The Ten Ton Hammer E3 Awards of 2010

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everywhere get excited at the simple two characters "E" and "3." The
Electronic Entertainment Expo has become over the years one of the
most anticipated events of the year. So it's not at all surprising that
when the time rolls around, the internet is ablaze with gamers and
media alike talking about, reading, and googling all the information
they can from the event.


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THE EXPO went through a
quiet time over the past few years and many were left wondering if it
would ever return to its former glory.


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TEN TON HAMMER waded into
the crowds this year from June 15th through the 17th and witnessed
first hand that the once colossal event had indeed found its grounding
again. We saw over 30 MMOGs on the show floor and at various meetings
around the Los Angeles Convention Center. It was big. It was beautiful.

It was E3 as it was meant to be seen.


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THE BEST part of E3 is
that all the developing companies put their best foot forward and we
get to see some really cool things--things that we're excited about and
we know you will be too. But, as is the case with these things, there
were a simple few that stood out apart from the rest.



Whether it be excellence in graphics, gameplay, or just something we
never saw coming, a select few who were at the show deserved
recognition. And that's what these awards are about.



The Best of E3, all in one place.




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are part of the fun of E3. Think of them as the Super Bowl commercials
of the video game industry. E3 tends to bring out the "game" in
developers as they often spend months preparing a new CGI or gameplay
trailer to show at E3.



src="http://images.tentonhammer.com/TTH/awards/E3-2010-Awards-Trailer.jpg">This
year was no different. We saw a lot of trailers coming in from all
over. And that was just the MMOG market. Add to that new trailers for
console and single player/multiplayer PC titles, and the list was huge.



Check out this list of E3 MMOG Trailers:

  • href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/e3/2010/agency-trailer"> style="font-style: italic;">The Agency
  • href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/e3/2010/black-prophecy-trailer"> style="font-style: italic;">Black Prophecy
  • href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/e3/2010/eon-trailer"> style="font-style: italic;">End of Nations
  • style="font-style: italic;">Final Fantasy XIV
  • href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/e3/2010/king-of-kings3-trailer"> style="font-style: italic;">King of Kings 3
  • href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/e3/2010/star-wars-clone-wars-adventures-trailer"> style="font-style: italic;">Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures
  • href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/e3/2010/star-wars-the-old-republic-e3-trailer"> style="font-style: italic;">Star Wars: The Old Republic
  • href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/e3/2010/tera-trailer"> style="font-style: italic;">TERA
  • href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/e3/2010/wh40k-trailer"> style="font-style: italic;">Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millenium
    Online



But only one can get the Ten Ton Hammer E3 Award for Best Trailer. The
winner this year is...


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style="font-weight: bold;"> style="color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">STAR WARS: THE OLD
REPUBLIC
"Hope"

(BioWare)

href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/e3/2010/star-wars-the-old-republic-e3-trailer">Watch
the "Hope" Trailer



Featuring the kind of epic Star Wars action that put the franchise on
the map to begin with, the “Hope” trailer for href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/swtor"> style="font-style: italic;">Star Wars: The Old Republic
was one of the visual high points of this year’s E3. The Ten Ton Hammer
staff all agrees – this is video game cinematic excellence at its best.




More style="font-style: italic;">Star Wars: The Old Republic
E3 coverage from Ten Ton Hammer:



  • href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/e3/2010/swtor-ohlen-interview">VIP
    Q&A - Star
    Wars: The Old Republic
    with James Ohlen
  • href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/e3/2010/star-wars-the-old-republic"> style="font-style: italic;">Star Wars: The Old Republic
    E3 Image Galleries
  • href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/e3/2010/star-wars-the-old-republic-e3-preview"> style="font-style: italic;">Star Wars: The Old Republic
    Brings the Force at E3
  • href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/e3/2010/news/swtor-gets-player-ships">Players
    to Own Their Own Ships in Star
    Wars: The Old Republic


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are as big a part of E3 as the games themselves. Well, almost. In some
ways though, they're bigger. Like the trailers, the booths seen on the
show floor are a testament to the creativity behind the games
themselves.



src="http://images.tentonhammer.com/TTH/awards/E3-2010-Awards-Booth.jpg">Of
course, some are more spectacular than others. Whether you want to see
a giant man eating lizard towering 40 feet in the air, or a giant ball
you can step into with goggles and a plastic gun for some virtual
reality, you'll see it at E3.



