We’ve certainly had our fair share of disappointing MMO releases over the past two years — most notably WildStar (which, admittedly, I loved before the community basically abandoned ship on the game rendering it a barren wasteland, but that’s a story for another day) and Revelation Online. But, there are quite a few promising new MMOs hitting the market in 2018 (and beyond) that we can’t wait to get our hands on.
We’d hate for you have to spend hours and hours creating a character and wasting your life away on one of these games that don’t have a pay-off. All too often, these types of games can just be an endless time sink. That’s not what we’re looking for, though; we want something juicier, something meatier.
This list contains the best-looking upcoming video games in the MMO genre for 2018 that are set for a North American release. We’ll note that we tried to include every upcoming MMORPG we could find in development, but we excluded browser-based and lower quality titles simply because, well, they’re not worth our time (nor are they worth your time).
So if you’re looking for a new mmorpg to play, here are all of the upcoming new MMOs of 2018, 2019, and beyond:
**Updated 8/25/18: Removed H1Z1 and added in Dual Universe, which just gave a big update two weeks ago.
1. Bless Online
Developer: Neowiz Bless Studio
Publisher: Neowiz Games
Release Date: Release Date 2018, Early Access May 30, 2018
Genre: Fantasy MMORPG
Bless Online has been on our radar for quite some time since it was first announced way back in 2011. It uses the Unreal Engine 3, and it will be heading to Steam Early Access early in 2018. It’s set in a seamless fantasy world with the main story revolving around a 10-year-long war between the nation of Hieron and the nation of Union. Players will pick their race and class, and the race will determine whether or not they align with Hieron or Union. Hierons have three races, Habichts, Sylvan Elf, or Lupus, while Union’s three are Amistad, Aqua Elf, and Pantera (you can read more about each here). There’s also a neutral faction called the Mascu who can align with either.
Bless has the typical classes you’d find in many other MMOs, including Guardian, Paladin, Mage, Assassin, Ranger, and more. But what appears to set it apart from the other many online games like it is its sprawling seamless world and emphasis on visual fidelity. Seriously, the screenshots and trailers we’ve seen all look gorgeous. Even if Bless ends up being nothing more than a well-refined amalgamation of games like Black Desert Online and all of the other high fantasy MMOs, we’re still going to call it a success.
Bless Online will also allow you to tame certain creatures you encounter as mounts or pets, and some of the examples we’ve seen look ridiculously cool.
If that’s not enough to sell you, note that there will also be plenty of action for PvPers, including Realm vs. Realm battles that pits 100 vs 100. Epic.
Update 8/25/18: Bless Unleashed, which will use Unreal Engine 4, has been announced for Xbox One, and will apparently release in 2019.
2. Project Gorgon
Developer: Elder Game, LLC
Publisher: Elder Game, LLC
Release Date: March 13, 2018 Early Access, Full release TBA
Genre: Fantasy Survival
This is a fantasy RPG that’s now available via Steam’s Early Access, but we don’t have a lot of hope for it, given the terrible-looking graphics that would make the original Xbox cringe. If you can ignore its ugliness, there could be a gem of a game waiting for you, as it does have an ambitious skill based-leveling system that will allow you to shake the current trend of pre-determined class systems.
The devs also tout that they won’t be holding your hand through it, meaning you’ll have to discover everything on your own. One interesting mechanic that I don’t think we’ve seen in any other MMORPG is the fact that Shopkeepers keep inventory, so you can actually buy items that other players have sold to them.
The game is, surprisingly, rated ‘Very Positive’ on Steam from over 280 reviewers, so maybe there is hope for it. For now, it’s on our radar and we’ll be keeping an eye out for it.
3. Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen
Release Date: TBA
Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen is an MMORPG based on high fantasy, and it is, of course, set in a large open world. It will have a strong focus on group-oriented content and social interaction. It’ll take place on Terminus, a world populated by deities and heroes. The player takes on the role of a legendary hero, and you’re tasked with reclaiming long-lost relics. The combat will focus on preparation and awareness, allowing players to be challenged through scenarios that require understanding and skill to rise above their opponents.
The developers at Visionary Realms note that there will be activities in which players can do on their own, but the majority of the content will need to be conquered with others, with a strong focus on the importance of a player’s reputation. Read more…
4. Dual Universe
Release Date: TBD, Full Release Slated for Late 2020.
Dual Universe is an upcoming sci-fi space simulation MMO, with every construction and ship built in-game by players. It’s essentially a sandbox where players are tasked with building all of the civilizations, economy, trade, and warfare. That means players will create their own enemies (or defend themselves against others).
