Lifetap Volume 1, Issue 17 – Five MMOs and Multiplayer Games to Watch
As resident WildStar expert Lewis B. pointed out in his column, Persistent Worlds this week, there aren’t many triple-A MMOs currently being developed now that Blizzard’s Titan has officially been cancelled. EverQuest Next is indeed a major player, but I would argue there are a number of other in-development titles that should have MMO gamers excited.
The annual new game release explosion that precedes the holiday shopping frenzy is just getting started, with a number of titles hotter than tango lessons on the surface of the sun slated to drop in the coming months. Amidst the chaos that is bound to ensue heading into October and November, there are also a number of kick-ass MMOs and multiplayer games still in various stages of development that are worth honing in on with your gamer radars.
For this edition of Lifetap, I’m going to provide a quick rundown of five of these titles, what makes them tick, and why I feel they’d appeal to various types of MMO gamers. This list is also comprised of some of my most anticipated in-development games. Whether you agree with my picks or have a wholly different list of your own, I’d encourage you to share your top picks down in the comments.
Before we begin, I’d also point out that today’s edition of Lifetap began life as a companion piece to another article I published earlier today, The Fist Most Impactful MMO Cancellations. While Titan may be off the books, it hardly represented the end of an era for triple-A online games development. At best, it will be a footnote compared to some of the more impactful MMO cancellations over the years. Likewise, as the list below helps illustrate, there are still a number of very worthy titles being developed that should have MMO gamers excited.
During PAX Prime 2014, Gigantic was easily our best hands-on experience for the event. Gigantic takes what’s fun about the endgame in MMOs, and bundles it into the core focus of gameplay without all the messy leveling and gear grinds standing in your way.
Think of what you’d get if you took the best aspects of MMO battlegrounds, and combined them with 5-person dungeon content. By narrowing in on these gameplay types that are based on small group play, Gigantic allows you to dive directly into some incredibly fun social gaming straight out of the gates.
We’ll have a lot more to say about Gigantic this coming week, based on an excellent interview with David Reid who recently became the new VP of Publishing at Motiga. So be on the lookout for that over the next couple of days.
Sign up for the Gigantic alpha on the official site.
Skyforge is another in-development title that sits very high on my most anticipated games list. There are far too many reasons why that’s the case to list them all out here, but Obsidian Entertainment and Allods team are definitely pushing to innovate and offer up something very fresh to MMO gamers.
Along with the recent first look at how PvP will factor into Skyforge, the game also includes an interesting take on multi-classing, and has very distinctive and unique links between story and mission deployment systems.
Be sure to visit the official Skyforge website to sign up for the beta.
3. HUNT: Horrors of the Gilded Age
HUNT isn’t necessarily an MMO but – similar to Gigantic – the game will no doubt appeal directly to MMO gamers who thrive on small group content. It offers many of the hooks that helped make Left 4 Dead such a popular title, but blends them with something far more relevant to MMO gamers: hunting down bosses, beating them up, and taking their stuff. It also turns the death mechanic into viable gameplay; a very MMO-like concept if ever there was one.
Unlike the other titles on this list, I haven’t spent any hands-on time with HUNT just yet. But from what we’ve seen of the game during E3 and in the months since, it is definitely deserving of a spot on my most anticipated list.
Visit the official Hunt: Horrors of the Gilded Age to sign up for the beta.
4. Pathfinder Online
Pathfinder Online seems to regularly be overlooked when it comes to discussions about upcoming triple-A MMOGs. I suspect that part of that stems from the fact that the game first became known as a crowd funded project. For whatever reason, we’ve been conditioned to believe that triple-A means millions of dollars being pumped into development time by publishing giants. I would argue otherwise, however, and think that Pathfinder Online will be one of the biggest new MMO releases of its time.
One of the many things Pathfinder Online has going for it is the fact that it is based on an existing tabletop RPG franchise. Because of that, there is a wealth of information out there on the setting for gamers to immerse themselves in while waiting for a Pathfinder Online beta to kick off.
The development team has also been very vocal with its community, so I’d encourage people to visit the official website to read up on the current state of the project.
5. State of Decay MMO
As outlined in a previous issue of Lifetap earlier this week, I’m eagerly anticipating a full State of Decay MMO even though there is still so little information surrounding it outside of the fact that the project exists. I won’t rehash what I discussed in that previous article, but will add another key point to consider.
For all intents and purposes, Undead Labs have treated the single-player State of Decay releases with the same level of ongoing support that you would expect from a triple-A MMO project. There have been a number of major improvements made to core gameplay since SoD first launched last year, and this year we’re also seeing another major suite of improvements with the release of the Year One Survival Edition.
With any luck, we’ll begin learning more about the future of the State of Decay franchise heading into the 2015 event season. In the meantime, I’m pretty excited to see what Undead Labs has up its sleeves, and have faith that whatever it is, it will be worth the anticipation.
That wraps things up for today’s issue of Lifetap. If you enjoy the new format as more of a daily column, be sure to spread the word and let your gaming friends know. Likewise, if you have any thoughts or suggestions on what you’d like to see added in future issues, be sure to drop a comment below or you can also find me lurking on Twitter.
This weekend I’ll be working on getting Emma Frost leveled up to 60 in Marvel Heroes (she’s currently level 52 and just unlocked her Ultimate) and then diving into Elite Dangerous to see how things are progressing in that game. Somewhere in between, I’ll also be squinting at Destiny and checking in with some of my favorite live streamers. And maybe sleeping at some point, but we’ll see how that part goes.
Have a great weekend everyone. I’ll see you next week for another exciting issue of Lifetap!