I will not buy into any hype about any game. Darkfall, that means you, though I never had faith in that game anyway. It just seemed like the same people who hyped the indie failure Wish moved to Dark and Light, and now they have moved on to Darkfall. The same applies to Champions Online and whatever else is scheduled for this year.
On MMO Domination:
- World of Warcraft will still dominate. (I know, easy one.)
- EverQuest II servers will merge. Late in the year, it receives an expansion pack that raises the level cap to 90 and the AA level cap to 250. It introduces a new race and new starting area, but other than that, mostly high level (80-90) content. Everyone complains that the mythicals they worked hard to earn are worthless now.
- Darkfall will be released. No one will care.
- Chronicles of Spellborn will come out in the US. No one will care.
- Richard Garriot will announce he is making a new game. No one will care.
- Aion will be released and do well abroad. In America, it will cannibalize the Lineage 2 anime fetishist playerbase and generally be ignored as yet another Korean grind (except with wings).
- Age of Conan comes out with an expansion pack. Everyone loves the first twenty levels and uninstalls afterwards.
- Warhammer Online continues to lose players. EA Mythic starts their own version of Sony's Land of the Lost MMOs Station Pass collection, with a single subscription fee for all three of their games.
- Cheyenne Mountain fails to pay its employees and Stargate Worlds never makes it to market.
- Jumpgate Evolution is a sleeper hit, and Eve Online stops growing as its playerbase trades in their auto-attacking spaceships for more active gameplay.
- Somebody (*cough* Acclaim) brings a dozen more Asian MMO imports that no one plays.
- Worlds.com lawsuit against NCSoft fails. NCSoft receives assistance from other parties, not (yet) directly involved in the lawsuit. Eventually (maybe not in 2009 but in 2010 at least), this goes the way of the PanIP lawsuit, a similar situation where a useless parasite of a company without a real product tried to leverage a patent to sue the world.
On Microtransactions and Revenue Models:
- A major AAA MMORPG (maybe Dungeons and Dragons Online) goes free to play with microtransactions. This move is generally well received because they choose to use microtransactions to charge for access (to new zones and quest lines; i.e., "modules") instead of a cash shop for items.
- The Agency will be an unmitigated success. The cash shop brings in so much revenue, all future Sony games are integrated with Station Cash.
- Sony either drops a dying MMORPG from its Land of the Lost MMOs Station Pass collection, or declares microtransactions to be a raging success and puts them in more of their games, starting with Star Wars Galaxies and Pirates of the Burning Sea.
- More MMORPGs will integrate advertising into the user interface. Bloggers fume when they find they are paying a subscription fee, microtransactions, and watching ads for the same game.
- Sony brings back /pizza, except now its paid for with Station Cash.
On Hype and Broken Resolutions:
- Bioware's The Old Republic MMO is still the most highly anticipated MMORPG in recent times. It doesn't come out in 2009.
- The blogosphere (myself included, despite my New Years MMO-related Resolution) gets caught up in the hype about Red 5's mystery project once they finally release some nuggets of information about it.
- I will probably be completely wrong. But I hope I'm right. I am looking forward to some /pizza.