Blizzard’s Next MMO

A few days ago Massively posted an article stating a rumour that Blizzard’s next MMO will be a FPS or rather contain a FPS portion and a ’social’ portion. Quite whatever that means, I don’t know. Speculation is that it’s going to be some sort of console FPS game revolving around a glorified chat room but I don’t believe there’s any evidence out there to support such claims. Given that Blizzard have never developer a console title before though, I don’t think they will start now (Update: A few people have corrected me on this and informed me that Blizzard did actually make some console games back in the early 1990s).

Personally, I don’t want a console MMO and I think/hope Blizzard would have the good sense to avoid one. My main reason being that consoles have a limited lifespan whereas PC games do not. Everquest is still running and came out when 32MB of RAM was the minimum requirement. My preferred console at the time was the Dreamcast (it was so new and shiny) and now my iPhone packs over 3x the processing power than it did. If Blizzard released a MMO for the XBox 360 and/or PS3, they would be effectively limiting the lifespan of the game to a few years. I think Blizzard have bigger ambitions than that.

I wouldn’t mind seeing a MMOFPS but it would have to more Fallout 3 than Planetside. I don’t want a game that’s just a chat room with a LFG system that jumps me into combat (I already have that with Quake Live and Unreal Tournament 3). What I’d like to see first and foremost is a vibrant, living, immersive world that gives MMO it’s meaning. I’m not bothered if the driving mechanic is RPG style or FPS style or beat-em-up-Tekken style (now that would be refreshing!) but I would like to see a game that’s driven by a strong story and surrounding, one which keeps me coming back day after day.

Without a shadow of a doubt, their next MMO will be highly polished and extremely well implemented. Although that in itself gives me some degree of confidence, Blizzard haven’t actually released a new intellectual property in over a decade. They stick to what’s tried and tested – making bloody good games from it, sure – but aren’t exactly known for their innovation. Could Blizzard’s efforts to make a game so dramatically different from World of Warcraft as to not usurp it’s player base be their downfall? My worry is that instead of getting another great MMORPG, we get a mediocre MMOFPS just in the hopes to keep WoW safe.

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16 Comments

  1. Longasc says:

    Well, it is all rumors, isn’t it. Given your confidence in Blizzard, let me say: Among the blind the one-eyed is king. They are good, no doubt about that. But it is not that Blizzard is so incredibly good – maybe it is just that their competitors suck so much. I don’t think I have to give you examples, you probably know most MMOs I would mention already. I think you are in the STO Beta, too, if we are unlucky we are going to experience why Blizzard is dominating the scene again. :P

    • Gordon says:

      Good point :) But then to get philosophical, I suppose ‘goodness’ is all relative right? We don’t know how good something is without being able to recognise and appreciate the bad. Maybe it’s a weird case that all of those bad MMORPGs are just making us appreciate and like WoW even more? Creepy :P

  2. Ripaz says:

    Blizzard making FPS is same as they only left hunters in WoW, it would suck. But if they make some revolutionary ideas for next gen MMOFPS I might try it otherwise no. And I would kill myself if they go console, as you mentioned you can’t update it with new hardware and it will be outdated some after few years.

    But, I to, would like to see some MMO fighting game like Tekken or Dragonball. Would be great to wack your enemy’s in man-to-man(or woman) fight and not like those backstabbing, sneaky, bastard rogues =)

    • Gordon says:

      I’m sure whatever Blizzard makes, it will be good. I’m not a fan of the console direction because I just can’t see it lasting more than a year or two. Maybe if they released it for both PCs and consoles, it would work, but then that presents a whole host of problems with compatibility etc.

  3. Windsoar says:

    I don’t see Blizzard suddenly deciding that FPS games are they way to go — when you have a successful business model, you stick to it. While I hope to God not, I would gamble on a DotA scenario first.

  4. Stabs says:

    “Given that Blizzard have never developer a console title before though, I don’t think they will start now.”

    This offends my inner pedant.

