2010 in Review pt. 1

Another year has come and gone quickly for the gaming universe.  Sometimes it feels like all these years bleed together and I can’t recall what released in 2010 or 2009 and sometimes I’m not even sure if I enjoyed this year of gaming or not.  This is why I’m so glad that I have a website where I write my thoughts because I can look back at the end of the year and see a clearly outlined narrative.

Each year I try, like many others, to make predictions.  It’s fun to see how close to the mark I was with my Nostradamus skills.  Granted, some of these are obvious but some of last year’s predictions actually have a little depth to them if I twist them a bit.  Let’s see how I did.

1. Star Trek Online
– I was dead on.  The game flopped with a resounding “bummer”.

2. SWTOR – Didn’t release this year and we did get an “after April” type announcement for 2011.  I believe it’s avoiding Cataclysm like it should.

3. Cataclysm
– This was like saying the sun will rise, but I was close to the release date.  My prediction of some huge upset could be the Real ID fiasco.

4. Free to play Games
– As much as I dislike it, I was right.  Look at what F2P did this last year: LotRO went F2P, EQ2 has a F2P option now, WAR is offering their first tier F2P, and we are seeing them rise.  Luckily it’s taking a back seat still.

5 & 6.
We barely heard anything about Diablo 3 and weirdly SC2 seems to have not made as big of an impact as I had hoped.

7. FFXIV – This one is where I’ll twist it a bit.  It did release in 2010, but did it?  They’re still letting people play for free and promises of big changes as a sort of relaunch are planned for early 2011.  In a way, I was right?

8. Global Agenda – I think I was dead on with this one too.  The game sorta faded away and even the developers decided to make the game that should have been made by purchasing the Tribes franchise.

9. PC Gaming – We had a good year with PC games.  There’s still great hope.

10. New Console and Zelda – We did get the Nintendo 3DS and Zelda was announced for the Wii.

Not bad if I do say so myself.

Looking back now at 2010, it wasn’t too bad for gaming as a whole.  It certainly wasn’t bad for console gaming which is evident by the massive stack of games that Graev played through: Halo Reach, Dead Rising 2, Red Dead Redemption, Mario Galaxy 2, and the list goes on and on.  We had Black Ops release in November for PC and console which I did not even know existed last year.  Cataclym’s launch in December is almost unfair to count, but it still slid in.

If we look specifically at the MMO’s that released, it was another year of flops.  Here’s a few that I know by name but there are many I don’t.

  • Mortal Online – Not finished and just a shell of a game
  • Perpetuum – Have any of you even heard of it?  I can’t call it a flop but it’s on the list because it’s unknown. I like it more than EVE but 90% of you probably don’t know what it is even about.
  • Star Trek Online – Just bad.
  • Allods – Confirmed that F2P destroys games when it went from awesome in beta to garbage at launch.
  • Global Agenda – All around Meh.

This year’s MMO crown definitely goes to World of Warcraft for being the most reliable gaming experience.  Say what you will about the game, but even if you dislike it you can’t deny the quality it brought to the year amidst a sea of unreliability and let down.  Despite my distaste for the path they’re taking, I would probably tip my hat to LotRO then EQ2 for reasons mentioned above.

In part 2 of my look back at 2010 I’m going to evaluate how I did on my gaming New Year’s made last year.  We’ll also be making our predictions and analysis of particular games and their potential coming up in 2011.

  • WOW Cataclysm definitely deserves the MMO crown. It actually managed to breath life into a 6 year old MMO. As much as I like to hate WOW, I think they did raise the bar again at the expense of games like RIFT.

    The new Worgen and Goblin starting quest lines and the 80-85 questlines include much more story telling at it can actually be entertaining and interesting. Yes, it is very linear and in general I dont like this but if you make a theme park game that is more or less linear anyway, then you might as well go all the way and provide a good story line. While this isnt present in the entire game, it gave people a taste of what it could be like. RIFT will probably be the first victim to experience it. I started playing the RIFT starting quests and compared to “what it could be like as shown in Cataclysm”, the RIFT starting experience is lame.

    The only game on the horizon that promises to be themepark like and linear and that could provide a better experience seems to be the SWTOR. RIFT is in line with the usual mediocre starting experience (a la Aion, WAR, etc.) but under the IMO new WOW standard, it fails (and to be honest, this new standard isnt even all that high but in my book it got raised).

  • I think SC2 made a pretty big splash. I mean, in reality the competitive RTS market is pretty small, but we’ve already seen prize pools in western tournaments bigger than anything we’ve seen before outside of Korea. The reality is that its a niche game past single player though, with a lot of earning power regardless.

