prediction articles with anything negative (because of course something negative is likely to happen in this industry over the span of a year), a commenter invariably accuses us of wishing for the negative thing to occur. It just ain't so. Predictions aren't wishes. In many cases, we're hoping to be wrong about our suspicions and hunches and dread. We're crossing our fingers that the wind turns and statistical likelihoods are flukily wrong. Can't bet the ranch on hopes and dreams.
But wishes can be fun too. That's what we're doing in this first Think Tank of the new year. This, my friends, is what wishes look like.
@ceruleangrey: My biggest wish is for more MMO developers to acknowledge and support roleplay. It kind of blows my mind that so many studios still talk about how they want to create virtual worlds, only to erode RP support features or never prioritize them. I know conventional wisdom says that people who RP socially are probably an extremely small part of the overall player population, and yet RP servers (official and unofficial) tend to be packed full if the community is known to be active. Single-player games which implement virtual world and roleplay-encouraging features, like Skyrim, have massive fanbases that spend all day seeing how many cheese wheels they can pack in one house or whatever; yet MMOs, in which you can actually interact with other people, are still largely about combat to the exclusion of so much else. Non-RPers can even enjoy RP features too, and it really doesn't take much to make us feel welcome. Why is there still so much resistance to giving us the tools to find and communicate with each other?
@nbrianna: I've been playing MMOs for over 17 years now, and I've seen a lot of ups and downs and lulls and explosions. Last year had both, but it had more downers than reasons to be cheerful and proud about the state of MMOs and the gaming community as a whole. I want 2015 to be a year of solid, profitable launches and huge, blockbuster AAA announcements for all of us to look forward to. I want the genre to combine new ideas with old ideas and prove to the gaming world that online RPGs on a massive scale still make money and are absolutely worth doing. I want to see more retro and less retrograde. 2015, you don't have to try very hard to beat 2014, but wouldn't it be great if you wowed us?
@Eliot_Lefebvre: My wish is pretty simple: good fortune for the titles launching into this space. I want Skyforge to be a blast and a surprise sleeper hit. I want The Repopulation to do everything it wants and then some. I want expansions of 2015 to be absolutely keen. I want good news for the next year, fun stuff happening, reminders of just how great this genre can be when it gets the chance. So here's to 2015! Let's hope it goes well.
@jefreahard: I'd like to see less focus on monetization and more focus on feature-rich virtual world design. And as long as we're being realistic, I'd also like a pony, a room on the International Space Station, and a lifetime supply of Cool Ranch Doritos.
@Sypster: My one wish would be to see a resurgence of big-name, big-budget, big-idea MMOs announced to go with the scores of smaller projects. Where is the next Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, Star Wars, or Elder Scrolls? Make it happen, industry people!
@Shaddoe: I know this is a crazy concept, but I want MMO creators this year to think about what the players want instead of some pet project or some bloated cash grab. MMOs are big investments for both the players and the creators; let's make them worth while for both parties this year.
@MikedotFoster: The only thing I wish is that developers find creative new ways to challenge players. Challenging content is what keeps me coming back, whether it's a boss I can't quite finish or PvP skills I have yet to master. That's not to say that games should be a frustrating death-fest, just that there's room for difficulty outside of high-tier raid content. Questing and story content don't have to be boring, "put a Netflix show on" filler content. Don't be afraid to make your systems deep and your worlds complex; they're more rewarding that way, and they keep players engaged.
@MJ_Guthrie: If I got one wish for MMORPGs for 2015, it would be that all the people who enjoy causing grief in pain in others would be physically barred from logging in and playing anything. And I'm not referring to those who simple engage in PvP; I'm talking about those who revel in causing real misery to other players either by harassment, griefing, and just outright asshattery. Same goes for cheaters and hackers. A girl can dream, right? We all know MMORPGs would be so much better off without those pariahs.
What do you get when you throw the Massively writers' opinions together in one big pot to stew? You get The Think Tank, a column dedicated to ruminating on the MMO genre. We range from hardcore PvPers to sandbox lovers to the most caring of the carebears, so expect more than a little disagreement! Join Editor-in-Chief Bree Royce and the team for a new edition right here every Thursday.