Adrift: My 2017 MMO Outlook

As I noted in my ten year anniversary post, my own outlook as an MMORPG gamer has changed over the last decade.  I came to blogging in a time when the genre was growing and ambitions seemed unlimited.  We would get a continuous stream of newer and shinier things as MMOs expanded into new territory and conquered the world.

Now I feel like Estragon, nodding off as we wait for the promised future that never arrives.  To my mind somebody could do an easy parody of the song Little Boxes to describe the state of the genre.

There’s a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they’re all poor copies of WoW
And they all look just the same.

Stoking the embers of enthusiasm is difficult.  It isn’t so much “no new worlds to conquer” as “no new worlds worth giving a damn about” these days.  Differentiation seems like variations of the same over used tropes and standards.

Also, not done with the "Little Boxes" theme... picture by Yann Arthus-Bertrand

Also, not done with the “Little Boxes” theme… picture by Yann Arthus-Bertrand

And yet I persist, sitting here at the end of the year, looking into the mists of 2017 and wondering if he will come.  Is there something out there that might spark the imagination and rekindle the enthusiasm for virtual worlds I felt back in 2006?  Or will I be sitting here a year from now writing about how, once again, I mostly played EVE Online and Minecraft while alternating between World of Warcraft and EverQuest II for my fantasy fix?

What is even an option for 2017?

Well, EverQuest Next is out, having been cancelled earlier this year after the traditional SOE “months of silence” indicator that it just wasn’t going to happen.  But I wasn’t even optimistic enough to put that on the list last year.

Blizzard isn’t going to do any more MMOs… not that I am sure we would want them to… but that is out.  And then there is the perennial list of “maybe this year…” titles like Star Citizen that probably won’t be anything more than tech demos and pre-release “don’t you dare criticize me!” tiny tastes of past promises.

Still, there are MMOs that may come out in 2017.  Time to fake some enthusiasm.  Plus there was a nice list over at Massively OP from which I plan to crib.   There are even some titles in which I am invested, allowing for a variety of definitions for the word “invested.”  So here are a DOZEN titles that I am going to throw out there as possibilities for me in 2017.  That is more options than any previous list ever!  Go me.

1 – Project: Gorgon

  • Gut Reaction: Why doesn’t this have a Wikipedia page yet?
  • Rationalization: I’ve paid for it, my peeks in have shown it developing nicely, it could be a thing!
  • Chance: 100% if it hits Steam or otherwise goes live.

2 – Albion Online

  • Gut Reaction: You woke me for this?
  • Rationalization:  Feels like the 2017 version of either ArcheAge or Black Desert Online
  • Chance: There would have to be some very special feature I overlooked.

3 – MapleStory 2

  • Gut Reaction: Ummm… Canada? Pancakes?
  • Rationalization:  Not quite sure how side-scroller and 3D fit together.
  • Chance: It isn’t impossible. I went and tried RuneQuest and was impressed, why not this?

4 – Star Citizen

  • Gut Reaction: Confusion as to how this made the list after what I wrote above
  • Rationalization:  I’m in for $30, but I have no interest in testing something that probably isn’t ready to be called “Alpha” in my book.
  • Chance: I mean, if it “shipped” for any rational definition of the word, I’d be in… but that ain’t happening in 2017.  I just want you to know that I am up for it if it somehow did.

5 – Camelot Unchained

  • Gut Reaction: slipping enthusiasm
  • Rationalization:  I probably like this game more in theory than I will in reality.
  • Chance: I am in from the Kickstarter, so I will play at some point, but nothing has really sparked my enthusiasm. Also, seems likely to miss 2017.

6 – SkySaga: Infinite Isles

  • Gut Reaction: *glassy stare*
  • Rationalization:  My Minecraft itch is already filled by Minecraft
  • Chance: Not sure that islands floating in the sky is really something I am missing, so very low

7 – Lost Ark

  • Gut Reaction: Raiders of the?
  • Rationalization:  A clicky action MMORPG might be an idea!  And at least it has a placeholder for a Wikipedia page.
  • Chance: Given that Diablo III is going to try to eke out another year at least with seasons, nostalgia, and a new class, it might be worth a try.  30% chance if it goes live, higher if it is on Steam and goes on sale.

