I 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.