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Loading... Family Feud

Posted Fri, May 08, 2009 by Ethec

Welcome to the 1,075th Edition of Loading...

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In yesterday's Loading... Garriott's Gambit, we reviewed the gritty details of Richard Garriott's lawsuit against NCSoft in what will become the strange final chapter of Tabula Rasa. We knew that Richard's brother, Robert, is president of NCSoft America. But thanks to an anonymous emailer, we discovered that he was on the NCSoft board of directors at the time that his brother (forcibly or voluntarily) left the company. Is there a sour grapes element to this lawsuit? We can only speculate, but we'll dish what details we have in Loading... Family Feud.

We'll also wash off the gossip column-ness and congratulate EVE Online on six years and counting, look forward to Baltimore Games Day with Mythic Entertainment this weekend, and note that Blizzard's latest earning report shows that WoW is still an epic cash cow.

Coyote is back in a big way at Ten Ton Hammer, and his daily column explores all things geek with Coyote's trademark wit in It's All Geek to Me. Read it daily at Ten Ton Hammer!


The Pulse

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

Here's today's top 5 Pulse results for today:

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

Biggest Movers in the Top 20 today :

  1. Anarchy Online (UP 4 to #19)
  2. Lineage 2 (UP 3 to #17)
  3. Free Realms (UP 2 to #13)

Loading... Daily

You've probably seen the campy daytime game show Family Feud, but instead of Richard Dawson or Richard Karn hosting, this Family Feud episode has another Richard at its center (let the record show I went with "Richard," not "Dick", I do like the guy!) - Richard Garriott, with the heretofore unexplored angle of his brother Robert's role in all of this. They're doing the face-off, but you get to decide whether to keep the question or pass. Not passing? Let's play the feud!

Robert, Richard's older and less space-inclined brother, is listed at MobyGames as President of NCSoft America. Dating back to before their Origin days, Robert was by all accounts the left brain - the business saavy one - while Richard was the right-brainy creative type. It was an excellent match, at least for the eighties, nineties, and early aughts. Then came the drawn-out Tabula Rasa affair, but even as late as the end of 2007, Robert retained high hopes for Tabula Rasa: "We founded Destination Games in April 2000 in part to release this game, and while I give my brother Richard some grief now and then about the length it took to produce it (though, I must admit, the game you see today is the result of work since 2004), I’m very proud of Tabula Rasa". That's an ugly quote to bring up now, but I think it shows that Richard's more taciturn brother wasn't among the largely disinterested, bottom line-fixated suits that just about every company can produce.

In addition to being Pres of NCSoft America, Robert also served on the NCSoft Board of Directors from March 2006 to March 2009, according to the NCSoft investor relations website. His brother's farewell letter was posted on November 11, 2008. Would Robert, as a representative of both NCSoft America's business interests as well as a representative of the stockholders on the board, have been party to his brother's dismissal, when tens of millions worth of stock options were involved, as well as a looming PR challenge? Survey says: yes.

Let's examine the evidence that this lawsuit is more about sour grapes than a legitimate legal claim, and I apologize in advance for having way too much fun with this Family Feud analogy.

  • Strike one: :: cue the obnoxious buzzer:: Having a brother complicit in your firing, as previously mentioned, would grate on anyone. There's business and then there's business, but as NCSoft's 2007 shareholder conference calls reportedly convey, Robert could probably do no more to save his brother's already fragile standing even if he'd wanted to.
  • Strike two: Hindsight is 20/20, but NCSoft stock has more than tripled since last October's low point. Had Garriott had held onto that acquired stock until about the time he filed the lawsuit, survey says: he'd be a very rich man. Instead, though we don't have access to the tax filings to prove it, it really sounds like he dumped the stock when it was abysmally low, fearful that the coming Tabula Rasa announcement would send NCSoft stock still lower.
  • Strike three: Richard Garriott helped found and probably a hefty stake in the orbital tourism outfit Space Adventures, which is itself being sued to the tune of $21 million. Thanks to the anonymous emailer that made this connection, among others.

Whatever the outcome of these lawsuits in the lightning round of this particular Family Feud episode, it really seems like there's more to this story than was initially reported. Here's hoping that whatever the relations between the brothers Garriott at present, family will come first and this all has a quiet resolution.

