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  • Artsy-fartsy or greed machine?
    Ever since Konami videogame designer Hideo Kojima's comment that "a videogame is not art", a debate has quietly roiled among developers and thinking gamers in forum boards across the internet. Most recently Raph Koster, SOE game designer, took Kojima's comment to task in a superb article that (somehow) wove itself into a critique of game reviewers like us! Nonetheless, Ethec has never been one to miss a party, so check out his industry outsider perspective as to whether MMORPG game design is an art or a science.

    An art-antagonistic panderer a little closer to home is, sorry Raph, Sony Online Entertainment (SOE). The problem is especially apparent in games SOE-maintained games like Star Wars Galaxies and EverQuest II. This is especially heartbreaking when I realize that no other developer (that I know of) has gone to greater lengths to give it's subscribers what they want. It's the "free bread and circuses" approach employed by many a Caesar, and like the Roman civilization, such a modus operandi has predictable results: lack of substance and eventual ruin.

    I'm not suggesting that MMO game design need be elitist to succeed, but game designers must follow their muse. True artists don't pander, they force their audience to experience something worthwhile. Pandering is a stopgap measure precisely because what most MMO gamers want short-term is emphatically not what's good for them in the long run. One needn't look past World of Warcraft to find an MMO that gave gamers what they didn't realize they've longed for all along, yet retained its artistic identity as an action-packed, authentic franchise. Challenge and positive reinforcement pays bigger dividends than raw adrenaline factor, hands-down. Fun over a long timeframe (we're talking years, decades perhaps) is good for the MMO gaming community and for developers alike.

    Check out the MMO Design: Art or Science opinion article right here at Ten Ton Hammer Main!

    News
    Sat, Jan 28, 2006
    Ethec
  • EverQuest II Has the new treasure chest up! What goodies are they bringing you this week?

    Treasure Chest!
    Sometimes it's hard to find the buried treasures contained within the EverQuest II forums. The Treasure Chest highlights useful, insightful, or entertaining posts that you may want to check out. Get your treasure maps and shovels ready--we're about to discover a Treasure Chest!

    # Screenshots, screenshots everywhere! Pitt Hammerfist started a thread to show off "Your best screenie" check it out and post your screenshot as well.
    # 5 Rooms on Highkeep? MinionTA posted Syina and Transam's 5 Room on Highkeep which is wonderfully decorated. Be sure to stop by!
    # Ever wonder about Carpenter made furniture and how it looks like? Elyana posted "Carpenter-Made Furniture Gallery is FINISHED" so you can be sure to check it out.
    # DamiusPendragon has posted a great tale titled "The Cleric Chronicles". This is a great read!

    Don't Forget Your Daily Dose of Ten Ton Hammer's EverQuest 2 Site

    More News and Info on EverQuest 2

    News
    Fri, Jan 27, 2006
    Awenyddion
  • I think I'm turning Japanese. I think I'm turning Japanese. I really think so.

    Wow that really dated me didn't it? The Official Guild Wars site is reporting today that it's bringing it's popular title to Japan.

    We are pleased to announce the opening of Guild Wars in Japan. The game has been in testing for a few months now and at 7:00 p.m. Pacific Time (Noon Tokyo Time) the servers will open and players from Japan will be playing the official retail release version of Guild Wars. Youkoso!

    You don't have to travel to Japan to get great Guild Wars information. Check out Ten Ton Hammer's Guild Wars Site.

    More News and Info on Guild Wars

    News
    Fri, Jan 27, 2006
    Awenyddion
  • MMORPG.com has an interview with Darkfall's Tasos Flamouras

    MMORPG.com: For those who do enjoy PvP, can you explain the reasons why PvP in Darkfall will be something new and exciting for them?

    Tasos Flambouras: More than any other game before it, Darkfall brings the fantasy battlefield to blood-splattering, neck-chopping life:

    Spell explosions blow you away from the battle line with kinetic force; blood splatters on your armor as the ditch-bound head of a decapitated foe rolls past; smoke from fireball bursts reduce vision temporarily until the wind carries it away; warhorses kick savagely and opponents physically block your progress as you race to execute a wound-stunned enemy before their healers get to him; thundering hooves signal victory as your cavalry arrives just in time to turn the tide of battle.

    MMOG combat has tended towards the boringly static, with players deducting hit points from each other while micromanaging their characters. In Darkfall, however, combat is as unpredictable, visceral, action-packed and intense as medieval fantasy combat can be.

    More News and Info on Darkfall

    News
    Fri, Jan 27, 2006
    Awenyddion
  • Yahoo Finance is reporting that New Study Shows Thirty-Five Percent of American Parents Play Video Games.

    Thirty-five percent of American parents say they play computer and video games, according to an unprecedented national survey released today by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates. Among these "gamer parents," 80% report that they play video games with their children, and two-thirds (66%) feel that playing games has brought their families closer together.

