Massively Overthinking: Our MMO predictions for 2020

    
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With 2019 drawing to a close and a new decade of MMORPGs waiting for us just a few days away, the Massively OP writing crew has regrouped for another round of bold and goofy predictions for the year ahead. And we’re a bigger crew than we were last year, so we’ve got more opinions than ever!

What’s in store for the MMO genre in 2020? Here’s what we think – and naturally, we want to know what you think too, so we can all look back at our takes a year from now and cackle madly. That’s just how these things go.

Andy McAdams: here’s so much I could get to here – but lemme see what I can do in a reasonable word count. WoW Retail will take all the wrong lessons from “We announced Shadowlands and it didn’t result in boycotts” to perpetuate the misconception that it’s god’s gift to MMOs, while resolutely ignoring many of the small quality-of-life things that would make generate a lot of goodwill. WoW Classic will become the newest source of drama du jour as the community fractures over clashes between the “never change anything” and “progress to BC/WotLK” crowd. There will be much weeping and gnashing of teeth.

City of Heroes will get finally navigate the legal quagmire with NCsoft and become a real boy.

Guild Wars 2 will continue to languish with a lack of clear vision and competing directions. ArenaNet will slowly implode before throwing out a Hail Mary of announcing GW3 that makes the same promises that GW2 fell flat on.

Elder Scrolls Online will continue to plug again doing well but not cause huge waves in the news cycle.

Final Fantasy XIV will have a solid year of steady growth — boosted by the announcement of Male Viera and Female Hrothgar earlier than expected.

Daybreak will continue its trend of refusing to proverbially shower and hiding in the corner refusing to talk to anyone while stubbornly asserting that it is still relevant and doing something totally not a battle-royale, card game, MOBA, mobile game with the EverQuest franchise. 2020 will come and go with little to no change for Daybreak.

Camelot Unchained will delay again and become known as Star Citizen-lite with it’s never ending beta.

Crowfall will finally launch to moderate success that will slowly grow over time as more people give the game a chance.

Emboldened by CoH’s success with NCsoft legal issues, Wildstar will garner support and try a similar path to legitimacy, but it won’t be resolved in 2020.

Business-wise, lootboxes will continue to get side-eye across the world. While we haven’t seen the deathknell for these abominations, their power will substantially diminished as public opinion shifts.

Fortnite will continue to dominate the battle royale genre, but we’ll see the beginnings of the next big thing – though it won’t dethrone Fortnite in 2020.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): We already know Elder Scrolls Online is getting a Skyrim season and presumably a campaign next year, but I think it’s going to be significantly more popular than Summerset and Elsweyr and the game will explode in popularity even more than it did with Morrowind.

Ubisoft will finally cancel Skull and Bones. Sea of Thieves will hit maintenance mode. Grapecard will cancel Atlas. All the pirate games in one go.

New World and PSO2 will both be huge hits – especially New World with its Amazon advertising budget – but it will be Magic Legends that carries the year, pushing Torchlight Frontiers to the back of the PWE queue. That said, both New World and Magic Legends will be delayed at least once.

I’ll try this one again because at this point they’ve got nothing left to lose: Daybreak will finally announce EverQuest III, and it’ll be a sandbox MMORPG built for PC and mobile with a battle royale side mode. I’m still sticking to the conspiracy theory that someone, maybe PA, will buy out what’s left of Daybreak and save it.

Guild Wars 2 still won’t get an expansion, but it’ll give up on the Saga stuff and change course once again with that new NCsoft cash infusion. Both GW2 and Black Desert will land on the Switch.

Gamigo will finally end the Defiance franchise and continuing milking what’s left of RIFT without putting it into formal maintenance mode. As in 2019, we’ll see just a few key patches and maybe one small expansion for Trove. Its disasters behind it, ArcheAge Unchained will draw back in players who gave up on it during the ArchePass fiasco.

We’ll finally get Lost Ark, and it’ll be super fun and a mess for monetization, but pretty much nothing else we’re actively watching from the crowdfunding side of things and from Asia will release. Bluehole will continue stalling with Ascent: Infinite Realm if it doesn’t give up on it entirely. And Koster will leak the name of his new MMO.

World of Warcraft’s Shadowlands will not save it from its ongoing, self-inflicted decline, but Blizzard will make swimming pools full of money with Wrath Classic, bypassing Burning Crusade entirely.

Conan Chop Chop will be the sleeper hit of 2020.

