Posted Mon, May 04, 2009 by Ethec
Welcome to the 1,071st Edition of Loading...
Loading... is the premier daily MMORPG news and commentary newsletter, only from Ten Ton Hammer.
We've celebrated a number of MMO anniversaries this past month: EverQuest, City of Heroes, and Lord of the Rings Online to be precise. We'll add one more to the list today as Guild Wars hit the four year mark late last week. We'll also look at some unsettling comments about the future of MMOs on the Xbox 360 that emerged over the weekend and offer you links to an equally unsettling Epic Thread and three happily not unsettling new and exclusive Ten Ton Hammer articles in Loading... Ex360!
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First, you vote with what you view at Ten Ton Hammer, and the result is the Ten Ton Hammer Pulse (What is Pulse?). Here's the top 5 this week:
And here are the biggest movers in the Top 20 today:
It's the season of game anniversaries, with Lord of the Rings Online (2nd), City of Heroes (5th), andEverQuest (10th) celebrating their birthdays in the last month. Add one more to the list: Guild Wars quietly celebrated its fourth anniversary late last week. GW may not have redefined the MMO revenue model with the idea that you could pay for the box and expansions and play free of subcriptions and microtransactions - sadly, the notion didn't seem to catch on in other games. But the Guild Wars PvP concept, with arenas and plenty of competition over scoreboard rankings, bridged the MMO ideal and traditional multiplayer PvP competition. And then the arena concept was, of course, promptly assimilated by WoW.
But six million purchasers can't be wrong, and as Ten Ton Hammer's Reuben Waters points out in his fourth anniversary article, if you haven't checked out the game in 4 years, you might not recognize it. The expansion areas- the Oriental-themed Cantha and North African influenced Elona- the Hall of Monuments (which will carry forward to Guild Wars 2, by the way), and the dungeon content of Eye of the North broadened the game far beyond it's F2P PvP roots. Hats off to Arena.net for four solid years of proving the industry naysayers wrong, and we hope to hear more about Guild Wars 2 very soon.
But if Guild Wars proved the industry naysayers wrong by thriving on a MT and subscription-free model, it looks like Champions Online is going to prove a different set of naysayers right. It's long been propesied that the first MMO to strike it big on a console would be big indeed. With more than 28 million Xbox 360s (not counting red rings), 21 million PS3s, and a staggering 45 million Wiis in circulation today, it's not unthinkable that such an MMO would be WoW-toppling big. There's one serious hitch though, according to Champions Online's Bill Roper - at least one of the big three is doing nothing to foster an MMO on the server-side.
Thwarting what small lingering hopes remained of an Xbox 360 - PC simultaneous launch in June, Roper hinted that Microsoft had been less than cooperative ("From any discussions I’ve ever had, or heard with Don Mattrick, Don’s not necessarily a huge MMO fan") and noted that he's be "pleasantly suprised" if there were an MS first-party MMO announcement, such as the fabled Halo MMO, at E3. Anyone familiar with Microsoft's previous MMO publishing run-ins (Marvel Universe Online, Mythica, Vanguard) or their misadventures into online gaming on the PC (Windows Live Arcade) might regard some distance between Microsoft and MMOs as a good thing. But this isn't so much the case when Microsoft controls both the means and the ends for online gaming on the X360 and third-party devs - the real experts - are forced to play by Microsoft's rules.
For what it's worth, we've heard rumors and whisperings that the first breakthrough MMO success on a console would be on the PS3 side, and you don't have to be a business guru to see that all the console MMO players to date (Phantasy Star Online, Final Fantasy XI, and EQ Online Adventures) have been on a PlayStation platform. With PlayStation 3 deep in third place in the great console race, establishing itself as the MMO gamer console might just be the kind of niche it needs. Furthermore, with the DC Universe Online team reluctant to discuss a revenue model, the future seems wide open for DCUO on the PS3. Could a Guild Wars pricing concept be the springboard needed to propel MMO gaming onto a console without the gamestopping untidyness of an additional monthly subscription?
3 new and exclusive MMOGarticles today! 5 in May! 523 in 2009!
New MMOG Articles At Ten Ton Hammer Today
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-- Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle and the Ten Ton Hammer team