Up For Debate - The Age Of The MMO Is Dead

Written by Jon Sutton on Thu, Jul 16, 2015 5:00 PM
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There was a time, not too long ago in fact, when you couldn't move for beards, kobolds, raids, and Leeroy Jenkins. From the humble beginnings of Ultima Online and EverQuest, the MMO exploded. There were dozens launching during any particular year, all demanding cold, hard cash from your wallet at the start of each and every month.

Every one of us has an MMO or two we have extremely fond memories of, and it’s usually our first. Staying up into the wee hours, bleary eyed and high on near-lethal doses of caffeine, relying on store cupboard remnants for sustenance. There’s something magical about your first MMO, and it’s a feeling a lot of us have spent years chasing since, to no avail.

Where once MMOs were the epitome of freedom, adventure, and limitless possibilities, they are now restriction, the grind, and repetitive raids. For a genre so forward thinking, it has for too long remained firmly rooted in the past. A few have tried to shake things up; The Secret World and Planetside, to name but two, but the majority remain the same.

You know the formula by now. Stepping into this vast, unexplored world. Picking up quests, levelling up quicker. Then levelling up slower. Then hitting the level cap. Then raiding for gear to get high enough stats to do more difficult raids. Then grinding for hours until you’ve got the best set of gear. Then it's time to twiddle your fingers and wait for an expansion pack. Rinse and repeat.

We’ve seen the result in recent years. The number of MMOs has dried up, and practically none dare to launch with a subscription model. These are hugely expensive undertakings demanding constant content updates, but in an age of $3 blockbusters available in Steam sales, no one’s seeing the value.

It doesn’t help that MMOs, and MMORPGs in particular, are for the most part monogamous relationships. There’s 10 million World of Warcraft players out there who, if they were to quit, could fully populate a dozen other successful MMOs. But they’re paying their monthly fee for everything they need with World of Warcraft, why go from king of Stormwind to lowly peon somewhere else?

The fundamentals of MMOs need to be shaken up to regain players. The end-game is a flawed constructed. And for those reasons I think we’re already hammering the final nails into the MMO coffin.

What do you think? Are there any revolutionary MMOs you’ve got your eye on? Are you bored of the formula? Let us know below!

Are MMOs nearly dead?

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23:05 Jul-21-2015

Hopefully MMO's will grow, SWTOR while struggling, and not a massive change was a good step in the right direction for storytelling, it at least made you feel like you were impacting the game more, and with mechanics behind games like Destiny hopefully a game will come out where it'll be a nice mix of story + combat.

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06:23 Jul-18-2015

MMO's Will simply never die, As long as we keep seeing graphical innovations, and new game mechanics and humans own yearn for online socail media interactiion via a fantasy world, a mmo will never die. 90% of the time when an mmo goes offline its a company making foolish choices, and fatal at that. True action MMO's are the future weather you believe it or not.
Vindictus and terra are truely unique you control yourcharacter and decide the outcome of a battle

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06:30 Jul-18-2015

none of this on rails bull**** where you spam 1234 to kill you enemy's you actually have to think while fighting with split second decisions using small and perfectly time invensablility frames accompanied buy a dodge mechanic and against overwhelming odds You reaction time and how well you can understand bosses attack patterns and mechanics determine whether you make it out alive of that battle

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06:56 Jul-18-2015

Heh another fellow WoW hater....... it wouldn't have been so bad if so many MMOs that came out after WoW didn't copy it, but I'm fully agreed with you, the 12345 hotbar crap just doesn't do it for me, it's not immersive at all.... I highly recommend you try Phantasy Star Online 2, it's probably one of the best action MMOs out there, Tera, Vindictus, Neverwinter are also excellent.

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15:54 Jul-17-2015

Not yet dudes, not yet.
I still enjoy playing MMO, though grinding can be a little bit annoying sometimes...

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15:26 Jul-17-2015

I think people are just sick of doing all the annoying gathering quests which make the game longer but less fun. We all had our fun with WoW... no need for more.

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10:45 Jul-17-2015

Black desert online
Lost Ark Online
Maplestory 2


these are the MMO that I'm just dying to wait for!

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07:57 Jul-17-2015

there are so less mmo players out there, most of you gamers play fps all day and laugh about us teamplayers ... in the end its a game and you do things in it
its a lot of work to become good in a mmo and therefore time consuming

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11:32 Jul-17-2015

and thats one of the reasons many people dont play MMOs... They are very time consuming and take too much dedication. Not to mention the hefty amounts of money you pay for them if you play regularly and for a long period of time.. Personally I havent played one in years because I find them to be addictive.

