Upcoming MMORPGs in 2019 and Beyond Worth Playing
We’re in a drought right now – New MMOs are scarce and current MMOs are looking stale. It’s a lamentable state to be in but here we are nonetheless.
I know a lot of you are in the same situation as me: You’re looking for a game that can satiate your hunger.
Something that isn’t pay to win garbage, something that has developers that care about their game, something with long-term longevity. That you can invest time into. At least, that’s how I feel.
And that’s where I come in – I’m here with the sole purpose of providing you with something to pique your interest. Something to show you that the genre isn’t dead – that there’s a light slowly shining through the darkness.
The first of which happens to be Lost Ark.
As of writing, Lost Ark is a South Korean exclusive title – but earlier this year Smilegate, the developers behind the game announced that they had already made a deal to publish the game in Russia, hinting at a possible European and North American announcement sometime in the near future.
Lost Ark is an MMOARPG – A Massively Multiplayer Online Action Role Playing Game. They differ somewhat to traditional MMORPGs. MMOAPRGs are more like Diablo, Path of Exile or Torchlight set in a multiplayer environment.
The game, unlike most MMOs actually features a top-down isometic camera style utilizing mouse click to move while binding skills to keys you’d normally use otherwise.
This means that movement is restricted – so if you’re a fan of running with WASD, you’ll have a lot of adapting to do.
A free to play model is in use in Korea and seems to be the same way in Russia. Unless the Western publisher gets greedy, Neowiz comes to mind here, then we can expect the same kind of model for our version of the game.
The game is also built on Unreal Engine 3 but despite that drawback, optimization seems to be handled very well. I’ve recorded gameplay for Lost Ark and have witnessed no issues thus far.
One of the coolest aspects of the game to me is the fact that not only does Lost Ark take place in a large open world – something games these days don’t seem to want to do, but it also features several different continents, each traversable and reachable via your very own Ark.
You can sail around the ocean or run around the world on foot and that sense of freedom to explore these open environments is one of the things I look forward to most.
Additionally, in the form of player-housing, players obtain their very own island that you can conquer, decorate and manage however you feel.
I’m not much of a PvPer anymore ever since I started playing Final Fantasy XIV but I know that there are several brackets of instanced PvP that take place and specific gear is obtainable through PvP, meaning gearing via PvP is definitely a viable option.
With all of the content updates this game gets, the beautiful graphics, great optimization, sizable selection of classes, fully explorable world and so much more, it’s no wonder so many people are anticipating Lost Ark.
I was going to start this one off with a joke about wanting to be the very best like noone ever was, but I feel like that joke is long past its prime.
So, what exactly is Temtem? If you haven’t already guessed, the game is inspired largely from the Pokemon franchise.
You’re a kid that has dreams of being the greatest Temtem tamer. So, naturally, as every child does, you set out to begin your very own Temtem journey.
The game takes place on various floating isles scattered around an Archipelago that house hundreds of unique tameable monsters.
Each island houses different Temtem for players to not only battle to increase their level, but also capture to do battle with others, such as the eight Dojo Leaders or Clan Belsoto – an evil organization bent on ruling the Archipelago.
At its core, Temtem is a Pokemon game. There’s no denying that. But Nintendo have expressed absolutely no interest in making a Pokemon MMO for whatever reason, so Temtem is likely the closest thing we’ll ever get.
The multiplayer aspect of Temtem allows for you to partner with a friend and tackle the game together.
You can have them assist in capturing a Temtem, team up with them against the Dojo Leaders, or just travel around exploring the vast reaches of the Archipalego.
It’s fully open world allows for an expansive amount of exploration via foot or by airship between islands and the MMO aspect allows for future islands, Temtem and entire continents to be added if they want to expand.
The game was Kickstarted and raised almost $600,000 – and it shows. The amount of funding both via fans and privately has allowed for what I can only describe as everything I could have imagined out of a monster-taming MMO.
When it launches, with an expected release date of mid-2020, it will launch onto PC, Xbox One, PS4 and the Switch as a buy-to-play title. This is one of the only ways to ensure a lack of pay-to-win and regular updates.
To add further depth to the game, Temtem offers Breeding, allowing Tamers the ability to breed two compatible Temtem together to produce a new, potentially more powerful spawn.
Babies inherit some of the statistics of the parents and through breeding the option to learn normally unavailable moves becomes available.