The award for Best Booth this year goes to a company who put a lot of
thought into the design of their space on the showroom floor. It was
like stepping into a different environment all together. That's the
kind of thing that will win the Best Booth of E3 award from Ten Ton
Hammer: a booth that makes you forget, if only for a moment, that
you're in a crowded convention center. Have a look for yourself at some
of the wonderful setups gaming companies had this year at E3 in our href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/tid/2566">photo
gallery with all sorts of shots from around the floor. Don't
forget to check out the href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/tid/2565">Booth Babes
this year while you're at it.



Though the competition was stiff between a few of the booths, we all
agreed that this year's Ten Ton Hammer Best Booth of E3 Award goes to...


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style="font-weight: bold;"> style="color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">TRION WORLDS

There were a number of
incredibly intricate booths amidst the controlled chaos on the show
floor at E3 this year, but the space created by Trion Worlds to
showcase upcoming Rift:
Planes of Telara
and End
of Nations
was a true work of art. Featuring a full scale
life rift, massive video displays and live presentations for both
titles, the Trion Worlds booth was hands down one of the coolest visual
elements of the entire event.



More Trion Worlds E3
Coverage from Ten Ton Hammer:



  • href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/e3/2010/eon-preview">The
    Beginning of a New MMO Genre - An E3 Preview of style="font-style: italic;">End of Nations
  • href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/e3/2010/rift/trailer">Tripping
    the Rift with New Rift:
    Planes of Telara
    Trailer at E3 style="font-style: italic;">
  • href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/e3/2010/rift/class-and-soul">Class
    and Soul - Rift: Planes
    of Telara
    Gets a Little Bit of Both at E3 2010 style="font-style: italic;">
  • href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/e3/2010/eon-trailer">Massive
    MMORTS Combat Highlighted in End
    of Nations
    Trailer style="font-style: italic;">


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come in two flavors: good and bad. Specifically what we look for for
the Ten Ton Hammer Biggest Surprise of E3 is that of the good side of
the fence.



src="http://images.tentonhammer.com/TTH/awards/E3-2010-Awards-Surprise.jpg">E3
is full of surprises too, so picking a winner for this award could have
been a real challenge. Do we select a new game? An old game that's
improved? An all new combat system? A new expansion?



There were plenty of pleasant surprises to choose from, and we had to
pick the one that not only came out of nowhere, seemingly, but one that
got us excited with the very thought.



When considered in that light, this choice, too, was quite obvious.



Without further ado, the Ten Ton Hammer Biggest Surprise of E3 2010
Award goes to...


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style="font-weight: bold;"> style="color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">COMPANY OF HEROES ONLINE

(Relic Entertainment)

Runners
Up:


style="color: rgb(204, 153, 51);">
The
Agency (Sony Online
Entertainment)


Star
Wars: The Old
Republic (BioWare)

THQ is taking the next
iteration of the beloved WWII RTS series online in a big way, which is
a surprise. Perhaps more surprisingly, COHO is an import from Asia,
where the game has been free-to-play for years.  Don't let
that dissuade you from keeping a close eye on style="font-style: italic;">Company of Heroes Online
- the gorgeously gritty graphics are tailored to Western resolutions,
the gameplay is classic CoH (taking good care of your units is
important, as it should be, since once your units are killed, they're
gone), and the item mall isn't of the "free-to-play, pay-to-win"
variety, but seems geared to convenience and customization. COHO might
have taken us by surprise at E3, but it certainly has our attention now.



