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Loading... Look to the East

Posted Wed, Mar 31, 2010 by Shayalyn

Welcome to the 1,302nd edition of Loading...

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

When it comes to Asian games, the Western market seems to remain skeptical. And yet, we've got some impressive Asian titles coming down the pike in the not-too-distant future, including Final Fantasy XIV Online and TERA. Will they be game enough to finally win over the Western world?  We'll talk about them in today's Loading... Look to the East.

The Pulse

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

Here are this week's top 5 Pulse results:

  1. World of Warcraft
  2. EverQuest II
  3. Age of Conan
  4. Dungeons and Dragons Online
  5. Star Trek Online

Biggest movers in the last seven days :

  1. All Points Bulletin (UP 11 to #13)
  2. Free Realms (Down 6 to #18)
  3. Tabula Rasa (Down 5 to #11)
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When it comes to Asian MMOGs, many Western gamers seem to hold at least one (if not all) of the following opinions:

  1. They're pretty, but lacking in substance and story.
  2. They're pretty, but lacking in innovation.
  3. They're pretty, but generally a grindfest. 
I think we can all agree that, on the plus side, Asian MMOGs are usually graphically stunning with a distinctive art style. (Sure, some guys find Asian-style character models too feminine looking, but the Westernization of Asian MMOGs has come a long way toward remedying that and recent games such as Aion have made certain to provide plenty of character creation options for burly men and girly men alike.) But, although it kills the unabashed graphics whore in me to say this, games can't live on amazing graphics alone. If they could, Aion would surely have surpassed World of Warcraft here in the west and, as a look at some screenshots reveals, there would be no doubt in anyone's mind that Final Fantasy XIV would take the MMO gaming world by storm, and TERA would most certainly be a major contender.

Since graphics don't make the game, how will we overcome our wariness when it comes to Asian MMOGs? Will the newest Asian AAA titles in development shake up our preconceived notions about them?

First, let's take a look at substance and story. My experience playing Aion tells me that it's entirely possible for an Asian MMOG to have a good story...at least for a while. The first 10 levels of Aion certainly captured my attention, and I felt as though I was part of something important as I began to recover memories of my past and go on to save the little village of Poeta from an encroaching threat. Not only did I earn the title of Poeta's Protector, but I learned that I was an immortal daeva and that I had wings. (Wings!)

And then I progressed to the next town and learned that, despite my wings and immortal status, I was yet another winged peon, and I was going to be sent out to the beach to kill crabs with the other winged peons.

I'm not sure what the future holds for peons (winged or otherwise) in Final Fantasy XIV, but I have a good feeling that the game wont' be lacking in story. Love it or hate it, if there's one franchise known for story it's Final Fantasy. In my time as a gamer I've known several Final Fantasy junkies who could retell the events and discuss the characters from several of the games (notably Final Fantasy VII and X) in vivid detail, which leads me to believe there's no shortage of Final Fantasy fans in the Western world. Will FFXIV be able to capture that story in a game Westerners will want to play? It remains to be seen, but I have high hopes.

Where innovation is concerned, it's not just the Asian MMOGs that are guilty of copying the tried and true format used by World of Warcraft and a metric ton of other games. While there's no sense reinventing the wheel where some mechanics and ideas are concerned, gamers have been calling out for something fresh for some time now. And perhaps that something fresh will come in the form of TERA. This title, published in North America by En Masse and developed by Bluehole Studio (a team comprised of a number of industry vets), is a MMOG of South Korean origins making a name for itself by promising something new, including an "exciting new combat system that provides fast-paced, intense battles and engages characters of all classes" and "a unique endgame experience...where players and guilds vie for control of the Federation." While its uniqueness remains to be seen, early videos (which are entirely made up of gameplay footage edited into trailer format) are intriguing.

Tentatively, it seems we may have the bases where story and innovation are concerned covered, but what about the grind factor? Will either FFXIV or TERA include a plethora of "kill 20 sphincter beetles" quests? We won't know until beta begins to reveal the realities of each title. For now, I'm going to remain optimistic and hope that the stories are rich, the innovation is...innovative, and the sphincter beetles are few.

Are you a skeptic when it comes to Asian MMOGs becoming hits in the Western world? What's your take on the future of FFXIV and TERA? Head over to our forum to share your thoughts.


Shayalyn's Epic Thread of the Day

From our Articles, Events & News Discussion

New TERA Trailer Released

If you haven't heard of TERA yet, now's your chance to get a look. We've published the latest TERA trailer, and it's pretty sweet, if I do say so myself. What does a truly "next generation MMO" look like? Take a look, kiddies! And then tell us whether you think TERA's got the chops to usher in a new era in MMOG development.

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

"Nice video and a hell of a Mission statement: 'En Masse strives to publish only the very best massively multiplayer online games in the world.'"

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

New and Exclusive Content Today at Ten Ton Hammer

9 new Ten Ton Hammer features today! 129 in March! 359 in 2010!