That means players will form their own alliances, stake claim to their own civilizations, and could potentially block off rare resources from other players with a military force. The possibilities are endless.
Dual Universe is the first game with a fully editable universe that is going to be built by players. And, at this point, it’s hard to tell if that’s going to be a good thing or a bad thing. On one hand, we all love building stuff and crafting. On the other hand, though, you’ve got greifers, which has always been a problem with similar games before. How will Novaquark control greifers is the question.
Still, it’s a promising concept, and it uses a continuous single shard server – meaning you’ll essentially be able to play with millions of other players, instead of thousands.
The game is currently in the pre-alpha playtesting stage, so we’ve got a while yet before it ever sees the light of day. The team just gave an update two weeks ago stating that players who backed the Kickstarter will get access to the game before the end of 2018. But we’ll keep you posted. For now, you can read more here.
5. Valnir Rok
Release Date: Early Access September 2017, TBA Retail
We’ve seen just about every type of fantasy MMO under the sun right about now. Elves, Dwarves, Worgs, Vampires, Trolls, and similar fantasy trope races have been featured in the genre for decades. But, what about a viking-themed MMORPG?
Enter Valnir Rok, which just bleeped on our radar during Gamescom 2017. It’s a Viking-themed online sandbox survival RPG that uses Norse mythology as its backdrop. Players awaken on Valnir Island alone and are tasked with surviving against the land, mythical beasts, and violent others. In Valnir Rok, you can build your own Viking empire, thanks to the ability to build and improve village structures and forming a
guild clan to follow you into battle. Defend your village together with your friends.
Valnir Rok could be one of our most anticipated new mmorpgs to play this year, and hopefully, we get more information on it soon.
Release Date: TBA (you can buy Early Access right now)
If you’re looking for a Game of Thrones simulator, with players battling for their right to the throne, check out Crowfall, a recently funded Kickstarter game that hit over $1.7 million. The throne war sandbox MMO will contain five systems of worlds, known as campaigns, and each world will have a different set of rules.
The economy will be player-driven, allowing users to build their own mercantile empire. And, the game will contain unique archetypes, according to the devs. It even features Game of Thrones-esque house banners right on the official site. We won’t see this hit in 2018, although we’re able to get our hands on the early access version. Read more…
*Update 5/20: There’s a growing concern that Crowfall’s developers are focused too much on raking in the money and not on being fair. We’ve just learned of a very strange VIP monthly access system that feels very much like pay to win. For a better explanation, check out the video from ItsZiz: Is Crowfall Making a Massive Mistake?
7. Defiance 2050
Release Date: Summer 2018
Platform: Xbox One
Now, here’s something a bit interesting that no one was expecting: a Defiance redux of sorts that brings the old shooter MMO (based on the SyFy TV series) to Xbox One. We’re not exactly sure what that all entails just yet, but we do know that Trion Worlds is basically re-branding it as a total “re-imagining of Defiance“.
We know that it is going (wait for it) free-to-play, which automatically will get some of you reading this to check-out. For now, however, we don’t know what all that entails either. Here’s to hoping they can stay away from microtransactions that might give an advantage in gameplay. For now, we’re keeping an eye on Defiance 2050.
8. Trials of Ascension: Exile
Release Date: TBA
Trials of Ascension: Exile is being called a “host your own” MMO fantasy sandbox game by its developer, Forged Chaos. Players are able to create their own private islands, set the rules as they’d like, and invite up to 64 other players into their world to share the experience. Players are able to choose from several different biomes, pick what races are allowed in the world, and determine how scarce resources will be in the world. Players will be able to play by themselves, with friends, or the entire TOA: Exile community. Every item available in the game is crafted by human characters, with items being made from natural resources found throughout the islands. Wood from trees, hides from animals, fiber from plants, ores, etc will allow players to create tools, weapons, armor, clothing, equipment, food, building and defenses. Players will even be able to play as a dragon. We’re not sure how it is all going to play out, but we’re sure as hell excited to find out.
Every item available in the game is crafted by human characters, with items being made from natural resources found throughout the islands. Wood from trees, hides from animals, fiber from plants, ores, etc will allow players to create tools, weapons, armor, clothing, equipment, food, building and defenses. Players will even be able to play as a dragon. We’re not sure how it is all going to play out, but we’re sure as hell excited to find out.
Also, there are weekly development updates on their forum, so at least we know they’re hard at work on it. Read more…
9. Project TL
Project TL looks ridiculously great. We just got the reveal trailer from NCSOFT late last year, and it was one of the best game trailers of the year! There’s a lot of visually stimulating ideas to chew on here, including abilities with vibrant colors, some interesting-looking abilities we haven’t seen before, and a great top-down perspective you don’t see in the genre much. We also see a character scaling a big dilapidated structure of some sort, which implies scalibility and verticality.
It’s the rebooted version of what was originally Lineage Eternal, and now, it will use the Unreal Engine 4. We certainly shouldn’t expect it to release in 2018, but maybe, just maybe, we’ll get some sort of beta at the end of the year. Please, NCSOFT, give us THAT!
The big concern here is that it’s NCSOFT as the publisher, and they’ve had so many problems in the past. Most recently, they let us down with how they handled WildStar, which is now going bye-bye.
10. Lost Ark
Lost Ark is an upcoming action MMO with a fantasy setting that’s pretty far along in development (in fact, most were expecting its release for 2017). Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, and they’re still in closed beta testing at this time.
We still don’t have a western release date of any kind, but we’re salivating over every bit of footage we see. It’s fast paced, and it allegedly has a strong emphasis on exploration. Footage so far shows brilliant visual effects.
11. Chronicles of Elyria
Release Date: TBA
Taking the massively multiplayer online genre to the next step is Chronicles of Elyria, a game that was recently funded on Kickstarter (check out the Kickstarter video above). There are a lot of interesting ideas contained in Elyria, and hopefully, we’ll be able to get a hands-on with an alpha sometime soon. The main idea behind Chronicles of Elyria is that your character actually ages and dies in the game. It will also have a closed economy, FINITE RESOURCES, and quests that aren’t repeatable. What’s more, it has fully destructible environments that will allow the game to be experienced differently for every character. Each time players login, there will be a dynamic world waiting. And, we certainly can’t wait to login.
What’s more, it has fully destructible environments that will allow the game to be experienced differently for every character. Each time players login, there will be a dynamic world waiting. And, we certainly can’t wait to login. We’re hoping that we’ll hear some more details about this highly anticipated game.
12. Ascent: Infinite Realm
Release Date: TBA
The company behind PUBG, Bluehole, has an MMORPG in the works, and it looks quite promising. It definitely has an action-oriented feel to it, all with a steampunk fantasy aesthetic. Players will use airships as their primary mode of transport, and the game will have aerial combat. We also know that it will have an emphasis on Realm vs. Realm PvP combat. The game will use Unreal Engine 3.
Hopefully, Bluehole will optimize the game before releasing it into the wild.
More From Nerd Much?:
Release Date: TBA
Developer: Asylum Entertainment
This game has a lot of ambition — and in all honesty, it appears as though it might have too much ambition, trying to be an ultra-realistic simulation MMORPG. It’s touting itself as a “new breed of MMORPG”, and if it lives up to its claims, it just might very well be. Players will interact in the world with “absolute freedom”, where the actions of your player and the other players determining your fate in the world. You can live like a criminal, a police officer, a business person, or anyone else — the video above even touts that each level of police (Sargeant, chief, DEA, etc) is played by actual characters.
There’s also a formidable housing system, with every house in the game being for sale. Players can buy houses for themselves to live in, decorate, and customize to their own liking, or they can purchase a house with the full intent on renting/flipping. Playing the real estate market can be lucrative!
Identity will take place in a fictional land in the eastern United States, heavily inspired the Carolinas and Georgia. The land is massive, with the initial world size being a whopping 200 square km.
Asylum also states that the vast majority of items found in shops around the world are created by actual players, with everything from furniture to weapons and vehicles being crafted by peers.
In all likelihood, we probably won’t see Identity get a full release for years to come, but Asylum Entertainment is working on it right now and they claim they expect to have a playable beta in early 2019.
14. Ashes of Creation
Release Date: TBA
Developer: Intrepid Studios
Ashes of Creation is quickly becoming one of our most anticipated MMOs on the horizon, and with every bit of new in-engine footage we see, we get more and more excited. One of the key features of this high fantasy MMO is a player driven world with a unique node system that will allow players to build the world up around them. Will you build up your defenses or set out to destroy other player creations?
The server will have dynamic, ever-changing content because of the unique system, with each server having different ebbs and flows. Players will have their own housing, as players can build and own buildings around the world — from farms to mansions.
One of its other key features is the ability to siege castles. Build up a guild filled with allies to take down other castles and create your own dynasty.
