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commentary newsletter, only from Ten Ton Hammer.

Mass Effect 2 launches
today! The most anticipated title so far this year hits shelves and
we're all anxious to get in game to take on the new adventure. But this
is no ordinary RPG. There are elements here we've rarely seen, and
perhaps some that will make a more regular appearance, not in just the
RPG market, but maybe even the MMORPG market. We take a look at one of
the coolest features, the character import, today in href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/79944">Loading... Don't Kill My

The Pulse

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

are today's top 5 Pulse results:

  1. World
    of Warcraft
  2. EverQuest

  3. Dungeons and
    Dragons Online

  4. Lord of the
    Rings Online

  5. EVE Online

movers today

  1. Earthrise
    (UP 27 to #17)
  2. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/34">City of Villains
    (UP 13 to #18)
  3. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/926">Global Agenda
    (UP 5 to #16)
Recent Releases

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Are you one of the many gamers today who's just itching to play style="font-style: italic;">Mass Effect 2? ME 2! (Sorry, it had
to be done, but we have it out of the way now).

Mass Effect was a pretty huge
game, and pretty darn good. No one's going to argue that. So when style="font-style: italic;">Mass Effect 2 was announced, it
was already guaranteed to be a popular game. And, as a standalone game,
I'm sure it will be. But what makes this title particularly appealing
is the character continuation. Should you choose to import an old save
file, the choices you made in Mass
can have an effect on your game in style="font-style: italic;">Mass Effect 2. I don't remember a
game doing this in this manner since the style="font-style: italic;">Quest for Glory series.

For a single player RPG it makes sense. It's very cool and it's a
really nice bonus to any sequels. It not only keeps you attached to
your character, but also allows you to feel that your efforts in the
first game were worth something.

Now, let's take this idea to the MMORPG genre. Could it work?

When EverQuest 2 was
announced it wasn't met completely with praise. I would dare to say
that most players of the EverQuest
community at the time felt a little threatened. The impression at that
time was that EQ2 would take precedence over EQ1, and many players
voiced that they'd never play the sequel if they couldn't take their
characters with them.

It's understandable. At that time most of us hadn't played that many
MMOGs and just looking at the hundreds of played hours on our
characters (or in my case, 250 played DAYS - oy!) made the thought of
giving up our toons a very unwelcome notion. None of us wanted to face
the reality that no matter what we accomplished in game, it had very
little bearing on anything we could do outside of the game. So why on
earth would we want to give up all that time spent to start a new
character in a new game?

Well, obviously, most of us eventually did give up our characters and
started playing something else but I wonder how many would have made
the leap to EQ2 had a character import been possible at the time. For a
MMOG, something like this would be no small feat. In fact, I think the
only sane way it could be done is if the new game started at the level
cap of the old game. Any new characters created in the new game would
start at level 65 (as it was at that time) and be given some standard
issue starting gear.

Truthfully sequels are quite rare with MMOGs. Usually the game moves
forward with expansions and not full blown, standalone sequels.
However, there may come a time when sequels may start to be something
devcos will consider. If a game becomes dated and needs a complete
facelift, for example, wouldn't it be easier to create a whole new game
with a new engine than to go back and try to revamp all of the existing
content? It would seem to me that this would be a much better use of
resources since it's also much easier to market a new game than it is
to market something old with a facelift.

The bottom line is that all games will eventually become dated and
stale. It's just unrealistic to expect gamers today to continue playing
something beyond five years or so. So how do you freshen things up,
retain your old customer base, and get new clientele? Sequels seem to
be an obvious answer, but again, many are very much attached to their
characters so having a character import option like style="font-style: italic;">Mass Effect 2 could go a long way.

World of Warcraft is taking a
different approach, and it seems to be a pretty good idea too. By all
definitions the Cataclysm
expansion is more of a sequel than an actual expansion. The entire game
world is going to change and the WoW of today will be no more. I would
expect that with the zone updates the engine may make some changes as
well. Let's face it--it's an old game and could use a bit of an
overhaul to bring it into this new decade. What's really good here is
that it will not only retain a large portion of their member base, but
it also has the potential to draw in new players. The down side is that
classic WoW will be gone. So unless you're playing on an illegal emu
server there will be no way to go back to enjoy some of the nostalgic

So. How about it? Would you leave your game of choice for a sequel if
it didn't have some sort of system to retain your current character?
Let us know href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?t=49205">in the

Shayalyn's Epic Thread of
the Day

From our href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/forumdisplay.php?f=357">Members
Only Lounge forum

Secret World - Sumfin up

If you're interested in unraveling the mysteries of Funcom's project,
The Secret World, you're not alone. We href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/79896">reported
on the appearance of the Kingsmouth website, a fake community page that
represents a small seaside town in Maine where strange happenings are
beginning to occur. And now the folks in our Members Only forum are
talking about what they've uncovered via the new website and Funcom's
Twitter pages. If you want to play sleuth, head over to see what our
members have unwrapped so far, and then href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?t=49141">add your
own ideas to the collective. (Not a premium member? You can quickly
remedy that!)


Awesome Quotes from the
Epic Thread

"Ok that's really weird, I LIKE IT! Yes interesting dates. How
did you ever find it? I never would have made that connection just
looking at the site."

