Could 2015 be the year of returning to old MMO loves?

cool yearI don’t think it’s news to any of you that 2015 is not going to be the biggest year for major MMO launches. We might get a couple mid-range and several indie titles, not to mention many alpha “releases,” but it’s not going to be the TSW/GW2/ESO/AA/WildStar/FF14 bonanza that we’ve enjoyed in the past few years.

But I don’t think 2015 is going to be a wasteland, either. Actually, I am starting to suspect that it might be a fertile field for enriching older products with (a) expansions, (b) promotions, and (c) players returning because they’re not currently chasing the hot new thing. Is that bad? Absolutely not!

Right now we’re staring at two big expansions — GW2: Heart of Thorns and FFXIV: Heavensword (I prefer to think it’s “heavensword” and not some hick “heavenSWARD!” that absolutely does not roll off the tongue) — and that’s just the start. Oh, and an Ultima Online expansion too.  Ultima Online, people. SWTOR is aiming for two expansions along what it’s been doing the past couple of years.

TSW will finally be moving past Tokyo to new territories. Elder Scrolls Online could see a FF14-like rebirth with Update 6, the buy to play transition, and its upcoming console launch. Games like ArcheAge, Age of Conan, EVE, RIFT, LOTRO, Neverwinter, Star Trek Online, Allods, EverQuest II… well, just about every MMO that isn’t on minimum life support has made noise about content plans for this year.

I’m actually really OK with all of this. Sure, I’d love it if we were suprised with more Crowfall-like new game announcements (because following up-and-coming games is awesome), but taking a year off of the hype highway to enjoy current and past MMO loves that are still developing content is a great excuse to exercise contentment, reestablish old online friendships, and finish up content that we’ve otherwise been ignoring.

MMOs grow, and our adventures in them are not necessarily one-and-done. The short-sighted “three-month MMO” stereotype is falling apart from the reality of players and bloggers cycling back to an ever-growing roster of virtual homes. We no longer have to just have one. We no longer have to be waiting for that one, mythical MMO that will solve all problems. We have choices that are becoming more attractive by virtue of their maturing.

Grow and prosper, games in 2015. Experiment, enjoy, and game guilt-free, players of 2015.

8 thoughts on “Could 2015 be the year of returning to old MMO loves?

  1. Lethality March 12, 2015 / 9:15 am

    I feel like the most important games for the genre in quite some time are on the docket in some form this year. Star Citizen, Crowfall, Revival, Shroud of the Avatar, Camelot Unchained. Much more important than the “triple A” games of the past 2-3 years.

    We’re seeing not just new funding models, but new development models that will allow the genre to finally move forward. There is technology and tools that have evolved which let smaller teams build top-quality games without reinventing the wheel every time. And there isn’t this unrealistic expectation of matching “WoW numbers” anymore.

    The games in the genre can finally start having their own identity and cater to those specific audiences. It’s not one-size-fits-all anymore, and that’s a great thing!

  2. Shintar March 12, 2015 / 10:57 am

    SWTOR hasn’t actually announced any expansions for this year; that rumour was a case of bad reporting.

  3. Syp March 12, 2015 / 12:20 pm

    “Our plan is to deliver two major updates with this new story direction later this year – one in the summer and the other by the end of the year.”

    This is consistent with what we got with the expansions of 2014 and 2013, unless you want to quibble over naming semantics.

  4. C. T. Murphy March 12, 2015 / 1:05 pm

    It’s only a bad time to be a fan of new, AAA MMORPGs. Everything else seems peachy enough.

  5. ironweakness March 12, 2015 / 1:14 pm

    Personally I’m finished with trying to find the one MMO to rule them all. That mindset was carried over from my WoW days for a long time but I’m figuring out how to play two or three titles at once (or cycle back and forth between them over longer time periods) because there are so many I enjoy for different reasons.

    What I’d like to see are developers design content (and business models) that work with this paradigm shift. While I have some criticism with WoW’s garrisons, I do think that’s the kind of content that allows a player to keep in touch with a game in short sessions while focusing on other titles as well. Brief daily activities, catch up mechanics, offline interaction, and account bound features are the kinds of things that make games easier to play in short doses alongside other MMOs or in periodic returns.

    Syp, I know you have been multi-gaming MMOs for a while and maybe you’ve already written this somewhere, but I’d be interested to know what features you find beneficial to this playstyle.

  6. Shintar March 12, 2015 / 3:39 pm

    I would say semantics do matter when it comes to the question of whether a new piece of content is an expansion or just an “update” (read: patch)…

  7. j3w3l March 14, 2015 / 10:09 pm

    I think I said something similar at the start of the year. With a lack of big games coming out it gives a lot more attention to those that might have missed it and just those still updating. I think this will be a very good thing as well, maybe slow down the mmo tourist atmosphere

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