Carlo Lacsina (@UltraMudkipEX): I think one of the main things that’ll happen in 2020 is the emergence of legitimate mobile MMOs. Games like Perfect World Mobile and Black Desert Mobile are already making a splash, and they’re already impressive. I saw a few clips of Lineage 2 M as well, and boy that’s a legitimate MMO on a phone! This is the year people need to re-evaluate their position on what a mobile MMO is. I used to be against it, but after seeing what’s available and Black Desert Mobile being what it is, I think maybe it’s time to take a second look at the game!

I predict that we’re going to get a mobile announcement for Guild Wars 2. This might be more of a hope rather than a prediction, but maybe this GW2 saga will take us to Cantha. I’m still holding out hope despite my bitterness.

Chris Neal (@wolfyseyes, blog): It felt like there was a semblance of a pattern to maybe offer a prediction last year, but this year, it definitely feels like things are muddier than ever before. And when you had an October like we had in 2019, it feels like everything is just going out the window in terms of what to expect.

But if I had to force myself to divine something that would happen to MMOs in 2020, I’d say that we perhaps see a culling of the smaller titles. We see a few more games shut down, which gives rise to a few more smaller-scale multiplayer games. Maybe. I don’t know, 2019 was a weird year, fam.

Colin Henry (@ChaosConstant): Guild Wars 2 will continue with the Icebrood Saga all year and into the next. Many players will ultimately be disappointed with the content and, with no expansion in sight, start to drift away. No dramatic mass exodus, just a slow, steady decline.

ArenaNet will start talking about a new spinoff game. Not Guild Wars 3, but a tie-in on another platform. Probably on mobile, maybe console. Maybe both? It won’t launch in ’20, closed beta in Q4 at best.

Following successful launches from Diablo 4 and Torchlight Frontiers and the continued success of Path of Exile, 2020 will be the year of OARPGs.

City of Heroes’ revival will become officially sanctioned, with some oversight from NCsoft. The fact that it is official now will bring in a bunch of new players and some goodwill toward NCsoft. Other studios will take notice and start looking at their retired MMOs, and we’ll see one or two games licensed to player organizations in similar fashion.

Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre, blog): World of Warcraft: Shadowlands releases in September. (The error bar on that is half a month, but I feel good about September.) It’s definitely better than Battle for Azeroth, but the wall has already been broken, and people aren’t satisfied with some more customization options. They want more. There’s definitely a hard appeal to people who have left over the years, and a sense that the design team is caught between doing what people actually want and a top-end vision that insists they don’t really want that. At least one long-awaited feature or return is announced at BlizzCon. (My bet is faction-related.)

WoW Classic becomes far more calcified, but people are excited when an expansion nostalgia push is also announced at BlizzCon. It’s TBC first, though, they’re not jumping straight to Lich King. There is a huge amount of debate over whether Classic should all move up to the expansion or just some of it, and even more debate about new servers, free transfers, or paid transfers.

Final Fantasy XIV announces its next fan festival in the early part of the year. The game’s patches continue to be warmly received by fans and the game continues to do very well for itself. The actual fan festival announces the game’s fourth expansion. Somewhere along the way we get an announcement of Ishgard housing. Another leak spoils big chunks of the expansion for those who don’t mind looking up leaks.

The Elder Scrolls Online continues putting out its own yearly cadence, but this year… things don’t land quite right. Maybe people are finally exhausted of everything under the sun being tied back into Skyrim, maybe it’s that the storytelling wasn’t quite there, maybe it’s just sunspots. Whatever the case, it’s not a good year for the game, but after the goodwill built up from years of solid delivery, it’s more of a “down year” than a moment of panic.

Guild Wars 2 finishes up the Icebrood Saga to middling reception and players are desperate for an expansion announcement. You know, like now, but more so. We finally get an announcement of one near the end of the year, but it has an awkward sense of being a sort of desperate plea for fan approval. There’s a certain exhaustion setting in with the limitations of this particular game, one that is going to require some high-quality content to shake off the rust.

Black Desert has a pretty solid year of content drops. Crimson Desert gets talked up more and players continue to get hyped. Pearl Abyss starts getting visibly smarter about handling their games and their community; it’s another one of those years wherein people should really have noticed this game by now if they hadn’t already. It also introduces a couple of new classes, naturally.