- Stormnet


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

New and Exclusive Content
Today at Ten Ton Hammer

8 new Ten Ton Hammer
features today! 100 in January! 100
in 2010!


Another Leap Forward - A Preview of
DDO Update 3


It’s almost time for Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron

to patch in their next free content update. Last time we were impressed
with all that came with Update 2 so we were particularly excited to see
what was in store for players with the first of six content updates
planned for this year. When Turbine offered Ten Ton Hammer to take a
look, we gladly accepted. Join us as we take a look at the new quests,
systems, events and updates this release has to offer.


The Rise of Free-to-Play - Industry
Insiders on the Future of MMOGs


With the help of two industry insiders that have given a lot of thought
to the free-to-play market in North America, Ten Ton Hammer
investigates what's stifled the evolution of free-to-play MMO gaming in
North America long after the concept had taken hold around the world.
We'll also examine why many hail DDO Unlimited as a turning point, and
trace the increasing quality of free-to-play MMOGs even as subscription
MMOGs turn in disappointing numbers. Could free-to-play may
make the subscription-driven MMORPG obsolete, or is this just another
increasingly popular way to game? Find out in next week's feature
article: The Rise of Free-to-Play.

Microcosms Issue #2 - Pattern


Free-to-play gaming continues to make inroads into the gaming
consciousness, and Ten Ton Hammer has definitely had its collective
fingers on that pulse. With several features this week focusing on this
dynamic segment, patterns have emerged that are leading to some pretty
exciting conclusions. Free-to-play gaming stands on the verge of
becoming an industry leader instead of a purveyor of cheap knock offs
and Medawky devotes this week column to looking at the reasons why.

Sins of a Solar Spymaster #37 - War is
a Force That Gives Us Meaning


What is life without a little war and cosmic chaos? With past wars of
legendary status marking the history of style="font-style: italic;">EVE Online, The Mittani notes that
with recent events, the Third Great War may be upon us. This week, he
talks about the latest happenings in the style="font-style: italic;">EVE Online universe as many wars
are being fought around the galaxy. Goonswarm is just one group that
finds its territory under siege from superior numbers. Facing down an
enemy fleet outnumbering them by almost 2:1, Goonswarm is faced with
their possible defeat and the loss of their territory. In an effort to
defeat the attacking forces, Goonswarm pulls a risky tactic, including
a dirty trick or two to try and win the battle and break the siege. Did
it work? Find out in this week's href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/79920" target="_blank">Sins of
a Solar Spymaster.

Star Trek Online Space Combat Guide


an interview, Star Trek Online’s developer
Cryptic Studios stated that space combat would probably make up 60% of
missions with ground combat the remaining 40%. If we’re going to spend
majority of our time in space, we may as well know what we’re getting
Today we review the overall look and feel of combat and try to impart
some insider
information along the way.

Ten Ton Hammer's Big Guide to WoW
Tanking - Part 2


In World of Warcraft there
are three primary roles that you can fill as a player. These roles are
that of a damage dealer, healer, or tank. In this writers opinion no
role is more important than the tanks,

since they tend to have more control over the groups success of failure
than any other player. Knowing this is such an important role, how do
players get ready for it if they are new to it? Don't worry, Byron
"Messiah" Mudry is here to walk you through all the basics you need to
know to tank in World of Warcraft.

Check out all the details in this second part of Ten Ton Hammer's Big
Guide on Tanking. In it the Messiah covers Threat, AoE Tanking,
Pulling, Positioning, and much more.

Elyos Vitality and Aether Gathering


As you progress in your adventuring levels in Aion, don't forget to pay
a little attention to your vitality and aether extraction skills as
well. Not sure where to get started? We have the quick reference guide
that will tell you what to gather and where to get those skills up!

WoW Weekly Report - "Pulling Rugs and
Floating Cities"


The World of WarCraft Weekly
Report comes at you again this week, early
Tuesday morning, to relieve the weekly maintenance blues. This week we
go into the previous week's news, the floating city Dalaran, and
letting games properly ripen. Plus, do you think PvE and PvP should be
self contained? Join us every week for our weekly WoW newsletter!

Hottest Articles and Guides

  1. Getting Ready
    for Earthrise - A Q&A with
    Atanas Atanasov
  2. Star
    Trek Online Space Combat Guide
  3. Another Leap
    Forward - A Preview of DDO
    Update 3
  4. The Rise of
    Free-to-Play - Industry Insiders on the Future of MMOGs
  5. Gamer
    - An Interview with the Founder of a Video Game
    Addicition Clinic
  6. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow/uimods/reviews/WIM">WoW href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow/uimods/reviews/WIM">: UI Mod
    Review - WoW Instant Messenger
  7. Admirals Only -
    An STO Endgame Q&A with
    Zeke Sparkes
  8. Avoiding
    Progress Trap - An MMOG Retrospective
  9. Star
    Trek Online
    href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/sto/space_ui_guide"> Space UI Guide
  10. Champions
    href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/co/guides/missionlag"> : Mission Lag

for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer

- Benjamin J. de la Durantaye and the
Ten Ton Hammer team

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Mass Effect 2 Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016