With the 2010 predictions reviewed let’s move on to taking a look at what 2011 will look like.
World of Warcraft sees a mind shift in the community. There is no question that WoW has haters (by the boat load) but this year the mass market community, the random non-MMO-traditionalists who have been the cornerstone of WoW’s success will quietly start to leave the game. Currently the biggest detractors of WoW in the general MMO community are the old-school minority that derides the game for being “too easy”/”welfare purps”/etc; that “detractor base” will start to grow towards a majority that simply shrugs and says “been there done that”.
Blizzard MMO 2.0: details leak like a sieve; is announced late 2011. Blizzard’s tight culture is put to a test as a result of being more and more integrated with Activision. Being a multi national mega corporation ain’t easy and by summer 2011 details of Blizzards next MMO start making more and more regular appearances around the tubes.
Blizzard MMO 2.0 is an MMOFPS. Nice and easy this one.
Planetside Next is announced; as details emerge the game looks amazing and the hype engine kicks in to gear; we’ll have to wait to 2012 to see if the hype is worried. One of the things im most looking forward to from 2011 is to see what SOE plans to bring to the table.
Everquest Next has a very slow intentional-leak driven build up to an announcement. As details emerge the game seems blatantly a WoW clone. The community will not be amused and at best the hype level will reach a very reluctant “we’ll see”.
SOE will commit blunder after blunder with how it implements the hybrid F2P/P2P model. The result will be EQ2 having its best years behind it.
Closures. We said 2010 would be a year with few closures but that that calm would come at the cost of 2011 being a bloody year. Expect to see Vanguard dead, WAR with 0 development resources as Bioware shifts full resources to SW:TOR’s launch. These two likely will not be the last deaths of the year, but they will be the biggest.
SW:TOR. A huge boxed goods commercial success. EA will be very happy, good quarters will abound. Then the “big bet” of SW:TOR will be called and found wanting. The game will be extremely linear, “story as a feature” will be found to have very little replay value and players will get bored as they settle in to the mid and late game; players will look around for the usual progression tread mills and do not find them. Despite this the game will do well with subscriptions in 2011 (2012 and beyond might be another story) as players new to the MMO genre bolster the ranks.
Rift is a surprise hit with MMO vets. The folks who get bored with WoW and those who have been out of the genre for some time now as they wait for the next thing will end up landing on Rift. This game will release mid year with moderate hype. Expectations will be limited and this will ultimately lay the ground work for a successful launch. The game will end the year with around 500k subs. Scott Hartsman and crew will be happy with this and finally we’ll have a post WoW stable MMO. To be clear: Rift will be limited in innovation, ultimately called a WoW clone BUT will provide genre fans an outlet.
The Design Gods currently wasting their talents on Facebook will wake up and begin work on a AAA product. I’m looking at you Mr Koster, Mr Garriot et all. This one might be more of a “I wish it would come true” but I’m sticking by it
There is how I think 2011 will go, you?