It’s really starting to sink in that we are not only in the final days of this year, but of this decade as well. For me, the concept of decade identity got lost when we moved out of the 1990s, but still, the passage of 10 years is significant. We were in a different place in 2010 as a world and culture, and I certainly would not have anticipated being where I am at today.
But instead of looking back, today I want to look ahead. When we turn the calendar page to January 1st, 2020, a full new year of gaming developments will lie ahead. 2019 was so-so when it came to MMORPGs — we had some great expansions and the return of City of Heroes, but we also didn’t see much in the way of new launches. We need new blood to mix in with the old, because these aging titles are being asked to bear more and more of the responsibility for carrying the genre while the next generation is in development.
So here’s what I want to see happen with MMOs in 2020 — and what I think needs to happen:
New games need to get out there and launch
I’m not advocating launching titles half-baked and before they are ready, but seriously, we have had some games in development for five, six, seven years now. We’ve paid into Kickstarters back in 2012, 2013, 2014 that still haven’t seen the light of day. And the community is HUNGRY for a major launch (heck, just look at how exciting WoW Classic’s launch proved to be). I’m willing to be patient and wait, but out of all of the crop of upcoming titles, we have to be close to a few big-name ones ready to pull the trigger.
Older titles have to come up with reasons to keep us engaged
I think a lot of players are more than willing to come back to games provided that there is something genuinely exciting to see and do. Whether that’s a revolutionary expansion, a new type of server, player created content, new systems, better business models, or what have you, these studios can’t sit idle and ride out that long tail. A new year means a chance to set a vision for that year and stir up the playerbase for a great journey ahead.
Dead games should be revived
If City of Heroes and various emulators showed us anything last year, it’s that there is a big community out there that is more than eager to jump back into deceased MMOs if someone revives them. Emulators are more than glad to try to keep things alive, but companies would be smart to do that officially and help preserve these titles while making some easy revenue.
Also, Fallen Earth needs to come back in its upgraded form.
Developers should be more communicative
Some studios overdo this, sure, but the ones that are too silent and sporadic with communication — SSG and ArenaNet are two that immediately leap to mind — there needs to be more consistent and frequent talk from the devs to the playerbase. Bad things happen when players are kept in the dark too long.