2017 in review

Flameseeker Chronicles: 2018 Guild Wars 2 predictions

I adore looking back on last year’s predictions about what’s to come in Guild Wars 2 in the next twelve months: Even when my predictions are totally wrong, they stand as an excellent marker of how I was feeling about the game and what the gaming climate was like at the time the predictions were made. I love making new predictions each year and it’s a key part of my annual MMO checklist, alongside setting my personal gaming goals for the year ahead to look back on at a later date too. This year’s predictions blend safe bets based on where development is currently at with some more far-reaching points of note.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll look back on my old predictions and appraise them retrospectively, and I’ll also set new ones for 2018. This article will be spoilerific by nature if you’re not caught up with current developments, so skip for a while it if you’re behind.

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A look back at the MMO industry’s law dramas of 2017

In all our many roundups at the turn of the year, we’ve never done one on the legal dramas that have affected the MMO genre. That changes today!

Of note, there’s…

  • the lockbox scuffle as various countries turn their watchful gaze on the industry and self-regulation collapses in a puddle of shrugs;
  • the Crytek lawsuit against Star Citizen studio Cloud Imperium;
  • the potential for dead online games to skirt DMCA laws;
  • multiple Pokemon Go-inspired lawsuits and criminal trials;
  • the end of the Warner Bros. and Tolkien estate lawsuit;
  • the continuation of the Oculus/ZeniMax Media lawsuit;
  • the cease-and-desist filed against Asheron’s Call emulators;
  • and a whole ton of Blizzard lawsuits, including the capsizing of the Bossland cheaters following multiple Blizz victories.

My favorite, however, is Andrew’s research into whether lockboxes legally constitute gambling – from last January. Enjoy!

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MMO Year in Review: Star Citizen’s alpha 3.0 finally arrives (December 2017)

We’re taking a time-machine back through our MMO coverage, month by month, to hit the highlights and frame our journey as we head into 2018!

Far from being a slow month for MMOs and the site, December has been hopping these last few years, spurred on partly by of our massive awards and end-of-the-year content rollout. But plenty of MMOs added fuel to the fire: Star Citizen pushed its alpha 3.0 out the door at the very last minute, under siege from the Crytek lawsuit, Squadron 42 doubts, and criticism over its latest concept ship tank saleWild West Online delayed into the new year following the gutting of its open PvP system; and RIFT studio Trion stepped into quite a mess – twice – when it posted a pay-to-win currency pack and a $100 random mount lockbox up for sale (and later backtracked on both).

Read on for the whole list and have a happy new year!

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A look back at the MMO and gaming science topics of 2017

Over the last couple of years, we’ve redoubled our efforts on our science-related articles, as you may have noticed from our roundups in 2016 and 2015. Last year, we even hired on a staff writer specifically to cover gaming science, especially as it relates to MMORPGs, and we’ve been collecting all of his work along with our other science posts in their very own category.

Read on for a recap of our best science-related MMO articles from 2017, from EVE Online’s real-life hunt for exoplanets and the economics of MMO monetization to how lockboxes use psychology to manipulate us and the math behind the gamblebox phenom. Dr Richard Bartle even announced a new gamer matrix this year. Don’t worry; there won’t be a quiz at the end!

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Guild Chat: The best MMORPG advice of 2017

There’s no more perfect time to reflect on the last twelve months than when you’re ringing in the new year, so that’s precisely what I plan on doing in this edition of Guild Chat. More readers in need have been helped than ever before by both my musings on the topic at hand and the useful perspectives offered in the comments, and some of the submissions have really stretched my MMO agony aunt credentials! It’s been a whirlwind of officer meltdowns, guild fragmentations, adapting to new content types, and deciding when and how best to leave an unsuitable guild, and I’m very glad I have the MOP community with me to weigh in on these issues too.

In this edition of Guild Chat, I’ll take a look at some of my favourite 2017 entries and will showcase the brilliant ways in which MOP readers have enhanced the article with their insightful comments, adding new perspectives or simply approaching the submitter in a way that makes the advice make sense. Here’s to a wonderful 2018!

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MMO Year in Review: WoW Classic and the doom of Marvel Heroes (November 2017)

We’re taking a time-machine back through our MMO coverage, month by month, to hit the highlights and frame our journey before we head into 2018!

Blizzard took the month of November with huge announcements for World of Warcraft, specifically the Battle for Azeroth expansion and vanilla-flavored WoW Classic servers.

Meanwhile, we saw the sunset of Motiga, the sunset announcement for Master X Master, and the abysmally handled and abrupt end of Gazillion and Marvel Heroes.

In happier news, Kakao took the wraps off its next mega-MMORPG, Ascent: Infinite Realm, specifically targeting western players.

And lockboxes continued to drive conversations around the law, the cost of games development, the press, and gambling, and not just because of EA: Guild Wars 2’s mount lockboxes and Star Citizen’s land claims sales reminded MMO players that monetization problems aren’t just for mainstream gamers. Still, we doubt anyone will be forgetting the ol’ claim that lockboxes create a “sense of pride and accomplishment” any time soon.

Read on for the whole list!