8 – Sea of Thieves

  • Gut Reaction: Pirates!
  • Rationalization:  The urge to play with tall ships and cutlasses balanced with memories of Pirates of the Burning Sea… which were not all bad, but I also never went back and played it again either.
  • Chance: Dampened by the cross platform aspect, as the Windows version will likely have the horrible console interface. If I could find a compelling feature though, it might have a shot.  Oh, and it would have to ship.

9 – RuneScape

  • Gut Reaction: Didn’t I make an account for that at Thanksgiving?
  • Rationalization:  I did play a couple hours of it already and it did have a flavor and charm of its own.  The old grand dad of F2P titles, it has a huge following for some reason.
  • Chance:  It also had a somewhat odd control scheme, and the fact that I am only now recalling that I played it probably doesn’t bode well.  But it has at least fucking shipped already!  That raises the odds dramatically!

10 – Shroud of the Avatar: Unnecessary Secondary Title

  • Gut Reaction: Hey, didn’t I pay for this already?
  • Rationalization:  I am in with the Kickstarter, I have it up in Steam where it updates weekly, and I tried it a couple of times in 2015 when it was pretty rough.  Also, it was on last year’s list.
  • Chance: I’m in if they hit a “done” milestone, which seems semi-likely.  I’m just not sure what the game is about now.  2013 was a while back.

11 – Life is Feudal

  • Gut Reaction: Hrmmm… but that name…
  • Rationalization:  I long ignored it based on the name alone, but it does have some interesting ideas.
  • Chance:  Maybe… long-shot, but if it went live… I keep using different euphemisms for what is essentially “actually end-customer ready” I might be up for it.

12 – Pantheon: Saga of Heroes

  • Gut Reaction: Why Brad, why?
  • Rationalization:  Part of me wants to believe that 1999 can be recreated.  Maybe he can get Smed over to help now that he is at loose ends and really get the 1999 party rockin!
  • Chance: You know, if something ships… I’ll probably buy-in and play.  But despite the long demo videos, I am not convinced yet that something will ever ship… and 2017 seems like an extreme long-shot if it does.

So there are dozen MMO-esque games that I am going to lay out there and semi-sort-of commit to looking into if it doesn’t take too much time away from Minecraft, EVE Online, and EQII / WoW.

Which on that list do you think I should prioritize should the opportunity arise? (i.e. should it actually ship if it isn’t there already?)  Here is a Poll (which you may not see if you have an AdBlocker running):

Naturally I left the “other” option open, you can use that or add other options in the comments if my list is missing a key title for 2017.

And, of course, if you want to see how this sort of post has played out in the past, you can check out attempts from past years:

  • 2016 – I played none from the list, but most didn’t ship
  • 2015 – literally nothing I listed went live
  • 2014 – I played Warlords of Draenor, which was a gimme really
  • 2012 – Actually tried most of the items on the list
  • 2011 – Tried 3 out of 5 eventually, but then The Agency was on the list
  • 2007 LOTRO (shipped!)
  • 2007 Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising (Didn’t ship)

13 thoughts on “Adrift: My 2017 MMO Outlook

  1. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    Reserving this top comment for any “other” additions that might get in the poll results.

    Current “Other” list:

    -Peria Chronicles
    -None – single-player all the way!
    -EVE Online
    -Path of Exile
    -Adventure Quest 3D
    -LotRO
    -Staying Sane
    -Salem the MMO
    -but no idea what…

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  2. Jenks

    Nice list, I’m in the same boat regarding Shroud of the Avatar – backed it, messed with it a long time ago, kind of off my radar at this point. My Crowfall is also very similar to your Camelot – backed it, but at this point sort of asking myself if I care anymore. Rooting for Pantheon, not sure what they can accomplish with no budget. Pledged to the failed Kickstarter, so no money riding on that one.

