predictions, plans and pledges. Those are always fun to read but what really started me thinking were the lists of upcoming MMOs that might, or more likely might not, appear in 2017.
Syp gave us the full rundown of every wannabe WoW killer that managed to throw together a PR release over the last twelve months. The Ancient Gaming Noob and Endgame Viable both offered their thoughts on what we might expect. Or fear.
Wilhelm covers a round dozen, of which I observed in the comments, somewhat hyperbolically, "Seven of those titles I wouldn’t play even if every other MMO in the world closed down. I’d find another hobby first." UltrViolet comes up with no less than thirty-two possibilities, which is actually more than Syp found for his "All the MMORPGs Coming in 2017" article, but even there I struggle to find anything to get especially excited about.
Of the entire collection probably the only two I'm actively interested in are Project: Gorgon and Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen. The problem with those two is that I already feel like I've played the first and I wonder if I'll ever get the chance to play the second.
Project:Gorgon I first blogged about back in 2013 when, as you can see from the screenshots, it looked like it might be a very good-looking game. Unfortunately, since then it seems to have undergone a major graphics underhaul and now looks like DAOC circa 2003.
The gameplay is solid and I've spent a good few hours there already. I backed the first, failed, Kickstarter, missed the second entirely and then backed the third, which succeeded. I've yet to do anything about getting the key from that so when the game finally moves to Steam Early Access, which it looks as though it will do very soon, a year later than planned, I'll have to dig through my old emails or else I won't be able to log in any more.
That wouldn't be too traumatic, though, because the last time was probably 2015 and I can't say I've missed it much. I suspect that Project: Gorgon will be one of those MMOs I think about playing but rarely play. There's no shortage of those.
Brad McQuaid's Pantheon, however, looks increasingly like an MMORPG I would actually spend a considerable amount of time with. The graphics may not be spectacular but they look more than serviceable and the art direction looks solid. The world looks...well, it looks like Telon. Or Norrath. The gameplay looks like...well, it looks like EverQuest. Or Vanguard.
Oh, let's not be coy! It's the same bloody game, isn't it? The same MMO Brad made last time and the time before that. He hasn't even bothered to change the names of half the classes or the spells they use. And that's fine by me. The last two MMOs he made are either my first and second favorites ever or they're at least in the top five, depending what mood I'm in.
I like that game. I'd love to play it again with a new skin. The only issue is whether I'll ever get the opportunity.
So, with those two out of the way, what's left? Well, there are a few I will most likely at least kick the tyres and take for a test drive.
Crowfall - I started off loathing this because of the arrogant and aggressive tone their PR took but that has cooled down and I've warmed up. I like the episodic approach they are trying and I'd like to see the game succeed if only so that other developers might steal from it. I also like the sound of the non-combat, permanent housing. It's odds on I will buy this just to futz around in the safe areas.
Camelot Unchained - I do like Realm vs Realm combat. I have some, if not many, good memories of DAOC and more of Warhammer. It's got to be worth a look. On the other hand, I was bored to tears with DAOC in less than six months and the best part of Warhammer was the instanced battlegrounds...
New World - It's Amazon, I trust them to at least make something that works and comes out on time. Plus I have an Amazon account already. We know so little about it it's impossible to guess if it's something I'd want to play long term or not but it's very likely I'll at least give it a go, along with almost everyone reading this, I bet. Of course it won't be coming out in 2017 so I don't know why we're even talking about it.
Revelation Online - This years Black Desert. Or ArcheAge. I liked Black Desert. I liked ArcheAge. Okay, I only lasted a month and a half in each of them but it was a dam' good month and a half. I'm up for doing that again. Plus everyone will try it and I'll get a string of blog posts with great screenshots.
Bless Online - See Revelation Online.
Dark and Light - See Bless Online and Revelation Online. Come to think of it, isn't D&L out already? One of those Early Access package deals maybe? I can't keep up with those.
Shroud of the Avatar - It's a fantasy MMO with housing. That alone gets it onto the watch list. Then again, it looks really dull and nothing I've read or seen from anyone who's actually played it suggests otherwise. A possible but not a probable.
And that's about it. Of the rest, there are some I would actively avoid, some I don't believe will ever launch and some I don't know enough about even to make a call. A few, like Ever, Jane, I wish nothing but success but I can't imagine ever playing them myself. A few more, like Peria Chronicles, I might try out of curiosity. (I mean, I downloaded Twin Saga last week so my standards aren't exactly high...)
The rest look boring beyond belief. Someone, somewhere, presumably, is excited over Gloria Victis, Life is Feudal, the two Darkfall remakes or The Exiled but it isn't anyone I know. I'll try pretty much any MMO but even I have to draw a line somewhere.
Missing from the lists I linked are any of the various City of Heroes remakes and several emulator projects for closed-down MMOs. I have a soft spot for Valiance. I'll probably keep an eye on that one. I'm also still logging into the excellent Vanguard Emu every couple of months for my Telon fix and it's coming along splendidly.
All in all, though, it doesn't look like a bumper year for the genre. 2018 or 2019 should be better. And that's fine. There are literally hundreds of MMOs out there already and I have literally dozens on my hard drive. How many MMOs do you need, anyway?
The coming year may be weird and scary in all kinds of ways but I think it's a safe bet that as far as MMOs go it will look much the same as the last one. I can live with that. Quite happily.