On The Radar For 2016

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Last time I did this.

Note that some games might not be on the following list because I have either a) forgotten about them, or b) never heard of them, or c) dismissed them as not MMORPGs. This MassivelyOP Betawatch post helped me a lot, too.

* Games marked with a * can be bought and played now in some early access form or another. (I think. Don’t hold me to it.)

MMORPGs I’m Looking Forward To

These are games that I’m still anxiously awaiting the opportunity to play, because I haven’t yet seen or heard anything to wreck my enthusiasm.

Sadly, nothing to report at this time. (Dark Souls III isn’t an MMORPG.)

MMORPGs I’m Ambivalent About

I’m not excited about these games per se, but I’ll probably buy or try them because of hype and/or boredom and/or peer pressure.

Black Desert. Definitely the best-looking MMO on this list. I once was excited about this title, but over the past year I’ve been hearing less and less good things. I’ll probably buy it anyway though.

Crowfall*. I’m getting pretty tired of hearing about the making of this game to be honest. In this December video I don’t see anything to indicate that the zerg versus zerg gameplay won’t be exactly the same as GW2’s WvW or ESO’s Cyrodiil, with the possible added benefit(?) of a more esport-focused competition.

EQNext. Like many people, I question whether this game will ever be released. If it does come out, could it be the dying breath of a once-great AAA genre? I’m not seeing any other traditional AAA MMORPGs on the horizon, at least not from the west.

Camelot Unchained*. A year later, based on this December video, the game still looks terrible. I mean, have developers even seen games made after the 1990s? Admittedly it’s a fantastic technical feat to get so many people on the screen at once, but more people just means more pointless zerging where your individual actions have no impact on the battlefield.

Blade and Soul. Along with Black Desert, this is one of the only titles on this list that actually looks good. But it’s an Asian import, and it’s PvP-centric.

MMORPGs I’m Undecided About

These are games that are on my radar, but I don’t know enough yet to form an opinion about how much I’d be willing to spend on them.

Shroud of the Avatar*. Still flying under the radar, haven’t heard much about it lately. It actually looks pretty good in this pre-alpha gameplay footage from December. (Notice, other developers, how the character animations are smooth and don’t look like Donkey Kong or Mario Bros.) Could it be the only traditional MMORPG we see in the next few years?

Wander*. This game got a lot of bad press for being buggy when it first came to Early Access on Steam, and I haven’t heard much about it since then. Still, it looks nice in this August video and I still want to try it, but I’m waiting for it to go on sale for less than $10.

Otherland*. Based on this amusing, profanity-laced first impressions video from November, it sounds like this game is a long way from being ready for prime time. However it’s only $4.99 in the Holiday Steam Sale so I might buy it anyway. :)

Project Gorgon*. This title got a lot of buzz during 2015. I’ve played it for a few hours, and it’s off to a good start, but it still needs a lot of work in the graphics and writing department. The ability to role-play a cow is not enough for me.

Shards Online. I’ve heard about this title now and then during 2015, but I don’t see much that interests me in this gameplay video from December.

MMORPGs I’ve Lost Interest In

These would probably have to be free or sold at a deep discount for me to even try them, unless I start to see a lot more positive buzz.

Star Citizen*. I really don’t care at this point, but if it ever releases maybe I’ll investigate it again. This December trailer looks pretty nice, actually.

Life is Feudal*. I once liked the concept for this game, but based on this December video, they still need to hire some artists and modelers. Waiting for a deep discount sale before I try this one.

Gloria Victis*. It looks a little better than Life is Feudal, but based on this October video, they still need to hire some animators. In a modern game, it’s very off-putting to see character models that so obviously don’t have more than 5 or 10 frames of animation in them. Again, waiting for a deep discount sale.

Das Tal* and Albion Online*. Overhead views plus open world PvP. No interest in looking further.

Pantheon: Something of Something*. Very little to see in 2015. Their own channel doesn’t even post videos.

Pre-Launch MMORPGs I’ve Already Bought

Landmark*. Still meh with a side order of why did I bother? Pretty sure I didn’t play it at all in 2015. I really hope this isn’t the foundation of EQNext.

The Repopulation*. Even if they straighten out the problems with HeroCloud, the graphics and interface for this MMORPG aren’t very good.

