Upcoming MMOs and Online Games in 2015!

by on January 10, 2015

                Following
the Upcoming RPGs article, in this one I will talk about the online games and
MMOs that are going to be released in 2015. This year is looking great for
online gaming and there are loads of titles fit for everybody’s taste.
This list doesn’t contain the online only FPS games as they
will be featured in an article dedicated for the genre.
                Without
further ado, here are some of the most anticipated and interesting online
titles which will be launched this year (before postpones and cancellations):
Heroes of the Storm
Release Date: TBA, CBT January 13
                Blizzard
Entertainment is embracing the free to play business model quite well and takes
full advantage of their huge fanbase.
The Heroes of the Storm is a much more casual approach to
the MOBA genre whose greatest feature is the fact that it combines the three
Blizzard franchises in one title. The game is offering the chance to play with
many of the known characters from Blizzard’s lore including Zeratul, Kerrigan,
Arthas and even Diablo.
                Heroes
of the Storm tries to change the current “meta” design of the MOBA games by
focusing more on objective play rather than the typical lanes grind of the most
popular titles of the genre. The changes made to the gameplay resulted in
shorter matches which don’t require the same insane amount of concentration and
effort as matches in standard MOBA games.
But despite being a game for the casual playerbase of the
genre, Blizzard will support competitive gameplay for Heroes of the Storm as we
are used to from their previous titles. The game already features a ladder with
a proper matchmaking system which allows players to prove their worth against
other equally skilled players.
                There
are currently over thirty heroes available to choose from and three different
maps with more of both to be added in the future.
The in-game cash shop only allows for skin purchases to
maintain the game as fair as possible for everyone.
                The
future of this title looks promising and knowing Blizzard’s standard for
quality and their dedicated fans it might be a guaranteed success. Still, it remains
to be seen how many players can Heroes of the Storm steal from its more
hardcore competitors Dota 2 and League of Legends.

H1Z1
Release Date: TBA, Early Access January 15
                After the DayZ Stand Alone
hype, more and more zombie survival games have spawned out of nowhere. Sony
Entertainment have been cooking in silence for a while, using their capable
Forgelight engine (Planetside 2) and last year they announced a new MMO, oddly
named H1Z1.
The game is a zombie apocalypse survival MMO set in a huge
sandbox world which will allow thousands of players simultaneously.
                There
are various activities that can be done in this game, besides the popular
scavenging and banditry there will be the option to build, hunt, farm and craft
items.
The world of H1Z1 will be full of challenges like trying not
to die from starvation while constantly running from dangerous zombies and
avoiding bandits. The game promises a good and immersive online survival
experience and this is something that gamers have been waiting for a while (a
polished version of this).
                DayZ
has been a road opener for a new genre that has tremendously increased in
popularity over the last couple of years. By taking inspiration from various
games and using Sony’s huge resources, H1Z1 has the chance to take the zombie
apocalypse survival to the next level.

