We are here in the final third of 2019, just four months left to go in the year and it has been a blur so far. Everything has gone by too fast… except for those last two weeks before WoW Classic, which seemed painfully slow.
But there are still some new stories I am waiting for to pop up, things I feel certain we’ll hear about between now and the end of the year.
So I put together a list of five such news stories that I will be watching for between now and New Years Eve, and I’ll be disappointed if I don’t get them all. These are, of course, steered by my own interests. Your mileage may vary.
1 – Blizzard – WoW Classic Plans
Less than a week ago Blizzard let WoW Classic out into the wild and suddenly the retro sound track of life started playing Oops!… I Did It Again as the WoW team once again unleashed an uncontrollable juggernaut into the MMO scene. 2004 all over again, and Blizz will be some time getting it under control.
But with that much positive feedback on WoW Classic, including the stock price getting a bump, they cannot possibly leave things as they are. They have to announce a plan for future retro operations. They have hinted at various things, but the board of directors will want the ongoing stock boost that will come with an announced path forward. It can be more fresh WoW Classic servers in a year. It can be plans for The Burning Crusade. It can be a tech breakthrough to eliminate queues. But they have to announce something. If there isn’t a whole session about this at BlizzCon 2019 I will be disappointed.
2 – Daybreak – The Breakup
Part of my New Year’s Predictions for 2019, we have been getting hints about Daybreak becoming multiple studios with Darkpaw Games and Twitter accounts for a while now. Somebody has to be buying some or all of the place. At some point… probably on a Friday afternoon after 3pm Pacific Time if I know Daybreak… they are going to have to spill some news on this and give us something in a press release. Waiting for that Friday afternoon. My vested interest here is to end up with a company that is focused on the EverQuest property that won’t be distracted by, or need to bear the burden of, fruitless attempts to make battle royale a thing again at Daybreak.
My current tinfoil hat theory is that CCP moving EVE Vegas to San Diego for 2020 along with the EverQuest team putting out a questionnaire about a possible player event in 2020 adds up to Pearl Abyss buying some, if not all, of Daybreak. Maybe they want PlanetSide Arena as well, or maybe the don’t. We’ll see. The odd part about this crackpot theory of mine… other people have written more about it than I have.
3 – CCP – New Player Experience
CCP has been fretting about new player retention… again. Despite the fact that their numbers seem to land pretty solidly within the industry norms, they want to do better. An admirable goal, for sure, and they have declared that they are pulling resources from other projects to work on this.
The problem is… well… have you played EVE Online? Nothing short of a complete revamp of the UI is going to make it more comprehensible. And it is still an 16 year old MMO, a market position where a 2% new user retention rate is considered viable. So I am waiting patiently for CCP to announce their plan to tackle this issue mostly so I can either be amazed or point and laugh. I expect to do the latter.
4 – CCP – The Golden Parachute Escape
It was a little less than a year ago that the Pearl Abyss acquisition of CCP closed. That included a series of performance goal to meet in order for CCP and its investors to get the full $425 million. I expect that once the first anniversary of the acquisition hits in October we will see a quick exit by some of the vested CCP honchos, with Hilmar leading the pack. I would buy into his statements about how he loves to interact with EVE Online players a lot more if he didn’t already have a foot out the door on his way to a new venture.
So the news I am waiting for concerns the disingenuous rats deserting the ship. After that maybe somebody will have a better plan than chaos and pitting various player groups against each other in order to improve EVE Online.
5 – Blizzard – New Games
I had a bunch of possible items for fifth spot, all of them Blizzard related. For example, what ever became of Diablo Immortal? NetEase says it is done.
If nothing else, I have the core of a BlizzCon projection post already set.
But on that list, the easy first item was to hear about new games that Blizz has been hinting about. And not an old new game. Not Diablo IV. But a new new game. Blizz has found success in the past making new versions of the games the main developers have enjoyed. This has been somewhat diluted by the growth of the company. It is no longer a bunch of people who enjoyed raiding in EQ so they decided to make WoW, but I still want to see what they have going.