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.
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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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)