Looking back at 2014, looking forward into 2015

Time to review 2014 and make some 2015 predictions (I don’t get as fancy as some people and do two posts!)

Here are the 2014 predictions:

EQNL will have everyone loving it the first month of release. Shortly after just about everyone will be asking “now what?” and drift away.

Anyone want to comment this isn’t 100% accurate, other than the whole “release but its beta” scam?

EQN will continue to attempt to copy/paste from my design docs, and will continue to SOE them into failure.

Nope, but only because literally NOTHING happened with EQN, because SOE, so 50/50?

ESO will have a big launch, followed by a quick death (F2P). I’d like to pretend that THIS massive themepark failure will teach the industry to stop, but if SW:TOR didn’t, nothing will.

Big launch; check. Quick death; nope. Game isn’t F2P (yet?), and I wouldn’t be totally surprised to hear it has more subs than we expect (not a ‘huge success’ amount, but not skeleton-crew numbers).

WildStar won’t suck. Just throwing a dart here, as WildStar doesn’t interest me personally, but what little I know about the dev team, I like. If they stick to their ideas/goals post-release, I can see WildStar being a solid ‘niche’ MMO. We might even be calling it “themepark done right”.

Mostly wrong here, other than I think WildStar clearly is a niche MMO, although I don’t think the plan was for it to be SO niche.

The GW2 train will continue to roll, although with less steam and more heavy-handedness towards the cash shop. Such is F2P life.

I guess? So little gets posted about GW2 its really hard to follow, but I’m assuming Anet is doing something with the game?

LotRO will continue to provide us with amusing stories, perhaps selling you a character 3/4th of the way into the game, or something equally dumb. 50/50 on being able to play Sauron. 75% chance you will be able to buy the One Ring in the shop.

Guess 3/4th of the way into the game was giving Turbine too much credit. My mistake.

CCP will go bankru… haha just kidding. Best MMO out will continue to play chess while the genre learns checkers. 450k subs in 2014. Edit: Since we are at 500K already and this isn’t WoW, raising this to 600k.

600k didn’t happen, so nope. On the other hand so far CCP is showing what they can do with quicker releases, which is basically more than anyone else, and I think they are in a good spot going forward to once again return to growth after a stagnant 2014.

WoW will bounce back with the next expansion and have a strong 2014. Now that the interns are back to being interns, and the real devs are back from failing to make anything with Titan, WoW will prosper. It will also help that 2014 won’t offer it much real competition (Unless WildStar draws away a significant portion of the raiding crowd, which is a possibility). WoW will end with more subs in 2014.

Other than the WildStar bit, rather accurate.

2015 predictions:

DF:UW will shut down. The population is at an all-time low, AV is completely lost with the title, and Forumfall continues to stick daggers into the one game even trying to give that crowd something to do. I don’t see how the game survives 2015 short of a miracle turnaround or wipe/DF3 plan.

WoW will lose subs. Yea, going for easy points here. I think the WoD bounce will fade, and I’m not sure New Blizzard is capable of really fixing the game to return it to growth.

FFXIV will gain subs. More easy points. With an expansion coming, a solid foundation, and a studio not called SOE or Trion supporting it, I think 2015 will be an even better year than 2014 was for this gem.

EVE will gain subs. Again more ‘in the right direction’ thinking here, although less confident in this predication than I am in FFXIV, especially if Star Citizen launches (it won’t) and isn’t completely horrible.

LoL will continue to sit atop the gaming world. I don’t see Riot slipping in 2015, I don’t see any game challenging its popularity, and the MOBA genre has a long-established history of longevity. The eSport side of the game will also continue to grow and dominate that segment.

CoC isn’t budging either. Similar story to LoL; solid developer, solid foundation, no serious challengers, CoC will finish 2015 as the top mobile game, just like it finished 2014.

Hearthstone will continue as Blizzard’s least-successful title. A weak foundation, core design flaws, and a complete lack of long-term hook will continue to see the title float between unknown mobile titles on the revenue list, while occasionally getting a jump when new cards are released and the whale famewhores dive in, only to drop back down shortly after. Won’t be much of a factor in the 2015 eSports scene either.

ArcheAge will continue to be comically mismanaged by Trion, giving us as least half a dozen “Trion being Trion” moments in 2015.

EQN won’t release. Nor will Landmark move out from under it’s ‘beta’ tag.

The rest of the ‘that’s still online huh’ F2P junk titles like LotRO, SW:TOR, EQ2, etc will float on in who-cares-land. None will be put out of their misery, but none will move up either.

I think game funding via Kickstarter will see an uptick as more Kickstarter-funded games launch and are well received. Pillars of Eternity is the one that has my eye (and money), and the continued positive development of MMOs like Camelot Unchained will show people that the platform, when used correctly, does work.

