Happy new year fellow MMORPG players! 2020 wasn’t pleasant IRL, nor was it easy for everyone – players and developers of these great games – as we all came to terms with how to cope with a raging pandemic world-wide and manage our lives at the same time. Gaming was our escape, and I for one am thankful I still can log into my favorite MMOs to take my mind off things. That said, 2021 will hopefully be better, and here are the games to keep your eyes on for all new content drops and more.
Final Fantasy XIV
Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XIV is at its best right now, coming off a fantastic Shadowbringers expansion cycle in which the MMO’s storytelling, system revamps and group content all hit higher highs. What could possibly top it off? Knowing this dev team, 2021 will bring the game’s best yet. FFXIV releases an expansion every two years, so this year we’ll see the next installment, and I trust it will be worth it. Considering we have to pay a full priced subscription to play it, I dare say most players won’t settle for anything less than the Shadowbringers standard.
Elder Scrolls Online
Last year’s 12 month long Dark Heart of Skyrim Storyline was a success in terms of numbers, as Elder Scrolls Online reached new heights with player numbers and sales figures. One of the pillars of that success has been Zenimax using the memory lane card – Dragons last year, Skyrim this year – and so for 2021, another walk down memory lane is coming. Players will be going to Oblivion this year, and we’ll learn more this week as the studio will unveil the first trailer of the upcoming DLC’s and Chapter.
Guild Wars 2
You get the feeling that 2021 is a make or break year for Guild Wars 2. The tail end of 2019 leading into 2020 was a shaky period for ArenaNet’s MMORPG, as players bemoaned the lack of updates to its three core game modes, PvE, Structured PvP and World versus World. Since then, we’ve had more Icebrood Saga Episodic content released, but not much else. However, the End of Dragons expansion will be coming this year, and taking players back to a beloved location not visited since the original Guild Wars. Will it come with plenty to do and up to par? This one is worth the wait hopefully, or you sense the playerbase will loose patience again.
Amazon’s New World MMORPG is facing an identity crisis, even in the middle of its Alpha. Originally supposed to launch in August last year, the game was delayed to 2021 and there’s no turning back now. With its rebrand from a PvP centric MMO into something more theme-park, New World’s trajectory post launch is going to be an entertaining watch, but more importantly we hope, a good enough game to play to challenge the status quo and give us players somewhere else to spend our time besides the usual.
Black Desert Online will continue to prosper this year, that’s a given. The franchise has grown larger since its expansion to console and mobile, and now its spinoff MMORPG Crimson Desert is about to launch this year. Taking place in a totally different world as a standalone game, Crimson Desert promises the same action combat players love, but with a heavier focus on PvE storytelling which is compelling, considering Black Desert couldn’t care less about that aspect of its game. Will it deliver and be the first South Korean MMORPG to actually have a good story in its MMO? Time will tell.