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?