The day has come: the day when we look back at last year’s predictions for this year and see how we did. Yep, this is a tradition around these parts – after all, what would be the fun of making predictions if we couldn’t snark about our guesses and marvel at our direct hits a year later? Let’s find out whether we nailed or failed it.
Blizzard, WoW, Overwatch
Andrew: World of Warcraft will continue to be the barely relevant MMO grandad we can’t ignore but kind of wish we could, especially as the studio tries to make up for BlizzCon. However, we’ll probably see something cool in Overwatch this year, or outside with their awesome cinematics department. Apart from WoW Classic, this is fair. Spot on with Overwatch too.
Bree: WoW Classic will launch big and trickle off within a month; I strongly suspect we’ll see game leads from both WoW and Overwatch move on to new projects. The numbers back me up on WoW Classic, but the teams seem pretty intact right now.
Eliot: World of Warcraft continues to sputter and flail around a bit with some course corrections, but it’s pretty clear that whatever goodwill the designers earned from Legion has bled out as Battle for Azeroth rolls on. There’s another few attempts to win back the crowd, but the real centerpiece is the announcement of the next expansion around the current expansion’s one-year anniversary. Surprising no one, people are grumbling, and it’s anyone’s guess whether or not Blizzard tries to win back the players it’s alienating or doubles down on what’s causing the issues right now. Why not both?
Eliot: Overwatch starts slowing up significantly and that contributes to Blizzard’s flopsweat attitude. BlizzCon 2019 is meant to really play to the crowd. Warcraft III: Reforged is a huge hit and renews calls for a new Warcraft RTS game. Dead-on, though we’re still waiting for Reforged.
Justin: World of Warcraft will get its Battle for Azeroth act together and start delivering content that brings people back into the game. WoW Classic will boost [WoW’s] profile and attendance. Yep on WoW Classic. Not so much for BFA.
ArenaNet, Guild Wars 2
Bree: So let’s just go all in with Guild Wars 2, shall we? I think the expansion will be at least underwater-themed as rumored, and I don’t think the next living story episode will be the last we see of water themes. Depths of Orr? Girls Gone Wild: Cantha Edition? Either way, I’m stoked for this. I also saw someone suggest GW2 would make a great console game. I agree, so let’s say GW2 makes it to the Switch? It’s out there. It’s really just a wish though. Go big on predictions or go home, right? Sometimes, when you go all in, you belly flop right into the pool. None of us saw the layoffs coming in January, which kinda wrecked these predictions. Those console and mobile rumors keep coming, though.
Eliot: Guild Wars 2 announces its third expansion but flails a bit on delivery, with its release finally coming around the tail end of the year. It quickly proves itself to be less of an upgrade from That Path What Has All The Fire and more of a sidegrade-and-minor-downgrade, which produces some fresh gnashing of teeth. Between that an a light content slate, a bad taste is in player mouths. Alas on the expansion, though we did get some larger content this fall. A bad taste indeed.
Daybreak, PlanetSide, EverQuest
Andrew: I can’t see PlanetSide 2 doing well. The Arena announcement sounds like its death knell. Also Daybreak’s, as it will likely lose further glory. Arena has done quite poorly, and I think the layoffs give you the rest. [A few hours after this post went live, Daybreak announced it was sunsetting the game.]
Bree: Daybreak will finally announce EverQuest III, and it’ll be a sandbox MMORPG built for PC and mobile with a battle royale side mode. Let’s call it… EverQuest Arena. All we got on EQ3 this year was teases, sadly.
Eliot: Planetside Arena launches directly into the ground. Daybreak has long since passed using up its goodwill and is now actively generating animosity. H1Z1 is finally gone forever, and it wouldn’t be surprising if another title on the studio’s roster shutters. Fair on PSA, but technically it was just one region of H1Z1 that shuttered.
Justin: EverQuest III will be revealed and hope for this franchise will kindle again. The wait continues.