Conclusions

I think 2016 will be a year of playing old MMORPGs. :) Thankfully there’s still plenty left for me to do in FFXIV, ESO, WildStar, LOTRO, and SWTOR.

On The Radar For 2015

Last time I did this.

Note that some games aren’t on the following list because I have either a) forgotten about them, or b) never heard of them.

MMORPGs I’m Looking Forward To

These are games that I’m still anxiously awaiting the opportunity to play, because I haven’t yet seen or heard anything to wreck my enthusiasm.

Black Desert. I keep seeing good things.

Skyforge. I keep hearing good things.

Otherland. I have enjoyed some Tad Williams books in the past, so surely a game based on some of his books I haven’t read would be good.

MMORPGs I’m Ambivalent About

I’m not excited about these games per se, but I’ll probably buy or try them because of hype and/or boredom and/or peer pressure.

GW2: Heart of Thorns. I’ll play it, but because it’s GW2 aka. The One RPG Without Meaningful Rewards I’m anticipating that I’ll get bored quickly.

Crowfall. To me, this isn’t even an MMORPG, and I think a lot of people are going to be disappointed by that after the hype wears off. My latest concern is that the ambitious class customization plans will result in PvP balance issues that will ruin the game. (Everyone will keep chasing that one overlooked combination that is bugged and overpowered, resulting in an endless cycle of nerfing disappointment and forum rage.)

EQNext. I’m not burdened by EQ nostalgia, plus I have no reason to think this game will be good. (Where is ACNext Turbine??)

Pathfinder Online*. I’ve never played the tabletop version, and the gameplay appears uninteresting (and the animations are terrible), and it’s open world PvP. When will they learn?

Camelot Unchained*. I hear a lot of buzz about this game but it doesn’t look that great to me. That YouTube video honestly makes it look like the most boring thing in the entire universe. Given the way the devs talk about it, I get the impression that this game is more about being a game engine technology demo than a game.

MMORPGs I’m Undecided About

These are games that are on my radar, but I don’t know enough yet to form an opinion about how much I’d be willing to spend on them.

Shroud of the Avatar*. Seems to be flying under the radar. I hear little or nothing about it, but the gameplay looks tolerable.

Gloria Victis*. I like the look of this game but, you know, it’s open world PvP so it will mostly be a game of staying in town or hiding from people.

Wander. Saw it on Steam. It looks cool. It’s not clear to me if this is a PC game or not though.

MMORPGs I’ve Lost Interest In

These would probably have to be free or sold at a deep discount for me to even try them, unless I start to see a lot more positive buzz.

Star Citizen*. Honestly I’m not sure what this game is right now, but anything targeted at EVE players probably isn’t for me, plus we all know this is vaporware, right? (Just kidding! Don’t freak out!) But seriously, I think the smart money is on this game self-destructing from too much ambition.

Life is Feudal*. I thought there might be something to this game, but so far it looks like a plain old survival building game, and the models and animation need serious work.

Das Tal* and Albion Online*. Overhead views plus open world PvP. Why, god, why?

Pantheon: Something of Something*. Seems unlikely this will ever see the light of day, but if it does, only those handful of people who backed it will delude themselves into thinking it’s fun to replicate late-1990s mechanics. Sorry but this game looks awful right now.

H1Z1*. I don’t even consider this an MMORPG.

Pre-Launch MMORPGs I’ve Already Bought

Trove*. (I think it’s still technically beta.) I like it. Good casual game.

Landmark*. Meh. Just meh. Do we really need a game that’s a thinly-disguised 3D modelling program with a 1980s-style UI font?

The Repopulation*. I haven’t played enough to know what to think of it. But I feel like it’s probably trying to do too much and it’ll never capture that SWG feeling.

Advice To Game Developers

Please perfect your basic artwork assets, models, and animations before releasing anything to the public. It’s a huge turn-off to see placeholder models and animations that make your game look like a high school project. It’s literally the first thing I evaluate to determine if your development effort is serious business or you’re just a bunch of kids messing around in somebody’s basement. Great results can and do come from people’s basements, but honestly not very often.

* These games can be bought and played now in some early access form or another. (I think. Don’t hold me to it.)