Like in Lost Ark, Temtem offers players the ability to not only purchase their very own house, but the option to very heavily decorate it with a variety of interior decor.
Houses are public and are accessible in the form of neighborhoods, allowing players to visit one another.
No Pokemon-esque game would be complete without a form of competitive battle, and thankfully, Temtem allows players to go up against one another in 1v1 battles.
I’m uncertain of whether or not they have plans of expanding the dueling system but so far, I’m impressed.
World of Warcraft is the largest MMORPG in the genre. There’s no denying that. It is also the most successful, has had more concurrent players than almost any other pay-to-play game online and.. well, I could go on.
Their latest Battle for Azeroth expansion has disappointed a large majority of their fanbase – but fans haven’t abandoned ship.
Blizz announced a while ago that they had plans of launching a classic version of their game, WoW Classic, in 2019.
After opening the doors to select streamers, Blizz further went on to reveal that Classic would actually be launching sooner than people expected: August 27th.
The sheer volume of players that are interested, excited, and anticipating Classic is almost unparalleled for an MMO. The hype for the game tops even Battle for Azeroth or Legion.
And it makes sense. Expansion after expansion changes have been made to the game that turned people away as any WoW fan will tell you, Battle for Azeroth is almost unrecognizeable as World of Warcraft.
The game won’t be going free-to-play though, instead, requiring players have an active subscription to the game like they would if they were playing the current expansion.
Subscriptions for either game allow you to play both versions so as long as you own Battle for Azeroth, you can swap between Classic.
What’s exciting about this is that they’re bringing back a title beloved by tens of millions of MMO fans. Un-altered, non-casual friendly and in all its 2004 glory.
This is what fans have been wanting for years: The ability to play a PvP-oriented MMORPG that is difficult, requires socializing, is a huge grind both for gear and skills and is unforgiving.
As an example, in current WoW I on my Paladin can pull upwards of 10 monsters while leveling and 2-shot them all down in Heirloom gear.
In Classic, it’d be unlikely you make it to the 4th monster pull before you’re lying face-down in the dirt. And that’s where the social aspect of the game comes in.
You’re required to socialize with other players on your server for difficult quests, elites, rares, bosses, dungeons. There was no dungeon finder in Classic. You had to run to the dungeon entrance with a pre-made party.
Getting to the dungeons and raids is part of the battle. I’m a Wrath baby myself so I never got to experience vanilla WoW so this’ll be quite an experience for me.
And who knows – Classic could be the biggest hit of the year. Could be the biggest hit of the decade.
There aren’t many MMORPGs around that utilize this graphical style. Less than a handful. 2D MMOs just aren’t very popular anymore, and that’s a shame as it’s a genre I’ve enjoyed over my time gaming.
Mad World is a cross-platform 2D MMORPG with a grimdark atmosphere. I’ve never had the opportunity to play a game set in the grimdark genre so this will be a first for me.
One thing that makes Mad World stand out from other MMOs is that the game makes use of a class-less feature, with players instead equipping a “weapon type” and that weapon giving them a different style of play.
Each weapon has their own unique abilities associated with them. This provides you the option of tackling different encounters that would normally limit you by the role you’d chosen.
See that world boss in the distance? You wanna kill it? Take a look around, see what role the group needs and swap to that weapon type. Situations like this will be easier to tackle with the weapon system they’ve chosen.
Well, that and it removes the need to grind alts. I feel like in this day and age altaholics are much less common, especially thanks to games like Final Fantasy XIV.
While there’s no doubt plenty of world content to partake of, Mad World also has an “infinite dungeon” system for masochists that want to grind wave after wave of monster while simultaneously destroying what little sanity they have left.
PvP, the developers mentioned, will have several different game modes such as capture the flag, but at present, that’s all that was revealed.
The most interesting thing to me is a feature I touched on a minute ago – and that is that Mad World is actually cross-platform.
The game can be run on computers, smartphones, tablets, can be played using your browser, and each platform is synchronized for complete cross-platform play.
Meaning you can play at home on your PC, on the drive to school or bus ride to work, during lunch break, on the toilet, while showering- if you have a protective case for your phone that is.
You’ll be able to access your game anywhere, any time. That’s pretty damn cool.
While the game will likely have somewhat of a niche following, the game looks too awesome to pass up. It’s dark, gritty, but also inviting and so promising!
