Reviewing My 2015 Predictions

Here we are, approaching the back half of the last month of 2015, making it about time for a few “I do this every year” posts.

A graphic with the number 2015 on it!

A graphic with the number 2015 on it!

First on the list is predictions.  Back on January first I published a post with a series of guesses at events of the coming year.  The first set were about specific things I expected to come to pass.  Each was worth 10 points, with partial credit possible.  How badly did I fare there?

Predictions

  • 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.

Well, I was way off on that.  Due to the way that Warlords of Draenor was failing to hold the user base Blizzard couldn’t even hold out until BlizzCon for the announcement, so the year long run-up to launch remains, unless they launch a lot earlier than they have said.  Zero points.

  • 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.

Wrong again.  Blizz decided they were good with the idea, so WoW Tokens are a thing.  Zero points.

  • BlizzCon will also see the announcement of a new expansion for Diablo III, breaking the “one expansion” trend for Diablo games.

This should have been.  Instead the Diablo franchise was barely mentioned at BlizzCon.  Zero points.

  • Heroes of the Storm will go live, at last, after BlizzCon.

Well, HotS did go live… just about five months before I predicted.  Zero points.

  • 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.

Okay, I seem to be on track with this one at least.  Invite-only beta and not going live until Spring.  10 points.

  • 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.

I wish.  No word on EverQuest Next… and no SOE live either this year.  Zero points.

  • 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.

You know, this one looked like it was going to be spot on… my prediction wasn’t even dire enough, as SOE-cum-Daybreak was ready to abandon the expansion idea for Both EverQuest and EverQuest II at one point.  And then sanity… and a desire to make money… returned and both game got an expansion.  Zero points.

  • Also on the SOE front, Dragon’s Prophet will get the axe in 2015 and some new Asian import will get its chance.

Well, Dragon’s Prophet got the chop, but no new Asian import has replaced it, so half right.  5 points.

  • 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.

I don’t know if there were as many jumping puzzles, but I wrote that just to tease Syp.  Otherwise, I think this is mostly on track, enough for 8 out of 10 points.

  • 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.

This one seems like “well duh” at this end of the year, but back at the end of 2014 things looked pretty dire for WildStar.  NCsoft just shutting it down seemed like a reasonable guess.  10 points.

  • 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.

Okay, nothing that bad happened.  And yet there is a thread of reality in the midst of all of that.  Certainly some old null sec alliances bailed on the whole idea of holding space when Fozzie Sov rolled out and made it far to easy to troll.  And some of them did end up in low sec space, the face of which changed as well.  But the map does look different here at the end of the year.  I’ll give myself one point out of ten for that thread of reality.

  • 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.)

Nope.  Instead White Wolf got sold off.  DUST 514 still lingers on at CCP.  Zero points.

  • 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.

The console versions shipped on time.  I really don’t have a feel for how grim things may or may not be, or if they are muddling along, going downhill, or have seen a resurgence.  Zero points.

  • 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.

The Lego Group hasn’t yanked the license from Funcom yet, but LEGO Minifigures Online has continued to under perform.  3 points.

  • 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.

I think we got past 2015 without this happening to a major studio.  Zero points.

  • 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.

EA has taken the opposite tack with SWTOR and is pushing story and trying to force people to subscribe again.  I suppose that says something about the fickle nature of cash shops.  Zero points.

  • 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 ofEverQuest 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.

I thought this one was in the bag at one point, with AC down for a few weeks.  But somebody fixed it in their spare time it seems.  Their days still feel numbered, but for now, zero points.

  • 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.

Well, Infinite Crisis went down almost before it was actually live.  Content wise, it has been a slow year for Turbine.  On the LOTRO front we got a bit more of Middle-earth, but work seemed more focused on server merges and a new data center.  Still, that was more than I expected.  2 points.

  • Brad McQuaid, failing to find a reliable source of suckers funding, 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.

Brad soldiers on, continuing in his quest to relive 1999 yet again.  I just hope he has set his sites on a small target… a world that will feel alive with a few thousand people and a business model that will work for a similarly small number, because it just isn’t 1999 any more. Zero points.

  • 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.

Well, I am going to declare a win on technicalities on this one.  Project: Gorgon did get green lit on Steam AND some money did come in… it just came in when the third Kickstarter attempt finally paid off.  For that I am claiming 8 points.

47 points out of 200 points possible.  Not a very good set of predictions.

No Shows

The other set from the predictions post was about which titles you might fully expect to ship in 2015, given past statements or promises given, which wouldn’t make it.  Those were five points each, pass/fail.

  1. Line of Defense
  2. Lord British’s Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtue
  3. Camelot Unchained
  4. World of Warships
  5. H1Z1
  6. Star Citizen
  7. EVE Valkyrie

Of that list, I think only World of Warships managed to go live in a form we would all agree upon.   Everything else on that list is still in some sort of alpha or early access or some form of not being actually done yet.  And of those that did not go live, EVE Valkyrie seems most likely to ship next, since it will be bundled with Occulus Rift when it ships.

