Perfect Ten: The healthiest live MMORPGs at the end of 2017

As Counting Crows told us, it’s been a long December, although the fact that it has also only just started being December speaks to something unpleasant in the makeup of this particular month. But it also means that this is a good time to check in on the overall health of various MMORPGs and see which ones look to be in the healthiest state at the end of the year.

This is, I hasten to point out, not a scientific process; last year I pointed to Marvel Heroes as a not-quite-MMORPG title that was still in a very healthy and robust place, and it later turned out that this was entirely not true and had been built upon a foundation of lies. But we’ll cross that bridge if and when we come to it in 2018. What are the healthiest games running right now?

Stay tuned for totally sweet dinosaurs in the next expansion!

1. World of Warcraft

Expansion announced, subscribers still subscribed, reasons to be hopeful about that next expansion, and so forth. World of Warcraft continues to be as healthy as ever and shows no sign of slowing down. I mean, really, what else can you say? Whatever issues the game has, being one foot in the grave is not one of them.

Weird dog.

2. Final Fantasy XIV

Expansion released, subscribers still subscribed… jeez, am I repeating myself already? The weird thing about Final Fantasy XIV is just being the only person on-staff who plays it regularly when it has such a robust base, but that’s more an idiosyncracy than anything. While these lists are not always ranked as best-to-worst, I feel confident in saying that it’s right behind WoW in terms of overall health. Possibly at parity, even.

We did good, turns out.

3. The Elder Scrolls Online

Boy, the start of this list reads exactly like last year, huh? Except that this is, without a doubt, one of the best years The Elder Scrolls Online has had in terms of releases and public perception. The reason this one is in the same spot is mostly due to the overwhelming health of the higher-ranked titles, not due to it not doing any better. If last year was when TESO came into its own, this year was when the developers proved what they could do with the title.

Now, let’s see if we can get the title ported to every console under the sun like we’ve already seen with Skyrim.

How are you this way?

4. RuneScape

Jagex’s venerable RuneScape is like a cockroach. It’s clean, it’s consistent, it often has a public perception that’s far more negative than it deserves, and most importantly it appears to be functionally immortal. Nothing is going to get rid of RuneScape.

Considering that Jagex winds up in murky waters every time it tries to make something that isn’t RuneScape, this could be seen as a mixed blessing. But unlike certain studios I can think of, that doesn’t seem to translate into hampering its main title.

Pity that it doesn't know what makeup looks like.

5. Black Desert Online

There was some controversy last year when I picked this as a remarkably healthy title, but I stood by it then and I stand by it now. At the end of the day, Black Desert has consistently updated and kept moving forward, and its stumbles don’t seem to have slowed it down much if at all. Full marks to Daum for continuing to keep this game updated close to its Korean version, if not quite on-par.

That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t attract storms of player critique and occasional angry shouting, of course. But that doesn’t seem to translate into any actual damage, so… here we are.

But not of-the-year material.

6. Guild Wars 2

To someone who has long watched this title, Guild Wars 2 spent this year slipping back and forth. There were long gaps of communication, then sudden spikes of activity around things like Path of Fire, then… back to nothing. Path of Fire was undeniably good, but there’s also a lot of weird lulls in communication and general oddity surrounding the game. It feels shakier than it did last year.

Still healthy, though. Just not quite as healthy. We can always call the shakiness the withdrawal effects from Heart of Thorns.

You hold on.

7. Neverwinter

Another “all quiet on the Western front” sort of pick, Neverwinter doesn’t seem to be much healthier or less healthy this year. It seems unscathed by the shakeups from Perfect World Entertainment’s other studio antics (alas, poor Motiga) and keeps updating and so forth. So it’s doing all right.

The weird thing is that Champions Online serves as an odd sort of bellweather for Cryptic’s titles, insofar as keeping the almost wholly untouched CO around doesn’t seem to be an overwhelming burden and that seems to indicate that all is still well.

starboat to the stars

8. Star Trek Online

And again! Consistency is fun. Star Trek Online also gets a nice boost from the fact that there’s a Star Trek series on the air again, and people seem to rather like it; that certainly helps keep it rolling along. We’ll probably hear about another big update next year to improve it, and it’ll be met with sighs and exasperation by half of the playerbase while the other half gets excited.

The trick is that it’s never the same half.

In space, lots of people can hear you talk about space.

