5 Anime MMORPGs You Should at Least Try Going Into 2020!
We’re at an unusual point in the MMO genre right now. We have Kickstarter funded MMOs caving on promises they made, devs scamming players, games shutting down.. yet the future still seems to show promise.
Everyone watching this is – or at the very least should be a fan of Anime. I am – I’ve been watching Anime since I was a kid. I grew up with it and Anime-inspired JRPGs like the Tales of and Star Ocean games.
Then I transitioned to Anime MMOs like Tales of Pirates, Mabinogi and FlyFF.
I played Anime MMORPGs back during the golden age of the genre – back when there were literally new games coming out every other month.
But with so many devs pushing out the same kinda game with minor differences, the genre became oversaturated, the quality of releases declined significantly, and the Anime genre pretty much imploded in on itself.
And here we are, at the end of 2019, wondering what games we have left. Wondering what games are even worth investing time into.
That’s where I come in – I’m here to tell you that there are still a few left. A few good ones. A few that have stood the test of time. So take a breath, sit back and let’s talk about them.
PHANTASY STAR ONLINE 2
I’ll start this off with one of the most active, and arguably one of the best Anime MMOs in this list: Phantasy Star Online 2.
PSO2 launched back in 2012 in Japan, and was never released to a Western audience. Why this is the case nobody knows, but Microsoft announced this year that after waiting 7 years, the game would be releasing in North America in 2020.
People were ecstatic – especially after hearing that North America would be getting a completely up-to-date version of the game.. with the exception of perhaps the crossover promotional outfits and events.
The game has one of the best character creators in an Anime MMO – allowing you to create your dream Anime waifu. There are quite a few race and class combinations, each with their own distinct look and playstyle.
Combat is complete action – there’s no tab-target and you don’t require a target to fight.
The only issue is that the game is fairly instanced. You have your main ship – or headquarters, whatever you want to refer to it as and go out on missions – some of which admittedly do span very large areas.
But nevertheless the game is instanced off from the rest of the world, seeing other players in the quest hub for the most part.
DUNGEON FIGHTER ONLINE
Next allow me to discuss the most played Anime MMO in 2019: Dungeon Fighter Online.
I know, if you look at the Steam charts for the game you’ll see that there are only a couple hundred players recorded playing concurrently, but that’s very far from the truth.
The game launched back in 2005 and since then has become one of the most played MMOs in the world. Yes, the concurrent playerbase of DFO throughout both China and South Korea number in the millions.
The game is far from even close to reaching those numbers in North America – but you can tell the polish the game has on it.
While there’s nothing really in the way of aesthetic customization of your character, there are tons of unique classes and sub-classes that leave you capable of enjoying whatever playstyle you can think up.
The combat is reminiscent of the old brawler-type arcade games back before we all sat at home to play video games.
It probably has the best combat of a game of its kind, better than MapleStory, Closers and other games with combat systems like it.
The game utilizes various hubs found around the game with mostly mission-based content that has you queueing up either solo or with a couple people to tackle instanced content.
You remember how excited you all were for Peria Chronicles? Yeah, well, now that Nexon has cancelled it, the next best thing is Mabinogi.
If you want more info on Peria Chronicles’ closure, you can click the link to it in the description or pinned comment, but.. yeah. Peria Chronicles was supposed to be the spiritual successor to Mabinogi.
With that no longer a reality.. well, in all honesty, despite its low population, Mabinogi is probably one of the most unique Anime MMOs – or actually, all-round MMOs of all time.
It was released back in 2004 – 15 years ago, and its game mechanics have still not been replicated to this day.
It is probably the only MMO that actually fully allows players the ability to live their life in the world they’re playing in. Like, actually live their life.
Not just quest, kill monsters and level up, but participate in slow, arguably tiresome at times content like getting a part-time job, finding someone to settle down and marry, resource gathering, player-run stores, city trading, an aging system and.. yeah.
It has some pretty basic character customization – but has quite a few races to choose from. The combat is tab-target although it’s a very different type to what you’re used to.
In my opinion, the combat, although real-time tab-target feels more like a slower, turn-based tab-target system that has you kinda.. queue up skills, but at the same time.. not really.
Argh, it’s difficult to describe – you truly have you experience its combat to understand what I’m talking about.
The population is fairly low – and it being a Nexon game I bet hasn’t aided in its population issues, but it’s an excellent game.
TREE OF SAVIOR
I fully expect this title to get some mixed responses.
I played Tree of Savior back when it was a laggy mess in 2016, and I’m doing a playthrough of it right now for the channel after the Re:Build update and I gotta say.. it’s changed quite a bit. I’m legitimately enjoying myself in it.
Population for the game is only around a thousand, maybe two thousand players playing concurrently, but the game is by far the best top-down isometric MMO I’ve played.
And no, for reference, I’m not including Lost Ark because it hasn’t come out in the West yet.
This game was touted as being the spiritual successor to Ragnarok Online and although I never played much of Ragnarok when it was in its prime, this game does a fantastic job of providing an aesthetically beautiful and well playing game.
You don’t often see MMOs that look as good as this game does, especially not Isometric MMOs.
There is only one race – Human, but there are so many class options – literally.. I swear there are probably a solid hundred or so – that make it almost impossible to ever get bored with what you’re playing.
Combat is complete action – there’s no tab-target, you just spam your buttons and massacre everything you see in front of you.
And no, the game isn’t instanced – it utilizes segregated zones like Final Fantasy XIV or Guild Wars 2, allowing players to see one another while out in the field questing.
I remember playing FlyFF back when GPotato owned publishing rights to the game in the West. That was about.. a decade ago? I think, before they became part of Gamigo.
The game released back in 2004 and is still somehow alive, with a population larger than most of Aeria Games’ titles still, which is saying something considering the graphical improvements made in newer Anime MMOs.
FlyFF is an old-school MMO. It doesn’t have much in the way of customization, it doesn’t offer a large variety of races to choose from, and it’s heavily grindy.
But it also offered the ability to fly – which at the time, was probably one of the coolest, most innovative features in an MMO.
I remember when I got my first.. man, I think it was a broom stick? And I just soared around the skies at.. well, in retrospect it barely felt like I was moving but man was it cool.
Graphically, even back then the game wasn’t spectacular, even when put up against other MMOs like Fiesta but it’s still kinda cute.
Combat is tab-target. Basic, traditional, old-school tab-target. If you’re not a fan of that, then you probably won’t enjoy FlyFF because there’s a lot of monster-grinding involved in progression.
But you’re not really going to find another Anime MMO that has the population FlyFF has while being as traditional to the genre as it is.
And that’s it. These are 5 Anime MMORPGs that I have played – all recently – and still believe are titles worth your time.
A lot of Anime MMOs have shut down, there are quite a few that are on their last legs. For us – fans of this specific sub-genre of MMORPG, I think we should pick a handful of good titles and stick to them.
The alternative is continuing to spread ourselves too thinly and causing the remainder of Anime titles to shut down.
I love this genre far too much for that to happen so I urge you, if you’re a fan of Anime MMOs, don’t give up and try one out. Jump in, invite some friends, and relive some of what got you into this genre to begin with.
Yes, we have some pretty amazing looking titles coming up.
Project BBQ is a direct sequel to Dungeon Fighter Online and looks absolutely beautiful with what could be the best combat I’ve ever seen in an Anime title.
Then we have Blue Protocol which looks like it could potentially take the position of the best release in recent memory.
But until then, until we get 100% confirmations that these games will be what we’re looking for in the genre, I feel it’s necessary we stick to games we know are good. That we know have stood the test of time.