The New Space Race: Four MMOGs Taking Gamers into Outer Space in 2009
Sometimes I look to escape normal life with a fun massively
multiplayer online game. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/50142">Sometimes I
look to escape the normal setting of MMOGs and take a jaunt
into the great unknown. For
gamers looking for something out of the ordinary, 2009 could be the
biggest thing since href="http://www.wpxi.com/news/16721130/detail.html"
target="_blank">the furry party hit Pittsburgh.
The big trend in 2009? Outer space, where we're likely to see four "big
space-themed games launch or enter beta by this time next year: href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/306"> style="font-style: italic;">Jumpgate Evolution,
style="font-style: italic;">Star Trek Online,
style="font-style: italic;">Star Wars: The Old Republic, and href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/tid/940"> style="font-style: italic;">Stargate Worlds.
But which of these titles, if any, will be good? Which will be
another galactic goose chase that href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/49836">ends like style="font-style: italic;">Tabula Rasa?
To be honest, I think I can answer some of those those questions.
and asphyxiation are an erotic combo that appeals to nerds
Indeed, You Are
is not the oldest IP to receive the MMOG treatment for 2009, but it is
arguably the most powerful. Seven feature-length films, a couple of
children's spinoffs, myriad comics, hundreds of official novels, action
figures and even href="http://www.adultswim.com/shows/robotchicken/stuff/rcsw/"
Chicken episodes prove the Force exists all
Wars fans never argue over href="http://www.hanshootsfirst.org/" target="_blank">who
shoots first in the Mos Eisley cantina, but there is quite a
bit of debate about the worth of the existing style="font-style: italic;">Star Wars MMOG, style="font-style: italic;">Star Wars Galaxies.
Little doubt remains that the game's popularity declined drastically
after the release of the href="http://www.joystiq.com/2005/11/24/star-wars-galaxies-new-game-enhancements-cause-player-backlash/"
target="_blank">NGE update. Coincidences in timing
or causal relationships don't matter at this point; the majority of style="font-style: italic;">Star Wars fans do not feel
that they have a satisfactory MMOG for their beloved franchise.
BioWare, the force (tee hee) behind
style="font-style: italic;">Star Wars: The Old Republic
(SW:TOR or TOR), is famous for making quality games that deliver
plots. From Baldur's
Gate to Knights
of the Old Republic to style="font-style: italic;">Neverwinter Nights
to Mass Effect,
BioWare produces hits, so the potential for TOR is high.
Every Star Wars
fan who plays MMOGs will certainly give TOR a
look. Even MMOG gamers who are not huge style="font-style: italic;">Star Wars fans will
be curious because they know the IP and the developer.
Finally, there are gamers who don't normally play
MMOGs but will try TOR because they
love BioWare games.
All that's missing are the
style="font-style: italic;">Star Wars fans who
don't play games and the people who have never heard of BioWare or style="font-style: italic;">Star Wars...if the
latter group even exists. Really, I think BioWare would have to try
pretty hard not to have a large player base in the month surrounding
launch. The bigger problem will be keeping those players after the free
month of gameplay expires.
In the end, I think TOR is the sure bet among the upcoming
space games and you should double down on this title the next time
you're in Vegas.
Unless BioWare drops the ball on a major project for the first time, style="font-style: italic;">The Old Republic
will be a leading MMOG in the year 2010.
hopes we will all be assimilated.
You Will be
Assimilated (Won't You)?
is the oldest IP coming to us in MMOG form in the near future. The
franchise permeates American culture heavily, from parodies on
skit shows to colloquialisms like "Set phasers to stun," and "Beam me
up!" Star Trek
fans can be as rabid as Star
Wars fans, some of them learning to speak Klingon and
corps dedicated to "preserving Klingon culture here on earth."
After a brief
with Perpetual Entertainment, style="font-style: italic;">Star Trek Online
(STO) is now safely in the hands of Cryptic Studios. The shaky start
won't deter many Trekkies, and non-Trekkies may not ever know it even
happened. The appeal for STO certainly will extend to some of the same
groups I mentioned earlier: Star
Trek fans who play MMOGs, MMOG players who like Cryptic's
other work (see href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/140"> style="font-style: italic;">City of Heroes
or style="font-style: italic;">Champions Online),
and gamers who don't normally play MMOGs but live and breathe style="font-style: italic;">Star Trek.
target="_blank">a new Star
Trek movie on the horizon, the time for a game
based on the IP is perfect, and Cryptic would do well to make a
near-simultaneous release their Prime Directive. Doing so will give the
developer the best chance to pull in some of the more casual fans who
would not normally pay much attention to the game.
Overall, I can't imagine that the mass appeal of
style="font-style: italic;">Star Trek is as
high as that of Star
Wars. Those of us with limited time and a passion for both
franchises may face a tough decision of choosing one over the other. If
Cryptic can deliver engrossing gameplay to match the awesome character
customization they made famous with style="font-style: italic;">City of Heroes,
this title will be a huge success for its fan base and hundreds of
others looking for something different.
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