    Blizzard started out as a console game maker.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blizzard_Entertainment

    Mind you consoles got the net worth of the company to $10 million (they were sold just before they released Warcraft) so I agree it’s not a path they will remember with affection.

  5. UnSub says:

    The PS2 sold 203k units in November 2009, a bit over 9 years since it first launched (http://vgsales.wikia.com/wiki/NPD_November_2009). There are 138 million of them floating around and new titles keep coming out for this console (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PlayStation_2).

    I know there is this myth that PC > consoles because consoles have some kind of in-built lifespan, but ultimately so do PCs – you have to keep upgrading them if you want to play the new games – while the PS2 has shown that consoles can have a very long time indeed. If Blizzard releases a MMO on a console that works out of the box without me having to upgrade my graphic driver and tweak 18 different settings, I can live with the issue that the game might only live for 4 years.

    In fact, if I was Blizzard, I’d use those 4 years as a benefit: “this title is lasting 4 years and 4 years only – we’re going to tell a story in that time”.

    • Gordon says:

      I agree that consoles do have an appeal in that the game will work out of the box. I have so much trouble with my PC, it does my head in and I hate it sometimes. Still, we have the issue that the consoles like the PS3 and XBox 360 have already been around for 3 years. How much longer will they remain state of the art for? If Blizzard released a MMO for them in 2011, will it really go strong for 5+ years? And what happens when Sony and Microsoft bring out the new consoles in 2012 or 2013?

  6. LithianLord says:

    Funny. Rumor is their next MMO is a FPS….and reports say that the heads of Infinity Ward have recently sat down and talked to the heads of Blizz and Everquest over what is rumored to be a MMOFPS. Is Infinity Ward going to make a CoD:MMO? Is Blizz going to head the design as they are the top of MMOs? Rumors suggest, rumors reveil. Who knows what will be the future of this set of events.

  7. K.Clayton says:

    Blizzard’s first game was “The Lost Vikings” for the SNES and released in 1992. Now if you want to be technical they were at the time known as Silicon & Synapse and didn’t switch to the Blizzard name until 1994. But the truth is they started out as a console developer focused mainly on the creation of ports for other game studios.

    Also if I remember correctly, as a throw back to their roots, Blizzard put 3 dwarves in room in Uldaman(sp?) with the names of the 3 lost vikings.

  8. I love the idea of them doing an MMOFPS. I’ve wanted a good FPS type MMO for a while, and Planetside just did everything wrong from what I’ve heard (good ole SOE). And Blizzard has enough brains to take what they learned is wrong with WoW’s PvP system and build on it to make a fantastic multiplayer experience in an FPS.

    Another thing I love is that it is said to be a cyberpunk theme, and that makes me giddy. I haven’t read a lot of cyberpunk literature, but I can see (based on Massively’s preview) that this new Blizzard franchise could very easily be a working version of what they tried with The Matrix Online. A post-apoc FPS like Fallout would be grand, but a sleek, stylized virtual world like The Matrix meets William Gibson/Neal Stephenson and we could have some fun, I tell you.

    • Gordon says:

      Planetside was fun for me for about a week then I got bored of it. The whole jumping out of gunships was just plain cool though :) I also enjoyed Tabula Rasa but unfortunately the lack of content was it’s undoing for me.

      A Steampunk setting would be excellent and very exciting I think given that we’ve not really seen anything like it before. Plus Blizzard keep hinting like they want to go in that direction… motorcycles in WoW? Huh? :)

  9. [...] Tuesday’s post about Blizzard’s next MMO, I touched upon the topic of MMORPGs on consoles. I was originally going to entitle this post [...]

  10. Jake N. says:

    By the time this Next Gen MMO comes out, WoW (cataclysm) will be a boring reality and the subscriber numbers will be going down.

    Also, they said they aim to a broader appeal so i don’t think they will go for post-apocalyptic theme, although i would like one. Since SciFi theme is almost certain they could go for a two or more factions fighting against its other while they are in different planets :P

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