With 2012 underway (seriously, where did 2011 go?), it’s time for our staff’s MMO Predictions for 2012. None of what we guesstimate below has any factual proof or evidence… we’re just having fun like anyone else in what sorts of prognostications we can come up with. In short: this isn’t science. It’s MMORPG.com playing the guessing game. See what we think 2012 has in store (besides the end of the world) and be sure to add your own predictions in the comments as well!
10) More Mobile MMOs Will Land
Spacetime Studios won’t be the only company that wants in on this growing market, and 2012 will see a host of (mostly bad) ports to the iOS and Android platforms, with hopefully quite a few solidly made exclusive titles as well. Their depth will continue to improve, but it will be a while before we see a mobile MMO than can compete with AAA PC releases.
9) Facebook Will See At Least One Real MMO
We’re calling it now, with Garriott throwing his hat into the ring with an eventual “UltimaTE RPG” Facebook will finally begin to establish itself as something more than a social gaming platform. Gunshine.net is close, but we’re going to see something even more intriguing by the year’s end.
8) MOBAs Will Grow in Scope and Authority
The MOBA genre will grow and more games will launch that wind up as more than sheer lobbies with matchmaking systems. More games will add in persistent elements, and the line between the MOBA and the MMO will be blurred. All sorts of genres from RTS to RPG and FPS will be blended within this new category of online game.
7) Indie MMOs Will Gain Recognition
Glitch won’t be the first or the last Indie MMO to make a name for itself among the casual fans and hardcores alike. The true place for innovation will be the Indie MMO, and in 2012 we will see more than a few of these games get the attention and respect they deserve.
6) The Secret World Will Cease Being a Secret
Kind of an obvious one, as it launches in April, but we’re willing to bet things will get very interesting from January-March when it comes to Funcom’s next game. And we’re also willing to bet that with new management, a new direction, and a new focus on quality The Secret World will surprise a lot of people and make itself a real hit.
5) Zenimax Online Announces Their Game
Finally, after years of waiting, by the end of 2012 we will have a clear idea of just what it is Zenimax is making. The proprietors of Fallout, Elder Scrolls, and more will unveil their MMO, and with any luck it’ll be what we all hope it is.
4) Mists of Pandaria Launches in Mid 2012
Blizzard will break with tradition, and the next expansion for World of Warcraft will launch in the early summer of 2012. The last major patch for Cataclysm is already out and being played, and it won’t be long before the beta doors open on Pandaria (once Diablo is out and ruining peoples’ marriages).
3) More Solid Warhammer 40K Info in March
With but a brief teaser trailer and little info so far released, we think this year will be the year that THQ lifts the curtain on its Warhammer 40K MMO. Who knows, maybe there will be a few surprises: a third faction would be nice, for starters.
2) Guild Wars 2 Launches in September
This is a giant guess and shot in the dark, and we have no real info to back it up with, but we’re predicting that Guild Wars 2 will announce its launch date in the beginning of the year and that its release will be sometime in the Month of September, after the final round of media events and consumer trade shows have driven everybody insane with desire for ANet’s latest.
1) Blizzard Formally Announces Titan at BlizzCon
Last, but certainly not least, with the new expansion to WoW out, Diablo 3 launched, and possibly even Heart of the Swarm well on its way, we expect Blizzard will finally pull back the curtain on their next MMORPG. What shape will it take? We haven’t the slightest clue. But BlizzCon is the place for all things big and reveal-y when it comes to Blizzard and we expect this year to be a doozy.