These are the most exciting new MMO games coming out this year.
The Best Upcoming MMO Games of 2023
Still listening to people telling you that the MMO gaming genre is dead? It's time to find yourself some more learned company, and we have the evidence to prove it. Evidence in the form of a list of all the exciting new MMOs coming out in 2023.
Dynamic economies, enough content to keep players engaged for hundreds of hours, complex player-to-player interactions, dungeons... these are just some of the reasons that new MMO games take a long time to develop. They're also reasons that it's hard for publishers to offer an accurate release date. With that in mind, it's impossible to guarantee any of these upcoming MMO games will be fully playable in 2023, but we've stuck to the titles that are most likely.
Hopefully we won't have to wait much longer for the MMOs that have been making these top upcoming MMO lists for years (we're looking at you, Ashes of Creation).
It's safe to say that Starkeepers is the dark horse of this list, but when that dark horse is wielding a longsword, you can colour us intrigued.
Blue Protocol is a big upcoming release from Amazon Games, a publisher which seems determined to take over the MMO space. It would be easy at first glance to dismiss Blue Protocol as just another Tower of Fantasy, i.e. another game trying to turn Genshin Impact's success into the massively multiplayer online format. However, a closer look at the long-awaited Blue Protocol reveals a lot to be excited about.
The Bandai Namco title is officially billed as an open-world action RPG. Alongside their Echoes (mystical summoned creatures) players embark on epic adventure through Regnas -- a world teetering on the brink of collapse thanks to its overdependence on and overuse of technology. Expect impressive customisations for 5 unique classes: Blade Warden, Twin Striker, Keen Strider, Spell Weaver, and Foe Breaker.
Blue Protocol will be a free-to-play live service game launching on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S as well as PC. Best yet, Blue Protocol is one of the new MMOs coming out that we can almost guarantee will be this year. The marketing drive has started, and while no official release date has been announced we can reliably expect it to arrive in the second half of 2023.
Dune Awakening's release date has yet to be announced. And while some are predicting a late 2023 to early 2024 early access release, frankly we find that hard to believe. With still so little revealed about Dune Awakening, we cannot help but feel a 2023 release would be a huge rush, and we'd personally prefer they stick it out and nail the landing.
So, what do we know about Dune Awakening? Set on Arrakis, Dune Awakening is billed to be an unforgiving survival MMORPG -- a genre that we personally can't get enough of. Expect to have to build shelter in the rocky outcrops amidst the shifting sands just to survive. Scavenge for resources, upgrade your base, ally with the great houses, craft your own gear, modify vehicles, and prepare for large-scale 3^rd^ person combat.
It's unclear how much (if any) crossover there will be with the protagonists of the novel/film, but we're still stoked to be able to explore the vast barren dunes, lawless canyons, and ancient remnants. 2023 is possible, though we suspect 2024 is more likely.
Ark II: Survival Evolved
If you can't wait until 2024, then Ark 2: Survival Evolved is a more confident 2023 release that should meet your survival MMO fix. Crafting and cryolophosaurus - a cretaceous combination if there ever was one. It's the sequel to Ark: Survival Evolved -- an entertaining survival MMO that managed to sustain a significant following for years.
Ark 2 promises to revolutionise the systems of its predecessor while offering cross-platform modding, third-person-only battles, and the ever-sought after 'souls-like melee combat'. Between the Unreal Engine 5 graphics and an apparent one-million crafting combinations, there's a lot to be excited about. But the truth is, we all know what you want to do... test your mettle against dinosaurs in a brutal survival world. The good news is that sounds rather promising as predators will track and hunt using sight, smell, and sound.
We shone our Indie Spotlight on Starkeepers last year, but aside from that we haven't provided the title with much coverage. That might be about to change as the project nears completion with seemingly a lot to offer.
Starkeepers has all of the MMO bread and butter but also introduces some charming uniqueness. Expect dungeons, beasts, loot and adventure but know that the dungeon's critters aren't the only ones setting up traps. A base-building element complete with traps and turret defences introduces one cross-genre mechanic. But Starkeepers offers more than that with its sci-fi survival elements.
Moreover, the aesthetic of fantastical anthropomorphic animals has a decidedly 90s movie feel to it. It becomes particularly appealing when combined with Norse mythology and a touch of science fiction. It's safe to say that Starkeepers is the dark horse of this list, but when that dark horse is wielding a longsword, you can colour us intrigued. Starkeepers is due for release some time in 2023.
Throne and Liberty
NCSoft's Throne and Liberty was originally intended to be a next-gen evolution of the classic Lineage MMOs. But it's now developed into its own beast with more than enough features to garner our interest. Despite the release of exciting trailers, there hasn't been much of a media push on Throne and Liberty yet, but you may have previously heard about it under the mantle Project TL.
Expect epic mass player vs boss fights, gruesome foes, and some J-RPG flare. One of the coolest features about this open-world MMORPG is the dynamic and highly potent weather system. From Fractured to Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen, there are plenty of MMORPG developers who strive to make dramatic weather events meaningful, but there haven't really been any standout successes yet. With harsh winds and rains that will affect the flight of arrows to thunderstorms that will amplify lightning effects, Throne and Liberty might just be the game that blows us away.
Of course, there is a chance that they will do a repeat of Fractured and abandon this headline grabbing dynamism when they realise how complex it is to implement. Time will tell, and with a promised release of "later in 2023" alongside the new trailer below, that time is fast approaching.
Other contenders for best upcoming MMOs that are less likely to arrive in 2023:
We didn't want to bombard you with the same old long lists of new MMOs that have been banded around for years. But there are a few long in-development upcoming MMOs which almost made it onto the list as well as a few announced games that may well surprise-drop in 2023.
So, we'd like to give a few honourable mentions to the upcoming MMOs that probably aren't coming out in 2023: Pantheon Rise of the Fallen, Soulframe, Fractured Veil, Ashes of Creation, and Riot Games titleless MMORPG.