Every so often, we are reminded about an MMO or online RPG that caught our attention years ago but then sank into the mire of forgetfulness due to lengthy development periods and a lack of publicity. One of those titles that bubbled back up to the surface of our memories this week was Zeal, an MMOARPG with allegedly “no grinding” that seemed interesting when we first discovered it back in 2018. Zeal came under brief suspicion in 2019 due to an exposé about how it might’ve been entangled with a scam studio that wasn’t its developer but sort of claimed that it was.
As for the MMO itself, Zeal started running some alpha and PvP tests in early and mid-2020 before developer Skymarch Entertainment decided to shut everything down for major changes.
“Servers are closing today, and we’re starting a big rework,” the studio said in July 2020. “Zeal will be a PvP-focused MMORPG without open world, something between Albion Online, Warframe, and even Escape From Tarkov to some degree. Stay zealous and don’t worry, we’ll be back soon!”
The title returned to Steam early access in November 2020 as a free-to-play game that one tester called “Budget World of Warcraft PvP.” However, pretty much nobody played it, either back then or now, and the developer hasn’t posted anything about the project since last fall. It did, however, retweet a message from Enjin that suggests the game jumped on the crypto bandwagon.
“Skymarch Entertainment, a Canadian gaming studio, has joined hands with blockchain ecosystem developer Enjin, a move that will see the studio integrate Ethereum-based Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) into three games: Zeal, Crystals of Fate, and The Galaxy of Lemuria.”
The game’s official Discord is super quiet, and Zeal itself apparently has zero to few people on at most hours of the day, though the resident GM says the game is “being updated” and “there was a test session a few weeks ago.” Still, players have been complaining about the game pop, a worry that seems to be backed up by the peak of just six players online in the last month.