Ascent: Infinite Realm finally starts a beta in the US. Phantasy Star Online 2 launches at long last to… decent reviews, but not great ones, most of the less-good reviews being tied to how it feels a bit older. (It’s still sustainable, though.) Astellia Online goes global and has to trim a little bit, but it’s still afloat by the end of the year with both Korea and North America on the same servers.

Blade & Soul gets at least one big update that players are over the moon about. TERA is starting to feel a bit too long in the tooth and stutters, but the console performance works out well.

Magic: Legends gets into beta and proves itself to be a bit like a more active and (arguably) more fun version of what Neverwinter was aiming to be. It still has The Cryptic Business Model, but people willing to overlook that have a lot of fun with it. But it doesn’t have playable Loxodons, so it’s actually horrible trash and no one should be having fun. (No, I would not be playing a Loxodon. I’m holding out for thallids.)

Crowfall… actually does its soft launch thinger! It’s okay.

Star Citizen continues to Star Citizen. That veneer is chipping away, month after month, year after year. Neither it nor S42 are released by the end of the year. The fanboys willing to defend it start to get fewer in number.

At least one Kickstarted MMO finally visibly collapses in a kleptocratic turd pile.

Daybreak starts selling itself off piecemeal. People are still holding out hope for an EverQuest 3. Even if it is actually announced, a lot of people are surprised that the majority of the target audience doesn’t particularly care.

Overwatch 2 is announced for launch in 2021 and moves into beta. It’s basically just Overwatch, but with the PvE people wanted from the start. It gets good initial buzz but can’t escape that element.

New World is better than it has any right to be, which is not quite the same as good. It’s better than Fallout 76, at least, and developers are active on trying to improve it. It’s not quite the monster Amazon was no doubt hoping for.

Square-Enix announces the mystery project Yoshida has been overseeing.

In a dark and undisclosed location, Jeremy Gaffney wakes up, pours himself a cup of coffee, and stares at the black-trimmed fields of the underground bunker wherein he lives and works now. His employees offer him a crisp salute as a huge monitor displays a running version of the latest build. “Soon,” he whispers, reaching over to gently pat the lucite-encased copy of WildStar he keeps near him at all times. “The third wave is almost upon us. This time… they will not be ready for our brilliance.”

CoH’s rogue servers start adding real new content and moving forward.

Shroud of the Avatar cashes in.

I will eat a hamburger. I like hamburger.

Mia DeSanzo (@neschria): This is hard for me because I have been around to be bitten more than once and to be more than twice as shy about games that aren’t out yet, and predicting the future of existing games seems like bad luck and I am always wrong. I am not going to speculate on sunsets because that’s just depressing. Here are a couple of guesses: New World will be the big new release of 2020. The Elder Scrolls Online expansion will be popular because some people love Skyrim. (It’s me. I’m some people.) Pantheon might go into alpha before the end of the year.

MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie, blog): Is it really sad to say that at this point, predictions feel like just death-knells? A voicing of the inevitable horror descending upon us? And that giving it utterance just rushes it closer? Yeah, I may not feel very optimistic about the genre after the last couple of years, but I certainly don’t wish ill on anything. But if I must make a couple of predictions, these are what I toss out for you.

Daybreak’s already-delayed EverQuest Fan Faire revival does not happen in 2020 either; maybe an invite to “come hang out with us in a bar” happens for those who are local or can get to San Diego. Is 2020 the year Norrath doesn’t get expansions? They came in under the wire in 2019. Another special sub option will be made available.

Dual Universe continues its development at a steady pace and makes it through alpha 3 and into beta. Either ship combat or territory warfare squeaks in by the end of the year. NDA goes down and I finally get to stream it live and try to make a passable ship.

Conan Chop Chop is freaking adorable and everyone wants to play it! It will be a blast and just bring smiles to your face. MOP must have special staff meetings inside the game. Live.

ARK’s upcoming DLC gets pushed back farther and farther. Maybe players see it by the end of spring/beginning of summer.

Secret World Legends gets an official announcement by the end of summer: Whether that is maintenance mode or the next step in Season 2 is up in the air. If no new (or former TSW) missions make it in for Samhain, all hope is lost. The Seven Silences, however, would reinvigorate the game some — if it gets added.

MOP’s Stream Team will release a new form of entertainment. Some laughter may turn into tears.

At least one studio’s April Fools’ day joke will turn into a legitimate concept. MOP will definitely not be doing any April Fools’ day jokes, Nope. None. Really.