More style="font-style: italic;">Company of Heroes Online
E3 coverage from Ten Ton Hammer:


  • href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/e3/2010/company-of-heroes-interview">Introducing
    Company of Heroes
    Online
    - A Video Q&A with Producer Greg Wilson



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are undeniably an important part of any game we play. Sure, a game
doesn't need great graphics to be fun. But it sure is nice to have.



src="http://images.tentonhammer.com/TTH/awards/E3-2010-Awards-Graphics.jpg">With
the wide spectrum of different types of PCs and laptops MMO gamers play
their games on, it has become increasingly difficult for developing
companies to make a game that not only looks great on any machine, but
also runs smoothly.



More companies are approaching a stylized approach to their graphics,
turning away from the photo-realism that was one day the ultimate goal.
Now we get great graphics that don't kill our machines and are as lush,
vivid and inspired as anything you'd see in any other medium.



This was another category for which we had a lot of choices to make.
There are some really great looking games coming up. But we had to
select just one.



So this year's Ten Ton Hammer Best Graphics of E3 Award goes to...


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style="font-weight: bold;"> style="color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">END OF NATIONS

(Trion Worlds)

style="font-weight: bold;">Runners Up:



DC Universe Online (Sony
Online Entertainment)


Rift: Planes of Telara
(Trion Worlds)

The Agency (Sony Online Entertainment)
Not only is href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/2503"> style="font-style: italic;">End of Nations
breaking new ground by offering the first true MMORTS experience to
gamers, but it has some of the most impressive graphics this side of
the MMO looking glass. In fact, End
of Nations
is one of those rare games where the awe
inspiring graphics you see in the trailers are exactly what awaits you
while playing. Trion Worlds is clearly onto something big with this
title, and we certainly can’t wait to see more.



More End of Nations E3
coverage from Ten Ton Hammer:



  • href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/e3/2010/eon-preview">The
    Beginning of a New MMO Genre - An E3 Preview of style="font-style: italic;">End of Nations
  • href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/e3/2010/eon-trailer">Massive
    MMORTS Combat Highlighted in End
    of Nations
    Trailer style="font-style: italic;">


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src="http://images.tentonhammer.com/TTH/awards/E3-2010-Awards-Banner.jpg">




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is what progresses the MMOG genre.



src="http://images.tentonhammer.com/TTH/awards/E3-2010-Awards-Innovative.jpg">You
cannot fake innovation. You can try with cheap gimmicks, but those
tricks will be pretty transparent.



No, for true innovation you have to put a lot of thought behind your
work. You need something that is not only new but something, that when
the game launches, the whole world shouts: "of course!" It needs to be
beautiful in its simplicity and wonderful in its playability.



That's no easy feat.



There were a handful of developing companies that impressed us with
their innovative ideas at E3 this year. Their ideas were fresh,
exciting, and genius.



The Ten Ton Hammer E3 2010 Award for Most Innovative Game goes to...


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style="color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">

style="font-weight: bold;"> style="color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">LEGO UNIVERSE

(NetDevil)

Runner
Up:


style="color: rgb(204, 153, 51);">
Test
Drive Unlimited 2
(Atari Eden Games)

In our href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/e3/2010/lego-universe-demo">E3
video, href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/170"> style="font-style: italic;">LEGO Universe
Creative Director Ryan Seabury's stated goal for the Builds and
Behaviors system revealed at E3 2010 is that someday players will be
able to create an MMOG inside their MMOG. It's one thing to make a
claim like that, but when you see the tools in action, Seabury's claims
seem not just possible, but imminent. User generated content has been
done before, but never with this kind of design flexibility on this big
of a stage. LEGO
Universe
's biggest innovation might be an endgame that's
limited not by loot or leaderboards, but only by your imagination.



More LEGO Universe E3
coverage from Ten Ton Hammer:



  • href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/e3/2010/lego-universe-demo">Exclusive:
    Builds & Behaviors - A Video Look at how style="font-style: italic;">LEGO Universe
    Brings Blocks to Life
  • href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/e3/2010/lego-universe-e3-screenshots"> style="font-style: italic;">LEGO Universe
    Screenshots from E3


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is, simply put, what makes games fun. You can have incredible graphics,
and awesome content, but if the gameplay isn't fun there is little
point in playing.



src="http://images.tentonhammer.com/TTH/awards/E3-2010-Awards-Gameplay.jpg">Deciding
on a game with the best gameplay of E3 this year was another category
that gave us a few choices. What makes for a fun game? Is it
action-based real-time combat? Character development? Incorporation of
story and lore?



