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Loading... If I Had a Dollar

Posted Tue, May 04, 2010 by B. de la Durantaye

Welcome to the 1,326th edition of Loading...

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

When a game launches its immediate success affects its future success. This often means company restructuring after launch. Find out why in today's Loading... If I Had a Dollar.

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 today's top 5 Pulse results:

  1. World of Warcraft
  2. Warhammer Online (UP 8)
  3. EverQuest II (down 1)
  4. EVE Online (UP 2)
  5. Age of Conan (down 2)

Biggest movers today:

  1. Pirates of the Burning Sea (UP 35 to #14)
  2. EverQuest (down 8 to #16)
  3. Champions Online (UP 5 to #11)
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Loading... Daily

Last Friday the CEO of Icarus Studios, James Hettinger, announced a restructuring of the company. Icarus Studios is the company responsible for Fallen Earth.

Let's face it - 'restructuring' of MMO companies is pretty much inevitable some time after launch. Most games don't need a huge crew after they've launched simply because there's not as much to do. If a game picks up popularity and the money keeps rolling in, then sure, optimizations, patches, and expansions will be enough to keep many people employed.

If, however, the game ends up sharing the same fate as virtually every other MMOG launched since 2005 then while subscriber numbers may still turn a profit, it's not usually enough to keep the entire launch development team on board. It's just a sad reality of the industry and most designers and developers can plan on looking for new work every few years because of it.

Now, if the game happens to become a mega-blockbuster, then let the good times roll. With enough revenue coming in new expansions can be planned, new servers put in place, patches rolled out at a furious pace, and so on. This means happy times for everyone. Investors start seeing a solid flow of cash, developers and designers stay employed, and players get more of what they want at a faster pace. Everybody wins.

This really, once again, emphasizes the benefit of spending a little extra time in the development process of a new game, to ensure that it launches in a complete, bug-free, polished state. Now, as any developer will attest, typically an early launch is pushed by people not directly involved in the development. Yes, it usually comes from the money backing the project. Investors get to a point where they need to see a return or write it off. Once they get to that point, it's very difficult to convince them to wait a few more months, or even a year, to maximize their return. Then we end up seeing a less-than-awesome game, a small playerbase, and eventually a 'restructuring' announcement.

So, for Icarus Studios this means their team of 110 employees has been reduced down to 35. To be fair, 35 is still a decent-sized team for a live game. It's when a team gets reduced to three to seven that players should start thinking about what they're going to be playing next.

Does company restructuring strike fear of game cancellation in you? Let us know in the forums.

Shayalyn's Epic Thread of the Day

From our Articles, News & Events Discussion

Brad McQuaid Returns to Answer Questions in Q&A

I really can't resist a Vanguard thread. (Yes, I'm still bitter.) Ten Ton Hammer's favorite news guy, Stacy "Martuk" Jones, reported last night that Brad McQuaid has returned after a several month hiatus from his blog to answer readers' questions about Vanguard and game development. McQuaid also says, "I’ve been busy and I’m looking into some gaming opportunities. Nothing I can reveal, but I am excited!" So are we, Brad. So are we.

Discuss!

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

"My favourite question (which will undoubtedly go unanswered) was: 'When in development cycle of Vanguard did you realize you where f***ed?'"

- Annatar
==============================

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

New and Exclusive Content Today at Ten Ton Hammer

4 new Ten Ton Hammer articles! 9 Ten Ton Hammer features in May! 480 in 2010!

INTERVIEWS

EverQuest II Passport Q&A with Dave Georgeson

http://www.tentonhammer.com/interviews/eq2-passport

Sony Online Entertainment has long been an industry leader when it comes to establishing a diverse set of subscription options for players. So when SOE announced their newest offering earlier this month, the EverQuest II Passport, it was no surprised that the unique short-term subscription option got people talking. Ten Ton Hammer decided to do a bit of talking of our own, specifically with EverQuest II Senior Producer Dave Georgeson about the new Passport, its reception so far, and whether we can expect to see the same concept applied to other current or future SOE titles.

REVIEWS


Microcosms – Gaming for Freedom: Atlantica Online Review
http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/84007

Here at Ten Ton Hammer our main goal is to chronicle, review and report on the MMO games that you, the readers, find the most interesting. In an effort to honor those requests our weekly free-to-play column, Microcosms, has continued to evolve and grow with this exciting and emergent genre. One of the most common requests from our readers was that we feature more game reviews. So, without further ado, we begin a continuing series of reviews that highlight not only the customary topics of graphics, gameplay and interface, but also a game's overall value. Join Jason “Medawky” Bolton as he kicks it off by taking a look at Atlantica Online in this week’s Microcosms – Gaming for Freedom.

FEATURED EDITORIAL

Just Mod It: Five WoW Addons Every Player Should Download
http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow/editorials/5musthavemods

Addons are a natural part of World of Warcraft. Players literally get to change the face of their game by choosing from thousands of mods those that will best aid their personal play style. If you can dream it, there probably is a mod for it. But are there mods out there that every player should have? Jason “Mem” Bechdel thinks so, and is pleased to present to you his personal list of must have mods for World of Warcraft.

FEATURES & GUIDES

WoW - Semi-Hardcore #3 - Bad Tanks Abound While Levelling
http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow/editorials/semihc/vol3

Can anyone possibly talk about Spelling, World of Warcraft, tanks, nationality, Paladins, Beer, and Canada all in one column?  Can it form any sort of cohesive discussion?  Who knows, but Byron “Messiah” Mudry gives it his best shot at putting all of these diverse topics in one place at one time. Check it all out in Semi-Hardcore #3 – Bad Tanks Abound While Levelling.

Today's Hottest Articles, Guides, and Features

  1. Ten Ton Hammer Live Ep. 5 - Developer Guests for Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2, and City of Heroes
  2. EverQuest II Passport Q&A with Dave Georgeson
  3. EverQuest Underfoot All-In-One Giveaway - 20 Copies Available!
  4. Dungeons and Dragons Online - Sentinels of Stormreach Review
  5. The Best Tech One Ships In EVE Online
  6. Microcosms – Gaming for Freedom: Atlantica Online Review
  7. D-Mail #2: Knee Jerk Reactions
  8. Microcosms: Reinventing The Wheel – An Alganon Re-Launch Sneak Peak
  9. A First Look at Rift: Planes of Telara
  10. Command & Conquer Creators Unveil Massively Military MMORTS: End of Nations

Thanks for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer network!

- Benjamin J. de la Durantaye and the Ten Ton Hammer team


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