It's no fun playing it safe and predictable, so here are my wild and crazy predictions for next year!
The Secret World will come out of (mostly) nowhere to become a monster smash hit of the year. Funcom will redeem itself with its storytelling, skill-based character system, and the conspiracy-horror modern setting. Also, it will launch with a free-to-play option on par with what Age of Conan does with its F2P.
We will see a massive shift away from fantasy to different genres, as MMO players have become burned out on fantasy tropes and more studios release sci-fi, contemporary, horror, and post-apocalyptic worlds.
Sandbox lovers will get one indie title that will surpass expectations and become a sleeper hit among the community. Even so, major studios will shy away from pure sandbox MMOs leaving smaller, gutsier start-ups to pick up the ball.
ArenaNet will abruptly announce Guild Wars 2's launch with little warning, leaving the community to scramble to pre-order and geek out. The game will triumph and will usher in a second golden age of MMO gaming.
World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria will bomb and alienate large quantities of the playerbase, who will then flee for Star Wars: Mists of Rancoria.
Expansions will become extinct while studios will try to outdo each other with rapid, meaningful updates. In a gutsy move, Trion Worlds will start paying gamers to play RIFT as part of a new marketing promotion.
Warhammer Online will shut down entirely to be replaced by Wrath of Heroes, Dark Age of Camelot will go free-to-play, and Mythic will announce that it is working on DAoC 2.
Want more staff predictions for 2012? Pick a writer below: