Thursday, January 3, 2008

Predictions part 2

Age of Conan: Like WAR this one looks good on paper, however it is much more risky in a lot of ways. I am not talking about the mature content here, I am talking about launch quality. Players are not as tolerant of a poor launch as they once were. Vanguard proved that. Vanguard launch, as bad as it was, would have been considered about average a few years ago. There is no way that MMO players will have any tolerance for an Anarchy Online style launch from Funcom. I don't worry about WAR on this one, the makers of DAoC know what they are doing when it comes to launches.
I think if AoC can launch well it will be in good shape to be a decent second tier MMO. The Conan license will be helpful, it is not super popular anymore but I bet a larger number of people in the general public know who Conan is than Thrall. A game centered on PvP game play is needed if for no other reason than to shut up the crybabies from UO.

Lineage II: This is a love it or leave it kind of game. I have to be upfront in saying that I like Lineage II. It has some horrible problems with botters and gold farmers, and frankly it may be too late to fix those. However, for me Lineage II is one of the best implementations of PvP yet. Being an mass axe murderer should have consequences. L2 has continued to put out good content and revise the gameplay to keep up with the changing times. It is a lot like EQ2 in this respect. It did not have the best start but there has been a lot of effort made to improve it, and it shows.

I see L2 continuing to have good, free expansions with engaging PvP goals. It will keep the faithful happy, draw people like me back from time to time, and bring in the odd new player. The main thing I hope to see here are the lessons that will be applied to L3. I hope to hear an announcement of L3 this year, if they go with what they learned it could be the breakthrough Korean MMO for the West.

Final Fantasy XI: Like L2 this one is different things to different people. To some it is a cutesy, Hello Kitty Hell with a soul crushing grind and nap like downtime. To others it is a beautiful, fully realized world where you actually talk with and get to know your party members. I fall into the second category, I am fully aware of her warts but the good outweighs that bad for me in FFXI.

Like L2 I think FFXI will continue to do what it does best, fulfill the initial promise of the game. The strong free updates will continue as well as the less frequent expansion packs. They will continue to build the game outward instead of adding more levels. New jobs and alternate advancement opportunities will continue. There has also been rumors of player made dungeons, if true this would be great.

Mythos: Note to game companies: If you are going to try to sell a game at the same time you start your beta for your free to play game you should make sure that the for pay game is the better game. Flagship really dropped the ball on this one. Even in beta Mythos is twice as fun as Hellgate: London. I expect this to continue as they put out more content. Maybe you should let these guys run your other game too.

Asian Free to Play: While still lagging behind the quality curve these games are improving. The graphics are starting to become acceptable, and there are even some gameplay innovations to be found (Sword of the New World, the games where you can fly etc.). I expect these to continue on their guild centered, castle siege, PvP path for the time being. They will get better at it though. I expect that in the next few years we may see a F2P game that can give L2 a run for its money in terms of quality (not community).

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