Staff Farewell Tribute to Tony RadarX Jones
Since the network’s birth, Ten Ton Hammer has been constantly
shifting and evolving. While the network was growing from a fledgling
few community sites to a sprawling swath of guide goodness, the staff
was also churning, adjusting, and coming into our own. On a relatively
frequent basis, new staff members are brought on board while others
find jobs in the gaming industry or move on to different fields of
interest. But through the years, a few staff members have stayed with
the team for the long haul, and one of the longest careers on the
network has been established by Tony “RadarX” Jones.
Eventually, the developers at Sony Online Entertainment’s
Tucson studio (the development house behind Pox Nora)
came calling, and Tony couldn’t resist the urge to join his
longtime friends at the online gaming conglomerate.
Tony will become the community manager for SOE Tucson.
Though many of you already know that Tony got his start at Ten Ton Hammer, it’s certainly important to chronicle the list of games, columns, and events that Tony has worked on or been a part of over the past few years. Let’s take a walk down memory lane, shall we?
Tony was recruited to Ten Ton Hammer while staring at Antonia Bayle.
While the graphics may have been bright and the displays nowhere near as slick as our current version of the network’s community sites, Jeff and Tony managed to hammer out a variety of content that brought in people by the droves. Tony’s spelling wasn’t going to win him any awards, but the overall EQ2 community had grown to love the polite, intelligent, RadarX.
After Jeff was promoted beyond the realm of EverQuest II, Tony took the reins of the site and proceeded to make it his goal to become the top EQ2 site in the world. To help him accomplish his dream, Tony helped bring in a variety of individuals to the site, but Savanja was the first.
EverQuest 2 was where Tony spent his initial TTH time.
Throughout his tenure at Ten Ton Hammer, the man known as RadarX has been a frequent participant in the network’s busy summer conference schedule. From that first meeting at SOE’s FanFaire in 2005, the future SOE staffer consistently maintained a presence at the FanFaire’s while managing to attend E3 in Los Angeles, ION in Seattle, and the Games Convention in Leipzig, German. Managing Editor Ben “Machail” de la Durantaye remembers his first meeting of Tony Jones at SOE FanFaire 2007:
Due to his success with EQ2, Tony's reputation preceded him.
I went to Fan Faire that year, and made my rounds introducing myself to many of the SOE staff. And wouldn't you know it, almost every person I spoke to and told I was from Ten Ton Hammer immediately asked, "Oh, is Tony here?" or "Oh, TTH, I really like RadarX."
This guy was an icon in the SOE gaming community, and it was well earned. Hell, how many people can say they have their faces printed on trading cards? Quite frankly, I was a little intimidated by the guy.
I never got the chance to work with Tony as a fellow CM, but I was fortunate enough to cross paths with him on a few projects at Ten Ton Hammer over the next year or two. It didn't take long for my feelings of intimidation to turn into admiration. I simply can't think of anyone else I know that's better suited for a job in this industry. He has the passion and personality, and what SOE gains is our loss here.
*Shakes fist* Curses to you SOE for nerfing our network!
And truthfully, few people can claim that they’ve gotten their mugshot hand painted onto a trading cart (he's the bottom left). Few professional athletes can claim that precedent, let alone your average, working class individual. Yet with his constant knowledge of EverQuest II and the constant influx of humor into his writing, RadarX and his long time compatriot Coyote Sharptongue, made the impossible happen
Between RadarX and Coyote, the Ten Ton Hammer network was not only a daily place to get your best guides, news, and interviews on any given game, it was also one of the funniest MMO sites on the web. Between Coyote’s constant derision of Tony in his retired column Not Funny Ever to their MSTing of EQ2’s patch notes to the Ten Ton Turnip to their gaming podcast Game Over, the pair has been constantly waging war on the cynical, jaded gamers out there.
Coyote had this to say about Tony’s departure from the Ten Ton Offices:
No one works harder, takes this shit more seriously, or can be called more dedicated than Radar. He lives, breaths, eats, sleeps and craps this stuff with a passion and ability that we should all envy. For him to move on to SOE - I knew it was coming.
Not because I have super secret leet infoz, or because of some inside scoop. But because this was his next logical step, and we should all be happy for him. He will be making the worlds that we love, in a word, better.
