Massively Overthinking: Our MMO hopes and wishes for 2018

    
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Guns and ships.

One of the frustrating bits about our end-of-the-year content rollouts is that sometimes predictions and story roundups can come across as negative. It’s way too easy to assume that if someone is predicting game X will flop, she wants it to happen and is gleefully steepling her fingers and cackling madly over its future demise. Which is just not so! I never steeple my fingers.

But all the same, for tonight’s Massively Overthinking, we’d like to take a moment to set aside our fears and expectations and just talk about our hopes and wishes for 2018 in an MMORPG context. That was what we think will happen. This is a summary of our most optimistic daydreams.

Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): I hope Star Citizen, Crowfall, Worlds Adrift, and Chronicles of Elyria release to half the hype we’ve heard, if not more. And I wish that people could better understand game development cycles so they don’t buy into Kickstarters thinking that they’re going to get a finished product sooner rather than later. In fact, I wish developers would just stop the whole “early access” thing, keep alpha/beta content to deep-pocket fans and professional QA testers, and release a small, complete, but tightly designed game and release relevant systems around that.

I hope Daybreak and Turbine wake up and figure out how to keep their historic IPs —EverQuest and Asheron’s Call — relevant for MMO players (please no match 3 or game of timers stuff).

I wish Niantic would taking a figurative step back every time they also improve the game. If that’s too much to ask, I wish Maguss would release to open beta so we can see if Niantic actually has good competition in terms of AR usability.

I hope Nintendo considers developing outside its consoles. Can you imagine if it developed something for VR without needing to produce its own goggles? YEESH, what am I saying? Let’s upgrade this: I wish Nintendo would develop for PC! You all deserve Splatoon 2 and probably whatever Switch Pokemon title is being developed.

Last, but not least, I wish lootboxes, their keys, and boosters would stop being sold in virtual stores. Go skins. Go mount sets. Go DLC. Go t-shirts, action figures, and hilariously tone-deaf scented candles! I can respect all that a million times more than the path we’re currently set on.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): Given how many of our readers are antsy over the slow progress of many Kickstarted indie MMOs, I really hope some of the core ones make big moves this year. Camelot Unchained needs beta one, Crowfall cannot afford a third annual delay, Shroud of the Avatar needs to launch in the clear so we can grapple with the money situation there, and so on. I’ll be thrilled if any of the superhero games lands on my desk. I don’t want any of these games to come out and flop because that sets the tone for the rest.

I would love for Star Citizen to come out with a clear financial report rather than a confusing technical progress report, mainly to shut down the so we can focus on everything else. Right now, every discussion over the development of this game breaks down into polarizing “hater” vs “fanboy” commentary that always ends with “scam!” and “nuh-uh!,” which is pointless and is providing a convenient smokescreen for what’s really going on with the game, its studio, and its community.

I would love to see more progress on New World as well as the crop of games coming from Asia. Elder Scrolls Online – how about a Daggerfall court-intrigue chapter? Guild Wars 2 – how about announcing Cantha?! World of Warcraft – entice me back! It’s been too long! And hey, where’s my Diablo 4?

I’d love to see EA put some real money into Star Wars The Old Republic. It seems criminal to keep wasting the Star Wars gaming IP while Disney is pumping out a movie every year.

I’m concerned about Broadsword’s plans for Ultima Online’s F2P mode and hope it pans out.

I’d love to see some AAA studios commit to real MMORPGs again. Really, if I could have just one wish, that’d be it.

Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre, blog): The thing is, I don’t have a whole lot of hopes and dreams most years; I tend to operate within a reasonably narrow band of what I think is actually going to happen rather than just what I’d like to happen. But I still have a few.

I hope that as odd as it might sound, Battle for Azeroth is an expansion that really breaks the raid stranglehold on World of Warcraft’s endgame design. The funny thing is that there’s already some evidence of this, considering that we know it shan’t have traditional tier sets and there’s already other content lined up as front-and-center additions. There’s been a long and rather unpleasant string of the game having only one form of content as the expected endgame forever, with very little deviation; I’d certainly like to see that broken up.

I hope that the next update in Final Fantasy XIV really does work significantly better in terms of the game’s housing markets. Pretty much everything else I have every reason to expect will keep humming along nicely, but the open-world housing structure and according limitations on actually getting a damn house have made the game far more unpleasant than it ought to be when people just want to play the game. Fixing that would be incredibly welcome.

I hope that the City of Heroes spiritual successors start to successfully transition from “project” into “actual playable thing” with results that make people take notice. Right now, these projects are mostly ideas, not actual, playable titles. There’s a lot of stuff that can still go wrong before they make the jump into being wholly playable. I’d like to see some of that working out, even if I have a suspicion borne of long experience that one (and possibly all) will crash and burn along the way.

And hey, last but not least, I’d like Ascent: Infinite Realm to be cool. I’d also like Peria Chronicles to be released and be fun. That’ll round things out nicely.

Well, I'm mollified.

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): For as long as I’ve followed and played MMORPGs, I’ve had an optimistic view of the industry, the community, and the games. Not a rose-colored glasses view, but one that exulted in the joy of gaming, hype, and social connections. And while there are always plenty of things you can point to as to why “MMOs are dying” or studios are corrupt or the community is a cesspit… I think there’s still a lot of good things out there that can be extracted and appreciated.

So, as always, I have hope that 2018 will be a great year for online gaming. I would love to see some new big games come on the scene, as always, but I would love even more for some of these smaller indie MMOs to be bona fide breakout hits when they finally launch. I hope that people would stop complaining so much and start having fun again, to know when it’s important to be critical without devolving into cynicism and a nonstop whine.

I don’t want games to shut down. I do want new ones to be announced and launch. Any news that gets me enthusiastic about the titles I already play is welcome — expansions, updates, population increases, improvements, and so on. I would love to be pleasantly stunned by surprises, such as the World of Warcraft Classic announcement this year. And while I’m wishing for things, what about bringing back formerly dead MMOs for a second run? I’m sure we can all think of one or two.

Your turn!

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