There’s nothing quite like getting lost in a video game. Playing a game that completely engulfs a character in a new world with an almost unlimited number of things to do is the best type of gaming experience. This is how we would describe most MMOs, or at least the successful ones. There have been more than a few MMO released already this year, but if you’re like us, none of them really stolen our time away like they should have. Here are 20 upcoming MMOs that are not yet released, but we’re definitely keeping an eye on!
One of the most influential MMO franchises in history is back and it’s going all out to try and reclaim its former title as king of the genre. Sony Online Entertainment debuted EverQuest Next in early August 2013 to positive press. Whether EQN is successful or not will depend on how successful SOE is at executing its numerous high concept ideas. The free-to-play sandbox game seeks to tackle several holy grails of the genre. If EQN’s fully destructible environments and permanently changing worlds pan out on live servers to be even half as cool as they looked in the early videos, we could all find ourselves logging into Norrath again in numbers not seen since 1999.
EverQuest Next Landmark
EverQuest Next Landmark is essentially Minecraft meets MMO. The title is a completely separate endeavor from EverQuest Next and will see release before the end of 2013. While Landmark isn’t getting as much attention as the main event, the long-term success of this reboot may very well depend on its success. Landmark will let players build houses, in-game items, and anything else they can think of using a special version of Sony Online Entertainment’s own development tools. Well-crafted items may get purchased by Sony for use in the main game. Players can also trade their crafted items to other players. Sony is essentially looking at every MMO fan who has ever said that they could do it better than the developer and saying, “OK, here you go. Prove it.”
While details on how the business side of Landmark transactions will play out are still scarce, this could also potentially be a recurring gold mine for Sony. Will the developer take a page from Diablo 3’s real-money auction house and charge a small fee off the top of every player transaction with real money? I don’t think anyone would be surprised if that’s the case.
The Elder Scrolls Online
The success of single-player Elder Scrolls title Skyrim has raised the ante for this title, due sometime in 2014. The title features the same open-world, explore anywhere, do anything gameplay featured in previous Elder Scrolls games. But this time, players will be able to group up with other adventurers to tackle dungeons and other challenges together. One unique concept comes out of the game’s PVP system. Players can battle each other for the opportunity to become the server’s “Emperor,” which is given to the top player of whichever faction is currently controlling the Imperial City. The game is built to accommodate hundreds of players on screen at once.
The game recently announced it will be sticking with a subscription business model. While this is raising a few eyebrows in the era of free-to-play, it makes sense for this game. The Elder Scrolls has always been about completely immersing yourself in another world and those annoying “Buy Now” buttons would have ruined the experience.
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
So let’s try that again, shall we? Final Fantasy XIV first released in 2010 to overwhelmingly negative reviews. The game was essentially broken and not fun at all. It was so bad that Square Enix even officially apologized to its player base and started over from scratch. The new version of the game, titled Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, was released on PC and Playstation 3 on August 27. Early word out of the beta is that the game is a lot more fun this time around.
One unique feature allows players to sync their level with other characters so that they can help out with lower-level quests. A new housing system is also planned for release sometime after the launch. Of note is that this title is also using a subscription model, so industry watchers will be paying close attention if for no other reason than to see how that shakes out.
World of Warplanes
This free-to-play title joins ranks with World of Tanks and World of Warships on September 25. More than three million people registered for the beta and more than 200 million battles have taken place to date. The title features similar gameplay to its two sister titles, but of course, in the air, as opposed to on land or at sea. The game features many military vehicles from key periods throughout history. Planes from the 1930s to the Korean War are included. The game will also share certain gameplay features with World of Tanks and World of Warships. Clan Battles that take place in this game will happen on the same global map as the other two titles. It will also be possible to share resources between titles. You can truly coordinate an attack on an opposing clan by land, sea, and air at the same time across all three games.
