So, I have spent many years playing MMOs, and to be honest, there is nothing for me to play at the moment. However, I think this is an ideal time to share my impressions regarding the MMO market as of 05/17/19.
Before you continue, please do understand that this is just my opinion, and yours may be VERY, VERY different. If you disagree with me, please do share your own thoughts in the comments to this post, since I am posting this for people who are looking for something to play.
I will be splitting this into genres so that it is easier for people to find what they are looking for.
Top Action (Hack and Slash etc.) MMOs:
Black Desert Online: Currently has the best action combat system of all the MMOs on the market, hands down.
Warframe: Before you start booing, understand that although warframe is not an MMORPG, it is still an online RPG with amazing, fast-paced combat. For 99% of the time you will be playing across the map, killing everything in sight. I cannot even begin to describe how polished the game is overall. If you ever looked at warframe and went "meh", please do give it a try. I was like you, but currently it is the only online game I am still playing.
Path of exile: If you enjoy being an unstoppable killing machine of annihilation, this game is for you. This game is as close as it gets to mindless fun.
Tera: Honestly, Tera is horrible at the moment. The combat is still very fun, but the game has gone downhill since its release. I played Tera for a very long time in the past, and I really enjoyed it, but after getting back in it recently it felt nearly unplayable to me.
Elder scrolls online: I don't have to say much about the combat system, but it feels really decent. Watch a gameplay video or two, and if you like it, give it a try.
Archage: The combat is good, but the game will probably soon shut down. Archage had the potential to become the best MMORPG out there for tons of reasons, but it was promptly killed.
Guild Wars 2: Not exactly action, but close enough to be in this list. The combat is super-satisfying, but is way slower than bdo and tera.
Kutzpel: Lobby-based action anime online RPG. If you want to run around as an anime character, slaying boss monsters and occasionally other players, this game is for you.
Top MMOs with the best story:
World of Warcraft: If you want story, wow if your guy. Everything in this game has tons of story/lore behind it. If you find a random junk item while fishing and google it, chances are that there will be a thread of people discussing the item somewhere online, or a full fledged page containing its lore.
ESO: If you like skyrim this game is for you.
GW1 & 2: Well, they did a decent job. The nice thing about GW2 is the unique story telling style of the game more than anything else. You basically run around the map helping people with their problems (like worm infestation etc.) while discovering the world. GW1 is agreed to have a very good story overall.
The Secret World: I mean, this game was never famous for thing other than questing and story. Everything but these two aspects is kinda meh.
D&D: I am not a fan personally, but if you are a fan of D&D I would recommend it (duh).
Top MMOs including the ones with super-dated graphics:
If you don't mind bad graphics, the following MMOs are for you:
Runescape: If you have never played runescape, just close this page, download the game, and say goodbye to your real life.
Lineage 2: I will be very biased (as lineage 2 was my go -to MMORPG for 10 years), but this game was probably the best MMORPG I've ever played. The game aged horribly, but honestly, every second of playing this game was like pure joy to me. Throughout the years I've played on the official server and a few dozens private servers, and the game never failed to be fun even on the worst of them. However, to enjoy lineage 2 properly, you'd need to go back in time, as the game is kinda in a bad state right now (as most oldschool mmos that are still out there). If you decide to give it a try tho, make sure you play on the "classic" servers that launched recently, as they have the highest population.
FFXIV: "Woah, wait a minute, why the f is FFXIV in the dated graphics section?" you may ask. And to that I will say: Cause the graphics are really bad for a game that was released after Tera. Honestly, the only reason I am not playing FFXIV right now are the graphics. Not only does the game looks "meh", but everything in the game is flickering when you are moving. The grass is flickering, the trees are flickering, the flowers are flickering, and sometimes even the shadows join the "party". Honestly, I have never seen such horrid antialiasing. It was to the point that I genuinely thought that something was wrong with my pc. I spent 5 hours trying to fix the issue, before I realizing that this is just how the game renders stuff (after watching streams and having the game installed on a friend's pc just to confirm that I am not crazy). Besides my horrible experience with the visual part of FFXIV, the game has a great community, tons of content, and tons of people enjoy the game. I honestly installed the game 4 times because I really wanted a good game to play, but I guess I am just too spoiled to be able to properly enjoy it. If only this game came out like 8 years ago … So yeah, please to give it a try for sure, especially if you are not as graphics-spoiled as I am.
World of warcraft: Wow's graphics are dated, but very, very far from "poorly-aged". I actually got back into Wow to play through the latest expansions (as I hadn't played at all since cata), and I really enjoyed the experience. I got to max level and got decent gear (on a new char), but to be honest I got bored after finishing all the storylines of all the expansions. This probably indicates that WoW is a game that is heavily based on questing and exploration, since once you run of out of quests and places to explore, the game becomes boring. For the sake of comparison, BDO is the exact opposite. I've spend x100 more time with bdo than I have with WoW, with 95% of the time just grinding, but I only got bored when the "next step" was too far away, and I was not motivated enough to grind on hours on end just to get a 10% change to get slightly better gear (in other words there are a 90% change that all my hours of grinding would be in vain). So overall, I would surely recommend getting at least one char to max level in wow, and going through all of the expansions.
Aion: I was never a fan of the game, but it is still going strong (as strong as old poorly-aged games can go). Check it out, maybe it will be worth the experience.
My overall ranking of MMOs / RPGs right now:
For this ranking I will be taking into account: How active is the player base, how fun it is to play the game, and how much I would personally want to return to these games at the moment.
Games that I would not play right now:
A list of games that in my opinion are not worth playing, mostly because they will probably soon shut down, or the are just bad. The following games may seem tempting to play, but I would not recommend doing so, unless you just want to experience them for the sake of it.
- Tera: I know that some people still enjoy the game, but: The performance/optimization is horrible, the servers are lagy, the population in dwindling, and most importantly, the devs somehow managed to make the game worse, overall, than it was in 2012. GG I guess?
- Archage: I know that I may be tempting, but the game is basically universally hated at this point. The publisher did everything in their power to make this amazing game fail, and they succeeded. There are of course people still playing it, but I would not recommending making this your main mmo.
- Tree of savior: The game may look very unique and cool, but just give a read to the reviews on steam and you will see how the game is super-broken at this point.
- Rift: Once a very popular game, now a former shell of itself. There is an amazing youtube documentary on why Rift failed to maintain its former glory, so give it a watch.
- Runscape: Just kidding, Runespace is probably stronger than it ever was atm (mainly due to a lack on good mmos on the market). As I said, if you can bare the graphics, you should 100% play it.
So yeah, I am very sure that most of you will disagree with me (mainly about BDO probably), but instead of shouting how much of a
Oh and to end with, here is a list of a few promising upcoming MMORPGs and my predictions regarding them:
- A:IR: The game looks great, and will probably be received somewhat better than BDO upon release (unless they screw something up very badly).
- Astellia Online: I foresee a very popular game with tons of optimization issues. The game will probably do a bit worse than Tera did upon release, but it's up to the amount of P2W whether the game will do well or not.
- Ashes of creation: There are two paths for this game. It will either be a complete success whether the devs will deliver what they actually promised, or it will be received somewhat negatively because they simply failed to deliver. In the second case, the devs will probably stall for time while trying to make as much money as possible from starter packs and then release a very underdeveloped game (with more content coming in increments). Personally, I do believe that the devs have passion in their project, so yeah, let's hope that they don't let us down.
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