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MMO Year in Review: Lockboxes, CCP, and Destiny 2 (October 2017)

We’re taking a time-machine back through our MMO coverage, month by month, to hit the highlights and frame our journey before we head into 2018!

The lockbox debate exploded in October, propelled in the mainstream by EA but closer to home by games like LOTRO. Meanwhile, Destiny 2 launched on PC, and the MMO world was shocked by the sudden closures of two of CCP Games’ substudios following EVE Vegas, which initially was not supposed to affect EVE Online (though by November we found out it most certainly did).

We also saw a number of updates to major MMOs, including Elder Scrolls Online’s Clockwork City, Warframe’s Plains of Eidolon, SWTOR’s pre-merge United Forces Foundation, EVE’s Lifeblood, and LOTRO’s Update 21. And Star Citizen dampened delay criticism by demoing its procedural cities.

Read on for the whole list!

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MMO Year in Review: Expansion 2 for Guild Wars 2 (September 2017)

We’re taking a time-machine back through our MMO coverage, month by month, to hit the highlights and frame our journey before we head into 2018!

September dazzled with Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire launch, while indies lit up PAX West, Destiny 2 rolled out to consolers, EVE Online dabbled in drama, toxicity became the new buzzword, and Chris Roberts got fed up. The oldest living games of the genre had their day too, as Ultima Online turned 20 years old and announced free-to-play.

Read on for the whole list!

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MMO Year in Review: Johnny Depp + Secret World = profit? (August 2017)

We’re taking a time-machine back through our MMO coverage, month by month, to hit the highlights and frame our journey before we head into 2018!

August was dominated by several competing stories that just wound throughout the whole month: The Secret World’s TV series venture as produced by Johnny Depp, the full reveal of Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire expansion, and Star Citizen’s multiple delays and demos.

We also saw launches for World of Warcraft’s ArgusElder Scrolls Online’s Horns of the ReachLord of the Rings Online’s Mordor, ARK: Survival Evolved, LawBreakers, Fragmented, and Tree of Life. And if you squint, you can just see the first inklings that PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was already taking off.

Read on for the whole list!

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MMO Year in Review: July was the high mark of the year for MMORPGs (July 2017)

We’re taking a time-machine back through our MMO coverage, month by month, to hit the highlights and frame our journey before we head into 2018!

July was a month of MMORPG launches, as Riders of IcarusAlbion Online, and Gigantic formally launched; Dark and Light hit early access; and other MMOs, including SWTOR, Guild Wars 2, and Neverwinter, rolled out major updates.

But it was also a period of delays, as Star Citizen collected thousands of comments over its repeated delays of its 3.0 alpha and both ARK: Survival Evolved and Lord of the Rings Online’s Mordor rescheduled launches for August. We also said farewell to Firefall after its long limbo, and don’t forget the Pokemon Go live event trainwreck!

Read on for the whole list!

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MMO Year in Review: Morrowind, Stormblood, and Secret World Legends (June 2017)

We’re taking a time-machine back through our MMO coverage, month by month, to hit the highlights and frame our journey before we head into 2018!

Easily the high point of the year, June saw the launch of The Elder Scrolls Online’s Morrowind and Final Fantasy XIV’s Stormblood, along with the relaunch of The Secret World as Secret World Legends.

Meanwhile, Shroud of the Avatar launched a controversial equity crowdfunding campaign, Cryptic announced a Magic the Gathering MMORPG, and we got a look at Skull & Bones, Sea of Thieves, and Anthem at E3. We also confirmed that Neowiz and Aeria had cut ties, leaving the former to bring Bless Online westward alone.

Read on for the whole list!

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MMO Year in Review: Ashes of Creation vs. Wild West Online (May 2017)

We’re taking a time-machine back through our MMO coverage, month by month, to hit the highlights and frame our journey before we head into 2018!

Ashes of Creation blew up on Kickstarter in May, weathering concerns over its CEO’s history and referral plans to easily meet its crowdfunding goal and truck onward through multiple stretch goals.

Wild West Online fared just as well, reportedly canceling its Kickstarter after announcing it as a result of outside investment and weathering its own drama.

Meanwhile, Marvel Heroes landed on console, Black Desert moseyed over to Steam, we delivered an absurd amount of Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood preview coverage, and Morrowind hit early access.

Read on for the whole list!

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MMO Year in Review: Ship of Heroes abandons Kickstarter (April 2017)

We’re taking a time-machine back through our MMO coverage, month by month, to hit the highlights and frame our journey before we head into 2018!

In April, City of Heroes-inspired MMORPG Ship of Heroes launched a $400,000 Kickstarter but canceled it soon after, believing it would not fund. Work on the game continued with an abbreviated scope.

Speaking of abbreviated scopes: Star Citizen began promising a trimmed-down alpha 3.0 by summer as of this month as devs talked up the game anyway. (Spoilers: Summer didn’t happen.)

Meanwhile, LOTRO turned 10 years old, SWTOR launched War for Iokath, Guild Wars 2 rolled out controversial raid armor, and Marvel Heroes finally announced a console version, sending the PC playerbase into turmoil.

Read on for the whole list!

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