Wolfshead wrote a great article expressing his views on the current MMO situation. It's well worth a read.
I recall when my husband and I were playing EverQuest and imagining how amazing MMO's might be ten years from then. Here we are ten years later and we're both playing old MMO's because the new stuff is so lackluster. What the heck happened? I think Wolfshead's explanation of what happened is pretty spot on.
Will we see something more innovative and going back to our community roots in the next ten years? Well, let's see what's coming up:
- From SOE we have DC Universe Online, The Agency, and references to EverQuest "Next". I'm sure there will be some innovative items for sale in the cash shop, but as for gameplay, guess we'll wait and see.
- Many old school gamers seem to have their hopes in Final Fantasy XIV. This is one of the few upcoming titles I have an interest in. We'll see if they innovate and improve upon the previous version or are just slapping the WoW formula on top of it.
- Admittedly, I haven't read up much on Guild Wars 2. Having recently purchased the original Guild Wars Trilogy and no longer playing, I just have no enthusiasm for it. I felt too isolated with all the instancing.
- Star Wars: The Old Republic is another one I have no interest in. It seems like a single player game with not enough features to keep me interested for any length of time.
- Still not enough information yet on TERA. Not getting hopes up for innovation and community.
- Funcom is working on The Secret World. Not much more to say.
- Cryptic will announce a new MMO this summer. Please no. *crosses fingers it's not related to Forgotten Realms.*
- Add to that a Wheel of Time MMO by Red Eagle Games, and some yet unannounced titles by 38 Studios, Slipgate Ironworks, and ZeniMax Studios.
This list is by no means complete but that's a lot of games. I honestly don't expect any of these to be an improvement and offer something completely new. I hope I'm wrong but I think it's going to take more than ten years. It's going to take time for the WoW effect to start wearing off. Maybe as the current gaming population ages, their tastes will change so they begin to seek out greener pastures. Or maybe many be too deeply rooted to leave. I can only guess, but I'm definitely not as inspired to imagine the wondrous things that companies might bring to an MMO ten years from now as I once was.