9. Elite: Dangerous

Yes, this is probably the one that will cause a bit of controversy, but I think this one has legs. Or aft thrusters; it’s the same thing in context. Elite: Dangerous has been running for a while now, it keeps rolling along, gets its players excited, and has run a consistent and neat event for a while centering around mysterious aliens with inscrutable motives. We’ve even gotten a game-specific convention this year. (Well, technically studio-specific, but I would be hard-pressed to believe that Frontier’s other game was the primary draw.)

In a lot of ways, I think Elite: Dangerous is a good sign of what can be done with crowdfunded games. It started small and has kept getting bigger, and in the process it seems to get healthier over time. Fun stuff.

In the background, Rome is burning.

10. Star Wars: The Old Republic

It seems to me, from the outside looking in, that this has been the least healthy year for Star Wars: The Old Republic. I very nearly pulled it from the list, but it squeaked in, largely because it does still appear to be humming right along, and the other major candidates were games that had suffered huge staff layoffs or other calamities. The thing is, this has also been the year of Star Wars monetiztion issues, a controversial server merge, and some odd lulls in updates.

The game is still healthy, but it does appear to be in need of some exercise and perhaps a change in diet. We’ll see what next year brings.

Health deferred.

Secondary notes and addenda

Numerous sources, as always, were consulted for this particular column. Discussion and disagreement is welcome, as these remain more an act of perception, opinion, and guesses than an absolute law of the universe. After all, some of what we know regarding the health of these titles might have more to do with blatant lies.

The obvious removal for this year was EVE Online, which got yanked from the ranking after CCP Games gutted itself rather thoroughly. It’s hard to feel like the game is healthy, and as we discussed behind the scenes, even if it is there’s no community team left to tell us that. Other titles were not included because they’re MMOs but not MMORPGs; League of Legends, SMITE, and Overwatch are all quite healthy, but they’re not MMORPGs and thus are not included.

And remember, again, that if your favorite game isn’t here, that doesn’t mean that it’s not healthy, nor does it mean that it’s not a good game. It’s quite possible that many of these titles will falter over the next year; this is just a ranking at the end of 2017. What happens next? You (and your purchasing habits) decide (in concert with a large number of other people)!

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.”
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81 Comments on "Perfect Ten: The healthiest live MMORPGs at the end of 2017"

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wayshuba

Oh gosh, I really had to hold back from spitting my drink on keyboard in laughter after reading No. 10.

SWTOR healthy? That is the biggest laugh ever put on this site.

First, the content released in an entire year for SWTOR hasn’t even matched what an update patch for most mainstream MMOs do in a quarter. You think releasing 3/5 of a raid in an entire year (meaning it takes 18 months to produce 1 raid) is the sign of a well staffed MMO.

Second, SWTOR started with 17 servers at the start of this tear (down from over 200 at launch) and they went down to five servers recently. I don’t think a game that suddenly has dropped to five servers is one of the “healthiest MMOs at the end 2017.”

Healthy to me means a game is an MMO is likely to be around still in a few years. If SWTOR makes the end of 2018 it will be a miracle in itself.

Reader
wayshuba

I also want to add, if healthy means the player populations on the game in 2017, then here is the list of the greatest populations playing in 2017:

1.) Elder Scroll Online
2.) World of Warcraft
3.) Guild Wars 2
4.) Final Fantasy XIV: ARR
5.) Lord of the Rings Online
6.) Marvel Heroes
7.) EVE Online
8.) TERA
9.) Conan Exiles
10.) Neverwinter

Notice that list is substantially different from your list. First, LOTRO is still very healhty and second SWTOR comes nowhere near making that list.

Source: http://www.gamersdecide.com/pc-game-news/top-10-most-played-mmorpgs-2017

Reader
Erhan Altay

Your source is blogspam. The article provides zero numbers and I know for a fact those games are NOT the most populous. First of all, #6 Marvel Heroes isn’t even in operation anymore! I really cannot imagine what it must be like to be you. Intelligence is exceedingly rare in this universe boys and girls.

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Anastasis Kontostergios

GW2 below ESO is a joke

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wayshuba

Based on what I posted above it is not.

Reader
Anna Berkes

More like: 1. WoW, 2. FFXIV, 3. GW2, 4. ESO. BnS should be on the list somewhere.

Reader
Lukus House

As a 12 year Runescape veteran I can confirm that cockroach comparison is spot on!