NCsoft rakes in the goodwill for a really crowd-pleasing move.

Camelot Unchained finally opens up and shows folks what is going on and excitement builds up.

Grinding Gear shows more Path of Exile 2, possibly even getting a closed beta going at the end of the year. Players are frothing for it, and ExileCon 2021 is announced.

Samon Kashani (@thesamkash): I’m predicting that we’ll finally see Camelot Unchained let loose of its grip on the game and relax its NDA. From there it will get a lot of feedback and take the game back into a closed format.

Crowfall has a chance to release this year. And I think there will be an early release day announced soon, something in the April time frame. The devs will then officially open the Dregs campaign to playtesters. However, after two iterations, they’ll realize that it doesn’t improve any of the issues players have had with the game. The game is already sliced up and controlled by a handful of guilds, so it will effectively play exactly like the faction war we’ve had so far. ArtCraft will take it back into retooling and the release will be pushed to October or November.

Magic Legends will not launch.

New World will launch, but it will be so barebones (for an MMO) players will largely pan it. Perhaps by 2021 it’ll be worth playing.

Albion Online’s mobile focused version will launch, and I’ll have some good battles with Carlo and BDO Mobile over which game is the better mobile MMO experience!

Tyler EdwardsStar Citizen will continue to Star Citizen, to the woe of all.

Shadowlands will launch to resounding cries of, “Eh, at least it’s better than BFA.”

SWTOR will launch another “expansion.” It will have a better story than Onslaught, but be just as tiny.

At least one version of Defiance will sunset, and I will be one of the few genuinely sad about it.

Daybreak will be bought out (maybe by Pearl Abyss), and the company’s fortunes will at last begin to improve.

Anthem’s rumored reboot will be announced, and no matter how good it is, a significant portion of the community will decry it as too little too late, probably without even bothering to look at what it entails.

We’ll finally start getting some serious news about Ascent: Infinite Realm. It might even launch. Similarly, I expect Torchlight Frontiers to launch (probably late in the year), to mostly positive reviews. Lost Ark’s Western port will be announced, but not launch.

ESO’s new chapter will be based in Skyrim, to milk that sweet sweet nostalgia [Editor’s note: This prediction was made before the announcement confirmed it, so he’s already got a score here!]. It will include a new form of content, possibly mini-dungeons for small 2-3 person groups.

GW2 will finally announce a new expansion, but it will be late in the year, after a lukewarm reception to the current Saga and a steep decline in its reputation.

Every week, join the Massively OP staff for Massively Overthinking column, a multi-writer roundtable in which we discuss the MMO industry topics du jour – and then invite you to join the fray in the comments. Overthinking it is literally the whole point. Your turn!
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ShadowReaver661

Allods Online will got to 11.0 and it will go over poorly…

Covynant001
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Covynant001

My prediction, 2020 will come and go with still no new, good MMORPG’s which I might enjoy playing.

Here’s to 2021 maybe?

Godnaz
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Godnaz

Agree with most of the panel. Guildwar 2 is already on it’s death bed. NCSoft will either absorb ArenaNet or cut it loose. Founder/Studtio Head Mike O’Brien saw the writing on the wall and left what he began to die. I’ve shifted over to FFXIV/ESO literally full time. GW2 has the best PvP mechanics of any MMORPG and they wasted it on poor engine optimization and lack of foresight.

Star Citizen will break out of it’s single solar system development hell this year to be the game to watch starting in 2021. Not just in the MMO realm but gaming wide.

We will finally get a few decent MMORPG alternatives this year!

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Bruno Brito

GW2 has the best PvP mechanics of any MMORPG and they wasted it on poor engine optimization and lack of foresight.

I would agree if they solved some core mechanical issues. GW2 has a shitton of bugs, the boon/condition system is complete garbage, and the weapon design is weak.

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Ken from Chicago

2020: A Star Citizen Odyssey:

Why this year will be a turning point in its development.

Those who have been casually following the very very very very long development of STAR CITIZEN are used to the same reports about the game: Really long, slow development, the top crowd-funded anything ever, high-price ships and ship bundles, also delays, a “rabid” fan base and a similarly “rabid” base of … “detractors”.

The main complaint is that it continues to sell ships before the game is launched.

