Friday, May 16, 2014

2014 Not Going According To Plan

After a very quiet 2013, people were excited about the content coming out for 2014.  Elder Scrolls Online, Wildstar, Destiny, and the next World of Warcraft expansion had many gamers drooling.  Throw in SOE's Landmark that will lead into EverQuest Next (hopefully in 2015) and 2014 promised to captivate fans of MMOs.

Yeah, about that.  So far, 2014 isn't such a great year.  Let's kick off with CCP.  The Icelandic game company announced the closing of World of Darkness before the game ever got out of alpha.  Then, at Fanfest two weeks ago, DUST 514 players were dismayed at the news that was released about Project Legion and the future of their game.  Listening to the High Drag podcast last night, I heard Council of Planetary Mangement member Hans Jagerblitzen throw the marketing department under the bus for the situation.  Go ahead and listen to the first hour of the episode for an insider's take on the situation.  In comparison, the decision to go to a 6-week development cycle for EVE Online is great news.  The fact that CCP is holding back the industry changes for one release shows the devs are serious about not releasing unready and untested features.

I probably do need to include Star Wars: The Old Republic in the mix.  With recent news from Lucasfilm, the story in SW:TOR is no longer canon, but that hopefully is just a minor road bump.  The same with the delay in launching Galactic Strongholds.  That decision hopefully falls within the same category as CCP's decision to delay the launch of the industry changes in EVE.  Not launching an incomplete feature is always a good decision.

As for Elder Scrolls Online.  Ugh!  What a bad first month.  From major infestations of botting and RMT to the inability of people to group, the launch was pretty bad.  So bad that the release of the console version was delayed for six months.  Zenimax needs to fix the PC version before porting the game to consoles.  I only played one weekend in beta, but others have reviewed the game and found it wanting.

World of Warcraft players are currently suffering with the longest period of no new content in the game's ten year history.  I think players were hoping that Warlords of Draenor would release sometime in June or July, but Blizzard put out a release date of no later than December 20.  With Blizzcon not until November, does anyone now expect an expansion release sooner than 6 months?

Destiny, an MMO for the console, appears to become a PS4-first game.  For those who dumped on CCP's decision to work with Sony, Activision and Bungie are leaning that way also.  Something tells me that players were not expecting that.

Wildstar is showing signs of exceeding Carbine's player interest.  I've heard that during the weekend betas that the servers would frequently become overloaded.  That doesn't concern me because beta is where things like actual load is tested.  But the name reservation system broke down and Carbine had to hand out goodies as compensation.  Sure, the system is not actually part of the game, but I'm hoping it is not a sign of things to come.  Then again, having too many players isn't necessarily a bad thing.

So far, 2014 is not showing a vast improvement on 2013.  However, the year still has seven months to go, so perhaps I haven't given games enough time.  But so far, I'd say the year is a little disappointing.


  1. Not going according to plan... somebody's plan I guess... but not exactly breaching the boundaries of expectation either. We knew something had to happen with DUST 514, and the story, "New MMO cannot handle the load" has been retold so many times at this point that I am not sure who could be surprised.

    I think one of the as yet untested aspects of 2014 is how well the two new monthly subscription MMOs do with that model. Which one will go F2P first?

    As for an improvement over 2013, I must strongly disagree. Something to talk about is always better than nothing to talk about! Hah!

  2. The Destiny thing makes DUST seem like a beta from Sony's side too.

  3. "The fact that CCP is holding back the industry changes for one release shows the devs are serious about not releasing unready and untested features."

    No, it shows that CCP management is seriously concerned about the potential loss in subs, after reviewing player responses in blogs and on the forums.

    If Jester is correcct about a 5% drop in EVE subs since last year, then CCP cannot afford to lose more subscribers, due to unpopular, yet unnecessary, changes to the game mechanics.

    1. Yeah, I think we can safely assume that the decisions to mothball WoD and put Dust into maintenance mode were heavily based on the need to cut costs because of lower expected revenues.

      I don't think that CCP wants another round of layoffs, but that is what they are probably looking forward to, if revenues were to drop significantly again this year.

    2. I'd definitely ssy that 2014 isn't going to plan for CCP nad I'm betting it is going to get catastrophically worse for them, making this post into the prophetic understatement of the year.

    3. "I don't think that CCP wants another round of layoffs, but that is what they are probably looking forward to..."

      It has already started, with CCP Dolan and CCP Bro (although I have to admit that I'm not unhappy that they were given the boot).

    4. @Anonymous 10:47 PM - LOL! Where did you get your information? You know that both of them are working for Riot now, right? They weren't fired.

    5. Where did Jester say there was a 5% drop in EVE subs, please? I read his blog almsot every day and I don't remember seeing that.

  4. Meh pretty much what I expected. Eso rushed to release. I haven't seen a mmo thats caught my attention in awhile. I remember seeing a trailer for destiny a mmo ment to be played for 10years in true MMORPG fashion but im not gonna buy a console for it