Reader
Sally Bowls

FYI:

Perfect Ten: The top 10 healthiest live MMOs


1. World of Warcraft
2. Guild Wars 2
3. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
4. The Elder Scrolls Online
5. Star Wars: The Old Republic
6. ArcheAge
7. RuneScape
8. EVE Online
9. Marvel Heroes
10. Neverwinter

Perfect Ten: The healthiest live MMORPGs at the end of 2016


1. World of Warcraft
2. Final Fantasy XIV
3. The Elder Scrolls Online
4. EVE Online
5. Guild Wars 2
6. RuneScape
7. Black Desert Online
8. Neverwinter
9. Star Wars: The Old Republic
10. Star Trek Online

Perfect Ten: The healthiest live MMORPGs at the end of 2017


1. World of Warcraft
2. Final Fantasy XIV
3. The Elder Scrolls Online
4. RuneScape
5. Black Desert Online
6. Guild Wars 2
7. Neverwinter
8. Star Trek Online
9. Elite: Dangerous
10. Star Wars: The Old Republic

Reader
Zen Dadaist

Is there going to be a counterpart article on the top 10 games inexplicably eking out an existance? :p

Reader
Sally Bowls

Or the even more snide top ten: “WTF!? what were they thinking? why were these games made?”

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
mysecretid

I want to like Elite: Dangerous more than I do — I like it for what it is, but I need more things to do in-game.

Running cargo deliveries, and blowing up enemies gets old faster than I would’ve expected or preferred.

My opinions, anyway,

Cheers,

Reader
CMDR Crow

This is a copypasta from the ED Reddit, but it is a fantastic explanation of why people like Elite. It was written for someone asking, “Will I like this game?”

“This is a game for space nerds, by space nerds. There’s really not much beyond that. Of course players can come from other backgrounds and have different desires, but at the end of the day you keep playing because being a spaceship pilot is what is most enduring.

You can read every complaint and from a perspective they’re almost all true. But it doesn’t matter that much to people who are enthused to be starship pilots. I don’t play for the missions or the payouts or because I’m hooked on the unfolding story, but because at the end of the day I love being a starship pilot in the 34th century exploring distant stars and discovering things no one has ever seen before. Others love the feeling of turning off the flight assists and gliding around a spinning asteroid at insanely high speeds before settling the crosshairs and getting that kill. Some players love spreadsheets and data and fill their vessels with optimized trade goods or deftly manipulate the political balance of a system. In the end it is the core experience of being a spaceship pilot that runs through every motivation to play.

It isn’t a very “exciting” game. This is usually the true crux of criticisms. The mechanics are often simple and not particularly deep. “Progression” exists, but it is highly deemphasized and very grindy.

Basically, it is a perfect example of a game that isn’t really, exactly very “game-like.” You won’t find a ton of heart-pounding pew pew action (though there is plenty of combat if you go looking/kicking the hornet’s nest) and most content is fairly shallow in terms of what you actually do.

So I’d suggest the most relevant question is, “Do you love the idea of being a starship pilot?” If the idea is exciting, Elite is probably something you’d enjoy. If not, the rest of the game won’t have the kind of glimmer needed to allow for deep investment.”

Reader
Oleg Chebeneev

Join the dark side. Get on Star Citizen hype train

Reader
Alex Malone

I’m surprised SW:TOR made the list above a lot of others. I mean, the game hasn’t been healthy since about 3 months after launch, hence the real lack of content and improvements over the years.

I’m also glad you restrained yourself and left off LoL, Smite etc – they are not MMOs, let alone MMORPGs! It worries me a lot that you think they are MMOs.

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Lucina .

Small correction, Black Desert is not Daum any more, Kakao games bought them a while back.

Reader
Christopher Pierce

Man, Runescape has climbed quite a ladder it seems to me. I am looking forward to the mobile release as basically the only MMO release that I care about anymore.

Reader
Bruno Brito

Ok, not healthy, not by a long shot, but dragging along:

Wildstar. I just cannot fathom how the hell this game is still alive, but it is, and it still decent enough to worth a pickup.

plasmajohn
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Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
plasmajohn

Until you take one look at what’s left of end game and find a six month grind staring you back in the face.

Reader
Terren Bruce

I’d without a doubt put Blade & Soul over SWTOR.

And just for the record Overwatch, League of Legends, ect aren’t MMO’s. If you say that then so is Call of Duty. Just having a massive amount of players and being online doesn’t make you an MMO. You have to have some format where massive amounts of players can interact at once in a persistent world. You can call Planetside 2 an MMO but not Overwatch.

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Sally Bowls

Just a reminder that we really don’t know healthy without the costs, of which we know for no game.

To use GW2 as an example since we know its revenue:
If it has a 60 person dev team it is incredibly healthy.
If it has a 600 person dev team, it is not healthy at all and has some rough times ahead.