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07:34 Jul-18-2015

The whole point of an MMO is to provide more of a time sink than a single player game can..... but there are those of us who hop from MMO to MMO to keep things fresh..... and the only money sink MMOs are those with horrible F2P models and the old outdated subscription model MMOs..... With a good F2p MMO you won't feel the need to spend a dime.... and B2p is also nice, and usually better quality.

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13:37 Jul-18-2015

I know that this is the person of an MMO. And as I said thats why many people dont play them. Are we supposed to be disagreeing on this? We are saying the same thing. Yeah just buying the game once is my favourite.... free to play games that you can play without spending a dime as you say seem a rarity to me.

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07:48 Jul-17-2015

firefall tried innovating,but the last time i played it it was just awful,i played it in the beta,and afterwards,it was 10 times better before release,they made it such a pay to have fun grind that i just couldnt stand playing it.
one game i've had my eyes on for some time now is guild wars 2,probably gonna get it once my net is up and running,maybe the secret world too

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04:04 Jul-17-2015

"Every one of us has an MMO or two we have extremely fond memories of, and it’s usually our first"


Well I hate to burst your bubble, but I have never played a MMO. I don't like being forced to play with other people so I have never tried a MMO. I am basically anti social when it comes to game time. I only play single player even when a game has a multi player option.

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04:31 Jul-17-2015

Yeah, I am the same. I have never played an MMO and I am quite happy playing single-player, which I barely have time for these days given their increasing size.

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05:35 Jul-17-2015

I love those really big open world RPGs. I also like many RTS games. Of course a good racing game or fighting game is good from time to time, & I do like to play those in multi player, but I always do that locally when I have friends at my home or when I take my laptop to their home. I just don't like the whole online gaming thing. I guess I am just too old school

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11:28 Jul-17-2015

Love those big RPG's too. Used to play mostly FPS's but a decade ago Elder Scrolls IV turned me around. These days probably play a greater diversity overall.

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23:00 Jul-17-2015

I think Morrowind & KotOR are still my favorites. Heck I have even been playing KotOR again recently on my tablet. ;)

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04:38 Jul-17-2015

I'm generally more of a solo player in MMOs, I treat them just as any other game, I go and experience as much of the content until I get my fill and then I move on, I'm not afraid to mute people who annoy me, or even just close the chatbox entirely so that I can't see anything anyone's typing, on the other hand, sometimes it's nice to find some buddies to play with.

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03:50 Jul-17-2015

Don't you find it interesting that MMO's are dying the same time MOBA's are rising? i don't think it's a coincidence. I myself was playing both WoW & DotA1, then i completely lost interest in the MMO while i'm playing DotA2 more than before

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04:45 Jul-17-2015

MMORPGs and MOBA's are apples to oranges, they're two different things entirely, the only affect MOBA's have on MMORPGS is removing the players from MMORPGs that most MMORPG players don't want to deal with in the first place, the people who would rather VS other players than explore a vast fantasy world and hunt legendary monsters.

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04:56 Jul-17-2015

The thing that's hurting MMORPGs right now isn't MOBAs, but more the lack of production quality, and the lack of original ideas...... since atleast 65% of all MMOs released over the last 10 years are just WoW with a slightly different coat of paint...... honestly I see the lack of fresh ideas affecting MOBAs as well, since everyone just wants to copy success.... so enjoy it while it lasts.

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01:18 Jul-17-2015

Well, I still play LOTRO, it's a fun game still, unless you grind like crazy...then it isn't. Don't know about the others though.

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00:32 Jul-17-2015

In my eyes they have to revolutionize the gameplay itself. Most of those MMORPG's are just a spamm left mouse or another button to skip the whole dialogue and rush to the end level for the end content.


In Europe, especially in germany there is a company called "Gameforge". This company then starts to gain the control of that game and destroying it by releasing an itemshop = pay to win..

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00:05 Jul-17-2015

They turned Wow into a non playable game. It was so much fun back then but now all the fun stuff are gone!!

