The Daily Grind: What MMO has the brightest future looking into 2019?


One of the most popular roundups we do every single year is about the healthiest MMORPGs in the genre. I love it because it reminds us that contrary to what doom-and-gloomsters say, we actually have a ton of healthy games, more than we did in the first few years of the genre even now. And it also brings commenters out of the woodwork to agitate for the the games that didn’t make the top 10 but probably could’ve – which actually indicates an even deeper bench.

So here we are at the beginning of another year, wondering which one is the absolute healthiest – and whether that prognosis has changed since the last few times we’ve offered this question. What do you think: Which MMORPG is most likely to keep on landing on the “healthiest” list for years and years to come? Is it the obvious answer or would you put up other contenders? Which MMORPG has the brightest future looking into 2019?

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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Malcolm Swoboda

To me it is clearly FFXIV. Because they have an expansion most clearly coming, and it appears to be fully-featured, and it the FFXIV expansions haven’t had the love-hate seesawing that a game like WoW has. This near guarantees a bright future for at least most of the year.

ESO is likely second, with a formula largely set of a chapter, story DLC, and other gameplay/dungeon DLC. Maybe they’ll shake up things, or maybe they won’t do anything until at least all the races are covered with expansion content (so far at least Imperials, Orcs, Dunmer, Altmer, Argonian; gotta tackle at least the Nords and Khajiit man!) I think the game is now good for at least the next couple of years, internal-surprises not withstanding.

WoW is a little tough to say. It is much doom and gloom, but Blizzard should still have the resources and skills to turn it around before BFA shockingly becomes their final major expansion. Will this happen in 2019? It better, or else a 2020 expansion/set of updates would have to greatly surpass even the 2016 Legion turnaround.

For other games I pay more attention to:

-RIFT is a mess. The best I hope for this year is most to all of the 2016 Prophecy of Ahnket expansion to be finalized, with only an inkling of what could come next (a Plane of Earth by the new smaller set of devs?). The least I hope for is some updates at all, especially ones they can monetize. And what I will presume instead is that the game will go maintenance mode after merges and the shut down within the next couple years. Prove me wrong.

-SWTOR I am mixed on. There’s been something of a small resurgence this year, but it isn’t like this year was fantastic but just closer to a return to 2013-2014 form (after the 2015-2016 pain and 2017 slow recovery). I don’t expect the game to ever return to its post-launch heights, but there’s a new hope (heh) of a year that proves that the game has more years, and at least one major story arc, in it left. Enough for a 10-year anniversary in 2021? I can’t tell.

-Secret World Legends is both a bummer and a small encouragement. By the end of the year, they accomplished for better or worse what they would have ideally had by end of 2017, or what they mapped out for earlier 2018. So they’re still late. Like always. But they got it done. And there’s been updates. Since Dawn of the Morninglight, this has all/almost all been of a non-cutscene nature though, so either development has crawled down to not being worth it for a story-player, or the remaining devs have been hard at work trying to ensure an at least annual ‘major’ story update, and we just have to be patient for said update coming earlier(?) 2019 instead of later 2018. And I still think the New Dawn zone is essentially incomplete until at least a couple more good missions are added to fill in its spots.
I have no clue whether the game will languish or is just laying low in the limelight (heh) until they have more to show. But I can tell you that I’m happy with much of what they accomplished last year, while also disappointed that what they accomplished wasn’t quite the desired ‘start of Season 2’ that I even minimally desired. I’m still passively around, and still paid some sub earlier in year, and the Dawn of the Morninglight pack on sale recently. Will I play/pay more? Up to them, not me.

-LOTRO intrigues me. I am not anything of an active player, but I do wish it success and that it both fully wraps up anything of the Ring’s journey in the next year or two, as well as future proves that this isn’t the end of the player character journey. There’s room in the lore/world/story to do so.

Roger Melly

I think it will be classic WoW , I was looking at’s review of the games likely to be released in 2019 and unless Camelot Unchained or City of Titans get a release I think I most likely will be opting for a bit of 2005 nostalgia for the latter half of this year . I suspect by then this time 2020 I could be playing two of the games I was playing back in 2007 , those being WoW and Lotro .

That is not to say some of the modern mmos are not OK games but in one way or another they all seem to lack some of the elements I like in a massive multiplayer game and they fail to keep me interested for more than a few months.


In this environment it could be Atlas, though I hope we can do better than that.

We all accept the current gaming collapse by now? Call it a restructuring if you wish to be kind, but right now is not a bright time for any studio as investors are putting the squeeze and demanding Fortnite returns on investment. As far as MMOs go I’m not predicting that anyone closes shop (Though I wouldn’t be shocked), but I don’t see anything coming out of what’s left of the AAA studios that even matters anymore.

This makes me excited again for MMOs, and why I fear Atlas may have the brightest future isn’t because I like the game or the studio, but because I think they’re connected to the zeitgeist. The survival genre is where virtual world tinkerers went while everybody else was building themeparks, and I think the first studio to nail those new blocks into a marketable MMO will be the ones to profit.


I will defer my answer until I’m less jaded.

It could be a while.


Potentially all of them….if they get their shit together. >.<

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ESO and FFXIV will continue to chug along with a steady stream of mostly well received updates. You can probably add BDO to that list, although it seems to attract more negative attention. WoW seems fairly stagnant and I don’t think WoW Classic will do more than slow the bleeding.

Wilhelm Arcturus

WoW by virtue of WoW Classic coming this year.

There doesn’t seem to be any reason that Warframe and ESO should not continue to be in the Platinum revenue range on Steam.

Otherwise it is hard to tell. Public companies deliberately obscure their financials so you cannot pick out the performance of individual games while privately held firms say everything is wonderful even when they’re laying people off. And players themselves will always put the best spin possible on the games in which they are invested while seeing the worst in any competitor.

Fervor Bliss

Maplestory 2, and the Pokemon Go. I have not seen population numbers for Pokemon Go in a long time.


ESO number one.
Second tier are FF14 and Warframe.
Third tier would be GW2 and so forth.

WoW is certainly headed down into the tank, at least until WoW Classic launches, or maybe the next expansion in 2020?

Just my 2c based on playing all of those (and more) during 2017.


WoW’s going to stagnate for years while being profitable like Walmart in a world dominated by Amazon.


The big 4 WoW, ESO, FF14, and GW2. Sprinkle in some Black Desert and Warframe too I suppose.