MMORPGs: 2019 in Review
A lot has happened this year. Good, bad.. Let’s take a few minutes and talk about that.
This year hasn’t been that bad for the MMO genre. Sure, we’ve had our ups and our downs but despite that, we’re going into 2020 with a fresh, optimistic disposition!
So today I’d like to talk to you all about the MMOs that released this year, the MMOs that closed down this year, things I enjoyed about the genre and the state of the MMOs going into the next decade.
At the beginning of this year, January, actually I believe, Mrs Stix and I began our journey in Final Fantasy XIV. We started completely fresh and tackled the entirety of the game.
We played it for probably around 6 months, since I think Shadowbringers launched back in June. Then we were greeted by the best expansion for an MMO since Wrath of the Lich King.
Square Enix did an unbelievable job with Shadowbringers and the game quality overall rose to an unprecedented level in terms of narrative for me. For a lot of us, actually.
Even with my love of Wrath of the Lich King, never have I felt so enthralled by the ongoing story in an MMO, yet here I was.
We stayed and played the game for around a month or two after the expansion launched but ultimately chose to stop while waiting for additional content to come out.
But after playing Final Fantasy XIV and seeing how polished of a game it was, we were left a little empty. Or, we weren’t, but other MMOs we tried felt empty.
There’s something about a good storyline in an MMO that just.. I dunno, maybe it’s me, but I’ve always found engaging stories to be an important part of every game, whether it be an MMO or not.
But then again, judging by a lot of your responses on my “The Perfect MMORPG” video, it seems that my sentiments were pretty much mirrored.
2019 has been pretty good in terms of MMOs actually released. Let's take a few minutes and go through them to see which of them were worth it, and which were duds, yeah?
Caravan Stories is a cross-platform Anime MMO. It was released in Japan back in 2017 for mobile devices, and ported itself over to the PS4 for its North American release.
Honestly, the game looked adorable but its PS4 release, much like its mobile iteration was riddled with microtransactions and ultimately the playerbase abandoned it almost as quickly as it came to peoples attention.
DK Online is a South Korean MMORPG that released originally back in 2013, did so terribly that it was shut down shortly thereafter, and then relaunched again under a new publisher.
It was, once again, so poorly received that.. well, it’s still online right now, but it has a concurrent playerbase of like.. 8 to 10 people so I don’t believe that’ll really last very much longer.
Eternal Magic is a Chinese MMORPG that – if I’ve done my research correctly, actually launched in the West before anywhere else in the world, even despite looking like a game out of 2004.
Despite its graphical style, Eternal Magic acquired quite the sizable playerbase having thousands of players playing concurrently. I did a video discussing my journey to level 25 and honestly, it wasn’t a bad game.
I wouldn’t play it as a main title but it was fun to waste a little time in.
Astellia Online is a South Korean MMORPG released back in 2016 in South Korea and then again just a few months ago in North America.
Honestly, from what I’ve played, the game is a pretty traditional, if a little basic MMO. It shut down in South Korea, but its North American publisher is actively continuing development for a Western audience.
I can definitely say it turned out better than a lot of us thought it was going to.
ArcheAge Unchained was a bit of a different beast. It was ArcheAge.. but without the supposed pay to win. The same game, but minus what people believed ruined the game.
While initially very positively received, it took a fast turn for the worst when people began to realize that there was more to the issues than just pay to win.
Conqueror’s Blade is a Chinese MMORPG that released just this year. I played through some of the game, the first 4 or 5 hours and it definitely doesn’t seem like too much of an MMO, but more of a multiplayer tactical PvP game.
While you’re capable of seeing lots of players in towns and in PvP, for the most part you move around by yourself or in small groups. The game itself is actually pretty fun, at least at the early-game but I’ve heard it gets very pay to win later on.
Kritika: REBOOT is a South Korean MMORPG released under the name Kritika Online back in 2014, then in North America in 2017. It was shut down earlier this year, but revived by the developer who chose to self-publish the game over in the West last month.
If you’re a fan of hub-based action MMOs then Kritika: REBOOT will more than satiate the need for one.
