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MMOG news, coverage, and
commentary newsletter, only from Ten Ton Hammer.

As MMO gamers, we've
come to take many things for granted when first embarking on a journey
through a new title. But what happens if you were to remove some of the
more commonplace things like an XP bar, character classes or even the
option to play in third person? I discovered the answers to these
questions and many more during my recent time spent in Mortal Online, a
game which in many ways is like stepping into an MMOG for the first
time again. We'll take a look at this plus links to the
latest and greatest Ten Ton Hammer exclusives today in
Loading... A Change in Perspective

cellspacing="0" width="100%">

The Pulse

You vote with what you
view at Ten Ton Hammer, and the
is the Ten Ton Pulse ( href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/thepulse/" target="_blank">What
is The Pulse?).

are today's top 5 Pulse results over the
last week:

  1. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow">World
    of Warcraft
  2. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/eq2">EverQuest
  3. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/ddo">Dungeons and
    Dragons Online
  4. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/eve">EVE Online
  5. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/lotro">Lord of the
    Rings Online

movers in the last seven days

  1. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/42">Star
    Wars Galaxies (UP 5 to #17)
  2. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/vanguard">Vanguard:
    Saga of Heroes (UP 2 to #8)
  3. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/war">Warhammer
    Online (UP 2
    to #6)
size="-1">Recent Releases
  • size="-1">2/1
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/926">Global
    (release date)
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">2/1
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/1004">Mortal
    Online (release date)
  • size="-1">2/2 size="-1">
    - Star
    Trek Online

    (release date)
  • size="-1">2/16
    - href="http://everquest2.station.sony.com/expansions/sentinelsfate/index.vm">EverQuest
    2: Sentinel's Fate (expansion)
  • size="-1">2/16
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/81479"> LotRO:
    Oath of the
    Rangers (content update)


  • size="-1">March

    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/1004">Mortal

  • size="-1">March

    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/998">APB
  • size="-1">April

    - href="http://www.cityofheroes.com/news/game_updates/issue_17/issue_17_overview.html?utm_source=COHemail&utm_medium=US&utm_campaign=banner">City
    of Heroes: Issue href="http://www.cityofheroes.com/news/game_updates/issue_17/issue_17_overview.html?utm_source=COHemail&utm_medium=US&utm_campaign=banner">17
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">Spring 2010
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/1801">Mytheon
  • size="-1">TBA

    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/2079">Final
    Fantasy XIV

  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">Spring 2011
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/swtor">Star Wars:
    The Old
    Republic size="-1">


  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">3/26 - 3/28
    - href="http://www.paxsite.com/paxeast/index.php">PAX
    East 2010
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">6/15 -
    6/17 - href="http://www.e3expo.com/">E3
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">6/25 -
    6/27 - href="http://www.lfgexpo.com/">Looking for Group
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">8/5 -
    8/8 - href="http://events.station.sony.com/fanfaire/">SOE
    Fan Faire 2010


"What's the object of the game?"

"It's a mystery. It's almost
figuring out the object of the game IS the object of the

If you've been following href="http://www.syfy.com/caprica/" target="_blank">Caprica,
SyFy's newest
excursion into the Battlestar
universe, then the
above quote
may sound familiar to you. It comes from a recent episode when one of
the principle characters makes her first trip to a place called New Cap
City, which is a game of sorts that can be accessed through the
series' virtual reality world, known simply as V-world.

While we're still a good few
years away from that type of
fully immersive massively multiplayer experience, some of the concepts
present in New Cap City should be fairly familiar with most MMO gamers.
For starters, it's a fully PvP world, and while no one seems
to really know the exact object of the game they do, however,
understand one key gameplay element: survival. You see, in New Cap City
the death penalty can be pretty harsh. If your avatar dies there
you're forced into a permadeath of sorts, never able to
return so it's game over if you die.

Taking my first awkward steps
into the href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/1004">Mortal

open beta
recently, many of these things sprang instantly to mind. Okay, maybe
not the permadeath and fancy holographic world setting, but the idea of
not really being sure what the object of the game is paired with a
potentially harsh PvP environment were certainly present.

Character creation in Mortal
offers players
plenty of familiar elements such as the ability to make minor tweaks
and adjustments to get your eyebrows looking just
right. However,
rather than picking a race or class and pressing a shiny red
play button to dive into the game, instead
you're able to customize your race by making a number of
selections for your character's ancestry. Each of your
decisions here will have some direct impact on your starting stats, as
will the background you select. Background selection also helps
determine which skills your character starts out with, though this is
no means locking you into any kind of predefined class

Logging into the game with my
freshly minted Sarduccan character, I
found myself stumbling
around on a hillside just outside of one of the numerous starting
villages. Unlike many MMOGs where hand-holding tutorials and breadcrumb
quest lines are the rule, Mortal Online is very much a throwback to an
earlier point in the industry's history where your first task
wasn't to look for the closest yellow exclamation point on
your minimap, but rather trying to figure out the basics. How do I
fight? How do I interact with NPCs? Do I have any abilities, and if so
where can I find them?

Thankfully the game does at
least offer a small help section which
made obvious via an on screen prompt upon logging in. It only covers
the basics like movement, combat and interaction controls, but
it's enough for you to at least learn the essentials.

The game is also played
entirely in first person, which is no doubt
help later on once you're more comfortable with the manual
combat targeting, but it can be a bit disorienting at first if
you're used to watching your character gracefully swing a
sword from a bird's eye view. Well, that plus it ultimately
doesn't matter how well you placed your eyebrows at character
creation, since you're likely never going to personally see
them while playing. And if another character is close enough to see
them, they're no doubt trying to pick your pockets and steal
what little you've managed to scrape up in the surrounding

Because I like to explore a bit
straight out of the gates to get a
better sense of my environment, I ended up accidentally falling off of
a small cliff which left me with only a few hitpoints. This
wouldn't have been a huge deal, and was an important lesson
of sorts, because that's when I learned that health
doesn't automatically regenerate, but rather you need to use
one of the healing skills tucked neatly away in your skill book. All
fine and good, only you need specific reagents in your inventory to use
any of your abilities and since you begin the game with little more
than a cheap sword and rags on your back, that also means
you'll need to find a means of either gathering the necessary
reagents or purchasing them from a local vendor.

This is where the comedy relief
of my awkward first attempts at
combat comes in. Approaching a nearby weasel I
drew my sword to attack, only the thing sprung into a tree and
proceeded to bite me in the head which forced me into submission. In
this state you're immobilized and basically on the brink of death, but
a short wait you're able to move again though you have to be
careful as you'll only regain the bare minimum of hitpoints.
I repeated this process of attack, submit, attack, submit until finally
offing the offending weasel and scooping up the loot it was kind enough
to offer me in a gore covered bag.

While my journey didn't end
here, I should probably wrap
things up for now. The main things I took away from my time in the
Online open beta so far were enough for me to want to explore the game
further. It's a very challenging game in many ways, and not
one for the faint of heart. It also is very much in the realm of being
an M rated game, complete with plenty of gore and nudity. But if you
can manage to survive your initial experiences and learn the basics of
skill progression, crafting and general survival in a harsh
environment, there are plenty of cool concepts present in
Mortal Online that make it worth a return trip.

Have you been playing Mortal
Online? If so, be sure to share your
impressions of the open beta right here in the Loading…

Shayalyn's Epic Thread of
the Day

From our href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/forumdisplay.php?f=3">Tavern
of the Ten Ton Hammer forum

of Skinner Box Online

daughter likes to quote some TV show character (or is it a movie
character?) saying, "Pressabutton...getacookie!
Pressabutton...getacookie!" Most gamers realize that playing MMOGs is
little more than a button-pressing cookie-giving scenario, but a post
by Annatar, quoting a tidbit from a  href="http://www.cracked.com/article_18461_5-creepy-ways-video-games-are-trying-to-get-you-addicted.html">Cracked.com
article in which a games researcher for Microsoft talks about methods
for getting players hooked, brings the point eerily home. Step into the
Tavern of the Ten Ton Hammer to read more, share your comments, and
perhaps even href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?t=50171">get
a cookie.


