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Titan by Blizzard gets completly cancelled. Sign of MMORPGs decline?


drul
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Last year Blizzard announced it will be revamping it's Titan project or something.  Seems finally Blizzard decided it will be scrapping it completly after 7 years of developement.

source:

http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2014/09/23/blizzard-cancels-long-in-development-mmo-titan.aspx

 

Additionally:

 

 

However, in discussion with Polygon, Morhaime says that he hopes to support World of Warcraft 1 in perpetuity and that the company isn’t spending its time on another MMO right now.

 

So that's another one cancelled next to other big MMORPG cancelled projects lately such as : Project Copernicus,  Warhammer 40k : Dark Millenium and World of Darkness.

Turbine long-rumoured mmorpg project is also nowhere to be seen or heard of and I would not count out possibility it either got cancelled or got revamped mid-developement into non-mmo project or i.e. mobile mmo.

 

 

Now only big AAA mmorpg projects in the works that have global ambitions are Everuqest Next, Black Desert and argueably Bless. (asian).

 

Other big software/entertainment players seem reluctant to invest in any new mmorpg projects. Which is kinda not surprising.

 

edit: cancellation PR interview

http://www.polygon.com/2014/9/23/6833953/blizzard-cancels-titan-next-gen-mmo-pc

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It was supposed to be Blizzard next huge Massively Multiplayer game that would take role of flaghship from WoW.  

 

Maybe it was supposed to be an MMOFPS instead of MMORPG, or maybe it was supposed to be an MMORPG but with FPS combat.  Who knows?

 

It definately was not supposed to be a 'just'  box single player game with multiplayer lobby option,  like Halo is. (or many other FPS are)

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My feeling is that it's not a "decline" so much as the end of an era, since after EQN every AAA dev company with MMO aspirations will have either gotten their big project out or canceled it for now.  A Fallout MMO may still be lurking out there in Bethesda/Zenimax somewhere, and Blizzard will come back with something in a different direction.  The market is very saturated and needs an intermission really, which can become a healthy interregnum if WoW continues downhill.

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Times are changing, instant gratification is what we need now.  Who has time to level to 100, deeds, grind gear, then find a group to kill something for more gear?  While I still dabble in middle earth, my free time would be better spent in a game more like D3.  Ive been popping in and out of lotro anew for a month and still havent hit Moria.  Just dont have the time to sink.

 

I want it now and have Daddy's CC to buy it.  The new gaming mantra

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My feeling is that it's not a "decline" so much as the end of an era, since after EQN every AAA dev company with MMO aspirations will have either gotten their big project out or canceled it for now.  A Fallout MMO may still be lurking out there in Bethesda/Zenimax somewhere, and Blizzard will come back with something in a different direction.  The market is very saturated and needs an intermission really, which can become a healthy interregnum if WoW continues downhill.

I don't think cancellations are because of EQN announcement.  Especially that some of them were cancelled before it.

I also think intermission itself is not gonna cut it as oversaturation is only one problem amongst many and not even most important one.

 

@Altreg01

 

It is much more than that.   Gameplay in MMORPGs are not evolving and their problems are not solved.   Take even "levelling" word as example once it was called "gameplay" - not is is called "levelling" like it is some kind of punishment or chore and it is called that for a good reason.

While some people like to wind off and just go after an arrow to kill some stuff and get some arbitrary required number to rise and they still enjoy it.  

Many others are fed up with it - as for them there is simply no gameplay left in "levelling"  just brain-dead clicking.

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I think the MMORPG bubble burst a long-long time ago... The reason they initially became so poupular was becasue they gave players a world which generated a sense of wonder and excitement about being part of something special, a massive community, something that was more than 'just another game'. The 'golden age' of MMORPGs will never be repeated, not because a company can't produce a decent game but simply because times have moved on. Why? Social networking, ease of communication, changing consumer habbits, quality of life gameplay etc. The boat sailed long ago I'm sad to say!

 

MMORPGs are fast becoming a relic from past age. I think Blizzard realised this and they will continue down the Hearthstone (MtG for the masses with with a warcraft theme) and Heros of the Storm (Simplified Dota with a Blizzard theme). Why be innovative (and risky) when you can produce well-polished clones of other games that will make lots of money?  

