Loading... October 7th, 2010 - Dark Horses

Loading... is the premiere daily MMOG newsletter, only from Ten Ton Hammer! Welcome to the 1,435th edition of Loading...

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

Welcome to the 1,435th edition of Loading...

We still have a few months to go before the end of the year when gaming sites traditionally begin rolling out their predictions about the future of the industry. But that hasn’t stopped one blogger from adding three of the top names in the wide world of MMOGs to their shortsighted list of game companies that are supposedly doomed. A closer look at this and a whole lot more will be blasting its way through your optic nerves today in Loading… Dark Horses.

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:

  1. World of Warcraft
  2. EverQuest 2 
  3. Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (UP 3)
  4. Lord of the Rings Online (down 1)
  5. EVE Online (down 1)

Biggest movers today:

  1. Rift: Planes of Telara
    - down 7 to #18
  2. Runes of Magic
    - UP 3 to #13
  3. Star Trek Online
    - UP 3 to #15
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I have a long history of rooting for the underdog, stretching as far back as my childhood when I quite literally did so every time I plopped my butt down to watch the Underdog cartoon. Even during the height of my comic book collecting days in the late 80s and throughout the 1990s I was just as likely to seek out lesser known publications as I was to pick up the latest issues of perennial favorites from Marvel and DC, a trend that continues to this day.

Once the year 2000 rolled around and we all realized that the world wasn’t ending, it seemed as good a time as any to pull up roots from Chicago and replant myself in Portland, OR. While there were any number of factors that went into that decision, that lengthy list also included the random geek factoid that the Portland area was also home to Dark Horse Comics.

At the time I was fairly obsessed with the art in Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, Frank Miller’s Sin City, and the awesome adventures of Uncle Gabby and Mr. Crow in Tony Millionaire’s Sock Monkey comics. In fact, a replica figure of Drinky Crow is currently passed out on the corner of my desk here in the Chantry of Secrets aka my makeshift office.

You may be asking yourself, “Who got their comic books in my MMOG newsletter?” but perhaps a better question might be, “Who got their MMOGs in my comic book convention?” That’s right, New York Comic Con is set to kick off tomorrow and while there’s not necessarily a massive MMOG presence at the con this year, there are still a number of high caliber titles that will be making the trek to the big apple for the event. While none of them are based on Dark Horse titles, it’s also the perfect venue for SOE to showcase its upcoming DC Universe Online among others.

If today’s Loading… were an M. Night Shyamalan film, this is the point where the thrilling (read: predictable) plot twist would be shoehorned in.

While scampering around ye olde internet late last night to come up with a fitting topic to ramble about for today’s newsletter, I came across a random blog post titled Ten Games Businesses that are Doomed. Once I finished singing a few rounds of The Doom Song, I discovered that a handful of MMOG developers had managed to land a place on the list.

While I’ll readily admit that I’m a fan of seemingly random game-related top ten lists, I also take the kinds of statements found in the Gamesbrief blog post with a grain of salt so big it would easily engulf my entire neighborhood. This was doubly the case here, as the originating site clearly is more interested in predicting and reporting on doom and gloom than it is at taking the business analysis side of the industry as seriously as it claims to, regardless of the blog author’s past as an investment banker.

The biggest red flag here is prominently positioned on the site’s About page, encouraging visitors to “Tell us about downsizing or closures in the games industry.” While there’s certainly value in analyzing what went wrong with past business ventures in the gaming world, it still speaks volumes that the blog is seemly uninterested in industry successes unless your name is World of Warcraft or RuneScape, the two points of reference sprinkled throughout the top ten list.

Without rehashing the whole nutty affair of the blog post in question, the following statements about three of the MMOG developers that were (dis)honored by making the List of Doom made me snicker:

Trion Worlds – “But I fear, like a First World War general, you are fighting the battles of a previous century. And you are about to get bogged down in the Somme.”

CCP’s DUST 514 – “It’s wildly ambitious but also, in my view, totally pointless.”

38 Studios – “The odds of being a success in launching a traditional MMO are stacked against you. Far more likely is that you will lose your shirt.”

