Here we are, racing towards yet another new year. We have gotten into the holidays, a mass of releases and updates have hit so far during November and December, and even another Steam Holiday sale has come and gone. That was their Holiday sale, right?
It is about time to look back to January and a list of half-ass predictions, most of which I pulled out of… well… my ass.
You can find the full predictions post here, along with reactions to what I predicted in the comments. I am not going to quote all of it here, but I will try to get most of the relevant bits in.
I – Ship Dates
When I figured things might land. 10 points each with 2 points removed for each week I was off, plus 10 extra points if any of the names I came up with were used. None were.
- Hearthstone – April 1 – Actual: April 16, 6 points
- The Elder Scrolls Online – April 22 – Actual: April 4, 4 points
- EVE Online 2014 expansions – (working names Excursions and Magellan) May 13 & November 18 – Actual: They changed their whole expansion method, and didn’t use my names, 0 points
- WildStar – June 10 – Actual: June 3, 8 points
- Warlords of Draenor – September 9 – Actual: November 14, 0 points… but I was a lot closer than most back in January!
- EverQuest Landmark – October 15 – Actual: Despite being called beta, this is still pre-alpha development and nowhere near live, 0 points
- StarCraft: Legacy of the Void – October 15 – Actual: Ha ha, is Blizzard ever going to ship this? 0 points
- EverQuest II expansion #10 (working name Cheese of the Ratonga) – November 4 – Actual: November 25, 4 points
- LEGO Minifigures Online – November 4 – Actual: October 1, 2 points
- EverQuest expansion #21 (working name Return of Lady Vox) – November 25 – Actual: November 11, 6 points
Point total: 30 out of 100, no bonus points
II – Missed Dates
Project I said would not ship in 2014, and by ship I mean live, no “beta” tag, real and honest to goodness shipped. 10 points for each, pass/fail.
- EverQuest Next
- Heroes of the Storm
- Line of Defense
- Lord British’s Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtue
- World of Warships
Not one went live. Hell, EverQuest Next isn’t even a bare-bones pre-alpha yet. I’ll be putting that one in the 2016 basket going forward. The rest… it was not unreasonable to expect them Shroud of the Avatar, as an example, listed October 2014 in its Kickstarter.
Point total: 50 out of 50
III – Changes, Offers, and Upsets
Predictions about things that would come to pass in 2014. Each is worth 10 points, with partial credit for things that are close.
- World of Warcraft will report a small boost in subscriptions for Q4 2013 based on BlizzCon and Warlords of Draenor. Subs will then resume a slow down trend until the expansion ships.
Mostly right. There was a surge at the end of the third quarter that seemed to buck that trend. Three out of four quarters right though, 7 points.
- Blizzard will announce that WoW subscribers will get special benefits in Hearthstone.
Well, we got a mount for playing. I am giving myself half credit on that. 5 points.
- Blizzard’s World of Warcraft 10 year anniversary gift will be a mount for those subscribers who log in during the right time frame.
No, it is only another pet. The whole mount/chopper thing was another gig, and I am not all that happy on that front. 0 points.
- Blizzard’s insta-90 option will be available as a service for $35 by December of 2014.
The service is available… remember, it wasn’t even a thing in January… but the price is $60. 5 points.
- SOE’s naming decision with EverQuest Next and EverQuest Next Landmark will come back to haunt them with some headline grabbing rage as people outside of the hardcore fan circles download Landmark and discover that this was not the game they were expecting. One (or both) of the products will end up with a new name.
Oh, hey, EverQuest Next Landmark is now just Landmark. Not a completely new name, but enough for 3 points I think.
- ArenaNet will slow down their continuous content update plan and announce they are working on an expansion for GuildWars 2. Off the record, Anet will report that their master’s in Seoul demanded this.
It isn’t clear to me where this is headed. There was a cut back on the living story for a bit, but now that is back. On the other hand, there is also something more than a rumor about Anet working on an expansion for 2015. 0 points.
- WildStar will be off to the races with a smooth launch and a huge initial spike, but it will fall into the dread “three monther” category as subscriptions will trail off dramatically.
This wasn’t really a stretch, but it feels like WildStar dumped hard on the subscriber front, with the usual NCsoft treatment; big layoffs. How long until the second NCsoft shoe drops and it gets cancelled? 10 points.
- The Elder Scrolls Online will have a rocky launch, starting with a delay for the PC side of the house. But the game will manage to capture enough of the Elder Scrolls franchise to sustain the game, making it one of the rare recent MMORPGs, one that doesn’t peak in the first month and go downhill from there.
Yeah, shipped on time, things were a bit rocky, but subscribers seem to have faded as well. 0 points.
- WildStar will announce plans to move to a free to play model before the end of the year.
Hasn’t happened… yet. But clearly there is talk and rumor of problems and low subscription numbers. The real question will probably end up being will NCsoft allow them to change business model… possibly good money after bad in the eyes of Seoul… pare them back to profitability, or just put a bullet in them in 2015? 0 points for me.
- The Elder Scrolls Online will not budge on to the monthly subscription model in 2013.