Armored Warfare
Release Date: TBA, CBT Q1
                Who
would have thought that one day Obsidian Entertainment a studio formed by
ex-Black Isle and Interplay developers specialized in RPGs will start making
online games. I for one never even imagined this, but the surprise was as
pleasant as the new title they announced last year.
Armored Warfare is a free to play online skirmish game about
tank battles powered by the latest generation of CryEngine.
                Considering
their background, Obsidian even creates a story for such a game to set up the
action and not force any world powers fighting each other. The action takes
place in a close future with private army corporations spreading throughout the
world and taking combat missions all over the globe, some sort of mercenaries
using armored vehicles to get the job done.
The players will be part of such a corporation and on top of
taking care of their armored vehicles, they will have an entire base to manage
and control, which is an interesting feature that might add a bit more
complexity to this type of games and maybe some RPG elements as well, after all
Obsidian are known for this.
                Armored
Warfare will guide the players through the entire progression of modern tanks
and armored vehicles, since the start of the Korean War to the present day.
This is a great thing for enthusiasts (like me), as they will have the chance
not only to see over sixty years of technological and warfare progression, but
test it out step by step.
The game looks quite amazing with big maps that take the
player in varied places, but not to any specific locations.
The tech part of the game looks great with particle effects
realistically simulating high caliber guns firing and all kind of enhanced
visual effects that add on immersivity. The game features advanced physics not
only for the vehicles and projectile ballistics, but also destructible terrain
and buildings, which can lead to different tactics and approaches for each map.
                The
unlocking system for vehicles will be slightly different from games like World
of Tanks and War Thunder. There will be set tasks and achievements that will unlock
new vehicles or upgrades for them when accomplished.
The upgrade system is quite fascinating, not only will it
have a statistical and visual effect on the vehicles, but many upgrades are
useable in battle by the player. The vehicles will have access to all kind of
armor improvements including ERA and electronic countermeasures. There will be
smoke launchers to be used, manually guided anti-tank missiles and so much more
and all these cool game mechanics will work as realistically as possible.
                Vehicles
are designed to the last rivet and will behave on par with their real life counterpart.
Balancing these armored vehicles to behave as realistically as possible while
serving their designated role in a PvP game is a huge undertaking and one that
hopefully Obsidian will pull off.
                For
those that aren’t big fans of competitive play and the aggressive community of
online games (sad but true), Armored Warfare comes with a solution, the PvE
mode. This mode will allow players to team up against the AIs and complete various
objective, primary and secondary, that will lead to mission completion and
certain rewards, there is even a subtle story to every PvE (and PvP) map in the
game.
                Armored
Warfare attempts to find the line between simulator and arcade game in order to
offer a simulator-like experience while being fun to play and not tedious.

Dreadnought
Release Date: Summer
                Dreadnought
is an upcoming free to play online skirmish game featuring gigantic space ships
fighting in the atmosphere of planets (either powerful vertical thrusters or
low gravity?!). The game is made by Yager Development, the studio currently
behind Dead Island 2, and is powered by the brand new and powerful Unreal
Engine 4.
                Players
will take control of a large spacecraft chosen between five classes of ships,
each with multiple ships to pick from, and will take part in a 5v5 (possibly
even bigger) team battle which require coordination and tactics as well as a
good use of the ship in accordance with its role.
                Dreadnought
is for a summer release (Early Access?!) with more details about the
spacecrafts, game mechanics and other features of the game to be presented in
the future.


Tom Clancy’s The Division
Release Date: Q4
                It’s been
quite a while since I was excited by an MMO and for good reasons, the genre has
been stagnating for years and lacks the innovation that should push it forward,
maybe that is why I’m anxiously waiting for this game.
                Tom
Clancy’s The Division was announced at E3 in 2013 and was one of the big hits
of the video gaming convention. The game is an online open world third person
shooter with RPG elements developed by the great guys from Massive using the Snowdrop
engine.
The game was originally announced for the next-gen consoles
only, but after a petition was signed by over one hundred and thirty thousand
people, Massive changed their mind (brilliant marketing) and the game will be
launched on PC as well.
                The
action takes place in New York after a disease spread and infested the entire
city during the Black Friday causing the collapse of the United States in no
more than five days.
The player is part of The Division, an adhoc formed
organization to combat the threat posed by this spreading disease and save what
is left.
                The
game features a huge but instanced New York where players can group up and
complete missions against challenging AI and backtrack what happened in the
city with the help of a technology that can simulate and recreate events that
happened in an area based on the digital prints left by those involved
(cameras, phones, etc.).
There will be a hub area where players can meet and
instanced PvP matches which will put one team against another in a competitive
play.
                The Division
takes place a little further in the future giving developers the liberty to
create some cool and useful devices that can be used by the player in combat
situations. Target seeking bombs, turrets and player controlled drones (from tablets)
are just a few examples of some of the skills available.
                The
technology is where this game shines the most (at least before downgrades),
with high quality graphics, spectacular lighting and one of the best physics
ever seen in a video game which allows a detailed interaction with the surroundings.
This game is a true feast for the eye.
                Massive
has a great record with games like the Ground Control series or World in
Conflict which revolutionized their genres at the time and from previews The
Division seems another one of those games that comes to change things that have
been circling for too long.


