Predictions on the MMOs of 2013

We’re well into February now and it seems like every day more and more MMO publishers are willing to come out and declare their intention to launch in “late 2013″. If you had asked me six weeks ago what the hot MMO titles this year would be I’m not sure I’d have much to say in response, but now I feel like we’ve actually got a pretty good sense of what’s to come.

So let me put my enthusiast’s pride on the line and make totally scientific predictions on the fate of 2013′s hottest MMO titles!

Neverwinter
Why we care: It’s a big Intellectual Property making a break into the modern MMO market and with an early-ish launch NWN could be a bellwether of things to come. Strong, old school ties to the gaming community. Early buzz about The Foundry, a distribution system for player-generated content.
Prediction: Possibly profitable — I’m not sure how much they’ve spent on development — but ultimately not more successful than Turbine’s Dungeons & Dragons Online. The disappointing character creator videos and unpleasant beta access scheme (“double secret headstart access!”) do not inspire confidence.

Defiance
Why we care: The second in-house MMO from Trion Worlds, Defiance will be both a game and a television show on the SyFy network. Synergy! It’s happening right now!
Prediction: I want this to be a runaway hit because Trion Worlds are my bros, but I just don’t see it happening. The show is gonna have to be real good to carry its part of the hype machine and I feel like the game’s “action MMO” design was scooped by Planetside 2 months ago. I give the show 6 months, the game 10.

Wildstar
Why we care: Because everyone says we should! This is the game that’s riding the hype wave right now. Wildstar is being called a “sandpark” (ugh, really? are we making “sandpark” happen?) with different “paths” for Settlers, Explorers, Soldiers, and Scientists. The animation is unique and highly stylized.
Prediction: This will be the second-most popular MMO of 2013, and I think a lot of people will give it the ol’ six months. Wildstar will be a big fat win for NCSoft (and Carbine), but less so than Guild Wars 2. Assuming it’s free-to-play, I’d say 750k active accounts right after launch is quite possible (500k if subscription).

Everquest Next
Why we care: One of the first names in MMOs gets a fresh start. EQNext was apparently already scrapped once and rebuilt from the ground up, and it’s now being billed as “the largest sandbox style MMO ever designed”. Bold words.
Prediction: I would play the hell out of something that’s basically EQII with a modern interface, but the fact is that I’m weird. Also, SOE just never seem to handle their games very well. I think EQNext will kill Everquest classic within six months of launch, but never really break out of the Everquest audience.

ArcheAge
Why we care: Created by Jake Song of Lineage fame, this Korean-style MMO has got a surprising amount of traction with North American audiences. Slated to be distributed here by Trion Worlds, ArcheAge is in the rapidly expanding but currently under-staffed “themepark sandbox hybrid” market.
Prediction: Superduper niche, but profitable if free-to-play. Serious, open world PvP is a tough sell in the casual market.

The Elder Scrolls Online
Why we care: Because just about everyone with a computer has played an Elder Scrolls game at some point. This is an IP with a built-in base of extremely loyal fans, branching into MMO territory for the first time. And really, who hasn’t looked up from Skyrim and thought that it would be so cool to have friends in the game with you?
Prediction: If you haven’t guessed yet, this is going to be the most popular MMO of 2013.. at least for a while. It’s part of a huge franchise, and it has 20 years worth of lore to build upon. The problem is that the game has yet to explain its own existence — what special stuff is TESO bringing to the table? Without that, I predict a SWTOR-like rise and fall within six months.

Author: Jessica Cook

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8 Comments

  1. I really want Archeage to be a decent success, I don’t think it will be too popular initial but will actually gain traction after 3 or so months. The large open and transformable world will draw many to it.
    I also predict an eventual PvE server to it.

    As for Wildstar, I don’t think it will be that popular either as many aren’t that fussed on the stylized look of it. It just seems to be more the media darling then a big player.

    I think Elder Scrolls will be the biggest selling mmo in years more then guild Wars 3 million. I no nothing about its long term appeal though so whether or not it will sustain a decent number is really hard to tell

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    • Hmm, a PvE ArcheAge server is a very interesting idea…. !

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  2. I agree TESO and Wildstar will ‘rule’ this 2013 – if there’s such a thing. I am a bit more confident here: I trust both will easily breach a million sales. in TESO’s case I actually think we’ll see more than that, simply due to the popularity of the franchise and Skyrim’s huge success. I don’t think it will beat GW2 though.

    Wildstar is a bit of a wild card (could…not….resist) too; being the media darling and go-to title for friends&family isn’t actually a bad thing. WS is the closest to WoW in that respect (and looks too). so I wonder if I’m not underestimating that one. polish will also certainly be Wildstar’s.

    As for NW, I am highly skeptical of that game right now. doesn’t appeal much personally, but also inevitable more niche due to theme, gameplay and special features like the player created quests feature (which has much to prove).

    Honestly don’t actually believe we see EQnext this year.
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    • “WS is the closest to WoW in that respect”

      That is totally the sense I’m getting too. I wonder if it will pick up a lot of the homeless ex-WoW players, at least for a while.

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  3. I’ll admit I was already pretty committed in my mind to get ArchAge based on the rumors of the Lineage-esk play style and the chance at large-scale siege warfare again. I hadn’t heard about WildStar till reading this… so I went ahead and watched the trailer where the art-style reminds me too damn much of Ratchet and Clank. Also going to monitor Neverwinter so I guess now my 2013 plans are completely up in the air. Thanks for that.

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  4. If only Bungie’s Destiny was slated for release in 2013, I’m certain it would’ve been in that list. I think it’s going to be a major powerhouse in the year it releases. Bungie’s first foray into MMOs? Hoo man, and you’re going to have tons of Halo fans that will try to have their hand in it. No release date pegged for it quite yet that I’ve been able to find. Probably won’t be anywhere near 2013 though.

    Might look into Defiance though. That one’s piqued my interest.
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    • Huh, I hadn’t even heard of Destiny. The internet says it’s currently just going to be on consoles, which is an interesting and wily market.

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