While it’s entirely true that MMOGs are a relatively high risk venture in the gaming world, so is attempting to recreate the gameplay wheel simply because it’s already driven the success of past titles. In fact, just about every established genre in gaming stems from a refinement of gameplay mechanics rather than throwing them out the window because it’s been done before.

My analysis of the above could easily go on for quite some time, but instead I’ll close by saying that I’d certainly bet on the three “dark horses” listed here for any number of reasons. Then again, perhaps that’s just my general enthusiasm for the industry’s future shining through.

What’s your take? Are three of the biggest names in the industry barking up the wrong tree with titles like Copernicus, Rift, End of Nations or DUST 514? Are the hugely recognizable names attached to these projects just dazzle camouflage? Hop on your virtual dark horse and ride it over to the Loading… forum to have your say!

Shayalyn's Epic Thread of the Day

From our Guild Wars 2 General Discussion forum

Request: Your Feedback on GW2 Forums!

Every time Ten Ton Hammer publishes a new Guild Wars 2 article, gamers flock to read it, so it should be no surprise that we're doing some major tweaking to the theme and style of our GW2 forums. We've rolled out the most recent updates, and now we're looking for your feedback. Is there anything you'd like to see added to the forums? Tell us!

Awesome Quotes from the Epic Thread

Make one!

New and Exclusive Content Today at Ten Ton Hammer

4 new Ten Ton Hammer features today! 23 Ten Ton Hammer features in September! 1083 in 2010!


Exclusive WAR RvR Info on Ten Ton Hammer Live Episode 22

LADIES AND GENTLEMEEEEEEN! STEP RIGHT UP AND WITNESS CARRIE GOUSKOS VS JESSE COX IN AN RVR BATTLE TO THE DEATH! Yes, that's right! In this episode Producer of Warhammer Online Carrie Gouskos returns to discuss the new RvR details AND dispense some previously unheard information about the future of Warhammer.

THEN - Jesse, Ben, and Carrie embark on a rockified master looter about "White Snake" which takes a turn for the weird when Ben and Carrie have a magical moment of complete syncronicity that can only be heard to be believed.

Also, in the news - the boys talk Vindictus, free to play (yet again), and World of Warcraft release dates.

All this and more in this weeks episode of Ten Ton Hammer Live!


Trion Worlds Unveils Meridian, Home of the Defiants in Rift: Planes of Telara

With the Rift: Planes of Telara beta drawing ever closer, Trion Worlds decided it was time to tease us with a few more details. The team recently revealed the capital city of the Defiant, Meridian, and we've got a new video, several screenshots and some descriptive lore about the new city. Join us for a peek inside the fortified walls of Meridian.

DC Universe Online Beta Videos Highlight Combat and Metropolis

DC Universe Online may have suffered a slight delay but Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) wants players to know that the game is still coming along quite well. In fact, SOE recently released two new videos showcasing beta combat and offering a Superman style fly-through of one of DC's most popular cities, Metropolis. So dust off your cape and join us for a look at DC Universe Online.


WoW: Cataclysm - Introduction to the Twin Peaks Battleground

Twin Peaks is the new 10 player battleground in Cataclysm. The objective is Capture the Flag. Get the goods in Ten Ton Hammer's new World of Warcraft: Cataclysm guide.

Today's Top 10

  1. Skaven Exclusives! A WAR Q&A with Carrie Gouskos
  2. Reader Submitted Rift Q&A, Part 1
  3. WoW Warlock Guide Updated - 4.0
  4. LEGO Universe Preview
  5. WoW: Cataclysm - Introduction to the Twin Peaks Battleground
  6. An Overview of Elite Equipment In EVE Online
  7. WoW - Introduction to the Mastery System
  8. Exclusive WAR RvR Info on Ten Ton Hammer Live Episode 22
  9. Final Fantasy XIV Review at Ten Ton Hammer
  10. DC Universe Online Beta Videos Highlight Combat and Metropolis

Thanks for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer network!

- Reuben "Sardu" Waters and the Ten Ton Hammer team

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