So, there’s a lot of popular MMOs out right now, with more guaranteed in the near future. Destiny hit open beta recently, WildStar hit release two months ago, ArcheAge found relative success for more hardcore RPG enthusiasts, and World of Warcraft has slated its next expansion for December of this very year. For me, the most interesting aspect of the MMORPG discussion is that while these are all very highly quality titles, they each maintain their very own unique play style and “feel”.
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In a world where games of similar genres are constantly being compared to one-another, standing out is important. An unfortunate result of this competition over difference is the further division among the MMO community. There used to be “pillars” in the MMO world, standards if you will, for how a game should look, play, and develop in its later years.
WildStar is a great example of new monetization practices being applied to older MMO models. The style of play and look of WildStar is crisp and clean, yet it also maintains a degree of comedy and informality that makes it an easy pickup for casual and hardcore gamers alike. Buying subscription time with in-game currency is a great new method of keeping gamers interested and invested in the grind.
I’m a bit more cynical about Destiny… from what I’ve seen it’s Halo in MMORPG form. The PvP felt eerily Titanfall-esque… and I loved Titanfall, don’t get me wrong, but an MMORPG Titanfall is not. The general draw to a game like Destiny is understandable, but somehow very disappointing for my inner RPG nerd. I haven’t spent enough time learning about their currency system/subscription program and/or microtransactions to pass a whole lot of judgement, but just from what I’ve seen… yeah… Halo MMORPG. It will be hugely popular with some folks, just really not my cup of tea.
ArcheAge is an old school sandbox MMORPG with all the traditional elements included in addition to several upgrades. Massive world PvP and player driven economies make ArcheAge the devoted RPG fans dream. Gigantic raids on world bosses and other titanic encounters make this title a true test to the scale capable in our generation.
Last but not least is the old, wily veteran. Warcraft has been around for a long time, and when I say a long time, I mean I was 3 years old when the first Warcraft video game was release. LOOK AT ME NOW, a bonafide manchild of 23 talking about a game that’s almost made it as long in this world as he has. WoW made it through the roughest patch for any series, those middle years where people start to lose interest and stuff falls apart can be significantly difficult. It’s also during this time that the community can start driving a game into the ground with too much backseat dev. Blizzard is smart though, having faith in their writers, artists and developers to do the lore justice with each new, relevant expansion.
My point is this, the MMORPG world has changed. Smaller titles who used to fight to catch up or emulate the bigger ones are less common. We’re seeing more unique themes and elements come into popularity, and different identities forming for fans of the MMO world. It’s your choice, and luckily for you, there are tons of different MMOs to choose from, pick what you like, and if you decide it’s time for a change, there’s always a second option.