I’d like to welcome everyone to 2011. A year I’d officially call “The Year of Hope” for the MMOG industry. We can all attest to what a disappointment 2010 has been for the most part. We’ve seen new releases with a severe lack of content, major intellectual properties turn in to games that don’t do them justice, and were even ‘lucky’ to witness the shortest lived MMOG in history. As such, most gamers will remember 2010 with a sour taste in their mouth, and hope that this year will more than make up for the failures of the past.
2011 sure does promise a lot of new games worthy of our attention…or so it seems at first glance. Perhaps, a few of you have lost all hope for innovation in the industry at this point. No? Then let’s examine some of the concepts that new games aim to either introduce or develop further in the year 2011.
“If everyone is different…are they not the same?” – Philosoraptor
Probably the most noticeable difference is the expansion of the term ‘MMO’ to include games that significantly differ from each other, much as their single-player colleagues do. Judging by existing games like Global Agenda, Need for Speed World and upcoming titles like Firefall, World of Tanks and Tribes Universe, it seems that the ‘MMO’ label can be successfully slapped onto a sandwich, provided that it is eaten by fifty or so gourmands at the same time. Whether this adds more choice to the genre or is just a cheap way to monetize gameplay, which should have accompanied a single-player release, varies largely from game to game. Coupled with a wider acceptance and prevalence of free-to-play projects, this can lead to some interesting combinations. Let’s just hope that these newer titles are examples of quality before quantity, which was a problem of the early F2P genre.
Float like a butterfly, sting like a T-Rex (Ed’s Note: Someone training to be a paleontologist?)
Combat in 2011 is moving towards relying more on action elements and player skill, rather than pure number-crunching we’ve been used to in the ‘good ol’ days.’ Games like Blade and Soul and TERA aim to challenge our agility, precision and situational awareness. For some gamers, this really brings out the issue of player skill, one that has been lacking severely in old-school games. Finally, we get games where gear isn’t the deciding factor and where true winners can carve their own success.
To others, this might be an unwelcome introduction to a genre that previously took a deliberately slower approach to action and was (somewhat) akin to a speedy game of chess, albeit one with unicorns (Charlie!) and spells. With existing projects like Vindictus and DCUO beta, another important issue has been brought up in the fact that some players can’t always handle the physical strain that these games deliver. Thus, whether the newer releases will create a successful blend of both traditional and new combat systems is still up for debate. Continue Reading