Embers Adrift is probably never going to be my MMORPG, but damn I’m proud of Stormhaven Studios. Yes, I have a soft spot for true indie MMORPGs – there’s a reason I’m obsessed with Project Gorgon – but Embers Adrift was already a longshot, having managed to launch after weathering a Kickstarter, development controversies, the exit of its founding devs, and a total rebrand. Most Kickstarted MMORPGs don’t launch at all, forget all the other stuff. And here they did it, and they’re still going, without gross monetization.
And now they’ve also done what a lot of AAA studios can’t do and actually listened to criticism about the game, and I don’t just mean adding a free trial; I mean really taking feedback about forced-grouping seriously and accommodating solo players. That takes serious self-reflection for a team that has spent years building a group-first MMO. I’m impressed.
When was the last time an MMO studio truly impressed you?