Over the last couple of weeks, we shared with you part one and part two of our guide to the best upcoming and current indie MMORPGs on the market. Naturally, there were always those titles that we overlooked or couldn’t fit into the space, so we are back with the third and final part of this guide to make sure that all of your favorite games got mentioned.
As a side note, we won’t be covering most of the survival sandbox and mere multiplayer titles, as that would be too much for the scope of this guide. And if you’re interested in these games, then you’ll definitely want to track our Make My MMO and Betawatch columns.
On with part three!
It’s a little hard to tell whether this game belongs more in the persistent world “MMO” bucket or the “survival sandbox,” er, sandbox (a problem that I had with several of the games in the indie scene). But we shall err on the side of acceptance by pointing out that this post-apocalyptic title is in the making and will see players rebuilding civilization shortly before trying to blow each other up once more.
Amazon Game Studios’ newly announced massively multiplayer sandbox is the talk of the town these days, although we still don’t know a lot about it. It will be set in a supernatural version of 17th century Americas and will contain (prepare for buzzwords) emergent gameplay, Twitch integration, and lots of crafting. It’s not really indie, but it’s one to keep an eye on.
This “high fantasy” MMO hopes that players will help to build the world and drive the content, with a lot of focus on exploration and building. You might not want to hold high hopes for this one, however; the game’s site has been dormant since April of this year.
If you’re looking for a hardcore sandbox that attempts to replicate the tougher days of old, look no further than Linkrealms. This title’s been in development for a very long time (since 2011), but launched on Steam early access this past May. It’s next step? Going free-to-play this month.
Not all indie MMOs look and act identical, as evidenced by Stash. This title replicates a tabletop boardgame experience with turn-based combat that has roots in a decades-old MUD. It’s still very much an MMO, however, and player housing is apparently a big part of what Stash has to offer. It recently launched on Steam early access.
Forget living in and working the land — sometimes all you want is the grim, delightful reality of war. That’s where Of Kings and Men comes in, bringing a “persistent medieval war simulator” to the masses. Players can recruit and join armies, then wage war against rival factions. It’s currently in Steam early access and will most likely stay that way for quite some time.
Sometimes the salty sea air blows into the land, calling adventurous souls to drop everything and venture out into the sea. Of course, you’re going to need a capable ship and crew to do so, otherwise you’re going to drown in a hurry. Naval Action lets players live out their fantasies of the Age of Sail with a massively multiplayer sandbox. It’s been slowly adding new ships and features in patches ever since coming to early access at the start of 2016.
This colorful MMO places players into the role of samurai roaming the land and looking for adventure. It’s not just landscape questing, either, as this sandbox features many homesteading features and even recently incorporated horses. It’s been in alpha for the better part of 2016 now.
The first of two “classic Darkfall” reboots being tackled by independent developers, Rise of Agon is focused on player freedom as it embraces its sandbox roots. Out of the two projects, this one is further along in development, having transitioned from alpha to beta testing during the year.
Not to be confused with that other game called New Dawn or the other other game called New Dawn, this New Dawn is working hard on bringing back the vanilla edition of Darkfall with some improvements (including a deeper political system). It’s currently running an “InDev” server in the middle of five patch cycles that will lead to a full release.
Cartoony and voxely it may be, SkySaga embraces some of the same design and art aesthetics of games like Trove and Cube World, placing an emphasis on endless exploration through, well, infinite isles. You do get a floating island base to go back to at the end of the night, so you’re not completely untethered from domestic life. SkySaga is currently romping its way through alpha testing.
This “massively multiplayer building universe” used to go by the title of Oort Online. We think the name change was for the better, but in any case, what you have here is another MMO that bundles up crafting, exploration, and building inside a stylized voxel world. It is currently in pre-alpha.
A very pretty sci-fi sandbox MMO, Origins of Malu promised all manner of exploring, crafting, and building to make this alien world your own. Unfortunately, development of the title was suspended (albeit not cancelled outright) earlier this year as the project sought investors. No word has emerged since.
There’s no clever way of beating around this bush: Creativerse is Minecraft… with better graphics. The devs aren’t even trying to hide their obvious inspiration but are instead embracing the craftsy voxel premise and making their own twist on the sub-genre. You can check it out in early access right now as a free-to-play title.
Taking the historical setting of Salem (the home of the infamous witch trials and New England’s best cherry pie), the titular MMO is about as hardcore as they come. You could try your hand at farming or crafting, but there’s little point since you’re going to be ganked soon in this full-PvP permadeath world. It supposedly launched this past summer, and the devs have apologized for their “lazy” update schedule since.
Isometric, old-school, and proud of it, Wild Terra wants to be more than a mere gankbox. It’s goal is to provide a “life simulator” for players who want to delve deep into survival activities as they forge a new life out of the wilderness. It’s aiming for an early access launch on December 1st.
Sometimes games falter and stutter to a halt in development, and even if you don’t get a cancellation notice, chances are you’re not going to be seeing much more on them in the future. El Somni Quas, a fantasy MMO that was trying to be a throwback to the Ultima Online era (with more modern graphics), delivered a “design manifesto” to us back in April 2015 but went rather quiet after that. The last update on its website comes from last November (ironically talking about “big progress” coming soon), so don’t hold your breath for this one.
How’s this for an odd mash-up: Pumpkin Online is attempting to be both a farming and dating simulator in which you can romance various NPCs while tending to your own crops. While it is still multiplayer, Pumpkin Online demoted itself from “massively” status early this year. Currently it’s aiming for an early 2017 beta test.
Thank you to everyone who made additional suggestions for this final installment!