I honestly don’t see any MMO in 2015 shocking us and restoring faith in the genre. It will be more of the same, with some good (FFXIV), some bad (pick a F2P MMO), and most being meh.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in ArcheAge, Camelot Unchained, Clash of Clans, Darkfall Online, EQ2, EQNext, EVE Online, Final Fantasy XIV, Guild Wars, League of Legends, Lord of the Rings Online, Star Citizen, SW:TOR, The Elder Scrolls Online, Trion being Trion, WildStar, World of Warcraft. Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to Looking back at 2014, looking forward into 2015

  1. Shandren says:

    Isnt hearthstone doing sorta well? I don’t have any numbers (other than twitch viewers) but I was under the impression that it was rather successfull

    • SynCaine says:

      It is/was around 50th on the revenue chart in the app store, 200th in downloads.

    • carson63000 says:

      SynCaine is convinced that Hearthstone has failed completely because Blizzard are making all their money through direct sales rather than app store revenue which appears on the iTunes charts.

      I keenly look forward to his roundup of how accurate his 2015 prediction were in a year’s time.

      • SynCaine says:

        You can’t directly buy anything in Hearthstone on the ipad…

        • Trego says:

          By direct sales he means “sales through the PC app, instead of on a mobile device”

        • SynCaine says:

          Ah right, the mobile app can’t be judged by the chart that tracks mobile success, my mistake.

          Well lets take a look at the PC chart… oops.

        • Trego says:

          I read carson’s comment as a prediction that some kind of concrete and reliable data on HS’s profitability on the PC market will come out in the next 12 months, yes. Unfortunately, I don’t share his optimism there.

        • Trego says:

          Did Blizzard ever release reliable numbers on exactly how much money they were making on WoW yearly, or did we just all just assume, probably correctly, that 90% of their profit was coming from it and derive it that way?

        • Trego says:

          Obviously we could derive revenue from subs * 13 dollars or whatever, nvm.

        • Trego says:

          I just hate to make the implicit leap that “we don’t get profit numbers, we only get revenue numbers, so revenue is all that matters to our debate”, which so often seems to occur.

  2. Its meaningless really. If its has 120 million viewers, that doesn’t mean a single one of them are paying Blizzard. If anything its a successful F2P game, and likely is earning them a decent amount of income.

    Their early design choices, however, are already starting to show cracks and problems. Go look at the AMA they are hosting right now on reddit. The first 15-20 questions relate to “how do new players catch up (reference to card collection) without spending a shit ton of real life $$$?”.

    The answer? They don’t. They don’t care about free players, why would they? Someone asked them to fix their matchmaking so that free players only ran up against other free players. As a company trying to make money, wouldn’t you almost try to ensure the opposite? (i.e: make your free players run constantly up against players who’ve spent a boat load?). After all, if your winning because you spend money, wouldn’t you keep spending money? Likewise if your losing a lot against people who clearly spend money, wouldn’t you try to find a way to spend money to get ‘better’?

    Basically Hearthstone is just going to hemorrhage players the longer it lasts. If they don’t do legality cycles, where cards from previous sets become illegal, to be replaced by new sets, they are basically going to scare away the free to play population.

    I think HEX stands a really good chance here, because Raiding could provide the game with some really interesting takes on CCGs/TCGs. The idea that you can trade cards is vital to a games success. It lets players trade off cards they don’t need and allows newer players to get caught up by friends.

    Who knows how it’ll all play out.

    I’m looking forward to the Division in 2015. Heres to hoping it doesn’t blow ass.

  3. Why do one post when you can do two?

    I will be interested to see how CCP handles EVE over the next year. The small expansions have be delivering solid quality of life updates along with some real expansions to the game.

    The big fight at B-R5RB last January, which made the news all over, brought in a bunch of new players, but the game failed to retain very many of them.

    CCP has made some changes since and with their latest “This is EVE” trailer has seen another boom in new players. This time though they have some of the alliances involved with the new player channel and corps like Brave Newbies have been taking people from the end of the tutorial straight into big null sec fights or low sec roams and getting new players a taste of the highs of the game. BNI got a titan kill the other day, and some new players got on a huge kill mail.

    • SynCaine says:

      I think even basic stuff like WASD control is going to go a long way.

      At this point, more than 10 years in, I think the current playerbase is bringing in just as many players as are going out (more space coffins also helps here), which is why CCP is so focused on smoothing the new player experience and return back to growth mode.

  4. carson63000 says:

    Credit where it’s due, that was a good prediction on WoW. Definitely you were in a minority in predicting a strong year and more subs at the end than the beginning. Most people were busy drawing graphs which would have WoW at something like -37 million subs by October 2014.

  5. Trego says:

    “Nope, but only because literally NOTHING happened with EQN, because SOE, so 50/50?”

    I tend to think that SOE was trying to copy/paste from your document but kept grabbing empty lines, so I’ll give you 100% here.

    “A weak foundation, core design flaws, and a complete lack of long-term hook will continue to see the title float between unknown mobile titles on the revenue list”

    This is a pretty vague prediction: care to make a solid one? Won’t crack top 50? Won’t crack top 20? Won’t crack top 3?

    • SynCaine says:

      It won’t be top 10 in the app store for the majority of 2015, how’s that?