Reader
Utakata

TERA and B&S seem to be still drawing the crowds. Might not be the top 10, but they’re certainly not waning in their fanship as far as my pigtails can see. o.O

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rafael12104

Indeed. They are doing better than SWTOR from what I’ve seen.

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Crowe

They may be healthy but the only one that is even sorta fun for me was GW2. And all I’m doing with that is just logging in for the daily login reward and logging back out.

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MesaSage

You’re correct in leaving Lotro off. Based on lux aeterna numbers, the game has shed about a third of the number of players since last spring. Perhaps more. I’ve seen a slight uptick in High Elves in the starter areas but that isn’t bringing in much considering those were bought with points.

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Armsman

Star Wars: The Old Republic — Healthy? Hahahahaha.
(I guess that’s why it merged down to 5 servers and most players I know have either gone back to WoW or moved to FFXIV.)

Reader
Derek Blasutti

It’s as healthy as it’s been over the last 2 years. The merge down to 5 servers was in response to a large influx of people moving servers (thanks to cheap server transfers) and leaving a handful with extremely low population.

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Crowe

Well, it’s last in the list. Maybe they all go quickly downhill after #9?

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Melissa McDonald

LOTRO is still kicking.

Reader
Vincent Clark

I’m sure he’ll include it the next column, “Games that are still kicking”…it definitely doesn’t belong in an article discussing the top 10 healthiest MMOs of 2017.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Dividion

Well…
Expansion released, subscribers still subscribed, Northern Mirkwood announced, still free-to-play, no pay-to-win lockboxes and so forth. I mean, really, what else can you say? Whatever issues the game has, being one foot in the grave is not one of them.
(some of that text borrowed from above, as it’s applicable to LotRO)

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Vincent Clark

Well…according to the hard data, numbers are lower now than they were before the expansion dropped and the game has introduced loot-boxes with T2 raid level gear in them. Actually, it looks like it does have one foot in the grave.

Reader
Sray

DC Universe Online over SWTOR any day of the week. Far and away Daybreak’s biggest money maker. It has a low profile on the PC, but remains huge on consoles. It’s had no major drama over the last year, and rolls out content updates at a pace that makes FFXIV look like it’s in maintenance mode. And while they do the lootbox BS a little bit, the majority of their income comes from, get this, selling playable content. Outrageous, I know.

Reader
Sally Bowls

Far and away Daybreak’s biggest money maker.

IDK, but what I read always made me think H1Z1 was DBG’s biggest?

For me, I could not put any DBG or Funcom game on the list. There may be some good games; Funcom seems to be trying and on an upward trajectory. But neither company has much margin for error and it would not take too big of a hickup from a sibling game to impact either.

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Sray

H1Z1 is the big high profile game that gets all the attention, but it’s slowly bleeding out to PUBG, and doesn’t have additional platforms like Fortnite to support it. If DBG can find a way for H1Z1 to get out of PUBG’s shadow, it could really take off again. But until that does or does not happen, DCUO continues to quitely hum along on consoles as Daybreak’s secret money printing press.

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Sally Bowls

Oh Lord I was not trying to say H1Z1 was in good shape; just better than the rest of DBG. But it was just what I read; you certainly know more about DCUO than I.

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Sally Bowls

IMO, “Who should Disney sign their next SW PC/console game liscensing deal with?” deserves its own article. It keeps coming up, partly because EA continues to do dumb things.

“Anyone but EA” is the obvious retort. However, I submit the answer is not obvious. The largest game company, Ten Cent, is Chinese and I can’t see them being a good fit. (IIRC, Warcraft movie outgrossed Star Wars in China) I think ATVI does their own IP. I think of NetEase, Netmarble, Nexon, and NCSoft as mobile companies.

If you get smaller than Ubisoft, SE, 2K or Bethesda, I don’t see the licensee as having the resources to develop several hundred-million-dollar games and/or several-hundred-million-dollar games. Bree & MJ continue to fail to win a $700M lottery.

I don’t think EA is doing a great job but I don’t see any obvious alternatives. Of course, who knows what Amazon will do and Disney could lurch back the other way in its cycle of in-house versus license only and buy a game company, EA being an obvious possibility. Combining the morality and player focus of EA with the proven-to-be-able-to-destroy-a-studio management talent from LucasArts would make for some drama.

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Chosenxeno .

If EA loses the Star Wars license people shouldn’t expect any PC MMORPGs. The new company will further bastardize the license with nothing but autoplay mobile cash-grabs because that’s where the money is. Damned if it’s EA. Damned if it’s not lol

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Sally Bowls

I agree with no PC MMORPG. However, the 10-year license was for PC & Console; Disney did not include mobile in the deal.

