Ten Ton Hammer’s 2011 MMOG Predictions

It’s that s
alt="" src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/93464"
style="width: 250px; height: 216px;">

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 ( style="font-style: italic;">DCUO,
minor releases ( style="font-style: italic;">STO),
the continuing domination of style="font-style: italic;">World
of Warcraft,
pay-to-play to free-to-play game conversions ( style="font-style: italic;">LotRO,
II Extended
, style="font-style: italic;">Pirates of the
Burning Sea,
), 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, href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/editorials/2010-predictions-review">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.

size="+2">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 style="font-style: italic;">Hello
called Hello
? Will style="font-style: italic;">WoW
continue to dominate the market? (Well, actually, that one is a given.
We all know that style="font-style: italic;">WoW
will continue as Blizzard’s license to print
money.)  How will the slew of new MMOGS coming out fare?

size="+1">MEM size="+1">

Mem is one of the newer faces on our style="font-style: italic;">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

  • style="font-style: italic;">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.
  • style="font-style: italic;">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 style="font-style: italic;"> Star Trek: Infinite Space,
    and it will fail spectacularly in its first month of life.
  • style="font-style: italic;">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 style="font-style: italic;">World of
    and be forced to go free-to-play or face being obliterated from

href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/91133"> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 580px; height: 363px;"
alt="diablo 3"

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 style="font-style: italic;"> WoW
extensively and definitely lets you know what his true opinion is!

  • style="font-style: italic;">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 style="font-style: italic;">WoW,
    no one will take notice.
  • style="font-style: italic;">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 style="font-style: italic;">WoW
    has is better than pretty much everything else out there.
  • Blizzard may release style="font-style: italic;">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
and a
fanatic to the game, Gunky limited his
predictions to his beloved style="font-style: italic;">LotRO.

  • When the bloom falls off the
    rose and it begins to seem old (probably around March or April), a
    large number of style="font-style: italic;">WoW
    players will head over to style="font-style: italic;">LotRO.
    They will complain on public chat channels that style="font-style: italic;">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.

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alt="lord of the rings online"

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

  • style="font-style: italic;">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
    given time.
  • style="font-style: italic;">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 style="font-style: italic;">Warcraft 3
    engine, and also
    enjoy all of the other custom maps in-between games. The players who
    accepted that moved on to style="font-style: italic;">Heroes of
    which is evolving into its
    own game somewhat.
  • The style="font-style: italic;">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 style="font-style: italic;">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.

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alt="left 4 dead"

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 style="font-style: italic;">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,
    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 style="font-style: italic;">Borderlands
    will continue to gain traction.
  • style="font-style: italic;">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.

alt="" src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/93464"
style="width: 250px; height: 216px;">


Sardu is our hard-working editor of all things style="font-style: italic;">WoW
and whatever else we can slip on his plate when he’s not
looking. He is also our soft-spoken visionary and color commentator,
which doesn’t translate as well as you think when
he’s battling Stow online.

  • Apart
    from a brief teaser
    for their next MMOG at BlizzCon 2011, Blizzard Entertainment will
    mostly focus on promoting the final raid bosses in style="font-style: italic;">Cataclysm
    and StarCraft
    II: Heart of the Swarm
    . A
    release window for style="font-style: italic;">Diablo III
    will also be announced, though it won’t be given a specific
  • The first details for
    Blizzard’s next MMOG will, however, be conveniently
    “leaked” the same week that ArenaNet announces the
    release date for style="font-style: italic;">Guild Wars 2.
  • style="font-style: italic;">Fallen Earth
    will continue to build up a critical mass of dedicated fans, closing
    out the year with numerous comparisons being made to style="font-style: italic;">EVE Online’s
    steady growth over time versus the sparkle and fade launches seen
    throughout the industry over the last few years.
  • The first details and
    gameplay footage for the Trion Worlds - SyFy joint MMOG project will be
    revealed this summer. The game will involve giant
    eels/snakes/alligators/doom bees that cause a shift in the
    earth’s crust, and players will take on the role of a retired
    Army/Navy/Air Force/Marine officer with an estranged husband/wife who
    just happens to be the only scientist in the country that can calculate
    the exact locations for nuclear warheads to be placed to stop the
    devastation caused by earthquakes and the rampaging
    eels/snakes/alligators/doom bees at the same time. Doing it any other
    way will naturally lead to the end of all life on the plant.
  • There will be more
    announcements that triple-A MMOG releases have slipped into 2012 than
    there are actual releases before the close of 2011.


Saia is the newest member of our style="font-style: italic;">WoW
team, which means that he’s responsible for getting the
donuts for staff meetings. He’s also our unofficial European
bureau chief. We don’t know what happened to our last
European bureau chief. According to Saia, “He just went

  • Microtransactions in style="font-style: italic;">World
    of Warcraft for pets and
    other items will become more prevalent in 2011.
  • Blizzard will announce the
    next WoW
    expansion at BlizzCon 11 in August.
  • style="font-style: italic;">Diablo III
    will also get a
    release date at BlizzCon.
  • Blizzard will finally
    announce their new IP (aka - style="font-style: italic;">Titan)
    as a futuristic

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alt="world of warcraft"

predicts the supremacy of WoW in 2011.


A man whose playing experience dates back to the dawn of MMOGs, Medawky
has been covering a variety of free-to-play games for Ten Ton Hammer,
but is currently filling in on the style="font-style: italic;">WoW
team. He loves grinding so much that he doesn’t drive his car
to work, he pushes it!

