Staff Farewell Tribute to Tony RadarX Jones
It was on a late September evening a lifetime ago in Internet years (2005), fittingly at an SOE community summit, where I first bumped into Tony. EverQuest 2 was a huge part of our network at that point, and I was looking for someone to take over the site. Through a fuzzy alcohol haze, I discovered that mild-mannered, even-keeled Tony had the knowledge, skill, and especially the sense of humor necessary to be our EQ2 lead.
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 href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/user/16/articles"
target="_blank">Tony “RadarX” Jones.
Eventually, the developers at Sony Online Entertainment’s
Tucson studio (the development house behind href="http://www.poxnora.com/index.do" target="_blank"> style="font-style: italic;">Pox Nora)
came calling, and Tony couldn’t resist the urge to join his
longtime friends at the online gaming conglomerate.
become the community manager for SOE Tucson.
For the staff members that worked with Tony at Ten Ton Hammer, his
absence on from our forums, email exchanges, and instant messenger
alerts will be heartbreaking. However, if there’s any method
for one of our own to leave us, it’s always the most exciting
when they can become an active part of the gaming industry. Tony will
soon be an official Community Manager over at SOE Tucson, and
I’m sure he has dreams to one day guide the community of
EverQuest IV to their Norrathian paradise. Now he has that chance.
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,
recruited to Ten Ton Hammer while staring at Antonia Bayle.
Back in 2005, Tony “RadarX” Jones was just a
mild-mannered Floridian attending SOE’s latest FanFaire and
hoping to see his fair share of the latest bikin-clad Antonia Bayle. He
probably wouldn’t have guessed that he’d quickly be
brought on board to help the network’s current
Editor-in-Chief, Jeff “Ethec” Woleslagle, manage
and operate the quickly expanding href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/eq2" target="_blank">EverQuest
II community site.
evening a lifetime ago in Internet years (2005), fittingly at an SOE
community summit, where I first bumped into Tony. EverQuest 2 was a
huge part of our network at that point, and I was looking for someone
to take over the site. Through a fuzzy alcohol haze, I discovered that
mild-mannered, even-keeled Tony had the knowledge, skill, and
especially the sense of humor necessary to be our EQ2 lead.
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
is the reason why I hooked up with Ten Ton Hammer. I was off
doing volunteer pieces for Casters Realm, and he had landed a nice gig
with “these new people.” He had just
started a month or so before me and was given lead of the EQ2 site and
a couple of unruly writers. Training those days consisted of
"We need this done...do it" and that made for a lot of late nights and
a lot of good fun in-game.
was where Tony spent his initial TTH time.
And Tony’s influence would spread far beyond his individual
staffers. Through his position at Ten Ton Hammer, Tony was able to
influence people in ways that most of us try to emulate. Too often, the
gaming industry feels like some sort of VIP club, where only people who
know people tend to get in. Tony helped people break down those walls
and experience the hard work and thrill of working in a field of pure
entertainment. Anna “Morvy” Dotson was one of those
individuals, and she absconded a life of accounting to eventually land
a place as a game tester at Microsoft.
given up on ever having anything to do with the games industry, Tony
urged me to come join Ten Ton Hammer even if it was only on a volunteer
basis. That volunteer bit turned into a job, and that job
eventually landed me my current position as a Game Tester Lead
contracted to Microsoft. Meeting him last spring at the ION
conference in Seattle is probably my happiest memory of him.
Talking to the man for two-ish years, having him convince me to turn my
life around (who needs another accounting job?) and then finally
meeting him was quite the event in my eyes. It was like
meeting a rock star!
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 href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/index.php?q=node/132"
target="_blank">E3 in Los
target="_blank">ION in Seattle, and the href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/leipzig08"
target="_blank">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.
first started at Ten Ton Hammer, I was playing Vanguard and EQ2. Often
while looking up guides for EQ2 though Google, TTH articles would pop
up and Savanja and RadarX' names were all over them. Wherever I looked,
there was another article by RadarX.
