We’ve already taken our stab at predictions for 2011, and that’s all fine and well. But on a more serious note, now with January mostly behind us it’s probably about time we took stock of what 2011 is actually aiming to deliver. No predictions, no postulations, just the cold hard facts of what the year to come should offer us MMO gamers. I don’t want to get too preposterous, but 2011 is actually shaping up to be something of a golden year… we hope. Let’s get down to business, shall we? The following is not a complete list of every title to come in 2011, but rather should serve as a pretty (we hope) competent look at what’s on deck for the year ahead. Dig in, folks.
DC Universe Online
Well this one’s launch has come and gone (January 11th) and it’s currently the number one player-rated game on our site. How long that lasts is anyone’s guess, and whether or not it’s the game for you, it is excellent to see a stable and successful launch begin the New Year.
While it’s still pretty quiet on the Masthead front, this Indie developed title is really looking like a nice new addition to the MMO stable when it hits on February 4th. I don’t think we’ll see many folks disagree that the industry could use more sandbox-styled games, and if Earthrise comes together well we’ll be getting that in a unique science fiction and PvP-oriented setting.
Tearing up our hype-meter lately, Rift is looking like a real success in the vein of traditional MMORPGs. Again showing that 2011 is shaping up to be a year where there’s a new game for everyone, Trion’s flagship MMORPG is looking feature-filled to the brim and should offer a great new home for folks in need of a more classic MMO feel. It’s launching on March 1st.
Down the road TERA (The Exiled Realm of Arborea) will be releasing as well. From the creators of the Lineage series, and being westernized by a team of developers specifically brought together to do such a thing, it’s no secret that TERA is yet another game to watch 2011. With highly action-oriented combat, a deep PvP system, and easily some of the most vibrant MMO visuals to date, TERA’s got a lot going for it and we should be seeing a beta here in the states soon enough. For those of us who played the game at E3, we all came away impressed. Definitely a game to keep your eyes on.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
Most likely set to launch in the third quarter of 2011, BioWare’s first entry into the MMO space has everyone waiting with bated breath. Not only is the IP a massive thing to live up to, but BioWare is promising to give story a whole new meaning when it comes to MMOs. Folks looking for the next SWG may be disappointed, but folks looking for an online Knights of the Old Republic have a lot to be excited about.
Guild Wars 2
With a simple estimated release date of 2011, Guild Wars 2 is this site’s current reigning “hype champion”, and with good reason. A lot of what ArenaNet is promising to put into their game are the kinds of things many gamers can really get behind. The only worry right now that anyone should have is whether if, with so much riding on it, Guild Wars 2 might be pushed back into 2012. If that happens, while I’m sure there will be some cries aimed at the gods, I’m just as sure we’ll all wait patiently. Still until we hear otherwise, I would look for this promising title near the end of the year.
Xyson Earth 2012: Prelude
The Indie train keeps chugging along, and Xyson is looking to be another potential cult hit with a sandbox presentation and plenty of crafting and character development love. Characters age, pretty much everything in the wild can be acquired and used to create different necessary items. There are no classes, and more in tune with Ultima Online or even the Elder Scrolls players will evolve based on their actions. Set in 2012 after the apocalypse has landed, players will embark in a world torn by war and an uncertain future to carve their own path in what’s left of the Lake Tahoe Basin. In short, it’s pretty grand in scope and early reports from the alpha and beta say the game has loads of potential.
APB’s F2P Re-Launch
APB was likely a game that always should have been F2P. Hampered by bugs and rampant cheating, it closed down last year after just a few months of live action. Luckily K2 Networks snatched it up for a paltry couple million smackaroos and will be giving the title a second chance at life in the second quarter of 2011. What remains to be seen however is whether they can fix some of the issues that helped make APB flat-line in the first place.
And So Many More
Not to short change anyone, but the list goes on and one and we need to you all back to your lives. There’s Firefall from Red5 Studios, Tribes Universe from Hi-Rez, Battlestar Galactica Online, Company of Heroes Online, End of Nations, Dragon Nest, The Agency (hopefully), Jumpgate: Evolution (again, hopefully), Black Prophecy, and yes… still even more. I can’t keep track of them all. I’m sure a few will miss their dates, as such things always happen. But really, I can’t help but think that if you can’t find a game you enjoy from any of the previously mentioned titles, then you’re probably doing it wrong.
The Expansion Packs
I’m probably most certainly going to miss a few here, but 2011 isn’t just for new games. Alongside all the regular content updates we’ll see for all of our favorite games, we’ll also be seeing The Rise of Isengard launch for Lord of the Rings Online, and EQ2’s Destiny of Velious expansion. While they won’t have the same parade of press, they’re certainly something to keep an eye on for two of the industry’s most prominent fantasy MMORPGs.