Everything we’ve seen from Ashes of Creation so far points to it being a wildly unique experience where players shape the world around them. With player housing, a player-driven economy, and an apparently lawless land, it looks like we’re in for something incredible.
The game will hit Kickstarter on May 1st, and it hit well over their goal of $750K in just over 12 hours. People are hyped, us included. In fact, Ashes of Creation is now our most anticipated MMO currently in development, and we can’t wait to hear more about this new mmorpg.
- Ashes of Creation Action Combat Gameplay Video Released
- Ashes of Creation Tavern Mechanic Details
15. Magic: The Gathering MMORPG
Release Date: TBA
Developer: Cryptic Studios
While we don’t have much along the lines of details just yet, Cryptic Studios and Perfect World Entertainment announced a new Magic: The Gathering MMO this morning.
What we know so far is that it won’t be titled simply Magic: The Gathering, as its official title has yet to be revealed. We also know that it’s going to come to PC and consoles, although how far away its release has yet to be determined. What’s more, we exclusively learned that the ‘AAA RPG’ they were initially teasing in the press release is actually a free to play MMORPG.
16. Camelot Unchained
Release Date: TBA 2018, Beta Access July 4, 2018
Developer: City State Entertainment
Publisher: Snail Games
If you’re looking for something with a more traditional fantasy style, check out the upcoming Camelot Unchained, a fantasy MMO running on the developer’s own Unchained Engine. The game was crowdfunded through a Kickstarter campaign — it raised over $2.2 million from over 14,000 backers — as well as backing from Mark Jacobs, the designer of Dark Age of Camelot. Camelot Unchained is said to be the spiritual successor for DAoC. It’ll have a significant focus on PvP, with large-scale battles set as the focus.
There are also some interesting and unique mechanics at play here. For one, you’ll be able to craft and build your own unique home, fort, or castle, instead of having to buy a premade one (which might be what we’re most excited about). You’ll have to defend your home against enemies as well. On top of that, the majority of the environment will have been built almost entirely by players. So, towns and cities will be crafted by players, and when they’re sacked by enemies, they’ll have to be rebuilt again.
Secondly, the proprietary engine will deliver massive, real-time battles between layers (up to 500 of them right now), with huge draw distances and a procedurally generated environment. Crazy.
The game has been in development for quite some time, and we have no idea when we should expect to get our hands on it. There was recently an update that noted that we can now expect the Camelot Unchained Beta 1 BY July 4, 2018 (the devs noted that if they can get it out sooner than that, they will, but July 4th is their buffer date).. However, hopefully, we’ll see a full release sooner rather than later. Read more…
17. Wild West Online
Release Date: May 10, 2018
Developer: 612 Games
It’s no secret that gamers want to be cowboys, with games like Red Dead Redemption and, to a lesser extent, Gun, seeing success in the crowded gaming landscape. With Red Dead Redemption 2 on the horizon, any other western-themed game should probably be shaking in their boots.
But, that’s not stopping 612 Games with their announcement of Wild West Online, an online multiplayer western game that will allow you to journey in the thrilling wild west. Players have the option to become a lawman, an outlaw, a pioneer, or a plethora of other identities. The game will feature a breadth of content, including open world exploration, resource gathering, PvP combat, PvE missions, treasure hunts, bounties, and more.
In fact, you’ll be able to rob trains, rob banks, and more.
The game will also have player housing that will be added at a later date as a free expansion, allowing you to buy the deed to your very own land where you can build/customize your perfect western house, complete with upgrades, furniture, security features, etc.
The first footage certainly looks promising, and I should probably not that this isn’t going to be some dumb free-to-play game, as 612 Games has confirmed it will be a paid game (thankfully).
It looks ‘hella promising, and we can’t wait to jump into the wild west with our friends.
*Update 4/26/18: We just received word that Wild West Online will be leaving Early Access and releasing fully on Steam on May 10, 2018. In our opinion, it’s a bit too soon; the game isn’t cooked enough yet. There’s not currently a Steam store page for Wild West Online, but we’ll update when it goes live. Hopefully, the devs make some serious updates in the next couple of weeks, because otherwise, this is going to be dead on arrival.
18. New World MMO
Release Date: TBA 2019
Developer: Amazon Studios
Publisher: Amazon Studios
Newly formed Amazon Studios is creating its own fantasy massively multiplayer online game, and early concepts look absolutely incredible. It’s set in an alternate reality, set in 17th-century colonial America where magic is real. Devs tease nature things out in the wild and horrible things hiding in the shadows, so let’s go ahead and assume there will be fantastical monsters aplenty.