Shirley $250 million is enough to finish the game before selling another ship, right? Aside from the many companies that have gone belly up in the 7 years since its kickstarter, STAR CITIZEN is attempting to make a 3d space sim that seamlessly combines space, air, land and underground gameplay without loadscreens without breaks. It’s pushing the limits of the tech to the edge and beyond.

Yeah, if you’ve been follow the development, you’ve probably already heard something similar. However major milestones have been reached, the news of which is easily buried in technical jargon. I’d like to summarize them:

OCS

Object Container Streaming basically means, instead of loading up the entire mmo world, you only load what’s nearby to your character. That says a load off your computer. Client-Side OCS did that a year ago in a major breakthrough. Users reported framerate going from 5-7 fps to 20-30-40 fps.

The second half is Server-Side OCS, which would prevent SC servers loading up the whole world whether or not any players were in a region or not. The first version of which was announced and released in Alpha 3.8 this week. This not only lightens a tremendous load of the game servers but removes a major bottleneck in the game.

Players had been seeing odd bugs show up patch after patch that might have been their clients running at 30 fps but servers bogged down at 5, 6,7 fps and being out of sync. A lot of development had been delayed until Server-Side OCS was completed. This was increasingly suspected in the community and has been essentially confirmed by the devs.

SC was supposed to launch with 100 star systems and in 7 years they haven’t finished one. This quarter’s 3.8 Pillar Talk (which aired this past Wednesday) revealed that they had just about reached limit on their servers about what could be put in a star system. With Server-side OCS that limit is lifted so not only can they finish this one star system but start building many more with the knowledge they won’t be limited.

It also means they able to keep track of objects in the universe so you can return them. This level of permanence will be a stepping stone until they can maintain everything so their will be no need for wipes, except for the rare emergencies that mmos do when some kind of major bug appears. In other words, “soft launch”.

PLANET TECH v4

Building the planets with the detail and size they’ve chosen has taken two years using their old ways and any changing was very slow and time consuming. With this new program they were able to speed in the process by a factor of 12 times over from 2 years to 2 months to rebuild all of those planets but make them look and sound better but with the 3.9 patch, due by the of March 2020, the environment will affect your survival. If you aren’t wearing the proper clothes for cold, heat, toxic atmospheres, etc., then you will suffer for it, become incapacitate or die.

QUANTUM

As silly as it is to have “Quantum Travel” and add a “Quantum” system, I personally prefer it to their previous name, “Subsumption”. Quantum is basically the name of their system that governs NPCs and their behavior in the universe en masse. They respond to needs and wants in a macroeconomic level so if businesses need a material to build a tractor, bake a cake, or knit a suit, contracts will be offered to gather the material, NPCs will go to gather said material, some will ship it, others will go to the businesses hiring to make the good. This trade has a chance of attracting pirates to prey on the gatherers / miners / harvesters / workers which would lead to contracts offered for bounty hunters to hunt down individual pirates or for escorts for shippers or security for those working. They will respond dynamically, raising prices in contracts to attract enough help to gather goods, assemble protects and protect them from criminals.

This dynamic system would automatically generate missions on the fly for players and if they don’t respond then NPCs, which will outnumber players 10 to 1–by design–to make sure the universe doesn’t come to screeching halt. Also, if there are no players nearby, all this economic activity is basically “virtual”. No NPCs will be shown gather goods, no ships shipping goods, no businesses processing and selling goods, no pirates preying on anyone if no players are there to see it. That level of detail is only created if a player is there to see it.

If a tree falls in the woods and no player is there to see it then no, it does not make a sound.

If this all sounds familiar, this is the Dynamic World that ArenaNet described in their famous MMO Manifesto. However one of the top Cloud Imperium game devs, Tony Z, showed the system at CitizenCon last month. He also showed how easy it was to adjust the system by a simple thing as reducing or increasing the amount of ore needed to build a good, which automatically boosted or slowed down the economy as a result.

Bonus: This same system could deal with players pirating an area by dynamically offering contracts for bounty hunters and/or security to either other players or NPCs–and increasing the price until the problem was solved.

In summary:
–The Quantum system will be able to dynamically create missions organically in response conditions and events in the universe.
–The Planet Tech v4 system will allow rapid creation of living, breathing worlds to play in.
–The Object Container Streaming system will finally allow room for new worlds and new star systems to be built without overwhelming your computer or their servers. This would be the stepping stone needed for increased permanence.

Full permanence will require another of the 12 Pillars first mentioned at CitizenCon in the Fall of 2018, last year, Server Meshing, which they admit probably won’t be completed until the end of 2020 or more likely in 2021.

