Loading... September 10th, 2010 - Full Speed Ahead

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

Welcome to the 1,416th edition of Loading...

Hot on the heels of the industry event double-whammy of gamescom and PAX Prime, the fall gaming season is already beginning to kick into high gear. Between major launches for upcoming new titles such as DC Universe Online and LEGO Universe just around the corner, the open beta for Final Fantasy XIV leading up to that game’s launch later this month, the free-to-play launch for Lord of the Rings Online and the first full expansion for Aion, it seems there’s a little something for everyone hitting virtual and retail shelves this season. Today we’ll take a brief look at a few of these titles and a whole lot more in Loading… Full Steam Ahead

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. Guild Wars 2 (UP 1)
  3. Everquest 2 (down 1)
  4. Lord of the Rings Online
  5. Dungeons and Dragons Online (UP 1)

Biggest movers today:

  1. Rift: Planes of Telera
    - down 2 to #12
  2. Star Trek Online
    - down 2  to #16
  3. TERA
    - UP 2 to #17
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What's your PlayerScore? World of Warcraft players, find out at playerscore.com.

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Earlier this morning I was pleasantly surprised when going through our Pulse charts for the day to see that Guild Wars 2 has shot up to the number 2 position on the network. While MMO gamers can often be fickle creatures when it comes to following upcoming titles, it’s nice to see that I’m obviously not the only person here that likes what ArenaNet has shown us of the game so far. Rather than restate many of the things I find so engaging about the gameplay and overall design philosophy for GW2 here, instead I’ll simply encourage you to check out parts one and two of our hands-on look at the game from PAX Prime.

If that’s not enough, we also have an excellent interview focused on the combat in GW2 that you won’t want to miss. But in the immortal words (or at least horrendously bad grammar) of Bachman-Turner Overdrive, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled on our Guild Wars 2 community site early next week for the next installment of our exclusive interview with Game Designer Izzy Cartwright.

While I could easily wax poetic about GW2 until the virtual cows come home from wherever it is they scamper off to when you’re not looking, there’s plenty of other MMOGs that will soon be hitting a digital or physical retailer near you that are worth taking a closer look at. In fact, today marks the official free-to-play launch for Lord of the Rings Online. As Ethec noted yesterday in Loading… it seems Turbine has a pretty firm grasp on how to handle this type of re-launch for an established title, so I expect the game will be seeing a hefty upswing in server populations over the weekend.

If you plan on diving into Middle Earth either as a returning player or for your very first time, you’ll want to be sure to check out our completely rewritten guides for what is arguably the most popular class in the game, the Hunter. It was written by the newest member of our community site team, Gunky, and is hands down the best class guide you’ll find for the game anywhere on the ‘net. If Hunters aren’t necessarily your first pick, never fear because we’ll be rolling out all new complete guides for each class in the game over the coming weeks.

The Final Fantasy XIV open beta is also well underway, and based on some of the reactions I’ve been reading on our forums there seems to be a pretty varied reaction to the game so far. Some people seem to love the fact that FFXIV is a somewhat radical departure from the type of MMO gameplay most North American gamers tend to take for granted as being the norm. Still others have logged in, played for a few hours and were left with a distinctly bad taste in their mouth for the same reason.

I’ve only managed to squeeze in a couple hours worth of gameplay so far this week, so I’ll reserve judgment until I’ve given it a proper amount of attention. One thing that really stands out for me, however, is the fact that control scheme is for all intents and purposes intended to work best on consoles, yet there’s little or no real apparent consideration for the fact that the game is launching on the PC first.

Call it what you will, but a part of why I loathed playing a game like Fable II on a console is the simple fact that just about every single interaction in the game sends you digging through menus – the same kinds of interactions that would otherwise be as simple as pressing a single hotkey on a keyboard. FFXIV unfortunately falls prey to this same control scheme clunkiness from what I’ve seen of the game so far. Thankfully it also doesn’t take all that long to figure out which part of the menus things are stuffed in.

