In a year that has seen a plethora of multiplayer games hit the market, only a select few have managed to enjoy a moment in the sun. For a lot of gamers, these games were a point of contention, a major complaint being the lack in content in this genre. However, in a year where a plethora of games in a wide variety of genres have made their way to market, none have been able to stand out from the crowd. So, from an MMO perspective, which games have been the worst that have missed the mark?
A few months ago I was talking with my friend Jake about the state of MMORPGs. He was telling me about his latest MMOs, how they all have to have horrible PvP, massive grind, an over-hyped item system, and the worst UI ever created. As I listened, I thought to myself, “Wow, if they all have to have those problems, why do so many people still play them?”
Ten years ago, there were no MMOs. Ten years ago, there were no consoles. Ten years ago, the only games you could play were on a PC – mouse and keyboard, VCR or DVD player, and a computer monitor. In other words, if you wanted to play an MMO back then, you had to do it on PC, which meant waiting for patches, drivers, and a subscription fee from your ISP.
If you accidentally missed this, I’m sorry to be the one to inform you that MMOs are no longer accessible. After years of service, even well-loved games that are neat and clean may be shut down. This is a horrible fact, but it is also the reality of the business. When money are inadequate to keep the servers running, the game is only able to start.
But here’s the thing: some games never make it beyond the development stage.
You may hear about a game and even contribute to a Kickstarter campaign for it, but the game may never reach a stage that might be described as launch. So today I’d want to take a look at 10 MMO games that never saw the light of day, ranging from cancellations before any testing to cancellations when a launch looked imminent.
Titan Project No. 1
Okay, everyone knows about this one; it was Blizzard’s never-officially-announced second MMO, which was supposedly canceled because it was never all that fun to play, and some of the work done on it eventually became Overwatch. Because the game is shrouded in secrecy and nothing is known about it, it’s impossible to say how large of a loss this was, but Overwatch seems to have done well for itself. Or… it used to work just fine on its own.
2. The Embers of Caerus
It’s likely that you’ve forgotten about this one. It was a long time ago; the whole facility was decommissioned in 2014, and it’s impossible to find any proof that Embers of Caerus ever existed. The project soon collapsed under the weight of its own aspirations, and despite a successful Kickstarter, which is now known for saying its Kickstarter would be a “warning shot” regarding interest in the sandbox design area, nothing occurred.
Perhaps the designers had no intention of this happening.
3. The Upcoming EverQuest
To be honest, fellow writer Justin has already written a great account of everything that occurred with this particular disaster, so do yourself a favor and read it. We’ll never know the whole depth of this cancellation, but we do know that after creating a lot of enthusiasm and frantic thinkpieces about what it might mean for the industry, what seemed to be a really interesting new game was pulled and canceled.
4. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ
Unlike many of the other games on this list, The Revival was funded by selling virtual homes to players before to the game’s release, with the idea being that you could tour your house, decorate it, and prepare before the gloomy sandbox MMO really came out. Unfortunately, since the project was placed on hold in 2016, the houses you could visit turned out to be the only part of the game that was ever published.
A development halt, you might say, isn’t the same as a full shutdown since it can always be brought back from the edge. This is technically true, but the odds of this coming back from the edge after five years are practically none.
5. The Chronicles of Elyria
Wow, another low-magic dream playground where you can play as whomever you choose. However, in this case, “anything you want” obviously includes the idea that you can be a king if you’re willing to spend thousands of dollars for the opportunity. That’s… one-of-a-kind. We’ve already spent a considerable amount of time gathering information about how this particular incident unfolded.
I can already hear at least one person reading this saying that Chronicles of Elyria development hasn’t stopped and has been revived, and although it’s now just a different kind of top-down strategy game, it’s still the same project, and I shouldn’t claim it died before launch! Mr. Walsh, I don’t want to be your friend, therefore my response would be straightforward. This is something we’ve spoken about.
The sixth place goes to Pathfinder Online.
Pathfinder Online has a lengthy history, but has never advanced past its subscription-based “early enrollment” phase, and it now has a deadline, which the game’s developers admit is a little ambitious given the state of the game’s technology. It’s a sad conclusion to a story about a game that the developers attempted to make a reality, but it always appeared to fall short of the audience it needed to succeed. It was disappointing, though not entirely surprising given that it was another another fantasy sandbox game with open PvP.
7. Magical Legends
Let’s face it, no one saw this coming. This was a game based on a well-known property developed by Cryptic, a reputable business. Sure, its relegation from an MMO and commercialization caused some problems, but that doesn’t mean it’s doomed, right? Check out the pedigree! Take a peek at where this came from!
Take note of how the game shuts down before completely starting up again. It’s the sort of event that makes you wonder what happened, but we’ll never know for sure what caused the abrupt end. It’s a shame for the fans and everyone who will be affected by the layoffs that will follow.
Jane, number eight, always.
This one caught us off guard. Ever, Jane was a bold MMO idea, a non-combat game inspired on Jane Austen’s novels in which players would spend the bulk of their time chatting, drinking, and generally engaging in intricate social networks of metaphorical backstabs. It’s an interesting idea if you’re a lover of the genre, but the question is whether there will be enough people to support it as a full-featured MMO.
We found out the answer to that question, unfortunately, when the game was quietly shut down owing to a lack of financing. All of the great ideas in the world won’t help if the game can’t keep growing on its own.
PlanetSide Arena is ranked ninth in the world.
Is this a game that anybody would be interested in playing? When Planetside Arena was first introduced, I think we made that joke, although there is some sense in turning the franchise into a battle royale game. Despite this, the game’s small playerbase meant it never reached a sustainable state, and it was shut down in January 2020, never having left beta testing.
The War of the Triads (#10)
I had totally forgotten about this one until I learned through my research that a multiplayer game based on Sleeping Dogs existed, and that it had failed to make it out of beta testing. “That’s tragic,” I’d add, but let’s face it, the most of them are.
We all like a good list, and we’re no different! For your chewing pleasure, Perfect 10 breaks down an MMO topic into ten delicious, entertaining, and often informative bits. Do you have a great idea for a list? Send an email to [email protected] or [email protected] with the subject line “Perfect Ten.”
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