Nothing is worse than waiting for a game that is nowhere near close to being ready. It is a nightmare of cruel proportions. Yet, here we are, existing at a time when the genre of MMORPGs seems heavily weighted to what is on the horizon than what we have available to play right now. Sure, WildStar just went free to play and next month will see the release of an anticipated expansion pack or two, but by and large the things we’re really itching to see won’t be available until next year, after the winter. Now is the winter of our discontent. So, because I like putting salt on the wound, I’ve gone and rounded up some of the most exciting upcoming MMORPGs so that we can all gather and whine together. Some of these might not be your cup of tea, and I’m sure I’ve left out one or two that you’re excited for, which means you’ll just have to whine louder than the rest of us! But here they are, in no particular order, some of our most anticipated releases.
Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns
Guild Wars 2 is finally getting an expansion pack, one that really looks like it might totally redefine the whole Guild Wars experience. After all, ArenaNet is so confident that this new expansion will only grow the game that they’ve decided to give away Guild Wars 2 for free. That’s a bold move, we’ll have to see how it pans out.
Heart of Thorns is arriving very soon with a pretty heft feature list. Along with a new region of the world, known as the Heart of Maguuma (which is really separate zones in the same area) there is also a whole host of new things to look forward to. Chiefly among them is the new profession, the Revenant, which has been tearing up the latest trailers while tempting World of Warcraft fans into abandoning their attempts to wait until the new Warcraft expansion introduces Demon Hunters. Revenants look awesome. Beyond that, one can expect each and every profession to unlock a new Mastery which will provide even more options for building your character.
Oh yeah, and how could we forget about Guild Halls? They combine everything Guild Wars 2 does well, like PVP, while finally giving the game a chance to actually live up to its namesake. I mean, name aside, guilds weren’t all that important to Guild Wars 2 until now.
With Heart of Thorns so close to launching that we can already smell the cut grass, this one is definitely riding high on our list of upcoming MMORPGs.
You know what I can never get enough of? Sandbox MMORPGs. They are the best, and the world deserves more of them. Which is why I’m really excited for Albion Online to hopefully make its way to us at some point next year. There is a closed beta scheduled for November that you can buy into if you just can’t wait—which might very well be the case.
Albion Online sports a shiny player driven economy and an online experience that tosses out rigid class structures to focus more on adapting to how you want to play. In Albion Online, you’re only as good as the armor you wear. There’s also a huge progression tree to work through that helps steer your time in the game that will give completionists nightmares.
Developed in Unity, the free-to-play Albion certainly looks like it draws inspiration from Runescape, but I find the visuals incredibly charming and inviting. Oh, and the fact that when you die in certain zones you drop everything really adds to that charm. Seriously. I’m excited for that.
But what really has my interest piqued regarding Albion Online is how the game intends to release for mobile platforms. Not too many MMORPGs can be played from the iPad, and the ones that can are often better not spoken of. Having Albion Online, a presumably cool experience, could be a real big game changer. Also I’m lazy and playing an MMORPG from bed sounds like heaven.
Tom Clancy’s The Division
Ah, The Division, the one game on this list that I have to wonder if it’s going to completely squander all of its potential. I actually got a chance to go hands on with The Division at this year’s PAX Prime, and while I didn’t have to scoop my jaw off the floor, the game did handle well. That said, I also didn’t do or see anything that I haven’t seen a million times before, but the blame is more on the nature of the demo itself.
That said, The Division remains so high up on our list because of its compelling premise. Destiny certainly dropped the ball with merging shooting and emergent online gameplay, and there is definitely room for The Division to swoop in and save the day. Or it could fall flat on its face. The jury is still out.
Regardless, a post apocalyptic near-future shooter seems like the perfect way I’d want to spend an evening with a few friends. The potential for betrayals and backstabs seems incredible, and I’m hoping that The Division adds nuance to interactions with strangers online. I’m going to be really upset if every person you meet turns into a kill-on-sight affair. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
Tree of Savior
Ragnarok Online was an incredible MMORPG. I mean, sure, by today’s standards it is terribly grindy and boring, but at the time it was the kind of game that stole days of my life away with its endless charm. Well, after Ragnarok 2 hoodwinked us, the original developers are back with their spiritual successor, Tree of Savior.
Though it definitely doesn’t redefine the MMORPG formula, Tree of Savior offers a nostalgic trip back to a simpler time in MMORPGs with enough modern sensibilities to keep things palatable. The handcrafted art is gorgeous, and the staggering amount of classes to find and play with potentially offers a ton of depth to the game.
Tree of Savior might not redefine the genre, but I’m excited about an opportunity to rekindle some of that old magic with Ragnarok. The combat seems simple at earlier stages, but hopefully with some more care and attention, Tree of Savior will be an incredibly endearing proposition.
I want to play Black Desert based on the visuals alone. I’m not one to gawk, but when I saw a trailer for Black Desert a year or so ago, I was so floored I had to go back and watch it several times. Black Desert seems to be packing some AAA presentation. The graphics are stunning.
For a while, all we could do was wait with bated breath and hope that Black Desert wouldn’t be doomed as another Eastern MMORPG we could never play, but last week it was finally announced that Black Desert would be launching in the West in early 2016 with an alpha test happening on October 26th until November 1st.
In many ways, Black Desert is defying the stereotype that every Asian MMORPG is the same. It promises open world PVP, amazing action combat, player housing, and loads more features. While all these promises might leave us feeling a little skeptical, we can’t wait to form a better opinion next week!
Crowfall is the one MMORPG on this list I am really hoping upsets the whole MMORPG formula. When I first heard about Crowfall and how the various game worlds, known as campaigns, will not exist in some sort of static permanence, but will evolve, change, and eventually die, I was immediately sold on the idea.
In Crowfall, players can move between various realms, each of which progresses through a different season. The worlds are procedurally generated, so you head out into the vast unknown looking to harvest resources and build armaments for war and defense. As the seasons of the world change, resources become more scarce and the monsters in the world become stronger, culminating in riskier and riskier engagements. Eventually, things come to a head in winter when the world ends and you’re off to start a new campaign. It sounds incredible.
Really, Crowfall represents the future of MMORPGs; an unbridled passion for new ideas and new concepts. Though it is likely years away at this point, I cannot wait to play it.
Blade and Soul
Blade of Soul is a really interesting game to me because for months I wrote it off as another free to play eastern MMORPG. Yes, I judged a book by its cover. Guilty as charged. But when I kept seeing the game popping up in various communities online, and people couldn’t seem to stop talking about it, I started doing some digging. Now I’m pretty excited to jump in at the end of October for the closed beta test.
It remains to be seen how Blade of Soul really fits in with other MMORPGs of its ilk. As far as I’m aware, not much has been discussed as to what you’ll actually be doing in the game. But one aspect of Blade and Soul that has been carrying the game to this point is the incredibly promising combat.
Blade of Soul combines the more action-oriented combat of Tera with what you would find in a traditional fighting game. It’s a system far more nuanced than slamming the same cycle of number keys to make enemies fall over dead, and because of that, I’m far more invested in what Blade of Soul can offer. Though it carries the look of a fairly typical eastern MMORPG, the combat alone is enough to keep this game high only list of upcoming titles. I guess we’ll just have to wait until November to see if there’s anything else keeping this game alive.
So what are your most anticipated MMORPGs? Don’t agree with the ones on my list? Think I made some glaring omissions? Let us know in the comments!Related: Albion Online, Black Desert Online, Blade & Soul, Column, Crowfall, Guild Wars 2, Heart of Thorns, Listed, The Division, Tree of Savior