A new year brings with it new hopes and new possibilities – not to mention, a bunch of new games to play!

There’s a lot to wonder about in 2013 for MMO players, from how new games will fare to how the older ones will keep up. Here are our top six questions for the new year. What are your answers? And do you have some of your own to add?

What will we learn about Titan?

The 2013 rumor mill for Titan has already gotten underway and likely won’t stop until we get something firm from Blizzard. Smart money’s on that being somewhere around BlizzCon, but things have a way of becoming known that isn’t through entirely official channels.

Remember when Blizzard trademarked “Mists of Pandaria,” several months before the expansion’s official announcement at BlizzCon 2011? We’re betting something similar will find its way into gamers’ hands before this year’s BlizzCon – assuming there will be one, of course.

Which game will fold?

The last couple years have seen a number of venerable, high-profile games bite the dust. City of Heroes was the best-known casualty of 2012, with Star Wars: Galaxies expiring just before the end of 2011.

In truth, many MMOs close up shop every year; 2012 also saw the last days of Glitch, Black Prophecy, and Earthrise (which is scheduled to return), among others. But it’s those long-standing, “thought they’d be around forever” games that seem to get the most publicity.

I’d rather not speculate on who’s going to take the arrow to the knee this year, but I’d think it would be an older game – at least five years old or so – with a still-significant fan base that’s seeing more infrequent updates than before, an increasingly disgruntled player base, and less media coverage. If that’s your game, watch out.


How will Guild Wars 2 do?

ArenaNet’s premier title came out of the gates strong in 2012, but there’s some question as to whether it can keep that momentum going in 2013. The game’s monthly updates have been generally well-received, but can the company keep up that pace, especially if an expansion is looming?

Despite being a generally solid game, GW2 still has its issues, from world vs. world balance to camera issues to the ubiquitous bugs that plague every new game. Then there are quality-of-life improvements like PvP spectator modes, group finders, and guesting… it would be enough of a list to keep a dev team busy even if there was no new content planned.

Every MMO experiences some drop-off after launch, and Guild Wars 2 likely is no exception. Given the game’s high profile and lofty promises, players might even be more miffed than usual when the game doesn’t match up to their perfect expectations. Can ArenaNet fulfill those players’ needs and also expand their player base in 2013?

Now that the initial hype train has been exhausted, I think GW2 will hold pretty much steady in 2013, and new players will replace those who leave at a fairly equal clip. I know it doesn’t make for compelling copy, but that’s what the vast majority of MMOs do every year, and it sure beats the hyperbolic “GW2 FAIL!!” and “OMG BEST GAME EVAR!!!” comments that are more commonly found on the Internet.

Who will go F2P?

There aren’t many options left for this question. Only a few high-profile MMOs with a monthly fee are left, and I don’t think World of Warcraft or EVE Online will bite the bullet this year.

That leaves Rift and TERA as the best options. Both are new-ish games, both of which have had their shares of ups and downs and neither of which seem likely to release an expansion this year, so they’ll need to do something to shake things up a bit and generate interest.


Can Final Fantasy XIV make a comeback?

What Square Enix is doing is unprecedented. The company launched an MMO, admitted it was a failure, kept it going as a free title for a while, re-instituted a sub fee, then took it completely offline. Oh, and it’s preparing to re-launch it this year. Got all that?

A Realm Reborn will release approximately three years after the game’s first launch, and while it should fix many of the issues players initially had with the game and win back a solid portion of its fans, it seems unlikely to garner much support from new players, i.e., ones who didn’t try FFXIV in its first go-around.

Final Fantasy XI is the most profitable FF game ever, though it never reached the lofty heights most would associate with a “big” MMO these days. For all the investment Square Enix has put into FFXIV, and all the losses it has absorbed, will modest success be enough?

What about The Elder Scrolls Online?

Finally, we come to the 800-pound gorilla in the room. The Elder Scrolls Online is probably the only AAA MMO scheduled to come out in 2013, and it’s going to be huge – but whether that’s a huge success or a huge flop is still anyone’s guess.

We’ve only gotten very small, tantalizing sneak peeks at the game, and virtually nobody, apart from a few press folks, has any hands-on with the game. Once The Elder Scrolls Online beta starts, we’ll have a better view, but that’s probably months away. Wise and patient players will reserve judgment – whether for good or for ill – until at least that long.

Now maybe the real question should be, “Will we see any wise and patient MMO players in 2013?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1653322492 Kevin J. Redmond

    Since Tera is going F2P in Korea and Japan already, I doubt it’ll be much longer before it does the same here.

    • Jado Cast

      Yep, I agree.

  • http://twitter.com/DavidCKenyon David Kenyon

    I would love it if TERA would go F2P already. I have the desire to log in from time to time, but don’t want to sub up to a game I would only play 10 hours a month.

  • http://twitter.com/arsenicspritzer ArsenicSpritzer

    Don’t know why Elder Scrolls is getting so much hype. It’s one of the dullest worlds in modern RPG gaming, despite the success of Skyrim. Without the sandbox effect that most player fell in love with, there was little else about it that was very exciting. In fact, it was weak as a kitten in just about every other respect.

