We’ve said it before, but this time we really mean it: The future of MMORPGs looks amazing. Contrary to years when we’ve seen only a handful of longshot projects in development, 2024 suggests a field positively packed with game after game heading our way. Some of these are closer to release, some further away, but the high population of the next class of MMOs is quite heartening to those of us looking for new worlds to conquer.
So here are all of the projects in the works, broken down into four categories: MMOs coming in the near future, those coming in the far future, expansions for 2024, and unnamed MMOs brewing in some secret lab. Feast, therefore, on 63 upcoming projects in our genre!
New MMOs coming in the near future
What follows — for your eyes only, mind — is a list of 20 MMOs that we have high confidence are either going to launch, go into some sort of persistent early access, or otherwise make some sort of significant step forward in 2024. Naturally, it’s a list that exists to be proved wrong by the unfolding of delays, surprises, and internal factors, but we’re going to put it out there anyway!
Blue Protocol: Suffice to say, there are incredibly high hopes resting on this gorgeous-looking cel-shaded scifi MMO, especially after it got delayed from 2023 into the new year. The good news from that delay — and this past year’s Japanese launch — is that we are almost assured to get our hands on Blue Protocol in 2024. It looks so great, you guys.
Tarisland: What once started as Tencent’s stopgap World of Warcraft replacement for China has turned into a hotly anticipated MMO in its own right. Early hands-on and previews look promising, even if the game itself is a little on the generic fantasy side.
Throne & Liberty: NCsoft is deadly serious about its Lineage franchise, which is why it’s been so slow and diligent in molding Throne & Liberty into be the best product possible. It’s certainly exciting to be on the cusp of seeing what a next-gen Lineage game will be.
Myth of Empires: Emerging from a whole lot of legal drama, this fantasy sandbox may be better off in the end thanks to a partnership between two companies. Myth of Empires is currently targeting February 2024 for release.
Chrono Odyssey: A global release for South Korea Npixel’s “space-time” Unreal Engine 5 MMO is entirely possible in the new year, although we haven’t heard a whole lot on it lately. It does look cool, blending together fantasy and science fiction with time manipulation mechanics.
Corepunk: After years of waiting and a few public tests, Corepunk is coming our way. For real! Studio Artificial Core said that this genre hybrid is aiming to go into early access by the end of winter, which is welcome news to those looking for a different flavor of MMO.
Trimurti Online: There are always those gamers on the prowl for a new MMO with an old-school feel, and if that’s you, you might want to check out “Oriental fantasy” Trimurti Online when it arrives in February.
Ship of Heroes: This City of Heroes spiritual successor made some strong strides forward in 2023 — but could this coming year be when it finally suits up for real? The studio said that the launch window now sits at 2024, so get your crazy character concepts ready.
Nightingale: Not really an MMO, but we’re going to include it because we have a massive soft spot for this portal-hopping Victorian-themed survival sandbox. Early access launch is planned for February 22nd after several delays.
Bellatores: Ready for a full-scale Korean PvP medieval sandbox made in Unreal Engine 5? Bellatores hopes so as it winds its way through testing to a hopeful 2024 launch window. But considering that the studio hasn’t released anything on this game since last spring, perhaps you should be cautious with any expectations here.
Path of Exile 2: The hype for Grinding Gears’ true sequel to its popular Path of Exile will only grow as it heads toward a closed beta in June 2024. Will inspirational lightning strike twice for this franchise? Fans certainly hope so.
Skull and Bones: Ubisoft’s naval simulator was once running for “most delayed game” in Guinness World Records. But now that it’s actually gone into closed beta, we can cross our fingers and hope that a 2024 launch will actually happen. Or it’ll delay again. Coin flip with this one.
Wayfinder: After a rocky early access start and being dumped by its publisher, Wayfinder’s future was cast in doubt. But the team is forging ahead with patches and finding a new publisher. The original plan was to fully launch the game in 2024, so we’ll see.
Palia: While having an unsteady early start of its own, Palia seems to have fared better than Wayfinder thanks to a stream of patches and a release on Nintendo Switch. Getting this title across the finish line of launch seems to be a big priority of Singularity Six in 2024.
EVE Vanguard: Yes, CCP is trying its hand at a shooter set in the EVE Online universe. Again. This FPS module started public testing in December and could be integrated into the game sometime next year.
ARK 2: Studio Wildcard pushed back the full sequel to its popular ARK: Survival Evolved into 2024. The studio said that this sandbox will contain “significant design changes” from the original, especially relating to casual gameplay.
Ashfall: NetEase has been quiet on this post-apocalyptic adventure shooter after last August’s test, but it did promise that a new test should happen sometime this winter. The last we heard, this MMO was targeting summer 2024 for release.
Dune Awakening: Funcom’s return to MMOs looks to be on the grand side of things, especially as it taps into the currently hot Dune IP. A closed beta is planned for early 2024, and it’s not out of the realm of reason that it could push into open beta — or a launch — by the end of the year.
