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Ten Ton Hammer’s 2011 MMOG Predictions

Updated Tue, Jan 04, 2011 by jeffprime

It’s that special time when we close out the year that was and look ahead to the glittering promise of what lies ahead. For MMOGs, it has been a year of delays (DCUO, SW:TOR), minor releases (STO), the continuing domination of World of Warcraft, pay-to-play to free-to-play game conversions (LotRO, EverQuest II Extended, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Champions Online), and outright failures (APB). What lies ahead for the MMOG community? Wonder no more, friends, for the staffers here at Ten Ton Hammer have made some bold predictions for 2011! Our keen gazes peered deeply into the murky depths of our crystal balls (or Magic 8 Balls) to see what will be. Will these predictions hold true? Only time will tell.

To begin, take a look back at some hits and misses of the Ten Ton Hammer staff for their 2010 predictions. Feel free to blame any wrong predictions upon the corrupting influence of Sauron.

PREDICTIONS FOR 2011

Now that we’ve gotten last year’s predictions out of the way, it is time to see what predictions the staff at Ten Ton Hammer will make for 2011. Will they predict that Blizzard’s next MMOG will be a variant of Hello Kitty called Hello Doggy? Will WoW continue to dominate the market? (Well, actually, that one is a given. We all know that WoW will continue as Blizzard’s license to print money.)  How will the slew of new MMOGS coming out fare?

MEM
Mem is one of the newer faces on our World of Warcraft team and has a “casually hardcore” focus, which means that he won’t rub your face in it too hard when he pwns you.
  • World of Warcraft will add no less than three major content patches, introducing new bosses, new gear, and new in-game mods by the end of 2011.
  • Diablo III will just miss being released in 2011, instead being released in January of 2012. Thanks to Blizzard's previous track record in this department no one will be surprised at having to wait a full year.
  • Even being free-to-play and browser-based will not be enough to attract attention or enthusiasm to Star Trek: Infinite Space, and it will fail spectacularly in its first month of life.
  • DC Universe Online will attract a modest yet loyal fan base that won't wow anyone with numbers, but will be enough to keep the game trucking along in what could potentially be a very long life.
  • Ninety percent of new games released in 2011 will follow the new free-to-play trend in order to muster a solid fan base. Games that are not free to play will be crushed by powerhouses like World of Warcraft and be forced to go free-to-play or face being obliterated from existence.

diablo 3
Will Diablo III see the light of day in 2011?

MESSIAH
A six year Ten Ton Hammer veteran, Messiah is considered one of the grand old men at the site. He has covered WoW extensively and definitely lets you know what his true opinion is!
  • WoW will continue to rule the MMOG space throughout 2011, even though by halfway through the year, players will once again be complaining it is way too easy. It is, of course, way too easy, but that is part of its appeal to the masses. It literally has something for everyone, but not that much for the serious gamer with any amount of intelligence and skill. This, of course shows up when you try to PUG a group and get hunters who don’t know what a trap is. By mid 2011, the serious intelligent players will once again become frustrated and leave the game between raid releases. Of course since this only represents 5% of the gamers playing WoW, no one will take notice.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic will be released this year and will fly off the shelves as fans rush in to pick it up. It will survive in a serious way for less than six months and then fade away as people realize it isn't fun when everyone can be a Jedi, and that the little bit for everyone that WoW has is better than pretty much everything else out there.
  • Blizzard may release Diablo III this coming year, which, while technically not an MMORPG, is still is very close to one. It will outsell every other MMOG released by any other company this coming year and maintain more market share for longer than any other game coming out.

GUNKY
Being the staff writer for Lord of the Rings Online and a fanatic to the game, Gunky limited his predictions to his beloved LotRO.
  • When the bloom falls off the Cataclysm rose and it begins to seem old (probably around March or April), a large number of WoW players will head over to LotRO. They will complain on public chat channels that LotRO isn't WoW, fuelling non-stop arguments that go nowhere, and then probably go back to WoW.
  • Turbine will reinstate lifetime subscriptions for about 2 months due to popular demand, but will drop them again in favor of the microtransactions which earn more money long-term.
  • The expansion of PvMP and the inclusion of monster-play in the F2P package will result in even more heated debate on Turbine forums, with both sides arguing that the other side is overpowered. In other words, it will be no different than now, but on a larger scale.
  • Chunks of new content released in smaller parcels will keep long-time players interested in the game, but chunks of old content that would benefit greatly from a revamp will continue to be passed over in favor of flashy new stuff. Carn Dum, Urugarth, and Barad Gularan will not see any significant improvements, but new dungeons will be added to North Downs, Evendim, Mirkwood, and Enedwaith.

lord of the rings online
Will LotRO be plagued by disgruntled WoW players?

STOW
Stow is our jack-of-all-trades reviewer and writer. He has a passion for FPS (and who doesn’t?) and is an addict to RTS games. Family and friends have been trying to intervene, unsuccessfully, for years.
  • Ragnarok Online 2 will take the world by storm, recapturing former players with the music, graphics, simple gameplay, and personality of the first game. Gravity has finally gotten its crap together and is going to retake the audience that once gave Chaos and Loki 25,000+ active players at any given time.
  • DoTA 2 will fail. The same game with a few social upgrades is not worth the price of admission to players who have lived their lives on the Warcraft 3 engine, and also enjoy all of the other custom maps in-between games. The players who accepted that moved on to Heroes of Newerth, which is evolving into its own game somewhat.
  • The WoW movie will release to a blockbuster weekend because tickets come with a free in-game mount, and then instantly die off... until the Blu-Ray release offers another one.
  • There will not be a single non-MMO RTS released in 2011 and I will cry myself to sleep every night knowing that the genre is dead.
  • Facebook games are a scourge upon this world, but there comes another important realization--Facebook is the PC Market now. And as such, so many games and so many applications will be developed specifically around it. A recent Square Enix newsletter about upcoming games listed one console game and three Facebook games. In a way, Facebook is the new iPhone market in that it's a rush to see who is the next Mafia Wars or Farmville. I wouldn't doubt if a major developer tried to take over the market with a AAA MMOG designed around the Facebook experience.
  • The death of the subscription-based model is around the corner. Microtransactions have finally won the battle, powered by Turbine's success and the launch of Blizzard's bullshit cash shop. This is a major defeat for those of us who want to always be on a level playing field and cannot be influenced by someone with more cash to throw at his character. F2P with Cash Shop is the future, and every game is slowly starting to add to it.

left 4 dead
Will co-op games like L4D rise in prominence?

JEFFPRIME
The behind the scenes lackey and occasional writer at Ten Ton Hammer’s main site, Jeffprime has been gaming since the late 1970s (yes, I’m old) with Space Invaders and all other types of games from consoles to pen-and-paper rpgs to miniature games. Fun fact: he has a degree in medieval history which explains why he trades his services for a cot next to the Ten Ton Hammer furnace in the basement.
  • New games and older games will increasingly go free-to-play (microtransaction) or a hybrid F2P/sub model. The primary reason for this is that older games will be desperate for players and newer games will have nothing original or innovative to offer to draw people away from their game of choice, be it WoW, DDO, LOTRO, or EQ2.
  • Facebook will continue to shake up the online gaming industry. I have personally seen the power that is da Facebook when watching my two sisters harvest freaking carrots in Farmville for hours on end. Zynga, a four year old company that makes Facebook games, is worth $5.4 Billion, which is more than EA.
  • Co-op games will continue to rise in prominence. Today's players are more into playing with their friends or by themselves than with grouping or joining large guilds. Games like Left 4 Dead and Borderlands will continue to gain traction.
  • Diablo III will not be released and a great gnashing of teeth will be felt among the Nerd Force.
  • 2011 will be the year that the hardcore gamer is truly laid to rest for determining a game's design and success. The Casual Gamer, also known as 99.8% of the populace, will be crowned king. Hardcores will become increasingly strident on internet forums, constantly bitching about the state of online gaming today, and reminiscing over 8 hour corpse runs and how awesome it was back in the day. The Silent Majority (Casual Gamers) will not see the forum posts as they will be busy picking up their kids from soccer practice and hopefully sneaking in an hour or so of killing orcs after they put the little hellions to bed.

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