It dawned on my today that I never reviewed my 2012 predictions. Probably because I decided not to do them for 2013, and promptly hid from myself the fact that I had done them last year. But what the heck, after yesterday’s deep trip down memory lane, something light is called for.
1) FunCom will be FunCom…they will release a conceptually brilliant game long before it is ready, and oblivious to whether or not they have enabled their target audience to consume it
Well, The Secret World was clearly made for a certain target audience, and I would certainly consider the genre-bending TSW a conceptually brilliant game. And they released it before it was ready. None of this is surprising, and this counts as mostly a hit. But…I think they did a great job prepping us for what kind of game it was and how it was going to play out. This is a niche game and that was pretty clear in all counts, from the setting itself to the way characters were built, to the investigation and puzzle quests you encountered early on. The only real headscratcher is why it wasn’t F2P to begin with - I guess they needed a cash influx. And I’m surprised they have not embraced more of the successful F2P options from other games – TSW would be the perfect game to introduce something like STO’s lockboxes or TOR’s cartel packs into. But maybe scoring the latest pair of hotpants for your virtual Barbie doll is the most lucrative way to go. How should I know?
2) Guild Wars will ship to much acclaim and joy, and find its niche…and then promptly fall off the radar, as people complete is PvE campaign in the course of a week and are left with nothing but hardcore PvP or the next $50 box drop.
Yes and no…GW2 apparently anticipated this and has made moves to put some emphasis and elbow grease into their dungeon system. The end result seems to have pleased some people. I’m not sure how big of a slice of the PvP pie its taking though. I can’t imagine its all that much, or games like Darkfall and Camelot Unchained (or Defiance and PlanetSide 2 for that matter) would probably be crying and shaking their fists. Still, I gotta call this one a miss. There is plenty of PvE space to explore and the game is reasonably healthy – not to mention it is arguably a bigger success than its predecessor.
3) World of Warplanes Beta will come winging our way at some point during the year. My guess is that it will not be nearly the success that World of Tanks has been. Primarily because the inclusion of joystick support indicates that the basic keyboard controls are going to be awkward, and lets face it, that’s what most people use. Again..that whole “know your target audience” mentality.
I actually have been in WoW since Alpha – it just took me awhile to find the invitation in my spam box. :-p And we are still under NDA, so I can’t tell you anything about this prediction really.
In other, completely unrelated news, I am considering downloading War Thunder.
ETA: The NDA was actually dropped a few days ago and I missed it. So I can be less subtle now – World of Warplanes is a mess. It can’t decide if it wants to be an arcade shooter or a flight sim, and the parts of the World of Tanks model that were “adopted” in are problematic as well. End result – people who came for arcade are frustrated, people who came for a flight sim are bored, and people who came from WoT are quickly in over their head. Sign up and give it a try for yourself, but for my two cents, its a crash and burn.
ETA AGAIN: Turns out, they manage to fix World of Warplanes at the 11th hour, and I freaking love it. Who knew?
4) Dawntide may not survive another year.
It didn’t. The website is still up but the game is all but dead. Its a shame too, it was a very well designed sandbox. I would have loved to live in it a while.
5) Sony will find a new flagship. They have to, right? I’m shocked that Everquest 3 took so long to get off the ground, even in whispered rumor form. To be the advance they want it to be will require a full development cycle, which means we are looking at another 4 years probably before it hits. So part B is this: I fully expect Sony to pick up distribution rights to ArchAge Online. They have shown no qualms about bringing other people’s developments into their fold (Vanguard, Pirates of the Burning Sea). Pairing this with a PlanetSide 2 launch would mean fresh blood in the Sci Fi and Fantasy domains. That’s not to say that ArchAge comes out way in 2012, but I think it will find a home in this time period (call that part C if you will).
ArcheAge found its home with Trion – a good move and I think AA and Trion both will profit from it (and word is it will hit this year). Sony let PotBS go, and seems to be relying solely on PS2 as its flagship game these days. Star Wars – The Clone Wars Adventures (“the other Star Wars MMO”) got a quiet makeover while nobody was looking, and now it really is an MMO instead of just being an ambulated amalgam of minigames. Much to my son’s chagrin, when he started a new trooper character and had to quickly learn how to shoot his way through droids, follow maps and quest points, and do all this if he wanted to get to some of those minigames that he knows and loves. Quite honestly, I wonder now if EQ3 will ever see the light of day. Call me a doubter at this point. But don’t call that a prediction. Please?
6) Titan will lose its codename and we will began to get some information on it. Quite frankly, my belief is that if you’ve been holding it in your backpocket for over four years, without even giving a hint of what it is, its just as likely rotten eggs as it is a hit. But I’ll be curious to see what’s been rattling around in the heads of Blizzard and whether or not this is the time to unveil it.
Everything I said about Titan above is what leads me to believe that EQ3 is in the same boat. The drivel of information is tiny, and both those games have been in development for over a full cycle now. Entire MMO’s have been conceived, incubated, and birthed in the time that we’ve been waiting for information about these two. That can’t mean good things, because as I’ve learned over the last few years – if its ready to talk about it, companies will trip over themselves doing so. And if its not, they will do and say anything to put a sheen over the fact that its ugly as sin or broken as a wagon with square wheels.
Most/Least Anticipated and Biggest Fail.
WildStar still looks terrible – but it didn’t launch in 2012. And it turned out what became my biggest anticipation became my biggest fail – and its one I haven’t said one peep about. Mechwarrior Online is terrible. The game will be good one day, like, a year from now. But they took money and made promises, and its going to be a long time before they deliver. And they did a great job getting lots of people to part with their money by promising all sorts of grand things, like launching 8 months ago (the game is still in beta) and giving us tons of mechs (I think they might be up to their original twelve now). And the game itself? The UI is so bad – or rather so nonexistent and uninformative, that you might as well be doing freeform roleplaying on your neared RPG forums. You will have no idea what’s wrong, how much armor you have left, why you missed, what your heat level will change by, and where anyone is. And good luck communicating with your teammates. Oi.
And Guild Wars 2? Well, I have no real beef with it. But I also just can’t seem to get into it. It bores me. And I hate that I have to go running back to the capital city every couple of levels for a new storyline quest. And the races, outside of humans, are fugly and awkward to watch. Okay, so maybe I have a few things against it, but overall its a good game. Its just not my cup of tea right now.
Anyway, there is your 1300+ word wall of text for today. Enjoy. Maybe tomorrow I’ll have some screenshots to balance it out!