    Elder Scrolls is a pretty yawn-inspiring backdrop for an MMO. Hopefully the gameplay will be so dazzling that the problem can be overlooked. Unlikely though since what I’ve seen of the mechanics, they’re also pretty yawn-inspiring.

    As for Titan, who cares? It’s going to sell like Facebook shares after the IPO, no matter how it turns out. Blizzard can do no wrong with it’s masses of non-discriminating fans. It doesn’t matter that the company has been creatively bankrupt for years. Titan will be hailed as the second-coming of christ, by every gaming organization with ad revenue on the line. Most of them won’t even need to see the game before trumpeting its greatness. Starting to see that starting even now.

    • http://twitter.com/Luke_Malcolm Luke Malcolm

      Just like all the other mmos were hailed to be the second-coming of christ (Rift, SWTOR, AoC, LOTRO, Aion, TERA, TSW, Warhammer). I say if Blizzard can do it once they prbly do it again. The things they learned over the last 8 years may of been very helpful.

      But also how could Blizzard be creatively Bankrupt if everyone except Arena Net copied there game & threw in there ideas. Can’t blame a game for being mass population successful. 
      I may hate Activision, but people just hold a huge grudge for Activision Blizzard cause they make good games & there popular.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/YOGM2K3HKEGPEAKXW62K4IJ3ZA Gianni

    Your last comment to finish the article is fair but also the reality. The problem any developer faces is that mass market products will always not meet the expectation of everyone  My personal distaste for the lack of horizontal innovation and more Sandbox game play is a big issue for me in a lot of games that are released today, as they all feel the same when it comes to end game as it always results in instanced gear grind. I crave for SWG crafting and Economics with more structured gameplay components for example but no game seems to be able to blend both as perhaps its impossible as you cannot meet my needs and the needs of another gamer who likes the instances approach over the open world dependency i prefer. The big issue with a lot of game developers is that the brief of there game is eroded over time and looses its focus. More gaming companies need to grow balls and realize that for them to have a great game they need to be the primary Innovators as players do not have the answers and are not the best at solving problems. a gamer can tell you what they enjoy but not how to get that enjoyment its up to the developers to create a game that has a good vision and its clear on its design principles and with that you get a wonderful game.

  • http://twitter.com/Luke_Malcolm Luke Malcolm

    I think Warhammer Online will be finally shut down in 2013.

    • Jado Cast

      Yep, you beat me to it, but it would be my guess.

    • Deacon1979

       Or AoC or lotro, funcom have just laid quite a lot of people off and i’ve heard quite a bit of qqing about the latest lotro expansion

  • BabyChooChoo

    If there is, in fact, a  Blizzcon this year, I think it’s guaranteed we’ll learn about Titan. They don’t have anything to show off this year save for SC2: HotS and D3/WoW updates. By the time Blizzcon rolls around, they’ll have played all their cards.

    As far as notable games go, I think Warhammer is in the lead for most likely to be shut down. I can’t imagine many people still playing it at this point…

    I didn’t like GW2. It was fun for a while, but the more I played, the more I wish I never bought it in the first place. That said, I think it will do fine. Maybe even great. Personally, I think it’s momentum has died down already, but I think they have a lot of loyal players who will stick with it for the foreseeable future. I think they’ll pull in fresh blood, but let’s just say I doubt we’ll be reading any “X number of active players every month” article like we did with you-know-what.

    Who will go f2p? Well TERA is guaranteed at this point so I say Rift is the next likely. I think Rift is a fine game, but I don’t think they’ll be doing themselves any favors by keeping a sub. Then again, they did just come out with, from what I can tell, a pretty damn awesome expansion so what do I know? lol

    As much as I am looking forward to FFXIV…again, I don’t expect big numbers. I think some XI players and old XIV players will definitely come back, but I don’t expect a ton of new people. Again, just like Rift, I think it’s a fine game, but I don’t think they’re doing themselves any favors by keeping a sub.

    Still not sure how I feel about ESO. Sounds okay I guess, but I just don’t see them getting as many “Elder Scrolls fans” as I do see them getting “MMO fans.” Not that they’re mutually exclusive, mind you, but if you play Elder Scrolls and don’t like MMOs, I don’t see this changing your mind.

    • saxophone15

      After the holidays I noticed a huge increase of new players in GW2…the most I have seen since launch. The early level zones are filled with people right now. Not sure if you had played GW2 recently, but there’s definitely a healthy amount of new players coming in to replace those that were not satisfied with the game and left.

      • RBHgamer

        I can support your post, in that i was constantly getting shoved to an overflow server in Malchor’s leap after Xmas.  That was not happening before… same goes for Cursed shores.  and since that is Orr, that means high level chars coming back to the game.

      • http://twitter.com/dularr Dularr

        I can believe that, I’ve noticed Guild Wars 2 has stayed on the sales list for Amazon.  Noticing the same thing in my WoW guild, lots of players starting back up again after the holidays. 