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Sray

Marvel and Square-Enix already have a deal in place for a series of games, and if SE handles it well that makes them the obvious choice. A big plus in their favor is their ability to navigate the tricky waters of appealing to both Asian and Western markets (versus EA’s primarily Western focus) makes them a good fit for Disney’s global market.

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Crowe

As long as it’s not as grindy as FFXIV, then Square would be ok with me. I just didn’t like FF’s running the same quests over and over, switching jobs, going back and working back through the same quests again. Ad infinitum.

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Sally Bowls

Good point; global is important.

Line
Reader
Line

As much fun as those lists are, I’d like to have real numbers rather than “feelings”.

Because pretty much ll of those are way down YoY, or even worse with studios melting away and future being more and more uncertain for the smallest ones.

But let’s just say FFXIV is as “healthy” as World of Warcraft, how could that be wrong when it’s the game I play?
We must defend the Motherland.

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Vincent Clark

there is a recent (unofficial) census (looking for the link) that says FFXIV has about 820K active players across all worlds, with approximately 12M registered accounts. The important number (imo) being the active players. 820K isn’t too shabby…

Line
Reader
Line

Saw that yes.
It’s active characters, and Square talking about their “largest number of subscribers ever” also put the luckybancho census into bollocks category.

But what we know is that Stormblood did not bring as much money as Heavensward.
That one’s a fact, not a gut feeling and API sniffing.

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Vincent Clark

I think you have your “facts” wrong. SE released their quarterly numbers after Stormblood launched and it showed SB did better than HW and they currently have record high subscribers.

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Emiliano Lozada

He was speaking about the most recent annual report but I do agree with the facts being wrong. Lucky Bancho has the last report being the highest sub count FF has been and that came out before the annual report so it doesn’t go into bollocks territory. The only times FFXIV spiked this hard was when PS4 support was first introduced and when HW was released. Lucky hast that number higher but it was due to Free Trials also being introduced hence why he started to purge low levels from his report from then onwards.

Screenshot (649).png
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Sally Bowls

Technically, this is obviously not “HEALTHIEST LIVE MMORPGS” but “HEALTHIEST LIVE Western PC/console MMORPGS” Who knows (or perhaps cares?) about those MMO-kinda megamillion names from China we see on charts? And certainly, Lineage M would be 2-4 without excluding mobile.

I kinda think, but am not sure, that #2 & 3 should be swapped.

I am OK with SWTOR being #10, although more for lack of healthy competition than it be especially healthy.

I don’t see how GW2 could outrank B&S in this list.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Vexia

I guess that for the purposes of this list, it makes sense to view the games from the perspective of the site’s readership and exclude some obvious titan games from other regions. But it would be interesting to see this list on a global scale. In that case, I imagine no game from the West would be able to secure the top few spots.

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Schmidt.Capela

Yeah, Fantasy Westward Jourrney II would likely steal the top spot if you included Asian MMOs. After all, it’s a traditional MMO running since 2001 that brings more revenue than WoW.

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CMDR Crow

I am, of course, happy to see Elite here and agree that it should be on the list.

That said, Elite has greatly benefited from thin competition in the mainstream cockpit sim genre. NMS, the most recent challenger, as well as Star Citizen’s ever-out-of-reach future have garnered great PR. Frontier has really doubled-down on not taking microtransactions to bad places and even extended the Horizon’s dev cycle by a year so that people don’t have to buy a new xpac in 2018 (yay!)

FDev know that there are a number of space sim games in the pipeline and that their place somewhat alone in the genre is limited. I’m super excited for Starfighter, Inc., and Star Citizen will certainly siphon off players if/when it releases. Not to mention smaller others.

orpuaena
Reader
orpuaena

> even extended the Horizon’s dev cycle by a year so that people don’t have to buy a new xpac in 2018 (yay!)

No they didn’t “extended the Horizon’s dev cycle by a year “. They were a YEAR LATE IN FINISHING Horizons and inf fact they still haven’t finished it. The weaseled out of the last of the five expansions and palmed players off with some Thargoids that you don’t need Horizons to access anyway.

> so that people don’t have to buy a new xpac in 2018 (yay!)

Uh, “don’t have to buy”??? People can’t buy new Elite Dangerous xpacs in 2018 because Frontier have stopped producing paid-for xpacs. Which is no surprise given how few people bought the last lot.

Instead for 2018 all Frontier have mentioned is a few minor sub-expansion updates and as-yet-unspecified “premium content” … as befits the fact a chunk of the company has just been bough by a Chinese micro-transactions outfit.

