Prompted by TAGN, it’s time to review my 2019 predictions.
WoW Classic: It launched, and I did run a guild. Initially we had a lot of interest pre-release, but then oddly the overall interest splintered into a few different groups, and the core Supreme Cream roster wasn’t as large as I had expected. It was certainly not close to being large enough to raid. Right now we have 5 people active in Discord, although that’s perfect for leveling and dungeons.
Classic bigger than Retail: It 100% was at launch, and most likely still is today. New Blizzard is doing their best to screw it up, and they still believe Retail has a future over Classic, but despite all of that Classic is a massive success.
Crowfall and Camelot Unchained: Nope, neither launched or, as far as I’m aware, hit major milestones. Another year gone, another year of fading interest and expectations for both titles. I don’t actually understand how either company is still able to pay people, considering how long they have been in development and the seemingly large staff they employ.
Amazon’s New World: I guess it went into testing, but then was pulled back because the testing resulted in lukewarm results. Just yesterday it came back, revamped in more of a fantasy direction, which is… something? But it also seems to be far more removed from being an MMO, and sounds more like Amazon’s version of RUST or ARK. Knowing the insane time commitment those games require, I’m not sure how on my radar that game is anymore.
Wildcard, Gloria Victis: The game was gifted to me on Steam by a reader, but I never got too far into it. It felt a little clunky, and if I remember correctly I was pretty busy with other games at that time.
Overall the main prediction was also the easiest; WoW Classic arrived and showed that the positive feelings people had about Vanilla weren’t due to rose-colored glasses, but just solid MMO design. The rest of the MMO genre (from my standpoint) did in 2019 what it did in 2018, disappoint or remain uninteresting. Gaming overall in 2019 was great for me, but not because of MMOs outside of Classic. Predictions on what I hope happens in 2020 coming ‘soon’.
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“Amazon’s New World: I guess it went into testing, but then was pulled back because the testing resulted in lukewarm results”. That’s the most sensible comment I’ve seen on the whole New World story so far. My take, having been in the alpha for most of the time it was running, is that it was a genuine alpha test, nothing like the glorified PR excercises/money-grabs we’ve become used to.
The developers were willing to make major changes throughout the test, trying different systems for limited periods with announced reasons and explanations, testing how different approaches worked and gathering both metrics and feedback. It’s how these kind of tests used to work a decade ago but so rarely do nowadays.
The version they’re now promoting seems to me to be a direct result of the feedback they got and the behavior they observed and monitored. Why Amazon isn’t gertting praised for the professionalism of the process, rather than being doused with suspicion and snark, beats me. Would people rather they’d just stuck to their original ideas regardless of whether they worked? That’s what most MMO developers have been doing for years and see how well it’s worked for most of them…
Two years ago Conan Exiles came out, and I cursed Funcom for abandoning their MMOs for yet another survival game money grab. I refused to play it until a friend convinced me in April to join. I haven’t played any other game since, and spend over 1000 hours in it. Survival games are still boring to me. But with various mods Conan Exiles is no longer a survival game, but a living virtual world. The living world feel is something MMOs had lost over the years. I was actually fearing virtual worlds are dead, but 2019 restored my faith in players and the gaming world in general. ‘We’ still want to live there, in a world without quests and achievements. MMO may be dead, but something even more beautiful is taking it place.