If neither the free-to-play version of LotRO or upcoming launch of FFXIV floats your gaming boat, there are still a few more major MMOG releases just around the corner. In the next two months we’ll get the chance to step into two distinctly different universes, LEGO and DC to be exact. And while we don’t have a set release date just yet, there’s also the mammoth third expansion for World of Warcraft drifting somewhere along the horizon. For those of you chomping at the bit to get your hands on Cataclysm, I thoroughly encourage you to head to PlayerScore.com to see how your characters rank against your peers in the meantime.

And thus concludes another exciting episode of Loading… for this week. Have you been keeping a close eye on the latest details for Guild Wars 2, or plan on diving into LotRO or the FFXIV open beta this weekend? Hail a virtual taxi and ride that puppy on over to the Loading… forum and let us know! As for myself, I plan on hitting my local theater later today to see the next installment of the Resident Evil series, for better or worse. Even if it ends up being wretchedly awful, the promise of 3D zombie fun is hard to pass up!

Shayalyn's Epic Thread of the Day

From our Loading... Forum

Loading... Turbine's Secret Weapon

In yesterday's daily newsletter from Ten Ton Hammer, Loading..., Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle talked about Turbine's approach to releasing its formerly AAA games as free-to-play versus Sony Online Entertainment's. What's the secret weapon Ethec claims that Turbine has? And do you agree with him? Join the lively discussion in the Loading... forum.

Awesome Quotes from the Epic Thread

"Ive been plaing Lord of the Rings for 3 years and no one I know that we play with is mad at the free to play move. We are all excited to see new people come in and see the game. There is very little bitterness because all the lifetimes get the same game anyways and those paying subs can just keep paying subs with little to no changes. I know the forum trolls rage on about how its the doom of everything but the general long term lotro player I think is excited."

- mckimmins

New and Exclusive Content Today at Ten Ton Hammer

3 new Ten Ton Hammer features today! 33 Ten Ton Hammer features in September! 988 in 2010!

Today's Hottest Articles, Guides, and Features FROM PAX 2010

HOT! Rift: Planes of Telara Class & Invasions Video Feature with Russ Brown


Russ Brown, VP of Development for Rift: Planes of Telara, showcases the games classes and callings system, the seldom talked about focus gems concept, and offers a detailed look at how footholds and invasions work in this new 2-part video series from PAX 2010.


NFSW Goes Free-to-Play : An Interview with Producer Jean-Charles Gaudechon
The recent release of Need for Speed World has had racing fanatics in a tizzy, exploring the game world and putting on races like mad. Ten Ton Hammer heard that big news was breaking this week about NFSW, so we slipped into EA’s racing garages (warehouses filled with high-end cars and equipment!) to talk to Producer Jean-Charles Gaudechon about this big news and what’s next for NFSW.


Microcosms - Living La Vida LOCO

Mention MMOGs and the average gamer envisions Orcs and Wizards. While fantasy-based games filled with questing and leveling are still the norm, there is an emerging trend toward unique games attempting to break the mold. Land of Chaos Online is one such title, but can a blend of third-person shooter, RTS and traditional MMOG combine into a tasty gaming treat? Join Jason “Medawky” Bolton, who is fresh off an action packed tour of LOCO, this week in Microcosms to find out.

  1. Rift: Planes of Telara Class & Invasions Video Feature with Russ Brown
  2. Skills, Traits and Builds - An Exclusive Guild Wars 2 Combat Interview
  3. Rift: Planes of Telara Class & Invasions Video Feature with Russ Brown
  4. Guild Wars 2 - Hands-On at PAX Prime Part 2
  5. Guild Wars 2 - Hands-On at PAX Prime Part 1
  6. A Tale of Two TERAs - A Hands-On Look at TERA's Group Play
  7. PAX 2010 Hands-On Preview of Torchlight II
  8. A First Look at Red 5's Firefall at PAX 2010
  9. Half Elves, Time Travel, and a Demonic Vultron? A PAX 2010 Video Preview of DDO Update 7
  10. Rift: Planes of Telara First Hands On Preview – Part 2

Thanks for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer network!

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

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