Crimson Desert: Pearl Abyss’ Game of Thrones-style small MMO was quietly bumped from a 2023 launch to… we don’t know when. It’d be great to see it next year, and at least the studio continues to talk about it.
Project Gorgon: Struggling valiantly with limited funds and cancer in one of its lead devs, Project Gorgon has us concerned if it can ever get to a full launch. At least a heartwarming level of support by the community kept the game from going into maintenance mode.
Expansions set to release in 2024
Moving to our next category, here are the expansions we know or can greatly assume will be coming to the genre in 2024. Note that there are always a lot more of these announced during the year — 2023 saw 11 MMO expansions and 2022 had 13.
- Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail: This summer 2024 expansion will take FFXIV players to the tropics (Tural, specifically), raise the level cap to 100, add ranged magical DPS and melee DPS jobs, and factor in a new “lifestyle content” feature. A big graphical update is also planned for this.
- World of Warcraft: The War Within: Kicking off a three-expansion trilogy, The War Within is planned for late summer 2024. It’ll take players underground with four zones, the Earthen allied race, numerous Warband features, and a new Delve system.
- WoW Cataclysm Classic: WoW Classic players are getting an expansion of their own as Cataclysm is dusted off and tweaked for the modern gaming set. Expect Worgens, Goblins, and a world revamp this summer.
- A new Elder Scrolls Online chapter: As this MMO turns into its 10th anniversary year, we can be all but assured that ZeniMax has a new expansion brewing. The safe bet on when? June.
- A Guild Wars 2 expansion: While not fully announced yet, a new expansion is confirmed to be in the works for Guild Wars 2 and should be hitting us this year with a “whole lineup of fearsome baddies.”
- Ultima Online: New Legacy: Ultima Online’s attempt at providing a more accessible new player experience has been dragging its feet for years now. We don’t have high confidence that we’ll see it in 2024, but stranger things have happened.
New MMOs coming in the far future
Then there are the projects that, while interesting, are almost certainly not coming out in the next year. Or even several years past that. Here are the MMOs we are tracking that are still pretty far out right now until we hear otherwise.
- Light No Fire: Hello Games’ follow-up to No Man’s Sky has all of us very excited, especially how this fantasy sandbox sounds much more like an MMO than expected.
- Ashes of Creation: Hopes and dreams lie piled upon Intrepid Studios’ ambitious MMO project, but it’s still crawling rather than running toward us. Alpha Two is currently planned for Q3 2024.
- Loftia: This “cozy solarpunk” MMO brought in a very tidy $1.2M in crowdfunding in 2023 and is starting to ramp up dev diaries and the like.
- Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen: No lie, it was a rough year for Pantheon’s team and followers. But there’s a glimmer of potential with Visionary Realms’ MMO, especially as it embraced a new art style and faster development this past year.
- Soulframe: The pressure is high for Digital Extremes to pull out another success following Warframe. The studio’s being cautious with the development of this fantasy RPG, moving it into “pre-pre-pre-pre-alpha” in late 2023.
- The Quinfall: This Turkish MMO has made some really big claims, but if it can pull 40% of them off, this game might be worth experiencing. Closed beta is scheduled for January.
- BitCraft: This title invites MineCraft comparisons but vows to go beyond that with far-reaching multiplayer features. We’re pretty pumped for this one and look forward to seeing what its alpha test next year might reveal.
- Star Citizen: It’s in alpha. It’s been in alpha for a while. It probably will continue to be in alpha by the time we hit 2030. And it will be charging backers for virtual spaceships all the way.
- ArcheAge 2: With the incredibly uncertain future of the original ArcheAge, we have doubts that XLGAMES’ follow-up will arrive to save the franchise, especially as its core design is still being heavily retooled. Possible closed beta testing by the end of 2024.
- Ilysia: We’re still starving for good VR MMOs, so could this crowdfunded one satisfy our appetites? You can check this out right now, as it’s been in early access since last October.
- Order of the Elements: This hardcore, skill-based MMO has a ways to go before it impresses us as an actual game with potential. Will it see the light of day in 2025 as it predicts?
- Anvil Empires: Pre-alpha testing recently began for this war-centric sandbox MMO. It says it can field 1,000-person battles — but can it find 1,000 testers to make the attempt?
- Profane: Those looking for a free-for-all territory domination sandbox should add this to their most-wanted list.
- Aion 2: We’ve been hearing little teases from NCsoft that Aion 2 is in development, but the studio’s said incredibly little about the project since its initial announcement in 2022.
- Blade and Soul 2: NCsoft actually released this in a handful of countries, but its sequel hasn’t made its way to the west quite yet.
- City of Titans: This long, long-in-the-coming superhero MMO surprised us by releasing a big chunk of its city map for testers this past fall. Maybe this is the start of some actual momentum toward release.
