Archive

Ten Ton Hammer

  • EverQuest 2 Devs Talk It Up

    On the agenda for this evening's dev chat with the bigwigs of EverQuest 2: "nerfs" to just about every class associated with the upcoming Live Update 24; raid content, broker, and tradeskill changes coming with the "Fallen Dynasty" adventure pack in June, and the wealth of changes (including a deity system) new to the game with the "Echoes of Faydwer" expansion this winter.

    In attendance:

    • Scott "Gallenite" Hartsman - Senior Producer

    • Ryan "Blackguard" Schwayder - Community Relations Manager
    • Don "Silverfrost" Neufield - Lead Programmer
    • Matthew Higby - "The Fallen Dynasty" (adventure pack 3) Design Supervisor
    • Akil "Lyndro" Hooper - "Echoes of Faydwer" (expansion 3) Design Supervisor
    • And a bunch of fanboys, forum trolls, and other miscreants like our very own RadarX!

    Click here to see the Stratics "House of Commons" EQ2 dev chat transcript!

    News
    Fri, May 19, 2006
    Ethec
  • Yes, Gamespot has the good stuff yet again. Do I sound bitter? I could be a little bitter. After all.. they don't REALLY cover MMO games. Anyway, it's a good interview with great information on the new expansion.

    GS: The Burning Crusade will open up a new Outlands area that isn't a part of Azeroth. How will players reach the Outlands?

    JK: You'll travel through the Dark Portal, which is in the Blasted Lands. At one point the Blasted Lands and the Swamp of Sorrows were one zone called the Black Morass in the Warcraft 2 era. When Medivh opened the Dark Portal, it caused a huge crater to form and opened the world to the Hellfire Peninsula. Eventually as the expansion ages, you'll be able to port to one of the key cities, and if you have a warlock buddy and two friends, they can just summon you up. We're not going to force you to run through the portal every time.

    You can read the interview in it's entirety here.

    Want the best guide coverage around? Check out our World of Warcraft Community.

    News
    Thu, May 18, 2006
    Awenyddion
  • It was bound to happen somewhere and sometime. It has. Marc Bragg, a lawyer of West Chester, PA is suing Linden Lab for the sum of $8,000 US.

    Bragg claims Linden Lab froze his account after a land deal went bad. The attorney said he found a legitimate way to purchase land at prices far below market rates, using an online auction on the Second Life website.

    Bragg v. Linden Research, a civil complaint filed May 1 in West Chester's local district court, charges that Linden Lab "breached an auction contract by allowing the land to auction, accepting online payment, and then suspending plaintiff's account."

    You can read the entire story at Wired Now, for the big question. Should Linden Labs be held responsible for this? Does this open up a whole new can of worms for other companies like SOE who allow RMT within some of their games? Tell me what you think.

    More Second Life News.

    News
    Thu, May 18, 2006
    Awenyddion
  • Ganked!
    I'm ever so slowly catching up on news from (and slightly before) E3. Yea, I was there (and there's pictures to prove it!), but it's kind of like going to a sporting event in person as opposed to watching it on TV; it's more fun in that you can focus on what you want to see at any given moment, but you don't get a running commentary on the "big picture."
    Anyway, how about this whole The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion - ESRB re-rating controversy? If you're not keen on the muddleheaded ESRB's latest blast against the videogame industry, some anarchist / jokester / militant nudist-sympathizer created a mod that strips the Oblivion ladies of their tops. Based on the modification (available only for the PC version of the game, not the 360), the ESRB bumped the game's rating from Teen to Mature.
    Doom creator John Romero blasted the modders with these oft-quoted comments from his blog:

    What's the point of this all this? That modders are now screwing up the industry they're supposed to be helping. In 1993 we opened up all our data to the industrious and ambitious folks out there who want to see what it's like to be able to make their favorite game a little more like what they'd want.....and get a taste of being a semi-game designer in the process. The most awesome example of what this philosophy has brought is CounterStrike.

    Now what's going to happen? You'll probably start seeing game data files becoming encrypted and the open door on assets getting slammed shut just to keep modders from financially screwing the company they should be helping. And the day a game company's file encryption is hacked to add porn and the case goes to the ESRB for review - that's when we'll see how well game companies are protected from these antics and what the courts will rule. Hopefully it'll be on the developer's side.

    Oblivion isn't an MMORPG, so why do we care? It might be yesterday's news, but it's relevant to games like World of Warcraft, EverQuest 2, and any future MMO that might want to allow users to have a hand in how the game interface looks and plays. I'm not so much concerned with visual hacks; the devs seem to have a pretty good handle on keeping their art assets well-encrypted so far (Dofus is the one mainstream game exception; at GDC our demo included a frontal shot of a "prostitute" strutting her hacked, heavily pixelated stuff in front of God and everybody).
    I'm more afraid that pablum descriptor on the typical ESRB rating MMO box ("Experience may change in the course of gameplay") might not cut it when WoW users denounce [insert protected class here] using the customized text option of a mod like Scrolling Combat Text (which, to my knowledge, doesn't pass through a language filter or "ignore" check). Or, now that integrated voice chat has finally made inroads, that somebody will say something entirely inappropriate and utterly untracable (there are no logs for GMs to parse when it comes to voice). Dungeons and Dragons Online and Auto Assault were the first experiments in integrated voicechat; and so far, we haven't heard a complaint (no pun intended). This may change when high stakes PvP-intensive EVE Online gets player audio this fall; I, for one, have heard some ripe ones skirling across my EVE corporation's Ventrilo server.
    Smaller MMOs need a critical mass of players, and my sense of the typical small-scale MMO gamer is that he or she doesn't really thrive on controversy. Where as a re-rating might pose a small financial blip on Oblivion's radar, it could devastate a small MMO developer like Ankama (makers of Dofus); community-intensive MMOs need a critical mass of players to stay healthy. But then again, Dofus's rating is RP (Rating Pending) almost 10 months after its launch, and games like head-lopping MMO Age of Conan are dealing with the issue by setting their sights on a Mature rating from the start. But, for any game, it's a non-issue until it's a big issue.
    Suffice it to say that in the MMO arena, we haven't heard the last from the ESRB. Or maybe even the first. Hopefully unofficial figurehead Jack Thompson will continue to make the ESRB a bad joke with his asinine Chicken Little-esque remarks about our videogame-corrupted brains.
    Questions, comments, or suggestions? Let us know...

