Top Five MMORPG Stories I am still Waiting for in 2019

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.

7 thoughts on “Top Five MMORPG Stories I am still Waiting for in 2019

  1. Bhagpuss

    The vitriol directed against WoW Classic by some Live (or “Retail” as we now seem to be calling the modern game) players astounds me. I guess it shouldn’t but it really is off the scale compared to other MMORPGs that have gone down the retro path. EQ and EQ2 Live players can be disdainful about the Progression players and there’s always that residual “resources could be better spent” argument, but overall I think everyone sees that extra players coming into the game (and having to subscribe) is a good thing for the potential survival of the games.

    Okay, WoW Live players don’t have that nagging fear that they might wake up one day to a Sunset email but even so they have to be aware the fortunes of WoW have been in decline for a while. The sudden arrival what I estimate to be more than a million players on Classic, most of them almost certainly not previously subscribed, has to be good for the long term health of the game, whichever flavor you prefer.

    On the guesstimate of a million players, I make it around 100 servers with what I believe Blizzard said was a 10k capacity at least, almost all full – a round million. Add the queues and the people not currently logged in or trying to log in and it might be 1.5m or even more… As you say, Blizzard now have to manage this windfall. The last thing they want to do it let it run out of steam .
    As for Daybreak, when Columbus Nova bought SOE I assumed they would strip and resell. These things always take a lot longer than I imagine, though. The company I work for was bought by a Hedge Fund a couple of years ago and I’ve been waiting ever since for the stripping and reselling but so far nothing. It will come, though.

    I wonder if they will sell all of it? It’s a fairly disparate bunch of IPs and one of the best-known and probably most profitable is a license. I can easily see Pearl Abyss taking Planetside but I can’t see why they’d want any of the rest. I wonder if Daybreak might turn into the Everquest company and run that IP on alone. It seems like the hardest to sell because it would be direct competition for all the obvious players and too big/expensive for the myriad storefront aggregators like Gamigo etc. I bet the Age of Creation lot wished they’d held fire – they could have bought it and released AoC as EQNext, which AoC patently is anyway.

    I also wonder if Smed/Brad might try to put a bid together if the EQ IP came on the market. That might be interesting.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Molly (Mornawen) Bayberry

    There is vitriol from Retail players? How odd. My son and I both resubbed for 3 months to relive a long-ago time in Classic. (15 years ago for me, fewer for him.) I’m not expecting to stay, unless I find a guild of nice people, but he may well stay longer, since he’s subbing with friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Top Five MMORPG Stories I am still Waiting for in 2019 — The Ancient Gaming Noob | Ups and Downs of Family History V2.0

  4. Nosy Gamer

    I don’t think your Daybreak/Pearl Abyss theory was total crackpottery. When I first heard the news of CCP moving EVE Vegas to San Diego, my first thought was, “Isn’t that where Daybreak is?” And the first thing I did was look up the location of Pearl Abyss’ Southern California office.

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  5. Archey

    Interesting thought about Hilmar. That would explain him coming out of the woodwork recently, if he wanted to establish his legacy with the chaos era idea and go out on a high note.

    I hope they get a good executive producer if he does go… I think there is a lot of life left in it, but it needs a strong direction/roadmap like it had under Seagull. Not that everything she did was great, but at least there was a visible leader and ultimate destination toward which most everyone was more or less aiming.

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  6. SynCaine

    Blizzard should work on an expansion to Classic, and I don’t mean TBC. They should create all-new content, in the same ‘spirit’ as Classic. Just fill in the remaining zones on the map, keep producing level 60 dungeons/raids, maybe another BG.

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  7. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – When people ask what Pearl Abyss would get from buying some or all of Daybreak, and this was a common thread over at Massively comments, my first thought is generally to ask what they got from buying CCP. For that there is generally some handwaving about PvP “synergies” and maybe something about access to China because CCP has a depopulated version of EVE Online alleged to be running there. But when it comes down to it, Daybreak is probably much more valuable as a company when it comes to assets, or building a portfolio, or gaining more direct representation in the US market, or getting an experienced dev and operations team in one swoop. You can come up with a lot of reasons for buying either, the problem is that we only know what PA says, and PA hasn’t said all that much really.

    Like I said, I just pulled this out of the air due to some minor coincidences, but people arguing the negative haven’t really built a case on much more than disdain for Daybreak.

    @Archey – The thing with Hilmar is he hasn’t been really much on New Eden since Incarna and then suddenly, with the PA acquisition, it is his big thing and he says he is playing. This makes those more cynical than even I suspicious that his payout depends on specific metrics and he’s throwing in simply to meet them. I guess it is possible he is sincere, but I’ll be interested to hear if he took time to meet with the CSM during the current summit. In the past he hasn’t been much of a presence.

    @SynCaine – I was thinking about that over the weekend, creating an alternate timeline WoW that goes in another direction. They could even take existing landscapes from other expansions and re-purpose them with new story lines. And Blizz has the resources to make that happen, if they dared. We’ll see. They need to announce something to keep the investor party rolling.

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