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Reader Comments (49)

Posted: Sep 21st 2011 8:12AM hereafter said

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Whatever the outcome, MMOs will soldier on as always. There's this interesting trend of fan and anti-fan predictions in gaming--and especially MMOs--that too often feels like an attempt to be able to say "I told you so," if their shot in the dark happens to come true. I prefer to stay cautiously optimistic and let the chips fall where they may.

Though if pressed, I would predict that at least one of the three titles mentioned will under-perform, but will maintain a healthy subscriber base and maybe modify business models. TSW seems most primed to do so what with the cash shop, whereas GW2 seems immune to that sort of thing just because of how it's being handled (at worst, they jack up prices in their store and charge for little things, but I don't expect that because of the good karma that game has among MMO fans). There's an outside possibility that TOR will fall short, but I have a feeling there's at least enough interest to sustain it as a subscription-only game for a while. Seems as worthy a successor to WoW as any game that's come down the pipe, so I imagine it will do fine until something bigger/better comes along.

Posted: Sep 21st 2011 9:53AM Elikal said

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@hereafter Strangely tho the pessimists were always right in the last years, innit? ;)
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Posted: Sep 21st 2011 10:56AM DarkWalker said

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@hereafter

TOR is the one I hope will not reach the predicted sales. At least if my understanding of it's game mechanics is correct. From all that was shown, it looks too much like a WoW with lightsabers, with almost nothing new gameplay-wise, and I really hope the MMO industry evolves beyond the restrictions imposed by the WoW model.
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Posted: Sep 21st 2011 1:14PM AnathemaOne said

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@hereafter

I think I've seen these "Is the next year the last chance for MMOs" articles every year for the last 3 or 4 years.

2011 was supposed to be THE year, wasn't it? Now, it's 2012?

Here's my prediction: MMOs are going to keep coming out, each will have its fans and critics. The MMO community simply does not have a unified preference in games.

And when 2012 hits, and not everyone loves a single MMO again, they'll be asking the same question about 2013.
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Posted: Sep 21st 2011 4:22PM hereafter said

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@Ren54

There are easily accessible open forums for talking about anything and everything TOR related, NDA or no. I can say that probably nothing will change when the NDA lifts. The same people who hate it will hate it and the fans will still be fans.
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Posted: Sep 21st 2011 5:43PM chauncy said

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@Ren54 I have to agree with hereafter. When the NDA is lifted you'll see... absolutely nothing new. At all. The same bored people will continue to troll articles and forums intended for players and fans of a game that they apparently have no intention of playing while everybody else will continue to just carry on. If you honestly believe at this point that there are people out there who think TOR is going to be a FPS or something then I don't know what to tell you - anybody with half a brain can see what TOR is, the NDA lifting won't change that.

But it's nice that you finally have something to look forward to. :)
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Posted: Sep 21st 2011 8:13AM KnocG said

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2011 has been dreadfully disappointing and I really hope the new crop of games in 2012 change that. If nothing else, this year will make or break my interest in the MMORPG genre.

Posted: Sep 21st 2011 9:01AM xBludx said

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@KnocG

Agree. But wasn't 2010 disappointing as well? Probably 2009, and certainly 2008 were not so good. That's why I agree with you that 2012 is a make or break year for me an mmorpgs, too.
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Posted: Sep 21st 2011 8:15AM JohnFordColey said

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I think the big MMOs coming out will be doing just fine, if not pulling WoW-like numbers. GW2 and TOR are products with big hype and lots of polish and content right out of the gate, so I'm not too worried about their numbers. TSW I think will be a sleeper hit. Interesting world, cool modern-day setting, focuses on skills that make you more powerful instead of depending on levels and armor, and a lot more. If Funcom can just launch it with no problems and a lot of content, then there's no reason why it can't have 750,000+ subs.

I'm also really looking forward to some of the other MMOs announced, like TERA and especially Wildstar. That game looks like wacky fun.

Posted: Sep 21st 2011 8:19AM heerobya said

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I'm with KnocG on this one, if TOR and GW2 fall short, I might be done with MMORPGs for a while.

Posted: Sep 21st 2011 8:29AM KDolo said

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Tangent: I love how in 2012 they're at the Santa Monica Airport, about 4 blocks from the ocean, but for some reason they fly east back through the city to all those skyscrapers. If you're wondering why this is odd, the reason is because they don't put skyscrapers near airports.

