It has become a long-standing tradition as Massively OP and our former site that we like to end the year by creating a list of titles that we anticipate for the coming one. It has always been a devilish list to create, full of loose dates and fast guesswork about which titles will and won’t be releasing during a 12-month window (just read last year’s list to see how spot-on I was).
This year we’re changing things up a bit by tossing out the qualifying factor of “will see a hard launch in 2018.” Instead, I drafted up a list of 20 MMOs that have the potential to do or be really interesting next year, whether that be a launch, a long-anticipated beta test, or some other significant development. Plus, hey, you get 20 for the price of 10, so no complaining now!
As an aside, this list isn’t going to cover some other exciting-looking multiplayer games that are arriving in 2018, like Anthem, Sea of Thieves, The Crew 2, Monster Hunter World, DayZ, Red Dead Redemption 2, Stardew Valley, Conan Exiles, and State of Decay 2. And you old school fans won’t want to forget that Ultima Online has a new free-to-play option coming this spring.
Good news for Crowfall fans this week because there’s plenty on the docket about the game’s development. You might not consider a whole lot of discussion about how the game succeeded at crowdfunding to be new content, but you’ve also got the full list of race/class combinations at launch and a dangerous beachhead for players to fight around. So there’s lots of good stuff happening for fans, yes?
The remainder of the beta news… well, there’s some good stuff in there, too! And one thing that’s perhaps not so good. Let’s head right in.
- In fact, let’s start by diving into one of the most ill-considered quotes of the week, in which Chris Roberts of Star Citizen declared he was “fed up” with providing launch estimates for patch 3.0. We imagine backers are a bit “fed up” with waiting for the patch, especially the ones who claimed a refund and then lied about the amount of said refund.
- Happier news time for Wild West Online fans, as the alpha test begins this weekend. There isn’t much of an NDA in place, either, so if you’re testing it feel free to say whatever you’d like down in the comments (with the proper alpha caveats, of course).
- The second closed beta for Lost Ark is on its way, and we’ve got the video full of happy frolicking animals listening to music to prove it. If you’ve never seen an owlbear soothed by a calming tune, well, that’s your entry for today’s list of things you never knew you wanted before now.
- Good news for Worlds Adrift developer Bossa Studios, too, as the studio picked up lots of investor cash this week. That should fund a fair number of islands.
- Do you remember Seed? No, not the MMO that crashed and burned in a short span of time, the other game named Seed? It’s not due for any sort of serious beta until summer 2018, but we’re already seeing signs of how the game will deliver its AI-focused design.
- Last but not least, why not take a gander at what’s coming for phase two of the OrbusVR closed beta? You can read that update even if you’re in not-virtual reality, aka actual reality, aka… you know, the real world.
Meanwhile, we’ve got that full list of games down below with all of the information you could possibly expect at this point from our regular weekly column. Did something jump to a new phase of testing without us noticing? Let us know down in the comments, we find that fascinating and only marginally annoying. (And the annoyance is with the studios who don’t let us know, mind.)
We’re going to lead off with the bad news: Lost Ark is currently planning its release in South Korea and China in 2018 with no real word on a localized version for here just yet. So keep that in mind while you watch the eight-minute trailer below. If it all looks enticing and interesting to you, well, you don’t know when you’ll get to experience it in a language that you actually speak. So you may have to go your whole life without getting to play music with a group beautiful enough that it attracts a rampaging owlbear to sit down and listen happily.
Of course, having typed that line, you probably have to see what the heck is actually in this trailer. There’s a lot of more standard stuff in there, too, like sailing across the ocean, exploring ruins, and creeping through dangerous areas filled with monsters… but there’s also the aforementioned “singing and gathering woodland creatures” bit. So perhaps you out to just check it out to see everything being added to the game for its second closed beta test.
Korean-born MMORPG Lost Ark has just gotten a huge website revamp that hints at a development ramp-up. If you run the site through Google translate, it’s pretty usable even if you can’t read Korean; there are profiles for the four classes, a beautiful interactive map, and a run-down of basic features.
Smilegate has taken the relaunch to announce a second round of closed beta testing. Signups begin today and end September 8th, with the actual test slated to run September 15th through 24th.
Steparu notes that signups are aimed at Koreans, so you’ll probably need a Korean phone number to successfully register, but hey, this is the internet, so I’m sure you’ll figure it out.
Countdowns could mean many things. Missile launches. Christmas. New Year’s Day. Or in the case of Lost Ark, the start of its second closed beta test in Korea.
The official (Korean) site is currently sporting a countdown to this Friday, when Lost Ark’s CBT2 is set to begin. This time around, the beta is greatly expanding to include a focus on sailing, so there’s a whole lot of ocean, ship, and harbor imagery going on with the previews.
Smilegate said that the beta will also feature a new class, the opening of a brand-new continent, and more stories to experience. If you feel proficient in your Korean, you can attempt to sign up for a spot on the site!
When Lost Ark was first announced back in 2014 as basically the next generation of Diablo-clone in an MMO, I remember being straight-up grabby-hands about it. But Smilegate’s splashy isometric MMO, like its soulmate Lineage Eternal, has been delayed significantly, with a beta landing last year (a year behind schedule) and continuing even now. Fortunately, this summer we’ve had a trickle of news crossing the Pacific thanks to the translation efforts of Steparu, who today has another update.
And it’s got boats.
