Welcome to the 995th Edition of Loading...

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The Pulse

First, you vote with what you view at Ten Ton Hammer, and the result is the Ten Ton Pulse (What is Pulse?).

Here's today's top 5 Pulse results:

  1. Darkfall (UP 1)
  2. World of Warcraft
  3. Warhammer Online (down 1)
  4. Age of Conan (down 1)
  5. Lord of the Rings Online (down 1)

Biggest Movers in the Top 20 in today :

  1. Champions Online (UP 12 to # 13)
  2. DC Universe Online (UP 9 to #12)
  3. Tabula Rasa (down 6 to # 14)

Loading... Daily

Loading... a flock of birds to the MMO jetliner.

I know, I know, relax. Nobody died, the pilot and crew are heroes, the passengers remained incredibly calm, and all in all that Hudson River crash had a better, more intensely gratifying ending than any made-for-TV drama I've ever seen.

In other news, they've done it. Between our exclusive Q&A with several Darkfall devs and the release schedule that went up yesterday, the rabid fans of Darkfall have pushed the game up the Pulse ranks to unseat World of Warcraft at the top spot, and this on a fairly WoW-heavy content week. Only Warhammer Online at launch has managed this feat, and was only able to hold pole position for five days. We'll see what kind of endurance Darkfall has. Now more than ever I hope the game doesn't disappoint, as the resulting outcry would be only marginally less punishing than being forced to butt slide a dinner plate across a chalkboard desert until you die of thirst.

Even though some developers will argue that genre doesn't matter, that it's all about story, I believe genres remain important gestalts in the minds of gamers. Some folks just don't like a fantasy backdrop, others really enjoy a comic book MMO. As has been our focus this week with numerous articles, in today's Loading I want to take a brief big picture look at the state of the major genres in modern MMOs, where they're at, and where they're going.

The next two years will definitely see a resurgence in comic book themed MMOs. Ten Ton Hammer has a new and exclusive dev diary from Champions Online's Bill Roper on the action-based feel and appeal of the game. Make no mistake, CO's biggest draw will be customization, not only of your character but everything from your powers to power effects and even your nemesis. Cryptic is taking what they did in City of Heroes to the next step, and I hope that superhero fans are ready to step out of the classic urban comic book environment and into the jungle, tundra, desert, and other non-traditional environments as well as the more standard Millenium City. For more on that front, RadarX (unfortunately dubbed our new Comic Book Guy) does a good job of highlighting the differences between Champions Online and DC Universe Online in his latest article.

Despite numerous failures dating from Earth and Beyond and, more recently, Tabula Rasa (though failure is a little harsh, I would have loved to see how TR would have done as a console MMO) and only one notable subscription-based success to-date, EVE Online, the sci-fi niche is arguably the healthiest genre in MMO gaming . Both Star Trek Online and Star Wars: The Old Republic have massive fan appeal and are in the hands of solid, proven development houses. Sci-fi, in my opinion, is innovating faster than other MMO genres, with Jumpgate Evolution putting the pilot controls in your hands and Fallen Earth (whose latest state of the game suggests that development is coming along at a solid clip) finally taking MMO gamers into a regressive post-apocalyptic earth. For a closer look at two of these prospects in particular, check out Sardu's MMOs: The Final Frontier article.

On the other hand, the MMO fantasy genre has the most players, the most money, the most recognition, but also the most uncertainty (apart from the certainty of WoW's dominance) and, I'd argue, the absolute least innovation of any genre. Darkfall's popularity suggests that developers are only catering to fantasy players want a return to their hardcore PvP roots as established in Ultima Online. That PvP-based MMOs failed to really, really catch fire in 2008 with Age of Conan and Warhammer Online doesn't seem to worry anyone. But the vacuum of has left PvE-only players (in the vein of EverQuest) with comparatively little on the horizon apart from the mildly received Chronicles of Spellborn and Aion as well as the games they're already playing. That's mostly MMOs that are, however regrettably, well past their peak like EverQuest 2, LotRO, DDO, and Vanguard. WoW doesn't seem to appeal too often to the solitary ex-EQ'er, unless they find a WoW gamer to drag him or her into it. Though getting dragged into WoW by a friend really isn't a tall order these days, after all.

Do you agree that sci-fi and comic book genres are the new fantasy in terms of hope and potential? Your comments are welcome in the Loading... forum, or email me directly if you like. Have a great weekend!

Shayalyn's Epic Thread of the Day

From our WAR: General Discussion Forum

On a positive note...

I write this it's closing in on Friday. The temperature here is a
frigid -8 degrees Fahrenheit (or -22 Celsius), with a projected low of
-19 and wind chills of -35. I'm feeling the weight of cabin fever, and
it's only mid-January here in the Upper Midwest, meaning there are at
least a couple long months of snow and cold to go before we start
seeing glimmers of springtime.

Judging by the attitude on the
forums lately, cabin fever must be rampant nearly everywhere. During
the more temperate months in the Northern Hemisphere, it might take
quite a few posts before a thread entitled "On a positive note..."
dissolved into a bitch session. But oh, how the forum climate has
changed. linuscalling posted about having a blast playing Warhammer
Online and it only took one reply to unravel everything like the thread on a well-worn mitten.

Want to grumble away the winter blues? Or do you have the antidote for all this orneriness? Check out this thread. Perhaps what it needs is a few Aussies; it's summertime in Australia.


Awesome Quote from the
Epic Thread

"I think we have all stated our frustrations in this forum while at the
same discussing positive solutions to that which is Warhammer Online. I
think we are all realistic in saying the game isn't perfect. My
question is: does it have to be perfect in order for people to have fun?

- linuscalling


Do you have a favorite Epic Thread? Let
us know

6 new MMOG hand-crafted articles today! 65 in January! 65 in 2009!

New MMOG Articles At Ten Ton Hammer Today [Thanks Phil Comeau for links and Real World News]





Hot Content - Or, what I took a fancy to:

  1. Forever Fantasy: The Future of Fantasy
  2. The Comic Book Guy: Champions Online vs DC Universe Online
  3. Wind Slayer Preview
  4. Darkfall VIP Access Interview
  5. Review of Wizard101
  6. Tabula Rasa: The Fate of a Disposable Game
  7. Geeked: "Access Denied"
  8. Ten Ton Turnip: Issue #4 - Poking Fun At Everyone
  9. Review of Perfect World International: The Lost Empire
  10. MMOs, the Final Frontier: Star Trek Online vs. Jumpgate Evolution

Real World News

Thanks for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer network!

-Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle and the Ten Ton Hammer team

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Vanguard: Saga of Heroes Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Jeff joined the Ten Ton Hammer team in 2004 covering EverQuest II, and he's had his hands on just about every PC online and multiplayer game he could since.