While we’re still in October, I feel like I have a grasp on what 2013 will be known for in MMO history. I was puttering around on the MMO Timeline page (plug!) and realized that this year really didn’t offer a single high-profile launch that got me really excited. In fact, the last title that had me slavering for its release was August 2012’s Guild Wars 2, and chances are the next game that will make me feel the same rush of celebratory joy is WildStar sometime next year.
So let’s take a quick look over the year. Launch-wise there have been a number of MMOs, but most of them are of middling-to-low profile: Dragon’s Prophet, Wizardry Online, Marvel Heroes, Defiance, Neverwinter, MechWarrior Online, Age of Wushu, and DUST 514. Neverwinter was fun for a while, as was Marvel Heroes, but none of those games really got me jittering with excitement when they released.
Arguably the two most well-received launches weren’t technically launches at all, but re-launches. RuneScape upgraded to its third iteration and Final Fantasy XIV finished its overhaul to great acclaim. (There’s also Darkfall, but… Darkfall. That beta became a running joke after a while.) I think that FFXIV will go down as 2013’s greatest accomplishment, which is not something I expected to be writing a year ago.
Two made the transition to free-to-play out of the few sub-only titles left: RIFT and TERA. They’re still chugging and each received some nice community love when they went F2P, but RIFT’s latest server merges have some worried.
Only four MMOs (as of this writing) got canned this year: EQMac (next month), WAR (in December), Pirates of the Caribbean Online and Toontown Online (both in September). Four in a year isn’t that bad at all, really.
Oddly enough, 2013 was a banner year for expansions. By the end of the year, around 11 expansions for various MMOs will have been released, and that’s compared to 9 in 2012 and 6 in 2011. It was really cool to see Star Trek Online get its first expansion ever, as well as a couple older titles (EverQuest and Final Fantasy XI) continue to expand instead of stagnate.
2014 might well be comparable to 2012 in terms of high-profile launches, but the real big question mark is the gang of crowdfunded MMOs that will start to be eligible for launch.
What do you think about MMOs in 2013 overall?