The Daily Grind: Which MMORPGs will make to to 20 years?

Unless it mysteriously shutters between now and Monday, Ultima Online is turning 20 next week. Our Game Archaeologist will surely object to an assertion that UO is the first MMORPG to turn 20, but even if you do count pre-MMORPG titles as MMOs or include non-continuous or non-graphical games, UO is still among the very few MMOs to get there alive.

I’ve started thinking about numbers like that in light of Black Desert studio Pearl Abyss’ assertion a few weeks back that online PC games and MMOs have “an extremely long life cycle” on average between 10 and 11 years, implying that PA intends to support its games with those lifespans in mind.

There are a few MMOs coming up on 20 years now other than UO, including classic EverQuest. Alas, others, like Asheron’s Call, were sunsetted before they got close. Consider the MMOs you’re playing now: Which of those MMORPGs have a hope of making it to 20 years?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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58 Comments on "The Daily Grind: Which MMORPGs will make to to 20 years?"

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David Vraniak

http://mistwalkers.wikia.com/wiki/MistWalkers_Wiki

The Realm Online has survived for 20 years already, and is now hosted on a free private server. Come check it out and enjoy some nostalgia of one of the first ever MMORPG’s to come out.
The team behind this has also added quite a bit of new content and continues to!

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GamingSF

Of the games I know and can comment on WoW, Elder Scrolls, maybe SWTOR and LOTRO. Probably other games like BDO and Runescape that aren’t really on my radar will keep on trucking.

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rafael12104

20 years? Well… you guys have mentioned the probable: Everquest, WoW, Eve, Lineage.

But here is my vote on the newer games that I think will make it.

FFXIV. Square has invested much, and given it’s origin and what the game, devs, and fans alike overcame? I’d say it is a lock.

Another one, that is less likely according to some is Black Desert. It doesn’t matter now what happens in Korea, the game here in NA/EU is infused with new life. In the west, this game will endure, as long the devs don’t make any catastrophic decisions. Lol.

And last, I think it has been mentioned, GW2. I know GW1 lives, but I’m specifically talking about GW2. I think NCsoft looks at this game as their model for their MMOs here in the west. I don’t think they will pull back for a long time. They will just keep pushing it forward much like Lineage.

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Daniel Miller

FFVI, Starcraft, Linage

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Oleg Chebeneev

There are MUDs that are 10 years older then UO and still have healthy population. Like Gemstone4 which has 300-400 people online daily.

WoW will easily pass 20 years mark. I think it will still be very popular even in 2024. But it will be F2P by then.
I bet EVE Online will get there because its very unique and there is still not a single MMO like it. And there wont be in coming 6 years.
Both Lineage and Lineage 2 will live through 20 years.
Also Runescape.

Major MMOs that I think wont make it: LoTRO, RIFT, AoC, Fallen Earth, Defiance, Neverwinter, GW1, EQ2, SWToR and of course poor Wildstar.

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camelotcrusade

More interesting to me is what technology and platforms will look like 20 years from now and how they will influence the MMOs available. My platform of choice (big ole personal PC in a tower) has certainly declined in prevalence since I started MMOing.

Anyway this question got me wondering how platform fragmentation will continue to influence the MMO landscape, and 20 years is mind-boggling horizon to consider.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

.

Hello Kitty Online 2037.gif
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Oleg Chebeneev

haha, this is good one

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Utakata

The dials look a little analog though. o.O

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Bryan Correll

Analog and vacuum tubes will be ‘in’ with whatever hipsters are being called at the time.

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Schmidt.Capela

Funny thing, I actually used an analog computer in college. Pretty useful for simulating, and controlling, complex systems back when digital computers weren’t powerful enough. And yeah, that illustration does kinda look like an analog computer.

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Jack Pipsam

Dark Age of Camelot seems likely to making it the 20 year mark provided Broadsword can keep it profitable and at this stage I don’t think EA has any objections to the agreement.

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Arktouros

I mean if there’s no IP contract (IE: Warhammer) and you’re not run by a company looking to min-max returns (IE: City of Heroes) and once you’ve recouped most of your investment costs and are now just making a profit by keeping the servers on there’s very little reason most MMO games can’t make it to 10-20 years or more especially if they’re the only MMO a company runs (IE: LOTRO vs Asheron’s Call).

However most of the old, big MMOs are already past the 10 year mark and heading towards 20. With a general lack of innovation in the MMO industry, and much of the new MMOs catering towards PvP centric game play I don’t see any of the old PvE focused titles really losing any steam.

Personally I think that’s a far more interesting topic: what MMOs will be in development when WOW hits 20 in 7 years? I mean Star Citizen will of course still be in development but Crowfall and Camelot should be out by then. Are companies even going to bother trying to create new ones at that point to replace these games that have been out for 20 years?

