We’ve certainly had our fair share of disappointing new MMO releases over the past few years — most notably WildStar (R.I.P.) and Revelation Online. But, there are quite a few promising upcoming MMORPGs coming in 2021 (and 2022) that we can’t wait to get our hands-on.
We’d hate for you to 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. Something that isn’t pay-to-win.
This list contains all of the best-looking upcoming video games in the MMO genre coming to North America in 2021 and beyond. 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 yours).
So if you’re looking for new MMORPGs to play, here are all of the upcoming new MMOs of 2021, 2022, and beyond:
Note: We left mobile mmorpgs off of this list because it’s a rabbit hole on its own. Check out our list of the new and upcoming mobile MMOs here.
See Also: Best MMOS of All-Time
New World MMO
May 2020 DELAYED to August 25, 2020 DELAYED TO SPRING 2021 DELAYED AGAIN TO AUGUST 2021
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. At the 2019 Game Awards, a brand new trailer was revealed. Here’s to hoping we get some more information about the game before it launches!
Update 2/17/21: New World has been delayed again to August 2021 at the earliest to improve the endgame at launch.
The Day Before
Release Date: Summer 2021
Take Tom Clancy’s The Division, add some DayZ, and sprinkle in a little The Last of Us for good measure, and you have The Day Before, yet another great-looking upcoming survival game. It may sound like an unbalanced conglomeration of games, but what FNTASTIC has presented so far of this zombie survival game has been nothing short of exciting. The world you once knew is gone, desolated by hordes of infected and opportunistic survivors. At this point, all you can do is survive from day to day, and you’ll need the right resources – food, water, transportation, firearms, and people you can trust. The Day Before thrusts players into this open-world MMO and sends you on a quest to locate survivor colonies and evade the many things (and people) looking to kill you.
Release Date: Beta Playable Now, Full Release Slated for 2021
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 griefers, which has always been a problem with similar games before. How will Novaquark control griefers 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. There aren’t multiple servers or shards; just one mega-sized one. It’s said to have elements of Eve Online meets Minecraft and No Man’s Sky. So, you know, count us in.
The game is currently in the beta stage. You can read more here.
See Also: Upcoming Zombie Games
Ashes of Creation
Release Date: TBA
Developer: Intrepid Studios
Publisher: Intrepid Studios, My.com
Ashes of Creation is our most anticipated MMO on the horizon, and with every bit of new in-engine footage we see, we get more and more excited, and the most recent Alpha One Early Preview from Intrepid has our hype level at an all-time high. This Ashes of Creation alpha preview gave us an interesting look at one of the raid bosses, a giant red dragon, as well as a good look at how town mayors look.
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 they 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 apparent lawless land, it looks like we’re in for something incredible.
But it also contains the familiar fantasy tropes and style we’re looking for in an MMO, and when you pair this with all of the new ideas it’s trying to bring into the genre, it should be no surprise that Ashes of Creation is one of our most anticipated upcoming MMORPGs.
- Ashes of Creation Will Have Impressive Dynamic Weather System
- Ashes of Creation Action Combat Gameplay Video Released
Singularity 6 is a game developer mixing pot made up of people from RIOT Games, Zynga, and Blizzard Entertainment. It’s not surprising that so many gamers have been anticipating great things to come from them. Their first game finally has an official announcement.
Palia is an open-world, community-based MMO that takes place in a tranquil and picturesque land. In the game, you take on a human form and immerse yourself in a life of farming, relationship building, and perfecting your living quarters.
Like popular games, including Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing, Palia is centered around lifestyle and allows players to develop story arcs, including friendships and romantic relationships. In the game, you’ll be able to make friends with other players and a plethora of unique and adorable, neighborly critters.
Of course, while you’re certainly able to go about the game as peacefully as you desire, players can also venture outside of town to find more adventure. Out in the woods, creatures you’re able to hunt or battle wolves and various other dangers that you’re sure to come across.
In Palia, players will find themselves waking up as humans who know nothing of their history. In the world of Palia, humans are a race that vanished thousands of years ago, and no one can be sure why. It’s up to the players to join one another as a community and uncover the secrets of their past.
Rather than focusing on guilds, as seen in most traditional MMO games, Palia focuses on creating and building neighborhoods. Throughout the game, as you progress, so will your community. Palia is an MMO game that aims to allow its players to come together and relax in a fantasy-lifestyle environment.
The game is currently available for beta testing on the PC, and players can sign up directly through the official Palia site.
Bless Unleashed (PC)
Release Date: TBA 2021
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Platforms: Xbox One, PC (2021)
After the failure that was Bless Online, Neowiz has gone back to the drawing board with the franchise. In February, Bandai Namco and Neowiz released Bless Unleashed for the Xbox One. This morning, Bandai announced that Bless Unleashed is heading to PC in early 2021.