  • style="font-style: italic;">Star Wars:
    The Old
    Republic will do better than
    most expect, largely due to the single-player feel of the game. Most
    new school MMOG players don't give a damn about grouping and they will
    flourish here.
  • Turbine will announce a new
    MMOG, which will launch as a microtransaction game out of the gate.
  • Blizzard will unveil their
    new "subscription-free" MMOG at Blizzcon 11. BlizzCon tickets will be
    $175.00 each.
  • With the exception of style="font-style: italic;">DC
    Universe Online,
    all SOE titles will employ some sort of microtransaction model, either
    the entire game or one existing on separate server model such as style="font-style: italic;">EverQuest II Extended.


Xerin is another of Ten Ton Hammer’s old guard, being a five
year plus veteran. David covers style="font-style: italic;">WoW
in-between spinning off viciously insightful IMs. He has the ability to
type text messages with his mind!

  • I predict, with a lot of
    that no MMOG will overtake style="font-style: italic;">World
    of Warcraft
    in 2011, much
    less get anywhere near close.
  • style="font-style: italic;">Star Wars: The Old
    will either be delayed another year or, if it launches, do extremely
    well at launch and fade quickly into obscurity unless it has a
    free-to-play component built in, which is now a requirement for any
    MMOG to launch successfully.
  • Any MMOG without a
    free-to-play subscription will now fail at a much faster rate than
  • Deathwing will arrive to style="font-style: italic;">Cataclysm
    sometime later in 2011 and be a difficult enough boss, but
    cause a series of Onyxia like jokes throughout the community
    culminating with some kind of viral video involving more dots and
    someone freaking out when Deathwing's tailsmack sends them back in time
    spawning Chuck Norris like jokes.

href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/93150"> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 580px; height: 326px;"
alt="star wars the old republic"

SW:TOR actually challenge WoW?


Ten Ton Hammer’s resident news jockey, Martuk has not
officially been offline in more than two years. Currently, the staff
has a betting pool going that he’s either hardwired into his
computer or is a disembodied energy being existing in the Matrix.
Frankly, we’re not sure and are kind of afraid to find out.

  • I predict that despite not
    being entirely original, style="font-style: italic;">Rift
    will have moderate success after its
    launch. It won't do superhuman style="font-style: italic;">WoW-type
    numbers, but it will solidify
    at a decent populace that should sustain the game for some time to come.
  • Trion Worlds will then
    reveal more details about their SyFy Channel MMOG, which is set to run
    alongside a television show. There will be a lot of hype and we'll
    begin to get the first clues of why it won't work.
  • style="font-style: italic;">Star Wars: The Old
    will launch sometime before Christmas (likely November). style="font-style: italic;">SWTOR
    break one million boxes sold and thrive well until the 30 free days are
    up and barring a free-to-play hybrid option at launch, that reception
    will soon give way to the harsh reality that few games can sustain
    millions of subscribers and it will suffer the inevitable population
  • style="font-style: italic;">The Secret World
    will be
    postponed until sometime in 2012 to take advantage of the "we're all
    going to die" (again) fade with the Mayan calendar.
  • style="font-style: italic;">TERA
    will launch and despite
    its fun group play and some creative ideas it will be shadowed by the
    fact that it's an Eastern-inspired MMOG. This will hinder it a bit in
    the Western market, but it will still do okay. It just won't be
    shattering any sales records.
  • style="font-style: italic;">Star Trek Online
    announce a free-to-play option sometime after April.
  • The hybrid model will
    further solidify itself in MMOGs becoming the dominant form over basic
    subscriptions and the better alternative
    to the simple free-to-play

href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/92421"> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 580px; height: 326px;"
alt="dc universe online"

DCUO breathe new life into the superhero MMOG?


Shayalyn is our Premium Member program manager, forum peacemaker, and
resident den mother. She is the beating heart behind Ten Ton
Hammer’s stony countenance. She is also a 12th degree black
belt in Grammar and Writing and has been known to make seasoned writers
quake in terror.

  • style="font-style: italic;">Rift
    will launch early in Q2 2011 and gamers and reviewers alike will
    unanimously declare it polished and fun—all in all, a
    fantastic title. But its linear gameplay, relatively small world and
    lack of group content will lead to a fall-off in subscriptions
    bolstered only by the game’s first major update a few months
    after launch. By the end of 2011, style="font-style: italic;">Rift
    will have converted to some sort of subscription-free payment model
    that will finally bring the success the game deserves.
  • style="font-style: italic;">TERA
    will, unfortunately, be another style="font-style: italic;">Aion—stunningly
    beautiful, with fun gameplay initially, but too grindy in the long run
    to sustain a sizeable Western audience. Asian gold sellers will plague
    the title, as well.
  • Subscription-based MMOGs
    will continue to lose steam as free-to-plays overtake them. Those MMOGs
    daring to launch as pay-to-plays in 2011 will face a difficult struggle
    to retain subscribers.
  • This is a stretch, but EA
    will announce a new link in the massive style="font-style: italic;">Sims
    franchise that is online, free-to-play, and heavily
    microtransaction-based. The game will also allow players to create and
    sell custom content via an online store system. It will be nothing at
    all like the failed style="font-style: italic;">The Sims Online
    and similar to style="font-style: italic;">The Sims 3
    with a quest and achievement system. The game won’t even
    approach the light of day until 2012, or possibly even 2013, but EA
    will rev up the hype machine nonetheless. You heard it here first!

There you have it, fellow gamers; some bold and not-so-bold predictions
for the upcoming year. Has the staff at Ten Ton Hammer successfully
pulled back the mysterious veil of the future or are we totally insane?
The only thing that can be said with certainty, except for the
continuing dominance of style="font-style: italic;">WoW,
is that time will tell!

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