It’s a pretty good game, I’ve enjoyed it every time I’ve played it but it does require patience as it has you re-running the same dungeons repeatedly to progress with the story. That annoyed me to no end.
Kingdom Under Fire 2
Kingdom Under Fire 2 is a South Korean MMORPG that released back in 2011. After 8 years, it was finally released in the West and I gotta say – despite its age, the game is pretty damn good.
It’s a tactical MMO like the Total War games but also has a very large emphasis on world-questing and partying like in traditional MMOs. This is probably one of the more unique MMORPGs out there.
There might have been additional releases that I was unaware of, but I’ve played each and every new release listed above.
Admittedly, I wouldn’t leave the MMOs I’m playing right now for any of the games released above. Maybe I’d take a temporary break so I can experience them for a little while but I don’t believe any of them have lasting, long-term potential.
Some of them were a lot of fun to play but I just can’t seem them ever competing with any of the largely popular MMOs dominating the market right now.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try them of course. Just because the majority of players may not find lasting value in them doesn’t mean you will automatically dislike it. There are plenty of low-population MMOs after all.
Now, you can't have new releases without older releases shutting down, right? Well, not even older releases shutting down. Some of these were outright cancelled before even releasing. Let's take a look at what those were.
Peria Chronicles was perhaps one of the most anticipated Anime MMORPGs ever. Unfortunately it was so poorly received that Nexon just threw in the towel and got rid of it.
Dragon’s Dogma Online
Dragon’s Dogma Online never released outside of Japan. Maybe if it did it would’ve found more success than it did, but many players believe the game shutting down had something to do with an upcoming Dragon’s Dogma title sometime in the future.
Dragon Hound was kind of like a large-scale version of Monster Hunter but with mounted combat. It was a pretty ambitious project that Nexon shut down pretty soon after announcing it.
Monster Hunter Online
Monster Hunter Online never released outside of China. Even with the ridiculously large population of gamers in China, the game was ultimately shut down after years of decline.
Bless Online was an MMORPG that people were ecstatic about shutting down. Probably the most universally hated MMO I’ve ever seen released. I was surprised when I heard Bless Unleashed was launching onto Xbox One in the near future.
Warlords Awakening was a top-down isometric MMORPG that released several times in the past, and failed every time. I called it out stating that it was going to fail but people didn’t believe me. It failed, and was shut down.
Just because we have games that are shutting down, doesn’t mean we don’t have anything to look forward to though.
I’ve done videos in the past discussing what the “top games to look forward to in 2020” are but that isn’t the kind of video this is. This is me just talking to you guys.
We actually have quite a bit to look forward to. While release dates for upcoming MMOs are a little sporadic, it’s exciting to see the kinds of MMOs we have confirmed to be coming out in 2020 and beyond.
I was a little concerned earlier this year when all we had were indie-developed MMOs that were backed by Kickstarter funding because let’s be honest, they’re all likely quite a ways off still.
I’m an avid browser of the MMORPG Subreddit and the amount of times indie-games have been delayed, for whatever reason, is shocking.
Regardless, these are the MMOs announced over the course of 2019 to be launching in 2020 or at the very least, around 2020. Not every game is going to release in North America or Europe, but there are always workarounds to get into overseas MMOs.
New World is an upcoming MMO from Amazon Game Studios releasing in May 2020. It looks and sounds pretty solid but I’m not sure how it’ll end up doing.
Magic: Legends is an upcoming MMO Action RPG from Cryptic and Perfect World Entertainment. Honestly, while the cinematic trailer looked pretty awesome, nothing is currently known about the game. More information is expected next month, though.
Phantasy Star Online 2
Phantasy Star Online 2 is an upcoming Anime MMORPG from Sega launching in Spring next year. Honestly, I’m a huge fan of the Japanese PSO2 version and I know this is gonna be a huge hit.. when it inevitably launches on PC, later in the year.
Corepunk is an upcoming isometric Action MMORPG from Artificial Core. They plan on having open beta testing at the end of 2020, and I’m looking forward to it. Other than looking a little slow, the game seems pretty promising!
