Let’s see how I did-revisiting old predictions.

December 31, 2010

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.


Forum Quote of the Day

December 30, 2010

Styij describes the downsides of getting into a higher tank tier in World of Tanks.

“Now, in order to get to a high tier, heavy, tank you have to unlock the tech trees. You can get between 100 and 600 experience points each match. To move from a Pz4 tank to a KV3602, one step up, costs 27000 exp points. That is just that step, you have to pay for different components first to get there. As a result you will be spending a HUGE amount of your life letting other players have prison sex with you. If you enjoy being constantly raped then play it.”


Champions Online holiday Event

December 29, 2010

CO is having their usually Holiday Event, and it’s a bit different this year.

One difference is in the items. You can throw snowballs or kiss people under the mistletoe, and each item grants a specific title. Kiss enough people and you get the “Kissable” title. You can even kiss bosses, an attempt to lure more people into the endgame 40 raids. Winter action figure pieces drop as well, and you can assemble holiday versions of the Champions and their Villains. This is somewhat meh since all they do is follow you around.

You can get free consummables like cookies that act as timed heals, and even some blue drops with decent stats. There are also gifts you can collect for a random reward item.

On the action front, Clarence the big Teddy is back. Defeat him for some costume pieces. However there’s been a lot of bitching that only the best builds can get the items because it uses the same point tally system as other open missions: highest score gets a chance at the event’s items.

Still, its not that bad. Finding presents while leveling adds some meaning to it, and the items are nice to use and helpful. The only problem is that they are time-limited and expire around mid January, so don’t expect to hoard them to resell.


Fallen Earth changes combat and AP…and no one cares.

December 19, 2010

Seriously. Both the Massively announcement of it going live and the MMORPG.com forum are quiet, despite a boost in difficulty and limiting of AP allowed to spend per level. FE’s general forums are quiet as hell. Usually with that kind of change we see at least one feedback threadnaught whether good or bad. Unless the official forums are hiding it behind the subscriber login, the lack of response is a bit worrisome.


What has Massively Forgotten about Volume 1

December 19, 2010

A quick list of things that have gotten a lot of ink from them in the past that have vanished from their radar:

  1. World of Tanks
  2. Star Wars: Clone Adventures.
  3. Free Realms
  4. Marvel Super Hero Squad Online
  5. Runes of Magic (Did the Taborea column get axed?)
  6. Black Prophecy
  7. Earthrise (That game used to clutter the site)
  8. Mortal Online
  9. Blade and Soul

I’ve been noticing a trend to more opinion pieces and the same stable of games. Even the “press release as an article” seems to have dried up. It’s a dead time in MMOs, apart from a few games.


Quote of the morning

December 19, 2010

Faelan, from a forum thread on MMORPG.com about Cata PUGs:

Oh, but I can join a GOOD guild. Joining a GOOD Guild ™ solves everything. It cures cancer. It brings world peace. It solves the global warming. It even feeds the hungry children in Africa. Problem is finding one AND have it stay alive. You think you have found it after going through a pile of crap. Everything is peachy and you start getting somewhere in the grand scheme of things. Then some asshat decides to level his dramaqueen skill to 525 and you have this epic failure cascade that sends the whole affair straight to the guild graveyard. Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for GOOD guilds and people having fun together, but when the game gets to the point where it requires a GOOD guild in order to be truly enjoyed and those are hard to come by, then there’s something wrong with the game and the community as such.

As a FFXI guild vet I agree. I think way too much emphasis is placed on guild selection and grouping with proper people, rather than casting a wide net and enjoying the game with others. The harder you make content, the more closed the game becomes, as people need to make connections to play as opposed to making them organically.


Looks like APB isn’t the only game to get rescued

December 19, 2010

Crimecraft can be found on the F2P site WarpPortal.

Interesting. Not only did it survive longer than APB, it’s active as a F2P game first.