|Is it just me that is making a sad face at the current crop of new MMOs?|
There are plenty of reasons, many of which I've discussed before, but I think primarily it's down to a move towards mechanics and systems that fail to foster server community and a move towards less challenging content.
Of the upcoming MMOs there is very little I'm getting excited about. The jury is still firmly out on Everquest Next (I have plenty of worries as to how it will turn out, but remain open to being surprised, and hopeful that their AI system will offer some real challenge for once).
The Elder Scrolls Online looks so average it hurts. I'm not a fan of the Elder Scrolls lore (and have always struggled with the single player games until Skyrim), and from what I can tell, apart from the setting, it just looks like more of the same-old same-old. Is there any reason to choose to play Elder Scrolls Online over any other themepark MMO other than the lore? I'm not seeing it.
The art direction and design for Wildstar are not my cup of tea. Again it looks like another themepark MMO (sure to be highly polished if the developers' pedigree is anything to go by) with a few interesting systems layered on top. The housing system sounds great, but it's not enough by itself to get me to subscribe. Perhaps if the reviews are stellar and all my friends jump in I'll give it a go.
|ArcheAge - fingers crossed!|
Looking further out there are a few games that hold a glimmer of hope. Trials of Ascension is in the very early stages, having only just opened up on Kickstarter. It's a sandbox MMO that offers some really interesting systems. My main concern is that the developers don't really have any kind of track record and it seems to be a very small team involved.
I'm still undecided on Star Citizen. It looks interesting enough that I've decided to back the crowd-funded space trading and combat game (not that it needs my money; it is by far the most successful crowd-funded game yet, having just reached $26 million in funding).
The one game that I am really pinning my hopes on right now is Camelot Unchained, another crowd-funded sandbox MMO. CU seems to offer what I am looking for in my next long-term MMO game - a sandbox game with housing (very similar to the EQNext construction system), realm-versus-realm combat, and challenging content (no auction houses, very limited fast travel, and a focus on server and realm community). It's a spiritual successor to Dark Age of Camelot and is being developed by Mark Jacobs who was responsible for that game.
|Camelot Unchained - the last, best hope..?|
The fourteen Foundational Principles that the developers wrote prior to starting work on the game really set out what they are trying to do and match pretty well with what I want from a new MMO experience. Tie all that into a huge, open, procedurally-generated voxel-based world, with a meaningful crafting system and it sounds like just what I'm after. I understand however that such a game may be anathema to others, but the developers of Camelot Unchained are not aiming for a mass market game and have stated they won't compromise by trying to appeal to a larger audience.
Unfortunately I think that where we are right now with new MMOs is in a pretty stale and sorry state. Looking forwards there are very few games in development that seem to fulfil my desires, in the short to medium term at least.
Oh well, the MMO space may be stagnating but there are plenty of interesting looking games in other genres on the horizon, especially those emerging from the booming indie developer market right now. It may be time for me to take a vacation from MMO-dom for a while.