Perfect Ten: MMOs you forgot existed (but are still running)

No MMO can be in the spotlight eternally. Even some of the biggest names out there — your World of Warcrafts, your Guild Wars 2s, your Star Stables — wax and wane in the amount of press and attention they get depending on what they’re doing and how well their PR department is functioning.

It doesn’t take much for a title to fall off of practically everyone’s radar. In some cases it’s merely a matter of passing time and slipping popularity, but in others it’s just that the game or its marketing team hasn’t done anything of note in a long, long time. So that’s when you get MMOs that, when mentioned, cause the listener to cock an eyebrow and say, “Huh. That’s still around?”

Today we’re going to look at 10 such titles — not to demean them or laugh at some misfortune but to call attention to MMOs that are still humming along even though they’re not headlining news or ripping up Steam charts.

1. Fallen Earth

This one actually pains me to put on this list because I had such a gamer crush on Fallen Earth for a couple of glorious years. It wasn’t quite the Fallout Online I always wanted, but it was close, with a wide-open wasteland perfect for exploring and scavenging. While it did manage to stay alive by going free-to-play with GamersFirst, it hasn’t thrived. Probably not the best sign that the latest dev post on the official website is from March 2015 (they apparently do most of their communication on Facebook).

2. Asheron’s Call 2

Some days I think I’m the only one on this planet who got excited about Turbine bringing Asheron’s Call 2 back, and that includes the studio itself. Granted, AC2 was never going to rake in the bucks, but it was cool to see a revival of sorts.

But when you factor in Turbine’s less-than-stellar year, the fact that AC2 is less popular than the already tiny Asheron’s Call, and two recent months when players weren’t able to create new accounts, I’m going to say that it’s a miracle that AC2 is running period and we should be grateful for its continued existence.

3. The Realm Online

One of the very first graphical (albeit 2-D) MMOs, The Realm Online has been trucking along in under various companies since its debut in the mid-1990s. That’s an amazingly long run for a title that most don’t even know about, and those who used to play it have since moved on to more modern games.

It’s really hard to get a read on what’s happening with this game. The official website mentions an end-of-summer 2014 event and its Twitter account is perhaps the saddest thing ever. However, one Redditor mentioned a month ago that there were still around 65 people playing concurrently, so I’m going out on a limb to say that it’s still in operation (even if in stealth mode).

4. Myst Online: Uru Live

I think most MMO players are at least aware that this game existed at some point, although that awareness doesn’t extend to what the game is, personal experience with it, or knowledge of its current status. Well, in 2010 Cyan Worlds brought it back as a free title and allowed players to monkey around with an open sourced version of it as well. It’s definitely still running, as it had server maintenance as recently as October 8th.

5. Runes of Magic

Runes of Magic is probably one of the bigger and more successful titles on this list, but for myriad reasons, it’s really dropped out of sight over the past few years. It initially had a strong start as a free-to-play alternative to World of Warcraft and even gathered a nice following. Heck, Massively-that-was used to have a game column on it.

Now? Well, the game is still developing new content and has a some stuff for 2016 planned, but I cannot remember the last time I saw anyone talk about this game, so I assume that it’s well within the parameters of this article’s subject.

6. PlanetSide

Here’s a fun game to play: Ask yourself, “Is PlanetSide still running?” and then try to answer it. It’s surprisingly difficult to do because while Daybreak didn’t kill the first game when PlanetSide 2 came out, it’s all but erased the first title from existence on the web. Daybreak’s website doesn’t acknowledge it, it’s not part of All Access, and the old PlanetSide site shoves the sequel in your face so hard you’re going to need chap stick. Even the subreddit has merged the two titles together.

So is it dead or alive? The answer is “alive” — at least for now. I was able to find a few comments here and there from people who play it here in 2015, and the PlanetSide Universe fansite has a forum that has people chatting about the game today (although they comment that the servers are pretty quiet).

7. Pirates of the Burning Sea

Speaking of Daybreak, Pirates of the Burning Sea used to part of SOE’s mighty MMO umbrella but was dropped from the studio in 2012 and subsequently taken over by Portalus Games. Maybe that move kept the game alive, but it sure didn’t propel this piratey sandbox to piles of money and players. Pirates of the Burning Sea continues to run today and even added a new ship back in June. So that’s something, right?

8. A Tale in the Desert

Nobody was ever going to accuse A Tale in the Desert of stealing the limelight — it was always a very niche (if fascinating) title — but for a while there the game went deathly quiet as the developer was working on other projects. It had been coasting along in its sixth telling since December 2011 before finally rebooting into Tale 7 this past September. So if you forgot this game was out there, it wasn’t entirely your fault.

9. DUST 514

DUST 514 was a gamble that didn’t quite work for CCP. And by “didn’t quite work,” I mean it cratered so hard that it probably killed off the dinosaurs. Ever since it came out, I got the feeling that CCP really wishes that it had never created the game but is now stuck with the inenviable task of keeping it running for whatever money it can get from it.

I mean, DUST 514 is obviously still around and even putting out the occasional event, but when your developer starts publicly talking about rebooting the whole idea of a tie-in shooter game, then your days as a potential star are officially over.

