When I look back at 2017, the MMO landscape is tinged with disappointment. Destiny 2, my big hope for online extravagance, failed to live up to expectations. World of Warcraft has hit another lull in the gulf between expansions. Over the last 12 months, nothing new has truly landed and stuck.
Yes, there’s a few surprises. Final Fantasy XIV launched its Stormblood expansion, while Guild Wars 2 brought us Path of Fire (more on both later). But, putting these to one side, the biggest breakouts in online gaming haven’t brought us grand new MMOs. Instead, tight new ideas like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite have dominated the online scene.
Anyhow, enough dwelling on the past. Looking onwards to next year, and there are some significant gems on my release radar. Not all of them are MMOs in the purest sense, but I’m confident this selection will still scratch that itch. So, without further ado, here are my MMO picks for 2018.
After pledging on the Crowfall Kickstarter, I’ll admit to being the laziest backer out there. I’ve not logged into the alpha or beta, and I’ve only briefly caught up on the news. Still, there’s a lot about the Throne War MMO that has me interested, particularly on the crafting and economy side, and I’m eager to get more involved now that the title’s inching closer to launch.
Over the last few months, Sea of Thieves has won more of my attention. The comedy-laden pirate-fest seems to be pitching for lighthearted and inclusive fun, particularly with the way quests are gained and shared. While I’ve not had a chance to play the beta (and I’m sorely tempted to wait until closer to launch). it’s definitely got me intrigued.
One title I have managed to play is Dauntless, the monster hunting persistent online experience. Once again, it’s a game that I’ve bought into by picking up a Founder’s Pack, and I’m glad to have put my money in. That said, the experience is much more like Destiny than a full-fledged MMO, although the developers behind it recently made the welcome decision to remove loot boxes. Actions like that deserve my support.
On a similar theme, I’m also interested in Monster Hunter: World. After playing the beta on PS4, I fell in love with the living, breathing ecosystem that Capcom had managed to put together, making every fight feel unique and different. But, while the console release is slated for January, we won’t be playing it on the PC until some unannounced date later in the year. Personally, I’m happy to be patient this time around.
Wrapping up my bunch-of-five is Anthem, a Bioware-made online experience that seems to be cut from the same cloth as Destiny 2. The short gameplay clips I’ve seen are interesting, and I’m confident that Bioware can put together a grand world that’s crammed full of lore and has a compelling story. However, the recent Star Wars: Battlefront 2 loot box debacle has me paranoid that, somehow, EA will find a way to screw it up.
My 2018 MMO playlist will also see the return of some old favourites, now that the dust is starting to settle. Guild Wars 2 will finally get the play through it deserves, as I’m eager to devour the remaining Path of Fire content. Final Fantasy XIV will also be getting three months of airtime, as long as I can find an EU-based Free Company (guild) to show the ropes to me and some friends.
I’ll also be making a return to World of Warcraft when Battle for Azeroth hits, which is believed to be later this year. My subscription will likely remain on pause until the pre-expansion patch hits, as I’ve played most of the content I wanted to, and most of the people I used to hang around with have long-since quit playing.
Further afield, I’m keeping an eye on New World, although I’m concerned about the silence from Amazon Game Studios following the announcement. I’m also vaguely interested in Ashes of Creation, but I remain incredibly cynical about the development team there – a feeling that will probably remain until I see a concrete and feature-complete beta.
But, if you don’t like my list, there’s still plenty to pick from. Both MMORPG.com and Massively OP have compiled extensive lists of their top upcoming titles, and both are worth perusing. 2018 might not herald a great MMO renaissance, but there’s definitely a lot to look forward to.