Is it something that would be fun to play solo, as well as with a
group? All of these things weighed heavily on our minds as we reviewed
all the fun games we played at E3.



In the end it came down to robust customization, adrenaline-rushed
combat, and thoughtful environmental design.



The Ten Ton Hammer Best Gameplay of E2 2010 Award goes to none
other than...


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src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/86641/preview">

style="color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">

style="font-weight: bold;"> style="color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">DC UNIVERSE ONLINE

(Sony Online Entertainment)

Runner
Up:


style="color: rgb(204, 153, 51);">
TERA
(Bluehole Studio & En Masse Entertainment)

We've been waiting for an
MMOG that plays as well on a controller as it does on a keyboard and
mouse, because until that happens, we won't believe in a console MMOG
(with all apologies to Final
Fantasy XI
).  href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/1407">DCUO
has us believing - finally a smooth, intuitive control scheme for
flying and fighting that's tailored to your preferences, whether you
game primarily with your thumbs or your fingertips. Add important
gameplay tweaks like a revision of the much maligned death penalty (or
lack thereof) and a good or evil choice at the start of the game, and style="font-style: italic;">DC Universe Online
is our pick for best gameplay at E3 2010.



More style="font-style: italic;">DC Universe Online
E3 coverage from Ten Ton Hammer:


  • href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/e3/2010/dcuo-e3-interview">SOE's
    Jens Andersen and Chris Cao Present style="font-style: italic;">DC Universe Online
    at E3 2010




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src="http://images.tentonhammer.com/TTH/awards/E3-2010-Awards-Banner.jpg">




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everywhere are in anxiously awaiting what very well may be the most
anticipated MMOG to launch since World
of Warcraft
.



src="http://images.tentonhammer.com/TTH/awards/E3-2010-Awards-Players.jpg">So
finding a Player's Choice award this year really was not difficult.



With this game, any bit of new information or news that gets posted
gets gobbled up quicker than candy at a fat kid's house on Halloween.



We've all been waiting for another good game to come from this
franchise. And we were all ecstatic to hear who the power team behind
its development was. 



An obvious choice for Ten Ton Hammer readers everywhere, and one that
is obvious to all other MMOG players too, this year's Ten Ton Hammer
Player's Choice E3 2010 Award goes to...


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style="width: 400px; height: 300px;" alt=""
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/86639/preview">

style="color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">

style="font-weight: bold;"> style="color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">STAR WARS: THE OLD REPUBLIC

(BioWare)


At E3 2010, we sensed a
great approbation in the Force, as if millions of gamers suddenly cried
out in chorus, and it became extremely obvious which upcoming title the
fans were most eager to play. That game was none other than href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/swtor"> style="font-style: italic;">Star Wars: The Old Republic,
and it’s probably safe to say that amongst fans, the upcoming MMOG from
RPG masters BioWare was the high point of the show.



More style="font-style: italic;">Star Wars: The Old Republic
E3 coverage from Ten Ton Hammer:



  • href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/e3/2010/swtor-ohlen-interview">VIP
    Q&A - Star
    Wars: The Old Republic
    with James Ohlen
  • href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/e3/2010/star-wars-the-old-republic"> style="font-style: italic;">Star Wars: The Old Republic
    E3 Image Galleries
  • href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/e3/2010/star-wars-the-old-republic-e3-preview"> style="font-style: italic;">Star Wars: The Old Republic
    Brings the Force at E3
  • href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/e3/2010/news/swtor-gets-player-ships">Players
    to Own Their Own Ships in Star
    Wars: The Old Republic




style="width: 632px; height: 160px;" alt="E3 Awards Banner"
src="http://images.tentonhammer.com/TTH/awards/E3-2010-Awards-Banner.jpg">




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choice awards are our staff favorites around here at Ten Ton Hammer. It
gives us a chance to really pick out the games that we felt were
something special.



src="http://images.tentonhammer.com/TTH/awards/E3-2010-Awards-Editors.jpg">We
have many other categories but from a show like we saw at E3 2010 there
just weren't enough.



