Fight or Kite: Totally reasonable expectations for PvP MMORPGs in 2020


A new year is upon us, and I am especially excited this time around. The past few calendar swap-outs have been pretty stale from an MMO point of view. There was some tepid excitement to be had when the many Kickstarted games were announced, and now those games are beginning to come to fruition. But it isn’t just the Kickstarter games. I might be just as excited about some of the more traditionally developed games on the horizon too.

I’ve already looked back at this past decade’s games while moaning and groaning. My predictions for 2020, while most likely totally accurate, also come across as quite the downers. This time then, let’s look forward together with a bit more optimism and hope because honestly, I do love playing MMOs, and if you’re here reading this, you do too.

Let me elaborate on my predictions and tell you about the games we should be looking forward to playing in the New Year.

Crowfall’s launch plus retooling

Probably the title I am following most closely right now is Crowfall – and I think 2020 is going to be a big year for it. I still love the original design concepts, and the team at ArtCraft continues to move development forward at a steady pace. We really should see something akin to a launch this year, followed by a reassessment and retooling for the better.

The game has so much going for it too. I’ve written about how close it already is to being a game that I would play everyday. It isn’t there yet, but it keeps getting closer. Many of my guildies already play every night.

And yet I have to admit I do have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Crowfall right now. It seems ArtCraft is banking on the Dregs breathing some fresh air into the game, but I just don’t see that happening. Reading through the forums and talking with my guild has led me to believe there is some apprehension among the playerbase too. It almost feels like ArtCraft might not see the forest for the trees. My fear is that the team over there gets too entrenched with its current most vocal playerbase, and the game suffers for it.

Please don’t let Crowfall catch WildStar-itus. It’s malignant and unfortunately always terminal.

Amazon’s New World launching

I’ve been thinking about New World a lot lately. Prior to the launch announcement, I didn’t care much for it – not specifically because it was originally leaning so far toward being a survival sandbox and less an MMO but because I don’t have a strong affinity for that period of history. Give me swords and boards, dragons, and elves (that’s right, Justin, put up your dukes) and you’re already halfway to selling me on it. The Age of Exploration just never hit a note with me.

But an actual launch and cool trailer can do wonders.

While I expect the game to be pretty light on the actual MMORPG side of things, I’m hopeful it’ll be fun to play. I’d still be playing Ashes of Creation Apocalypse if there were more support in sight (and players – ouch). Some good action combat can mean a lot to me. Plus, this is the only game on my list that is actually assured of launching.

Dropping like it’s hot: Magic Legends‘ beta

While it isn’t launching, we finally got some official info about Magic Legends. A bit of that info is that it will have a beta in 2020 – so I’m considering it a game to play! I realize they’ve been mum about PvP so far, but I’m hopeful. How can a Magic: The Gathering game, a game specifically designed around duels, not have a strong PvP element?

Now, I’m not a huge MtG fan. In fact, I’ve only played it against myself… when I was about 10… when my uncle bought me a deck because “he likes magic.” (Look, it isn’t easy being an introverted nerd in a small town. If I’d had friends, to play with, I would have! Although I probably wouldn’t be such a gamer or be here either… bright sides, right?) Anyway, the trailer for Magic Legends looked fresh, and while it didn’t show any gameplay, it did show PWE and Cryptic are putting some money behind it. That’s my rationalization at least.

I am a bit nervous about the news that you will be able to play with “up to two other Planeswalkers.” On one hand, sure, that could just mean that you form three-person parties. On the other hand, it could mean that the game plays more like Destiny or even Absolver (Absolver being a game I truly love and want to write about someday) and less like an MMORPG. Will it be some kind of lobby-based game? If it’s like Absolver, you’re never in a fully populated map, but a few other players could walk in and out around you. It is Cryptic, a studio with years of MMO experience and talent, and it’s not been shying away from the MMO moniker, so we should be safe. But you never know.

Crimson Desert‘s beta is slated for 2020 too

Pearl Abyss is seemingly on a roll right now. The studio announced several new games and even won our award for Most Improved MMORPG of 2019 with Black Desert. Truly, they are going places. And where we are going appears to be the Crimson Desert.

I’m not going to say a whole hell of a lot about it since MOP’s own Carlo has that covered up, down, and back toward the house. But I will say that I’m looking forward to playing it. I mean, you put the studio with BDO’s experience, beautiful graphics and animations, and a heavy hint of Game of Thrones together, and there’s no way it can go wrong. The studio is playing a bit coy about how much PvP will be in the game, but as long as it isn’t totally neutered, I’ll be there.

Albion Online actually on mobile – maybe, hopefully

Technically Albion Online is already a mobile title – technically. I tried to install it on my Android phone to no avail. But the good news out of October was that Sandbox Interactive hired a dedicated mobile developer for the game. I wrote, and was chastised a bit, about how perfect the title would be on mobile. I haven’t seen any new info on this front, but I am very optimistic that it will be available in 2020 and it will be exactly the mobile MMO I’ve been looking for: short bursts of activity, clicky clicky, and graphics that won’t drain my battery.

These are the main PvP titles I’m looking forward to in the New Year. I know I probably missed a bunch of games that others are looking forward to, but I need PvP in my gaming. I’m not just saying that for Fight or Kite’s sake, either. Are you as excited about playing these titles as me? Do you think I missed some? What games are you most excited about playing in 2020? Something new? Something used? Or maybe just something blue?

Every other week, Massively OP’s Sam Kash delivers Fight or Kite, our trip through the state of PvP across the MMORPG industry. Whether he’s sitting in a queue or rolling with the zerg, Sam’s all about the adrenaline rush of a good battle. Because when you boil it down, the whole reason we PvP (other than to pwn noobs) is to have fun fighting a new and unpredictable enemy!
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