This one is a little different. Oath is an upcoming free-to-play open world action combat sandbox MMORPG built on Unreal Engine 4 that almost didn’t make it to getting funded.
Almost 2 weeks into its Kickstarter campaign it had only received $6,000 out of the total $35,000 required to fully fund the game.
However, a mere 2 weeks later it had crossed the $35,000 threshold they needed, almost doubling the funds required to fund the game, acquiring $67,000 in total by the Kickstarter’s end.
While the graphical engine used in their trailer is only a placeholder, the devs behind the game have promised quite an overhaul is in store once the game moves further along.
Being in contact with two of the devlopers personally, I was given a sneak peak at what the new character models look like and I have to say, they look pretty good. I’m impressed.
Oath is your typical MMO: It features a large, open world filled with quest NPCs, dungeons for players to tackle and raids as you progress deeper into the game.
Ready-Up Studios, the dev team behind the game have promised that there will be a very large emphasis on group-play, requiring players to group up and work together to clear content.
They’ve seen where the state of the market is – a very solo, casual friendly environment, and they want to encourage the social aspect of MMOs.
This holds true especially, with the Guild Land system that allows guilds to purchase land and build their base.
Guild bases will allow for the construction of various crafting stations, storage and buildings to defend the base from attack from.. you guessed it, other guilds.
PvP plays a large part in Oath, with Guilds opening up guild wars between other guilds. If your guild is at war, you can freely attack the other guild members in the open world.
How many guilds you can be at war with is currently not disclosed, but I was told there isn’t a limit. This means that you can essentially wage war on the entire server if you wanted to.
Guilds can invade one anothers bases, destroying buildings and stealing resources. I know some of you aren’t interested in PvP but for the rest of you.. this could be the MMO you’re looking for.
An MMO with the holy trinity of classes, lots of PvE and PvP content, a cash shop where they expressed only cosmetic items will be sold, an extensive skill tree allowing for a plethora of character customization and more.
City of Heroes
This one may come as a surprise to some of you but it seems like this year is the year of pre-WoW MMO re-releases! City of Heroes released a long time ago. So long ago, in fact, that I was still in high school.
However, as of 2012, after 8 years online, the game was shut down. This upset the vast majority of the community as the playerbase was far from dead and its competitors just didn’t.. do what it did.
If you’ve been keeping up with MMO news over the last couple months though you’d know that there’s been a City of Heroes private server up and running for years now, going completely under the radar.
After news hit the web that the code for the game had been released to the public, several new private server popped up all claiming to be running functional versions of the game.
And while I’m not here to debate which server has the higher population, I am here to let you know that the game is back.
I will preface this by stating like WoW: Classic, City of Heroes is not for the new generation MMO player: Someone who is interested in fast, flashy skill animations like Black Desert or Blade & Soul.
The game is much, much slower. It doesn’t employ rapid action combat, it doesn’t look like a AAA large budget game but it does what MMOs released in this day and age can’t: Engage you.
In games like current WoW, BDO, TERA and other MMOs it’s all about chaining skills together, button mashing to get around global cooldowns and knowing your exact rotation down to get that 1% extra DPS.
City of Heroes has long skill cooldowns that require you make much better use of abilities, having players think a little more.. strategically.
Then we have the sheer difficulty the game offers. If you ever played early to mid 2000s MMORPGs you’d know that they were challenging and at times, very demanding.
So grouping together was almost a precondition to completing certain missions. This promoted a sense of community. Camaraderie. It fostered new relationships, new friendships and made for much more enjoyable play.
We play MMOs partly for the community after all, otherwise we’d be playing single player RPGs like The Witcher or The Elder Scrolls games.
Then comes alignment. Did you want to be the hero of your story? Or would you rather be the villain? Maybe you want to be neither and want to go all Batman and be a vigilante.
Yeah, you can do all of that and more. You get to live out your own personal fantasy – and that’s one of the things I enjoy about it.
Sure, DC Universe Online has a similar feature and that’s one of the things I enjoy about it too but City of Heroes does so much more.
The game will remain completely free-to-play which I’m sure will please a lotta you.
Ascent: Infinite Realm
Ascent: Infinite Realm is an upcoming open-world free-to-play MMORPG by the people that brought us TERA and PubG. I know, unique combination.
A:IR was slated to have a beta test late 2018 but was pushed back to late 2019- understandably, of course, as the game was nowhere near beta-ready.
After having played the game quite extensively over the last month I can say that out of every title here, A:IR seems to be the most comfortably traditional MMORPG on the horizon.
It’s built on Unreal Engine 3, unfortunately, and has a very fantasy-steampunk theme going for it which I have a personal fondness for. I wanted to get into Black Gold Online but that game was just terrible.
So knowing there’s a steampunk MMO on the horizon, and one as enjoyable as A:IR is post-level 30 is promising.
A:IR has a large emphasis on aerial combat – but that doesn’t mean you don’t spend your fair share of time on your feet.
While a lot of combat does take place in the air, you’re grounded for the majority of quests, dungeons and PvP.
What I’m excited about at with A:IR is the fact that it’s not “new,” rather, it’s something we already have. It doesn’t really innovate and doesn’t bring much to the table that we already have.
But doing things differently isn’t how you make a successful MMO. Look at Final Fantasy XIV. I’ve been playing it for 4 months now and to me, it’s like a much better written, prettier World of Warcraft.
Turn based combat? Check. Actual NPCs with a purpose? Check. Story-driven? Check. Dungeons, raids, instanced PvP? Check.
Now I’m not saying that A:IR is necessarily going to be bad because it isn’t “new,” but rather that we need something new that isn’t a cash-grab attempt like Bless Online was.
Bless had a lot of hype and it could’ve been a good game, but poor management and Neowiz’s blatant lies ruined any chances of it being well received.
So while A:IR is a hybrid lock-on action combat, open world steampunk MMORPG that has a story-driven narrative, an emphasis on aerial activities and open-world PvP.. it also looks promising as far as a solid MMORPG goes.
Coming fresh out of its first beta test after a seemingly endless amount of time without any form of update, Peria Chronicles is the last game I’ll be talking about today.
Discounting Temtem because honestly, it isn’t really Anime-inspired in my opinion, Peria Chronicles is the only upcoming Anime MMORPG on the horizon. Or at the very least, the only Anime MMORPG worth looking forward to.
While all of the features have yet to really be fully elaborated on, Peria Chronicles is expected to be Nexon’s successor to the Mabinogi MMO.
Like Mabinogi, Peria Chronicles is largely a social MMO – focusing on the social aspect of the genre.
Players are able to fully craft their very own maps to explore, towns to populate, quests to undertake, cutscenes to watch and everything is shareable with the entire community.
This provides an almost limitless surplus of content to consume- player driven- player crafted content.
This allows you- and friends if you’d like, to share a world of your very own creation in a large sandbox world.
Graphically, Peria Chronicles is probably one of my most anticipated games. I love Anime and seeing these cell-shaded visuals used just gets me all giddy inside.
Combat in Peria Chronicles is very unusual, and I think that’s one of the most important things to discuss: You have the ability to pick a guardian that effects what special and secondary special abilities you have access to.
Different Guardians provide different skills and effects.
Then the combat itself, although tab-target relies mostly on the summoning of various creatures you have to tame in the wild. These are unlockable via farming resources out in the field and obtaining a monster-soul.
Again, like the Guardians, these monsters allow players access to a variety of different skills and even class archetypes, having summons that can heal you, summons that DPS and even ones that are transformative.
This is probably one of the most interesting combat systems I’ve ever seen and I’m itching to try it out.
There is potential for Peria Chronicles to be an amazing game. To really shake the foundations of the genre with player-generated content potentially being more engaging and entertaining than company-produced content.
Whether or not that comes to fruition remains to be seen but I truly am hoping.
I’ve been playing MMOs since I was 13. That’s 16 years now. I’ve seen MMOs rise and fall like the flip of a coin.
I’ve seen companies mishandle launches, I’ve seen companies ruin entire franchizes. I’ve seen good games turn bad and bad games turn good.
I’ve stuck with this genre for more than half my life. I intend to stick with it regardless of where it goes and plan on providing you all the best looks at what it becomes, or what’s left of it going forward.
I hope with the release of these games, or at least some of these games that new life is breathed into the genre. We’re in a stagnant state right now and really need something big to shake things up.
Thankfully with WoW Classic right around the corner, Final Fantasy XIV’s Shadowbringers expansion and The Elder Scrolls Online’s Elsweyr expansion hitting next month, the genre should see a surge of activity.
But after these 3… I dunno what to expect, but I’ll remain optimistic. Because I’m always on the lookout for that game- that special game that will really be worthy of my time.