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CMDR Crow

Dear god this is a steaming pile of absolute bullshit. If you don’t enjoy the game, that is understandable. It is certainly not a mainstream game.

But christ, don’t shit on other people’s fun. You don’t even really make an argument. It is a collection of toddler-like screams. I’m sorry that Elite isn’t a different game.

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Thomas Zervogiannis

I agree with almost everything you said and for me E:D and Frontier were a disappointment as well.

However, a correction: the announced squadrons (http://elite-dangerous.wikia.com/wiki/Squadrons) in 2018 could be a great update depending on the execution – of course, given prior experience, it could be a “great” update in the sense that Powerplay, Guardians and Commanders were “great” updates. Nevertheless, as an announcement it is enough to stir excitement.

orpuaena
Reader
orpuaena

“could be a great update depending on the execution” applied to every ED update we’ve seen. Frontier are masters of convincing promises. Yet all they ever deliver are reduced, watered-down and bugged versions of what they promised.

As for Squadrons, on what Frontier have said, it consists of just two minor features: a souped-up friends list, and a shared base. And note that those bases must be purchased. Don’t be surprised if that means real money in Frontier’s cash shop, like every ship skin, colour and add-on kit they’ve added since game launch.

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Thomas Zervogiannis

Sadly I also expect squadrons to be watered down like you described, I’m with you on that. I was just pointing out that it is not necessarily a minor feature depending on the content that could come with it, no matter what our expectations are. We cannot judge the feature before we see it. We can judge them (and I do, and I stopped playing their game) for what they have released and for their roadmap/direction. And planning for structured group play on top of the background sim is a solid direction.

But I would be surprised to see them sell the squadron ship with real money. Skins for it, yes, the whole ship, no. Can’t say I had a problem with their pricing so far – it seems fair. And apart from the instancing I did not find their game buggy, on the contrary I found it really polished (although I stopped playing at engineers, I have heard some horror stories about 2.2 and 2.3). All I had a problem with was their super lazy game design.

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CMDR Crow

All I had a problem with was their super lazy game design.

What does this even mean? Not enough cutscenes? Can’t understand that the game doesn’t hold your hand and shower you with gambling-like dopamine blips?

Seriously, don’t mistake a game not being your thing with it somehow being “lazy” or bad.

I’m currently changing the political power balance in my home system. Slowly but surely. Ever dove into the insane complexity of the BGS? Likely not. And your leaning on engineers as a potential “horror story” just doubles my suspicion that you’re more interested in “dings” and power boosts than in being a spaceship pilot.

If you’re not inherently excited about being a 34th century starship pilot, you’ll never see the intense beauty and drive.

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Thomas Zervogiannis

Rude, inflammatory and cliche response. You presumed 5 things about me without knowing me, getting 0 out of 5. And you misread my post. Bravo.

Not enough cutscenes? Can’t understand that the game doesn’t hold your hand and shower you with gambling-like dopamine blips?

I currently play 2 sandbox MMO’s (Albion and EVE) and I am not even a fan of full loot PVP (I am trying out economy aspects in one and am doing exploration in the other, I am not a ganker in either one), I just like the rest of their systems. Zero cutscenes, zero ersatz rewards, zero handholding.

Ever dove into the insane complexity of the BGS? Likely not.

BGS is mildly complicated and has zero complexity (a complex and a complicated system is not the same, there is a huge difference, please look it up). It is a decent system at its core, failing on the endpoints, aka player input.

And your leaning on engineers as a potential “horror story” just doubles my suspicion that you’re more interested in “dings” and power boosts

Read my comment again. At this point I was actually defending the polish of E:D and mentioned that I read about horror stories about bugs in 2.2 and 2.3, which I explicitly said I did not personally experienced as I stopped playing. Your comment here is completely off.

Some extra tl;dr’s on what I consider lazy design in E:D:
– Combat: instances with infinite respawn baddies. No objectives, no strategy or tactics. Shallow.
– Trading: Buy something here, sell it to a “black hole” there. Shallow dynamics and player input.
– Only a minor semblance of causality, player agency and impactful player choice. Powerplay could fix this but is ruined by devolving mostly in the shallow loops of Combat and Trading, see above.
– Tourism: reskin of Trading, see above
– Game breaking issues such as solo and open racing on uneven grounds for the same objectives, combat logging
– Pet peeve but really shows lazy design: what gameplay purpose does waiting for 6-10 minutes to get from one side of a binary star to the other serve? None.
– By the way, the way the lore was advancing in the last updates was completely scripted and like a poor man’s cutscene, and engineers were accused of having “gambling-like dopamine blips”, which you accused me of liking.

