Hey, it’s 2015!
And as happens with the change of the calendar around here, it is time for some forward looking silliness that I can evaluate at some point 11 months or more down the road, giving me something of a framework for what really happened versus what I predicted. There is, at this point, a history of this, which you can find at the links below.
- 2008 – Predictions (silly, mostly wrong)
- 2009 – Predictions (mostly silly, mostly wrong)
- 2010 – Predictions (lots of bullet points, mostly wrong)
- 2011 – Demands (mostly unmet)
- 2012 – Questions (mostly unanswered)
- 2013 – Goals (mostly unfulfilled)
- 2014 – Predictions (serious, mostly wrong again)
Since I squandered my free time before the new year playing video games rather than writing about them, this will be an even more hasty, pulled from my posterior end list than usual.
For scoring purposes, predictions are worth 10 points each unless otherwise noted and partial credit is possible. Remember, I am taking a stab at what might happen, not listing out what I want to happen. The latter would be a very different list indeed.
- At BlizzCon we won’t hear about the next World of Warcraft expansion. Blizz is going to avoid the year long run up to a new expansion and focus on what we’ll get in Draenor in 2016. That’s the plan going forward; a shorter run up to the next expansion, more focus on the current one, same two year gap between launches.
- Blizzard will also punt on its PLEX-like item idea as foes of the idea in the forums will keep screaming “Diablo III real money auction house fiasco!” until the idea is put back on the shelf.
- BlizzCon will also see the announcement of a new expansion for Diablo III, breaking the “one expansion” trend for Diablo games.
- Heroes of the Storm will go live, at last, after BlizzCon.
- Overwatch, though, will stay in closed, invite-only beta in 2015. We’ll hear good things, but we won’t get anything until next year.
- EverQuest Next will not ship in 2015. At least not by any definition I would consider a real release. Rather, it will enter the “pay to play our unfinished free to play game” state that has haunted Landmark for the last year. And it won’t even get to that state until after SOE Live.
- Push is going to come to shove at SOE, with EQN and Landmark drawing on more in-house resources but not necessarily providing more revenue. One of the two Norrath games, EverQuest or EverQuest II, is going to get shorted on the expansion front this year. There will be a virtual box to buy, but it will really be just a features and fixes expansion with no new levels, races, classes, or overland zones. A few dungeons/raids and the usual set of AA options will be all somebody gets.
- Also on the SOE front, Dragon’s Prophet will get the axe in 2015 and some new Asian import will get its chance.
- GuildWars 2 is going to ship an expansion in a box, virtual or otherwise, that will be the classic “give us money and get new content” exchange that we are all quite used to. It will be a big win, hugely popular with the fan base, have many jumping puzzles, and ArenaNet will grumble all the way to the bank about how NCsoft made them do it.
- WildStar will go free to play. NCsoft has a deal for the China market, so they can’t shut the thing down just yet. But to get to China I am going to bet they have to go F2P. And if you’re going to do the work for China, you might as well apply it in the west as well.
- CCP is going to break sovereignty in null sec in 2015 and cause a great upheaval in EVE Online. Most sov will effectively be dropped and chaos will ensue. Much mocking will come from other quarters of the game, until the wise realize that all those null sec players need to go somewhere, and it is either leave the game or bunk with them. Soon the cry to fix null will be universal, just to save the game and everybody’s sanity. CCP will take one of their full five week dev cycles to fix it, but there won’t be any roll back. Instead they will have new sov mechanics in place and will declare a null sec gold rush/thunderdome. Hilarity will ensue and it will become one of the great legends of the game we tell to new players. Meanwhile, the sov map will look pretty much the same at the end of the year.
- CCP will sell, transfer, or otherwise hand off responsibility for DUST 514 to Sony, including the employees left working on it. It will remain connected to EVE Online, so orbital bombardment will remain a possibility, but Sony will be running. It will end up in the laps of SOE in San Diego which will prompt another round of “SOE is buying CCP!” hysteria. (But that won’t happen until 2016.)
- The Elder Scrolls Online will muddle along in 2015, fixing bugs and waiting for the console version to ship. The console version won’t ship until after summer however, and things will seem somewhat grim as the push to get it out becomes an “all hands on deck” development task, leaving the Windows version to drift for a couple months.
- Funcom will also be in a bit of a muddle as LEGO Minifigures Online continues to under perform. This will cause a replay of the LEGO Universe fiasco, with LEGO HQ wresting control of the software from Funcom, as they did with NetDevil, leading to about the same result as LEGO runs the thing into the ground and shuts it down.
- Hacking and cyber attacks will be on the rise, and a major MMO studio will be kicked completely offline for a full week at some point during 2015.
- EA’s claim that Star Wars: The Old Republic’s earnings are disappointing is a sign of something. I expect less voiced content, if any, and more features like Galactic Starfighter, things that can boost cash shop sales. Double credit if they use my droid battles idea from last year.
- At Turbine, things will go as they have been for the last few years, with a slow retreat into its core money making items. Asheron’s Call and Asheron’s Call 2 will go the way of EverQuest Mac the first time they need an update for a vulnerability. A WB exec will order the plug pulled before the end of 2015. They will be gone along with the pipe-dream promise of running your own server.
- Likewise, it will be a slow year for Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online unless Infinite Crisis is a break-out success in the MOBA world. It looks like it will be lining itself up against Heroes of the Storm, so that looks like a vain hope indeed.
- Brad McQuaid, failing to find a reliable source of
suckersfunding, will throw in the towel on Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen, leading wags to ask if this was supposed to be the rising part of the prophecy or if it was still part of the fall.
- Project: Gorgon will finally catch a break and gain traction via early access at Steam. Some money will come in and allow development to move more quickly.
No Shows in 2015
A quick list of titles I do not think will ship in 2015, with “ship” being defined as no longer in beta or otherwise restricted or branded as being in development. These are worth 5 points each and are pretty much pass/fail. Things either go live or they do not.
- Line of Defense
- Lord British’s Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtue
- Camelot Unchained
- World of Warships
- Star Citizen
- EVE Valkyrie
That gives me a total of 200 points in the first category and 35 points in the second for a total of 235 points. We’ll see how I did in about a year.
Elsewhere in the blogesphere others are making their own predictions, which are probably more rational than my own. I will link those I find below: