Unless I can’t find it myself on my own blog (very possible), it seems I never did a 2017 prediction post. Looking back at 2017, especially from an MMO perspective, that’s probably for the best. Let’s imagine that post just said ‘nothing happens’, and I’ll give myself a 10/10 in accuracy.
Looking ahead to 2018, it might be a make-or-break year for the genre. If Crowfall releases (and I’ll count an expanded open beta as ‘release’) and stinks, if Camelot Unchained releases and stinks, and if bad news continues to plague Star Citizen (I know if won’t release in 2018), what is left for the genre but playing existing titles that are all aging and unlikely to get a massive revamp to remain current? If WoW hasn’t done a total graphics/engine overhaul, I doubt anyone else will (not counting EVE of course, because EVE always looks current-gen thanks to the ongoing efforts of CCP).
Do I think Crowfall will stink? I mean, based on current alpha access, its not looking great, but I haven’t exactly given it a solid attempt. A lot of that is because when you log in, its hard to figure out what exactly there is to do besides run around aimlessly in an empty zone, but I’ve just not been in the mood all 2017 to dig deeper.
I know even less about the progress CU has been making, other than I think its a bit further along than Crowfall. I’d like to be pleasantly surprised by that one.
I really don’t care for SC, and the while business of selling super-expensive ships already rubs me the wrong way.
As for older titles? I’ll be honest that EVE has been slow/boring lately. No major wars, no interesting conflicts, and I hit the level of having ‘enough ISK’ for everything that I don’t care to grind more. I hope something big happens soon, but I know I’m not alone in sitting by and waiting. Beyond that, the rest of the genre is kinda dead to me. Never out of GW2 has looked interesting, LotRO looks ancient. WoW is post-WotLK WoW. The genre is what it is right now, and for the most part that is all pretty meh to me.
Perhaps something will come out of left field and happily surprise us in 2018? I hope so, but for predictions, I’m going to say no.
I’m fairly confident I have all the MMORPGs I’ll ever need already. Even if the official servers for most of them close down there will be unofficial servers and EMUs. I’ll be 60 next year. The MMOs I enjoy will probably outlive me and if not they’ll outlive my ability to keep playing them.
That said, I don’t think the flow will stop altogether. It’s a format. Someone will always want to tinker around with it. There will always be a trickle of new MMORPGs. A trickle is plenty.
The problem I see with that is while you can make an indie game in a lot of other genres, a real small-scale indie MMO doesn’t really work, both because the population would be so small and also because to even have a decent game, you need a pretty large staff.
I mean Darkfall was about as indie as you can get for a success, and that game got pretty large funding, had 30+ employees pre-launch, and had a rabid fanbase that simply doesn’t exist anymore. The closest recent example might be Albion, and look at the difference in graphics/engine/capability even between those two games.
A serious question, and one from someone whose MMO experience is exclusive in dabbling briefly in WoW and you know my experience in Eve:
Just what differentiates one MMO from another, other than the setting, the level of NPC vs PC activity, the combat engine, and the quantity of economic levers a player can push? (Not going to ask about RMT opportunity, because that is something a non-cynical dev ever contemplates when creating a game.) I realize that covers a lot, but in the long run (say 3 years commitment to a title), what essentially differentiates one MMO from another? Don’t they all blur together?
I’d argue combat engine alone is enough. Consider FPS: how you actual shoot is kinda important, right? In an MMO, how you fight is also important. Click to click, EVE combat is boring, WoW combat is good, and Darkfall combat was the best in the genre. If everything else was equal between those 3, combat alone would still be reason to play and continue to play DF.
If Blizzard releases classic WoW servers and they are truly classic I’d consider that a win for 2018.
Personaly, I’d consider that a win for ever :D
Have you tried out mobile MMOs, such as Lineage II: Revolution ?
No, the idea of playing an MMO on mobile doesn’t appeal to me honestly, but maybe if the right one comes along. Pretty busy on mobile as it is with CoC and CR.
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A friend talked me in to trying Warframe a week ago. It’s been a fun diversion for the winter break. Enough so that I’ve ignored FFXIV for the whole week, anyway. Tomorrow real life returns though, so I’ll see how my gaming shakes out then, I suppose.