Yay! Scott Jennings, Heartless and Keen have done their predictions. Syp went on Massively Speaking and did his (I believe, haven’t had time to listen to it yet). I want to have some fun too, especially since I can then look back at my mistakes at the end of 2011. It all works out for the best. Most of this is pure speculation, of course, and I am not sure I believe all of it myself. “But it seemed so plausible,” you will hear me moan. G’damn it, I’m a doctor of journalism!
I guess I’ll just do the whole year company by company, starting out with the most obvious choice…
Blizzard: Blizzard stall the Icecrown Citadel raid zone for as long as they possible can, until Arthas is being farmed by every guild in existence. Wrath of the Lich King is good for one more content patch, presumably adding another Troll raid. At E3, Activision Blizzard announce that they will release Cataclysm at the end of September, with Blizzcon being used to hype the expansion like crazy. This will be the last Blizzcon to focus that much on a World of Warcraft-expansion, however. Patch 4.0 is released a month before Cataclysm and Arthas will be killed by a 3-man (druid/paladin/death knight) group. There might be films on YouTube about it. A content patch is planned, ready to strike against Bioware’s upcoming release of Star Wars: The Old Republic. I will probably be raiding again, denying ever having left the scene.
Cryptic: Star Trek Online is delayed by two weeks because Cryptic still have a lot of work to do before it is “ready”. The game will be released, lacking a core function or two, which will have its players up in arms for a while. Balance between players and mobs will be an issue, especially in space, just like a lack of content. Cryptic will have learned some lessons from CO, and the uproar won’t be as gigantic this time around – except amongst Trekkers, who will constantly complain about the game not being Star Treky enough on the official forums. Forums you can only post on if you, ya’know, still subscribe to the game…
NCsoft: NCsoft will remind everyone that marketing is marketing. Aion will get some new features, but no housing in sight. Around E3, the company will announce the game’s first expansion pack, which they promise will bring the graphical updates shown in Aion Vision. It will not be released in 2010. At Gamescom, NCsoft will talk about expanding Aion and show some new videos from Guild Wars 2, perhaps force a shy Korean producer to talk about Soul and Blade. No real hands on with GW2, though.
Bioware: The Old Republic goes into closed beta towards the end of the summer, with release set in November/December. After all, EA need their money. The game will be praised for its storyline content, with some players burning through it in a matter of weeks so they can troll the official forums about the lack of end-game content. There will be an actual lack of end-game content. The game will show us that “full voice overs” is a relative term. There will, of course, not be any space content. Seriously, you expected actual space content? We will all be playing it.
Mythic: Warhammer Online gets another server merger, Mythic keep trying to straighten up Tier 4 and city sieges. During Q2, they will announce the first expansion to the game, which will be a digital release comparable to EVE Online’s model of doing things. It will not have a third faction, but new zones that you have to pay to get access to. EA will sack some more people, but the game will not be cancelled. Live events will be held, as usual, and the expansion will be released after Cataclysm. WAR will not become free to play.
Funcom: Rise of the Godslayer is released early summer, it will get high grades in the press but fail to make a large dent in the MMO genre. Funcom will keep moving people over to Canada, and move devs from AoC to The Secret World. TSW will go into closed beta towards the end of the year, major hype will start to build up and it will become Funcom’s new flagship game.
CCP: EVE Online will not get walking in stations.
SOE: Despite rumors of their demise, Star Wars Galaxies and Vanguard will not be cancelled. SWG will get the Galactic Civil War update early during the year, with additional game updates over the next 12 months, and the players will complain about their light side jedis on the forums for all eternity. Free Realms will not be released for the PS3, DC Universe Online will fail to shift many units when it’s finally released for console during the summer. Most MMO gamers will give up on the whole “MMOs for console”-thing for this generation of consoles. A new MMO, maybe EverQuest 3, will be announced during the autumn, SOE will be very silent when asked about the new game’s business model.
All new games mentioned above will get completely pointless and annoying Twitter/Facebook-features, of course.
Then we have the unknowns, like 38 Studios, and the ones most people don’t really care that much about, like Aventurine. I will leave them out of my predictions, since I’m not convinced that 38 Studios will tell us what Copernicus actually is or that Aventurine will do anything really interesting with Darkfall. Then there’s that scary question about what Winch Gate will do with Ryzom, but I don’t want to think about that for too long, since I might get all sad.
I won’t go into the whole “war of the business models” either. That’s really tricky and it’s getting late here. Predicting the future like this is hard work and the Old Gods of Time And Space want their tribute. So, Cthulhu fhtagn! and have a great New Years Eve!