Well, at least I won on that. I suspect that no major change will come to their business model until the console versions ship… some day. 10 points.
- Turbine will remove the 500 Turbine Points per month stipend from Lifetime subscriber accounts in Lord of the Rings Online.
They actually did not do this. The future of the game is dim as Turbine tries to jump on yesterday’s bandwagon (MOBAs) looking for a cash cow, but they left us lifetime subscribers alone. 0 points.
- Turbine’s Gift of the Valar insta-level option will be revised after the trial run. The new version, with a new name, will boost players at least 10 additional levels and include all of the pre-Helm’s Deep expansions.
Nope. Once Turbine comes up with a half-assed idea, they stick with it. 0 points.
- With no support/budget for any raise in the level cap featuring fully voiced content, Star Wars: The Old Republic will follow on the Galactic Starfighter mini-game with more of the same. First up will be Droid Battles. Somewhat akin to Pokemon and WoW Pet Battles, to which it will be immediately compared, it will be far more focused on upgrading parts and abilities on a small set of droid models. Cosmetic options for droids, as well as special models, will be the cash shop aspect of this feature.
Again, no biscuit. SWTOR even got a level cap increase, which I guess means more fully voiced content. I still think the Droid Battles is a great idea though. 0 points.
- CCP will announce new areas of space to explore, as they have hinted at since Rubicon. The new areas will be a cross between null sec and wormhole space. Local chat will work like W-space and there won’t be any sovereignty. You get to keep the space you can hold. But there will be none of the mucking about with wormhole stability. Jump gates will be the mode of travel. And this new area of space will be just our of capital ship jump range.
You know, I was almost on to something with this, compared with what Rhea ended up giving us. Maybe a little something for the effort? 2 points?
- CCP will severely restrict drone assist in 2014. However, it will be done in typical CCP fashion and will pretty much break drones for all purposes until they do a big drone revamp as part of the second 2014 expansion.
They nerfed drone assist, but they did it in the other typical CCP fashion and put a quick band-aid on it then walked away while various devs denied it was them who touched it last. 5 points.
- Funcom will finally have an unequivocal success with the launch of LEGO Minifigures Online.
Erm… I couldn’t tell you really, which I guess means no. Plus, the usual “failed to meet expectations” talk from them. Couldn’t even win with LEGO. 0 points.
- The inevitable rough ride for Chris Roberts will come when Star Citizen needs to start generating revenue beyond the donations of the faithful and features begin to get trimmed down to a more realistic target. It doesn’t mean that the game(s) won’t be good, but they won’t be everything ever promised by Chris Roberts. That will make a few big spenders rage.
Nope, Chris Roberts is still out there selling the full on dream that Star Citizen will be everything any fan boy has ever projected on the title, with the addition of space bonsai. Granted, it helps that nothing substantial has shipped, just a couple of teaser modules. 0 points.
- The Brad McQuaid “challenging epic planar high fantasy” Kickstarter won’t fund if he asks for more than $500,000. I just don’t think he has the reputation/following of Mark Jacobs or Lord British.
Pretty much on the money. If he had asked for $500K he would have made it. 10 points.
- 2014 will be the year of the “insta-level” option for “levels” focused MMOs successful enough to ship an expansion that boosted the level cap… which, honestly, isn’t that many games when I think about it. I will count this as fulfilled if I get EverQuest and Rift and one other game.
Fulfilled. Even Funcom has something for Age of Conan running now. 10 points.
- The near-ubiquity of free to play as an option for MMORPGs will start to take its toll on those games for which “it’s crap, but it’s free!” was the prime competitive advantage. Expect to see more than half a dozen Asian imports fold up shop in North America in 2014.
I bet there is one out there.
I thought somebody said RF Online was going down, but the site is still up. And I keep expecting Silk Road Online to falter and die. I suspect it is sustained by the mistaken belief that you can buy drugs there. Still, close enough for, say, 7 points.
74 out of 200 points. The future is murky at best when you lack actual, first hand knowledge.
IV – Scoring
- 30 out of 100 in the first section
- 50 out of 50 points in the second
- 74 out of 200 points round up the third
That gives me 154 points of out 350, which would be a failing grade in most classes I took in college. That psych class with the hilariously altered curve might be the one exception.
On the other hand, getting as much right as I did… and I could have spun the news to make myself seem more on target than I was, but I chose to be conservative on that front… would clearly put me amongst the ranks of those such as Jeane Dixon. I could re-brand as The MMO Psychic!
Now I have a couple of weeks to bend my mind once again towards the future for a January 1st post.
V – Predictions of Others
Of course, I wasn’t the only one to hang it out there and make some wild guesses about the future. I counted the following blogs jumping on the futurist bandwagon in one form or another:
- Bhagpuss (review)
- Hardcore Casual (review and new predictions)
- Healing the Masses (review)
- Leo’s Life (review)
- Murf Versus Internet
- Player Versus Developer
- The Nosy Gamer
While it isn’t a competition, it is always interesting to see what comes to pass. (Their own prediction reviews linked as well, where available.)