......I have no idea what I'm going to do without you.
Tony (in the middle left) with the group from E3 2006.
I think what struck me most about Tony was that no matter how much I tried to find perks and rewards for him he always said, "No thanks. I already get enough." It wasn't true of course. His contributions to this network have been literally priceless.
I count myself fortunate to have worked with him, especially on our trip to Leipzig where I got to know Tony on a more personal level.
I knew that he would eventually move to a development team and I hope that it is everything that he wishes it to be. If for some reason it isn't, his home is always here and he can always come home. .
Jeff Woleslagle also remembers the many trips he enjoyed with Tony throughout the years:
Tony (lower left middle) with the gathered group at E3 2006.
Tony and I met up in the press room to head out to greet our Dark & Light contacts. I asked him if he wanted to be the one to write the article about the game while I took some pictures, collected press assets, and shared my notes. I already had several articles on my plate, so Tony, being the nice guy that he is, offered to do the write-up. He told me he'd been assigned this game on the fly and hadn't done any homework about it, so he asked me to get him up to speed. I gave him what little intel I'd been able to gather, including the fact that D&L's developers were French.
We went to the interview, and the developers were indeed French. Very French. In fact, despite us leaning in and listening with all our might (listening is hard to do under the best of circumstances during all the E3 commotion) we caught about every 3rd or 4th heavily-accented word they said. I saw Tony scratching down a few notes, but the whole exercise was pretty futile.
As we left the interview, Tony looked at me and said, "Did you understand a word those guys were saying?"
"Barely," I answered.
"What. the. hell?" he said. "We've got--what?--at least two Canadians on staff who live close enough to the French-Canadians that they MIGHT have a chance of understanding a French accent, and who do they send to this interview? The guy who lives about as far south as you can get without being in Cuba!"
We laughed, and Tony bravely tackled his article. It was a short article, but he pulled it off. And I felt mean but relieved that I'd conned him into writing it.
That wasn’t the only moment that Tony “bucked up” and took one for the team. Although Tony had rarely been in front of a camera, when he was urged to do interviews with developers at the Leipzig Games Convention, Tony didn’t hesitate.
Tony with WAR’s Josh Drescher
Tony with WAR’s Jeff Hickman
As always, he did an admirable job and really put the Ten Ton Hammer network’s best foot forward.
Eventually, Tony became our “go-to-guy” in the Ten Ton Hammer staff. If there was anything that needed to be done, especially concerning community sites, Tony was the first individual we brought on board. After we pulled him away from EverQuest II, RadarX was moved to and helped create the community sites for Lord of the Rings Online, Tabula Rasa, and Warhammer Online. And, believe it or not, Tony learned the ins-and-outs of all of these games within a matter of weeks. Not only that, but again Tony was responsible for new staffers at each of those positions.
As his final destination, Tony came to work with me on the main portal of Ten Ton Hammer where he penned the now retired Comic Book Guy weekly column along with a slew of other features and the daily news. As the least focused of all the Ten Ton Hammer sites, many individuals find the main site to be daunting, almost an overload to the senses. Between news, interviews, reviews, and editorials, the main site crew has to be well-versed in everything MMO.
Tony feeling the hurt from Leipzig GC 2008.
Not for a second. He dove in head first, churning his way upstream like a salmon. These last few years have truly been heartwarming as I got to know Tony, read his early morning, bleary-eyed emails, and share some wonderful experiences with him.
My favorite memory of Tony isn’t one particular moment, but of a week we shared in Seattle at the ION conference. Although Tony hadn’t been to a conference in a few months, I was just coming off a slew of early year press events and conventions, and my internal battery was running low. Tony’s enthusiasm kept me going throughout that show, and even when my taxi cab driver escorted me around Seattle for three hours, Tony lightened the mood with one hilarious comment. He was also eager to see Seattle, so I pointed out particular places while we careened through downtown and by the Space Needle.
Tony with his booth babes.
- Danny “Ralsu” Gourley
- Jeff “Ethec” Woleslagle
Keep up the good work, Tony. You’ll be missed, but we know that you’re going to do what you love. Enjoy your time, and we’ll talk to you soon!