    As a *cough* parent, I have to agree with this study. As a matter of fact, if you ARE a gaming parent, get an account for your kids. You'll have a great time playing together.

    News
    Fri, Jan 27, 2006
    Awenyddion
  • The masses have spoken and they're horked off about the changes to Star Wars Galaxies. It wasn't a minor change. It was a HUGE change. John Smedley, President of the Sony Online division gives his explanation on what is going on.

    Why?

    Many of you ask "Why did you have to make such a sweeping change rather than just fixing the things that were wrong?" - well, to put it bluntly - everyone had different ideas of what we needed to fix. Trying to balance 34 professions, and add compelling content to make everyone happy proved to be a very large challenge. Many design decisions made early on in the game's creation were boxing the team in to the point that we were never going to be able to really make this game rise to the level it needs to as both a great experience AND as a business. We have consistently kept the SWG team as one of the largest teams within SOE (around 70 people). Even with a team that size getting new content done along with maintaining the live game, along with developing new systems for SWG just proved to be tougher than it should have been. We've got a lot of experience doing MMO's, and SWG has always proven to be the game that was the toughest for us to make changes to. So, along with our partners at LucasArts we did a very lengthy look at just what the fundamental issues with SWG were. We spoke to many of you, read the forums and conducted numerous focus group tests with both existing players, people who have played MMO's before (but not SWG) and people that haven't ever tried MMO's before.

    So there you go. You'll have to read the entire post to get the entire story.

    More Star Wars Galaxies News and Info

    News
    Fri, Jan 27, 2006
    Awenyddion
  • I used to be a bard! Sing with me: "From TTH Vanguard...A bard is still a bard, a pie is just a pie. Nerf herders need not apply, as time goes by..." Thank you! Thank you!

    In today's VTTH editorial, Merriandra takes us into the world of the Bard. Are you in tune with your inner Bard, or does the mere thought of playing one cause you to cover your ears in terror?

    Let’s play a word association game. Don’t worry, I’m not a psychiatrist, and I’m not planning to predict your personality type based on your response. I’m not a gnome, either, so you can be fairly sure that no weird inventions will result if you just humor me. Ready? Don’t think about your answer at all, just say the first thing that pops into your mind. If I say “bard”, you say…

    Measure your MMO musicality at the VTTH community site!

    News
    Fri, Jan 27, 2006
    Ethec
  • Travel advisaries for the greater Maj'Dul area...

    Among the citizens of Maj'Dul, the turbulent city at the heart of EverQuest 2's last retail expansion, live three factons warring for control of the city. Players can enter the fray by choosing allegiance to one of them. RadarX expounds on the Maj'Dul city guide by explaining how faction works and what the benefits are.

    Within the city of Maj'Dul lies three factions: Truth, Coin, and Blades. Each of these factions wrestle for dominance, and exercises control over certain sections of town. The Court of Blades is the local militant force which guards the city against threats (similar to the Freeport Militia for you EQ1 Players). The Court of Truth represents local law enforcement and they appreciate you not littering. Finally, the Court of Coin represent the mercantile and banking interests of the city.

    It's like a CIA Factbook entry, except for gamers... and stuff. Read the updated EverQuest 2 factions guide at our very own EQ2 community site.

    News
    Fri, Jan 27, 2006
    Ethec
  • Turn in loot, help your guild!
    In EverQuest 2, Status Loot is one way for players to help their guild gain status along with pocketing some for themselves. Kill a mob, get a status item and turn it into the correct faction. Slide gives us an updated guide to these special items which includes "Tier 7" expansion status loot.

    Status Loot items are relics that Freeport and Qeynos factions will purchase for a small amount of money and status which goes toward a players personal status pool and guild experience. Each specific faction will only buy a status item related to their guild. They can be randomly picked up off of dead creatures throughout the world of Norrath. There are many variations of status loot such as who will take them and how much factions will give you for turning them in.

    Let all of your status item questions be answered here.

    News
    Thu, Jan 26, 2006
    Ethec
  • Signature Art Imitating Life

    Eliana, a writer for the Vanguard-TTH site, takes a look at the attachment gamers have to their characters and the worlds in which they play. She looks specifically at the popularity of making personalized signature art and what deeper meaning lies beneath them.

    There’s probably not a gamer out there who doesn’t remember the first time they felt the magic—the magic of the game world. From Final Fantasy to EverQuest, these worlds are bursting with color and enchantment. Our avatars, too, are captivating. They never age; they look just like we want them to look. They’re prettier, more virtuous, nobler, and can leap tall buildings in a single bound.

    View the newest feature at VTTH here!

    News
    Thu, Jan 26, 2006
    Ethec
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