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?
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?
- Project: Gorgon – Not done yet
- Albion Online – Went live, but didn’t appeal
- MapleStory 2 – Still only in Korea
- Star Citizen – Hahahaha… some day maybe, but not any day soon
- Camelot Unchained – Nothing to play yet
- SkySaga: Infinite Isles – Development ceased
- Lost Ark – Not yet released
- Sea of Thieves – Target is 2018 now
- RuneScape – Unambiguously playable!
- Shroud of the Avatar: Unnecessary Secondary Title – What test release are we at this week?
- Life is Feudal – Seems to still be slated for 2017 as I write this
- 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?