Back in the early to late 2000s, Anime MMORPGs used to be kings of the MMORPG genre. There were a plethora of games to play and the Anime MMO scene was thriving and seemed well and secure. So, what happened?
So Anime MMORPGs used to be the crown kings of the MMORPG genre.
During the mid to late 2000s, you couldn’t go anywhere online without being spammed by a plethora of advertisements pushing varying Anime MMOs.
I have played my fair share of Anime MMORPGs over the years, as I started playing MMORPGs all the way back in 2004-2005, when I was still just a kid.
Back then, they weren’t frowned upon as they are today, although to be completely fair, these days they aren’t even frowned upon; they are just completely.. irrelevant.
With a few single exceptions, there are no Anime MMORPGs left on the market. Which is a damn shame, considering the fact that I all but grew up with Anime MMORPGs.
I would love for a company to release an Anime MMORPG that really changed how people perceived them.
I would throw my money at anyone that could truly pull off a unique Anime inspired MMORPG that draws an audience in, that actually captivates its target audience, that is actually.. good.
Now don’t get me wrong here.. I’m not saying that the miniscule selection we have left is void of anything worth playing, I am merely pointing out the fact that once the remaining games fall.. there will be no Anime MMORPGs left.
Now, what does this actually mean for the Anime MMORPG genre? Death, probably. With no intention of producing new Anime inspired MMORPGs, what else is there honestly to hope for?
What else can we even do outside of enjoying what we have left – until there is ultimately nothing left to enjoy – the games we once loved and played almost religiously; abandoned and destroyed by the fans that once loved them.
This can be said about the entire MMORPG genre as a whole at this point though. Almost every single MMORPG with any semblance of a population left, currently, is in a constant state of decline.
There are only a few exceptions to this, being Final Fantasy XIV, Guild Wars 2, Elder Scrolls Online and World of Warcraft.
And that is because they’re all AAA titles, that all had expansions that came out within the last year.
But I digress.
Anime MMORPGs are far and few between, so I figure I would talk about the few left that I still enjoy and believe you should all attempt to play before they’re gone as well.
My reasoning behind believing Phantasy Star Online 2 is worth playing is the fact that unlike other games that are in the same vein, such as Vindictus, Soul Worker Online and Kritika, Phantasy Star just seems like a significantly larger, more polished MMORPG.
Whereas the others feel instanced, and you can very easily tell they’re instanced, Phantasy Star Online 2 does not.
Adding on to this is the fact that occasionally you find people that join your instance – something that has surprised me on more than one occasion.
We’ve even gone as far as meeting new people through having them join our instance and assist in what we were doing, due to us being underleveled for what we were supposed to be doing.
Gameplay in Phantasy Star Online 2 is fast, fun, and full of features most MMOs don’t offer, such as the ability to switch between a unique selection of varying weapons dependant on the class you chose when creating your character.
Making for some very fun combat, and some fun combinations as you’re capable of swapping between three different active weapon styles at a time.
Then we have the overall look and feel of the game, which is incredible. It feels so much like an old Anime inspired JRPG that it actually makes me reminisce a little about the JRPGs that’re no longer released.
Unfortunately, the game is completely in Japanese however, as Sega refuses to localize the game in English. Although fan translations for the game have been made and Sega doesn’t seem to care if we use them.
Therefore I strongly urge you to attempt to use the English patch if you don’t already, and are thinking of trying the game out.
Blade and Soul is the main MMORPG I play currently (partly due to it being my girlfriends’ game, forcing me into it *cough*, let’s.. let’s not tell her I said that,)
and partly because it’s actually a good game, especially for a free to play MMORPG.
There are some things that bother me regarding Blade and Soul, such as the instanced world, but generally you explore the game like you would any other open-world MMORPG: Going from quest hub to quest hub.
Although NCSoft recently merged all of the servers into two single servers – which is never a good sign – the two remaining servers are much more populated in contrast to what they were prior to the merges.
Couple that with the recent release of the Gunslinger class and there is no time more ideal than right now to jump right into Blade and Soul!
The graphics in Blade and Soul are the best you’ll find in a free to play MMORPG – with the exception of possibly Guild Wars 2, but then again that was originally pay to play, and expansions are all buy to play.
Nevertheless, adding on to that is the fact that it is also one of the most perverse looking MMORPGs on the market. If you play the game, or have even seen some of the outfits, you’ll understand why I say this.
Then combat.. combat in Blade and Soul is superb. Unfortunately I’m terrible at the game, sucking at both Summoner and Kung Fu Master, but the combat itself is some of the most fun I’ve ever experienced.
Then we have quite a bit of our Byte community partaking in the game as it’s honestly one of the few we can all play together, being highly populated and free.
An older one, yet.. one that should not be avoided, neglected or forgotten.
TERA, in all honesty, set the standard when it came down to pay to play MMORPGs shifting to a free to play model.
It was one of the largest games at the time to go through with the transition.
It’s always a hefty gamble doing something different, and the team behind TERA took a chance.
A chance that ultimately paid off, turning TERA from what seemed like an all but certain failure, into a free to play MMORPG titan. Absolutely destroying every other free to play MMORPG out at the time.
It held on to that momentum for quite a while, pushing out content after content, most notably in the form of additional classes, but even still.
I never got to try TERA when it was pay to play, but I did get the opportunity to play it after it went free to play.
It is, without a doubt, still one of my favorite MMORPGs, especially in the Anime genre, and although in 2017, going into 2018, it is beginning to show a little wear and tear, the game is still leaps and bounds ahead of the competition.
Not only is the action combat in TERA some of the most entertaining (behind Blade and Soul, Soul Worker, and Black Desert Online only in terms of quality,) but it is still one of the best looking MMORPGs around.
There are only a few MMORPGs around that look better overall than TERA, and only one that is free to play.
This one, Soul Worker, is actually releasing in the West very soon.
Which is great, because outside of Phantasy Star Online 2, it is literally the only instanced MMORPG I enjoy playing.
That is because the majority of instanced MMORPGs are boring and repetitious.
Which is fine. If you’re into repititious games then go right ahead. I know plenty of people enjoy them and more power to them.
However I do not, and as such, grinding the same dungeon 5 times consecutively isn’t really my idea of fun.
I’m a fan of open world games, so Soul Worker, Phantasy Star.. they have to be quite the catch to hold my attention.
With Soul Worker Online, the reason it is capable of retaining my attention is the incredible gameplay, and absolutely amazing Anime graphic style.
It is the most Anime looking MMO I have ever seen. I cannot stress enough that if you want a released MMORPG that actually looks like an Anime.. Soul Worker is your bet.
At least, until, maybe, Peria Chronicles releases sometime in the next decade.
So there are other Anime MMORPGs out there, naturally, like Eden Eternal, Grand Fantasia, Aura Kingdom, Ragnarok Online, Luna Reborn, and I can probably go on and on, especially if you include Browser MMORPGs.. euughh.
But amongst all of them, there are only a handful of good ones.
This is what I believe remains of the highest quality ones.
There are some okay Anime MMORPGs out there like Closers, Kritika, Aura Kingdom, and Mabinogi.. but none that are worthy of being called great in 2017, and especially going into 2018.
So, all of this being said.. outside of watching the rapid decline of Anime MMORPGs, there isn’t much we can do to save the few games we have left to enjoy in the genre other than keep supporting them.
Therefore, if you’re on the fence about playing an Anime MMORPG – go ahead and try one of these. What’s the worst thing that could happen? You dislike it? Pfft.