I considered alternative titles for this post. But really, do I need to say more? ST:TOR is going to be interesting. If I end up playing it for more than one month I'm going to be surprised. If I end up subscribed after six moths I would be very, very surprised. Guild Wars 2 is going to be interesting for many of the new gameplay features. But are they about to offer a virtual world? Not really.
And those other games, like Vindictus (they are spamming my email to post about them. Here, now I did). Come on! These aren't virtual worlds, they are *insert dirty word*.
And, sure, there's CCP and World of Darkness which will turn out a virtual world. And even though I'm not really into werewolfs and vampires, I am certain to buy it, whenever it is realeased. If ever. I don't know enough to have a more detailed opinion about it right now.
This leaves me with Titan. And Titan is worth blogging about, because I expect it to be announced this Blizzcon. Ha! I think this is the first time I made such an prediction, so it has to be right. I mean, this thing is in serious development since end of classic WoW, January 2007. That's four and a half years of serious development. Blizzard announced Diablo III years before its release and they might do the same with Titan. And Blizzard is running short on interesting stuff for Blizzcons. WoW is declining, and fast, if you ask my stomach. The LFR will result in a subscriber spike, but at the end of the day it will only speed up the decline.
But why would I expect Titan to be anything else but a WoW clone plus some extras (like instanced housing)? Well, first because Blizzard is one of the last companies run by gamers. I often criticize this, as many of the shortcomings of WoW result from the hardcore raider's mindset. But it's also a reason for hope.
Second, because they still resist the f2p business model to some degree. Which means they haven't fallen for it completely. Third, because Blizzard said very early that Titan is the most ambitious project ever undertaken by them. And I see no reason to doubt this.
Now, remember when it was started! Some time during 2005-2006. This was a time when undertaking a ground-breaking MMORPG project still meant creating a virtual world with many features and not a WoW-clone with a ground-breaking business model and more daily quests.
So, what do I expect Titan to be about? They already said it's going to be a different IP. Very good, Blizzard, you evaded trap #1. I also actually expect it to have a cartoon-style like WoW, which means, no ultra-realistic graphics. I also welcome this. Computers still can't display 500 ultra-realistic character models and there is really no need to. However, they will have tried very hard to make it look very different from WoW. Will it be about medieval fantasy? I hope, but I'm not sure. In fact, I guess it is not probable, unfortunately.
What will be the defining features? First procedurally generated locations. They started this with Diablo I and it is the future, anyway. It has the potential to completely distinguish the game from any competitor and all it requires is a lot of time and money to buy the most talented people. I know Blizzard's management is greedy and rather buys back stocks for billions of dollars than to invest, but I still hope that a few million were put aside for some basic research.
Once you have procedurally generated locations, and thus unpredictable encounters, things like scouting and picking your fights can change the entire gameplay and create a radically new game. I'm also certain that they played around with collision control replacing tanking, but I'm not sure they succeeded. They'll watch GW2 very closely, I guess.
Titan will have player housing, but it will be heavily instanced. Player housing isn't really something I ever wanted, but it would be good for marketing and, really, it's not that hard.
Finally, Titan will have a completely player-run economy. But not for idealistic reasons. They want it so that they can further develop their business model which they already test with Diablo III. It is ironic that it required those terrible creative business models, to finally make companies put a player-run economy into games, but in any case I welcome the decline of soulbound items.
Oh last reason: It's probably the A-team's dream MMORPG! :)
Last question: when do I expect it to be released? 12. November 2019 after many internal delays and allegations of vaporware. Remember my words!