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 target="_blank">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 style="font-style: italic;">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 target="_blank">Not Funny Ever to their href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/66155" target="_blank">MSTing
patch notes to the href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/turnip" target="_blank">Ten
Ton Turnip to their href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/gameover" target="_blank">gaming
podcast Game Over, the pair has been constantly
war on the cynical, jaded gamers out there.
Coyote had this to say about Tony’s departure from the Ten
is more than just a guy on the internet, or another writer I've worked
with. He is a friend, a confidant and someone that I not only trust,
but I respect - words that aren't easily given by me.
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,
......I have no idea what I'm going to do without you.
Tony (in the
middle left) with the group from E3 2006.
All of the Ten Ton Hammer staffers feel the same way. Tony's constant
dedication to the MMO medium has kept us all enthralled with our tasks,
and his knowledge of the industry put many of us to shame. Our trips to
Los Angeles and Leipzig would have been far from the quality events
that they were without Tony’s presence at them. Ten Ton
Hammer’s Chief Operating Officer John
“Boomjack” Hoskin describes his first encounter
with Tony and his influence on the network:
though we didn't knock ideas back and forth very often, when we did,
good things were always the result.
style="font-style: italic;" />
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
style="font-style: italic;" />
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.
style="font-style: italic;" />
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:
were plenty of fun memories, too. For some reason, they all revolved
around food. Tony sat next to me at our first "family" meal at E3 2006,
and graciously endured a barrage of meaty veggie chunks along with a
discussion about third rate MMOs as I stubbornly pressed my meager
chopsticks skill to the limit. Then another meal in Leipzig where we
all watched in stunned amazement as Tony took a call from Brock, paying
a veritable assload a minute on his cell, to deliver the week's WAR
site assignments. I think he actually said, "I have to take this."
left middle) with the gathered group at E3 2006.
Finally, Karen “Shayalyn” Hertzberg describes her
E3 2006 experience with Mr. Jones. Poor Tony:
favorite Tony memory would have to be being teamed with him on the Dark
& Light interview at E3 2006. That year (the last year E3 was
at the LA Convention center, but the first year they tamed it a bit by
making press jump through more hoops to get in) we sent a huge
contingent of thirteen Ten Ton Hammer staff members to cover the event.
A few of us were E3 virgins, and we were all a bit dazed by the circus
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
Tony with WAR’s
Tony with WAR’s
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 href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/lotro" target="_blank">Lord
Rings Online, target="_blank">Tabula Rasa, and href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/war" target="_blank">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.
staffer when I was hired to work on the LotRO site at Ten Ton Hammer.
He was pretty much responsible for teaching me everything I know. The
skills I have developed over the years stem from all that he taught me.
I pretty much owe my development as a writer to him. He was a great guy
to work with and we had a few good laughs over the years. I wish him
the best in his new position.
As his final destination, Tony came to work with me on the main portal
of Ten Ton Hammer where he penned the href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/features/comic-book-guy"
target="_blank">now retired Comic Book Guy weekly column
along with a slew of other features and href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/news" target="_blank">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.
the hurt from Leipzig GC 2008.
Did that stop Tony?
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
his booth babes.
With Tony’s help, the coverage from the show was
well-received, and I know Tony will continue to bring that sort of
experience and commitment to Sony Online Entertainment.. Again, all of
the other Ten Ton staffers agree that you’ll continue to
excel wherever you land.
Tony is simply that he is extremely passionate about MMO gaming, which
lends him a great deal of versatility. In my time with Ten Ton Hammer,
I have seen Tony cover EQ2, LOTRO, Tabula Rasa, Warhammer Online, and
comic-themed MMOs. He always knows something about every game, and his
penchant for research fills in any possible gaps so that readers never
know about them. Tony has been an anchor of this staff, lending wisdom,
humor, and perspective--each in an appropriate way and with precise
SOE, man, it was probably inevitable no matter how much we tried to
assign you to Tabula Rasa, WAR, and the comic book MMOs. Though we're
all incredibly sorry to see you go, way to pick the part of Arizona
with an actual forest, though, and the arid climes of Tucson are a good
trade for summer in Jacksonville any day of the week in my book. Good
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!
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