Across all platforms in gaming, there’s nothing quite as ambitious as the Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game genre as it brings millions of players together in a large and interactive world that sees groups of these players interact to enter dungeons and other group content or to battle it out in player-versus-player combat.
Mobile devices have changed the way many players like to game with more hyper casual options with simple puzzlers and the likes of online casinos as these bwin Slots quickly growing in popularity and being amongst the most popular games in the world – in fact mobile accounts for having the largest and most diverse platform of all. But after MMO’s reached their heyday in the mid to late 2000’s and followed with a significant drop in popularity, are they now starting to recover?
A return for old favorites
Re-masters and re-releases have become extremely common to see in gaming, and one of the biggest games to ever exist was certainly able to use this in its favor as World of Warcraft re-released the 2004 base game and labelled it “Classic” as per long used player terminology. Being accessible with the already active player subscriptions and no other costs necessary, it brought a huge number of players back to the game and even brought fresh takes on a two-decade old game like Season of Mastery too.
(Image from warcrafttavern.com)
Now having progressing through the two main Classic expansions of The Burning Crusade, and released very shortly, Wrath of the Lich King, the old game is entering an era where it’s leaving behind the game in the height of popularity but being absolutely packed with players leading to queue times for servers and populated old cities once again, it has helped to show that even old favorites can still pull quite the audience.
Modern options are thriving
Although modern games can’t match the same hype as the genre once did, some of the big names are still pulling in very respectable numbers. Once again World of Warcraft finds its name on this list as the game prepares for its latest expansion, Dragonflight, which is set to release towards the end of the year and still boasts and impressive number of players.
Final Fantasy XIV is likely considered to be its closest rival, with 2.2 million active players and an estimated 39 million active subscriptions the game is no slouch and has been slowly growing during content droughts of other games like WoW – whilst the active player number does seem to be higher than WoW’s more conservative 1.1 million, there are a suggested 121 million estimated players or subscribers to WoW showing the true scale.
The other big title in the MMO genre is Guild Wars 2, having recently had another expansion launch itself and being picked up by Steam, the game is also growing, and without a monthly subscription cost like the other two games it is much more accessible too. Having launched in 2012, the game did suffer from some early issues most notably with a lack of marketing making it by far the smallest of the big three, but with a player count of over 17 million and growing, it’s not down and out yet.
Future titles that will change the genre
Whilst there isn’t too much news on anything in the pipeline from any developer in particular, one name does rise to the top – Riot Games, the studio behind the huge games League of Legends and Valorant, have noted that they are in active development of their own MMORPG. No release date has been even hinted at yet and as the announcement was still recent, little is known about any aspect of the game, but given the success of the other two games and the huge audience that follow Riot Games as a whole, it’s safe to say that whatever they put out will be hugely successful and if ever there would be a release that would bring life back to the MMORPG genre, this would be it.
As a whole, the MMORPG genre may not be growing but likely holding steady as player numbers change little by little, but there’s a very exciting possibility that could see this once expansive category return to the top of most gaming genres within the next few years.