2010 Predictions

While I’d love to do an overarching 2010 predictions post, covering all things MMO, the fact that I’m basically playing one game right now and not really following anything else makes that somewhat difficult. I mean sure, I could make a bunch of stuff up (for the first time, EVER, here at this blog), but given how spot-on my 2009 post was, I’d rather not. Instead I think I’m going to try and do a more personal 2010 prediction piece, both for my gaming and this blog. If nothing else, halfway through 2010 I can look back at this post and crank out a bunch of stuff just to earn some prediction points. Everyone loves points.

DarkFall: Two expansions will be released in 2010, each one bringing something as new and interesting as the first two. Best guess is a major enhancement to the economy/trading that brings DF’s economy closer to EVE-levels, and something that really focuses on improving PvE, perhaps expanding the current dungeons and somehow making them better PvE destinations and PvP hotspots. I’m thinking AV uses the center dungeon as an example and gives each region it’s own great dungeon, with all the other dungeons serving a distinct purpose (chests, specific mobs).

PvP itself will continue to be refined and balanced, and the specialization system will continue to get fleshed out. The worry of ‘uber’ toons will subside as many reach a highly competitive level, and overall the time to reach that level is decreased thanks to specialization. PvP battles will only continue to get more epic, as the big toys are brought out more consistantly, the server code is improved, and more and more activity becomes the norm. The war between VAMP/NEM and Cairn will be the first ‘world war’ of NA1, and will rage for some time.

Each expansion release will bring an influx of new players, older players will be retained at a higher rate than the average MMO, and overall DF will end 2010 with more subscribers than it has today. Some form of a restricted free trial will be introduced, along with boxed copies being made available in US stores. I’ll still be subscribed and playing for the entire year, and buying a second Ferrari off Community Publisher earnings.

Warhammer Online: I hope Mythic is given enough resources to release an expansion, one that brings a third faction to the game and basically saves it from getting AutoAssaulted. Assuming the third faction is added, WAR will see a resurgence of interest as people come back for some casual PvP and find a much-improved game, especially now that the tech behind it has been fixed up and the large-scale stuff is playable. The game won’t ever fully recover and live up to its original expectations, but assuming that third side arrives, it will see a healthy recovery in 2010.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will eventually be released, and everyone plus their mom will rush to experience a brand new(turd) Azeroth. Many will be disappointed that not as much of the old content got a makeover as they expected, and the instances/endgame will primarily consist of recycled content. Clueless noobs dealing 900dps will be slaying C’thun in a 10 man all goblin paladin pickup group. The ‘new shiny’ of Cataclysm will be shorter lived than WotLK, and Blizzard will be focusing on starting up the hype for their next MMO. One highly-touted feature of Cataclysm will ‘fail’ similar to WotLK’s WinterGrasp, but the millions playing will be too busy buying pets, grinding dailies, and collecting achievements to notice. WoW will be even less of an MMO at the end of 2010 than it was in 2009.

The rest: Stuff will be released, the AAA stuff will be flooded with tourists, they will leave after a month, and everyone will be wondering why in 2010 no MMO outside of WoW has a million subs. Some will still cling to the believe that WoW really is just that good and something like it will also get millions of subs, more will accept that the MMO market is just not that big. Those in the second group will find a way to profit, those in the first will be unemployed and asking ‘why’.

This blog: I’ll continue to mix in-game reports from DarkFall with opinion posts about the game itself, plus commenting on whatever happens to be going on in the MMO space. The big challenge I’ve personally set out for myself is to maintain an ‘accessible’ blog for all while basically only playing a game most don’t. Part of that will be to present the in-game reports in a way that is understandable and enjoyable for all readers and not just DF players, without always sounding like a broken record of some in-game tutorial. The other part will be to use DF as an example for opinion pieces but try to branch the overall idea out to be discussed among other MMO fans.