The game that won this year's Editor's Choice was well deserved. It
showed excellence in almost every other category. So when the editors
sat down to pick out a game for this award it was no surprise that it
was almost a unanimous pick.



Graphics, gameplay, story and lore, innovation, surprises... this game
had it all.



We're sure you'll agree that this year's Ten Ton Hammer Editor's Choice
Award of E3 is well deserved and goes to...


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src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/86637/preview">

style="color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">

style="font-weight: bold;"> style="color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">TERA

(Bluehole Studio & En Masse Entertainment)


When En Masse Entertainment
first announced href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/2339"> style="font-style: italic;">TERA we
didn't know what to expect. What was this game, and who were the people
behind it?



When we caught our first glimpse of the game at GDC earlier this year
we instantly knew it was going to be a staff favorite. This fantasy
based MMORPG has it all. Brilliant combat, stunning gameplay, delicious
graphics... the works. In a very loud world of many online games style="font-style: italic;">TERA is a virtuoso
to the MMO market, and we can't wait for the chorus.



More style="font-style: italic;">TERA E3 coverage
from Ten Ton Hammer:


  • href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/e3/2010/tera-group-play">Grouping
    Made Epic - Hands on with TERA
    Group Play at E3 2010
  • href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/e3/2010/tera-trailer">Action
    Unleased with New TERA
    Trailer Released at E3 2010




style="width: 632px; height: 160px;" alt="E3 Awards Banner"
src="http://images.tentonhammer.com/TTH/awards/E3-2010-Awards-Banner.jpg">




style="background: transparent url('http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/78274') no-repeat scroll 0% 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">

of the Show Award was a fun category this year.



src="http://images.tentonhammer.com/TTH/awards/E3-2010-Awards-Best.jpg">There
were so many games we covered, with so many options to choose from.
There were several games that impressed us from the show, some more
than others, of course.



The winner of the award stood out in several categories, being a winner
in other categories, and a serious contender in others. All in all the
game is a wonderful one, and one that we can't wait to dig into
ourselves when the time comes. It's a game that cannot be overlooked,
no matter what your age. There's fun to be had for everyone. It's
inventive, creative, beautifully rendered, and innovative to the point
of genius.



You've probably guessed it by now. The Ten Ton Hammer Best of Show
Award of E3 2010 goes to none
other than...


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style="width: 400px; height: 177px;" alt=""
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/86643/preview">

style="color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">

style="font-weight: bold;"> style="color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">LEGO UNIVERSE

(NetDevil)


If you think it's strange
that Ten Ton Hammer is giving our Best of Show award to a kid's game,
it's time to check your assumptions. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/170"> style="font-style: italic;">LEGO Universe
is one of a select few online games that inspire players of all ages to
be more than a mindless level-grinding achiever. Instead,
players will use their creativity, logic, and skill not just
to build cool LEGO creations, but also to animate and script their LEGO
models, then safely share them and interact with them with their "best
friends" and (after moderation) the public at large. Best of all, the
build and behavior tools announced at E3 2010 are based on RoboTech,
meaning that though the programming can become fairly complex, the
interface is clean, organized, and simple enough for kids to use.



Add in modular sets that could make an artist out of all-thumbs editors
like us and a fun booth presence complete with real customizable
mini-figs, LEGO Universe
had us talking for weeks afterward. Put simply, it was a great E3 for
MMORPGs - gameplay grew more action-oriented yet more refined and
comfortably paced, we saw new sub-genre breakouts in RTSs and shooters
- but nothing blew our minds quite like LEGO Universe. style="font-style: italic;">



More LEGO
Universe E3
coverage from Ten Ton Hammer:



  • href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/e3/2010/lego-universe-demo">Exclusive:
    Builds & Behaviors - A Video Look at how style="font-style: italic;">LEGO Universe
    Brings Blocks to Life
  • href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/e3/2010/lego-universe-e3-screenshots"> style="font-style: italic;">LEGO Universe
    Screenshots from E3







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