- Fallen Earth’s Unity remake: Little Orbit revealed that it’s been working on a Unity remake of this post-apocalyptic MMO for several months now and will be testing parts of it in 2024.
- Eternal Tombs: This hardcore MMO wants to innovate by allowing developers to trigger dynamic events as players are adventuring through its game world. It’s had a few tests and a name change along the way, is currently in the polish stage, and is aiming for a 2025 release.
- Past Fate: This skill-based open-world MMO has our attention as it winds its way through alpha. Hopefully we will see and experience more from this title next year — and maybe even beta?
- Pax Dei: This sandbox MMO had a pretty sizable alpha test this past December and looks to be ramping up its presence in 2024.
- Wizard’s Wrath: Apart from a striking name, this Welsh project by a solo developer wants to bring a RTS, FPS, and MMO blend to many platforms including mobile, console, VR, and PC. It canceled its Kickstarter in December due to a lack of support.
- Camelot Unchained: Mark Jacobs’ next RvR title can’t seem to get off the ground, having languished in beta for years now. We’d love to see it surge to release but worry nobody will be there when it does.
- Monsters & Memories: This indie throwback MMO looks adorable and eager to prove itself by harnessing what made older MMOs and pen-and-paper games great. It’s had a few short public tests so far but is in early development.
- Into the Echo: A time traveling MMO with different eras in a strange world has a lot of potential, but the dev team only sporadically talks it up. It’s still in pre-alpha unless we hear differently.
- Solarpunk: This cozy survival MMO raked in a good amount on Kickstart in 2023, giving the project a good push toward becoming a reality. Currently, it doesn’t have any combat planned.
The Unnamed MMOs Club
For our final category, here are the MMO projects that we know to be in the works but haven’t been formally announced and/or formally named. Even so, due to the possibilities, studio funding, and attached prestige, they are projects to watch. We give you… the Unnamed MMOs Club.
- EverQuest 3: While a new entry into the EverQuest franchise has been anticipated and rumored ever since EverQuest Next bit the big one, we’ve been watching for news on this. We may have gotten that this past September as EG7 indicated that it wants to create a new EverQuest title for 2028.
- Jack Emmert’s Warhammer 40K MMO: Last summer we found out that City of Heroes creator Jack Emmert is working on an unnamed Unreal Engine 5 WAR40K MMO under the NetEase umbrella. He said that the project is still in the very early stages.
- Rich Vogel’s scifi MMO: And speaking of NetEase, it’s also funding Ultima Online’s Rich Vogel’s T-Minus Zero Entertainment, a new Austin-based studio that’s creating “an ambitious, third-person online multiplayer action game set in a sci-fi universe” with a new IP.
- Greg Street’s Ghost: After leaving Riot Games, Greg Street promptly got snatched up by NetEase to found his own studios (Fantastic Pixel Castle) and begin work on a new original IP fantasy MMO codenamed Ghost. The next year will be spent creating prototypes for the project.
- Amazon’s Lord of the Rings MMO: Second time’s the charm? After canceling a Middle-earth MMO in 2022, Amazon is trying again, this time with the help of Embracer Group. “The upcoming game will be an open-world MMO adventure in a persistent world set in Middle-earth, featuring the beloved stories of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings literary trilogy.”
- Blizzard’s Odyssey: We’ve known for a couple years now that Blizzard’s been working on some kind of survival MMO, code-named Odyssey. However, it hasn’t said much about it past a vague initial announcement and recent confirmation that the project is still in the works with a doubled team.
- Jagex’s secret MMOs: The sun rises, the sun sets, and Jagex keeps on making several mystery MMOs behind closed doors. This has been the case for a while, and until we hear confirmation of any of these projects, we wouldn’t advise getting too worked up over them.
- ZeniMax’s next MMO: With the experience and resources that come from working on Elder Scrolls Online for over a decade, ZeniMax is poised to expand big with multiple games in the works including a new MMO of some kind.
- Riot Games’ unnamed MMO: While this highly anticipated game took a hit from the departure of Greg Street, it remains to be seen how big of a hit or what Riot plans to do with the project. Last we heard, the game’s still in the works… with a whole lot of questions hovering over it.
- Raph Koster’s multiverse: So what is veteran developer Raph Koster up to these days? We have no idea, other than the fact that he and his Playable Worlds is working on some kind of “metaverse” that involves an MMO. He likes to appear every now and then like a wordy but unspecific groundhog before popping back into his hidey hole of secrecy.
- NCsoft’s Project LLL: Promising a merge between shooters and open world MMOs, Project LLL takes place in a wild and wooly setting. As of this past year’s G-STAR, it was still in the works but hasn’t revealed much since its initial 2022 announcement.
- Horizon Online: Sony and NCsoft announced in 2022 that they were working on a Horizon MMO, which was followed by a strategic partnership between the firms this past fall. We’re still waiting on an official reveal for this project to be more than a lofty promise.