    I’m most looking forward to Star Citizen. It’s the game I’ll make the VR plunge for, the multi crew spaceship stuff looks incredible. Yet another one I backed on Kickstarter.

    Like

  3. bhagpuss

    I voted RuneScape because I would really like *someone* to blog about it. Someone I read, that is. It’s a huge player in the genre and yet it’s incredibly under-reported. That said, even though, like you, i was favorably impressed when I tried it, I’m not about to go play it myself just so I can write about it so I don’t really expect you to do it!

    That list is a bit dismal though, isn’t it? Seven of those titles I wouldn’t play even if every other MMO in the world closed down. I’d find another hobby first. The only two I actively want to play are P:G and Pantheon. I love the gameplay and style of P:G (although Eric is nowhere near as funny as he thinks he is and he really needs another writer or three for variety) but I am very much one of those shallow people for whom graphics really matter and P:G is not good to look at for long periods. Pantheon does look good and the gameplay looks solid but even assuming it stays the course it won’t be out in 2017. Or probably 2018 either.

    The one I am quite interested to try is Revelation Online although I don’t imagine playing for any longer than I played AA or BDO – six weeks tops. Still, I enjoyed both of those for that long.
    I’m willing to bet that at some point in 2017 an MMO none of us is really aware of right now will appear and be of some interest and/or controversy. Happens every year.

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  4. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – My daughter was momentarily interested on P:G when she saw it ran on the Mac, but then she saw the graphics and did not like. I told her the whole thing was being built by a husband and wife team, to which she responded, “Then they need to stop.” Graphics are important to her too.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. zaphod6502

    Star Citizen for me. The planet generation tech is gorgeous and I can’t wait to roam around and explore. There is a good chance we will see the release of SQ42 in 2017 so there is that plus whatever alpha of the persistent universe is available. As always with anything to do with SC development patience is the key.

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  6. Scifibookguy

    I’m invested in Project: Gorgon (from the Kickstarter), but I’m still waiting for more development. The other MMORPG that I hope makes it is Pantheon. I just got back into WoW a couple months ago, after not playing since 2005, and not playing any MMORPG for a couple of years (the last one was EQ2), and it’s… too easy. There’s no challenge in the game. Blizzard ended up losing/deleting my account (from 2005), so I had start from the beginning. My main character is getting close to where I’ll see new content (level 60 was max in 2005), so I’ll see if the game becomes more of a challenge. I believe that Project: Gorgon and Pantheon will provide a challenge.

    Like

  7. Anonymous

    I’m really looking forward to Camelot Unchained. I am an unabashed Mark Jacobs fanboy.

    DAOC since beta. Best of times in MMOs as said above. Tighter community than any other in those days.

    Like

  8. Dolnor

    I also backed a few of those so I voted for Star Shroud of the Gorgon….or something like that! -)

    I am more of a tester…then come back a year after release. I’m a Citizen with 3 ships (spent too much)…but I’ll have to spend bucho $$$$ for a computer that runs it. Gorgon was fun early this year so I need to check it again. LOTRO Founder Lifetime so I go back there now and then…mostly to pay the rent! -) Shroud…is following the Citizen funding-model except replace player mansions for ships.

    I’ll re-vest my time in Gorgon once I am done testing Revelation O!

    TQQdles™

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  9. HarbingerZero

    Gorgon is of course the top of the list. All of us are rooting for that one to “make it” in some fashion I think, given the passion and dedication there.

    Failing that, and if by some chance it became available, I’d give Pantheon a shot. If the future is giving up on MMO’s, then 1999 it is. Besides, I still pine for Vanguard some nights.

    Somehow I ended up in Black Desert. I’m not really sure why, but so far I’m enjoying it. We’ll see how long it lasts.

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