The Daily Grind: What online game template will be the next to take off?

    
33
It's a playground.

Like many of you, I remember the rise of MMOs when it was actually happening. I remember when shooters were king too. And I remember when I first heard about this weirdo kiddie game called League of Legends in a magazine made out of paper. Along with you, I watched the rise of the MOBA, felt the pressure to cover the new genre that seemed just a spin-off of MMO arenas. It seemed unimaginable that anyone could ever dethrone the new hotness that was taking esports born in South Korean netcafes and turning them into a western moneymaker.

And yet here we are, in 2018, a year after H1Z1, PUBG, and Fortnite shoved the battle royale game template into the spotlight, with League of Legends losing both prominence and apparently revenue. None of these templates stays on top forever. Trends change. Studios turn over. The cycle repeats.

What will be the next online game template to take off? And how far off do you think it’ll be?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Reader
Sorenthaz

No clue what the next template will be tbh. With PvP the trend seems to be currently favoring arena-based environments that focus more on the individual, yet it’s done in such a way to where it’s not just a 1v1 or a points-based deathmatch.

In general with online gaming more and more focus is being put on individuals with the option to do things in groups. The social/community aspect becomes more about individual feats and performance instead of forcing mechanics that requires multiple people to take up specific roles. The time commitment is also minimal unless you wish to achieve and unlock various things, and if you fail you can start over right there instead of worrying about it further.

So basically it seems the trend has been pushing towards more and more antisocial solo play amidst other antisocial solo players without a commitment being required unless one really wants to push for various goals or master the game’s mechanics.

Reader
Rumm

Whether it’s the next big thing or not I’m not sure of, but we’re on the cusp of several well-funded isometric ARPGs dropping in the west at the same time. If Blizzard announces a new title in the Diablo franchise at Blizzcon, we’ll have Diablo, Project Tl, and Lost Ark all likely launching within a year of each other. If Diablo has a BR attached to it, I can see that taking up solid top 5 spot on the Twitch front page for some time. My worry is that all 3 games come out too close to each other and sweep each others legs out from under them.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Armsbend

If we could predict the next hit template then none of us should be typing it about it – instead they should go make it.

And shooters have never faltered in popularity – but the genre is so broad it’s hard to put a finger on. All the fall releases will have BRs tacked on – and yet are still shooters.

Reader
Utakata

I hope whatever it is, it will be something I would want to play. For starts, it will something far less focused on PvP. #CanOnlyHopeThough

Reader
Patreon Donor
ghostlight

Interesting you should say about PvP. That’s exactly why I’m not too jazzed about the upcoming Fallout game.

Reader
Robert Mann

Whatever fuels the esports money and has some twist that people like. Sad to say it, but until that first part dies down things are going to be PvP focused for a while.

Not that I hate PvP, but rather that as always I find myself wishing for more variety from AA and AAA studios.

Reader
Fervor Bliss

Well I am going to stretch online to a mobile online game. Template: Pokemon Go gameplay with a Fifa or some other sports ball theme.

Xijit
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Xijit

That actually isn’t a bad idea (until some jackass with a temper loses to a stranger on the street and the cops get called).

Reader
Fervor Bliss

Cops are just a part of being a loyal hooligan.

Reader
rafael12104

Hmm. Well, BR is still going strong despite some of us wishing it was not so. Lol. Just when you think it has peaked more money and acceptance tumbles in. Even good old H1Z1, which I thought dead due to Fortnite and PUBG, is back in the mix with on the Sony PlayStation. Oh… the irony!

Speaking of which, remember when BR first appeared via H1Z1? The game itself wasn’t very good and this new BR mode was more gimmick than revolution. It was dismissed by many as just another flailing attempt to stave off the inevitable shutdown of the game. Right?

Heh. Boy, was that wrong. Remember when we were critical of Daybreak for pumping more money into H1Z1 instead of investing more in EQN, Landmark, or other new MMOs? Yeah… turns out Daybreak wasn’t wrong… *gulp*. Hard to even say that.

Which leads us right into the next template. All it needs to be is convenient, easy to understand, easy to jump in and out, and fun. That’s it. That is the kerosene. It sounds easy, but what catches fire can be as random as what the next Fortnite emote will be. And it may already exist.

We know what won’t burn for long though. Involved and much more complicated mechanics which require a time commitment. Social hubs based on a community gaming approach. Err… basically, MMORPGs.

It’s ok, btw. A niche market well done is preferred. Maybe that is what devs of MMORPGs should focus on, our template so to speak. And it is happening btw. Ashes of Creation, Camelot Unchained, etc. BUT, we need a winning MMORPG template to remain relevant.

Reader
Sray

Small and medium publishers will be moving towards small scale co-op games, with procedurally generated maps, and randomized boss mechanics. Basically they’re moving away from the hyper competitive “fratboy” audience because it is better served by the large scale publishers, and they cannot afford the community management system required to keep the rise of toxicity in check. They’re looking towards games that encourage co-op play while also being “stream-able more than once”. This isn’t conjecture, this is from talking to guys who are pitching games to publishers right now: lots of the small and medium ones have lost interest in PvP, and want affordable co-op. Is is “the next big thing”? I don’t know, but it is going to becoming a trend.

