MMORPG News and Blogs Review Of The Year 2011 – the roundup

And so, we’ve finished our massive review of 2011 in the MMO Blogosphere.

If you’ve missed any of our round-up posts, here they are in full:

The Year In Review

Obviously, this year has seen a hell of a lot. From the launch of SW:TOR to the announcement of Diablo III RMT, from Call to Arms to monocles in EVE and more.

Much of it will be forgotten in subsequent years, but there are a few trends I can see running through the year.

First of all, Real Money Trading and MMO business models in general were big news throughout the year. From EVE’s monocles to the Kitten Standard in WoW, through the Annual Subscription, and on, games companies are still trying to figure out how to make money out of us, and we’re reacting to each announcement in rapidly evolving ways. This was a theme throughout 2011 – the death of most subscription MMOs and the growth of alternate revenue streams – and I expect it to continue as such in 2012.

Secondly, it’s sad to say that another theme of 2011 was WoW in Trouble. Blizzard just couldn’t seem to catch a break – from the Zulroic flaps to the Firelands nerfs, to the lukewarm reaction to Pandaria, and the sudden massive dissatisfaction with the Alliance storyline at the end of the year, it doesn’t seem to have been going well for Blizzard. And while Dragon Soul has gone down better in its first month than the frankly disastrous Firelands, they’re going into 2012 with no imminent new content, a brutally tough competitor to beat, and a raid most serious raiders have already beaten on Normal.

It might even be safe to say that 2011 was the twilight of WoW, but we’ll have to wait and see how 2012 shapes up – there’s some chance they could still recover.

And finally, the theme of 2011 for me seemed to be new ideas in gaming. 2011 saw innovation after innovation – and not from tiny indie shops, but from games that either were or became massive hits. Minecraft might have started out indie, but it became a movement – and a total breath of fresh air in the gaming world. Skyrim was, as I’ve said already, astonishing, and I think we’ll be seeing the reverberations of Bethseda’s magnum opus for a decade to come – in that respect, it’s genuinely a successor to WoW, in a way that SW:TOR isn’t. And, of course, SW:TOR is already a huge success, and it’s apparent that it’s something more than a WoW clone – it’s superficially similar, but there are thousands of small, incremental differences, which all add up to something that we just can’t fully evaluate yet.

I’m looking forward to seeing what 2012 has to offer us. The world economy might be in recession, the weather might be crazy, but in the world of MMO gaming, there’s bright, interesting stuff ahead.

2012, here we come.