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Sally Bowls

I mean Star Citizen will of course still be in development

Lol. That is cruel! As Alice said, “If you can’t say something nice about someone, sit next to me.”

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mistressbrazen

Until this year I would have said Anarchy Online. But now….who knows whether Funcom will keep the game in maintenance mode as they announced they would.

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Eliandal

Well, if Broadsword can push UO through to 20, there’s no reason that Dark Age of Camelot won’t make it. Lineage 1 is STILL going strong in Korea, and shows no signs of dying off. EQ? I’d only give it 50/50 odds, but that’s only because of the flakiness of Daybreak :/ If we’re including games like M59 and GW1, then there’s no reason that we can’t include text games – many of which are more massive than these two – and some of which are pushing 30 and still supported (Gemstone by Simutronics comes to mind as one I still occasionally visit!)

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Schmidt.Capela

A Tale in the Desert will likely get there. Almost two years older than WoW, small and niche, but with a dedicated following.

Second Life is a 2003 game that does look like it still has enough in it to be active by 2023.

EVE Online looks like it will still be around in 2023, when it will be 20 years old, thanks to its legion of loyal fans.

Ragnarok Online is a 2002 Korean game that is still going strong; its F2P offering is particularly popular where I live, so much that I actually know more Ragnarok Online players than I know WoW players, though I myself stopped playing it over a decade ago.

Habbo (formerly Habbo Hotel) is a Finnish MMO-ish game released in 2000 and still ongoing.

The Chinese-made Westward Journey MMOs are absurdly popular there; I couldn’t find the release date of the older Westward Journey Online 2, but Fantasy Westward Journey is from 2001 and still one of the largest MMOs in the world, so it’s fairly sure to cross the 20 years mark.

Furcadia is already 20 years old, going to be 21 in December, and holds the Guinness World Record for Longest-Running Social MMORPG.

Edit: Lineage 1 is 19 years old in the US already, and older than that in Korea, where it’s still going strong. I’ m not sure how older it is in Korea, as I couldn’t find its Korean release date, but in any case it’s unlikely to be shut down in the next year as it’s still one of NCSoft’s biggest cash cows.

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Doubleplusgood

WoW will continue until its just the addicts left that cant imagine playing anything else. If it already hasnt gotten to that point.
Every new expac, they will continue to grind reputation [insert new faction rep grind], replace their gear for the umpteenth time, build a new building [insert new garrison grind system], grind a new weapon [insert new item/weapon grind system], have flight taken away, earned [insert new flight grind], and then taken away again.
They will go to the forums and complain how the game was better in [insert favorite expac] and threaten to quit, but never do. The cycle will continue.

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Taemys

I never thought ANY mmo would make it 20 years. But now that one has, who’s to say other won’t follow? I think obvious choices are WoW and SWTOR.

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Reht

While you may be right about SWTOR due to the popularity of the IP, i don’t think it’s safe to say any game that’s 14+ years away from that market is an obvious choice in today’s MMO/video game market.

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Malcolm Swoboda

We have the obvious ones, like WoW (unless something big happens to it), or FFXI (unless they make the mobile version and push hard towards it), Everquest (a couple more years!), but I’ll talk about the ones I know better. We already know the games from the 90s that show no signs of either shutting down or stopping content. We already know many of the games from the 00s that are either of those things, or still going strong (WoW).

RIFT (6 years, 3 expansions) – I can see it pushing to 10 years, and it surely has the story setup for it (still haven’t even strongly dealt with 1, 3, or 5 other Planes, depending on how you look at it – let alone the growing universe being created and more of Telara to discover), but I’m unsure it can manage to make 15 years from the business perspective and I don’t really think there’s much left for it at 20 except *maybe* a maintenance mode through the 2030s. I think it’d be time to develop a RIFT2 or whatever in the 2020s and wrap up the gist of RIFT even if cheaper but large patches or expansions may still happen for the playerbase remaining.

SWTOR (5 years, 4 expansions) – In whatever ‘grand view’ I have of it, I feel it has done its ‘ME1’, and it is finishing up its ‘ME2’ (which originally had a longer intent but they cut it short), and this or next year starts its ‘ME3’. There’s setup to go beyond, and possibly the business to keep it going, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the next year to few years shows a clear dying of the game. I can see it making 10 years but I won’t assume it. I can see it making 15 years in terms of maintenance. I’m just not able to easily imagine 20 years, not with EA involved at least.

GW2 (5 years, 2 expansions) – Well, its been over 10 years for GW2, so while I anticipate GW2 expansions to possibly end anywhere from now (Path of Fire) to 1-2 more, I think its possible that the game itself survives 10 years as well. But I’m unsure about it surviving with continuing content to 15, 20 years. I think its more likely that the developers push harder and harder to finish the dragon plotline, expanding other concepts along the way (HoT sylvari, PoF gods, etc), and we’re already going to be half done that this year, then things may or may not move into a ‘GW3’.

TSW/SWL (5 years, 1 expansion) – Yes yes, TSW is done content and may or may not shut down. But putting TSW and SWL into one thing, I’m a little surprised its made it this long. Sadly, I think it accomplished in 5 years what I’d have preferred to have accomplished in 2-3, but we know the Funcom troubles. I can see the next 5 years to range from a partial revival of the game (up to releasing a console version and more regular content/zones), to the confirmation of the death of the game as is pretty much the case for Age of Conan at this point. I still hope it gets its ‘Act 2 and 3’, or at least a more rushed ‘Act 2 with conclusions’. I can see it making 10 years but I will never make assumptions about this game, and 15 and 20 years seem like a dream, and even if it makes it this far, I’d expect either slow content or maintenance mode, barring really good console success. Get that story out!

ESO (3 years, 1 expansion) – I see 5 years by the strength of the game, but maybe 10 years by strength of at least its IP. It is more and more clearly the stop-gap between the longest-gap-in-a-while between TES main games, perhaps as they work on 1-2 other titles than even a Fallout (4). But can it make it to 20? I think it has the ‘recipe’ to go there, but I think its also possible that a TES 6 or 7 has increased MP functionality, letting ESO in the 2020s to at least decline.

Allods Online (6 years, 7 expansions?) – Ha! Well, its had legs! At this rate, I see this near-dead (at least in NA/EU, maybe not Rus) make it to 10, and that leaves it open to make it to 15! 20 though? I would laugh hard.

Defiance (4 years, ..1 expansion (pass?)) – I think it’ll reach 5, but the time after that will be the death-knell. Trion can decide whether to refine and expand this into a better game series, or let it die off.

Wildstar (3 years) – There’s the worry it won’t even make 5 years. I suppose it is theoretically possible that there’s some infusion of development to add an expansion and strongly market the game again, but otherwise, I find it hard that it’ll be operational for several years, let alone 10. We’ll see though!

LOTRO (10 years, 6? expansions) – Well, it made a decade! I can see another 5 years where things wind down and/or explore other aspects of the setting and story, and the 5 years after that is more unknown. Does it go maintenance or shut down, or does it keep going as the one place to MMO LOTR?

Archeage (3-4 years, 3 expansions) – It’ll make 5, but at this rate (does it really make them enough money?) I’m skeptical about even 10 years.

I could go on, but my general view is that for MMORPGs that are designed for continuous support, I expect 5 years for any success, I predict 10 years if they keep up success, I consider 15 years if they hang on, and I’m particularly impressed if they’ve made it to 20 or beyond. Good job, those ’90s titles! Of course I’d love for my preferred MMOs to make it to at least 15-20, but I never expect it. Even WoW could have declined so much in the earlier ’10s that Blizzard might have slowed down with it and Legion wouldn’t have happened (but maybe a new Warcraft game).

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Reht

Yeah, as much as I love Rift, i don’t see it making 15 unless they make a commitment to reinvigorate the game’s development by adding a bunch of additional devs and are willing to make some major game play design changes, especially after the shambles of the last expansion part me wonders about 10 even though i am pretty sure it will make 10 though unless Trion goes under).

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Alex Willis

Besides WoW? EVE, Runescape, maayyyyyybe LOTRO (although the latter will most likely get shut down when a new licensee comes around). Outside money on GW1 & 2 still kicking around.

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Melissa McDonald

20 years is going to be some rare air. Most won’t make it that far. Maybe WoW.

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Nim

Tibia turned 20 in January.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

i was also wondering if merdian 59 is still going. and what lineage 1’s age is now. it’s gotta be pretty close.

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Schmidt.Capela

Lineage 1 was released in the US in September 1998, so it’s already 19 years old there. It likely released before that in Korea, but I couldn’t find its Korean release date; Lineage 2 was released in Korea about 7 months before its US release, so if Lineage 1 had the same pattern it should be either already 20 years old or just a few months short of it.

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Reht

Meridian 59 is still going

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costanius

World War II Online Battleground Europe is in its 17th year now! It was released in 2001 and is still running. Just last week it got added on steam as well.
WWIIOL is a massive multiplayer WWII combined-arms virtual sandbox with one of the biggest zoneless online worlds, West-Europe in scale 1:2 and over 500 towns.

I am playing this MMO for 17 years now since its release. It has been changed and updated during the years and it got a new dev team now continuing to run it.
In my opinion You should add this MMO to Your list of games and cover it like all the over MMOs here!
http://www.wwiionline.com

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Oleg Chebeneev

How is population? Can you tell us more about whats going on there lately?

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costanius

A new development team, among them many veterans of the game, took over and continue development. Two weeks ago the game was released on steam and there are several hundred concurrent players online at the moment. There is an ongoing f2p-option and two subscription packages now.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Thanks, didnt know its on steam now. I’ll check it out

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Bryan Turner

Make this hard at least, World of Warcraft, Everquest, Final Fantasy 11, Lineage 2, Eve, Runescape, DDO, possibly Everquest 2.

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Utakata

I’ll be happy with any MMO that I currently have or play will make it past this, err…Administration’s tenure, with all the players of said games across the world intact. Somedays make me really wonder whether that will be at all possible….but I guess that’s a topic for another day. :(

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Xzaf

The NA versions of NexusTK and Dark Ages (not to be confused with DAoC) will likely make it to see 20 years (released 1998 and 1999 respectively).

The Korean version of NexusTK, Baram, appears to still be going, so it’ll be 22 years old next April.

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wratts

I’m not certain, but I think ESO has a good chance. Between the multi-platform capability they’ve demonstrated, and the strength of the Elder Scrolls IP, I think they have a good shot to stay relevant for a long time.
One thing working in their disfavor is that they’ve made an effort to have a really nice-looking game and have that be a key selling point. If it doesn’t age well it could get shuttered early despite having a nice-looking game behind it.

My current bae, BDO, I don’t think has legs like that. Right now they’re able to push content relatively quick and be at the front of the tech curve. The underlying appeal of the game seems to be the guild competition, and as major guilds move on I can see a situation where the population becomes too small to justify

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MesaSage

WoW will make it to 20, where it will ultimately be done in by the much anticipated “WoW killer”.

Minimalistway
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Minimalistway

WoW Killer will be WoW itself, i doubt anything else will kill it.

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MesaSage

Thank you for making my day.

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Reht

Everquest, WoW, FFXI, Eve, probably a couple others i haven’t played/don’t know much about.

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Xijit

Is Guild Wars 1 disqualified?

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KumiKaze

Unless something drastic happens I’m thinking WoW and Eve Online will probably make it to 20.

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Armsbend

WoW, Runescape, Anarchy . I’d say Everquest but I think Daybreak will go away or be reshuffled by then. Somebody will keep Eve going.

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starbuck1771

Well EQ is quickly reaching that 20th which will be March 16th 2019. So there is a very good chance it will make it.

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Reht

Yeah, EQ should make it no problem. New expansion launches in December taking them though 18.5-19 years – even if they make no new expansions beyond that (and there’s no reason to think otherwise at this point) they can milk a maintenance mode on live and a couple new progression servers to make 20. There are no indications that the studio is in bad shape (comparatively) or doing worse than it was before SOE got rid of it, in fact it looks like the opposite since they have hired new people and have some unannounced project on the horizon.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

with how funcom is going these days who know if AO will stay alive for that much longer even if FC does.

i’m told they don’t even honour full terms of their subs for it and AOC at this point.

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Veldan

Well, define “make it”. If you mean is still running somewhere on an old server, then many will. If you mean is still succesful and relevant in the gaming scene, I don’t think any will. The only contestants would be WoW and RuneScape, but I don’t think even they will manage to keep going the way they have been going until 20 years.

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starbuck1771

I believe Bree means still be running and developed. WoW only has 7 years to go as does EQ2. However EQ2 is the one I have to wonder about with Columbus Nova’s mismanagement of DayBreak Games and DBG’s mismanagement of the games.

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Sorenthaz

FFXI, Dark Age of Camelot, and World of Warcraft seem to be the likeliest contenders within the next so many years.

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Reht

I hope you are right about DAoC, it’s one of my all time favorite games and i occasionally drop in to check it out. I am honestly amazed (in a good way) that it’ still going.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

i’ll put vendetta online in the hat for this one. kind of an obscure game that only tends to come up randomly in relation to space sim mmo’s you can play right now. lack of popularity doesn’t seem to be a factor for it’s developers’ efforts on it as they’ve continued to expand it into new operating systems and formfactors even in recent years with it’s mobile os clients.

i’ve only near miss thought about trying it a couple times since around 2010 or so, but it definitely gets in my brain space from time to time as that little space mmo that survived the alleged death of the space sim during the aughts.

Tizmah
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Tizmah

I feel FFXI will. I don’t see Square shutting down any of their numbered Final Fantasies ever.

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