Reviewing My 2017 MMO Outlook – What The Hell Happened?

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?

-Me, about a year ago

I guess it sort of turned out that way.  That might be my most accurate prediction of the year, really.  I mean, I started out the year playing EverQuest II and here I am at the end of the year playing World of Warcraft.  I still dabble a bit in Minecraft, but I am between projects on that front.  And then there was EVE Online.

Going around on the same ride

So in my MMO Outlook post for 2017 I listed out a dozen titles, games I had either not played or had barely touched, with an eye to trying something new.  And did I play any of them?  Even one of them?

No!

Still, I am going to say that this isn’t entirely my fault.  Yes, I have been in something of a state of ennui when it comes to our favored genre, but lets go back down that list from a year ago and see what I was up against.  How likely was it that I could even play these games?

  1. Project: Gorgon – Not done yet
  2. Albion Online – Went live, but didn’t appeal
  3. MapleStory 2 – Still only in Korea
  4. Star Citizen – Hahahaha… some day maybe, but not any day soon
  5. Camelot Unchained – Nothing to play yet
  6. SkySaga: Infinite Isles – Development ceased
  7. Lost Ark – Not yet released
  8. Sea of Thieves – Target is 2018 now
  9. RuneScape – Unambiguously playable!
  10. Shroud of the Avatar: Unnecessary Secondary Title – What test release are we at this week?
  11. Life is Feudal – Seems to still be slated for 2017 as I write this
  12. Pantheon: Saga of Heroes – Just a vision and some demos

Given that list and my criteria that the game must be in some form of viable, released, not hiding in some criticism deflecting “beta” or “early access” mode while charging for the privilege state of affairs, I was left with two titles out of the dozen.

And that was even with setting the bar pretty low for fan favorite Project: Gorgon, which I said I would play regardless of state so long as it was together enough to be up on Steam.

No joy there.

So of that list of a dozen I could have realistically played two of them, Albion Online and RuneScape.  I’ve played a bit of RuneScape in the past, I just never went back to it while there was nothing on the feature list that attracted me to Albion Online.  Again, differentiation in fantasy MMORPGs is a pretty narrow thing these days.

My metaphor for MMOs… picture by Yann Arthus-Bertrand

So what they hell did I play in 2017?  I mean, besides EVE Online, Minecraft, and EverQuest II at the start then World of Warcraft at the end.

I actually did play a few other fantasy MMORPG titles.  Overall, this was what I played, month by month, on that front:

  • January – EverQuest II
  • February – EverQuest II at the start of the month
  • March – none
  • April – Glanced at LOTRO
  • May – Runes of Magic
  • June – Guild Wars 2
  • July – EverQuest II
  • August – LOTRO
  • September – very short bursts of LOTRO and Guild Wars 2
  • October – World of Warcraft
  • November – World of Warcraft
  • December – World of Warcraft

Nothing new.  Games I already had installed, save for Runes of Magic, and in which had some previous investment.  And none of them stuck for very long, save for WoW.

On the non-fantasy side, in addition to EVE Online, I played a little War Thunder and World of Tanks during the spring and summer, but not enough for it to be really noteworthy.

So that was it, which makes me wonder if I should continue the tradition of the “MMO Outlook” posts here at TAGN.  Is this sort of post simply a holdover from a time when new MMOs seemed full of promise, a tired attempt to relive past bouts of enthusiasm when I am fairly sure that the future only offers bland, “me too” alternatives that are barely alternatives at all in a world where World of Warcraft offers as much as it does?

Or is there something out there that I should be looking into, a star by which to navigate my online gaming obsession into the future?

Syp says he is “keeping an eye on” 44 different upcoming MMO and MMO-ish games, though for that number I’d have to consider it a pretty minimalist definition of the phrase.  But there are still things in the pipeline.  Hell, I could make an outlook post and just recycle ten of the twelve I had listed and call it a day.

Part of me thinks I should shelve the idea.  I have shown myself to be a creature of habit there being, to paraphrase the quote about Alexander, no vaguely interesting new worlds to conquer.   Cynicism is part of my makeup to be sure, and a conservatism and a strong sense of the past.  I still have more TorilMUD posts to finish.

But I have an optimistic side as well.  I want to believe there is something new and different and interesting and exciting possible, that somebody will turn a corner or find a new angle that will ignite a new spark in the genre.

We shall see how I feel.  It will likely be that or another post about pet battles.

Did you play anything new and different this year in the MMO sphere?  Is there something I should be paying attention to for the future?

11 thoughts on “Reviewing My 2017 MMO Outlook – What The Hell Happened?