PAX EAST 2010

NVIDIA's Newest Line of GPUs Introduced at PAX East 2010
http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/82924

At PAX East 2010 in Boston last weekend, one of the strongest showings on the tech front was undoubtedly NVIDIA’s introduction of their GXT 400 series. The new graphics powerhouses were featured throughout NVIDIA’s demo stations where Ten Ton Hammer spent some time seeing just what kind of graphical performance they were capable of before making our way to the launch celebration which packed over 3,000 gamers into the main hall.

City of Heroes: Going Rogue Powersets

http://www.tentonhammer.com/coh/videos/going_rogue/powersets

All ten archetypes in City of Heroes get a new powerset when Going Rogue goes live in July, and you'll find the first two teaser videos at Ten Ton Hammer! The first, Dual Pistols, is available as of this printing with a Going Rogue pre-order. Paragon Studios revealed the second at PAX East 2010: Demon Summoning. Pet-based classes will be able to summon demons and control them with fiery green whips. You can read more about these powersets in our Going Rogue feature from PAX East 2010. But first, check out the new Going Rogue powerset videos!

INTERVIEWS

The 800 lb. Gorilla: Industry Insiders on Living Large in a WoW World
http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/82768
 
In the past 5 years, World of Warcraft has undoubtedly shaped the MMO gaming landscape. We asked some industry leaders to weigh in on the topic of WoW's dominance and how it affects the development process. Can vision and innovation exist when revenue is the bottom line? The developers gave us candid answers ranging from realistic to optimistic, but never pessimistic. Read on to capture some insider insight.

MEDIA

New TERA Trailer Released
http://www.tentonhammer.com/tera/video/trailer

En Masse has just released a new trailer for TERA, their upcoming action MMOG. Showcased in the new trailer is a glimpse into the rich fantasy world of TERA, as well as a look at the action-adventure style combat system used by players. Set for release on the PC this winter with development by Bluehole Studio. Try to keep your sword in its sheath, young warrior! The time of heroism will soon be upon you.

FEATURES & GUIDES

A Farewell Tribute to Eric "Dalmarus" Campbell
http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/82915

After nearly three years as a dedicated member of the Ten Ton Hammer team, this week Eric “Dalmarus” Campbell embarks on a journey as the newest addition to the staff at Blizzard Entertainment. Join us as we take a look back at Eric’s time with the network, featuring many anecdotes from his fellow co-workers in our farewell tribute.

Farming Datacores For ISK In EVE Online
http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/82894/

Research and development agents are one of the best sources of ISK in EVE Online, but many players haven't even heard of them. Contributing Writer (and all around swell guy) Space Junkie, explains how to use these agents to keep a steady source of ISK flowing into your bank account.

The Evolution of StarCraft Armies - Early Game Protoss
http://www.tentonhammer.com/starcraft2/features/protoss_earlygame_evolution

StarCraft, without question, has the most prolific history of any real-time strategy game. Its impeccable balance that spawned hundreds of unique strategies, map designs, and builds is legendary in the online gaming community. As StarCraft II prepares to take up the mantle of its predecessor, Ten Ton Hammer continues to look at how the armies of StarCraft II have evolved, this time focusing on early game Protoss.

Progression in WoW Cataclysm – A Wish List
http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow/editorial/cataclysm_progression

When World of Warcraft: Cataclysm is released there will be a ton of things to do in game. Most of it will have to do with working through the many forms of progression. Some are basic and easy to nail down, such as experience and levelling. Others are a bit more abstract, such as achievements, raid progression, and reputation grinds. This week Byron “Messiah” Mudry looks at the various progression items that are known to be planned for Cataclysm and talks about his wishes for each.

Managing Loot in a WoW Guild - DKP vs. Loot Council
http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow/guides/dkp_vs_loot

In raid guilds, far too often the drama that ends up breaking apart the guild is over the loot that drops in the raids.  Many times the fights that erupt could have been avoided by choosing the right loot system. That’s why it is important to make the right choice for the loot system for your guild. Check out the two most common loot systems and how they compare to each other and which is best for which type of guild in this guide to DKP vs. Loot council.

Today's Hottest Articles, Guides, and Features

  1. The 800 lb. Gorilla: Industry Insiders on Living Large in a WoW World
  2. NVIDIA's Newest Line of GPUs Introduced at PAX East 2010
  3. City of Heroes: Going Rogue Powersets
  4. The Evolution of StarCraft Armies - Early Game Protoss
  5. Video: APB Gameplay Preview
  6. Fallen Earth Unveils the Future of Mobile MMOG Interaction
  7. City of Heroes "Incarnate" Endgame Levels & New Going Rogue Details Revealed
  8. Star Trek Online: Season 1 and Killer NIC Giveaway
  9. DDO's "Storming the Beaches" Dungeon Revealed
  10. APB Customization Preview Video from PAX East 2010

Thanks for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer network!

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

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