I am still keeping an eye and an interest in the game, which is why I even bother replying. I could be missing something on the BGS/Powerplay, (which if reworked adequately could get me back in), and would gladly be proven wrong, but given your attitude I will not get that by discussing with you. I am not interested in getting into a flame war, so I will respectfully /signoff.

cryinglightning39
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cryinglightning39

RuneScape, I tried it this year, liked the look of it but couldn’t get past the click to walk thing. This is a pretty legit list I think but what about Blade and Soul?

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David Goodman

I think Dungeons and Dragons Online should be added.

It has a healthy population as far as I can see – i always see people about, my guild in particularly is surging with players, and they just released a new expac. It shows no signs of slowing down, at least, and I would consider that healthy.

Probably more-so than SWTOR at least.

Justin Olivetti
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Justin Olivetti

Well it picked me up this year, at least.

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Stormwaltz

I’m not sure SWTOR is as healthy as previous years, but… can anyone think of an MMG not further up the list that’s obviously doing better?

LotRO, maybe?

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Terren Bruce

Blade & Soul for sure.

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CMDR Crow

LotRO definitely comes to mind, and SSG continues to plod along with a core fanbase of Tolkien nerds who will always play. Not to mention concrete plans that aren’t shaky toward continued content. And it is a great game.

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Wilhelm Arcturus

I think we already got the editorial vibe here about EVE Online when it became clear that only Brendan plays or even pays attention to the game. It is cute when you call it a gank box one day and admit nearly zero knowledge the next.

So yes, given that, I can see how you can then spin CCP ditching VR development to focus on EVE Online, literally the only video game that has ever paid the bills at CCP, is a clear sign that the game is in danger. I’m just surprised you didn’t cite the looming menace of a Star Citizen alpha release as well.

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Schmidt.Capela

Actually, the bad sign is because CCP cut even into EVE support. Most EVE CMs were dismissed, to the point it caused a traditional tournament run by players, but requiring CCP support, to be cancelled. The moment a company can’t even afford to properly care for its cash cow the outlook isn’t good.

plasmajohn
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plasmajohn

Going to reiterate others that SW:TOR has no place on this list.

The “this time it’s different” new Lead Producer has backslid into being the incommunicado standard we’ve come to expect from SW:TOR devs. At the end of the day he’s accomplished little.

Gamble box sales must have been way off because all of a sudden SW:TOR was graced with a series of direct sales of some of the long unavailable chase pieces. By the time I was thoroughly disgusted enough to leave (again) I had a whole bundle of CC’s sitting around. Of course I logged back in to spend them during those sales.

It is also blatantly obvious that EA’s Austin studio doesn’t have the funding to appropriately staff the dev team nor hire competent people. It takes money to make money and SW:TOR is in a vicious cycle: It doesn’t make enough to appease the suits so their budget gets slashed even further. Since the players see the game continue to crumble more and more stop playing. Less people playing means less people for the whales to show off and resell cash shop items to.

And then the talking to they got over the BF2 debacle. IMO the only thing that would have gotten EA to be less predatory was a direct threat of having their license yanked. I wonder if sending EA a message was part of pulling the license for MHO.

And it’s not just BF2. They whacked one of their other Star Wars games. EA is not servicing this license well at all.

At best SW:TOR is on the fast track to maintenance mode.

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rafael12104

I’ll have to quibble with you about number 10. It has not been a good year for SWTOR and the ship is still heading toward the iceberg.

But it’s not just my opinion. Here are three things that tell the tale.

First over the past couple of years there has been turnover at the top. The lead designer and director of SWTOR changed again this year. It happened a few months into the new year after it became obvious that the game need a change in direction as it was bleeding players.

Second, and most importantly, the game unlike previous years did not deliver an xpac this year. It was on the schedule but never materialized. In fact several items on that list slid or never materialized.

Third, another server merger was needed. The fleets were empty. Players left the game, the reasons varied, but I’ll explain mine below.

My guild and I left the game because of Command XP. We weren’t singular in our dissatisfaction. They created an artificial barrier and added lootboxes as an integral part of progression. Sound familiar?

Bioware has tried to recover but there is nothing appreciably new and improved.

So, I fear the worst for my old fave. They lost the thread. Even their try before you buy scheme has failed now. No more “Preferred” status for old players.

Nope. Not number ten, my friend.

