Archive

Loading... For Kids of All Ages

Posted Wed, Jun 23, 2010 by Ethec

Loading... is the premier daily MMOG newsletter, only from Ten Ton Hammer!

Welcome to the 1,361st edition of Loading...

LEGO Universe, Clone Wars Adventures, and Hero: 108 Online were three kid-oriented MMOGs we saw at E3 2010 last week, and all three seek to seize upon the success of MMOG titles like Free Realms and Wizard 101. Our E3 impressions of these games, plus a look at how they break the mold of pre-teen and tween online games, in today's Loading... For Kids of All Ages.

E3 2010

The Pulse

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

Today's top 5 Pulse results this week:

  1. World of Warcraft
  2. EverQuest II
  3. EVE Online (UP 4)
  4. Lord of the Rings Online (UP 2)
  5. Dungeons & Dragons Online

Biggest movers today:

  1. Star Wars: The Old Republic
    - Up 7 to #12
  2. Guild Wars
    - down 6 to #19
  3. Free Realms
    - Up 5 to #18
Recent Releases
Upcoming Releases

Upcoming Events


Loading... Daily

Yesterday's news that over one million new wizards had signed up for Wizard 101 was yet another indication that kids online games have found their footing. Mind you, registered numbers are very rarely independently verified, and though we have no reason to doubt KingsIsle, this is the sort of statement that only flies in press releases (not where investors or advertisers are concerned). Free Realms has proffered up similar press blasts, the last came last April when the 10 millionth player signed up shortly before the game's one year anniversary.

If you know little about Free Realms, be sure to check out Medawky's very capable Free Realms review posted yesterday, but both Free Realms and Wizard 101 were groundbreaking in that they found that, yes indeed, kids and their parents aren't just an enthusiastic cadre in a market chock full of jaded gamers, but they're also willing to pay big (or, perhaps more accurately, pay small many times) for perceived value. This is nothing new to toy and collectible card game manufacturers, but the essential difference is that in online games, the cost to producer new toys and cards is almost criminally low, that is, if you can create something that has as much "play value" as a physical object.

Fun to play as Wizard 101 and Free Realms are, we learned more about several other promising kid-oriented games at E3 2010. Clone Wars Adventures is a surprisingly light-hearted take on the days of the old republic and, unlike some have suggested, is not just Free Realms in padawan robes. The game trades the hefty download required for Free Realms many overland zones for four persistent Jedi-only areas, tons of customization options (lightsabers too), and a plethora of mini-games, including DDR-style lightsaber duels, starfighter piloting, speeder racing, gungun tossing (Jar Jar helps you practice force push!), and much more.

The remaining two kid-geared titles break the mold established by all three of these titles. Seeking to bridge the mini-game munchkins with dyed-in-wool late teen and adult MMORPGs, Hero: 108 Online uses the same Flash assets from the eponymous Cartoon Network show that's gaining in popularity since it hit the airwaves in August, and offers 8-man raids, loot-stealing PvP, a death penalty that includes loss of experience, and a unique blend of 3D graphics and side-scroller perspective. It's easily the most hardcore and authentic traditional MMORPG experience targetted at the yutes, and potential Mr. No Hands's will be able to check out the open beta next week.

Finally, we come to LEGO Universe, which blew our minds at this year's E3 (or would have if we had any mind left to splode at the last appointment on the last day). What originally got folks talking about the game was the idea that you could collect LEGO blocks as you play, use these blocks to construct models in your own private build area, then optionally share your build area with "best friends" or (pending moderation) with the public at-large. But, as beta players discovered, building something cool brick-by-brick is tougher than it sounds. Modular sets entered beta a short while back, and allowed players to use pre-fab sections to build their own unique castles, western forts, and the like.

But the coolest part came when the LEGO Universe team brought their brick-built creations to life through "behaviors." Using a simplified programming language adapted from LEGO Robotech, players can trigger their creations to perform a wide variety of state changes and actions from chat to simple combat to movement. You can see it all happen in our LEGO Universe video Q&A from E3 2010.

User-generated content has been attempted before in the MMOG space, and perhaps done best by City of Heroes and Saga of Ryzom. But it's hard to imagine any game offering the same level of flexibility with setting and character actions (since only one skeletal model is required for each LEGO "mini-fig"). The dream, according to Ryan Seabury, is that players will someday be able to re-create an entire MMOG within their build area. Behaviors will be unveiled for the beta testing community soon, and I can't wait to see what players come up with.

Are kid-oriented MMOGs headed in the right direction? Share your thoughts in the Loading... forum.


