/keyboard control and the incredibly empty, cold void of space. By implementing a genuine mouse / keyboard control system and flooding the space lanes with bright, saturated space graphics, the NetDevil team is going above and beyond the call of duty to bring their game back into the hands of gamers.
And NetDevil isnât the only company looking to bring more players to their aging game. EA is also interested in this sort of scenario with Ultima Online, a ten-year old game that continues to find players from every walk of life. By refreshing the graphics, improving the user interface, and establishing a better new player experience in their Ultima Online: Kingdom Reborn expansion, EA hopes cash in on the nostalgia of old players, but also expects to bring new players into their flock.
As online games continue to age, I suspect that many more companies will be interested in the revitalization projects at work in the older generation of games. Donât be surprised if titles like Asheronâs Call, Everquest, and Planetside receive the âupdateâ treatment next, especially if the efforts of NetDevil and EA are successful in bringing players back to the older IPs.
What are your thoughts on the rebirth of old games? Email me or leave a comment!
On a final note, make sure to look for more articles spawned from the NetDevil Open House / 10th Anniversary and make sure you check out Garrett Fullerâs three-part series from his Games Day experience with Warhammer: Age of Reckoning.
Garrettâs initial article is a general overview of the Warhammer Online events at Games Day, with a look at some new content and some description of the action that took place.
- Gods and Heroes: Bestiary Update "Eight new updates to Charabis's bestiary on the creatures of Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising. "
- Lord of the Rings Online: A Blade of Renown - Level 15 Champion Class Quest "So you finally got your Champion to level 15 and you're wondering where you need to go for this crazy class quest from your trainer. Ten Ton Hammer is here to help! Our latest guide features a complete walkthrough for the level 15 Champion Class Quest."
- Jumpgate Evolution: Preview Live from NetDevil "While at NetDevil's 10th Anniversary / Open House party, Cody "Micajah" Bye had an opportunity to sit down with Hermann Petersheck, producer for Jumpgate Evolution, and chat with him about the upcoming game and what sort of changes are in store for the six-year old MMOG. In the article, you'll find details concerning Jumpgate's missions, graphics, controls, and more!"
- Jumpgate Evolution: Screenshots and Official Info " Jumpgate has received a new lease on life, thanks to a small team of NetDevil employees that have refreshed the look, gameplay, and features of the six-year old title. To be rereleased as Jumpgate Evolution, the space combat MMOG has been completely remastered from the inside out, with a new selection of PvE missions and enhanced control capabilities at the player's disposal. As part of our NetDevil Open House / 10th Anniversary coverage, we present you with twelve screenshots and the official press release for the upcoming game!"
- Lord of the Rings Online: Guide to Leveling Man, Levels 1-10 "Interested in being a Man? No this isn't email spam, so stop laughing. Join RadarX as he examines how to level Man from 1-10 including walkthroughs on the epic and optional quests around Archet and Combe. "
- Lord of the Rings Online : Burglar Skill List "What unique skill enhancement can you get as a Burglar? RadarX updates Ten Ton Hammer's Lord of the Rings Online Burglar skill list with class specific traits and how you can get them."
- Red Stone: Class Skills Revealed "As the days of summer grow shorter again, K2 Network is still working hard to bring more games across the great Pacific pond and into the PCs of Western audiences. This time, K2 Network is showcasing Red Stone, an upcoming addition to their stable of quality imported MMOGs. To promote their title, K2 has distributed information on four of the transformative classes available in Red Stone along with some screenshots and concept art selections. Ten Ton Hammer is pleased to give you four classes of Red Stone!"
- Vanguard: Armor Project - Migenzo's Armor "What's the well-dressed backstabber wearing? The seasoned sneak in his or her 30s is nicely turned out in a set of Migenzo's Armor, available only via quests in the Wardship of the Sleeping Moon. Check out the Ten Ton Armor Project for a screenshot of this dead sexy armor plus stats. And don't forget to check the care label for further instructions--this stuff is likely dry clean only."
- Vanguard: Blog - Mad Scientists "Today Ralsu salutes the mad scientists who populate the forums with detailed ideas for how to fix class balance."
- Warhammer Online: Games Day Overview"As the first in a series of three articles we will be running about Games Workshop's Games Day, Garret Fuller wanted to give his overall impressions of the event while also talking about all the interesting new monsters, landscapes and elements he saw from Mythic EA. The second part of the series will will be a write-up of the quiet, sit down chat Garrett had with Paul Barnett and Jeff Hickman, and the third iteration will feature Garrett's interview with Mark Jacobs. Without any more delay, let's start with the overview of Warhammer's Games Day event and his experience of a day of WAR!"
- World of Warcraft: Karazhan Boss Guide - Maiden of Virtue "Our Karazhan guide has been updated with information on how to fight the third boss of Karazhan, the Maiden of Virtue! along with complete descriptions on her abilities and trash monsters near her."
World of Warcraft: Leatherworking Power Leveling Update"We have updated our guide on the best way to âpowerâ skill the
Leatherworking profession in /World of Warcraft/. While the original
guide was solid, we have had several players suggest slightly quicker
ways to skill up the profession. They have been investigated and the
guide has been improved through the help of our great community here at
TenTonHammer! Find anything else? Be sure to let us know!"
- Gods and Heroes: Exclusive Screenshot
- Gods and Heroes: Stieg Hedlund Video Interview
- Jumpgate Evolution: Preview
- EVE Online: GoonSwarm vs CCP
- Top Secret: Declassified - Rusel DeMaria Interview
- Vanguard: Michelle Butler Interview
- Warhammer Online: Interview With Erik Mogenson
- Warhammer Online: Games Day Overview
- Airline Sorry for Trans-Atlantic Flight Sewage SpillAnd you thought it was the guy next to you.
- New Delhi Teen Surgeon's Parents Arrested After One Too Many C-Sections Teen was just practicing his slice, the parents are very sari.
- Edmonton Residents Offer Homeless Eskimos Shelter No packed snow and ice this time of year. Give those Edmontonians a Klondike bar.
- Ten Predictions About Climate Change That Have Already Come True I wish I could get paid to make predictions that have already come true
- Man Chased by Police Asks for 'Time Out' It works about as well on kids as on Filipino police.
Thanks as always for visiting TenTonHammer.com
Cody "Micajah" Bye and Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle