Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Nothing to play in 2010?

The NDAs of several games about to be released next month dropped, and the resulting crop of reviews was disappointing. Disappointing in two ways, actually, both by being not very positive, and by apparently all having been written by Ed Zitron: Less than 9 hours played, and then writing a negative review which tells you very little about gameplay, and a lot about the personal reasons why the author didn't like the game. So I read that Champions Online isn't feeling massive because everything is in 25-man instances and has wonky combat, Fallen Earth is just dreck, and Aion is a pretty WoW clone which will collapse a month after release when people realize that there aren't any raids in the game.

Personally I can't confirm or disprove these opinions, I played Fallen Earth less long than Ed Zitron, never got past level 10 in Aion, and couldn't even get into Champions Online yet, where the patcher is, well, patchy. There seems to be a strong, negative vibe against Champions Online in the blogosphere, which, not having played it yet, I don't know where it is coming from. Aion got a better reception, but there is some truth to the comments that pretty isn't the same as good. And personally I'm wary of games with a PvP endgame, as these tend to lose a lot of players early on. I'm not sure there is really a mass market for PvP games in the US and Europe.

There are no announced release dates for WoW: Cataclysm, SWTOR, or the next Blizzard MMO. But it appears that 2009 is another year that yet again failed to produce the next big thing, and 2010 won't be much better, offering nothing more than yet another WoW expansion, and that only at the end of the year, if at all. The list of games I'm looking forward to which still might come out in the next 12 months has shrunk to Star Trek Online, plus an outsider hope of Jumpgate Evolution being not as twitchy as I fear. Somehow the MMORPG market seems to be stuck with one aging giant of a game with increasing problems of player burnout, plus a large number of dwarves that fail to hold many players for very long. The fabled "next big thing", if it exists at all, doesn't appear to be around the corner. So what will we play in 2010?
I'll be playing Final Fantasy XIV. Looking very much forward to that. Should check out the ideas and concepts behind it, very interesting to say the least, Well to me at least ><
Guil Wars 2, hopefully...
And yes, i know no new info is out..yet.
Official release date for Final Fantasy XIV is "TBA 2010", with a rumor saying 18 December 2010. Official release date for Guild Wars 2 is "TBA 2010/2011".

When I'm asking what you'll play in 2010, I meant DURING 2010, not at Christmas 2010.
Sharing your interest in Jumpgate Evolution, so here's hoping for that.

Other than that, lots of offline games. SC2, Diablo 3, Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age, hopefully some good indie games too.

Dycith: I'll be amazed if FFXIV comes out next year.
Given the sheer amount of enjoyable (no, really, I mean it) content in some of the big MMOs these days, I'm personally fine with not having a brand-new MMO to play.

I can see how other people would see it differently, but that's how I feel.
In champions the 25 people per shard only applies for the starter and crisis zone. Once you hit a main zone it gets alot busier.
Less than 2/3 or 2009 has passed so far, perhaps a bit early to declare it a failed year.

And failure of course depends on what you mean by success. If you are constantly looking for and hoping for a new and shiny MMO that might rival WoW in asctive players in the Western hemisphere - yes, then you might have set yourself up to be regularly disappointed, in particular if you want it to be the one and only game to play.

Personally I find 2009 to have been interesting and refreshing so far, but I do not really look that much for big new and shiny games, but are quite happy to alternate between a number of different MMOs, both new and old.
I would expect the final patch for Wrath of the Lich King by December and would be somewhat surprised if the next WoW expansion isn't out by next summer.

At any rate, I know what I'll be playing.
If Turbine manage to get LotRO's Rohan expansion out of the door in the next 6 months as planned, they'll be in a strong position for a decent amount of time.
Single player games of course.

And there does seem to be a lack of news about the WoW expansion. So that means that it's at least a year of. They'd better get it out soon if they want my money.
Yes, in CO if I remember correctly the zones support 100 people once you get past the tutorial and the disaster zones. I guess the Ed Zitron wannabes didn't get past that. :)
I would expect all three of the LOTRO, EQ2, and WoW expansions by mid-year. Even if you uncharitably figure that Blizzard will go back to patching WoW every 6 months, that would still have Cataclysm out in August with only one patch remaining in Wrath.

I've also heard rumblings of SWTOR in 2010, but it's a bit early to be sure.
Providing Mortal online delivers i'll be playing that in 2010. They aim to provide a good pvp game with minimum grinding, which was the reason i quit df. i just don't have the time anymore. So hopefully MO will provide me a great experience that i can hop on for a few hours every now and then and play without getting steamrolled by people who have had time to grind 16 hours a day.
GW2 and WoW:Cataclysm, exactly what I was playing in earlier iterations in 2005!

5 years and the best 2 MMOs will still be from Arenanet (hopefully) and Blizzard.
Any chance you can post the links to Ed's reviews?
Wish I had more to add to the conversation but... Champions Online was my one hope that I might get lost for 2-3 months in a new MMO. Sadly the reviews I'm reading don't inspire confidence.

Like most others I'm looking forward to FFXIV/SWTOR/GW2. Some others that might be in 2010 and showing slight beeps on my radar are DC Universe Online (Apr 2010), and Ragnarok Online 2.
Looking forward to Global Agenda, Dragon Age, Starcraft II, possibly Final Fantasy XIV and Diablo III (if they release in 2010), and Mass Effect 2.
It is an exciting time to play WoW3.2.2 (ony raid) should be coming out shorly. I'd imagine it will be shortly since it seems like a small patch, and then 3.3 should follow behind it very quickly (november I am guessing). Blizzcon will hopefully confirm Cataclysm which will hopefully hit this summer. All this leads to a very exciting time to play the game.

With that said I'm going to be playing WoW in 2009/2010...just like I have in 2005/2006/2007/2008. I've played many other MMO's (guild wars, EQ2, WAR, AoC, LotRO)...never made it to the level cap, and really never wanted to after a few weeks of playing and reading the forums about how crappy end game was. Well guild wars I had two level 20's but that is because I played GW before WoW.

I am thinking about getting Aion from steam, but not 100% sure if it will be worth the money. I've lost so much on MMO's that I am really okay with a wait and see attitude on this.
I still fail to see how you can qualify Aion as a WOW clone. The game is far more challenging, requires people to work and coordinate together and does have instances and raid contentet starting as early as level 25. Still, if it's not the game for you that's cool too - just don't think you played far enough into it to understand the game or even see the incredible differences from WOW
Current MMOs getting more time to improve and refine their position is not exactly a bad thing, and if 2010 is all about significant content patching for non-WoW MMOs, all the better.

WAR is (from an RvR standpoint) much better now than at release, and Mythic finally seems to be addressing what players have issue with rather than adding more layers to the problem. As it stands today it's a fun 2nd MMO, a few major changes and it might move up even higher than that.

DF's latest patch was a huge success, and amazingly only required one 'fixer' patch after. Obviously still niche, but very solid for the players it aims for, far exceeding expectations. The next major content patch will be out soon as well, and if it's anything like the one before it, good times ahead.

DDO F2P is coming, and given that games setup it might be a fun 1-2 nights a week game, especially now for those worried about 'playing enough' to justify a monthly cost.

And of course EVE will continue to expand like it has the previous 5 years, and likely giving the MMO genre something in 2010 that far exceeds anything in the current or near-future market.

Oh and of course that F2P revolution is coming... 'soon'.
When someone "reviewed" Champions Online and states the 25 people per instance cap it just proves they did not get past the tutorial zone.

When you get out of the tutorial zone the cap jumps to 100 and that is plenty of people. I doubt that you will even have a choice of instance after the first month because people will spread out.

It still breaks the whole massive feel of the game but not as much as 25 people per zone. But I think zoning in general breaks the massive feel.
I guess this is why I re-activated my WoW account. I can't think of anything else to play. Plus, the patches are good enough to draw me in for a month or two. I'm hoping for something new too, but I guess the odds aren't looking great for that.

BTW, I'm guessing Blizz will surprise us and drop Cataclysm early (maybe summer '10). I think the 5 level expansion rumor is a hint toward that.
Aion will not collapse because there are plenty of us playing the game fully aware of A) how many raid there actually are in the game by the time it launches. B) It is a PVP game not a wow clone, people really need to read about a game before bashing it. The whole point of the game is PVP including the raids that exist, I don't understand why people think that is a wow clone when pvp in wow is an afterthought.
I agree with Eds' CO reviews and then some.

After limited closed beta of CO and no luck patching the client for open beta, I got into 21 days trial for Eve Online and it has regenerated my faith in MMOs.
I've mentioned this before, once Champion's Online goes live, it's going to be at least two years before we see anything legitimate, because I don't think there's any chance of Star Trek Online, or Bioware's new MMO, or Shilling's new MMO to see the light of day until late 2011 or early 2012.

A more ominous thought, what if Bioware's MMO flops? If that happens, I think the industry will just concede the space to Blizzard.

= # # =
I wish more players would give Runes of Magic a serious try. It's not going to impress with graphics, or awesome quest text, or anything else. But it is a straight-up fun game with an interesting dual-class/skills system, player housing, guild castles, great economy, and end-game gear system. You can honestly play 1-50 without ever thinking about paying for anything--other than perhaps a permanent mount, but even there you can rent mounts for a tiny bit of in game gold that last an entire play session.

Best of all they implement new features and content faster than any MMO I've ever played.
Tim, I played Runes of Magic and got my char up to 25M/20P but ... once you hit the level 20+, its a tedious grind.

In all honestly I give up because in terms of grind's, WOW was just a lot more fun.

RoM was a nice diversion for a while but it doesn't have enough to keep my attention. At this point WOW just has more features and the grind sessions in comparison are less obvious.
I know you don't personally care for FPS games but for those that do, at least we have Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 to look forward to.
Based on Blizzard's usual timeline I would be very surprised to not have Cataclysm out by June of next year, if not earlier. 2-4 more months until patch 3.3 with Icecrown and 3-4 months thereafter for the expansion.

Also don't forget Diablo 3! While it's not an MMO it tends to hit similar chords to MMO's. It's a good bet that we'll see D3 in the first half of 2010.
I honestly don't know what you are talking about emyln. I would proudly acknowledge that RoM was more of a grind than WoW if that were the case. But from level 20 there are 2 full zones in the game where you could easily level by soloing quests in either one all the way to 30, leaving the other zone for your secondary class to level from.

I guess how much "grind" a game has has a lot to do with how much you happen to enjoy it. I have leveled two characters in Aion past level 10, and to me that game feels like a grind even at those low levels despite the fact that a couple people in my guild completely love that game.

My only point was, I wish more people would give RoM a try at least to the point where they understand the Arcane Transmutor system.

For me, the luster went out of WoW several years ago, and RoM was a fresh, new WoW-like experience when I started playing it.
Most likely I will be playing WAR and EVE. I at least got through the tutorial of CO last night after fighting with the patcher all day and most of the evening. I'm hoping to actually get in some game-time this evening, but so far I'm non-plussed. I enjoyed CoH for a few hours, I expect that's about as long as CO will hold my interest if I can get past the awful graphic "stlye," ugh!
I'm looking forward to Ultima Online's Stygain Abyss expansion. Basket Weaving FTW!
AS I cannily waited 5 years to begin playing WoW, I think that will last me until FFIV.

I'll also be revisiting EQ2 and possibly EQ1 at the next expansion round.

I have Wizard 101 to revisit for their new content.

There are several games from smaller companies that I have my eye on, two of which I'm in betas for.

Far from a shortage, there are far, far too MMOs now to do anything like justice to.

As for the "review after 9 hours" issue, the average player who DOESN'T like a game apparently plays for far, far less than that. I believe the figures SoE quoted a year or two back for "log in once, never log in again" players for EQ2 showed that the average time those players gave a game was under an hour.

It's like the famous golf aphorism: you can't win a subscriber in the first 9 hours but you can surely lose one.
I dont have high expectations of any MMO on the horizon. The next best thing may exist on the table of a designteam somewhere but i cant see it happening soon. That said, i already pre-ordered Aion on the basis of good vibes from the beta (but then again, i liked the WAR beta too...)
CCP just officially announced DUST 514 -- an MMOFPS set in the EVE universe and said it will somehow tie in to the EVE sovereignty changes.

No announced date yet, ut with the sov changes supposedly coming this winter, perhaps not so long?

Massively's got some coverage and a teaser video
Just curious, are any adults playing the new SOE game? Perhaps, I'm too uptight, but it just seems creepy to be playing an MMO that's designed for children and teenagers, unless you're playing it with your own kids.

= # # =
"Less than 9 hours played, and then writing a negative review"

You say that like it was a bad thing.

The days when it was acceptable for MMOs to be exercises in masochism are long gone, and good riddance. Games are supposed to be fun, not work. I believe it's perfectly reasonable to expect a game to be fun from the moment you start playing. If someone can play for as much as a a whole hour - never mind nine - before reaching the fun part, the game is broken, not the player, and thoroughly deserves a negative review.
BTW: ArenaNet are promising some kind of Big News about Guild Wars 2 sometime this week.
Mortal Online or L4D 2. Between the two is should make me last until spring.
I think EVE Online Apocrypha deserves a mention for 2009. New launch, packaging and better Mac support were enough to get me to try it. It's hard to ever see EVE as the mass market game. But staking out a niche with loyal customers can be more enduring and profitable than the FOTM.

Is WoW so entrenched that a frontal assault can't work? Unless you are going to be a niche game, who can afford to do "prettier than WoW with more PvP" competitively? Perhaps because I am not a twitcher, I think a large but silent part of the WoW base is not looking for the latest FPS replacement.

I think the WoW brand clearly has lost its way and is in decline. However, my guess is that direct replacements just won't have the resources to topple it. It will be some "disruptive technologies" that will start out small and ridiculed and grow: perhaps online not pc based clients, mobile clients, advertising supported, microtransactions, etc.
The MMO industry is in a horrible funk.

Everyone keeps trying to be WoW, but everyone who wants WoW is already playing WoW.

So everyone else is left scrambling desperately for a game that suits them, and nobody is delivering.
Runes of Magic, and FF are good 'nuff =/.
My god people. WoW: Cataclysm, or whatever has NOT NOT NOT NOT BEEN CONFIRMED!!!!!!!
Upon reflection, maybe what economist call "network effect" is just too strong; Or maybe MMOs are like Sith lords - always two - WoW and the Next Big Thing/FOTM game - where the contender changes every few months. Nothing seems to kill the buzz worse than a couple of months out of Beta.

What would it cost if you sat down and said I want to compete with WoW but prettier/PvPier/whatever? US$30 million? 50? 100?

But even more of a killer is the network effect: in addition to the traditional savings of economy of scale and economy of scope (the computer & network cost/user are cheaper for 11 million than 1 million than 100,000) there is the network effect: the more of your friends play x, the more incentive for you to play x. Say out of a 200 person school/peer group 20 play WoW and 1 Aion/WH/whatever - that sort of lead reinforces itself.

OTOH, GM, AT&T, IBM, Sears, Microsoft et al have shown with the right sort of leadership - which I think WotLK has shown the WoW team has in abundance - you can ruin any brand.
Having quit wow recently, I'm just enjoying catching up on all those single player games I missed out on. I would like to start an MMO again, but I'm waiting for something that doesn't use the wow/everquest model. But to answer the question, what will I be playing in 2010? Maybe DC Online on PS3 if it's any good, else singleplayer games...
Guild Wars 2? Also, why does the 'next big thing' have to be an MMO? What ever happened to good old single player games, or games that are "less massive" multiplayer like SC2 or D3.

There's lots of stuff on the horizon for me.
WoW and Champions Online.

At least if what I've played of Champions is any indication, I'm very happy with it.
FFXIV I hope they'll release it on 2010 even in December. SE usually are good about releasing on time.
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