Perfect Ten: MMOs that experienced a surprising comeback

City again.

It’s hard to pass up a really good comeback story. We love it when a beloved something or someone is counted down and out… and then returns in a surprising but welcome fashion. In today’s list, we’re going to look at 10 MMOs that were either canceled and returned or games that experienced a revival along the way.

Before we get into it, though, I have to put limits to this one. I’m not going to include zombified MMOs that are brought back again and again with even worse treatment than before, such as Bless, Kritika, and Hellgate. I’m sure that’s cool with you.

Asheron’s Call 2

I’m going to start with an odd one that always stuck in my memory, which is Asheron’s Call 2. Turbine launched this MMO sequel in late 2002 and delivered a couple of expansions. But it wasn’t enough to meet or surpass interest from the original, and the subscription game was shuttered at the end of 2005.

However, years later in December 2012, the studio abruptly brought back Asheron’s Call 2 for a reprise (wholly owning its IP and all), giving a second run to this game that lasted until January 2017 when Turbine transitioned into SSG and couldn’t take the Asheron’s Call franchise with it. (And wouldn’t sell it to former devs, either.)

Myth of Empires

Here’s a comeback story that seemed highly unlikely after Angela Games found itself on the receiving end of a Steam delisting and copyright infringement lawsuit from Snail Games and Studio Wildcard after launching Myth of Empires’ early access in late 2021. What followed was a two-year legal battle full of defiant acts and words — and then a surprising settlement that allowed the game to re-launch, this time with the blessing and business partnership of Snail. It was quite the odd journey indeed.

Infantry Online

Some of these stories are going to involve rogue servers and heroic community members who go above-and-beyond to bring back their favorite games. Such is the case with Infantry Online, a SOE multiplayer top-down shooter from 1999 that ran until 2012 before biting the big one. Happily, some fans kept the torch burning for this game and brought it back in 2018 as an emulator called Free Infantry.


Probably best-known today as the inspiration behind Crowfall (which hopes for its own unlikely comeback someday), Shadowbane was a PvP-centric fantasy MMO that ran from 2003 to 2009 before being planted in a graveyard for good.

Or, as it turned out, only for a while, as Changyou bought the rights to the game in 2012, revived it in China, and then launched a worldwide version of Shadowbane in February 2021. Alas, this revival came to a recent end as at least the global version sunsetted in March 2024.


One of the earliest graphical chat rooms that exhibited many MMO qualities was Habitat, a project by Lucasfilm (yes, THAT Lucasfilm) back in the mid-1980s. This ancient Commodore 64 source code was made available to the world in 2016, and a video game museum rebuilt and revived it — with online connectivity — a year later.

Warhammer Online

Living just five short and struggling years (2008-2013), WAR nevertheless wormed its way into the hearts of many fantasy PvP fans. And it’s that love that prompted one of the grandest of community-led resurrections with Return of Reckoning several years later. It wasn’t merely that this team brought the MMO back to life; it actually improved and expanded upon it, including finishing projects that Mythic didn’t have the time to do.

Final Fantasy XIV

Let’s face it: FFXIV is pretty much Exhibit A on how to revamp a lackluster game into a powerhouse. When Square-Enix committed to a full top-down reboot of FFXIV, it was no small undertaking. The game had to be taken offline for a couple years while its community was asked to wait. That patience was fully rewarded with the triumphant re-launch in 2013.

City of Heroes

If you like drama in video games, you’ve no doubt indulged in the ups and downs of City of Heroes’ wild run. This 2004 superhero MMO got the boot by NCsoft in 2012 despite strong player protests and general profitability. However, the source code escaped into the wild, and a quiet effort to create a rogue server became a widespread project by 2019. Even better, the main branch of the project — Homecoming — got approved by NCsoft in 2024 as an officially licensed game just in time for its 20th anniversary.

wheedly wheedly wah

Dungeons and Dragons Online

DDO’s story is unique on this list, as it’s not a game that died to return. Rather, its comeback took a different form. When it launched in 2006, DDO struggled as a subscription MMO because of its unusual format and strong competition. Facing the likelihood of fading into oblivion by the end of the decade, Turbine took a gamble on it by taking DDO free-to-play in 2009. Almost overnight, the game’s fortunes turned around and the door to F2P was kicked wide open. While DDO isn’t a blockbuster MMO today by any means, it’s still running and enjoying expansions and updates — all thanks to a shift in business model 15 years ago.

Star Wars Galaxies

When Sony announced that it was sunsetting the very beloved Star Wars Galaxies at the end of 2011, it felt like the Empire had won for good. But just like the Rebel cause in the movies, a defiant assortment of player coders and designers banded together to bring various emulators of the sandbox MMO online. While there are many rogue servers of classic MMOs on the scene, SWG may boast one of the most prolific and extensive presence on the internet.

Everyone likes a good list, and we are no different! Perfect Ten takes an MMO topic and divvies it up into 10 delicious, entertaining, and often informative segments for your snacking pleasure. Got a good idea for a list? Email us at or with the subject line “Perfect Ten.”
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