Friday Blog wars are likely to continue at random, although hopefully with those of slightly thicker skin and people who understand its all in good fun. Over/under on number of bloggers I offend deeply and on a personal level is five. Over/under on the number of people who ragequit reading this blog and take their entire guild with them is ten. Correct guesses will earn you an exclusive invite to the DF limited trial that will be linked to current subscriber accounts.

In terms of blog growth, I hope the trend from 2009 continues into 2010. The increase in comments and cross-blog feedback has not only increased my enjoyment of this blog immensely (and after all, everything always comes back to #1), but has also increased my rate of posting, which of course benefits all of you lovely carebears. Similar to MMOs themselves, the more activity a blog sees from the author and visitors, the faster the snowball roles down the hill and grows in momentum and size, and I can’t wait to see what 2010 beings.

Happy gaming in 2010 everyone!

(DarkFall-related post disclaimer/reminder. If you click the image link near the top-right of this page and buy a DarkFall account, I get paid 20% of the client cost. If you believe this taints my views and reporting on DarkFall, your opinion is wrong.)

21 Responses to 2010 Predictions

  1. bonedead says:

    I would totally play Warhammer if they turned it into DAoC 2.0, but I’d also play DAoC if they came out with the Origins server type. Totally.

    ave you seen mah wienah?

  2. Warhammer with a third faction wouldn’t help Warhammer. I loved DaoC, but what made the 3-faction PvP work was more than just having 3 factions.
    You felt a lot of pride about being one of the three realms in DaoC. You felt more connected to the world, with no in game map and having to travel by horse to get to frontier only then to have to run by foot to the battle.

    I just don’t see it working in Warhammer.

  3. xXJayeDuBXx says:

    This post made me laugh!

  4. [...] Keen is doing it. Lum is time traveling in the hopes to scoop the future before it happens. Syncaine is too. Seems like it’s the accepted thing for bloggers to take a guess at how the upcoming [...]

  5. Malakili says:

    I’d like to here your opinions on SWTOR specifically if you don’t mind. I am of the opinion that it will actually be a pretty successful game, and a pretty horrible MMO. I think it will establish the “monthly fee explicitly for content upgrades” as a viable model, while further dismantling the idea of persistent worlds as a mainstream game concept.

    • SynCaine says:

      I don’t think SWTOR will launch in 2010. But if it does, I full expect it to be a great single play game, meaning people will love it for a month or two and then rather than a slow fade it will just hit a wall and die. I just don’t see how ‘story’ and month-to-month can work in an MMO, especially one so heavily IP-controlled like SW.

  6. pitrelli says:

    you are a darkfall bummer!, I will however be trying a month in Darkfall for my Blog.

  7. Anorax says:

    My predictions:
    – Warhammer Online will die in 2010 and either be placed in pure maintenance mode or it will be closed.
    – Conan will continue to limp on with minimal effort from the developers who continue to delude themselves people are still playing the game. Moved to a free-to-play model.
    – WoW will continue on and keep the masses happy with a core base of 4 million players the majority of which play the game to be with friends.
    – Star Trek Online will barely register as most online players are waiting for …
    – Star Wars The Old Republic will eventually be released and be the second western MMO to gain a solid base of players numbering more than a million.
    – The rest of the MMO market will continue to be mostly ignored by the masses except for the few hardcore players that read blogs about MMO’s.

  8. Adam says:

    Great post Thank you.

  9. Sean says:

    Besides the vitriol directed at WoW and its players, and the optimism about WAR, I agree with your predictions. I think Cataclysm will be just enough to stave off the decline in WoW’s western subscription numbers for the time being and will revitalize interest among its core base. The portion of the game that primarily interests me – high end raiding – seems to be getting much more focus than it did in Wrath. The developers have claimed that Cataclysm will release with more raids than in the original game or any of its past expansions. I hope and think they will deliver on that promise if only in virtue of the negative reaction to the paucity of raid content in Wrath.

