The Most Anticipated MMOs in 2015

If you were bored by the MMO games that launched this year, many of them falling under the fantasy genre, then your playing appetite might return to full force in 2015. Not only is the selection more diverse — action, medieval and sandbox MMOs make a welcome surge — but also the fantasy debuts seem to have more distinct concepts or compelling gameplay twists.

I scoured the field and handpicked the 10 most anticipated MMOs in 2015, arranged alphabetically. All the titles in this list are either confirmed to be released or widely expected to launch in 2015 based on their development stage. So have at it and let us know your favorites!

Albion Online

Developer: Sandbox Interactive
Publisher: Sandbox Interactive
Type: F2P
Gameplay: Medieval, cross-platform sandbox MMO with a fully player-driven economy and territorial combat. Losing in combat carries with it serious consequences such as full looting of your corpse upon defeat, making fights all the more meaningful — just like in the medieval times. Instead of focusing on class progression (in fact, there are no classes in the game) you define your goals and role in the game by your actions. Equip a board and sword and fight for your territory to become a renowned protector king, or focus on crafting to emerge as a merchant prince. The character progression path is yours to freely choose.

Popularity: Albion Online is banking on its seamless cross-platform capabilities to entice players on different operating systems and devices to all play together. Imagine always being able to access and fully control your character at home through the PC or Mac, through your smartphone while taking the bus to work and through the iPad during work or school breaks. More than 34,000 have liked the Albion Online Facebook fan page.

Albion Online

BattleCry

Developer: BattleCry Studios
Publisher: Bethesda
Type: F2P
Gameplay: Multiplayer action combat game in a dystopian world where wars are settled through bloody, no-guns-allowed matches (but hacking, slashing and smashing your opponents are totally encouraged). You play as one of these warriors, and it pays to learn to master your chosen fighter because of the rpg-style progression system that lets you unlock new abilities as you rise in battle rank.

Popularity: Bethesda is an esteemed developer studio with loads of loyal fans, and there seems to be a deep trust that they can pull off this visceral arena concept. Also, the weapons! Instead of guns you get to handle swords that turn into shields and high powered energy blades. BattleCry’s official Facebook page currently only has 2,000 likes but I expect the hype to pick up when beta begins.

battlecry

Black Desert

Developer: Pearl Abyss
Publisher: Daum Communications (NA)
Type: F2P
Gameplay: Sandbox MMO that is an alluring hybrid of a medieval high fantasy concept and modern world sensibilities. Players fight for two warring nations, the Republic of Calpheon and the Kingdom of Valencia, and participate in epic castle sieges. But unique features such as parkour physics when scaling walls and buildings and a worldwide weather system lift this past the generic fantasy MMO threshold.

Popularity: Open world games are fast becoming in vogue among MMO players, especially those that have become tired of linear questing progression in more traditional games in the genre. It certainly helps that Black Desert also looks gorgeous. More than 30,000 fans have liked the Black Desert English community Facebook page.

black_deserts

Camelot Unchained

Developer: City State Entertainment
Publisher: City State Entertainment
Type: Subscriptions
Gameplay: An open world MMO structured where you can pledge your undying allegiance to one of three realms — the noble Arthurians, mysterious Tuatha De Danann and fierce Vikings. Whether you lead battles, clear monster dungeons, erect buildings or craft improvements for the glory of your realm, the game brilliantly takes the conceptual road of medieval fealty and conflict but gives the steering wheel fully to players.

Popularity: The Camelot Unchained broke out into darling MMO status after a very successful Kickstarter campaign that saw more than $2 million raised for its development. Aside from the cutting-edge concepts that let players dictate the fate and fortunes of their chosen realm, there is also the charismatic lead designer Mark Jacobs who leads his followers to this exciting new medieval world. The Camelot Unchained’s official Facebook page has amassed 10,000 likes.

Camelot-Unchained

Civilization Online

Developer: XL Games
Publisher: XL Games
Type: F2P
Gameplay: Not to be confused with the Civilization turn-based strategy games, Civilization Online is a PVP MMO where you can duel against a single player or amass friends for a full city invasion. Its unique proposition is that the game universe matures into different historical ages such as Ancient, Classic, Medieval all the way to Modern, with graphics and combat dynamics change to fit the current age.

Popularity: Civilization Online admits that it took a lot of inspiration from the similarly named and very addicting Civilizations series, and fans are interested to see how it all translates to a persistent world where thousands of players attempt to shape the course of an entire nation. Recognizable figures and cultures in history also come to life. Civilization Online’s band of Facebook followers now number 3,000 and growing.

civilization-online

Elite: Dangerous

Developer: Frontier Developments
Publisher: Frontier Developments
Type: (F2P, P2P, Subscriptions) – No confirmation yet
Gameplay: Based on the original Elite videogame that featured space trading and fighting, this modern MMO evolution to the series will now be set in a shared persistent universe where each player’s action can and will affect everyone else. Single-player options still remain for those that prefer an isolated experience, but I expect most to venture into the much more dynamic MMO option.