Ethec's Epic Thread of the Day

From our /OOC (Off Topic) Forum

hello every cleavage


With Shay off on vacation for the rest of the week, we can bend the holy laws that govern the Epic Thread ever so slightly. In this case, the Ten Ton denizens have a little fun with a stray forum spammer with a weak grasp on the English language. Hilarity and... yes, cleavage ensue.

==============================
Awesome Quotes from the Epic Thread

"God, I hope that's not anyone you know." - OneEyeRed

"I thought my mum was looking good for her age." - Annatar

==============================

Have you spotted an Epic Thread on our forums? Tell us!


New and Exclusive Content Today at Ten Ton Hammer

6 Ten Ton Hammer features today! 106 Ten Ton Hammer features in June! 696 in 2010!

HOT! CONTINUING E3 COVERAGE

Introducing Company of Heroes Online - A Video Q&A with Producer Greg Wilson
http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/e3/2010/company-of-heroes-interview

Company of Heroes is one of the bestselling RTS (or even strategy) franchises of all time, and at E3 2010 we learned that Company of Heroes Online is coming to the Western market. Join Producer Greg Wilson for a gameplay video packed, top-down video overview of one of the biggest surprises of this year's E3.

On the Bleeding Edge - Razer's New StarCraft II Gear at E3 2010
http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/e3/2010/razor-starcraft2-gear

While our primary focus at E3 2010 was on the plethora of promising looking new MMOGs at the show, Team Hammer made sure to take some time out of our busy schedule to check out one of the coolest new hardware lineups to hit the scene. We’re talking, of course, about Razor’s soon to be released StarCraft II gear. But what makes the fittingly titled Spectre mouse, Marauder keyboard and Banshee headset more than a new product line with a fancy game logo slapped on the surface? Ten Ton Hammer spent some time with Razor’s President Robert Krakoff to get all the details.

More Features and Guides

WoW Patch 3.3.5 - General Overview
http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow/editorials/patch_335

The Ruby Sanctum has been breached, a new way to chat has been introduced, and players may find they are able to uninstall at least one mod from their overstuffed addon folder. All this and more is introduced in Patch 3.3.5, the last content patch before the much anticipated Cataclysm. While most have probably already read the patch notes, we here at Ten Ton Hammer like to break them down and spit them out into sometime that is more attuned to the average reader.

Alphabet Soup - Written Language in Guild Wars 2
http://www.tentonhammer.com/gw2/features/previews/written-language

Written language is often an overlooked aspect in any MMOG but Guild Wars 2 is going to be taking a detailed look. The translation of the various writings in Guild Wars has long been a past-time of the community and this will continue in GW2. Why should the latest reveal on written language matter and what else can we learn from it? Find out in our latest Guild Wars 2 article here at Ten Ton Hammer.

WoW: Recruit-a-Friend or Paid Alt Speed Leveling: Examining the Recruit-a-Friend System
http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow/editorials/RAF-review

It seems like just the other day that the Recruit-a-Friend system launched, but in fact it has been almost two full years since it went live way back in August of 2008. The Recruit-a-Friend system was one of Blizzard’s more successful ways to help draw more players into World of Warcraft.  Now that it has been active for a while, how has it worked out and how has it affected the game?  These are questions that Byron “Messiah” Mudry looks at in his latest editorial.

Ten Piratical Tips for EVE Online Players
http://www.tentonhammer.com/eve/guides/combat/piracy_tips

For the new player just beginning to discover the magical moments that occur when indulging in piracy, in EVE Online, there are always ways to sharpen up your performance. Ten Ton Hammer Contributing Writer, Space Junkie, has provided us with ten tips for newly blossoming scalawags.

Today's Hottest Articles, Guides, and Features

  1. Introducing Company of Heroes Online - A Video Q&A with Producer Greg Wilson
  2. On the Bleeding Edge - Razer's New StarCraft II Gear at E3 2010
  3. Star Wars: The Old Republic - Q&A with James Ohlen
  4. WoW Patch 3.3.5 - General Overview
  5. Exclusive Guild Wars 2 Warrior and Traits Q&A with Lead Designer Eric Flannum
  6. Exclusive Video Q&A with Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium Online Creative Director Joe Madureira
  7. Nexon's Chris Gyselinck on Vindictus - An Exclusive Ten Ton Hammer E3 Q&A
  8. Grouping Made Epic - Hands on with TERA Group Play at E3 2010
  9. Alphabet Soup - Written Language in Guild Wars 2
  10. Final Fantasy XIV Beta Hands On Impression at E3 2010
  11. Class and Soul - Rift: Planes of Telara Gets a Little Bit of Both at E3 2010
  12. The Beginning of a New MMO Genre - An E3 Preview of End of Nations

Thanks for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer network!

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


News from around the 'Net