I have always felt that it’s such an enormous waste of everything when a live MMORPG is sunsetted and access to it is gone for good. Not only do players lose those virtual worlds, account progress, and homes for social groups, but developers see their life’s work go poof with the flick of a switch.
And it always seems weird to me that some studios will spend so much money and time trying to develop brand-new MMOs when there are plenty of titles in Sunset Land that could, theoretically, be purchased and revived under new management. So today I’m going to list 10 previously live, now defunct MMOs that would be ideal for a hypothetical second chance.
No offense to the O.G. MapleStory crowd, but I’ve always felt that the original game is a hot, weird mess of unapproachable gibberish. In contrast, the sequel looked better, felt like a more fully formed MMO, and had a very unique style about it. It’s such a shame that it was yanked as quickly as Netflix pulls shows after their first season because I really think this title could’ve gone the distance given more time.
I don’t really have to make much more of a defense here other than waving my hands theatrically in the air and saying, “WildStar!” But seriously, this was such a great game — flawed, yes, but with tremendous potential. A revival would bring back one of the best housing systems, personality-infused storylines, and colorful worlds we’ve ever known.
Richard Garriott’s sci-fi battlefield MMO could be seen as a title brought out before its time. Many of its core features, such as public events and a flexible class system, are much more accepted these days. Partaking in a planet-hopping virtual war campaign is such a great idea and reeks of unachieved ambition.
Star Wars Galaxies
Yes, we’ve got plenty of rogue SWG servers on the market, and bless all the people who’ve made those possible. However, a true official Star Wars Galaxies revival could be something spectacular indeed, especially if more settings and storylines from all nine films (and the TV series) could be utilized. It feels so wrong we don’t have a licensed Star Wars MMO set in the movie-verse right now!
Perhaps Daybreak saw Landmark as a testbed for EverQuest Next, but many players saw it as a home in its own right. A home, I should add, that allowed players unparalleled creativity and freedom to shape and explore. It’s not a game that had to die, and I would think that a creatively stagnating studio like Daybreak would consider resurrecting it once more.
I know there are a lot of hopes, fears, and legitimate concerns about the lengthy development course for Pantheon. And the more I look at how much road that team has ahead of it to make that MMO a legitimate project, the more I think, “You know what they should really do? Just get back Vanguard and invest in developing that title to bring it up to snuff.”
Because Vanguard really was this unique cult MMO with a lot of ambitious features and world design for the time — or even for 2023. It checks all of these boxes that Pantheon is promising to do. It’s also unattached to any larger IP, which makes its hypothetical resurrection that much easier. Oh, I’m sure there are legal reasons and ownership and all that, but a boy is allowed to dream, yes?
What a waste. What a waste. I’m not just speaking of all of my character and account unlocks in Marvel Heroes — although those were extensive — but the sheer potential of this popular ARPG. It’s not like Marvel’s really withered and faded away in pop culture. Can you imagine – if Marvel Heroes were still alive – what kind of cross-promotions, settings, and characters it could include from all of the TV shows and movies?
Plus, it was an amazing little game with a whole lot of fun. I miss it and wish it would visit sometime.
Part of the difficulty of doing this list is that I really don’t want to demean or belittle the amazing work that rogue server devs have put into resurrecting old MMOs — such as Warhammer Online. The Return of Reckoning folks have surpassed expectations and created an MMO environment that’s actually thriving.
And I guess that’s the evidence for bringing this back because it shows that there still is a demand and appreciation for Mythic’s fantasy title. All of these modern MMO dev projects are trying to create some sort of ultimate PvP MMORPG… and yet we already had it. We just need someone to bring it back to us.
City of Heroes
As I peer into the reservoir of hope that I have that anyone’s going to actually produce a fun, fully featured, and popular modern superhero MMO, I notice that it’s nearly dry. Maybe it’s just me, but the second that City of Heroes returned as all of these rogue servers, a lot of the enthusiasm from these dev teams and communities drained away.
So let’s stop tiptoeing around and make City of Heroes official again. Come on, NCsoft. It’s been years now. Let’s equip a studio with an actual budget and resources to modernize the game’s look and function and realize the potential for what was already a nearly perfect superhero title.
Maybe Daybreak should’ve thought twice before canceling all of these great games? I mean, if you can’t make Free Realms work with its feature set and all-ages-welcome approach, then you need a new marketing team. We’ve since seen a lot of online social titles for kids that have been runaway successes — but this one was on the ground floor a long time ago.
Free Realms also has a colorful art style that made it more timeless than other contemporaries, which might also be a point in favor of its resurrection. In any case, it was a cute, flexible title that could be dusted off for even more minigames and features if a studio wanted to make the most of its potential.