Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Calm Before The Feature Storm

There's always something over the horizon in MMORPG's, but it feels like things are unusually stuck in "coming soon" mode this month. To cite a few:
WoW: Cataclysm Class Previews
The Cataclysm beta is clearly coming, with every class getting a preview of what their shiny new mechanics will look like. For instance, I've been vaguely considering a balance druid for a while now, and the spec will be revamped to expand its rotation beyond spamming a single spell when Cataclysm arrives. All of these changes will accompany the headline massive revamp of the game's leveling content, along with an increased level cap, new zones, etc.

The catch is that the betas typically last about four months, so we're not likely to actually receive any of these shiny new toys until September.

EQ2 Storyteller System
Stargrace has a post about this upcoming feature. SOE doesn't quite have the resources that Blizzard does to gut and overhaul their entire low level game, but they're working smarter, not harder, to make the content they do have more meaningful.

Too often, players are presented with the small picture (local man's sidekick eaten by fishmen, one or both sides vow revenge) but not the big picture (why are we at war with the fish men?). That often requires out of game knowledge from past games, websites, or even novels. The Storyteller system will supposedly provide some much needed context. The ETA? Perhaps the May game update, if it doesn't slip.

LOTRO Mystery Paid Expansion
Most players expect the game to head for Rohan, though it's less clear whether that means following Aragorn and company, exploring areas like Dunland that the Fellowship didn't really travel to in person, or even going off on another unexpected mystery romp in another direction.

Whichever route they take, based on the limited contents of the game's most recent patch (new icons for jeweler recipes actually made the patch features list), it seems rather likely that the next landmass added to Middle Earth will be in a paid expansion of some sort. When will this mystery expansion arrive? It isn't even announced yet (perhaps this will happen for the game's 3rd birthday, on April 24th), so we're probably looking at September at the earliest, maybe even later if it's a larger expansion that requires more extended testing and development.

Anyone else currently feeling like they're killing time waiting for one patch or another?

1 comment:

Yeebo said...

I certainly feel that way. I'm also not looking forward to the Fall. Whatever we are getting in LoTRO and Cataclysm will drop about the same time (or so it seems), and open beta for Bioware's KOTR MMO could also potentially pop in the same window. If I'm not mistaken FFXIV will also drop around then, and it promises to be the first real MMO contender to appear on consoles (FFXI was way too grindy to have mainstream appeal...at least if 500K subs isn't mainstream). Finally, there is Guild Wars II, which I expect to start hearing real news about soon.

I hate to see big budget MMOs start working on the same boom/ bust release cycles that we have seen in console games for years, but that does seem to be where we are headed.

In any case, I'm taking advantage of the lull to try out some of the better known MMOs I never got around too.