Episode 1 of the Ten Ton Hammer Podcast is now alive and well. There are a few areas of the production that are niggling away at me, but it was a learning experience and that can't be a bad thing. Even with some of the little quirks I still feel in my biased way that it among the best podcasts in the gaming industry. You can download the show and check out the show notes right here.
We would love to hear some of your questions, so fire up your microphones, record the tough questions and send them in to me. If your question is chosen you might even win some cool City of Villains, City of Heroes or Auto Assault Swag. We even have capes to give away. Just think how impressed your friends and significant other will be when you go to work wearing your City of Villains cape. Oh, the humanity. At this point we have exactly zero submissions so you could win by default, just by asking the question, "Phil, what are you wearing?"
Blizzard pushed out the 1.10 patch to the live servers on Tuesday, or was it Wednesday? The servers were out of commission for so long that I lost track of when I last played.
It has to be tough to update a system on a weekly basis that has six million subscribers pouring data into it, but this is also a problem that it appears could be solved by throwing money at it. With six million subscribers there is a nice cash flow that could be spent reworking code, upgrading or adding hardware and maybe, just maybe adding some support staff.
Just retrieving the patch can be a lesson in patience. Luckily we host it here for those of you who are having difficulties. The Mac Patches are also available for those of you who require those.
I never thought it was a good idea to design a game system that required 8+ hours of downtime a week just for maintenance. As the number of subscribers and all that goes with them increases it makes even less sense. Each patch brings with it not only the downtime, but the server instability that inevitably follows in its wake like Kirstie Alley at a donut convention. Blizzard, have you called Jenny yet?
Another part of the master plan was to provide a user interface system that the community could work with to build new and presumably better interfaces that would improve the quality of gameplay. This system works quite well, until there is a patch that makes changes to the underlying system. When this happens, the interfaces that have taken hours of time to create become broken. Let me paint you a picture. A player has waited through hours of downtime, only to see the servers come up, become unstable and be taken down again. Finally, after waiting a whole day to play a game that they monthly fee to partake in they can finally login to find a user interface vomiting our error messages faster than Jessica Simpson can chase an endorsement contract. What makes even less sense is that most of the changes simply take ideas that the community built and integrate them in an inferior fashion into the Blizzard standard interface.
The changes that were made to gameplay in this patch were substantial including a revamp of priest talents, new armour sets for the level 60 crowd and weather, which again in my opinion has the possibility of being a poor design decision. Weather in whatever form you decide to add inevitably makes the game harder to play. Rain, snow and other vision impairing effects don't add to the fun for many players. In fact, the best reason to add these is to create a more immersive atmosphere, pardon the pun, or to suspend the disbelief of the player. World of Warcraft has never been an immersive game. The reason that people play it is because it is a fun game that by being delivered with a cartoon look and feel somehow avoids the problems of the "uncanny valley". How does weather in any way, shape or form make this a better game? The answer is that it doesn't. The first time you see rain or whatever it may be you might think, 'that is cool'. The 100th time you will be wishing it was never spawned so you can see the 60 rogue riding in on you from 300 yards away before he dismounts and returns you uncerimoniously to the spirit healer.
Maybe I'm the only one that carries this opinion. Six million subscribers continue to pay for the weekly beatings that are delivered every Tuesday.
Comments? Questions? (.mp3 format if you want in on the swag give away) Send them in.
What's New On TenTonHammer.com?
Let us entertain you or at the very least waste some of your time at work.
- EverQuest 2: Money Sinks - The Truth of the In Game Bling
"Why oh why do they keep taking all my money?! Money sinks are one of those neccessary MMO evils that do have a purpose and aren't just there to annoy the playerbase. Savanja gives you the 411 on what they are, and why we need 'em!"
- EverQuest 2: Yarr! So Ye Want To Be A Pirate?
"Yaaar! So ye WANT TA BE A PIRATE do ye? Well lads an' lasses, I got ta be givin' a fair bit of warnin' to ya; Bein' a pirate ain't what it used ta be. Gone be the day's of pillagin' an' lootin' without nary a thought....Gaaar. Even on Norrath...tha politically correct censors be runnin' wild. If ya think ya got the stomach, an' tha sea legs ta be a Pirate in this new touchy-feely age we be livin' in...Apply within."
- Vanguard: Saga of Heroes - New Artwork, Dwarf Warrior
"Stout, strong and always ready for action. That's the dwarf warrior and he can be seen in a battle stance in today's feature piece."
- World of Warcraft: U.I. Update Report
"Patch 1.10 has broken a lot of U.I. mods. We tell you which ones are already updated by their authors!"
- Dungeons and Dragons Online: Enter The Halfling - Episode 2
"In Dungeons & Dragons Online, the city of Stormreach can be a dangerous place. At no time is that more apparent than when the disorderly and disgruntled Talenta halflings are running amok. To find out why bashing a backpack-chewing disembodied skull with an unnecessarily large splintering maul (while your friend is still wearing said backpack) equals a really bad idea, check out episode 2 of our weekly series."
- Vanguard: Saga of Heroes - The Guild Beyond The Game - Part III
"Ever feel naked when you first enter and MMO? Now get your mind out of the gutter, I don't mean in that way. I'm talking about the log in and no one to chat with, no one to help with a quest, question or character advise.Merriandra knows just what I'm talking about and discusses how a guild helps development both character and community in her final installment of her Guild Beyond the Game series. "
Vin Diesel Fact of the Day:
Cancer suffers from Vin Diesel.
Now on to the real world. You can't make this stuff up.
Special thanks to Matt today for sending in headlines that made my job of writing bylines very easy.
As always, thanks for visiting TenTonHammer.com,
-- John "Boomjack" Hoskin