At any rate, I think there's a certain amount of flexibility in the game world that developers are either unwilling or unable due to technology or cost to code into their games. GW2 seems to be addressing this, TERA to a lesser extent, but even in sandbox games with player housing and defensible towns, the overall feel of any zone in any game undergoes no alteration despite the players' "Ultimate Sacrifice" to set whatever evil or injustice right. Until that changes, games will be the PvP sandboxes or PvE themeparks we have grown accustomed to.

Posted: Sep 21st 2011 8:51AM Xo1o said

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"strange idea that every game has to mimic World of Warcraft to be successful."

the gaming industry is mimicing the movie industry more and more. remakes and sequels all over the place (lol @ "hd" remakes of games barely 5y old), barely new stuff, barely innovation, just better visuals.
trying something new is riskier than remaking old recipes if you think that having million dollar graphics in your game is the most important thing

Posted: Sep 21st 2011 8:57AM Victor Stillwater said

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If the world ends... there will be no Final Fantasy XXI Online. :(

Posted: Sep 21st 2011 8:59AM xBludx said

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It looks like a year with *potential* for good times. It's really make or break for me and mmorpgs, but I think prospects look good. Looking forward to GW2, Wildstar, and ArcheAge. At least 1 of those should work out as my new go to mmorpg home.

Sadly, because of funcom, I'm not looking forward to the Secret World at all. I hope I'm wrong, but I will watch from a safe distance.

Posted: Sep 21st 2011 9:07AM alzeer said

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there is no last chance for me
if 2012 MMOs aren't great i will go back to single player games until 2013 games

Posted: Sep 21st 2011 9:18AM LaughingTarget said

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The problem wig the MMO market is the insistence on the gear/level hamster wheel mentality. You gain levels to get more gear so you can gain levels to get more gear. There's simply no goal. The story is non-existent apart from barely connected or coherent monologue exposition and the worlds are entirely static. So long as the underlying focus is on getting a higher level or different gear, the game will disappoint. This includes the sandbox design philosophy which isn't substantially different, just substitute gear for player towns.

This is why I've put my last shred of hope in TOR before I give up on MMOs entirely. It's promising to have that element that keeps me hooked on single player RPGs - the desire to see the next "page" of the story. The endless gear and level grind isn't the focus of the game, just part of the journey along a rich story with characters you can both love and loathe. If BioWare can pull this off in the MMO space, and keep it going with regular monthly storylines, they'll have my business.

Otherwise, I won't spend any more time or money on MMOs. There's just nothing new worth trying beyond basic setting changes and gimmick gameplay mechanics.

Posted: Sep 21st 2011 9:57AM AlienFanatic said

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@LaughingTarget

I think that the biggest problem with TOR will be the speed, or the lack thereof, at which new content is released. It will be EXTREMELY difficult for them to continue release quality, scripted (and voiced) content on a regular basis unless EA's willing to spend a lot of money to keep development at pre-release levels. (Nobody has ever done this, to my knowledge.)

For a game that's driven primarily by story, I expect the players will rapidly devour the content and be clamoring for more. With systems that don't seem all that fresh, I expect that the new car smell will wear off rapidly. For lack of a better analogy, I see WOW as a drug and games like TOR as variants that trigger the same pleasure centers of the brain. If you're already numb to the effects of a drug, changing brands may give you a temporary rush, but it won't last.

A year from now, the community will be mainly comprised of die-hard Star Wars fans, while the lookie-loos who wanted something "different" will have found a new toy. I just don't see "me-too" games like TOR rescuing the MMO genre from becoming stale.
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Posted: Sep 21st 2011 9:59AM Lucidus said

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@LaughingTarget Then the level/gear grind in SWTOR will probably sadden you -- you'll need gear and levels to watch your story.
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Posted: Sep 21st 2011 1:10PM LaughingTarget said

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@Lucidus

If its properly integrated in the story, it won't be a problem. I never once had to stop and grind for levels or gear in KOTOR, yet it still sucked away nearly 300 hours of my time. As long as they don't put up a wall that disconnects players from the storyline just to get back to the storyline, it should keep me entertained for a while.
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Posted: Sep 21st 2011 5:48PM chauncy said

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@AlienFanatic I think this could be a problem, certainly. Especially now that Blizzard are pretty much at the stage where all they can do to keep long-term players is toss out content, which is exactly what they seem to be about to start doing. TOR will absolutely need to keep up if it wants to retain subs, I have no doubt. Can they do it? Dunno!
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