I hope that 2008 pans out better for us, the die-hard fans of the MMO genre. We did see some failures this year, and perhaps got a glimpse into the future on a couple of titles that may or may not even see the light of day (I'm pointing directly at you, Perpetual). But when the chips are down, one can only look up right?
Here's to hoping that 2008 becomes the measuring stick by which all future games will be judged. Let's see some real ingenuity and ground-breaking gameplay. Let's really get our proverbial socks knocked off. Let's see what we can do about reducing the redundant grind, or at least the way it is presented. Let's have immersive interfaces with NPC's like you see on Mass Effect - full spoken dialouge with lips moving. Speaking of NPC's, I want to see an entire city come to life, where the NPC's run quests just like us, and gab about on their cell phones or wonder about running errands. I am SOO tired of seeing NPC's just stand there 24/7 doing sod all. I want to be able to hunt down an NPC / quest-giver / quest-turner-iner going about his normal business through the day AND NOT find him in the exact same spot I left him 4 weeks ago!
Let's nail down the whole Real Money Trade (RMT) issues that plague every game in existance. Seriously devs - we are either against them or with them...please pick a side and move with it. Let's quit waffling about and give it the serious treatment it deserves. Either take a crap or get off the pot.
Let's work on improving the Looking For Group (LFG) and Looking For More (LFM) tools. Seriously, this is another plague that is effecting the games. The biggest blame I'd say lays with the players themselves, NOT using ANY of the tools provided them.
Mounts should NOT be high level exclusive items! They should be attainable by anyone with an account at an early stage. There is a true vanguard of a game out there that has finally gotten this one right. Let's see other games follow suit, and not require an 800+ FICO credit score and 1,000 seasons worth of experience to have the privelege to buy or ride.
Make User Interfaces (UIs) less complicated and ugly and more useful and scaleable. Allow a ton of customization. Remember not everyone plays the exact same way, and believe it or not, everyone's brain works different than their neighbor!
Now I know that games due out to release in 2008 have been in the works for several years already, but I'm talking about game companies out there that are contemplating a new game, and that might begin work in 2008. Allow way more input by us, the avid MMO players - you don't necessarily have to agree with it all but for god's sake, consider it as very good advice from the very group of people who will be out there BUYING your game when it gets released. Also, lets cut the elitist beta tester requirements. For goodness sake, there are tons more alienated video gamers out there that you could tap into, all with various tastes, backgrounds and hardware. Let them test it too! Remember, word of mouth especially in this day and age of the Internet (thanks Al Gore!) is golden!
I hope that 2008 delivers some innovation and helps to break the mundane that is today's MMO grind. I hope we can take immersion to a new level and match it with breath-taking graphics. Here's to you, the developers, publishers and money people behind our favorite past-time!
Happy New Year!