    One notable absence on your list is SW:TOR (although I’m sure for you it’s subsumed under triple-A tourist MMO). I think we’ll see it released in 2010 to initial critical and commercial acclaim. It will sell a couple million copies in its first two months of release and retain something around half that making it the second largest, Western subscription MMO going into 2011.

    Surprise hits of 2010? APB and to a lesser extent Global Agenda. I could the see the latter catering to old school Tribes fans looking for a little more persistence and structure in their team based FPS, futuristic MMO.

    Also ran: Star Trek Online. Not for any real failure on Cryptic’s part but I just don’t think there are many people who want to play PotBS in what is now, and still despite JJ Abram’s effort, a niche IP.

  10. I don’t think WAR will see a 3rd faction. My guess would be another race per side such as the Skaven and something else.

  11. I doubt there will be anything significant added to WAR at this point. Whether or not it would be worth the investment, I don’t think Mythic is in the mood to pour more money into the game. I’d guess it hangs on relatively well to its current subscriber base, but whether that’s enough to keep Mythic from closing it down or not is anybody’s guess.

    I’d agree that another 1 million subscriber MMO is unlikely, but I think 2-3 new 100-200k paying subscriber games are quite possible. Whether those are financially successful at that level depends on how their businesses were modeled.

  12. [...] course, other people are putting out their predictions for next year, so I am putting this sentence in as a place to link to them as [...]

  13. Sifo says:

    i predict wow and it’s players will be even more retarted

  14. Dblade says:

    Kind of wondering how you reconcile your DFO predictions with what seems to be going on in the EU server. Been reading that it hasn’t really recovered from the migrations. An outsider reading up on things is often wrong, but I’m hearing that they are very low population. Can you set me right on that?

    • SynCaine says:

      I don’t actually follow EU1, but with boxed copies coming out in the EU region first, that will help. I don’t doubt a lot of that server took a hit with transfers, but I think it’s more of a forums perception thing because the people who left were some of the ‘big names’ on the server.

    • Billy Hicks says:

      I can tell you that the EU population is stable. We saw a lot of people transfer and the population took a dip. The thing is 99% of those who moved are American or play mainly at US prime time.

      People playing at EU prime time noticed a small dip but people playing at US prime time noticed a massive drop. The majority of the people complaining are talking about the population at US peak time when all the EU players are in bed.

      In short EU prime time pop dropped a little but US prime time population dropped massively.

      However over the last few months with the expansio0n and other improvements we have seen the populations increase again. I would say at EU times things are slightly busier than they were before the transfers, but at 3am EU time things are very dead. Its awesome for gathering though :-)

  15. jughead says:

    I personaly think that warhammer will slowly grow again. It still has 5 american and 5 eu servers that are very active, mythic is also releasing in korea.

    Warhammer has had major changes since launch and mythic are known to stick to their mmo’s even though all of them have between 50-150k players and not more.

    I hear that the russian servers are still active too.

    Infact they are supposed to be releasing a new expansion for ultima online soon.(not 100% sure)

    However I must say that the first year of warhammer was not great but the game has improved with grfx updates,bug fixes,server upgrades,world changes , new content and is still healthy. Infact mythic released a new statement saying that warhammer online has finaly started to grow rather then shrink.

  16. josh says:

    well, i have recently returned to WAR after a year away and can say the improvments done are noticeable most certanly intend to stick around in the world of warhammer for some time and must say the community still seems rather large and has good large scale orvr most nights i cant see it dying or growing unless an expansion is released or a drastic game change ( new race) for better or worse

  17. Mel says:

    I’ve heard a lot of praise from returning players to warhammer Online. I think I’ll take my Bright Wizard for another spin. Warr is not a bad game, it just needs more polish.

    And I completely agree with the predictions concerning wow. Blizzard is a company that takes no risks, and sticks rigidly to formula. Warcraft 3 is fundamentally the same game as its predecessor, but with a shinier coating. Same goes for the Wow expansions, same, recycled formulaic game play. I think I’ll pass on Cat, as I can do without the endless badge, rep, gear, honour grinds.

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