      • Jado Cast

        I started an Ele on X-mas and could not believe how many were in the starting zones again.  I grouped up with some players to get through them quickly and they had all just received GW that day as gifts.  I thought that was funny.  Getting game of the year on some places I’m sure helped sales to because it may have sparked some interest.  Also, when I went to see the Hobbit at the movies, they had a GW2 commercial which surprised me.

  • Jay

    Neverwinter is a new F2P Dungeons & Dragons MMO coming out. It has the name recognition like SWTOR, but without the sub fee or even purchase price. I think it has the potential to make waves if executed well enough…

    • Jado Cast

      I agree.  Out of all the games coming out, this one I have the most interest in 2013.  If done right, it could be a really solid game.  It doesn’t have a lot of Hype either, so people’s expectations may not be unrealistically high like they had with SWOTR and GW2.  

    • Kagitaar

      Yup, that’s what I’m waiting for. Given time constraints it will have to be a strict dabbling game for me, but I am still very intrigued by it.

    • http://twitter.com/QuietNine Quiet

      while i have loved NW1, all its expansions and NW2 + MotB, Storms of Zehir was incredibly bad. What made those games great was the RPG experience: Terrific story, great character development of people you meet, and a real feeling of becoming stronger (lets not even get into well done persistant worlds). gameplay itself has always been a weakness, with no Z-axis and pseudo-turnbased combat. 

      with NWN online, its doubtful they will have the same level of story development that they could have had in a single player title, which just leaves you with bad gameplay and graphics that are so bad, WoW looks good in comparison. i feel like they are throwing the NWN title on something to make it sell, when underneath its just another bad version of DDO.

      • Jay

        To be fair, the combat isn’t going to be the same as the original NW. As long as they supply a nice atmosphere, something I really enjoyed in NW, and make the combat fun in practice; it should be an enjoyable experience.

        And it’s free…

  • Ravenstorm

    Titan could be something. But they killed Diablo 3 in my personnal opinion. And that was after the Catacalism and the pandas. So I’m very sceptic towards sweet magnificient Blizzard. We will see what we will see. 

    Now that old THQ is struggling to survive, I’m kinda praying-hoping my brains out dear Blizz will scandalously use as much of the War40k ideas for inspiration and combine them into workable archetypes and loresettings for it’s upcomming Titan.

    Let’s face it, after the cancellation of Dark Millenium Online it probably will take years, if not more, for another W40k mmo try to pop up. Why not have an all-encompassing mix of Halo and influencencing ideas made from W40k, and by one of the best gamecompanies in the world? I feel that would make one hell of an mmo.
    So yeah. Titan. T40k? o/

    Oh, and Star Citizen.

    • Kagitaar

      Games Workshop still controls Warhammer and will do what they see fit with the IP.

      • Ravenstorm

        I didn’t say use explicit lore or designs. That would be moronic. I said ideas for inspiration. 

        • Kagitaar

          You implied that THQ dying lets Blizz use 40k as a basis for Titan. I said THQ has nothing to do with 40k, as they do no own the IP. 

          • Ravenstorm

            Yeah I can see where that line of thought can be easily interpreted. No that’s not what I meant. I meant Blizz can use the ideas behind W40k for inspiration into archetypes and lore that are not the same, indeed because Games Workshop owns the IP ofc, but inspiration can be gained from the gem that is the W40k universe. But logic indicates all those ideas are inspired on, and not sueable in court. Not taken from.

          • Kagitaar

            Well Blizzard already has Starcraft, so that’s the majority of 40k, and Warcraft was already based on Warhammer, not sure where else you can draw from.

          • Ravenstorm

            Ah my friend, once you discover the beauty of the Black Library you’ll know that W40k has infinite marvels to show ppl via e-books or via the Ancient Way of Book Reading.
            Funily enough in one of these posts I mentioned Halo-Starcraft as a possibility for Titan IP-wise. 

            But indeed Starcraft has made the Zerg etc as W40k allready had the Tyranids, the badass Terran Marine mirroring the Legiones Astartes and so on. That’s exactely what I meant in my first post here when I spoke of inspiration. 

            Blizz allrdy has it, and it can be expanded so much more through indepth knowledge from W40k indepth lore, made in a new/original/fascinating way.
            Anyway, sad to see Dark Millenium fade. For now.

    • Jay

      Blizzard clearly isn’t the same company many people have grown to love… Now it’s just a money hungry shell surviving off brand loyalty. It’s a shame, really.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jhan6 Jong Min Han

    Tera has gone FTP on Korean servers, and I suspect something similar will happen to NA servers

  • Azuri

    Looks like Tera was the first to hit f2p. Jason you said both games need to shake it up and neither has an expansion set for this year….Ummm Rift SL says hi?

    • http://twitter.com/King_Smirgel Mirko Toivonen

       came out november 2012, not this year.

      • Azuri

        Now you’re just splitting hairs. They released a major xpac 6 weeks prior to the end of the year. Of course they aren’t going to release another xpac in the next year. Name an AAA MMO that releases xpacs yearly. Just Saying.