Roll over Beethoven, here we are again. There is still some time left in the year, but I pretty sure we are far enough along that anything I predicted back in January will have either come to pass or just won’t happen this year.
Back at the start of the year I listed out sixteen predictions for 2016, the sweet sixteenth birthday of the 21st century. And then somebody spiked the Kool-aid and the party ran out of control in a way that even a National Lampoon script writing team would deem too implausible to put to paper.
So my predictions look pretty tame compared to reality.
Anyway, here is what I predicted back then. As usual, the questions are worth 10 points each, with partial credit available.
- 1 – WoW Legion will ship on August 16th, which will give Blizzard both one of the fastest expansion release cycles in its history along with one of the longest content droughts, leaving few happy.
Pretty close on that one. Yes, I know that is two weeks off the actual date, but given the number of people insisting June simply had to be the date, not too shabby. And it was one of the longest content droughts, about which nobody was really happy. I’m giving myself about half credit on that – 6 points.
- 2 – WoW Legion will be heavily criticized for the small amount of content it delivers at launch. It will turn out that Blizzard can’t figure out how to make any more content than usual, so the plan will be to dole it out in more, but smaller, chunks over the life of the expansion.
Hrmm, not so much. I mean, you could argue that the initial four zones and the run to level 100 were pretty darn quick. But Blizz did have a bunch of level cap content ready, has rolled out the first content update and talked about future updates. So I think I get a nada here – 0 Points.
- 3 – The Warcraft movie will be a modest success, though after it settles down somebody will calculate that more people have probably played World of Warcraft than saw the movie in the theater. The movie’s impact on the game will be negligible.
I think modest success is about spot-on. The Chinese box office wasn’t all that profitable. If you saw the movie in the theater you probably live in China and being the best movie in a traditionally crap niche still isn’t saying much. As for impact on the game… meh. Did anybody subscribe because they saw that movie? And I think I saw that players vs. viewers calculation at one point in July. I’m giving myself full points on this one just to make you angry. If you disagree, go watch this then channel your rage into the comments – 10 Points.
- 4 – Diablo IV will be announced at BlizzCon. Really. This time I am serious dammit!
Blizzard, however, was not serious. We did get an announcement about a treat, a remake of the original Diablo in the game, plus something that sounds a bit like a new expansion vehicle for the return of the Necromancer class, but that was about it – 0 Points.
- 5 – Daybreak will get a new head honcho who will be selected from another company and will have little or no experience with the fantasy MMORPG genre that has kept the team in San Diego funded for most of its existence. Expect this person’s past experience to be the hammer and any Daybreak problem to be a nail. They’ll be just like that VP we once hired from Oracle, for whom every solution required a database. So if, for example, they have a history with first person shooters on the XBox, you’ll know what to expect.
How to score this? I wrote a whole post about this two weeks back. Long time SOE veteran Russel Shanks stepped in back when Smed got the axe… erm, stepped down… almost a year and a half ago. I wasn’t sure if that was an interim move back then. That lingered until October when Shanks stepped down and Ji Ham, a Columbus Nova Prime operative was put in the top slot, no doubt to make sure the
spice cash was kept flowing. And while he has no notable experience with fantasy MMORPGs, he also isn’t exactly what my prediction implied either. Also, is seems that we was co-president or some such this whole time. Still, I suppose that appointment does mean we’ll know what to expect. I’m going to go with Bree’s call on the score here – 8 Points.
- 6 – It will be more tough times and harsh realities for Daybreak. The EverQuest/EverQuest II teams, which pull their own weight, will be safe so long as they can sell expansions, but everything else will be up for grabs. As a result I expect two of the following to happen:
- EverQuest Next pushed out prematurely for early access dollars.
- EverQuest Next and Landmark merged back into a single product/project, but you have to buy it again it you bought Landmark.
- Legends of Norrath shut down.
- Legends of Norrath turned into a stand-alone iOS and Andoid game, where it fails and gets shut down.
- PlanetSide 2 shut down, relaunched with a new name as a buy-to-play title for consoles only, old version not compatible with the new one.
- DC Universe Online shut down on Windows, left running on PlayStation.
- H1Z1 basic package launched as a buy-to-play title, but seriously gimped unless you are a Daybreak All Access subscriber or plan to spend big in the cash shop.
- New, console-only project announced.
You know, that list isn’t nearly as divorced from reality as I thought it was eleven and a half months back. I even got one on the nose, as Legends of Norrath went away back in August.
And I could make the case that some variation of the first two on the list came to pass as Daybreak kicked Landmark out the door into the cold marketplace for the few players that remained.
Meanwhile, bits of that H1Z1 prediction contained threads of reality, while DCUO moving to XBox seems to confirm what was said in the past about the game being popular on consoles as opposed to being a big deal in the Windows market.
In the end though, I am only going to claim one, if only to off-set those ill-gotten points from the Warcraft movie prediction – 5 Points.
- 7 – Turbine needs a splash in 2016 with LOTRO. DDO rolls along as is, sharing the Dungeons & Dragons license with Neverwinter. But the contract with Tolkien Enterprises for LOTRO wraps up in 2017. While a renewal seems pretty likely, barring a complete disaster, it would go over much better if some additional cash were flowing in. So, after a couple years off… and perhaps learning from the market… a big expansion will be announced that will bring us to Mordor. Cirith Ungol or maybe just to the main gates, but the end of the journey will be in sight. Expect a special Blessing of the Valar level boost to be bundled in with it that will get you stuck straight into the new content. Yes, I know this isn’t in the current 2016 plan for Turbine, but this will change before the end of the year.
