2017 – Predictions for Another New Year

Has 2016 stopped looking our way yet?  Yes?  Good.

Glad to be done with that, because a new year is like a new roll of the dice right?  Completely independent of the last year/roll?  Aren’t they?

My daughter even drew me a brand new pic for a brand new year.

kidpixtigerredraw2017

That is her re-draw of a picture she did in 2009 to celebrate getting her first mount in World of Warcraft.  Her talent has grown over the years.

Anyway, here we are again at the arbitrary point in time where we declare a “new” year and start yet another roam around the star we call the sun.  And with that, I will carry on my own minor tradition of greeting the new year by attempting to foresee what may come to pass.

Previous runs at this sort of thing:

Given past low scores I persist in making predictions.  So here is my list for 2017.  All predictions are worth 10 points each, with partial credit possible.  And, just a reminder, these are predictions and not wishes.  I am not rooting for many of these things to come to pass, it is rather that I fear they will.  A list of my actual wishes would look different and probably be even less likely to happen.  Such is life.

1 – Long in the Legion – Blizzard is going to use their ongoing content additions to WoW Legion as an excuse to not announce a new World of Warcraft expansion in 2017.  BlizzCon will come and go without a word about a new box and people will predict that it means the death of the game.

2 – Roll Credits – A second Warcraft film will be announced… for the Chinese market.  There will be no plans for a theatrical release in the West.  The announced plan will have it arriving as a dubbed straight-to-video option on the market some time in 2018.

3 – Really Big Storm – Blizzard is going to make radical changes to Heroes of the Storm in 2017 in an attempt to get it at least somewhere in the same market as DOTA 2 and LoL.  Different modes, different maps, and better stats will be featured, the latter accompanied by changes that will make individual contributions stand out much more.  So rather than talking about a new WoW expansion, Blizzard will be talking about this.

4 – CEO of the Kill – I am going to re-roll last year’s prediction and say that Daybreak is going to get a new president… a real new president, not the current Columbus Nova overseer… with actual game industry experience; console or mobile experience, take your pick.

5 – More Than Just a Title – Daybreak also has a lot of positions open on its home page, which seems to indicate that they have some new project plans under way.  We will hear about the first of those projects in 2017, and the biggest shock will be lack of support for the PC platform.  In a world where Daybreak’s sweetest paying title is probably DC Universe Online on the PS4 and where Nintendo is cranking out hit after hit on mobile (or at least licensing to companies making hits for them), Windows will seem like yesterday’s market.

6 – Milestone Really – Yesterday’s market will get smaller at Daybreak as well as they close down Landmark and the aptly named H1Z1: Just Survive.

7 – Trash Cash – The change with H1Z1: King of the Kill getting its own currency was just the start of death of Daybreak Cash good across all games.  The real money currency market at Daybreak will continue to fragment, with DCUO and PlanetSide 2 getting their own currency.  Only EverQuest, EverQuest II, and Landmark will keep Daybreak cash.  As with King of the Kill, there will be an open period where you can transfer your Daybreak cash to one of the new currencies.

8 – My Card – When the currency revamp is complete, Daybreak will launch new retail game cards for some, but not all, of the currencies.  Daybreak cash won’t get cards.

9 – Point Break – At Standing Stone Games, the statement about nothing changing will last for a bit, and then changes will come.  Among those will be changing Turbine Points to have new, game specific names, since you couldn’t transfer them between LOTRO and DDO in any case.

Those new currencies for SSG titles will be part of Daybreak’s currency revamp and you will be able to buy into the new currencies with Daybreak cash for a limited time.

10 – And Access for All LOTRO and DDO will be on Daybreak All Access before the end of the year.

11 – Hardcore Death – NCsoft will announce the end of WildStar by the end of 2017.  Another re-roll from last year.  Yes, I know you love it, but look at the numbers the NCsoft financial statements.

12 – Cloud Imperium Crisis – Push will come to shove at the house of Star Citizen in 2017… as in the need to shove something out the door that they can sell, both to generate revenue and to establish some credibility that they can ship something.  Star Marine will end up as a stand-alone purchasable product by the end of the year.  You won’t need to buy it if you’re already invested, but it will only be available after its “launch” a la carte.

