Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The hits of 2007

On the dying days of 2006, I posted my top picks of the big MMO releases for 2007. Just to refresh your memory, they were:
  • Vanguard
  • Age of Conan
  • Warhammer Online
  • Lord of the Rings
  • Gods and Heroes
  • Burning Crusade
I'm going to go into more detail and do a little bit of predicting for each of those titles. I think it will be fun for us to look back a year from now and see how close I was.


I think that Vanguard has a hard lesson to learn. The days of corpse runs and that "old school" feeling are over. That chapter in MMO history was closed in 2004. Guys, I'm sure that bell-bottom jeans where a great idea in the 1970's, but I don't think anyone really wants to go back to them. The developers seem to be stuck in that old nostalgia groove, and they need to get out if it if they want to be successful. You can already see them start to back track from their earlier hard-core statements...they see it coming, and they're scared.

They will experience the same type of launch pain that EQ2 went through when it was hit square in the head of the post -WoW MMO world. It will take them 2 years and as many expansions to dig themselves out of the hole that they made for themselves.

Age of Conan

This one does have the potential to do some good things for MMOs because of a) the combat control scheme and b) the world/lore. The graphics look very nice given the videos that have already been released. I think one of the highlights of this game will be how they approach classes that use magic. I don't know, having the possibility that your spell will backfire on you is appealing to me.

I really have no idea how this game will appeal to those who are no familiar to Conan. What's going to be the hook that gets people to play this game over all of the others that are coming out this year? My guess is that the combat will drag people in, but will it keep them?

Warhammer Online

I have maintained the idea that this one has the potential to rival and unseat WoW as the next big MMO, and I still think this will be the case. The people over at Mythic have plenty of experience to draw on with their past DAoC series. RvR, PvP and how it all interacts with the PvE experience is where this game will shine.

Essentially they are promising quite a bit with this title and I have a feeling that they are going to execute very nicely on most, if not all, of the features that they've promised. A year from now, this game will have at least half of WoWs numbers (2-3 million). This prediction, of course, assumes that WoW does nothing to evolve their game from its current grindy state.

Lord of the Rings

This one will be the PvE hit of 2007....trust me. We've seen previews of this game and everything points to Turbine being onto something with this title. What will make or break this game is how they build and expand on an already solid foundation. Will they bring in evil races? How will they go outside of Tolkein lore yet still stay true to the world he built? Being that this will be mainly a PvE title, how they build and expand the world will be a crucial element to growing and holding their player base.

LoTR Online must differentiate itself clearly from WoW, but also offer itself as a viable and fun alternative for burned out WoW players.

Gods and Heroes

So far, the only thing that makes this one look interesting is the fancy combat moves and the potential of beheading Medusa. I'm sorry, but when you're singing the same song, adding extra dance moves is not going to hide the tune. What will save this game from this obvious skin deep combat feature is the world in which it is placed. I want to be part of a world in which there are vengeful gods and monstrous titans...this is what makes games memorable, not that you do a triple lutz before you plunge your sword into a mob.

Game sounds cool, but I think they are focusing too much on fluff and that will only give them a rough start and questionable longevity.

Burning Crusade

By all accounts, WoW's first expansion is very well done. Thats great news because it's a long time coming. I think BC's only weakness will be that the content will be eaten up within 3 months. By that time, most will have hit 70 and will be facing the same end-game grind that they do now. This realization is lost on a lot of players and my theory is come Q2 or Q3 of 2007, we'll have a lot of WoW players hitting other options. I think EQ2, LoTR Online and Warhammer will be the benefactors of this.

That's it. May the tomato slinging begin :)

D out.

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