Poor Turbine. I don’t think they have it in them to get an expansion out anymore. They’ll just slowly update their way to Mordor and toss in the ring eventually – 0 Points.
- 8 – In EVE Online, citadels will be big. (Ha ha!) Everybody will want one, which will cause a boom in construction and a spike in mineral prices and a rise in concurrent users. It will be the new shiny. This will wane as the close of summer comes to an end and we all figure out the flaw in the citadel plan and the game grinds to a halt while we argue about how CCP should fix it.
Well, I was certainly right on the “everybody will want one” side of the equation, with more than 7,000 of the things having been deployed across New Eden. We never did get to the horrible flaw in them. Some small ones, but no game breakers. Then again, I think that part of the prediction might simply have been premature. Wait until they want to kill null sec stations and POSes – 4 Points.
- 9 – CCP will either close down the CSM or change it so drastically that it is essentially a different beast. We’ll get CSM XI, but it will carry on the now familiar tradition of institutional animosity from certain sectors within CCP, something that won’t be helped by the fact that most CSM veterans will decline to run for election, leading to a fresh CSM with Xenuria and DurrHurrDurr (or a reasonable facsimile of the latter) as the permanent Icelandic duo. That will force CCP to act.
I am claiming a few points up front for predicting Xenuria on the CSM and the whole “veterans decline to run” thing. As for change, the most drastic was pulling CCP Falcon and CCP Leeloo off of CSM duty, as the pair of them seemed to be a major part of the drama creation machine that had been the CSM for a while… CCP Falcon especially, as he seems to thrive on building a reputation of being combative and confrontational… and putting in the ever-chill pair of CCP Guard and CCP Logibro. After that and the election, the CSM almost disappeared into obscurity as they simply tried to get the job done.
So not a drastic change, but CCP seems to have succeeded, for now, in turning the CSM back into an asset rather than a public relations nightmare – 7 Points.
- 10 – The return of The Fountain War Kickstarter will succeed when it kicks off in March, being better thought out. Drama will be way, way down compared to the initial run.
Ha ha ha ha! Ever the optimist am I! CCP ran away from The Fountain War book idea like a scalded cat after the disaster of the first attempt. We shall not hear of that again – 0 Points.
- 11 – Black Desert, the new anticipated hotness, combining an Asian MMO import with the word “sandbox” yet again, is going to be a replay of ArcheAge, with a big rush, overcrowding, disappointment and recriminations, before settling down for the core audience that will remain after everybody who pinned sky high hopes on it storms off in a fit of pique.
I mean, pretty much, right? For a bit it was all anybody could talk about, then it pretty much fell off the map when it comes to the blogs I read. I see update posts about it over at Massively OP, and it had a server merge recently, so it seems to fit in the ArcheAge mold well enough – 10 Points.
- 12 – Project: Gorgon, after being in the shadows for so long, will have a banner year in 2016, with early access success on Steam leading to the game going live for real before the year runs out.
Not quite there yet. The game is on its way, but everything always takes longer than you think when it comes to software – 0 Points.
- 13 – NCsoft will announce that WildStar is closing down, it’s free to play conversion having been a brief flash in the pan.
I keep expecting this as WildStar sets new revenue lows in the NCsoft quarterly reports, yet it is still around. Congrats to a 2016 survivor I guess – 0 Points.
- 14 – Despite all the back and forth and talk of lawyers and lawsuits and who is going to sue who for what and where, the Derek Smart vs. Star Citizen brouhaha will fade away without a metaphorical legal punch being thrown.
Okay, maybe I was looking for a gimme trying to get to 16 predictions. No lawsuit, no how – 10 points.
- 15 – Somebody will buy Funcom… for cheap… to rescue a couple of their titles, but Anarchy Online won’t be on the list of the saved. LEGO Minifigures Online is the prize there.
Meanwhile Funcom remains in trouble, still wobbling around on its own, while LEGO Minifigures Online went the way of LEGO Universe back at the end of September – 0 Points.
- 16 – Crowfall, will still be in development, allowing only limited access for backers by the end of 2016. It won’t really be a thing until 2017.
I don’t think Crowfall is even that far along now. It certainly won’t be a thing until late 2017 at the earliest – 0 Points.
- Special Bonus Prediction – A big Pokemon announcement to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the series on February 27, 2016.
My make up gimme prediction. We got the Pokemon Sun & Moon announcement and the launch of Pokemon Red, Blue, & Yellow on the 3DS Virtual Console on the anniversary. I think the former counts – 10 Points.
- Big 2016 Question – Will VR be interesting enough to spur people to spend money upgrading their systems in order to spend more money to buy an Occulus Rift rig?
Pretty much no. VR is a fragmented niche market without a killer app currently. Not a scored item, since it wasn’t a prediction but a question.
70 points out of 170 possible, including points for the extra credit question, which at about 41% would be a failing grade in any class I ever took. But in the land of prognostication, that is a positively stellar record… or at least in the land of my own blind guesses at the future. And so ends the year.
As for others scoring their predictions, this is what I have seen so far:
It just wasn’t the thing to do in 2016, so I expect I won’t have many on the list.
Meanwhile, I have the self-linking bonanza that is my summary of past predictions and results here at TAGN:
Now to think on what I should do for 2017. First item on the list, get my daughter to make me another graphic.