Full permanence would a soft launch of STAR CITIZEN which is thing even its most ardent … “critics” … have been clamoring for in recent years. Fine, sell ships–after–the game launches, to quote one esteemed long-time MOP columnist, although that’s the general consensus view among the staff. This is the year that will see major VISIBLE progress to that point. If they weren’t focused on getting SQUADRON 42 out the door this year (and I think they will, barely), I personally think they could eke out Server Meshing by the end of 2020. Instead I think it will just come really really close to soft launch.

Or it will fall apart in tears and pain and the skeptics will have vindication of a million and one “I told you so”. I doubt that will come to pass, but it can’t be entirely ruled out. The mmo, video game, tech field is littered companies that couldn’t make their goal, either as part of scam, they couldn’t quite develop the tech or they couldn’t sufficiently market it to be commercially successful versus the competition (see the Tucker automobile).

kjempff
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kjempff

to make a 3d space sim that seamlessly combines space, air, land and underground gameplay without loadscreens without breaks. It’s pushing the limits of the tech to the edge and beyond.

Sounds cool from a technical viewpoint, but gameplay wise not very important.. Nice to have in your feature list, not a main selling point.

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MolleaFauss

WoW will report that at some point more people had been playing Classic than the official servers.

Daybreak will start spinning off studios and it will be a clusterfuck (i.e. the corp tree and interrelations will be ridiculous). As a consequence one of the game will have to shut down temporarily to handle understanding of who has the purse of such company.

Magic Legends will be a huge success. And full of lockboxes.

Star Citizen comany will come under scrutiny under complaints of some whales that aren’t getting what the spent humongous cash on.

NCSoft (Asia) will blow up a great deal that NCSoft (US) had agreed with the community. And throw everything to shit. (I’m just saying it to jinx the bad outcome as I am really looking forward at what can happen there).

Anthem and Bioware will close.

Torchlight Frontiers will be a huge success noone will talk about.

Grinding Gear Games will be bought by a Chinese Investment Fund.

Camelot Unchained will get an Open Beta and will have to close hastily after an exploit is revealed. It will launch in 2021 anyway.

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Bryan Correll

These guys know what’s coming.

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Anstalt

2020 may finally be the year I commit to another MMO! I haven’t found a home since I quit SWTOR in early 2013, everything since then has been pretty rubbish for my playstyle and I hate action combat!

But, 2020 will hopefully see the release of Camelot Unchained.

It will have deep combat mechanics. At last! The shallow action combat on offer right now just bores me to death so I can’t wait to get stuck into a game where my actions and decisions actually decide the outcome of combat.

It is built on horizontal progression! As far as I’m aware, this will be a first for the industry and I can’t wait to see the results. Finally, a multiplayer game that isn’t built on single player progression!

It’s actually massively multiplayer! The one unique selling point of the genre and its often the most overlooked feature, if it is there at all. I’m really looking forwards to seeing large scale battles. Its going to be messy to begin with as CSE are the first ones to really try to do it properly, but the tools they are giving us to manage large groups and communicate with our realm should be a breath of fresh air and a wakeup call to the rest of the industry.

And, we can have a genuine impact on the game world. No more instancing bollocks, no more static worlds. We can capture territory, literally changing the shape of the continents, then design and build our own structures. This is a feature we’ve been asking for for years, promised by EQN but finally being delivered by CSE.

I’m excited!

As for the rest, meh. The existing MMORPGs will continue to chug along, thinking they’re doing all right but mostly only doing well due to lack of competition.

Most indies that launch won’t be successful in general terms, but may be successful enough to meet their own targets and keep themselves afloat. But, that’s normal. Lack of large scale success isnt the same as failure, but im hoping that these indie games may find enough success to inspire larger studios to step out of their comfort zone and start producing interesting MMOs again, rather than the rubbish we currently get.

New World is gonna bomb. Hard. I think Amazon have totally misjudged the market place. The survival genre bubble has already burst, so it won’t pull in that crowd. The MMO crowd won’t enjoy the lack of quests or the PvP and group focus of the game. the PvP crowd may enjoy it for a while, but the vertical progression means that like all other PvP games based on vertical progression, the new blood will get their butts kicked and quit, leaving just a small, dedicated core of fans.