Game of Thrones: Seven Kingdoms
This browser-based MMO is based within the same fictional realm of Westeros as the hit HBO show. Gameplay will focus on PVP combat ranging from one-on-one duels to full siege warfare. Players can align themselves with one of the three powerful houses from the television show: Baratheon, Stark, or Lannister. Everything put into the game is reportedly reviewed by HBO in advance. There hasn’t really been an MMO that’s managed to pull off a browser title yet so this will be an interesting game to keep an eye on. If the game is even halfway decent, the developer could stand to make a profit off of the large amount of die-hard fans of the franchise. It is expected to see release in 2013.
Bungie. Enough said, right? This sci-fi based shooter features an open-world and dynamic gameplay experience. You might think “Halo MMO” at first glance but there’s more depth here than that. You’ll be able to travel throughout the star system to various planets and have an immersive experience on each one. The world is designed to feel “alive.” Events may happen on the fly which are not controlled by the developer. Bungie has avoided using the term MMO with this game, instead preferring to call it a “shared-world” shooter. This makes sense, as players will not be able to see all other players who are online at any given time, but only the players they are specifically matched with for missions. The game is expected to release in 2014 for Playstation 3 and 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
Project Titan is the codename for Blizzard Entertainment’s next-gen MMO. Most thought it would debut at this year’s Blizzcon in November, but then Blizzard pulled the plug. The game was sent back to square one as Blizzard was said to be unhappy with the direction of the game. As this is a Blizzard game, rumors have of course been flying for months, but there is really no concrete information at this time on what new direction the Irvine, California developer intends to take with this title. With World of Warcraft’s numbers declining over the last few years, the pressure is on Blizzard to deliver with its next big MMO. Even with no actual information to go on, a lot of gamers will include this game on their list of most anticipated MMOs simply because Blizzard has been so good for so long. The latest rumors claim the game will not see release until 2016 at the earliest.
Phantasy Star Online 2
Phantasy Star Online 2 saw release in Japan on July 4, 2012. Since that time, gamers have waited for a North American and European release that still has not come. No release date has been set. Progress seems to be moving forward however, as Sega has announced that an English version of the game will release in select countries in Asia in early 2014. The game in Japan has been successful with 2.5 million registered IDs and more than 100,000 concurrent users online this month. The franchise still retains a cult following from the original Phantasy Star Online which got its start in 2000 on the Sega Dreamcast. Gameplay in the franchise is hack and slash.
Monster Hunter Online
The Monster Hunter franchise has been of the Wii U’s one few bright spots in recent times. This online title is an updated version of Monster Hunter Frontier Online which first released in Japan in 2007. The game has gotten a bit outdated since then and a new version is set for release in Japan on Wii U this December. It should be noted however that as of right now, there are no plans to release this game in North America. With that said, the Wii U could certainly use a shot in the arm, so who knows what Capcom and Nintendo’s long term plans for this franchise could be.
A social online role-playing game based on Joss Whedon’s hit but extinct TV show, Fireflywill release in 2014. The game will release on tablets and smartphones for both iOS and Android. The game allows players to assume the role of a ship captain and journey through space on adventures. It features cross-platform play across multiple devices. The gameplay and concept itself don’t seem particularly notable, but the fact that it has the Firefly license means that it will have an instant following upon release. Whether or not the game is good enough to retain a player base remains to be seen, but we’ll find out next year.
World of Darkness
World of Darkness was first announced way back in 2010 and has been stuck in development hell for a few years as developer CCP Games focuses on its other titles like EVE Online and Dust 514. The game is said to be based on the Vampire: The Masquerade live-action role playing (LARP) game. While information is scarce, the game remains on CCP’s website. A brief teaser was shown to fans in Iceland this past April during the company’s EVE Fanfest. The game is looking at a 2015 release at the earliest as CCP still has their hands full with developing content for other franchises.
Black Desert is a free-to-play game by Korean developer Pearl Abyss. The game is unique in that it mixes action-based combat in a sandbox environment. Trailers for the game have looked impressive, with dozens if not hundreds of characters fighting on the screen at one time. The game features gorgeous graphics and a combat system not unlike something out of Prince of Persia. The game has been somewhat under the radar as the developer is not as well-known as say, Sony Online Entertainment or Bethesda, but the game could make some noise in the industry if it pulls off its combat system while avoiding the pay-to-win models that have plagued other Korean MMOs. Oh, and you can ride a gigantic elephant as a mount into battle, so that’s pretty much an instant win.
