Go to any MMORPG forum and you’ll see countless threads complaining about the state of MMORPGs today. Some of these complaints are valid while others are just whining, but it appears that a majority of MMO gamers think that the MMORPG scene has grown stale over the last few years. A slew of over hyped and under performing games in recent years are partially to blame as well as the industries “lets just copy World of Warcraft” mentality. Studios are desperately trying to mimic the success Blizzard has had with WOW and gamers are suffering for it.
Fury, Hellgate, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes and Tabula Rasa were all over hyped and in my opinion did not deliver, some more than others. I looking at you Fury and HellGate. It seems that the only “good” MMORPG was Lord of the Rings Online. I put it in quotes because even though I don’t consider the game to be good, it did win a few awards for MMORPG of the Year. How? Well, its not hard to win when you have no real competion. I was basically a watered down version of WOW set in the Middle Earth universe.
In 2008 we get to look forward to the next generation of MMORPG. Age of Conan and Warhammer Online both arguably the most anticipated MMORPGs of the year promise to revolutionize the genre with new PvP and combat systems. Will that be enough for gamers, only time will tell.
So whats the next step for MMORPGs? What I’d like to see is a step away from the cookie cutter MMOs and an attempt to make a truly unique game. I think the next big thing in MMOs will be player driven storylines. Waiting for an expansion or content update will be a thing of the past. MMOs will be driven by the players themselves, with a website dedicated to the going ons of the game universe. Players will be the ones giving the quests, making the rules and creating the storylines. Guilds will start wars with other guilds not because there bored, but because they want more land and wealth. Your actions will not only effect your own character but all characters. You might log off one day in your town only to find out that it has been sacked by a rival guild and your guild has taken shelter in a cave. Top players will be listed as people of importance with special items as reward for killing them or perhaps to help protect them.
The options are endless, however I don’t think we’ll see a game like this anywhere in near future, although I am confident that this will be eventually where MMOs go.