Xijit
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Xijit

uhm … what you just called out is everything EA, Activision, Ubisoft, and Digital Extremes have been doing with Anthem, Destiny, The Division, and Warframe.

And I refuse to believe that the CM departments of every publisher out there have not taken notice of how little Player Management overhead Survival Sandbox titles require due to their self moderated nature, or how much cheaper it is to run titles when you off load the lion’s share of the Server Requirement onto player self hosting.

Reader
Sray

Everything about the games you’ve just described are completely scripted, and not affordable for small and medium scale publishers. Furthermore they’re not pure PVE games: 90% of what those games get streamed are PVP matches. The small and medium scale publishers want the audience that is being neglected by the big studios, and that is the audience that wants nothing to do with PVP multiplayer.

As far as the “self moderated” nature of survival sandboxes? Are joking? There is virtually no genre that breeds more toxic communities, and that is largely due to a complete lack of studio/publisher moderation.

Xijit
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Xijit

You are not listening: I never said they were not Toxic shit holes … I just said that they cost Community Management departments fuck all nothing to run because they get to wash their hands of all the griefing and toxicity because “Player conflict is the nature of the genre” and “you should try a PvE server” or “well, you can play the game as a Single Player title.”

Community management in those titles is literally nothing more than posting Youtube videos with Blue Haired Hipsters hyping up all the “AhhhhMazIng” content that is going to be released (Eventually, but also maybe pushed back to the next patch) and then wipe the servers anytime the exploits start getting noticeable enough to effect the game’s reputation.

And the end game content of all those titles I listed (to one degree or another) is entirely built out of “emergent” situations where the game spawns randomized enemies into procedurally generated instances. true that destiny (and more than likely Anthem as well) have static environments and mission objectives, but the enemies you encounter are rarely identical waves at higher difficulty settings and the PUG nature of the mission finder adds chaos to every run. While titles like Division and Warframe goes the full Monty and toss you into the deep end of procedural generation with randomized enemies and environments and mission objectives all at the same time.

I also said nothing about the cost issue or feasibility of small development (though DE was basically unheard of before Warframe, so it also isn’t impossible), I was just trying to say that your observations were on track with what the biggest players in the industry are quietly inching towards.

As for the PvP angle … you are kinda shit out of luck there because PvP is a cheap cop out on game development due to how inexpensive it is to make & you can shove it into just about any format to distract from inadequacy in volume of content.

PvP is like Eggs at a breakfast place: no one in their right mind is going to pay $10 for a plate with 2 pancakes, but shovel a couple of scrambled eggs on the side and everyone goes “Oh, now it is a full meal!” despite the whole thing costing the restaurant pennies in bulk purchased materials.

Reader
Sray

The games you’re talking about are not low cost PVE as even the “emergent” aspects are still heavily tied to huge amounts of scripted content: stop thinking The Division and start thinking more Diablo. These aren’t fly by night, early access, pump and dump publishers we’re talking about: these are your THQ Nordics and Paradox level publishers that can’t keep up with Activision or EA. Games like like Destiny and The Division may have a bunch of randomness shoved into some encounters, but they still need frequent large injections of fresh content, whereas smaller scale games along a Diablo-esque design can sustain themselves for a long time without new content: tens of thousands of people still buy and play Diablo and Torchlight, but you can hardly give away Destiny 1.

For community management: these studios/publishers aren’t looking to spend nothing, they’re trying to minimize what they have to spend; and they don’t want the bad publicity that often comes with these toxic environments. The pump and dump, early access crap will always rely on toxic PVP, but this isn’t the type of publishers I’m talking about.

Let me put it to you like this: I’m not “wishing” or “guessing at” this; this is literally what I am hearing from friends at studios that are pitching to small and medium publishers, and this is what they are being told. This is what is being discussed, these are the reasons why. These sorts of publishers are looking at the market and saying that the PVP audience is over served or that they can’tcompete with the AAA publishers in that area, and there is an increasingly vocal audience out there that wants nothing to do with PVP; and that’s what many, not all, of the smaller publishers are looking for.

Reader
Sally Bowls

I hope that scenario works out. However, Bree (IIRC) wrote an article years ago about the mid-size game companies are going away. Local Mom & Pop’s can survive against Walmart, but mid-size regional chains have a much harder time. Will there be many game companies between Project Gorgon and EA? I hope so but would not be surprised if the answer turns out to be no.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Pingly

It will likely be something “interesting” from a small studio that a big studio sees $$$$$ behind and then they pump it up and market it like mad.

UpayaBlossom
Reader
UpayaBlossom

Whatever it is, it will be designed in a way where extracting the most money from players is the top priority.

Reader
Patreon Donor
ghostlight

I think someone here at Massively commented some time ago about pubs/devs shifting priorities from new and innovative gameplay to new and innovative ways to extract money from players. Sighs.