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Yeah, the MMO phenom was sliding for a while already, really. MOBAs and all. Primary generation has grown up.

 

All you need now is a combination of social media and app games to reach the largest bell curve; the people themselves are the commodity.

 

Moving on.

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Why risk taking players from their already successful MMO.   Some of those WOW players may have tried it and may have become bored with it fast.  I agree that app games are becoming more popular amongst the age group but over saturation is a bigger problem for the genre.  With so many F2P games to compete with why risk another overpriced (considering the market) MMO? 

 

When I first started playing MMO's in 2005 there were very few choices.  Everquest, Runescape, WOW and EVE were the leaders.  Now there are so many Free to play MMORPG as well as MOBAs that I don't think I can name them all.  Anyone who pretends that spreading out the population between maybe 20 to 25 games didn't hurt is fooling themselves.  The MOBAs took some of the PVPers, and even the games with the largest starting budgets (SWTOR) are now free to play. 

 

This is the smartest move Blizzard has ever made.  They will let the other companies saturate the market with poorly made games while their legacy game (WOW) continues to dominate the market.  Much easier to maintain 1 game than to create a competitor and have to update both.

 

Just my 2 cents though. 

 

I think how much play time these players once has is less so they will be more dedicated to a single game. 

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Why risk taking players from their already successful MMO.   Some of those WOW players may have tried it and may have become bored with it fast.  I agree that app games are becoming more popular amongst the age group but over saturation is a bigger problem for the genre.  With so many F2P games to compete with why risk another overpriced (considering the market) MMO? 

 

When I first started playing MMO's in 2005 there were very few choices.  Everquest, Runescape, WOW and EVE were the leaders.  Now there are so many Free to play MMORPG as well as MOBAs that I don't think I can name them all.  Anyone who pretends that spreading out the population between maybe 20 to 25 games didn't hurt is fooling themselves.  The MOBAs took some of the PVPers, and even the games with the largest starting budgets (SWTOR) are now free to play. 

 

This is the smartest move Blizzard has ever made.  They will let the other companies saturate the market with poorly made games while their legacy game (WOW) continues to dominate the market.  Much easier to maintain 1 game than to create a competitor and have to update both.

 

Just my 2 cents though. 

 

I think how much play time these players once has is less so they will be more dedicated to a single game. 

 

Exactly my thoughts, hence Blizzard's decision to release WOW expacs yearly from 2014. It's financially prudent to reinvest in WOW to keep the customers they already have.

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I don't think cancellations are because of EQN announcement.  Especially that some of them were cancelled before it.

I also think intermission itself is not gonna cut it as oversaturation is only one problem amongst many and not even most important one.

 

That's not what I said.  I said "after EQN", every company will have.., i.e. at a point in the near future, when EQN releases.  What do you think is the most important problem?

 

An article yesterday that also calls it the end of an era: http://www.mmorpg.com/showFeature.cfm/loadFeature/8966/Blizzards-Titan-is-Dead.html 

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I'm wondering if Titan's cancellation had something to do with Wildstar's difficulties holding onto subscribers. As we know, Wildstar is a game built from the ground up for Hardcore players. The combat is challenging, there is no safe place to rest for the most part, and it only gets more challenging as you progress to endgame... where you hit an Attunement wall so massive that only the most dedicated Raiders will overcome it. All so they can then enjoy bashing their heads against the very difficult raids, in an effort to gather gear.

 

In short, this isn't a Casual game.

 

I have a feeling that Titan was meant to be a similar game. Does anyone remember Tigole (Jeffrey Kaplan)? He was a senior game designer for Blizzard, who worked extensively on "World of Warcraft", especially in the early years. He came from Everquest, where he was a progression raid leader, and it was his hardcore attitude that helped shape raiding in WoW for years to come. Well, Tigole was then assigned to a certain unnamed MMORPG project, code-named Project Titan, of which he lead the development team. This alone tells me Titan was intended to be a hardcore game, otherwise, why hand it off to the most casual-hating, hardcore-loving designer at Blizzard?