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    Thu, May 18, 2006
    Ethec
  • Gifts from the Gods

    The Paladins of Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach lead devout lives. Their vigilance extends to all aspects of their lives--combat, questing, and healing. Our own pious Save-vs-DM takes a look at the spells paladins learn and tells us how to manage them to best benefit the party:

    The most important thing to remember about paladin spellcasting is to conserve your spell points. Paladins will generally have around 110 to 200 spell points at 10th level, depending upon their Wisdom score and the magic items they possess. Due to your limited spell point pool, you’ll have to understand when to spend spell points and when to conserve them.

    Read Gifts from the gods at DDO - TenTonHammer to learn more. Amen!

    Thu, May 18, 2006
    Ethec
  • It's the end of the world as we know it...

    And I feel fiiiiiiiiiiine! Sorry... an inevitable change is coming to EverQuest 2. Some handle it well, others rant and attempt to incite revolution on an epic scale. Doom and gloom has come to Norrath and Coyotee Sharptongue, as always, is on the scene. Whether or not he is the cause of the doom and gloom remains to be seen.

    “The recent statement from the Powers-That-Be that informed us of upcoming changes to be implemented was seemingly clear and concise. However I am told that a darker, more sinister “truth” lays hidden within these words and is spells out a grizzly message.” Coyotee says in serious tones as he turns to a figure who has moved beside him.

    Read the rest of this wonderfully clever tale at EQ2 - Ten Ton Hammer.

    Wed, May 17, 2006
    Ethec
  • Whoooo are ya? Ooo oo. Ooo oo.

    In his continuing look at role-play, Anomalous Silence, talks today about how to figure out the personality and history of your character.

    So… now what? You’ve debated over whether to join a PvP or PvE role-playing server. You’ve tested the various servers and server forums, and have analyzed the overall quality of these same servers. You’ve picked your server and are ready, finally, to play. What next? Character creation of course! This goes far, far beyond the simple physical appearance of your avatar (the selection of which, in Vanguard, can undoubtedly take hours or even days). In order to properly role-play on a role-playing server, and to maximize your experience, you must develop an in-depth personality and background for your character.

    What are you waiting for? Check out AnomalousSilence's great article at Vanguard - Ten Ton Hammer.

    Wed, May 17, 2006
    Ethec
  • Get your daily dose of Coyote!

    Can't get enough Coyote Sharptongue to satisfy you? You aren't alone. He's now doing a daily blog about MMO's. Laugh, agree, disagree, throw objects but take look at the hillarity that is...

    Not Funny...Ever, one of our many great Ten Ton Hammer blogs.

    Wed, May 17, 2006
    Ethec
  • Prophecies about Factions

    AtomicGamer takes a look at Guild Wars Factions, giving the high-priced expansion to the original Guild Wars Prophecies a 92%.

    After you hit the cap, the game is far from over in PvE land. See, you'll still be able to do missions and will need those 20 levels under your belt to pull them off. These missions are not easy, either - you'll need your party to actually be playing up to its potential to have any sort of regular success. The missions and quests will take you all over the newly added continent of Cantha; an Asian-themed set of lands. You'll see samurai-style armor, katanas and obviously Asian-looking characters. This style definitely appeals to multiple crowds and might help to pull in others that are big fans of most anything Oriental - the game is quick and simple enough to pick up by most anyone and also doesn't cost anything from month to month.

    View the AtomicGamer review of Guild Wars Factions, then check out our E3 impressions of the expansion as well as our Guild Wars community site.

    Reviews
    Wed, May 17, 2006
    Ethec
  • Greecing up the MMO genre

    While many of the gameplay & social elements of Mgame's live MMO Legend of Ares seem banal, I'm intrigued by the guild system and PvP construct. From a recent GameZone interview:

    Q: How does the guild system work? Will players benefit more from being in a clan or guild, or are the missions geared for an solid experience even as a solo player?

    MGame: The guild system for The Legend of Ares is quite elaborate with special rankings as well as salaries and rewards for members. Guild masters will have the option of rewarding their guild members through rewards (monetary) as well as pay their higher ranking officers with salaries. When money becomes low, Guild masters have the option of accepting dues from their members or engage in Guild Wars to win money. In Guild Wars, guilds pay 100,000 units of money to participate with the winner taking home the pot. With multiple guilds participating, the cumulative totals can get quite large.

    Nifty. Check out the rest of this Legend of Ares interview at GameZone.

    Features, Interviews
    Wed, May 17, 2006
    Ethec
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