Today, May 21, the new XBox ONE was announced at Microsoft’s home base in Washington… as if we don’t have enough other gaming stuff to buy. Anyway, among the laundry list of updates to the system itself, there are also many features that the MMO genre might get use out of. Some of these updates are fairly straight forward, like the increased processing power, more RAM, and a Blu-Ray player. Other’s are more complicated in their implementation. Let’s start by talking about how XBox One may solve some key issues. Also, we should probably take a little bit of time to geek out about the new features.
Now, before you get your panties in a twist like “Da heck dis gotta do with Titan?” let me just assure you that I do have a point here, just stick with me until the end.
It sure would be nice to tell you that Titan will be announced at this years BlizzCon. I would have so much stuff to write about that it would be ridiculous. Before we get into that, though, let’s go over what we know.
Blizzard has historically announced titles that subsequently either aren’t released (starcraft ghost) or the release date was years and years after the announcement… *cough Diablo cough*. This can be attributed to their “commit to quality” section in their mission statement. The difference here is that this game could potentially change the MMO genre for the entire gaming industry. A botched announcement and a stumble during launch wont necessarily bust a games chances at being a super omega time-killer robot, but it could lose a lot of people’s trust right out of the gate. We saw this with the Diablo launch last year and we saw it with EA’s Sim City. My point is, Blizzard isn’t going to announce something just because we all want to hear about it, they will bide their time until the project is ready for announcing.
If you have ever played World of Warcraft you might know what phasing is already. Phasing is the ability, in a multiplayer game, to have players be in the exact same location but with different versions of the environment for each player. The determining factor for the version or “phase” of the environment you are assigned can be any number of variables. If you have completed a quest line, if you are high enough level, if you are horde or alliance, all of these could trigger a different phase in World of Warcraft. There are several types of phases, some are very localized while others can be very, very large. Any number of things can be phased along with you like vehicles, backdrops, NPCs, dungeons or even other players.
This is all well and good, but how does this technology affect Project Titan? Well, the answer to that lies within this article. There are many powerful advancements that Blizzard has made on the MMO format over the years and one of the most complex, and flexible, advancements is certainly phasing. Let’s go over the different types of phasing that exist in World of Warcraft and talk about how they could be used in Project Titan. Additionally, we will try and come up with a couple interesting ways that Project Titan could use phasing for the new genre.
As many of you may have heard, we recently had the opportunity of going to the Penny Arcade Expo in Boston this year. After sitting with so many talented artists and writers we decided to start our own web comic. As of now, the comic is unnamed but we hope to flesh out a name after a few episodes.
Time travel has been a major story line in our culture since before Albert Einstein had even failed mathematics. There seems to be a great fixation that people have when it comes to altering time. We obviously have various theories on the topic and many people that would probably consider themselves experts on time travel. Let’s face it, time travel is a great addition to any story as long as it is done right and Project Titan is no exception to that rule.
The problem with time travel is that there are many different ways time travel can be implemented. There are various types and methods of time travel that writers have used over the years. Some of those methods make sense, and others not so much. One unintended side effect that messing with time seems to cause is the various plot holes it tends to create (not to mention paradoxes). Playing it fast and loose with time travel is a good way to lose your believability. This could be a huge problem in an MMO format like Project Titan where the world and gameplay can be so affected by the player. Before we get into that, however, lets take a step back for a second and see what the chances are that time travel will even make it into Project Titan.
As some of you may know, Titan Buzz will be at PAX East this year. We will undoubtable be visiting the Blizzard booth to try and snag some info on our flagship game. If getting a sneak peak wasn’t enough, it seems that Blizzard also has something else for us. Two nights ago we received the following transmission on one of our sister sites:
“Blizzard Entertainment has something to share with you at PAX East.”
“We’ve been working on a little something, different from our other games, and we’re pleased to invite you to be the first to see it. It’s not a sequel, expansion, or that rumored Next-Gen MMO, but it’s something we’re excited for you to get your hands on.”
“Join us at PAX East for the official presentation”
After a little research we found that Blizzard has been inviting fan sites to come see something they have in the works. Since it explicitly says that it isn’t their next-gen MMO, we can’t get too excited in that regard.
World of Warcraft was released in November of 2004. For the last nine years they have been shaping and innovating the MMO format we know and love. Some of the decisions that they have made have received a ton of criticism and backlash, like the option to destroy the world in the Cataclysm. Some have added a ton of functionality to the game. Others we have seen before but could be reinvented in new and creative ways. Project Titan will be the next generation of these features.
Project Titan is basically the child of World of Warcraft. This means that a lot of the code that was written for World of Warcraft will be used in Project Titan. Of course, there will be new things thrown in the mix as well, but many of the current features will likely be refactored to fit within Project Titan’s world. You may ask “How do you know that will happen?” and the answer is simple. Look at each feature as an investment that Blizzard made in World of Warcraft. Each feature had specific goals, budgets and man-hours associated to creating it. Every feature that has already been created represents money that has already been spent. If Project Titan uses a feature that already exists, that money does not need to be spent again. That frees up budget and hours to create new features or improve old ones. If we take a look at some of World of Warcraft’s most and least successful features we can start to get an idea of what we will see in Project Titan. In this post we will go through our opinion based on the trends seen in World of Warcraft. We will even note some things we think will be improved or removed in Project Titan.
Today was Blizzard’s quarterly conference call with investors. The call outlines costs, revenue and share standing to all investors in the Activision Blizzard company. We sat anxiously awaiting any announcements on the Project Titan front. While nothing was said for certain, there was something that caught our notice. While going over one of the slides that outlines the estimated earnings per share Dennis Durkin, the companies chief financial officer, made the following statement:
“This year our outlook for Blizzard includes the release of the Starcraft 2 expansion pack, Heart of the Swarm in March, and one additional title.”
As far as we are aware, there have been no official announcements for another release this year. This, of course, begs the question of whether or not Project Titan will be making an appearance this year after all. It is worth mentioning that the leaked product slate has a Project Titan launch estimated in 2013. After the research in our blog post we had come to the conclusion that a Project Titan launch would be much more likely to happen in the fourth quarter of 2015. However, based on Blizzard’s aggressive hiring in the past years, it is technically possible that they could be setting up a Project Titan launch. This launch would, however, be completely out of character for Blizzard and would not allow for the product hype that typically follows a title’s announcement.
Why would you do this? Simple. By registering, you are gaining access to exclusive rewards to be given once Project Titan has been officially announced. Additionally, all of the accounts that register on this site will be transferred to the full-fledged Titan community site.