Are MMORPGs Worth Playing Anymore? The State Of MMOs And MMORPGs In 2020
C’mon, you can’t honestly say you haven’t at least thought about it, right? Of course you have. We all have. We all love the genre, but at the same time, we can all agree that the number of games currently available have declined quite substantially over the last couple years.
Who here remembers how excited we all were when Black Desert was announced and released back in 2016? That was the best looking game we’d ever seen. We were enthralled by how good the combat was, how absolutely stunning everything was.
We were excited about Blade & Soul, Revelation Online, Bless Online.. yet each game garnered less interest from players, with players slowly coming to the realization that not only were MMO releases slowing down, but.. they were all more or less coming out of Asia.
Or more specifically, out of either China or South Korea.
Now I’m not saying that either of those countries produce poor quality games, I’m merely stating that the demographic that those countries’ respectively target is different to ours over in the West.
But then if we take a look at games produced over here in the West we see a strange recurring theme as well: There are an alarmingly large number of “indie devs” asking for crowdfunding to develop games for the western market.
Games free of pay-to-win that Eastern MMOs are so prevalently permeating with. Crowfall. Pantheon. Chronicles of Elyria. Ashes of Creation. There are so many more that I could name that have scammed our community out of money over the last couple years but that isn’t my point.
My point is that the majority – not all, mind you – of these developers have already been in development for years and barely even have a product to show us, let alone allow us to play. And that’s perfectly fine.
I completely understand that developing a game, especially an MMO with a small dev studio can be a daunting, and especially arduous process that can take 5, 6 years or more.
But much like Eastern MMOs, after a time players grow weary of waiting, they tire, they begin to forget and lose interest.
This can ultimately result in them either looking for other games, or finding solace in an already established MMO like World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy XIV.
See, while MMOs continue to buckle under the pressure of a declining playerbase, more and more players continue to collectively gather within the few remaining games that they believe can stand the test of time.
Final Fantasy XIV saw their highest concurrent-subscribers in the history of the game when they released Shadowbringers. Why? Sure, it’s a very good game. I enjoy it quite a bit, but it’s more than that.
The game has been around for going on 7 years at this point. It already has several expansions and is developed and published worldwide by a large AAA company with an established fanbase.
They push out content regularly, have a very dedicated community and you can tell the game is loved by the people – or at least the person in charge of it, Yoshi-P.
Most of those points aren’t mirrored by other developers. Most developers in this day and age are of the opinion that they need to make as much money as they can in as little time as possible.
Heck, even Blizzard – who used to be an amazing developer care more about profits and that shows quite evidently with regards to World of Warcraft.
But the question being proposed right now is: With the market as it currently is, is the MMORPG genre actually worth investing time into in 2020?
Honestly, I’ve said it in the past and I’ll say it again: I believe 2020 is going to be a good year. Not necessarily with regards to releases in North America or Europe, but globally.
We have more MMOs to look forward to this year than any year in recent memory, and some of them look very, very promising.
But it doesn’t end there. Releases will be following going into 2021 and beyond, with, hopefully, some of the aforementioned MMOs actually delivering on their promises to release.
While there has been too many MMO closures to name, and even though larger games continue to suffer increasing declines, the genre itself isn’t in a decline. We’re just.. waiting.
Waiting for something new. Something to enthrall us, to entrance us. To make us forget about our responsibilities in real life, to want to order pizza and sit there drinking sodas because we’re too busy playing an MMO to get up.
And I do believe the game capable of doing that exists – or at the very least will exist.
Genres rise in popularity, and genres decline in popularity. It happens with everything. Right now, we’re just in a “lull period” where we’re waiting for something large to break out and capitalize on all of us sitting here idle.
That could be Amazon’s New World, Sega’s Phantasy Star Online 2, Bandai Namco’s Blue Protocol, or it could be something completely different – who knows.
But the genre is not dead. Not at all. Is it dying? No. Are active players playing less? Definitely. Maybe they’re even going as far as taking breaks all together. But the genre itself is definitely not dying.
Shifting attention for sure, but not dying. That is a very long ways off, if it’s possible at all.
I do have a question for all of you: Do you think the MMORPG genre is dying? In a state of decay? What are your thoughts on the state of the market right now? Let me know down in the comments below and let’s talk about it.