For a recent article at WhatMMO, I covered some of the bigger MMOs coming down the pipe in the next year or two. I tried to bring a fairly neutral take for that article, but here on my blog, I can post my own biased thoughts on the games — and maybe a few things that didn’t make it into the article.
Of course, probably the biggest name as far as upcoming MMOs goes is WildStar.
I’ve got to be honest: I’m confused by WildStar. Or, more accurately, by the reactions to it.
WildStar seems to have been officially crowned the Next Big Thing. It hasn’t reached the messianic levels of hype given to Guild Wars 2, but it’s close, and it may get there before it finally releases.
But with GW2, I understood the hype. GW2 was trying a lot of very different things and was quite vocal in making that clear. I’m not really seeing what’s so special about WildStar. It’s not exactly a Warcraft-clone, but I’m not seeing much evidence of wild originality or innovation.
The main selling feature for the game seems to be that it has cartoony graphics and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Because World of Warcraft isn’t a thing, I guess?
Part of this may have to do with the fact that the developer, Carbine Studios, is doing a pretty poor job of giving out info regarding the game. Their website is basically nothing but a blog at this point, and there’s no way to navigate it but chronologically.
This is fine if you’ve been following the game from the start, but if you’re coming in new (like me), you’ll end up pretty lost, and you’ll have to form your opinion based on the more publicized aspects of the game, such as “squirrel women” and “we based our quest text on Twitter.”
Neither factoid inspires me to great joy.
I’m not trying to bash WildStar. I’ll probably give it a whirl when it’s released. I just don’t get where all this feverish excitement is coming from, and right now, it feels a bit like Star Wars: The Old Republic all over again — a lot of hype without a lot of basis.
Never say Never… winter:
The one game that I do somewhat have my eye on is Neverwinter. I’m very interested in any action MMO that isn’t TERA, the videos I’ve seen make combat look quite fun, and I really like that it’s going to be free to play from the get-go.
I’m being very cautious in my optimism for this game, but so far, I like most of what I’ve seen.
Neverwinter seems a game very much geared towards the casual player. There are NPC companions you can use to help you solo content. There will be a dungeon finder tool at launch. Dungeons even have a glowing “breadcrumb” trail to keep groups from getting lost.
Some may scoff at that last one — especially in a Dungeons and Dragons game — but I’ve wasted far too many hours of my life getting lost in Blackrock Depths, so I welcome it.
I doubt I’ll have the time or patience to make much use of the Foundry, but I love it as an idea, and I think it’s a great thing for a game to have.
All in all, it just seems like a fun, easy to jump into game.
That said, I do see some cause for concern. For one thing, it’s being developed by Cryptic, a company mostly known for churning out mediocre games with overbearing monetization schemes. Star Trek: Online was the worst MMO I’ve ever tried, so I’m definitely skeptical of Cryptic’s ability to pull this off.
I’m also a little iffy on the class design. There are currently only five classes in the game, and each seems pretty limited in what it can do. This isn’t Guild Wars 2, where you can be a ranged warrior or a melee mesmer.
There will supposedly be more classes added before launch. There are also plans to continue adding new classes (and races) after launch, though that does raise the specter of potentially charging cash for these new options.
Still, it remains the only MMO on my personal radar, with the possible exception of Project: Titan. Which brings me to…
I don’t really have an opinion on Defiance one way or the other in terms of its potential quality, but I see disaster written all over it simply because of the history of sci-fi television shows.
I very much doubt Defiance the television series will last more than a season or two, and once it’s cancelled, where does that leave the MMO?
I’ve never played the Elder Scrolls series, so Elder Scrolls Online doesn’t interest me.
That leaves Titan. I can’t really have an opinion on Titan when it hasn’t even been announced yet, but part of me almost hopes it isn’t exciting. Blizzard already owns enough of my soul. I don’t know if I have space in my life for yet another of their games.
Of course, if past history is any guide, they’ll probably have me hook, line, and sinker once again. Especially if my theory of Titan being a Starcraft spin-off proves accurate.
Old friends with new tricks:
Then there are the expansions for already released games.
At this point, Blizzard has been so obvious about what the next World of Warcraft expansion will be that the inevitable announcement at the next Blizzcon is almost redundant. The Burning Legion is coming back. You know it; I know it.
The only question is what the details of it will be. I’ll save my full predictions for a later post, but I’ll grudgingly agree with the majority that we’re probably going to Argus — the Draenei homeworld.
The Secret World has said they don’t really want to do traditional expansions, but there are some fairly big plans for the new year. Issue #6 is coming soon and will feature a new DLC story arc — similar to the stellar Vanishing of Tyler Freeborn arc — about the Atenists, as well as the whip as a new auxiliary weapon.
Issue #7 is believed to include a DLC arc for Transylvania, leading to widespread speculation issue #8 will be the long-awaited release of the Tokyo Exclusion Zone.
Anyone who knows TSW knows that Tokyo is a Big Deal. Not only is it the first new open world area added to the game since launch and the first in an urban setting, but it has major story significance as the place where the game’s plot begins. Ragnar Tornquist describes the Tokyo zone as the end of “act one” of TSW’s story.
Suffice it to say I’m chomping at the bit to get to Tokyo.
I also expect an expansion for Guild Wars 2 in the near future. I’m not sure what it will involve, though the Tengu have already been all but confirmed as the next playable race. I may roll one simply for the sake of naming him Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law.
* * *
What are you looking forward to on the MMO front for the coming year?
Are you ready to don your cowboy boots and enchanted revolvers and explore the mysteries of the planet Nexus? Perhaps you want to explore the catacombs beneath Neverwinter? Maybe you care about nothing but the return of the Legion, or is it the liquid whispers from beneath Tokyo that call to you?
Comment and share your thoughts.