Abubakr’s Predictions for 2012
By Mohammad Abubakr, OnRPG Journalist
2011 has been a great year for the gaming world with MMO releases such as Dragon Nest and Star Wars: Knight of the Old Republic. As time goes on you can always expect to receive better content as consumers. Developers will continue to innovate and try to bring something new to the scene to attract customers.
The point and click model of MMOs works great but is starting to get overused. While this model may not completely disappear through 2012, I feel that more action oriented games not utilizing point and click will make their appearance.
The Pay to Play and Buy to Play models will also begin to be replaced by the Free to Play model. This is great for most gamers due to being able to play for free, but leads to the possible Pay to Win model.
Team Fortress 2
This would mean that cash users would gain significant advantages over free players. I feel it is ok to reward paying users but there has to be a limit. As stated by Mikedot last week, the ability to purchase all items using in-game currency is a must and the economy should not get inflated because of cash items. Publishers have proof on correctly done free to play models such as Team Fortress 2 so they do not need to overpower paying customers fearing that they will not be able to keep the game running.
I do not think the B2P (buy to play) model will die out for online games. I personally prefer B2P over F2P as once you paid the initial amount you do not need to worry about anything. On the other hand, F2P games will always tempt you to spend more. I personally end up spending more on F2P games than I would have on a standard $60 B2P game.
The biggest issue I have with newer games is difficulty. I am a very competitive player and enjoy playing games with high learning curves because of the sense of reward. The majority of the gaming community consists of casual gamers that do not play games for long hours. It would make sense for developers and publishers to target the majority of the audience.
Casual gamers want games that can be played without too much dedication, are easy to get into and are fun at all stages. The majority of MMORPG’s do not worry about difficulty because point and click is already easy to learn. To appeal to casual players, the ‘grind’ in MMOs has been and will continue to be cut down. Lowering EXP required to level up and advance classes is alright with me because I know how time consuming leveling can be. However, I feel that obtaining rare items and equips should still be challenging.
The change in difficulty affects MOBA, RTS and FPS games the most. More complex mechanics are slowly being eliminated to accommodate a wider range of players. For example, League of Legends has removed or simplified a lot of the gameplay mechanics from Dota such as denying, gold loss on death, low mana pools and activatable items (some are present in LoL but most are passive items).
These changes clearly show success to Riot Games as League of Legends is now huge but games such as HoN which kept the more complex mechanics are not as popular (keep in mind difficulty is not the only reason LoL is so big).
Gaming is becoming more and more popular in the world. As time goes on we may see E-Sports grow as big as physical sports like soccer. A lot of progress has been seen throughout 2011 with the main highlights being the massive growth of Starcraft II and the $1,600,000 Dota 2 tournament. Kluey went into great detail on this in his 2012 article so be sure to check it out.
To conclude, throughout 2012 games will begin to innovate and eventually ditch the point and click model, P2P will be replaced by F2P or B2P, overall difficulties of games will be reduced and E-Sports will continue to grow.