Last year I made a predictions post. The original is here. Let’s see how my predictions stacked up to reality.
Allods Online will launch to modest success. However when it becomes apparent how much the cash shop affects higher-tier gameplay, a lot of the game’s boosters will wind up deserting it, and it will settle down to be a profitable, if slightly undersubbed, F2P MMO.
It launched to higher buzz than expected, but otherwise it played out exactly like this. Gpotato made the cash shop even worse than people expected, blunting a lot of positive buzz from non-f2p players and killing its momentum. It still survives, but no longer is it the alternative to WoW people thought it would be.
F2P games that no blogger really covers, like Shin Megami Tensei Online, Mabinogi, and Pangya will continue to soldier on, adding customers and expansions, while western F2P games like DDO will start to lose ground as they try to tack on a cash shop system to games that weren’t designed for it.
Half true, Half false. We haven’t seen a lot of closings of those no-name games, and they dot massively with the occasional expansion. The AAA F2P games seem to have stabilized, and while the cash shop has killed a lot of immersion, they still are the top tier of the F2P experience.
Star Wars TOR will be the next Champions Online. Soloish and small group play, heavy instancing, no real large endgame or pvp structure. Bioware will try to cram KOTOR into an MMO mold, but find that story is not as important as it seems.
It’s still looking that way.
User Created Content will die as a gaming ideal. With Metaplace’s death, and Second Life’s irrelevancy and stagnation compared to the larger MMO market, the idea that gamers cherish the ability to make their own content will no longer be a driving force in design. In fact, user created content may even have negative perceptions, due to it being tied to a shell game of earning real life currency. Blue Mars will be a huge public bust.
This is still the case, but one game has kept the ideal on life support: Minecraft. Apart from its success, user-created content has become irrelevant to most games, and it’s telling that none of the future big releases even make a nod to it.
WoW will be WoW. Cataclysm will be launched, forumers complain, business as usual.
Honestly, Cataclysm has just existed. It hasn’t really drawn super praise or hate, and just continues on. People play WoW still because there are no other options.
Fallen Earth will lose a lot of its luster, as will Darkfall. The problem with indie developers: can they keep up with delivering content and polished gameplay? What happens when the game ages and the newness goes, and the core content starts to look stale? My cynical bet is both games will hover at a small fanbase, shedding people. This will hurt FE more.
I think this was dead on. Fallen Earth is hit harder than Darkfall, but both games are at low populations. There’s a point which though people will stick with the game in consistent numbers regardless of nothing to do, and both games are at that point. Darkfall keeps trying to get positive buzz, but the FFA PvP nature is still a big hindrance to it growing.
Final Fantasy XIV releases, and is really really different from 11. Not many people understand how radical a departure 14 is from 11, and a lot of 14′s initial adopters will be people who played 11 and either loved it or left it. Chances are SE will go more for the casual side, and you’ll see a fair amount of griping from 11 vets who look at it as a semi-sequel to an aging game.
I think I’m right on that, but I didn’t predict how bad it would be. SE delivered a deep, quality product in FF11 but blew all that goodwill on a tremendously shoddy game. Time will tell if they can pull it back up.
You’ll start to see the problems with sandboxes. More games will try a freeform, skillbased approach and people will no longer be able to hold sandboxing as an ideal. This actually is good, because when we stopped holding forced grouping as an ideal, we got WoW and the first mega-hit MMO. Once enough people try sandboxes, we will start to see the games designed to solve the problems with that style of play.
I seem to be half right and half wrong on a lot of these. I do think people are noticing problems with sandbox MMOs more than ever. With Fallen Earth, it was the need to AP grind. EVE’s lack of PvE, Darkfall’s stat grind, and Champion’s Online disparity between PvP and PvE builds. However we have not seen any decent sandboxes that deal with these problems. Rift wants to try, but there’s a good chance it will just perpetuate the problems instead. It may just be insolvable.
I will be wrong in all of the predictions but one. If I had a good sense about the future, I wouldn’t be where I was now.
Heh. It seems this is the only prediction I am fully wrong on. It’s mostly a mixed bag. I had good general instincts, but reality threw in a few curveballs in how the games played out. There were a few things I missed: Aion’s continuing flameout, Guild Wars 2 Hype, and the disapperance of many high-profile games, like The Secret World or Copernicus. I wonder how I will do next year.