Into the Super-verse: A look back at superhero MMOs in 2021


Superhero fans were not lacking in news, games, and events this past year, and there’s always the promise of much more to come in 2022. But before we jump to the next level, I thought it would be helpful to look back at all of the developments from superhero MMORPGs in 2021.

From brand-new games being confirmed to rogue servers upping their game to exciting beta tests, here is the journey that was the superhero MMO this year.

Online, fine.

DC Universe Online

Daybreak’s premier MMO kicked off its 10th anniversary year in style with the promise of a huge storyline climax in the months ahead. The action MMO packed in a whole bunch this year, including a world-ending paradox event, a survival mode, tons of quality-of-life improvements, and a shift away from content paywalls. In August, the House of Legends update added a huge new hub as well as an allies system, and the Legion of Doom capped off the year. PlayStation 5 is scheduled to come in 2022 with a massive expansion in 2023.

Of course, the MMO wasn’t for everyone — Chris said that playing it simply made him love City of Heroes more.

Champions Online

Cryptic’s own superhero playground wasn’t completely silent this year, even as employees were allowed to work from home permanently. It started 2021 by wrapping up its latest serial story, Midnight Depths. In March, the game held a contest to create a player action figure, and in May it targeted the Archery powerset for a revamp. The title held a four-week celebration for its 12th anniversary in September, and it wrapped up the year by handing out a free freeform slot to everyone.

Ship of Heroes

While the launch of this MMO was delayed to 2022 (at least), we did get to enjoy a missions beta that showed off its core questing experience this past July. I myself got to check it out, and while I found a whole lot of rough edges, I also discovered something intriguing here worth developing. A December beta was planned. Overall, the team was a whole lot quieter about this project this past year, which is a little worrying for our Indie MMO of the Year.

Valiance Online

It’s probably not a great sign that we started 2021 by asking “Whatever happened to Valiance?” And, in fact, very little happened with this project over the past 12 months. In fact, the only movement we saw was an early game beta phase for investors launching this past July.


City of Heroes

For an MMO that isn’t being operated in any official capacity, City of Heroes’ rogue servers made all sorts of news this year. One of the servers, Sanctuary, was taken out by hackers in March. Rebirth added the Guardian archetype in the spring, a slew of powersets in the fall, and ice power changes in the winter. Best MMO Rogue Server winner Homecoming was hugely busy, with tour guide missions, a massive November content update, and permission to start streaming and making videos once more. Also, donuts.

City of Titans

We’re still waiting on this long-overdue crowdfunded MMO, but at least the team was very chatty this year. The avatar builder came to the Mac, talked about the music scene, explained how the team tests combat, showed off new travel power mechanics, teased player housing, toured the downtown zone, spoke about creating super powers, and made progress on its maps.

Daybreak’s Marvel MMO

The big news about Daybreak’s Marvel MMO is that, well, EG7 officially confirmed that there’s a Daybreak Marvel MMO in the works. We suspect that this is a revived version of the long-rumored Marvel MMO. In any case, we won’t be seeing it for a while, as EG7 said that this is a “long-term” (i.e., far-out) project.

It was cute.

Into the Super-verse in 2021

And we’ll leave you with a quick round-up of our top superhero columns from this year:

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Eliot Lefebvre and Justin Olivetti covering superhero MMORPGs, past, present, and future! Come along on patrol as Into the Super-verse avenges the night and saves the world… one column at a time.
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