MMORPGs We Can Still Expect in 2021
Recently, Amazon Game Studios revealed that Lost Ark would be delayed into the first quarter of 2022.
This is so the game doesn’t inhibit the potential success of New World – as it wouldn’t be an ideal situation to have Lost Ark, which is one of the most anticipated MMOs of the last several years outperform an MMO that Amazon have been actively developing in-house for just as long.
Mortal Online 2 revealed early this morning that they were delaying the release of their game into January 2022. It’s unlikely Blue Protocol will be releasing in 2021 given how close we are to the end of the year.
Project BBQ – to the surprise of nobody at all, hasn’t released any information pertaining to the game. Corepunk was delayed into 2022 as well – A lot of MMOs slated for release in 2021 have been delayed, but that doesn’t mean we don’t still have a few more coming.
And that’s what we’re here today to talk about: The remaining MMOs yet to come in 2021 for those of you still looking for something new to play.
Now let’s talk about what we have to look forward to this year.
So we’ve had quite a few releases in 2021 already: PSO2 New Genesis launched 3 months ago, Swords of Legends Online launched 2 months ago, and Bless Unleashed launched last month.
With new MMOs seemingly launching every single month, it looks as though we won’t have a shortage of things to keep ourselves preoccupied with.
This month in specific, Amazon Game Studios revealed we’ll finally – after years of delays, and repeated setbacks, be able to play New World.
New World is a very large-budget open-world MMORPG that was built as more of a survival game originally, with an emphasis on PvP that has been drastically altered over time to provide players a much deeper PvE experience, filled with dungeons, world-content, crafting and survival elements.
This game had over a hundred thousand concurrent players playing at every point during its last few Beta tests, likely selling millions of pre-orders before the game was even ready to play.
This might be the first time a Western MMO succeeds in captivating the MMO market by providing something unique – something that actually has the potential of retaining player interest long-term.
New World is an open-world PvP MMO that utilizes an action combat system, meaning PvP requires more in terms of reflex and timing for parries, dodges and blocks. Honestly, the game looks pretty damn good graphically, providing some beautiful aesthetics in terms of environments.
Player models aren’t bad, and the combat itself isn’t either – it’s just significantly slower than what I’m used to but that appeals to a lot of players, with them claiming it’s much more “Souls-like,” for those of you that played the Dark Souls games.
New World releases on September 28, 2021 and will be a buy-to-play title, requiring players pay a one-time fee to play.
Then we have Elyon, an open-world action MMORPG that was being built initially as a tab-target steampunk inspired MMO scheduled to release years ago.
Elyon is being developed by Bluehole Studio, the very same people behind the quality TERA title. And I say “quality,” because while the game might suck by today’s standards, during the first year or two of the game’s life, TERA was an incredibly fun MMO to play.
Elyon was originally built as Ascent: Infinite Realm, a Korean MMO set predominantly within the skies. Aerial travel, aerial combat – flying between large archipelagos was a key aspect of the game. Everything took place above-ground, providing players a very unique experience that isn’t replicated anywhere else.
But after repeated complaints from Korean players, Bluehole scrapped this idea and turned what was a unique aerial steampunk premise into your standard fantasy MMO. Which honestly isn’t a bad game in any capacity – as a matter of fact, it’s kinda fun in its own way.
Interestingly, Ascent: Infinite Realm was a free to play MMO. However, after converting to Elyon, Kakao, the publisher for Elyon in the West announced the game was converting to a buy to play business model, much like New World.
Earlier this month, however, Kakao once again changed their minds, likely due to poor pre-orders for the game, and decided they will instead be launching as a free to play title.
Elyon features a faction system, with the two factions being able to engage one another in open-world PvP. From what I could tell, enemy players could attack you pretty much anywhere, at any time, with the exception of safe zones.
The action combat that Elyon utilizes is one of the better action combat systems releasing this year. I daresay the only release this year that can compete with it is PSO2 New Genesis. Not only is the combat fast and fluid, it’s also flashy – something that I personally like to see out of an MMO I’ll spend most my time fighting in.
Elyon releases on October 20, 2021, and will be a free-to-play title, meaning players can log in and play this without any fees whatsoever.
Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker
Final Fantasy XIV has been around for years. Almost a decade at this point, I think, right? And right now, it is the most populated MMORPG on the entire market.
And while this isn’t a new game, it is releasing a brand new expansion this year – which is probably larger in scale than your average MMO.
Final Fantasy XIV is a tab-target fantasy MMORPG developed and published by Square Enix. This game has enthralled the MMO scene with beautiful graphics, a deep, compelling narrative, and… okay, well, there are plenty of people that dislike its combat, but I honestly think, as someone who plays at endgame, that it’s actually pretty good.
The latest expansion, Endwalker, is the continuation of the critically acclaimed Shadowbringers expansion. Continuing, and ultimately ending the story that we’ve been playing through for so many years now, Endwalker not only marks the end of something as important as the current story, but it begins a new journey that we’ll all get to experience together.
We can expect the same polish, the same depth, the same level of content to play through. A multitude of expansive new zones, gorgeous new main cities, new classes, massive class overhauls, rebalancing, a continuation of the narrative, and most importantly: New fashion items.
I daresay, I’m aware New World is going to sell a lot of copies, but Final Fantasy XIV’s Endwalker expansion is by and far the most anticipated release of 2021.
This is going to sell millions of copies and will likely be the the “Wrath of the Lich King” expansion for its respective IP.
Final Fantasy XIV is an enormous open-world, albeit with segregated-zones tab-target MMORPG that features an entrancing story unlike any you’ve encountered in the MMO scene. Yes, it definitely has an issue with pacing at lower levels, but if that’s something you can get past, you get to experience what is arguably the pinnacle of the genre.
Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker releases on November 23, 2021, and will require a purchase like every expansion, followed by a monthly recurring subscription, as this is one of 2 MMOs that require an active subscription to play.
Lineage W is an upcoming cross-platform MMORPG launching on both PC and Mobile devices.
Unfortunately, from what I’ve seen this is largely a mobile MMO that was developed specifically for mobile devices that is being simultaneously launched onto PC via NCSoft’s Purple Platform.
After watching the various trailers for the game, and even covering it in extensive detail, it’s evident the type of game this will ultimately end up being, and I can say with certainty that our community of PC MMO players will strongly dislike it.
The game is entirely auto-play, as one would expect from a cross-platform MMO with a focus on mobile. It auto-paths you to objectives, and engages in encounters without any input from the player.
Sure, the game at times looks pretty good but so do a lot of mobile exclusive titles from their trailers.
Lineage W releases in 2021, at a yet undisclosed time and will be a free-to-play title, meaning players can play without any type of fee.
And that’s pretty much it for confirmed, full-MMO releases.
Now there are going to be various different Alpha and Beta test phases for a plethora of different MMOs, like Fractured’s upcoming Alpha test this month, Corepunk’s upcoming Closed Beta test later this year in what was supposedly confirmed to be December, and so much more.
2021 has honestly been a pretty good year for MMOs. Yes, we haven’t had a “breakout MMO” yet like we have in previous years. A game like Blade & Soul or Black Desert in their respective years, but that doesn’t mean these games – or any of the games released this year won’t stand the test of time.
We have plenty of games to look forward to in 2022 – I’ll cover those separately soon enough. But nevertheless, we’ll be plenty preoccupied over the coming months with multiple new releases to hold our attention until something new releases.
2021 was a good year for MMOs, and 2022 looks to be a year to look forward to.
Which of these MMOs are you most looking forward to playing in 2021, and what are you most anticipating playing in 2022?