Popularity: A cult following is hard thing to discount, but it has proved to be critical for Elite: Dangerous. Even after developers suffered setbacks like trying to secure a publisher, they were able to rally fan support and find their stride through the emergent crowdfunding vehicle. More than 4,000 have liked the Elite: Dangerous official Facebook fanpage.

EliteDangerous

EQNext or EverQuest Next

Developer: Sony Online Entertainment
Publisher: Sony Online Entertainment
Type: F2P
Gameplay: The next-generation sandbox MMO will be built on the proprietary ForgeLight Engine, allowing for very stunning graphics, a fully destructible interactive environment that players can get lost in, and an innovative cross-game tie-up with the virtual building game, EQNext Landmark. Imagine creating buildings and other artifacts to be transported into a real, breathing MMO that millions are playing.

Popularity: When discussing 2015 MMO releases, it is hard to overlook EverQuest Next even though there is no formal confirmation for a 2015 release. This next evolution of the beloved rpg series – one of the originators of the genre that defined the niche and grew its popularity – has everything going for it based on initial previews. The grand storylines and rich world of Norrath will be expanded even more as EverQuest Next fast forwards 10,000 years ahead of the current timeline. Graphics will be upgraded by leaps and bounds, and groundbreaking features should impress series veterans and beginners alike.

eqnext

Project: Theralon

Developer: Infernum Productions
Publisher: Infernum Productions
Type: (F2P, P2P, Subscriptions) – No confirmation yet
Gameplay: Browser-based sandbox MMO with a deep focus on action combat and dragon flying. Graphics are superb because it is being created using CryEngine 3, and it adds up to a visually lush game universe, at least based on the initial preview screenshots and videos that I have seen. Players are given options which skills to take up and make up their own hybrid classes that fits their fighting and role-playing preferences like a glove.

Popularity: Browser-based sandbox games are almost always expected to be either simple, generic and predictable or a combination of the three. Project: Theralon promises to raise the standards in design in gameplay in the platform, so even though it only has 300 or so likes on its Facebook page now, plenty more should get on board especially with major videogame news sites and critics covering the game.

Theralon

Tom Clancy’s The Division / The Division

Developer: Ubisoft Massive, Ubisoft Reflections and Ubisoft Red Storm
Publisher: Ubisoft
Type: (F2P, P2P, Subscriptions) – No confirmation yet
Gameplay: Tom Clancy’s The Division is a third-person online shooter set in the aftermath of a devastating pandemic in New York City, with open world role-playing through thousands of weapon types and skill options. Players can team up in co-op mode or fight against each other in tactical shooter scenarios regardless of server or realm. The game even allows for mobile app companion gaming where friends can join you in battle via smart phone or tablet.

Popularity: This sleek next-generation shooter already has more than 725,000 likes on its official Facebook page, many of whom are longtime fans of the namesake Tom Clancy brand of videogames. Critics have praised its graphics and many top videogame news sites like Polygon and GameSpot have picked it as their Editor’s Choice.

The_Division

Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade

Developer: Behaviour Interactive
Publisher: Behaviour Digital
Type: Limited access F2P, all access P2P
Gameplay: PVP-focused action MMO that is heavily based on the sci-fi Warhammer 40,000 universe. You can choose from four playable races which include the Orks, Space Marines, Chaos Space Marines and the Eldar. Each of the races will have access to unique classes, so your racial choice will be quite important. Only one class for the Ork faction will be available in free to play.

Popularity: The Warhammer 40,000 franchise is beloved by many, and the MMO treatment gives developers the ultimate chance to flesh out the franchise in a truly expansive way that only the genre allows. Warhammer’s official Facebook page has accumulated 16,000 likes from fans eager to immerse themselves in this persistent universe.

Warhammer-40000-Eternal-Crusade

 

Judging from these entries, it really seems like 2015 will be the biggest year for open world and sandbox MMOs. Most of these upcoming titles promise the player unprecedented control in what characters they play as, which weapons and skills they use to hunt down their enemies, and how they interact with the world and participate in its growth. As console games start to encroach on the multiplayer advantage that MMOs used to have, the genre is crafting a new defining feature — that of unmatched customization and freedom of play.

What do you think of my choices for the 10 most anticipated MMOs in 2015? Did I miss any game that you are absolutely looking forward to next year? Let me know in the comments!



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