Gamespot has ran an article regarding Blizzards plans for the future – including their new MMO. In order not to step on WoW’s toes, the game will have to use some kind of free-to-play microtransaction model.
This leads us onto some questions, such as: how far apart from WoW can they make it, Who will be the target market, and what will this mean for WoW Players?
Firstly, in order to keep the current subscribers for WoW, the new MMO cannot be thematically similar to WoW. It’s pretty much guaranteed that it won’t be a Toklein-esque high-fantasy setting. It likely won’t be any of Blizzards other tropes, Medieval Fantasy and Space opera. Which leaves us thinking what else can they do? Modern setting? Are we going to see Blizzard working on an Urban Jungle MMO? A better, more rounded version of that ill-fated game The Sims Online?
It makes alot of sense for Blizzard to do this. The Sims is one of the most-sold gaming franchises in the world (up there with Mario and Pokémon). The selling point of the Sims was always it’s doll-house style affair. The Sims Online failed miserably. It was laden with adverts and lacked depth, the dolls-house was gone, replaced with a glorified chatroom. Where EA failed, Blizzard can cash in. They’d be taking on Free Realms and Second Life directly, on their own playing field, on their terms.
We know Blizzard have a knack of making stellar games, so some implicit trust that they’ll pull something out of their hat is given, regardless of genre. EA (for the Sims) have always focused on the bottom line, wheras Blizzard tend to focus on the customer, knowing that a happy customer means a bonus in the future – be it with the kind of trust I’ve just attributed them, or by bringing their friends to the game – either way it means more cash for the parent company, but Blizzard are liked more.
My only worry is that, regardless of setting, there is more of a focus on the cash now that Blizzard is not it’s own any more, and has fused itself with evil into one entity known as the Lich-king Activision/Blizzard (who nearly cancelled Ghostbusters damnit!)
A narrow-minded focus on money, as opposed to fun, is just what ActiBlizzard’s chief Robert Goitick Kotick is now famous for.
Could it be that the new Blizzard MMO is not, in actual fact, a Blizzard MMO. That Kotick is merely using Blizzards good name to push a game that’s really been in the works at Activision for a while?
It’s too early to tell, but I’ve covered all the bases and when more info is released by new year, I can point to this article and say “LOOK! I predicted that”