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Ken from Chicago

If you’re looking for “horizontal progression” in a multiplayer game, then the game you seek is GUILD WARS, the original, or STAR TREK ONLINE.

The former maxes out at level 20 in a few hours of gameplay and the rest of the game is spent at max level acquiring skills, of which you can only use up to 8 at a time when adventuring solo or with a team in instanced worlds. The social non-combat hubs are multiplayer where you trade, gather, socialize.

The latter has a level 65 max that you can reach over a long weekend and then you gain skills you can gather but your ui and human attention only allows you to use so many skills at once.

Polyanna
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Polyanna

WoW Classic. Classic TBC and WOTLK are inevitable, but it’s obvious that the scheduling is laid out between Classic and retail so that nothing Classic does will step on the toes of new stuff for retail. The Classic launch was in retail’s designated off year, and so will be any expansions. There is zero chance of a Classic expansion next year.

Remember that they barely even mentioned Classic at this year’s Blizzcon, which means nothing new beyond what they already laid out through Phase 6 is coming in the new year. Also at the rate they are going, at three+ months per phase it’s going to take up 18 months just to get all the vanilla bits out the door.

Blizzcon 2020 will be our first big splash announcement of what’s next for Classic, and it will be TBC, coming in Fall 2021 during the first lull for Shadowlands.

Diablo. D4 is not coming in 2020. If there was any prospect of that they would have at least said 2020 at Blizzcon. Reading between the lines, it doesn’t even seem like development of D4 was fully staffed until after the disastrous reaction to the Immortal announcement. What they’re showing and how they’re talking about it right now reads like a game that has just started production in earnest. Best case for launch is 2021. More likely 2022.

FFXIV. Rapidly shoving out ESO and increasingly credibly challenging WoW as the game to beat in this space for the foreseeable future, and only will gain momentum, population, and success throughout 2020 and the next couple years. Everyone leaving other MMOs is going to wind up here sooner or later, cause that’s where their friends will be, and at some point soon it’s going to reach critical mass as the game that everyone is playing just because everyone else is playing it. The MMO crown is SE’s to lose at this point.

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Robert Mann

The MMO scene will be as it has been. For example, New World will launch to a rush of interest followed by a quick decline as players thrilled with the “You don’t need to PvP” hooks realize that taxes, restrictions, and other stuff from the PvP groups will make the game into an incredibly poor homeless murder hobo simulator for them.

In short, the same will continue until somebody gets a wild hair and achieves a new success, since that is the only motivator of the big money in games.

Reader
Utakata

Since I’m not really playing other games or have interest in them, I will only focus on the demise..err, future of the ones I play or might try out for this coming year…

WoW:Shadowlands and Classic will suffer from stagnation for entirely different reasons. The former will offer nothing new outside of it looking pretty. And the latter, is seemingly forever stuck in a world that never wishes to move forward. Least something we who have lived through Vanilla thankfully never had to experience when The Burning Crusade was finally announced.

Blade & Soul: Will rekindle interest in the game when the ever looming UE4 upgrading starts to take shape. And it’s not just something that will make the game look far more prettier than it already is…it would literally turn the instance-at-every-5-meter-mark-surounded-by-tight-invisible-walls-WTF? world into something that is entirely open, World of Warcraft style. Which will most likely change the dynamics of a lot of things, and likely mostly for the better. It’s asinine endgame and crafting nonsense will likely rub the shine off that though…

TERA: Yeah..long in the tooth is just quite about right. It’s really needs to do something new or even introduce a new version of itself. But there’s nothing in the works quite like that for this year as far as the pigtails are aware. So ho-hum for the 2020 vision.

Black Desert Online: It’s a game I would like to try out. I am glad to see the prospects for the new year look sustainable. So I have little to add to that, as you can see…

City of Heroes: Hopefully NC will get their finger out and give the stamp of approval on the rogue servers. It should. And it would be great to see that back as a viable option for me again to play. Until it does so, the game will likely continue to thrive…until NC decides to pull the plug on it all again, desu. To which I hope it doesn’t.

…anyroads, the pigtails are getting a headache for trying to stare into that crystal ball too much. As I don’t and won’t take too much stake into it…as the MMO world and the world it occupies could all change in an instance. Rendering the entire exercise mute. >.<

Reader
Utakata

PS: Oh, I forgot one..

MassivelyOP: Will continue release engaging, intriguing and dynamic content as they always do, one story at a time. If only the other MMO’s take note… <3