Albion Online
Release Date: TBA, Winter Alpha Test January 26
                Albion
Online is an upcoming isometric medieval MMOROPG developed by Sandbox
Interactive whose access to the various testing stages of the game can be
acquired by purchasing Founder’s Packs.
The game will be free to play at release and will be a true
cross platform MMO being available for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android
(scary).
                Albion
Online follows in the footsteps of some of the older MMORPGs, being much
focused on PvP and with many hardcore features that will greatly enhance this
experience.
Guilds vs Guilds battles is one of the core mechanics in the
game, as guilds can establish bases on the world map and conquer territories
from other guilds to expand their dominion. Through the guild territories
cities can be built with each guild member having their own customizable house.
                The
game puts an emphasis on crafting with no equipable loot from PvE monsters and
everything being manually crafted by the player. There will be multiple tiers
of items which will require materials from the most common to the most rare
that can be found only in the most dangerous places.
The crafting system goes hand in hand with the classless
system of the game which allows players to customize a character and equip it
the way they want. Albion Online has a similar skills system with Path of
Exile, with abilities being bound to items, this will result in a multitude of
unique builds of abilities and equipment that will suit each player’s style.
                There
are many other interesting ideas that make Albion Online worth following
through its development, but one of the most interesting things about this game
is its hardcore nature.
A player’s death will result in dropping all the gear on the
ground to be looted by other players and GvG battles can end up badly for one
side with the loss territories and buildings. The game focuses on group work
with guilds having a tremendous value and might not be the safest place for
lone wolves.
                Albion
Online attempts to combine old and new to revitalize the PvP mechanics of MMORPGs.
The idea of cross platform between computers and tablets might be scary and
could have a negative effect on the game complexity, but if done right can open
up new doors for future games.


Everquest Next and Landmark
Release Date: TBA, Landmark currently in CBT
                Everquest
Next and Landmark is an ambitious project by Sony Entertainment of combining
the standard MMORPG world of Everquest Next with the creative ideas and designs
of the players from the sub segment of the game designed to be a world building
tool called Landmark.
The developers promised that the most brilliant creations of
the players will be brought to the MMORPG world of Everquest Next.
                The
game is the successor of Everquest and Everquest II, but is neither a prequel
nor a sequel to those games, instead takes place in a parallel world with some
familiar faces and locations but portraying different events.
                Besides
the innovative world building tool, Everquest Next comes with new features that
promise to change the shape of the world (and maybe the genre) forever. The
game has an advanced physics system implemented which allows the players to
constantly modify the world by destroying its terrain or buildings. This is
combined with an ever shifting system of politics and even religion based on
events of whose outcome is decided by the player’s choices, so that the world
of Everquest Next doesn’t look the same from one day to another.
                The
class system in the game allows for all kinds of combinations that will result
in the craziest builds, with rogues being able to teleport and barbarians to
backstab.
                Everquest
Next and Landmark is a game for change and as its world won’t look the same
from one day to another MMORPGs might not look the same after its release.
Hopefully Sony Entertainment will manage to pull of this great project and lead
the MMOs to further innovations and changes for the better.


Arena of Fate
Release Date: TBA, currently in CBT
                Arena
of Fate is Crytek’s take on the MOBAs, the game features 5v5 tactical matches
and uses similar mechanics to most of the games of the genre. The map is split
in three lanes, each lane having its own towers and advancing creeps spawning
at a set time on each lane.
                The
difference between Arena of Fate and the common MOBAs is its emphasis on casual
gameplay. Crytek tries to remove the long and tedious games that can take up to
an hour to finish by having a time limit of twenty minutes with the hope that this
will result in faster paced and more intense matches.
The classical items builds have been removed in favor of
traits, which can be acquired with the gold earned throughout a match. Each
trait will add a specific passive bonus to a hero, enhancing its combat
capabilities. This idea is part of the favoring of casual gameplay, by limiting
and concentrating the amount of builds available.
                The
game’s heroes are taken from history or legend, with characters like Robin
Hood, Joan of Arc, Tesla or Little Red Riding Hood (that’s right!) being
playable.
                Arena
of Fate with its fast matches and a little less complexity might suit those
players that are enjoying this genre, but don’t have that match time to spend
with a MOBA. The game will have to compete this year with Heroes of the Storm
from Blizzard Entertainment which is based on the same idea of casual fast and
fun gameplay.