Bethsoft, Zenimax, Elder Scrolls Online, Fallout 76
Bree: Elder Scrolls Online will definitely see a chapter and probably 3-4 DLC next year. I love Hammerfell, so I’ll predict it’s a Redguard-themed nostalgia campaign, but I know the rumor is Elsweyr. Whichever. Cats are great too. Elsweyr it was.
Eliot: The Elder Scrolls Online continues on its trend of DLC and manages to produce work that is still solid without quite reaching its previous heights of impressing people. That’s not to say that it’s bad or anything, just that it doesn’t really make people sit up and notice that the game is good or anything of that sort. I think this is fair. It’s hard to top Morrowind.
Eliot: Fallout 76 runs about looking for players like a chicken with its head cut off. It eventually announces a series of updates that are more-than-likely going to completely remake the game on a fundamental level. Or it just shutters; it’s going to be one or the other, let’s see which one looks like a bigger black eye. A chicken named Fallout 1st.
Justin: Bethesda is going to pour resources into Fallout 76 and turn that game’s fortune around while also offering a single-player mode (with true VATS). Awww.
Gamigo, ArcheAge, RIFT, etc.
Bree: Gamigo will put Defiance, Defiance 2050, and Atlas Reactor in maintenance mode and do only one or two patches apiece for ArcheAge, Trove, and RIFT. In fact, Gamigo closed Atlas Reactor, ignored Defiance, and put out only small updates for Trove and RIFT. Nobody seems to have seen ArcheAge Unchained coming.
Eliot: Following the Gamigo acquisition, Trion’s former portfolio has mixed results. Atlas Reactor and Defiance 2050 are banished to the land of wind and ghosts, and RIFT languishes. ArcheAge and Trove, on the other hand, get a consistent pace of updates and do pretty well for themselves. This produces some very mixed emotions from players about whether Trion’s acquisition was a good thing or a bad thing. RIP, Atlas Reactor.
Square, Final Fantasy XIV
Eliot: Final Fantasy XIV releases Shadowbringers. I am inordinately happy with it. Most of the people playing it are inordinately happy with it. Some people are loudly unhappy, some new people check it out. There’s the first minor content patch in October-ish. The game continues to be amazingly solid. Solid like a solid thing.
Eliot: FFXI Mobile is finally confirmed as being in development hell and not going anywhere any time soon. Dobedobedo.
Eliot: Square-Enix starts teasing another MMO, although it’s just faint teases (the focus is on finally announcing Final Fantasy XVI, why not). Interestingly, Square doubled-down on XIV instead, though we did get this rumor.
Justin: FFXIV Shadowbringers will boost [XIV’s] profile and attendance. I should hope so!
Pearl Abyss, Black Desert, CCP, EVE Online
Bree: CCP will cancel the EVE mobile game. Believe it or not, this thing is gonna launch, fam.
Eliot: Black Desert releases a major update or expansion that its playerbase absolutely loathes, resulting in some really big shakeups behind the scenes. EVE Online seems to do all right for itself despite this fact. Neither game seems to be hurting all that much, though you might argue the blackout earlier this year stunned EVE a bit.
PWE, Cryptic, Star Trek Online, Torchlight Frontiers
Eliot: Neverwinter and Star Trek Online continue to keep on keepin’ on, although the latter is showing its age. We hear more about Cryptic’s Magic: the Gathering MMO. I am inordinately happy with this fact. Cryptic’s core games seem safe, and we did indeed hear about Magic: Legends as of last night. Down to the wire there.
Justin: Torchlight Frontiers will be a decent hit in its own right when it launches. Delayed, darnit.
Bree: Torchlight Frontiers will do extremely well. I mean, it did well for an alpha, but delaaaaayyyed.
Justin: Cryptic will shut down Champions Online but will offset that by revealing more about its next project (which won’t be that Magic MMO, strangely enough). Champions lives! It even got new content! And we finally got a Magic: Legends trailer!
