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.