Steparu reports that the game has improved significantly since the first round of closed beta testing. The new screenies demo sailing content, islands, treasure chests (looks like they’re being hauled up from the depths of the sea from a boat crane), an ocean storm, marine life — it’s gorgeous. Even if you aren’t an isometric viewpoint fan, it’s worth a look.
After a long info drought on the anticipated action-MMO Lost Ark, we’re finally getting a deluge of lore and screenshots courtesy of Steparu. This week he graces us with another installment straight from the closed beta program going on over in Korea, so if you don’t mind some minor spoilers, you can wallow in all of the reveals.
Some of the locations featured in the beta include Rohendel, a floating zone that serves as the starting area for mages; the Eastern Regions, which are littered with ruins and have serious pagan problems; Totoike, an island that is actually a slumbering giant; Ardetain, a high-tech city in the desert; and Shushire, a land held in the grip of an eternal winter.
Steparu also looked at a few more of the oversized bosses that are brimming over with personality, as well as a smidge of the story. The second round of Korean closed beta testing includes the Destroyer, Summoner, and Arcana classes as well as a quest system overhaul.
It can be hard to be interested in a title that may eventually be ported over to North America but has a dearth of information available on a whole. Lost Ark is heading into its second closed beta, and the good news for fans watching the title from afar is that a whole bunch of translated information about the second closed beta is now available, courtesy of Steparu. Two of the existing classes (Warlord and Bard) are getting extensive reworks, with the former becoming far more tank-heavy and the latter adding more emphasis on support skills instead of straight DPS.
The second closed beta will also feature the Arcana, Destroyer, and Summoner classes. Arcana is all about drawing cards and unleashing semi-randomized effects, the Destroyer uses a big hammer to smash things, and the Summoner summons things to serve as either a DPS or a tank-style character. There’s more information to come, certainly; for now, you can just enjoy what we have so far in translation.
What’s going on with Lost Ark anyway? It’s been a good long time since we heard anything about this promising and stunning-looking MMOARPG, including whether or not it was actually confirmed to arrive in the west.
We are tracking a rumor this week from Steparu that Lost Ark is planning on a new Korean CBT for sometime this summer. “Although just a rumor and nothing set in stone, someone from LostArkDB had a chat with a Smilegate employee, and they mentioned that the next closed beta for the Korean version of Lost Ark is scheduled to start sometime in June or July,” he posted.
If true, that means that the title is still slowly progressing through its overseas beta cycle and will probably be a while yet to arrive in North America and Europe — if ever at all. Still, it’s something, so cling to hope!
One of the frustrating bits about our end-of-the-year content rollouts is that sometimes predictions and story roundups can come across as negative. It’s way too easy to assume that if someone is predicting game X will flop, she wants it to happen and is gleefully steepling her fingers and cackling madly over its future demise. Which is just not so! I never steeple my fingers.
But all the same, for tonight’s Massively Overthinking, we’d like to take a moment to set aside our fears and expectations and just talk about our hopes and wishes for 2017 in an MMORPG context. That was what we think will happen. This is a summary of our most optimistic daydreams.
Right now we are in a strange place in MMORPG history. Following the backlash of WoW clones and several high-profile titles that underperformed, major studios are becoming extremely risk-averse to creating big-budget titles the way that we saw not five years ago. Many former MMO teams are diversifying with shooters, MOBAs, and other safer and trendier titles.
Yet all is not lost! MMO features continue to ripple out into all types of game genres and new titles continue to be produced — just not from the usual suspects. Instead, most of what is on our immediate horizon comes from either crowdfunded indie teams or eastern giants. The good news is that 2017 should see the culmination of many of these long-brewing projects and adaptations, hopefully resulting in a bumper crop of interesting online RPGs for us to play.
So let’s run down the list of games that either are or possibly could be coming to you in 2017. We will provide an overview of each title, why you should care about it, and our best guess at the odds of its officially launching during the calendar year. If an upcoming MMO is not on the list, then it is our opinion that while we’ll see it eventually, a 2017 release isn’t happening.
One thing is for sure with Lost Ark: You are not going to find yourself constrained and bored with a paltry handful of class choices. The title sports six basic archetypes that then branch off into three advanced classes each, bringing the total high-level count for professions up to an impressive 18 selections.
For example, the Mage can specialize into a Bard, the Assassin into a Pirate, and the Specialist can pick up a supermarket tabloid and become a dreaded Astrologer. Other interesting-looking class titles include Musician, Hawkeye, and Warlord. Let the other games have their paltry Fighters and Warriors — you are a Warlord and you will stride across their corpses.
While some of the names might be in flux due to localization, at least fans of the upcoming MMOARPG can start mulling over possible class picks.
What are you going to do once you hit the level cap in Lost Ark? Sure, get gear and do stuff, but what gear are you going to get? Where are you going to get it? Are you sure that gear is a good idea? What’s the easiest way to get all of that gear? Fortunately, Steparu has run through a good chunk of the game’s current endgame offerings in the first closed beta, and as a result you can get an idea of what the gearing process looks like.
Or at least what it looks like when you barely speak Korean and the game is not yet localized. There may be nuances here that are as of yet undiscovered.
Players have a variety of options for improving equipment, including field bosses, solo climbs up the Tower of Infinity, and slow but rewarding cinematic dungeons. It’s a whole lot of options with a wide variety of rewards and none of the usual slow “enchanting” endgame systems that are frequently found in Korean titles; check out the full rundown if you’re curious about how the endgame develops.