  1. Krumm

    I feel your pain, In a world that has gotten continuously fast pasted with access to ever increasing volumes of entertainment it becomes harder and harder to find those gems of joy. I myself have always wanted to get into LOTRO for example…spent money on it but never could get into it. Then there is Star Wars the Old republic which I enjoyed for a little bit and plan to go back to at some point. To Everquest II which I have spent money on and own a nice hobbit hole to decor but havnt gotten above level 20 in…I long for those graphics they where showing us in the Everquest Next.

    I fear we are looking for a mmo to come along that gives us the same wonderment that we felt when we began in wow but have yet to find it. Are we doomed to teeter tauter between our games we have been playing for the last 20 years? Ultima Online hit 20. Everquest not far off.

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  2. SynCaine

    That list of MMOs from the start of 2017 and where they are now truly is depressing. Crowfall all year hasn’t shown or done one thing to get my hyped, while I know CU is doing ‘something’, but nothing that suggests its nearing ready.

    I’m actually hearing good things about LiF, in that old-school ‘its a grind and you must group but if you enjoy grouped grinding its fun’ kind of way. Once it’s on Steam I might give it a shot.

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  3. Bhagpuss

    Hmm. I lose track of which year I played what. I think Twin Saga was this year – I enjoyed that a LOT more than I expected and I really should get back to it at some point. Revelation Online – was that 2017? I was enjoying that, too, then I stopped, for no reason.

    I don’t really feel the need for new MMOs these days, though. I try them when they come along but I’m very satisfied with a number of the old ones. There are few in the pipelne all the same.

    I am increasingly optimistic about Pantheon , mostly because the very long, apparently unedited playthrough videos they have released show a game I’d be more than happy to play right now. Ashes of Creation I kickstarted so I suppose I should express some interest in. Supposedly it’s going into alpha very soon so maybe this time next year we’ll be looking at beta? Or maybe not.

    I’ve kind of lost interest in Project Gorgon, despite also Kickstarting that one. You can keep a pot boiling only so long. Crowfall I will try but not expecting much – not an MMORPG anyway. Camelot Unchained I am unlikely to subscribe for and i think its sub only? If it has a free trial then I’ll take a look. Sea of Thieves looks horrible. No idea why it’s getting the hype it is.

    I’m mostly interested in the progress of two emu projects for ex-SOE titles – Vanguard and Free Realms. I’d give up every new MMO currently in development to have full-function emus of those two up and running. I think that pretty much says it all.

    Oh, and I really should play Allods again. So underrated, that one.

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  4. anypo8

    My EVE corpies swore by Albion Online, so my son and I gave it a try. A few hours later, we were done forever. I didn’t see one thing about it that looked the slightest bit interesting, and I really don’t get what people found in it.

    Honestly, I don’t even have time to play EVE. An MMO title is going to have to be pretty impressive to get me to log into it once a week.

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  5. Jeromai

    “New and different” is getting harder and harder to come by in this genre, even if we broaden the definition to anything vaguely MMO-like. It seems like everybody is doing their best to converge into the same game, in order to capture herefore untapped audiences according to their metrics.

    GW2 and WoW were busy colliding into each other’s territory as Bhagpuss has mentioned before. And I was just thinking the other day that all the games I’m playing are mostly shaped to appeal to Achievers – increase this number, increment that resource, go up that level. It all feels very same-y even though they’re ostensibly different universes, settings and game genres (Diablo-style ARPGs, first and third person shooters, MOBAs, RTSes, survival games, idle clickers, whatever.)

    In the vein of the phrase “what is old is new again,” I’m keeping half an eye on the upcoming Eco. The concept reminds me a bit of the tension that I only experienced in A Tale in the Desert. Not sure they can get the balance right and implement it well, but well, we’ll see.

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  6. wowstorylines

    Destiny 2 and Overwatch have been the others I’ve been playing a bit, however, World of Warcraft is still my go-to game most of the time. Looked at a few F2P but haven’t gotten heavily involved in them yet. I still have way too much to do in WoW to forego the game at this point.

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  7. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @jtpaulling – Not at all. Early backer access doesn’t interest me in the least. I want to play a game, not watch it being built slowly. Also, just judging from how things have gone with other similar titles, I have serious doubts as to whether 2018 is a realistic goal.

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  8. Tony

    Your blogpost was a great description of the desperation myself and other old school gamers are in these days. Nothing seems to be grasping the concept of what gamers really want, it’s more mass appeal EA-esque glamjobs.

    The first team to make an open world, non restrictive, complex and customizable fantasy game will be rewarded by real gamers. Until than all we can do is watch them turn out promises and neverending pre-alphas.

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