13 – Hello World – Hello Games will continue to quietly grind out updates for No Man’s Sky, eventually turning it into a decent single player space sim/RPG.  Game sites will re-review it and give it a positive nod.  Multiplayer however will remain a lie that will haunt the game and its developer.

14 – Future Gates – CCP will wait until FanFest where they will finally announce the next step in their road map forward.  The announcement will be new space.  It will be available only through one-way gates that will only allow frigate sized ships to pass and once you’re on the far side you’re stuck there.  No death clones back even.  Return will depend upon completion of a giant, dozen-keepstar level of effort project has been completed by your corp/alliance/coalition.  Said gates will not allow capital ships to pass, but you can always bring blueprints.

15 – PCME? PCU! – The lasting effect of the Ascension expansion will settle down to a PCU count of about 3- 5K addition players online at any given time over the pre-expansion numbers.  For a game that runs on one server that handles time zones around the globe, that adds up to a lot of additional people, but it still isn’t the heyday of 2013 and the “EVE is dying” chorus will continue sing its near constant refrain.

16 – Switcharoo – The Nintendo Switch will hit store shelves come the Fall, but the big deal for this “is it a bit handheld or a small console?” unit will be the announcement that versions of Pokemon Sun & Moon will be available for the unit, so you will finally be able to play Pokemon on your big screen TV and even stream it on Twitch or Yahoo or Facebook if you want.  But you still won’t be able to take screen shots.

17 – Let’s Hear It for the GameBoy – Following on the success of the 3DS Virtual Console versions of Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow, Nintendo will follow up with an ongoing series of legacy Pokemon titles, with the generation 2 titles of Pokemon Gold, Silver, and Crystal next up.

18 – Forsaken AvatarShroud of the Avatar will finally hit its launch state and announce it is live and ready for the wide world to join in.  However, in yet another hard lesson about early access, sales won’t jump.  The core audience has already bought in and new comers will be scared off by the reviews on Steam that are the outcome of the early access run.  If it even appears on the front page of Steam’s the top seller list, it won’t stay there for very long.

19 – Not ShippingCamelot Unchained, Crowfall, Pantheon: Rinse and Repeat, and Amazon’s New World will all be no-shows on the release market for 2017.

20 – Back on Track – After another year of tinkering with the game, NCsoft is going to put the screws to Arena Net and a new expansion will be announced for GuildWars 2.  That will give ANet something to talk about for months. It will also kill of any Heart of Thorns purchases given past behavior.  And, sure enough, as the new expansion gets close HoT content will become free.

Extra Credit Wild Ass Guess – Daybreak hires an ex-Riot person as chief exec and announces they going to make a MOBA!  Double points if it is Norrath based!

So those are my guesses at the new year.  At ten points each, that is a possible of 200 total, with an extra ten extra credit points for the wild guess of the year.  I will be back in eleven and a half months to score that, and if I do better than 40% it will be yet another Festivus miracle.

Others forecasting events of 2017:

 

12 thoughts on “2017 – Predictions for Another New Year

  1. your daughter

    I have my own prediction about WoW, I think at BlizzCon this year that blizzard is gonna announce another mini-expansion and everyone is going to cry because it’s gonna be something stupid with time travelling like,”we are going back to the beginning of time!!!! Because we can!!!!” or perhaps,”We are going to the future!!!! For no apparent reason!!!! Other than that we can!!!”

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  2. Athie

    I predict a quick announcement of a new WoW expansion — because Blizzard’s Legion experiment is showing that they get pretty much the same money out of a tiny expansion (WoD) as out of a content-rich expansion (Legion). So it’s going to be fast, cheap, small expansions for the near future.

    On the “EVE is dying” front… All definitions I guess. The game is clearly in its long decline phase, with public interest having peaked more than half a decade ago and paying player counts probably irreversibly sliding. But on the other hand the game clearly makes enough money and then some. If CCP can manage to sell itself to someone reasonable, I’d guess EVE will have an Ultima Online-style indefinite low-cost future. So: if “dying” means “getting smaller overall” then EVE Online has been dying for a while. If “dying” means shutdown, EVE Online might well outlive us all.

