Ten Ton Soothsayer

At the close of 2007 many segments of the gaming industry were busy
making predictions about which upcoming games might sink, which would
swim and which would transcend the need for silly things like water
physics to be claimed an instant success.  Ten Ton Hammer was
no exception, as not just one, but two different staff members donned
their seer's caps and gazed into their +2 Crystal Balls of MMO

Each came up with their own predictions for what would prove to be a
very busy year for the MMO industry.  Between AAA launches,
major expansions and an ever growing list of promising F2P titles, the
field was wide open.  Let’s take a look back at each
of their lists and see who deserves to be crowned the 2008 Ten Ton

With the help of my trusty Magic 8 Ball and some additional assistance
by my good friend Zoltar, I’ll be highlighting the main
predictions along with any supporting information that seems
pertinent.  One Hammer will be awarded for each correct
prediction, with extra sprinkles on top for those cupcakes that were
perhaps a bit too eerily accurate.  Also, since there's not an
even number of predictions between the two, I'll be providing their
overall accuracy percentage which will help in determining the winner.

style="font-weight: bold;">In
the Red Corner (get it?), weighing in at Ten Tons:  Cody Bye

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href=""> src="/image/view/51595/preview"
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balls just aren't what they used to be.

With the release of href="">Jumpgate
Evolution, NetDevil will find some well-received success and
reinvent how to create a “massive” game.

style="font-weight: bold;">

Ask again later. Try
again next year!

Details will begin to
emerge concerning CCP|WhiteWolf's upcoming href="">World
of Darkness MMOG.

style="font-weight: bold;">

Reply hazy, try again!

Cryptic Studios will
finally release information concerning href="">Marvel
Universe Online, which will not be canceled.

My sources say

The name and basic
details of 38
Studio's MMORPG
will be unveiled.  Terms like
“ambitious” and “revolutionary”
will be bantered about as the major forum-goers try to determine what
the game will consist of.

Concentrate and ask
again!  Since this one's partially correct though, I'll award
it ½ a Hammer.

will be a surprise hit in 2008.

Cannot predict
now.  Perhaps in 2009?

Sony Online Entertainment
will regain their lost reputation with the release of href="">Pirates
of the Burning Sea and the rising popularity of href="">The
Agency and href="">FreeRealms.

style="font-weight: bold;">

Signs point to
yes.  In true soothsayer fashion this one's pretty much open
to interpretation so it gets 1 Hammer.

K2 Networks will continue
to dominate the free-to-play MMOG market in North America, although
Acclaim will gain more headway in 2008.

It is certain. 
Though the F2P market saw quite a bit of expansion this year, not only
has K2 managed to stay on top, but Acclaim has indeed made some headway
via picking up the North American release of href="">The
Chronicles of Spellborn.  + 1 Hammer.

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One studio will go under,
leaving nothing but scattered ashes and dust.

Outlook good. 
Or I suppose that should be bad as this particularly unfortunate form
of lightning has struck more than once this year.  NCSoft
seems to have taken the hardest hits with not only studio closures but
the decision to discontinue operations on href="">Tabula Rasa
early in 2009.  +1 Hammer.

Grand Total:  3 ½ Hammers out of a potential 8!

Accuracy Average:  43.75%

style="font-weight: bold;">In
the Blue Corner, also weighing in at Ten Tons:  John
“Boomjack” Hoskin

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Zoltar makes
his own predictions on who the winner will be.

href="">Lord of the Rings
Online – I expect that we will see numerous
incentives for LotRO players to stick around the Turbine camp.

style="font-weight: bold;">

Without a
doubt.  +1 Hammer.

- SOE has done monumental things since taking over Vanguard from Sigil.
Even their diligent work can’t save this title with three AAA
products hitting the market in 2008. Add the hurdle of competing with
SOE’s own EverQuest
title and I see nothing but declining subscription numbers
for Vanguard.

Better not tell you
now.  With subscription numbers typically a closely guarded
secret in the SOE camp it's hard to know for certain what kind of
population Vanguard is currently seeing, though it could easily go
either way.

EverQuest 2 - I expect
subscriber numbers to remain stable, but one of the former devs to
remain unstable.

It is decidedly so. +1

Tabula Rasa - Expect to
see Tabula Rasa numbers grow in 2008.

Don't count on it.
*mourns the impending loss of TR*

Worlds will slip to 2009.

It is certain. 
+1 Hammer.

href="">Wrath of the
Lich King - The expansion that many of you have been waiting
for will release during the Christmas season sucking players back from
both Age of
and Warhammer

Signs point to
yes.  +1 Hammer.

Games for Kids - The kids
market will eclipse the adult MMOG market in 2008.

Most likely. 
Though the hard data hasn't been tallied for the full year yet, there's
a very good chance this will prove to be true.  For now though
I'll go ahead and give this one ½ Hammer.

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Age of Conan - Age of
Conan will become the #2 largest selling MMOG
style="font-style: italic; text-decoration: underline; font-weight: bold;">at
behind only World
of Warcraft
. As players realize that AoC is not WoW many will
lazily drift back to their former home, especially when Wrath of the
Lich King ships. AoC will end 2008 as the #3 MMOG in North America.

You may rely on
it.  (emphasis mine on 'at launch')  +1 Hammer.

Warhammer Online -
Warhammer Online will end 2008 as the #2 MMOG in North America.

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As I see it,
yes.  +1 Hammer.

World of Warcraft - WoW
will remain the undisputed heavyweight champion of the industry. Expect
the WoW team to make changes to the game that give Warhammer Online
players an excuse to migrate back.

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Yes –
definitely.  Not only does WoW continue to dominate the
market, but with a long list of proposed changes to the game announced
just after the release of WAR, this prediction has proven to be eerily
accurate (granted many of those changes have yet to be implemented in
the game at this point, but still...)  +1 Hammer.

Grand total:  7 ½ Hammers out of a potential 10!

Accuracy Average:  A whopping 75%!

So there you have it folks!  Boomjack wins this round of MMO
Predictioneering, thus claiming the title of Ten Ton Soothsayer,
2008.  All things considered, Cody made a valiant attempt, but
unfortunately a few of the games mentioned slipped into 2009 release
schedules.  If it's any consolation, Zoltar said he was
absolutely certain that WoW would see a mass exodus just prior to the
release of Lich King, with millions of players flocking to the online
craze known as href="">Ponystars.

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Reuben "Sardu" Waters has been writing professionally about the MMOG industry for eight years, and is the current Editor-in-Chief and Director of Development for Ten Ton Hammer.