Oh, WildStar, how you have teased us so throughout this year—with your hilarious and well-done DevSpeak videos, and your weekly Wednesday updates on the game’s progress. Not only does the actual content look incredible, but the pricing model also thinks outside the box. In WildStar, players will be able to earn in game currency that could allow them to potentially buy a month’s worth of game time…with in game currency. All you broke b*stards out there will be able to play without paying, without a cheesy free-to-play model to ruin the game. Carbine Studios (developers) have yet to announce anything that turns me off from the game; it’s all been awesome news so far. Hopefully, WildStar will live up to its potential. WildStar is expected to release in Spring 2014, with a beta before that, which you can sign up for here.
Firefall from Red 5 Studios has been in open beta for a couple of months now, and there is no official release date in site for the action-packed MMO. Firefall drops you right into the action from the first moment you pick up your mouse and keyboard. It’s run and gunning at its best, in which dodging incoming bullets actually lets you do just that. So, movement is granted a greater level of importance and necessity for mastery, unlike in other MMOs in which you could stand still or move and it wouldn’t matter because you still get hit. Placing an emphasis on dodging and movement creates an added element of gameplay that makes it more enjoyable. The graphics look great, and the jumping/jet pack mechanic creates an added element of fun that every gamer should experience. Hopefully, Firefall won’t go the route of Dota 2 and stay in open beta for a couple years.
GTA V Online
Count it! Okay, so Rockstar’s bread and butter franchise might not be Massively Multiplayer, but Grand Theft Auto Online is getting closer and closer to being considered an MMO. The reveal we saw last week has us more excited than ever to pick up Grand Theft Auto V in September, although it is unfortunate that we will have to wait two weeks to hop into the online mode, which sports a plethora of things to do. You can earn and spend money, run around on your own making friends or enemies, form a crew with friends, perform a heist, and much more. Completing any job online earns the money, and then you can customize your character, guns, cars and even buy an apartment in the persistant world. You can buy a garage and fill it with custom vehicles! Wow!
Ubisoft. Tom Clancy. MMO. The Division looks to have incredible depth, incredible graphics, and incredible multiplayer gameplay with seemless integration for you and your friends. I’ve never been so impressed with a gameplay demo as I was for The Division‘s E3 demo. It’s set in a futuristic world from Tom Clancy in an apparently huge open world with dynamic events. Dear Ubisoft, take my money now.
State of Decay MMO (Class4)
State of Decay quickly became a hot seller on XBLA earlier this year, receiving high marks across the board, including from us. The title was originally slated as an MMO, but due to time constraints, the MMO aspect was dropped, and no multiplayer was included. Now, the developers over at Undead Labs (nice folks, by the way) are working on a follow-up MMO titled Class4. The last we heard about Class4 was that it was still in limbo due to negotiations with Microsoft, but hopefully, Class4 will soon be back on track, and we’ll be able to survive the zombie apocalypse together one day.
Bless Online from NeoWiz games looks absolutely incredible, even though it appears to take from the typical lore of MMOs by using ogres, dragons, and the like. But, we were mostly impressed with the incredible-looking combat and colossal bosses shown in the trailer. We’re awaiting news of the game’s American launch, as there is currently no release date set.
ArcheAge from Trion Worlds/XL Games will have a player driven economy, epic ship battles, siege battles, and much more from what we’ve been lead to believe. The E3 Demo was incredible, and definitely sparked more interest in the gaming community. There are steam punk elements, there are Asian elements, and there is something called a “Sea of Slaughter”. The graphics look absolutely stunning. You’re able to build your own houses and farms for resources, as well as ships. There’s so much more to detail, but long story short: ArcheAge is definitely an MMO to keep an eye on.