 

Anyway, with Wildstar floundering, primarily because - shock of shocks! - the Hardcore Raider community isn't large enough alone to pay the bills for a subscription MMO like Wildstar. By driving the Casual playerbase away, Carbine effectively shot their game in the head before it even got out of the nursery, and now the company has to take a hard look at what the future holds for their game. I'm sure Blizzard was watching how Wildstar did, as well, and decided that the risk of continuing to develop a hardcore-centric MMORPG simply wasn't worth the investment.

 

MMORPGs are now Casual or Bust, and because of that fact, Titan is no more.

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That's not what I said.  I said "after EQN", every company will have.., i.e. at a point in the near future, when EQN releases.  What do you think is the most important problem?

 

An article yesterday that also calls it the end of an era: http://www.mmorpg.com/showFeature.cfm/loadFeature/8966/Blizzards-Titan-is-Dead.html 

Ok. I think I got you.  You are saying that EQN is/will be last big western MMORPG at least for time being?

I've understood you intitially that EQN will be so grundbreaking that it will cause other projects to either cancel or release asap. Nevermind.

 

There are few very important problems. I can't decide of one most important and besides I think solving just one problem won't be enough.

 

So some of important MMORPG problems in random order:

 

1. Primitive MMORPG gameplay in "open world" just don't cut it anymore for growing amount of players.  Mob/NPC AI,  quests that don't have real decision making (and thus gameplay) in them,  mobs/NPC standing around and primitive respawn systems,  completly barren & non-interactive worlds and so on.    <-- most of those are unsolvable now, either due to costs or due to technology constrainments.  Especially AI is not possible to be significantly improved atm.

 

All of this kills "world" part of MMORPGs,  especially but not limited to themeparks.   Since above issues are unfixable atm, MMORPG companies tried to put other things to make "MMORPG world" interesting for players:

a. Borrowing from single player RPGs = more cinematics and dialogues in MMORPG quests

b. Putting scripted 'mob invasion' "events" in Rifts in Rift, FATE in FF XIV, Public Quests in Warhammer Online or Dynamic Quests in GW2.

 

Both of those had only a limited success.  Which is not surprising because those additions did not fix core problems I've mentioned at beggining and because of other reasons I won't describe here to avoid wall of text. 

 

 

2.  Many players don't really want to play an MMORPG.   There is plenty of players that simply prefer various types of instanced gameplay.  They realized that they can have that in various type of lobby games without all other MMO baggage they don't like. 

 

3. Cheating, exploting, botting, macroing, RMT,   -  MMORPG companies for several reasons cannot prevent this and those issues prevent introduction of many concepts into MMORPGs, especially those most 'virtual worldy/sandboxy' ones.   This hampers MMORPGs evolution and thus makes MMORPGs less interesting to players.

 

 

None of those things can really be fixed atm.

 

There are many other important issues, such as cost, law, technological ones or growing mutually exclusive expectations in playerbase  - but this post in long enough.

 

 

 

@MMOTroll

Wildstar have many big issues, other than being raid-centric and I think media and playerbase are making a mistake concentrating only on "raid centric" as a cause of Wildstar failure.

 

I also don't agree that Blizzard planned to do hardcore MMO.  Blizzard is mainstream company that produce mainstream hits and their mainstream MMO(RPG) was most succesful MMORPG title ever.   They are not doing niche games, so I don't agree they planed harcore niche MMO.

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@MMOTroll

Wildstar have many big issues, other than being raid-centric and I think media and playerbase are making a mistake concentrating only on "raid centric" as a cause of Wildstar failure.

 

I also don't agree that Blizzard planned to do hardcore MMO.  Blizzard is mainstream company that produce mainstream hits and their mainstream MMO(RPG) was most succesful MMORPG title ever.   They are not doing niche games, so I don't agree they planed harcore niche MMO.

 

You could be right, but Tigole's record at Blizzard suggests otherwise.

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Titan was never meant to be a hard-core MMO. They just looked at a later version of it and thought this is not the incredible, innovative game they wanted to make.