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07:52 Jul-17-2015

i understand its over 10 years old now and even i dont play much anymore only sometimes


but tell me what fun stuff in wow has gone, because the early years it has a ****tone of bugs and server problems now it does not :D and we are doing the same for 10 years now PVP(open and closed/arena) pve raids in all sizes

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07:53 Jul-17-2015

actually they added so much stuff that you have too much to do and thats why some guys i know are unhappy ... but that makes it not dead, or the fun things lost

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13:44 Jul-17-2015

Well I started playing Wow since TBC expansion (I'm a hunter) and they changed almost all stuff like training with your class trainer, the pets are almost the same execpt for theyr looks (you can even choose theyr class) back then you could have rare pets with the dragon logo on them, the mounts are unlocked to all you

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13:47 Jul-17-2015

r characters and they have the same flight and ground speed so you don't have to get newer mounts because it's useless you need one flying mount and it's flying speed changes when you learn new licenses. The hunter can no longer use a melee weapon and a ranged weapon but only one of them and ranged ofcourse even for

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13:49 Jul-17-2015

close combat and different arrows and bullets are infinite so you don't have to buy them. The specialization system sucks, the older one is much better than this one. They took out some of the hunters abilitys that was usefull.

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23:51 Jul-16-2015

Waiting for EverQuest Next and Lost Ark I think I agree with this to a certain extent EverQuest has setup progression servers harken back to the good old days but for things to move forwards in the MMO world we do need new ideas.I have Hope

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23:55 Jul-16-2015

You might be waiting a while on EQ Next...... ever since the split from Sony, I've been kinda skeptical that the game will ever release. They no longer have Sonys money backing them up, and it's a pretty ambitious project.

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00:06 Jul-17-2015

I'm pretty sure they now have more money but I think it boils down to what exactly they want to do with the game whether they choose to shelve it or... But yeh it's certainly gonna be a long way off if at all :/

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00:10 Jul-17-2015

I have high hopes for Lost Ark the game is looking epic my worry now is when/if we get a Western release lol

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00:55 Jul-17-2015

Lost Ark looks insane, takes me back to the Diablo 2 days, really hope that game works out well........ I'm going to be giving Sword Coast Legends a try as soon as it releases, it's technically not an MMO, but it's D&D and it's multiplayer, so my guess is it's going to be enough like an MMO to actually call it an MMO.

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23:16 Jul-16-2015

Yes, until the age of games like Sword Art Online comes :P

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23:51 Jul-16-2015

Until that time we must quietly wait.

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07:53 Jul-17-2015

i tell you you gonna be dead when these games arrive, one way or another (games like this kills you)

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22:40 Jul-16-2015

There are a few MMOs coming out that will provide some interesting aspects to online gaming. Star Citizen has been plugging away for years to provide a vast experience. Then there is the other upcoming game, No Man's Sky, which sets exploration in a procedurally generated galaxy. FPSs were bland once too, not long ago.

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22:27 Jul-16-2015

Most of the MMO's are walking on the wrong path but i think that revolutionary games like Star Citizen will lead MMO's in a new direction.

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21:54 Jul-16-2015

Also, I believe that the path Tera walked is the right one in terms of combat mechanics. Add to that a skill system like torchlight 2 and a gearing system that allows for more variety through random stats etc and I would pay sub for it

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22:10 Jul-16-2015

I wouldn't pay a sub for any MMO personally, I prefer the buy to play model.... or a very very good f2p model(which is rare, but there are a few), but other than that I totally agree, Tera took the right direction...... what we need are more developers who aren't afraid to innovate..... the era of the point and click WoW clone subscription MMO is over..... deal with it devs!

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21:06 Jul-16-2015

MMOs are, in my opinion, dying. Now, my first MMO, dear god, was Runescape back in about 2006 or 2005. I quit after they updated it and killed but came back since they released a retro version of the game. I find it very fun but that's probably because the game is just one big giant reminisce session. I recently tried WoW with some friends (2 nights ago) and the grind is killing me. I find that now if you want to have actual fun playing an MMO, you best have friends to join.

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21:51 Jul-16-2015

However don't get me wrong, I would be absolutely thrilled if they came up with new ideas for an MMO that ins't entirely rinse and repeat and would probably play that game nonstop..

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20:59 Jul-16-2015

MMOs have been full of cliches,and a lot of them being pretty much the same,basicly having only a few different ones to put it like that.MMOs need to be done better,to actually look and feel as some awesome quality games.Because they make quantity for a lot of player,devs tend to forget about quality.A new MMO needs to revolutionary to compete with current games on the market.

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20:52 Jul-16-2015

Personally I think that they can still be saved although they are getting very repetitive, Black desert online though seems to be changing it up a bit which i am looking forward to

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