However, I wouldn’t get too excited about it, to be honest. If you look at the reviews (like this one from MMORPG.com) you’ll notice the majority of them say it’s a boring and grindy MMO that’s just barely passing as mediocre. It doesn’t do anything particularly well nor does it fail miserably; it’s sort of just there.
And, with the abundance of new MMOs to play, being ‘just there’ isn’t going to cut it.
Magic: Legends MMO (Magic: The Gathering MMORPG)
Release Date: Open Beta coming March 23, Release TBD
Developer: Cryptic Studios
Publisher: Perfect World Entertainment
Platform(s): PC, Console
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 back in October 2018.
Now, following last night’s 2019 Game Awards, we now know that the game is officially titled Magic: Legends.
We also know that it’s going to come to PC and consoles, and there will be a beta at some point in 2020. 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.
Our most recent update came from Gamasutra, which pointed out Cryptic’s hiring blitz, clearly looking for more devs to get this baby rollin’.
We’ll keep you posted when we get more MTG MMORPG news, but for now, that’s all we have.
Release Date: Coming in 2021
Developer Frozenbyte has just announced Starbase, an upcoming sci-fi space MMO filled with robots, spaceships, and mega-sized space stations.
We don’t know much about it just yet, as the listing just dropped on Steam this morning. But there’s at least an announcement trailer on the listing page, as well as a link to their official site that contains more details.
On the official site, the devs note that Starbase will have destructible environments, with everything being fully destructible or disassembled, as long as players have the right tools and weaponry.
As far as the potential population is concerned, the site doesn’t say much more than a general “play and interact with thousands of players.”
Players will take part in a battle between two factions, the Empire and the Kingdom. Hopefully, players won’t be stuck choosing just between the two and there will be more options when the game launches.
What’s MOST interesting about Starbase is its building mechanics, as it looks to be pretty in-depth. According to the official site, players will be able to design ships and buildings right down to the literal bolts, with even the smallest of ships having thousands of parts. This could allow for a lot of creativity, so hopefully, it works as well in practice as it sounds on paper.
As expected with a space game, there appears to be a vast universe for players to discover and mine for resources.
What we don’t see in the announcement trailer is any variation in environments or gameplay; it all looks sort of, well, samey. Visual speaking, it also looks a little rough around the edges.
Although the game has secretly been in development for five years, things are still in a pre-alpha state, so there’s still plenty of time to get things up to par before a launch of any sort. We’ll definitely be looking to get our hands on it as soon as possible, so we’ll keep you all posted with more information as we learn it.
Release Date: Closed Beta Coming in Early 2021, Release TBA
Developer: Artificial Core
Publisher: Artificial Core
Developer Artificial Core announced their new top-down cyberpunk MMORPG, properly named Corepunk, in December 2019.
And, we’re beyond excited for this one.
It’s got a strong Diablo meets WoW meets a cyberpunk setting vibe, and we’re ALL in for it so far. The game will have a seamless open world and will be large and dense, filled with “miles of wilderness to get lost in.”
The game will have all of the essential MMO elements we love, including an in-game economy, crafting, loot, instanced dungeons, guilds, and trading. On top of that, and one unique element we don’t often see in the MMO space, is that there will be branching quests and alternate endings that make sure no two playthroughs will be the same.
The game will utilize a fog-of-war system, too, that will add a bit of strategy to combat. And, players will battle in both PvP and PvE scenarios.
Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen
Release Date: TBA
Developer: Visionary Realms
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.
The game remains in a pre-alpha state, which it has been in since December 2017. And that’s ok – Visionary Realms is keeping us all quite up-to-date with their monthly newsletter updates. Seriously – if you want to know more about Pantheon’s progress, just sign-up for the newsletter – it’s super detailed!
Their most note from the producer explained a node-based ability system that’s in progress, calling it a ‘game changer.’ He also noted that the programming team has created some robust new tools for the design team that allows them to place quests, storylines, and dialog much more easily than before. In the update, the producer noted that the next pre-alpha access date will be soon. Dope.
Release Date: TBA (you can buy Early Access right now)
Publisher: ArtCraft, Travian Games
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.
The last we heard about an official Crowfall release date was in June 2018 when we were told that we would get a soft launch in 2019. You can get your hands on the early access version right now.
*Update 5/20/18: 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?
Trials of Ascension: Exile
Release Date: TBA (Available in Early Access)
Developer: Forged Chaos LLC
Publisher: Forged Chaos LLC
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.
Also, there are weekly development updates on their forum, so at least we know they’re hard at work on it.
It has been available in early access on Steam since July of 2018. That’s almost two full years since its EA release, and the game is hardly mentioned among MMO enthusiasts; that’s obviously a bad sign.
