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.)