Awesome Quotes from the
Epic Thread

"I don't see how it's so much
more different than TV. Television
writers have been trying every trick in the book to get people to watch
their shows, sex, violence, cliff hangers, etc. People are a lot more
sophisticated than you give them credit for. Skinner's experiments are
largely disregarded these days as too simplistic

- Artiz3n

"I beg to differ, my job for
the last 5 years involved the use of modified Skinner boxes and we were
able to do some quite elegant experiments leading to a novel product

- Smoothbrain


Have you spotted an Epic Thread on our forums? href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?t=32559">Tell

and Exclusive Content
Today at Ten Ton Hammer

6 new Ten Ton Hammer
today! 77 in March! 307
in 2010!

GDC 2010

Rise of the Godslayer GDC 2010
Video Presentation


Rise of the Godslayer expansion is perhaps one of the most promising
expansions of recent MMOG history. Clever puzzles coupled with choice,
consequence and challenge will keep fans entertained for some time.
Game Director and Executive Producer Craig Morrison walked us through
the highlights of the upcoming expansion at GDC 2010. Ten Ton Hammer
has the full video along with a brief synopsis. Premium members will
also enjoy an additional Q&A at the end of the video.


Raids - A Comparison of Old
School vs Next Generation MMOGs


you ever wondered if MMOGs are better now than they were in the years
ago? Mattlow has, and brings his perspective to the topic in the second
part of his Comparison of Old School vs Next Generation MMOGs.

The Evolution of StarCraft
Armies - Early Game Zerg


without question, has the most prolific history of any real-time
strategy game. Its impeccable balance, which spawned hundreds of unique
strategies, map designs, and builds, is legendary in the online gaming
community. As StarCraft II prepares to take up the mantle of its
predecessor, Ten Ton Hammer takes a closer look at how the armies of
StarCraft II have evolved, beginning with the early game Zerg.

Sins of a Solar Spymaster #40 -
Make More Sandboxes


sandbox MMOGs superior to the more traditional content-based models?
That's what's on The Mittani's mind after his recent trip to GDC 2010.
In this week's Sins of a Solar Spymaster, The Mittani examines his
impressions from GDC as the industry continues to trend more towards
content-based games and pay less attention to the sandbox-based models
such as EVE Online.

Star Trek Online: Ten Ton
Hammer's Galactic Map Archives Updated


the process of warping between local systems in Star Trek Online has
been made relatively easy, sometimes traversing the vastness of space
can still be a difficult endeavor. To help get you pointed in the right
direction, Ten Ton Hammer is pleased to bring you detailed maps for
each sector in Federation space and beyond.

WoW: Loremaster's Corner: The
War of the Three Hammers


War of Three Hammers is a little known war in World of Warcraft
history. It's notable because it explains why Ironforge is run the way
it is, why there are multiple clans of Dwarfs, what the base story was
for the original pre-expansion WoW, and a lot more (including
Ragnaros). Ever wondered about these things? Check out our Loremaster's
Corner this week and find out.

Hottest Articles and Guides

  1. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/gdc2010/swtor_erickson">Star
    Wars: The Old Republic
    Writer Interviewed at GDC 2010 href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/gdc2010/swtor_erickson">

  2. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/gdc2010/ddo">Democratizing
    Turbine Reveals New
    Facts and Figures at GDC 2010
  3. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/gdc2010/cryptic">Boldly
    Going - A GDC 2010 Interview with style="font-weight: bold;">Cryptic's
    Bill Roper and Craig Zinkievich
  4. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/gdc2010/TERA">TERA
    Preview at GDC 2010
  5. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/gdc2010/CivilizationV">Conquest
    and Diplomacy - A Look at Sid
    Meier's Civilization V
  6. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/reviews/finalfantasyXIII">Final
    Fantasy XIII
  7. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/gdc2010/Mytheon">Clash
    of the Titans! style="font-weight: bold;">Mytheon
    at GDC 2010
  8. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/starcraft2/preview/multiplayer_1stimpressions">StarCraft
    Multiplayer Beta Preview & First Impressions
  9. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/eq2/guides/brewday2010">EverQuest
    Brewday 2010 Walkthrough
  10. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/gdc2010/vindictus">Nexon
    Unveils Vindictus
    at GDC 2010 href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/gdc2010/vindictus">

for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer

- Reuben "Sardu" Waters
and the
Ten Ton Hammer team

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Mortal Online Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Reuben "Sardu" Waters has been writing professionally about the MMOG industry for eight years, and is the current Editor-in-Chief and Director of Development for Ten Ton Hammer.