Release Date: TBA (Closed Beta Q2 2021)
Developer: Dynamight Studios
Publisher: Dynamight Studios
Fractured is an upcoming open world sandbox MMORPG that boasts leaving old RPG cliches behind, with every item in the game being crafted by players. It’ll also allow you to adventure with your friends right from day one, without having to worry about stats or your level. Instead, you’ll focus on expanding knowledge and reputation.
On top of that, you’ll be able to switch your abilities and reassign talents by just resting in front of a fire. In fact, Dynamight Studios boasts that it’s a MOBA with the persistent world of an MMO.
There will be over 400 abilities and 40 unique status effects for players to play around with and master.
The last update is that the game is having a stress test on May 28th.
Release Date: TBA 2021
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 scalability 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. And, just recently, NCSOFT also shuttered ArenaNet, which will merge with NCSoft West – so things are looking pretty dire over there.
Back in December 2019, NCSOFT announced that Project TL will launch its closed beta in the first half of 2020, and we likely won’t see anything resembling a final release until 2021.
Release Date: U.S. release TBA 2021
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.
We also don’t have confirmation of a western release, although there is a petition for one and, in all likelihood, we will eventually see one.
Elyon (Formerly Ascent: Infinite Realm)
Release Date: TBA
Publisher: Kakao Games
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.
Ascent: Infinite Realm now has a new name, and is now simply titled Elyon. Although it has launched in Korea, we still don’t know much about it here in the U.S, save for some screenshots and whatever we can gather from Korean translations.
Elyon will have its first closed beta test here in the west at some point in the next few months, although we don’t have exact dates for that yet, either. You can read more about Elyon on the game’s new English site.
Release Date: TBA 2021, 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..
Release Date: TBA (likely 2022)
Developer: Bandai Namco
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Another day, another anime MMORPG. Bandai’s Blue Protocol is getting a western release, although it likely won’t be until after it hits Japan and EU. A late 2021 U.S. release seems unlikely at this point, so we’re expecting this one at some point in Mid 2022.
As far as the gameplay is concerned, Blue Protocol definitely looks good on many different levels, with an expansive world, cool-looking boss battles, and all the high-octane anime slicing and magic spells you could ever want.
City of Titans
Release Date: Still TBA
Developer: Missing Worlds Media
Publisher: Missing Worlds Media
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 in Early 2019, although any sort of date hasn’t been penned just yet.
Developer: Elder Game, LLC
Publisher: Elder Game, LLC
Release Date: Now Available in 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.
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…
Untitled Alien MMO Shooter
Developer: Cold Iron Studios
Release Date: TBA
Along with this morning’s announcement of Alien: Blackout, a mobile game (yeck), comes the news that Cold Iron Studios is working on a ‘massively multiplayer online shooter’ set in the Alien universe. The title of the upcoming Alien MMO is still being kept under wraps.
There’s no information about it available just yet, though we’ve inquired to see if we can get any more details.
See Also: WoW Gold Farming Guide
Lord of the Rings MMO from Athlon Games CANCELLED Developer: Athlon Games
Publisher: Amazon Game Studios
Release Date: TBA, likely 2022
Amazon just announced that a Lord of the Rings MMO, separate from LOTRO, is in development from Athlon Games and the team behind New World (which just wrapped up its alpha test). The studio includes many veteran developers from some of the best MMOs, including Everquest, World of Warcraft, and Destiny. More info to come as we get it. It’s possible it will release in conjunction with the Amazon LOTR series for some marketing synergy, but that’s just speculation.
Unfortunately, the highly anticipated Lord of the Rings MMO from Athlon Games has been cancelled, which is further showing that Amazon Game Studios just doesn’t know how to publish games. Here’s to hoping New World won’t let us down, but almost everything else the company was going to publish has not made it.
Chronicles of Elyria CANCELLED Release Date: TBA 2020
Developer: Soulbound Studios
Platform(s): PC 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. We’re hoping that we’ll hear some more details about this highly anticipated MMORPG.
Unfortunately, Chronicles of Elyria is no longer in development and is now widely considered a scam. It was announced at the end of March 2020 that the game’s development has been cancelled, despite raising $7.9M through crowdfunding. I highly recommend watching The Lazy Peon’s overview explaining it all.
Crimson Desert Doesn’t Appear to be an MMO
If you’re wondering why we didn’t include the incredible-looking Crimson Desert, it’s because Pearl Abyss is now touting it as an open-world action-adventure; there isn’t any mention of it being an MMORPG as it was introduced to us years ago. Game development has apparently shifted from MMORPG to just an open-world adventure game.
So if you’re asking whether or not Crimson Desert is an MMORPG, the answer is no.
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