Eliot: Star Citizen continues to busk for money while producing less and less actual content as its money counter slows (but doesn’t stop) and the concept ships keep being sold for hundreds of dollars. More people wonder if it’s ever coming out loudly. We may finally hit the critical mass of that in 2019, but who knows. It’s more regular and more public, but it’s slowed down because of S42.
Bree: Crowfall will finally soft launch. None of the other major crowdfunded MMOs will even come close to soft launch, though. Nope, and yep.
Andrew: Star Citizen and/or Crowfall – can I call release this year? I’ll get this eventually! Try again next year!
Eliot: At least one of the “plan Z” City of Heroes spiritual sequels actually reaches a consistent test phase. It’s not bad! It’s not lighting the world on fire, though. Consistent, no, but we got some mini-tests from a few of them.
Chris: I still believe we will see a great number of crowdsourced games make their way into release, which seems extremely exciting for sandbox fans. Nerp.
Eliot: Crowfall delays its soft launch again. (Prove me wrong, guys.) Yerp.
Eliot: Shroud of the Avatar quietly abandons plans for any sort of future expansion. Shroud has had a helluva year, and not in a good way. But plans for its second episode are supposedly still underway.
Eliot: Pantheon gets into regular testing and actually earns some positive word-of-mouth for a particular crowd. Surprisingly, Pantheon’s come out on top here.
Battle royale, esports
Andrew: Fewer battle royales towards the end of the year… maybe. Our genre will continue to be niche while singleplayer games continue to get more online multiplayer support. Fair.
Chris: We will see the battle royale bubble stabilize further to the point that the “smaller” games will shrivel away to leave only Fortnite and PUBG. Is stabilizing the word we’re using now? I like it.
Chris: We will see esports begin to correct its growth with a bit of a fiscal and viewership hit that leads into an eventual plateau period. Nah, they’re gonna keep dumping coin into that moneypit for now.
Eliot: A small batch of survival sandboxes shut down, and a whole lot of battle royale games find out that there was never a genre of battle royale, just Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. A hard lesson, but hey at least it was someone else’s money, right?
Andrew: Amazon will show us something that may be hype worthy to some, but publicly or privately, those in the industry won’t be impressed. We finally got some new New World stuff this month!
Bree: New World will go back into testing for some do-overs. I’m stupidly proud of nailing this one last year.
Bree: Red Dead Online PC. Happening by fall. Bam.
Bree: Atlas will be huge (when it finally stumbles out) and stay huge all year, crushing Sea of Thieves and ARK. Complete fail. Atlas is dead in the water.
Bree: Ubisoft will shelve Skull and Bones. Not shelved, but delayed for the 10th time.
Bree: SWTOR’s expansion will be small but well-received and timed completely wrong to coordinate with theatrical releases as always. Smaller than we’d like, maybe, but timed just fine – the delay didn’t hurt it.
Andrew: The AR Wizarding World Game will see release too soon and be another fad. Pokemon Go and Niantic will surprise me by actually continuing to make the game more MMO-ish and more like the core series, but it still won’t make a grand comeback. Nintendo will still have a lukewarm online presence. Nintendo didn’t wow much this year, at least in the multiplayer world, but yeah, the Harry Potter MMOARPG was a bit of a dud.
Justin: We’ll get word that Peria Chronicles is coming to the west. Well, it was…
Eliot: Someone else in the world remembers Peria Chronicles existed at some point. Unfortunately, that someone was Nexon, which promptly canceled it.
Bree: None of the eastern games we’re watching will actually make it here in 2019. In fact, Astellia Online made it over!
Eliot: Standing Stone Games actually hints at plans to do something new beyond Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online, possibly worried about the life cycle of those two titles. Few details are revealed, though. Not so much, but they did both get some solid content drops.
Eliot: At least one MMO is under development from a completely unexpected direction. All too easy. How about Koster’s game?
Justin: Lost Ark will head this way before the end of 2019. Still nada.
Justin: Many indie MMOs will finally debut, and it’ll be a new bounty of riches by next fall. Now Justin’s just talkin’ crazy here.
Justin: John Smedley will return, stronger and balder than ever. And really, why not?