To cleanse our palette of the gossip and speculation, three quick news bits. Huge grats to CCP and EVE Online, which celebrated its sixth anniversary on Wednesday. Here's to six and sixty more. Two, Ten Ton Hammer will be on-hand at Games Workshop's Baltimore Games Day this weekend. If you will be too, look for the Ten Ton Hammer blue and yellow shirts and say hi. If you can't make it, drop your WAR questions in the Loading... forum and we'll see if we can't get answers (premium members have dibs!).

Finally, Activision Blizzard's earnings beat expectations yet again. Did they really? Is anyone really expecting Blizzard not to make skads and skads of money? At last year's studio tour before BlizzCon, I was really hoping to see a Scrooge McDuck-style gigantic money vault and maybe go for a swim ("for the hoard!") but, sadly, the best they could do was a hole in the ground where a 12' orc statue now stands.

Comments welcome in the Loading... forum or send me an email! Have a great weekend!


Shayalyn's Epic Thread of the Day

From our /OOC (Off-Topic) Forum

When the cannibalism starts...

You don't have to be a member of the Donner party to know that, under certain circumstances, humans will resort to cannibalism. In today's Epic Thread, AngryBeaver suggests that when the cannibalism starts (whether due to frozen starving snowshoers or the impending zombie apocalypse; he doesn't say) he's going to eat people from PETA first. "With their all vegetarian diet and them being free range people, their meat must be nice and tender," he says.

So...yeah. Grab your barbecue sauce of choice (it's Sweet Baby Ray's for me), get a knife and fork, and tie a checkered napkin 'round your neck. You're not going to find this stuff on an episode of Good Eats with Alton Brown, but we've got it right here in our forum.

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

"You know people taste like Pork, right? Seriously our muscle buildup and organs are incredibly similar to pigs. Most cannibal tribes refer to humans as 'Long Pig' as well.

"However, if you eat a marathon athlete (has to be something lengthy requiring incredible endurance) the meat gets redder the better their endurance.
"

- Annache

"I'm going to skip on cannibalism. Humans are meant to be sacrificed or enslaved, not eaten."

- Wihtgar
==============================

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

3 new MMOG hand-crafted articles today! 24 in May! 551 in 2009!

New MMOG Articles At Ten Ton Hammer Today

  • Loading... Live #14 Podcast - LotRO Book 8 Dev Chat with Jeffrey Steefel
    Lord of the Rings Online Senior Producer Jeffrey Steefel joins us for Loading... Live Episode 14, which is all about the fun surrounding LotRO's 2nd anniversary and what we can look forward to in the coming months. Volume 2 Book 8 will take us back into Moria to settle some unfinished business and then into Southern Mirkwood and Sauron's old stomping grounds, Dol Guldur. Plus, Jeffrey fields questions related to the upcoming Skirmish feature (which will allow players to command NPC troops in instances) and more great questions from the audience. It's all in this week's Loading... Live!
  • Comic: Geeked - "Wrong Thing To Say"
    Ten Ton Hammer's very own satirical webcomic on all things geek-related has a lesson for all you Star Wars fans out there. Don't mess with Trekkies and Trekkers alike. They do not take kindly to Jedi and Sith hopefuls. You've been warned!
  • WoW Guides Updated: Talent Selections for the Paladin
    World of Warcraft is constantly evolving, balancing and just flat out changing. With the Patch 3.1 changes all characters received a refund of their talent points. One short week later another patch was deployed. Just after that Patch 3.1.1 was delivered to the live servers with yet another round of talent point refunds. As we hope the dust has settled, the latest changes have been incorporated into our level by level talent point allocation. Regardless of which talent tree you enjoy using, this handy guide will point you in the right direction for spending those points as you level up.
Hot Content - Or, what I took a fancy to:
  1. Loading... Live #14 Podcast - LotRO Book 8 Dev Chat with Jeffrey Steefel
  2. EVE Online: Sins of a Solar Spymaster #10 - Bastard's Bluff
  3. Comic: Geeked - "Wrong Thing To Say"
  4. Fallen Earth - Exclusive: A Front Row Seat to the Apocalypse Part 2
  5. Champions Online: Powers Preview
  6. Champions Online: Character Creation System Preview
  7. Guild Wars: Fourth Anniversary Event Recap
  8. geeked: Make Love, Not Warcraft
  9. Perfect World International "Age of Spirits" Dev Preview
  10. geeked: Not Kid-Friendly

Real World News

  • Will return next week!

Thanks for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer network!

-Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle and the Ten Ton Hammer team

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