How you play and what you do, and what sort of player you are is entirely up to you. In the only brief teaser video we have for New World, the devs tease that you can be a farmer, a soldier who protects others, an explorer, or anything else you want to be in this world.
It’s intriguing, and the fact that it has a big Amazon budget behind it makes it even more interesting. Unfortunately, we haven’t heard anything new about New World since last year, so here’s to hoping we will get some new information soon.
19. City of Titans
There are two big genres we’ll never get tired of here at Nerd Much?: zombies and superheroes. Of course, the latter is the reason that City of Titans is on our radar. The upcoming superhero MMO from Missing Worlds Media is being touted as a spiritual successor to City of Heroes. Of course, those are some big superhero boots to fill, but this Kickstarter-funded MMO brought in double its initial goal of $320K.
Finally, after a super long development period, City of Titans will be playable Fall 2018.
20. Worlds Adrift
Worlds Adrift is a sandbox MMO with an interesting premise: thousands of players will explore a persistent world with unprecedented freedom to set their own objectives. You’ll be able to build and customize a Skyship, exploring the world around you to build the ultimate flying base. The game also has an emphasis on the weight of all things in the world, with its own unique physics that allows you to move everything you touch. It’s currently in closed beta early access on Steam, which released back in May 2017.
21. Legends of Aria
Legends of Aria is another one of those promising upcoming MMORPGs that touts its living, breathing world that’s actually influenced by players. Players can play on official or player run servers, and the ability for creating massive servers using a cluster server, which each server having unique rule sets. It’s the first game that allows you to run and moderate your own game worlds that will support thousands of users at one time. At least, that’s what the marketing jargon says, and hopefully, the game will live up to its promise. It’s created by the lead developers of Ultima Online, so you know it’s in good hands. No word on an official release date, but at least we know it’s on the way and the devs are hard at work.
**Update 3/5/18: After jumping into Legends of Aria for a couple days, we think you should stay away from it, at least for now. Simply put, it’s too early on in the development to even warrant playing it at this point. Not enough meat on the bones, here.
22. Dark and Light (Xbox One)
Developer: NP Cube
Publisher: Snail Games
Release Date: Release Date TBA
Genre: Fantasy Survival
**Coming to Xbox One (confirmed at E3 2017).
In Dark and Light, you’ll be tasked with harnessing and controlling the magical energy that courses through the planet Gaia. The game contains over 100 magical skills relating to survival, exploration, attack, defense, and more, and players will learn those skills as they progress through the game. The game will feature dragons, griffins, unicorns, goblins, and many other mythical creatures. Players will be tasked with building their own bases as well, and because the game is an “endless sandbox”, they’ll be able to build anything from underground bases to their own island fortress. The game touts that if you can reach an area, you can build in that area. There are still so many questions surrounding D&L, but at least it’s now on our radar.
Now, we are a bit skeptical that this will even make it into 2018 for the Xbox One, as it currently runs quite poorly on PC. So, we can’t imagine it running smoothly on Xbox One just yet. We wouldn’t be surprised if this hit in 2019.
See Also: New Battle Royale Games
23. Life is Feudal: Sandbox MMORPG
Release Date: MMORPG is TBA, but ‘Your Own’ version available on Steam
Life is Feudal is one of the upcoming MMOs that we’re most excited about because it will apparently take a more hardcore nature. It’s set in a fictional medieval world, and players will be able to shape terrain in any way that they’d like.
Digging tunnels, shoveling moats, and building castles are just a few of the terrain-changing things you can do in the game. In fact, the game will be a sandbox MMO that will allow players to do whatever they want. It’ll contain full loot, open PvP, asset destruction during sieges and raids, and complex crafting system. It appears that the game will take a focus on building and defending your home from invaders. Read more…
24. World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Expansion
Release Date: August 14th
While obviously not a new MMORPG, there is a brand new expansion coming to WoW in August by the name of Battle for Azeroth. According to the announcement press release, the stakes for Alliance and Horde are incredibly high, and a player’s faction will have more of a meaningful impact when the expansion releases.
It’ll introduce Island Expeditions and new enemy AI mechanics, as well as new kingdoms to explore and Warfronts (which are massive, fantastical battles anchored in Warcraft 3 roots and RTS mechanics, apparently).
There’s a reason WoW is on our list of the best MMOs of all-time, and one of them is because of its continual release of new expansions.
We’re still waiting to hear more about these Warfronts, but for now, just know that Battle for Azeroth is coming in August.
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