2011 Predictions Review

Yeah, I should have done this awhile ago, but I didn’t, so tough cookies.  Not that I predicted anything earth shattering last year for 2012 (get it?) but I had the usual mix of success and failure (last year I got 2 out of 5 correct).

 

1.  We will finally get some news about the World of Darkness MMO from CCP /White Wolf…lets add a part B  to this that reinforces my point – we won’t see a beta for this in 2011.

Not only was there absolutely no more information, the website I linked was not updated at all, and so we clearly did not see a beta for it either.  CCP’s struggles this year have been well documented.   As a gamer, former Atlanta resident, and guy who pulled every card he could trying to get in the door at White Wolf years and years ago, it saddens me to see that company down in the dirt, and its IP virtually untouched.  And its a huge loss for CCP, in a time when wizards and werewolves and vampires and such have never been more popular or mainstream.   I’m not surprised the MMO is not out, but I am shocked that no move has  been made to profit from the IP.  Heck, even a half lame Facebook game would have generated some revenue at this point.  +1 for me.

 

2.   2011 will show a decline in the number of WoW subscriptions.

On target.  A 2 million subber drop.  This was of course, part of a series of posts and thoughts that Cataclysm would be, not a giant failure, but simply the high water mark of the game.  And so far that has been very true.  +1 for me.

 

3.  Star Wars: The Old Republic will launch in April.

Missed it by a mile.  But we all knew that.  A month or so after writing this we got the unofficial word that TOR was definitely not delayed, since no release had ever been announced.  And the thread with the spring release date disappeared into the ether.  With all we know now, no amount of cash recoup by launching early would have saved the game if they had launched in April.  In fact, there’s good evidence that the game was nowhere close to being done at that point.  TOR has had a reasonably successful launch and (so far) first month, but its hard to shake the feeling that for a project in development for six years, with the resources they had at their fingertips, that it falls short of what it could have been.

 

4.  Vanguard will go F2P.  Okay, this is more of a hope than a prediction…I think that the addition of DCUO to the Station lineup will probably help make this possible.

You can maybe score this one as a halfway.  The success of DCUO’s transition to F2P, as well as EQII, have Sony clearly interested in investing a bit in Vanguard.  New updates are incoming, and the general feeling is that its only a matter of time before the game transitions.  But…it didn’t happen in 2011, so no love for me.

 

5.  Cryptic Studios will finally reveal what this is.  Because its copyright 2007, and it makes me itch.

Not only did they not reveal what it is, they basically went belly up and the concept art, and indeed the entire website, that the link pointed to last year, no longer exist.  I still believe it was a deal with Chaosium to produce an official Cthulhu MMO, for a number of reasons.  At this point though, its likely that we will never know.

 

So there you go, 2 out of 5 again.  I am nothing if not consistent…at least as far as my predictions are concerned.  On to the other 2011 thoughts I had:

My most anticipated release was a toss up between Rift and TOR.  I opted to pass on the Rift release, only for the one reason that I had played it so much in Beta that I was tuckered out.  I came into it a few months later and it became the first, and so far only, MMO that I have ever capped in.  Unless you count WoT.  TOR’s launch I was there for in the sense that I had a preorder and was in from day one.  But in truth, I have played precious little of it due to real life complications.  My highest character sits still at level 18.  So I guess it really was a toss up after all.

My least anticipated release was DCUO and that was pretty much true.  I am already 100% on board with what my least anticipated will be for next year too.  Seems I have a keener eye for what I don’t like than what I do like.  But you may have already noticed that about me.

My most desired Beta was TOR.  I got in, but so late in the process I really hate to count it as being in Beta.  :-p

My most desired industry change was to create something between F2P and $15 a month.   Thought there have been some nice transitions in the last year, I’m still waiting for that change.  The truth is that most of the F2P models leave out the part of the game that would make it fun for me (ability to have alts, housing, flexibility in character building) and so I never explore the F2P option, so they never have a chance to sell me on other things.  As successful as F2P has been…it missed the boat somewhere along the line.

 

Tomorrow I’ll take a look at 2012 and what is to come.

New Years Predictions 2011

Okay, I’m going to go ahead and do this now instead of waiting a week!  And because its an easier and shorter post to write than my impressions of Rift Beta (the short version: its a lot of fun).    So without further ado…

Five Predictions…

1.  We will finally get some news about the World of Darkness MMO from CCP /White Wolf.  I know we already got an announcement and a teaser trailer.  But let’s face it, we all knew it was coming anyway.  I mean some real news.  Like a website that shows us more than this.  This may be a safe bet, but remember that the only official word was that it would be absolutely not be before 2012.  That sounds alot to me like they are shooting for 2012 but aren’t sure they will make it.  But I can see the point, so lets add a part B  to this that reinforces my point – we won’t see a beta for this in 2011.

2.   2011 will show a decline in the number of WoW subscriptions.  Short easy, and to the point.  We might ask how we can track this, but I think it will actually be news that will get talked about.  I guess we’ll see.

3.  Star Wars: The Old Republic will launch in April.  There are alot of people divided on this – some say May, some in particular May 25th, for its significant (both A New Hope and Return of the Jedi released on that date), but I can’t see then losing two months of profits in the financial year.  This has clearly been a large investment, and they have been quick to promise investors a return.  Maxmium return will need maximum time, especially since that first month is usually free in MMO’s. Release in April and you get steady profits all year long.