TemTem is a creature-collecting MMORPG from Crema Games launching Early Access on January 21st, 2020. I’ll admit, I’m a huge Pokemon fan and this is perhaps my most anticipated MMORPG of 2020.
Mrs Stix and I are finishing our Alpha playthrough of it right now, hoping to have a video of it up before the Early Access begins for people wanting to know more about it.
Lineage 2: Remastered
Okay, this isn’t so much a new game as it is a complete overhaul of an existing game. NCSoft announced they were in the process of doing a complete overhaul of Lineage 2, developing the game for Unreal Engine 4. That’s.. quite the undertaking.
Project TL is an upcoming isometric Action MMORPG from NCSoft. This game has seen so many delays that when NCSoft finally announced it would be releasing in South Korea in 2020.. people weren’t sure whether to cry out in excitement, or curl up in a ball depressed.
Blue Protocol is an upcoming Anime MMORPG from Bandai Namco. This looks to be one of the best, if not the best Anime MMORPG release on the horizon. A full-fledged MMO by a AAA developer, releasing in Japan in 2020.
Genshin Impact isn’t so much an MMORPG, but rather a larger-scale multiplayer game from miHoYo. It is currently scheduled for Spring 2020, and looks pretty damn good. Mrs Stix and I are excited to play this together, for sure!
GRAN SAGA is an upcoming MMORPG from NPIXEL launching in 2020. Nothing has currently been revealed other than it’s going to be cross-platform between both PC and Mobile devices. While the cinematic looks great, we’ll need to wait for more information.
Path of Exile 2
Path of Exile 2 is a weirder one. The game can be labelled as both a standalone sequel or an extension to the base game. Regardless, it’s going to be a large game featuring its own launcher, with a closed beta happening at the earliest very late in 2020.
Crimson Desert is an upcoming MMORPG from Pearl Abyss. Not a whole lot is known about the game currently, but it is expected to be a more PvE focused successor to Black Desert that has people almost unable to contain themselves waiting for additional info.
DokeV is, like both Temtem and Pokemon, a creature-collecting MMORPG from Pearl Abyss. This is one I’m watching closely because it looks very unique and has ridiculous funding behind it leaving it with a lot of potential for a Pokemon-inspired MMO.
Ascent: Infinite Realm
Ascent: Infinite Realm is an upcoming MMORPG from Bluehole and Kakao that has an expected closed beta in North America and Europe in 2020.
This is an MMO that fans of the genre have been highly anticipating for the last couple years, and I’m excited to see it in a complete form, having played the South Korean version of it myself.
Lost Ark is an isometric Action MMORPG from Smilegate. There have been so many leaks recently that a Western release in 2020 is all but a certainty at this point.
Lost Ark is probably the most anticipated MMORPG release of the last 5 years, and after playing it.. honestly I think some people might be disappointed, but it’s a solid game nonetheless.
2019 has been a surprising year. We’ve had some amazing expansions like Shadowbringers, and we’ve had some depressing news like Peria Chronicles’ closure.
We’ve had a lot of drama this year as well, like the Oath drama with Cryy and the studio, and even Day of Dragons being accused of being a scam.
We had the protests at Blizzcon, Blizzard and ArenaNet laying off hundreds of employees, Nexon’s closure of several of their studios, leaving hundreds if not thousands of employees jobless and unable to feed their families.
It’s been crazy, but that’s why it’s important content creators continue to bring issues, drama, and new releases to the attention of our viewers.
It keeps you all in the loop, helps make certain developers are held accountable for their actions and keeps the hype alive for future, upcoming games.
2020 looks good in terms of releases, and I’m excited to see where the year is going to take us.
I’ve had an amazing year in 2019, and a lot of that is due to all of you. If you weren’t here watching me, allowing me to make the videos I want to make, I don’t know where I’d be.
Probably at some crappy 9 to 5 job hating my life. I wouldn’t have met Mrs Stix and I wouldn’t be able to do what I love as a career.
So thank you all for being amazing. I truly appreciate you all more than you’ll ever fully be able to comprehend, and I promise going into 2020 I’ll strive to make the channel even better, take the channel to even greater heights.
Here’s to an epic 2020. Happy New Year, everyone!