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  3. bhagpuss

    #20 isn’t so much a prediction as a summary of the status quo. The second GW2 expansion was soft-announced early in 2016, by which i mean that ANet confirmed they had a large team working exclusively on a new expansion. Since then a number of devs have been pulled off other projects (WvW particularly) and added to that team. What hasn’t been announced is any detail whatsoever on what’s in it or any hint of a timescale. I would bet on an official PR launch in Q1 of 2017 and an actual launch in late Q3. As for bundling in HoT they already made it official policy a long time back that all future expansions would be included in F2P rolling forwards as each new expansion arrived. it was somewhat controversial at the time and there were loud calls for refunds on HoT because of the “bait and switch” but everyone seems to have forgotten about it now.

    I really hope #10 comes true. If LotRO gets included in All Access *and* added to the DBG launcher then I pledge to add it back into my regular list of “MMOs I Play”. I think it’s unlikely though.

    I bet you are right about DBG’s new project being a console or mobile game. I’d love it to be a console or mobile EQ game but again, unlikely. On the other hand, unless they are working on a license (another DC one maybe?) then it might as well be Norrath as something new.

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  4. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Athie – The only issue I have is that it seems to take Blizz two years to get an expansion out no matter how much content it has. Quick doesn’t ever seem to enter into it.

    Meanwhile, “EVE is dying” is more of a joke in the community, with the first known instance in the phrase coming up in the forums was July 2003, meaning that the game has been dying since two months after it launched.

    @Bhagpuss – Well, I don’t follow GW2 all that closely, I just watch the NCsoft financials and when I see the numbers slump I shout “Expansion!” Still a better prediction for me than in past years when I predicted EQ/EQ2 would get an expansion in November!

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  5. Isey

    WildStar is still the game I really want to like (but I don’t.) Some great stories in there, an interesting backdrop on the planet, and well, space.

    Curious what SWTOR does, if the run of good movies helps it or not.

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  6. Athie

    Wilhelm — I agree that Blizzard somehow has the project management skills of a three-toed sloth. My prediction is for a quick *announcement* maybe as soon as this summer, not for a quick expansion per se…

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  7. Matt

    2016 was a fine year. If Trump hadn’t won this meme wouldn’t even exist.

    I think there’s no way WoW doesn’t announce a new expansion this year. They’ll wait for Blizzcon this time, assuming Blizzcon is happening as usual.

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  8. Roger Edwards (@ModeratePeril)

    Despite some negative criticism from the media, Warcraft made $433.5 million at the box office worldwide. This was more than Jason Bourne ($415.2) and Star Trek Beyond ($343.5). I think a sequel will therefore see a full global release.

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  9. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Roger Edwards – I do not think you have picked apt comparisons, choosing the 2nd and 4th sequels to initial movies to hold up against Warcraft. But more importantly, both of those movies made most of their box office revenue in countries where the studio/production companies would get a lion’s share of the take.

    Warcraft’s biggest box office was in China, where it pulled in $220 million of that $433.5 million, more than half. Unfortunately, estimates are that the studio/production company only end up with about a quarter of that, which ends up meaning that it lost money on the books since revenue does not equal profit.

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  10. Roger Edwards (@ModeratePeril)

    You are indeed right regarding the revenue sources. The US market is often eclipsed by the international box office returns these days. Also whether a movie does or doesn’t make any money is a very contested subject. Especially when you consider marketing costs and other additional expenditure beyond the actual movie production.

    However, Hollywood has a history of trying to establish specific franchises and I do not think that World of Warcraft will be dropped so quickly. There are several examples of video games to movies adaptations that have been tried multiple times. Hitman is one and failed on both occasions. Then there’s the resident evil franchise which has managed to spawn six entries and has turned a healthy profit.

    Considering the potential of the Warcraft franchise, I think it well may get another crack at big screen success. Much like The Wrath of Khan after the lukewarm reception of Star Trek the Motion Picture.

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