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Sray

Galactic Command was such a disappointment. What should have been the great equalizer for all players at the endgame, turned into a horrific grind that once again marginalized the solo players that SWTOR had so courted for several years. The thing that thry so thoroughly blew was the one simple thing that Destiny 2 understands completely: frequency is the nemesis of RNG. If we’d been pummeled by gear crates for the first two tiers of CXP ranks before getting to a grindy part, people would have practically lined up to buy CXP boosts to get through the third -and eventual four- tier. But what we got was something that was an unfun grind to start, and that magically morphed into a soul crushing one after just a few short levels, while simultaneously waving a giant middle finger to those solo/small group oriented players who’d been the game’s staunchest defenders.

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rafael12104

Yup. Sums up why our guild, in it’s entirety, left the game.

I mean, some didn’t stick around, everyone left. That’s 124 active members. Doesn’t sound like a lot? 124 players decided, at one time, to bail. And, we weren’t the only ones. Far from it.

We had solo players that found a home in our guild. We had hardcore progression peeps. We had PvP lovers. We had casuals. And we had dabblers that did a little bit of everything. And we had founders, players that had been with the game since launch. Oh, btw, we were also international with guildies from Australia, Hong Kong, Latin America and North America. So…

All gone because of CXP.

xpsync
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xpsync

Grrrr i always take a jab at swtor then read and remember you like it, obviously i have no issue with people whom love it (well your on and off affair with her), cause i loved it for a long time so i know.

My only beef is how intensely they dumb’ed it down to where i can be under attack by a mob of bad guys, go have supper, watch a movie, oh forgot i was playing wake up the next morning and magically i’m still alive, oh right i forgot to click the mouse button, click; all dead, sry guys mb.

The problem is someone who does not know would think i’m joking but reality is i’m not.

Anyway cause i respect you rafael12104, i hold back from going uber trash mode on it. join the dark side permanently, /jk lol /honestly if they could only recognize that their player base isn’t a bunch of mouse button clicking zombies, maybe, just maybe i’d come back.

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rafael12104

Agreed. Totally. So, CXP grind and a game so dumbed down that auto attack by itself is all that is required.

Sad, really. They lost the thread.

Don’t hold back xpsync. Lol. The game deserves to be trashed now. Maybe, they will fix things, but I don’t think so.

Thank you. :)

xpsync
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xpsync

Got It! :)

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connor_jones

Agree completely man. The serious dumbing down that occurred with KOTFE killed SWTOR for me.

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Armsbend

Star Wars should absolutely be taken off of this list. I could see a maintenance mode next year. Potential shutdown if Disney examines their licenses more closely. I’d put it on a “Top Ten Most in Danger” list instead really.

Runescape should be number 2. It isn’t going anywhere forever. God knows why, but it is true.

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Wilhelm Arcturus

This is one of those things where, if it were any other company, I’d argue with you. But this is EA, which has not only raised Disney’s ire of late, but which has a history of killing things that are in any way a drag on margins.

The best future for SWTOR would probably be if EA does what they did with UO and DAoC and spins it off to its own entity. Then it can just claim profits as license revenue with no impact on margins.

xpsync
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xpsync

“Star Wars should absolutely be taken off of this list.”

Totally agree, and replaced with Secret World Legends. SWL pretty much saved the company but yea, lets throw in that joke swtor instead. Who writes this dribble anyway? /jk Eliot

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ensignedwards

Conan Exiles saved the company. Legends is a blip by comparison. By all reports it’s back to around the same level of activity TSW had before the reboot, and they still haven’t even managed to bring online all of TSW’s content, let alone add anything new, so I really don’t think it qualifies as a particularly “healthy” game.

xpsync
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xpsync

Conan Exiles eludes the list as well?

There are still far more playing swl right now then tsw ever had. New peeps keep pouring in every day, it’s the bitter vets whom love to spread the doom fantasy of theirs, start a new toon… it’s busy.

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Chosenxeno .

New “peep” checking in. Just hit Egypt this week. I don’t know what went on with TSW but I will say that I like SWL and I’ve had no problems finding Groups for the story dungeons so far. I think low level dungeon queues can tell a lot about how a game is doing.

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Schmidt.Capela

Conan Exiles isn’t a MMO, so it stays off the list, just like Minecraft, LoL, Overwatch, etc.

cyclopsdoesnotcare
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cyclopsdoesnotcare

SWTOR? Hmm. I would be hard pressed to call the outlook of an EA Star Wars game “healthy”. But I have to admit that disappointment and anger have created a bias in me. I just wish Disney would yank the license and we could get the Star Wars MMO we deserve finally.

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