2009 – A Bad Year For MMOs?
As 2009 is starting to draw to a close, I look back on the past 12 months and think about all of the new MMOs and expansions that have been released and feel a little flat. 2009 seemed like a bad year for MMORPGs.
No doubt there are gamers out there who think 2009 has been great and love games like Aion and Champions Online but to me it’s been a bit disappointing. I’ve been playing MMORPGs for over 10 years and some years you’re lucky enough to get exciting and innovative games and expansions and sometimes you’re not. After the explosive 2008 and compared to the tantalising 2010, 2009 has certainly felt like a fallow year – all of the significant games were either already released or won’t come out until next year.
As I said, “good” or “bad” is totally relative but I’m judging MMOs on their merits of innovation, enjoyment, intellectual property and general consumer choice. Last year we had some big releases like Age of Conan and Warhammer Online, driven by strong intellectual licenses and lots of hype. They also – whether we liked them not – introduced quite a lot of new concepts to the industry. Plus, let us not forget expansions like Wrath of the Lich King, Mines of Moria and The Shadow Odyssey to name a few.
For me, the 2009 releases of Aion and Champions Online just didn’t hit the mark and other games like Darkfall and Warrior Epic didn’t appeal to me. Aion, although fun for a while, didn’t offer anything new enough to excite me nor engrossing enough to engage me. Champions Online was quite fun but again, seemed a little dull and superficial (hopefully it will mature into something far more rewarding to play). Maybe it’s been due to the global recession but 2009 has seemed like a year for playing it safe and holding back.
If we look at things from a pure excitement and innovation factor, 2010 is sure to thrill. We’ve got some big IP games coming out (Star Trek Online, Final Fantasy XIV and quite possibly Star Wars: The Old Republic and Guild Wars 2) plus some interesting new takes on things with Global Agenda, Mortal Online, Jumpgate Evolution and an engine overhaul to that old classic, Anarchy Online. We’ll also see expansions for Everquest 2, Age of Conan, quite likely Warhammer Online and, of course, the drool-fest that is Cataclysm for World of Warcraft.
So maybe instead of calling this article “2009 – A Bad Year For MMOs”, I should’ve called it “2010 – A Great Year For MMOs?”.