  • I finally got around to playing the 10-day trial of Cataclysm and you can blame it on me being jaded if you like but it ended up being “meh” to me. I can see the point some people were making about how it was moving toward a single-user experience but that isn’t what disappointed me. It was that all they did was introduce gimmicks to try to mask the “kill ten rats” quest mechanic. I was probably expecting too much.

    I did pick up Global Agenda with Steams $7.49 special and so far I like it. Doesn’t seem very deep but the gameplay so far is nice and I’ve even had some fun with PvP.

    I do believe my problem is that I have changed and that no MMO will ever satisfy me with the depth and innovation I would require to be happy with it. I don’t think 2011 will fair any better.

  • SC2 Is Huge , GSL is the biggest ever Prize pool in Esports History. Im not really sure how much bigger you thought the game could be in its 1st year of release ?

    LOL ? Did you think it would stop the earth rotating on its axis and an Armageddon to follow.

    And the Dreamhack and GSL prize pools have been very impressive for Non Korean Tournys.

  • Clearly we qualify things differently. I don’t gauge a game based upon Esport tournaments. I gauge SC2 based upon how much I am dying to play the game and for how long, how long my friends play, and how visible it is to the general public. SC2 did not do as well as I had hoped in those areas.

  • Well, I agree with you in pretty much every other possible case Keen, but Starcraft is basically the poster child for eSports, its success in that arena is exceptionally important compared to most games. As long as there is a thriving esports scene in SC2, the game is relevant.

  • Definitely. I just wish that it went beyond esports and made as big a splash as Warcraft 3 and the first SC. I know it did well and will continue to do well, but for some reason that I can’t quite put my finger on… it seems to be not as big as I had hoped.

  • I think battle.net 2.0 can be blamed for the kind of thing you are talking about. It really isn’t up to par, and the patch adding chat rooms will help a little, but not a ton. There really isn’t any way to make friends in the game unless you happen to play against someone and chat them after the game. There isn’t any way to easily take part in community activities, even something as easy as “hey, join channel /keenandgraev and we’ll play some fun custom games” would’ve I think helped quite a bit.

    The custom game interface itself isn’t really even all that good and I think good custom maps/modes which many people figured would be one of the MAJOR features of SC2 to look forward to have largely not caught on either because there isn’t any real easy way to find good games.

    So perhaps, SC2 isn’t so much the disappointment as Bnet 2 is?

  • Mala, while I agree B.net 2.0 is disapointing, I’m also shocked out how quick SC2 faded out. I honestly expected it to make a bigger “pro” scene splash than it has in the US.

  • got cut off…

    If you don’t already follow the SC2 pro scene, you don’t even know it exists. The prizepool may be larger, but the fanbase isn’t.

  • Bigger pro scene splash? Its been pretty significant. What did you expect? I mean that question genuinely, what did you expect?

  • I agree, battle.net is the real problem with regards to sc2.
    Its a brilliant game, not innovative at all, but a working formula that has been highly polished.

  • I think you’re right about Bnet being the problem. Good observation. It lacks any community feel that the older Bnet had. Hopefully the changes coming down the pipes will help.

  • Thier adding Chat channels and all that stuff back in the Next patch. So that will bring back some of that feel.

    But i dunno i think its huge, thiers be several occasions when ive hear randoms talking about SC2 when im sitting down at Maccas and other public places. The only other games i have seen similar talk about is for those horrible COD games lol.

  • I recall reading your anti-F2P rants around the time of Allods going to shit, and at the time it was hard to argue. That said, the 500+ hours I put into League of Legends this year, says different. The model can work, and LoL is the best example I’ve found. In their case it works very very well.

    Also I in no way agree that F2P is “taking a back seat”. I’d personally rather pay for any game than go the F2P route, but for the time being – it’s the future (WoW being the exception, not the rule).

  • @Sine909: I can’t argue with League of Legends’ success. Admittedly, I have not followed it closely to analyze how or why (which might merit some further study). It not being a MMO definitely helps. It’s something about F2P and MMO’s that doesn’t mix.

  • I’m also curious to hear what people actually expected out of the SC2 scene in NA? MLG had pretty much it’s biggest year ever solely due to SC2. MLG is pretty much the only game in town as far as esports in the US goes.

    They are ramping up even more for 2011 as well.

    I will agree that on some levels SC2 did not capture the casual interest as some would have guessed, but the pro-scene fanbase is much larger now here in the West than it was in the BW era. There is no denying that. Just see how big teamliquid is these days. The community has blown up and it is still trending up. SC2 casts on youtube still get tons of hits, streams get thousands of viewers, and we have some of the largest tournaments ever going on each month.

    I think if you expected more you weren’t being realistic.

  • Also, you can’t forget that SC1 didn’t catch on until BW.

    WAR 3 didn’t really hit it competitively until TFT.

    Give Blizzard time. HotS will push things forward and the scene will continue to grow.