The rest… I would be hard pressed to guess as to which one would actually cross the barrier and become a live, shipping, salable product.

Anyway, that gives me 30 out of 35 points there, for a total of 77 out of 235 overall.  Not a banner year for my guesses.  But that likely won’t stop me from making more when the new year comes again.

How did you do on your predictions?

17 thoughts on “Reviewing My 2015 Predictions

  1. zaphod6502

    I’ve been playing the just released Star Citizen Alpha 2.0 build and I must say it is very good. The multi-crew ship mechanics are a lot of fun. We’re starting to get glimmerings of the grand design Roberts wants to unleash on us. I believe 2.1 will be released before the end of the year.

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  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @zaphod6502 – I keep seeing headlines saying “Star Citizen Alpha 2.0 Released!” and it boggles my mind. To start with, don’t you have to actually ship a 1.0 product before you can move on to 2.0? And what does “alpha” mean exactly?

    I realize that it probably all makes perfect sense for the initiates in the fan club, but on the outside… and some day Chris Roberts will need to sell beyond his dedicated fan base, as I presume they won’t just keep throwing money at him… there is at least a hint of snake oil in the presentation.

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  3. Mazer

    There was a ton of argument back and forth on how they should do version numbering given their modular release plans, the initial plan was to do the standard 0.x until ‘live’ but at the same time they had the arena dogfighting module sitting at version 1.x. People got confused, internet fights happened, I think they just got to a point of “Screw it, here it’s 1.0, no it doesn’t make sense, live with it!” I can see how it looks bizarre from the outside, but as long as it’s consistent from here on out.. *shrug*. There’s any number of games out there calling themselves ‘live’ 1.0 that should by all rights still be alpha.

    On another note, reading this post reminded me of the creeping dread I felt when you first posted these predictions about Turbine and Funcom; LotrO and TSW are my go to ‘worlds’ right now, I really hope they keep it together.

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  4. SynCaine

    “as I presume they won’t just keep throwing money at him”

    Another 0/10 prediction perhaps? Doesn’t seem like the SC fanbase is slowing down with buying stuff, seeing as the game recently crossed 100m in ‘funding’.

    Very weird year in the MMO space; technically a lot happened, but overall it feels like a total holdover year, with 2016 looking like a more active, more exciting year that could be a make-or-break year for the genre.

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  5. Pingback: 2015 predictions review | Hardcore Casual

  6. Pingback: 2015 Prediction Review | Leo's Life

  7. Rob Kaichin

    “EVE Valkyrie”

    I’m really surprised that you seem to be so pessimistic about Valkyrie. Not only have we seen VC backing for CCP, talent moving *to* CCP (and isn’t that a surprise) and really positive press with limited eyes on the product, but we’ve seen continuing good press when they have access to the actual game.

    Even better, Valkyrie is going to be shipping with Oculus as the starter app. I’d not be surprised if CCP’s servers get swamped with unforeseen demand.

    Maybe I’m just reading your post wrong?

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  8. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Rob Kaichin – Please to be quoting something that indicates that I am pessimistic about EVE Valkyrie, because I can’t see where you got that impression. Of the list of no shows this year, I said it was the most likely to ship next due to its bundle deal. I would say at worst you could call me neutral in tone.

    I’ve played it. It is very cool. It is nice that CCP has that deal and new investment and is leading on that front.

    That said, there is still a big question mark as to how many people are going to put down the money for the first shipping version of OR. I know that I am not, and I have a system that could actually run it.

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  9. zaphod6502

    @Wilhelm
    “I realize that it probably all makes perfect sense for the initiates in the fan club, but on the outside… and some day Chris Roberts will need to sell beyond his dedicated fan base, as I presume they won’t just keep throwing money at him… there is at least a hint of snake oil in the presentation.”

    Well if that is the attitude you are adopting then there isn’t much point in talking about SC on your blog. I’d prefer to adopt the “glass half full” view rather than the “glass half empty” view that a lot of SC detractors have descended to.

    But I will humour you one more time in this case. The reason they re-branded the Alpha 2.0 is because it includes the first core modules of the Persistent Universe, ie. the multi-crew code, the new backend servers that automatically spawn instances as players join, and last they threw out the old first person movement code and have now replaced it with the Star Marine code. The latter is a vast improvement over the old movement code and basically fixes all the movement issues that annoyed me and many other testers.

    They also completely overhauled the ship interiors and the collision detection geometry so players no longer get stuck in certain parts of the ships.

    In other news they easily surpassed the 100 mil funding mark. I personally wasn’t expecting this as I thought the funding model would pretty much cap out at 95 mil. But then I and many others have been continually surprised at the continued funding of this project.

    So Wilhelm give the project a chance. With a dearth of decent space combat simulations on offer Star Citizen (and Elite Dangerous) are a shining light in an almost extinct genre. We can all sit here and take sniping shots but at the end of the day what purpose will it serve. No other games will offer the scope that these titles are offering hence why there is such a strong community supporting them. Roberts & Co continue to work diligently on the game and if you follow the large amount of updates they post on a weekly and monthly basis you can see they are not simply sitting there sipping champagne watching the money roll in.

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  10. zaphod6502

    Oh I forgot to mention the “Alpha” title is still entirely appropriate. The game is still very buggy and it crashes every second play on my system and I have to lower the detail settings to get a passable framerate (20fps on my overclocked GTX980 instead of 5fps at highest detail level at WQHD resolution). It is definitely not what I would consider Beta ready yet.

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  11. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @zaphod6502 – I was just saying that Chris Roberts isn’t doing himself any favors when his versioning scheme brings out skepticism. If you can’t see that, then don’t feel you need to “humor” me while assigning me a hostile attitude. No mention of champagne sipping came from me.

    When it is actually a playable game, I will go use my account. But all the headlines heralding an alpha build, again, makes me raise an eyebrow.

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  12. zaphod6502

    It is playable to the extent that it is enough to test the major systems introduced into this new version update and for bugs to be logged and reported by testers which is what a lot of us are doing now. It could be called 1.0, 2.0, 5.0, 10.0 and still be in an alpha state. As I am not a programmer it does not worry me one iota.

    As for the champagne comment that was more directed at the whole anti-SC brigade who seem to think Roberts sits on a tropical island and does nothing all day. The negative comments grow tiresome after the thousand time on every single blog that talks about the development of Star Citizen especially for a game that is still in heavy development and probably has the most openly publicised development updates of any game on the market.

    Really it’s all about the virtual spaceship sales isn’t it Wilhelm? Maybe I have it all wrong and deep down you are really enthusiastic about getting a new deep space simulator and looking forward to its release. ;)

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  13. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @zaphod6502 – I’ve said many times in the past, I’m not interested in testing anybody else’s work. I want a finished product. What you describe as “playable” really means “testable” in my world. I write enough bug reports for my day job, I don’t care to come home at night and write more.

    I’ve also said any number of times… it is even on the About page for the blog… that if I don’t like a game, it almost never gets a mention here. Once in a while I crack, like with that horrible Civ Facebook game a few years back, but generally if I bother to be critical, it is because I have an interest.

    And really man, did you read some of my predictions? There was some pretty harsh stuff in there about games and companies I like. All I said about SC in the post was that I didn’t think it would ship… by which I meant being a finished, viable, salable product… in 2015. I think your description pretty much settles that. If I can’t question how things get to 2.0 without a release without setting you off, well, I’m not sure that is all my problem. If I wanted to bag on it, I’d be pointing out that we’re more than a year past the promised go live date. (Something I could have beat up Shroud of the Avatar with as well. And then there is Line of Defense, which I think was promised a few years back. That also might be another exception to my rule, since I have little interest in that.) That’s an easy target.

    When it is live, I’ll try it. Like I said, I’m in for a small amount. But I’ve got other things to play in the mean time.

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  14. Random Poster

    If that’s the kind of reaction from a SC fan that a rather innocuous comment can generate I’d hate to see the reaction if you did in fact tear in to it.

    Him “humoring” you by responding was so very magnanimous of him.

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  15. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Random Poster – Well, it is the internet and text is an imperfect means of communication, lacking tone of voice or visual cues that humans need to tell what people really mean.

    I had a co-worker at one point who used to get angry about every email from corporate HQ. He would read them aloud in an angry and demanding tone and then rage about what jerks they were. I had to point out one day that the tone he was getting… that was all him. All those messages seemed pretty banal to me. Annoying at times, but such is the reality of corporate life.

    And Zaphod6502 has been commenting around here for a while, so I feel I ought to describe my position more fully, as he is seeing it through his own frame of reference and not my own.

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  16. zaphod6502

    Thanks for the reply Wilhelm. I guess my issue is I am trying to get to the core of what annoys a lot of people about Star Citizen. I think you have explained yourself very well. My apologies for coming across heavy handed (or worded). You don’t deserve that.

    My position on SC is that it is a dream come true for a space nut like myself. I am invested in the project (I bought a Kickstarter package as soon as it went live) and I have added a couple of virtual ships to my original Kickstarter account. I test each release as it comes out and file my bug reports to Roberts & Co. Obviously I want to see it succeed as do another million or so backers.

    In future I will strive to be less judgmental and stick to the facts.

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  17. SynCaine

    The problem with alpha/beta tags in gaming now is they don’t line up with the what alpha/beta means in the programming world. A true alpha isn’t ‘playable’, and a beta is generally very rough. In gaming, especially lately, alpha is late beta, and ‘beta’ is now a ‘one major patch before release’ public demo. A ‘closed beta’ is just the public demo part put behind a paywall.

    We need new tags.

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