 

I think this is a smart move on Blizzard's part. Because now they have a string of very successful winners. They did not break their image by trying to compete in a bad MMO market. Players don't seem to stay very long in one game now-a-days, and also they seem less likely to want to subscribe.

 

Only WoW has such good content, built up over many years. Most of it is still playable, such as all the lower level instances you can run while leveling. So WoW is still a good deal for the sub fee.

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I'm wondering if Titan's cancellation had something to do with Wildstar's difficulties holding onto subscribers. As we know, Wildstar is a game built from the ground up for Hardcore players. The combat is challenging, there is no safe place to rest for the most part, and it only gets more challenging as you progress to endgame... where you hit an Attunement wall so massive that only the most dedicated Raiders will overcome it. All so they can then enjoy bashing their heads against the very difficult raids, in an effort to gather gear.

 

In short, this isn't a Casual game.

 

I have a feeling that Titan was meant to be a similar game. Does anyone remember Tigole (Jeffrey Kaplan)? He was a senior game designer for Blizzard, who worked extensively on "World of Warcraft", especially in the early years. He came from Everquest, where he was a progression raid leader, and it was his hardcore attitude that helped shape raiding in WoW for years to come. Well, Tigole was then assigned to a certain unnamed MMORPG project, code-named Project Titan, of which he lead the development team. This alone tells me Titan was intended to be a hardcore game, otherwise, why hand it off to the most casual-hating, hardcore-loving designer at Blizzard?

 

Anyway, with Wildstar floundering, primarily because - shock of shocks! - the Hardcore Raider community isn't large enough alone to pay the bills for a subscription MMO like Wildstar. By driving the Casual playerbase away, Carbine effectively shot their game in the head before it even got out of the nursery, and now the company has to take a hard look at what the future holds for their game. I'm sure Blizzard was watching how Wildstar did, as well, and decided that the risk of continuing to develop a hardcore-centric MMORPG simply wasn't worth the investment.

 

MMORPGs are now Casual or Bust, and because of that fact, Titan is no more.

 

I agree 90%

The hardcore raiding community is big enough to support a sub model MMO.  It's just that they already have a game (WOW).  But even the most hardcore of raiders need variety.  And WOW delivers just that.  There is hardmode for those folks and normal modes for everyone else which works just fine.   There is also a pleathera of solo content, small group and other activities.   As someone that was in a hardmode guild during WOTLK and whose guild was raiding the top notch content during BC (Hyjal/Sunwell), I can easily say that we probably raided 2 or 3 times a week tops.  There's got to be more than that, and the more has to be fun activities.  (ENGAGING PVP, fun festivals from time to time, interesting questing storylines, ETC.

 

I agree that the overall population for these games (MMORPG) is becoming smaller.  This is due to the extreme grinds instituted in the F2P models and the huge level gaps for new players.  WOW combats this by offering a high level toon with their current xpac.  Lotro does it by lessening the grinds with real money. 

 

The problem all these MMORPG's have is leveling speed and number of overall levels.  These games were  based on tabletop, and I have yet to play a tabletop game where i reach level 15- 20 in a couple hours, or where I need to reach level 100 to play with a bulk of the players.  I believe smaller level increases would have done these games better. 

 

DDO always excited me because of this.  The execution was poor though.  It's like the developers do not think we will buy expansions without a level increase.   Even if they offered new gear, crafting items, maybe a new feature (mini game) and a couple of minor powers alone people would buy them if the content was sufficient for the amount paid.   Meaning if an xpac cost 40$ it should have more than 5-10 levels of quests, and more than enough solo/group content to keep players busy until the next update. 

 

There's no magic equation here.  Do you get your 40$ worth of entertainment or not?  Did you get your 15$ worth of sub or not.  Not only does the amount of content matter but quality of it as well.  There was never a point in WOW where i felt my money was being wasted....ever (through WOTLK, the last time I played).  Lotro on the other hand it happened around ROI.  A single 6 man really?  A total of 11 solo dailies, 8 on launch?   (Well atleast they had 1 multiboss raid, something that was never seen again).

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