4.  Vanguard will go F2P.  Okay, this is more of a hope than a prediction.  I have unfinished business in the world of Vanguard, and their version of the Druid is still hands down my favorite class to play of all time (though I’ve been able to recreate it to some degree in Rift, more on that later).  I think that the addition of DCUO to the Station lineup will probably help make this possible.

5.  Cryptic Studios will finally reveal what this is.  Because its copyright 2007, and it makes me itch.

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Bonus Thoughts…

Most Anticipated Release:  This is honestly a straight up tie between TOR and Rift.  I think both games bring some really need things to the  table.  And I have a hunch I will be buying collector’s editions for both of them.

My Least Anticipated Release:  DCUO.  In part because its being treated more as a console release.  Which is probably not a bad thing for its success.  But I enjoyed  Champions and HoX both, and I’m not a big fan of the IP (always been a Marvel guy myself).  Not sure this will be a huge hit, but I think it will be a nice niche game (which is what we need alot more of – just not at $15 a month each…)

My Most Desired Beta:  TOR.  I’m already in Rift, obviously,  so it falls to TOR, which is pretty much the one Beta I’m not in that I want to be in.

My Most Desired Industry Change:  Speaking of $15 a month subs…its time for a change.  The truth is, I can drop about $30 a month on games.  And I’m cheap, but lets say I’m average.  That means I can afford 2 games a month.  There are more than 2 good games a month out there.   And there has to be something between F2P and $15 a month.  I thought maybe APB was headed in the right direction with the ability to buy hours.  There are a lot of games I’d love to play once or twice a month, but I just don’t have time to commit to.  I wouldn’t mind paying $5 for a pack of hours.  EQ2’s passport plan is similar, but its on and then its gone.  The big thing here is that alot of us get hooked on games for a few months and then drift to something else.  Letting us do a small buy in puts you on the map for those hooked in times, and keep us around after they are gone. 

Something to think about…

NEW YEARS PREDICTIONS

Sorry, I guess somehow I didn’t realize I was supposed to do this since I had a blog – and I apologize for totally missing the boat last January.  So here’s five predictions and a few tidbits from me to  you about the year to come:

Five Predictions…

1.  Despite the obvious interest and backing they could generate, no on will announce work on a Transformers or G.I. Joe MMORPG in the coming year.   Which is probably fine, because if the movies are any indication, their ability to completely trash the IP is unparalleled.

2.  Bethesda will finally…officially… announce their Elder Scrolls MMO.  Also, this is a hunch, but…it won’t be set in Tamriel.  I know it would make no sense not to use their established IP, but…companies don’t always do the smart thing.

3.  SWTOR will not be released in 2010.

4.  WAR will finally announce what everyone has been waiting for – more races and classes.  I’m betting Wood Elves and Vampire Counts.

5.  EVE will finally get ambulated.  They won’t have a choice – its time to step up to the plate, or let STO own a patch of the space mmo business that they don’t have a flag already planted on.

My most….

Anticipated Release:       Star Trek Online

I’ll know in about two weeks if it was worth the sleepless nights I’m enduring right now.  And honestly, some of my anticipation is the happiness of again having a game with real life friends playing along right beside me.  The last time I had  that was, outside of a random few nights in Vanguard, World of Warcraft.  How this will stack up with my online community in EVE will be interesting.  I have no beef with Cryptic myself – I’m enjoying Champions, so I’m hopeful that the game will be halfway decent.

Anticipated Failure:  Cataclysm

You can smell it in the air already.  Big, successful companies start dying when they start drinking their own koolaid, and believing in their own invulnerability, buying into their own hype.  WoW believes it can’t be killed.  It believes it has too many people and too much control over the market to fall.  And so they are going to do something that is guarenteed to alienate people – making changes to old favorites – and they believe that it can’t hurt them – that they will carry on and grow even bigger from it.  They are wrong.  This will be WoW’s “jumping the shark” moment.

Desired Beta Spot:  The Secret World

It just looks awesome.  And its either that or World of Darkness, but I’m not a huge fan of WoD.  Anyway, it looks good, and I’m hoping to get in.

My least…

Anticipated Release:  Everything that’s not an MMORPG

There is a growing trend of releasing shooters online and calling them MMO’s – which they technically are – but covering them and treating them and in some cases even trying to call and designate them as RPG’s.   Stargate, The Agency, Jumpgate, That…criminal one who’s name I can’t remember.  I have no interest in any of these.  By the current market definition, Modern Warfare 2 is an MMO.  Something about that just isn’t right.

Wanted Game Death:  Pirates of the Burning Sea

I don’t want it, but I’m pretty sure its going to happen.  Which is sad – the combat by ship is solid, proof of that comes from its reincarnation in Star Trek Online.  The avatar combat is fun and the builds are myriad.  But…the economy is a horrific mess.  It is literally impossible to build most of the ships with one character – even with one account.  And there is…very little else to build.  The supply bundle and unrest system though is amazing – I’m surprised EVE hasn’t done something similar yet – and I hope it shows up elsewhere.   Not to mention the raw material sludgefest that you need a chart or six to untangle.  Anyway, the bottom line is that SOE will need to clear some cap space to bring in its new games, ands it already proven its willingness to ditch titles with the loss of Matrix Online this year.  Sad but true.

And award for the game that will interest me the most and make me watch the most this year…

Heroes of Telara

Van Canegham has had a hand in breaking  new ground in the RPG industry not onceNot twice.  But three times.  So we can be reasonably assured that he sees or is working himself on something very new and intriquing with his backers at Trion.

Anyway, that’s my 2010 stuff, such as it is.