Friday, January 2, 2009

Prognostications and Resolutions


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.

On Lawsuits:

- 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.

On Predictions:

- I will probably be completely wrong. But I hope I'm right. I am looking forward to some /pizza.


Hechicera said...

Aion, unsure there. NCSoft comments state that even Korean taste for grindfests is waning. After all, they are competing with Blizzard, and know it. So they say it will be "eastern-style focus on visuals and design with western action-oriented gameplay". But what will that be? Another TR would be bad, but rumor has it that they pulled the better talent off helping TR and onto Aion back in the "too many cooks" era of early TR. So ... hmmmm.

Also on NCSoft, you left off GW2. Hearing a bit of hopes for this from GW community. The stated goal is less instancing, and more ability to progress a character beyond the short story/level arc in GW1. Same funding model as GW1 (so far) but more like an MMO.

I'm not surprised that its NCSoft's games that are under your radar. If they ever learn to advertise and promote the games as well in the western as the eastern markets ... I may have a heart-attack due to the shock. Though, they just announced a high profile VP of marketing for the US. So maybe, its time for me to go back on my heart meds.

Anonymous said...

Spellborn is a great game, but its combat style and general foreign-ness may turn off WoW players, if they even hear of the game in spite of the lack of promotion.

No matter how it does, it will probably have deserved to do better.

Anonymous said...

You're silly. I approve. Fun article, and I agree with much of it. I'm a bit surprised you didn't mention GW2, but since the devs aren't talking either, I'm not too surprised.

Lars said...

I did leave off GW2. That was unintentional. I'm actually really looking forward to that game, since I really admire the first game, but since we haven't heard much about it, I always forget its coming.

Corwin.EoL said...

I think a big one for next year will be Starcraft 2. That is if it makes it out next year. :)

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