Fractured Space
Release Date: TBA, currently in Early Access
                Survival
and space games are the new fashion in the last couple of years (blame DayZ and
Star Citizen for that) and a MOBA set in space was bound to happen at some
point. This challenging endeavor falls on the shoulders of Edge Case Games with
their current work in progress title, Fractured Space.
                Fractured
Space is an upcoming online free to play game currently in alpha stage and
available through Steam’s Early Access.
The game puts the player in the lead of a capital ship of
different classes in a team based combat heavily inspired by MOBA games. The
space ships are fully customizable and serve different roles in the game based
on their size, stats and useable abilities.
The combat system looks well paced for a space game and
tactical, requiring team effort, good planning and good knowledge of each
ship’s strengths and weaknesses.
                I’m a
huge fan of space games and seeing more and more games set in space can only
make me happy. I did give up on MOBAs for various reasons, but I enjoy
competitive gameplay and I’m looking forward to see how Fractured Space is
going to turn out.


Sleeping Dogs: Triad Wars
Release Date: TBA
                Triad
Wars is a spinoff of Sleeping Dogs set in the same universe and designed to be
a MMO action game.
The story takes place in the city of Honk Kong and the main
goal in the game is to rise to power as a criminal leader in the Triad
underworld.
                The
game will combine standard action games mechanics like melee fighting, shooting
and driving with more strategic maneuvers like money laundering, extortion or
hacking in order to give the players the liberty to do things in their own way.
The main idea of being a criminal lord set the players to compete
against each other fighting for their own turf.
                Triad
Wars might not be a proper sequel to Sleeping Dogs, but could be an interesting
online experience for the fans of the singleplayer game. Either way, developers
have expressed their desire to make more games set in this universe in the
future.


Skyforge
Release Date: TBA
                Skyforge
is an upcoming free to play science fantasy MMORPG developed by Allods Team in
collaboration with Obsidian Entertainment (surprisingly). The game has been in
development for four years and is currently in closed beta testing.
                The players
take the roll of an immortal being battling the furious armies of some evil
gods and can ascend to godhood themselves.
Skyforge features a prestige format instead of the classic
character progression based on leveling. This system allows players to develop
their character based on stats and progression and switch between classes at
any time, without being bound to the one they picked at the start of the game.
It is a very interesting concept giving players the liberty to easily
experiment with classes and even reroll easier if they get bored with one.
When the god status is achieved a new progression system is
unlocked which allows for a management of the followers the god character has
which increases that character’s overall power.
                The
game uses an action combat system without crosshair and is based on constant
movement, timed attacks and manually avoiding the enemy’s hits.
                Skyforge
is one of the biggest MMORPG to be released this year and despite being free to
play it has quite some production value behind it. With the help of interesting
and new game mechanics, the action combat and a good story (Obsidian) this
MMORPG could have a big impact on the market.


Lost Ark
Release Date: TBA
                Following
the Asian style video games with gigantic weapons combined with absurd but spectacular
spells and abilities, Lost Ark is an isometric Hack & Slash MMO developed
by Tripod Studio.
                There
will be seven classes available to choose from, each with a very distinct and
cool look and enhanced with unique and deadly abilities.
Despite having tank and DPS classes, the game’s challenging
fights won’t be monotonous tank and spank battles but will require tactics and
synchronization from the players as well as great power of will not to stop and
look at the bosses gorgeous animations and deadly attacks.
                When
not fighting hordes of enemies, the players can explore the game’s huge world
and hunt for treasures and hidden areas. There are varied quests to be
completed some even have a choices system incorporated which will change the
reward based on the player’s actions.
A big feature of the game is navigating with your personal
ship in search for new areas to explore.
                Compared
with other similar games, Lost Ark will feature at release a PvP mode including
1v1 and 3v3 fights, but there is no world PvP.
                This
game looks amazing and seems quite a change in pace compared with the other
titles we had lately either H&S or MMORPG. The biggest question about Lost
Ark is when (and if?) it will be released in the western countries?