10. Guild Wars

Before I get pitchforked or whatever angry fan crowds do to smartmouthed journalists, I want to reemphasize that games on this list aren’t here because they’re terrible. Guild Wars had a great run, it really did, and grew a great community for well over a half-decade of operation.

But now the title is suffering from the same superstar sibling effect that PlanetSide is. It’s still running, to be sure, but it’s firmly in maintenance mode while Guild Wars 2 is getting all of the new content, attention, and expansions.

Everyone likes a good list, and we are no different! Perfect Ten takes an MMO topic and divvies it up into 10 delicious, entertaining, and often informative segments for your snacking pleasure. Got a good idea for a list? Email us at justin@massivelyop.com or eliot@massivelyop.com with the subject line “Perfect Ten.”
SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Code of Conduct | Edit Your Profile | Commenting FAQ | Badge Reclamation | Badge Key

LEAVE A COMMENT

108 Comments on "Perfect Ten: MMOs you forgot existed (but are still running)"

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Slaphammer
Guest
Slaphammer

I would rank Pirates of the Burning Sea in my top 3 MMO experiences, and yet sadly I said “Oh yeah!” when I saw it on this list. I should really give it another go, just to experience the great PvE storylines, while it’s still possible.

Denngar
Guest
Denngar

Yay for the AC2 header! Haven’t been back in awhile (and mainly just ran around), but it’s good to know it’s online and installed if I want to play. wtb free time >.<

ohforfs
Guest
ohforfs

Siphaed I bought it and then canned it straight away because I couldn’t jump. Just killed the immersion for me.

Quinnocent
Guest
Quinnocent

Planetside 1 is effectively dead.

Many are the shooters with rampant “Hacking is everywhere!” claims.  In almost every case, those complaints boil down to /some/ hacking on a noticeable but controlled scale combined with a great deal of sour grapes exaggeration from people looking to pin their (possibly not the most tact word . . . ) sux on something other than themselves.

Planetside 1 in its present state is one of the unfortunate exceptions to that rule.  The game gathered a hardcore following at launch and soldiered on for as long as it could from there.  Eventually, though, the engine was simply too dated, and support was simply too scant.  It became a known insecure game which attracted a handful of players who didn’t mind killing the already declining game.

Server population now is close to nonexistent.  Certainly too small to give one a meaningful MMOFPS experience.  When you do log on, you often get hunted down by these hacking players.  Your only chance to play Planetside 1 in a genuinely fun way is to gather up a bunch of vets for an event and prearrange for one of the few GM’s to watch over the fight.  Needless to say, that does not a healthy game make.

I love Planetside 2.  I’ve played it from the opening of beta to today.  I loved Planetside 1 too.  Next to Tribes and a few other titles, that game was one of my obsessions in my earlier years.  I played it at launch and for a while after.  I still say that, at its peak during those first few months, Planetside 1 was the best combined arms shooter you’ve ever played.  And this is coming from someone who has participated in and enjoyed solid outfit play in Planetside 2.

But Planetside 1’s time passed a long time ago.  I honestly wish they would just let it die with grace, at this point.

kimowar
Guest
kimowar

Gylnne FeveredDreamer they are both sub free now to whoever had purchased the game, I still log into them here and there.

tominva2012
Guest
tominva2012

Guild Wars 1 remains my all-time favorite online game, but there is a limit to how many times I can play through the same content for a game now in maintenance mode. 
Sadly, no current games even come close to matching GW1’2 epicness (including GW2, I might add). I keep hoping someone somewhere will get the “nostalgia bug” and create a Co-Op game like GW1, but with modern touches and flourishes.

jonny_sage
Guest
jonny_sage

Project54 jonny_sage Giggilybits IF they enjoyed it. But the things that made people quit are the things that havent changed. Better to let it die so we can move on to something better.

pepinocantador
Guest
pepinocantador

Fallen Earth is a ton of fun, actually. The downside is the wasteland is about as populated with other players as Fallout’s is.

AC2 I actually played the beta for, and I’m pretty sure I’ve still got the box for the copy around. There was some stuff I really enjoyed about it like the crafting, but (at least at the time) the whole no NPC thing I knew was going to sink it.

I actually miss the original Planetside, but that might be because it was really easy to be a one man army as a heavy.

Dust 514 I was actually interested in, but… PS3 only? Their entire fan base is playing on computers, and they decide to make the tie in console only, and tied to one console (that is now a generation old at that)? The only thing that would have made it more likely to sink is if one of the developers called it ‘unsinkable’.

Overall, I’m quite surprised to see so many of these kicking… Or even some of the slightly more popular ones, like the original EQ. It doesn’t seem like developers / publishers are shy about swinging the axe sometimes.

Lord Zorvan
Guest
Lord Zorvan

Gylnne BigJohnny1982 coop online rpg

DPandaren
Guest
DPandaren

Xijit Partially also because they were allowed to do whatever with updates, since Microsoft at the time charged developers for updating their game. Which was a means to make sure developers didn’t release a knowingly broken game without fixing it in post. Also they didn’t want to play outside the MS playground. 

BUT, they did have all three platforms playing with each other during their first E3 showing.