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
minor releases (STO
the continuing domination of World
pay-to-play to free-to-play game conversions (LotRO
, Pirates of the
), and outright
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
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
? 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 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
- 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
and be forced to go free-to-play or face being obliterated from
Diablo III see the light of day in 2011?
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!
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.
Being the staff writer for
of the Rings Online
fanatic to the game, Gunky limited his
predictions to his beloved LotRO
- When the bloom falls off the
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
fuelling non-stop arguments that go nowhere, and then probably go back
- 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
- 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.
LotRO be plagued by disgruntled WoW players?
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
- Ragnarok Online 2
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
- 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
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
- 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
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
co-op games like L4D rise in prominence?
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
- 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
- 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.