BattleCry
Release Date: TBA
                BattleCry
is an online free to play action game developed by Bethesda using the latest
version of CryEngine.
                The
action takes place in a 20th century world after a terrible World War.
With gun powder now banned by the greatest empires, peace gave the world a
chance for rapid industrial and technological advancements. But the peace
couldn’t last forever and the new technology changed the face of war forever.
All conflicts are now sorted out in team battles with warriors bred and trained
for this purpose.
                BattleCry
is a gory game with visceral combat and fast paced action. Players will have to
choose from several types of heroes from different factions. Each hero
specialized with certain weapons and with a unique set of abilities that helps them
play a certain role in the combat.
The battles are team based and support up to 32 players and
will probably feature some competitive ranking system.
Not many details are known about the game mechanics and
features or how the cash shop will work at the moment, but there will be a Beta
test this year.
                At
first glimpse, BattleCry looks like a bloodier and more violent version of Team
Fortress with inspiration from other video games. The game is focused mostly on
melee combat and has a cel-shaded art style inspired by Dishonored.
It is interesting to see Bethesda trying to get into the
free to play business and if BattleCry will be successful it might be safe to
assume that we will see more free to play games from this big company in the
future(TESO?!).


HEX: Shards of Fate
Release Date: TBA
               
                Hex:
Shards of Fate is a MMO trading card game (yes, even TCGs are becoming MMOs these
days) developed by Cryptozoic Entertainment, a studio that has quite some
history with TCGs, making many such games for various American television shows
and working on Blizzard’s World of Warcraft TCG.
The game is the road opener for MMOTCGs and it was crowdfunded
through Kickstarter, raising more than 2,000,000 dollars.
                HEX has
all kind of game mechanics similar to those met in MMORPGs like trading,
selling items via Auction House, socketing, guilds and even PvE content
including dungeons and raids.
Players will be able to create a champion choosing from up
to six different classes and eight different races. Each champion can be
customized through gear, talents and abilities.
Sadly the problems of TCGs haunt this game as well. Players
will have a starter deck of sixty cards and win up to three hundred more
through PvE content, but for those tempted to do so, there will be booster
packs available for money. As innovative as HEX sounds right now, it still
didn’t manage to find a way around the relatively pay to win model of TCGs
(some might argue about this), but on brighter note, at least booster packs can
be won in tournament battles.
                HEX:
Shards of Fate seems like the hardcore TCG that the market direly needs, but
never fully get because Ubisoft or Stainless Games didn’t bother to fully
support their games and take them to the next level of competitive gaming with
innovative features.


Warhammer 40k: Eternal Crusade
Release Date: TBA
           
            When
Warhammer 40k: Dark Millennium was cancelled following the fall of THQ I was
very disappointed, I’ve always been dreaming of an open world MMO placed in the
40k universe.
But hope was restored (more or less) with the announcement
of Warhammer 40k: Eternal Crusade a 3rd person shooter MMO developed
by Behaviour Interactive (a studio that made loads of questionable games).
                Eternal
Crusade is a limited free to play game which allows the players who didn’t
purchase the game to only take control of the Ork Boyz, a basic class of the
Orks faction.
The game is focused on PvP gameplay with factions being in a
never-ending battle for the planet Arkohna and will allow the players joining
one of the four different factions (races): the Space Marines, Orks, Eldar and
Chaos Space Marines.
The Tyranids will also be present in the game but only as
NPCs, they will act as a balance force against the players focusing mostly on
the faction that has conquered the most terrain. The Tyranids will also serve
as the enemies for the PvE part of the game which is formed of underground
dungeons and Hives.
More races like Tau and Dark Eldars are planned to be added
throughout the game lifespan.
                There
will be a lot of different classes for each of the four starting factions, each
class serving a different role and being designed around the units of the
tabletop game.
Vehicles will play a big role expanding the tactical options
with overwhelming and powerful assaults on both land and air or strategical
artillery barrages covering the infantry advancements. Each vehicle can be
customized with weapons and upgrades based on the rulebook of the tabletop
game.
                At the
first glimpse the game looks like a Planetside version set in Warhammer 40k,
with the addition of more factions and PvE content, and this is not bad at all.
The idea of having hundreds of players from different factions battling for the
same objective in the dark science fantasy setting of 40k’s universe is
absolutely thrilling.

                There
was never before a year as exciting and full of new MMOs and online games as
2015. The market will be absolutely crowded and developers of the current MMOs
will have to put an extra effort so their games are ready for this huge
competition, which is always good. One thing is for sure, those who are
passionate about online games will certainly find something to play this year.
Nodrim