      I know, I know, bit unfair to expect just a little old Blizzard app using the Warcraft IP to compete with powerhouses like Slotomania, Farm Heroes, and whatever Hay Day might be, but that’s the high bar I’m setting.

      • Trego says:

        None of the other Blizzard games have done better than those powerhouses on the app store either :)

        I expect HS to do better on the android market than on the apple store, though; although I still would predict HS to make the majority of its profit off the PC, if I had any hope that we’d get the data to confirm or deny that prediction.

  6. bhagpuss says:

    GW2 is doing just fine as far as I can tell as someone whose played it virtually every day since launch. Tons of players, with much evidence of new blood (see many, many “I’m new – what’s ths/how do I do that?) questions every time I log in). Very active development (frequently heading in directions I wouldn’t choose to go but that’s by-the-by). All in all a very solid, successful MMO by any standard that isn’t WoW.

    As for coverage its certainly not been flavor of the month for bloggers for quite awhile. I write about it often because it’s the main MMO I’m playing but there are only two or three other bloggers in my Feedly list still writing about GW2 regularly. That will change when ANet releases the expansion they completely deny they have been working on all year – late spring/early summer is my guess.

  7. dachengsgravatar says:

    Elite: Dangerous launches today. Do you think it’ll make critical mass? This review of it, seen through the Oculus Rift, really whetted my appetite:


    (the focal point for all those stereoscopic pictures is behind your screen).

    • SynCaine says:

      I saw an article on Massively that Elite released, and realized I know absolutely zero about the game, other than it may or may not be an MMO. I’m not huge on Sci-Fi so doubt I’ll get around to looking at it, unless a lot of people start heavily praising it.

  8. Jester says:

    No mention of Elite: Dangerous?

  9. Azuriel says:

    Hearthstone will continue as Blizzard’s least-successful title.

    Considering the catalogue, is that supposed to be an actual snark? How much money did the next least successful Blizzard title make?

    The actual prediction you should be making is: will Hearthstone beat Magic Online in revenue this year? There’s no real question about it spanking the rest of the digital CCG market.

    • SynCaine says:

      Last I checked, MtG:O isn’t listed on the app revenue chart, so nope.

      And lets be honest, if a Blizzard game using the Warcraft IP is aiming to surpass a poorly funded, horribly delivered off-shot of a paper product, then the bar is set far lower than even I’m setting it at here, which is a joke.

      • Thf says:

        Last I checked, HS was also just an off-shot of a paper product. Not as well known as MtG, but still with a decent size of audience and numerous worldwide events.

        • SynCaine says:

          Warcraft is a paper product?

          Or do you mean TCGs (which HS isn’t since you can’t trade) in general? Because even then this doesn’t work; there are a lot of card mechanics in HS that are impossible with paper cards; something MtG:O had to deal with, but HS doesn’t (nor does Hex, and that game does a far better job of taking advantage of this).

        • Thf says:

          Reply to Syn’s new comment:
          Warcraft is not a paper product (although it has some board game version, which are kind of paper), but WoW TCG was (it was cancelled when HS got in a decent shape). It was based on the Warcraft IP, but was only licensed, so the actual product was not Blizzard’s brainchild. HS is based mostly on this predecessor. Most of the mechanics remained, most of the cards and their powers are the same or very similar. A hell lot of (maybe all?) the cards have the same artwork too.
          Yes, HS is a dumbed down version of WoW TCG. But the expectations Blizzard claimed to make on purpose, faster gameplay, more casual rulesets, needed to make the mechanics dumbed. Yes, the inability to affect the game during an enemy’s turn might be frustrating, but you’ll have to bear with it (as a lot of other board/card game players) or leave.

        • SynCaine says:

          Completely forgot about the paper WoW TCG, and never played it so can’t really comment on how similar Hearthstone is to it. I guess if the aim was to do better than that, mission accomplished?

        • Thf says:

          Better than that? holy f*** NO! Easier to get into? Yup, mission accomplished.
          What I wanted to say: Blizzard claimed, they intentionally dumbed certain aspects of the WoW TCG, to make HS more casual friendly, easy to get into.
          Do I like these changes? Almost all of them no. But I do understand, they needed to do them if they wanted to accomplish their claimed goals.

        • SynCaine says:

          I get the easier to get into, completely, but with the F2P model they selected, its just as critical to RETAIN people as well. Doesn’t do you much good to bring in 20m people if 18m get bored before giving you a buck, and you have to rely on a very small pool of whales buying hundreds of packs when you release a new set.

          Hearthstone is shallow, and now with GvG, even more dice-based. Unstable Portal for example is a pro-level card due to its strength (likely to be nerfed), but its a 100% luck card. As someone else wrote; how stupid is the game going to look when the world championship comes down to a dice roll?

      • Azuriel says:

        If the “low bar” is “most successful digital CCG ever made” then, well, thank you for demonstrating just how far into insanity you’re willing to go to avoid admitting Hearthstone’s success.

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  11. tithian says:

    I’m willing to bet Hearthstone will be second only to WoW among Bliz games. But then again, i’m counting sales from the PC as well, like all sane people, not just money spent by tablet ‘gamers’.

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