Time flies and another year has gone. However, many exciting new things are coming for the videogame world. Among these, many concern the MMO genre. 2017 was poor in terms of new MMOs but in exchange, it seems 2018 will be rich of interesting releases. This time we chose the ten most awaited MMOs to be released in 2018 and beyond And an eleventh, out of the competition. As it is customary, we made a choice. We had to exclude interesting projects such as Lost Ark or Legends of Aria, or even Shroud of the Avatar and Dual Universe. Ours here is a broad view: to elaborate further, check out our website, MMO.it. Let’s start then with the one MMO out of the competition: World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth It’s true, Battle for Azeroth is an expansion pack and not a whole new game but WoW is the most played MMORPG of all time and we cannot omit its next expansion as one of the most awaited MMOs of 2018. With Battle for Azeroth, we will see a full scale war between Horde and Alliance. The level cap will be raised to 120 and two new continents will be added: Kul Tiras and Zandalar New PvE and PvP modes are coming. such as Warfronts and Expeditions. Three new races for each faction will be added as well. Players will be able to impersonate each of them, or recruit as companions. We shouldn’t forget the announcement of World of Warcraft Classic Blizzard is working on official servers that will allow players to relive the original WoW experience. We gotta wait a lot for this though. Sea of Thieves. Sea of Thieves is the new sandbox multiplayer game from Rare. In it, we will impersonate a stinky pirate. We will be able to cross the sea with mighty vessels, or hunt for lost treasures and explore the islands, in a big open world shared with other players It will also be possible to do missions for various factions, in exchange for gold and fame. The final challenge will be to obtain the title “pirate legend”. Even though Sea of Thieves is based on cooperating with others, we will also be able to play alone, albeit with a smaller and more agile ship. Sea of Thieves will be out on the 20th of March for Xbox One and Windows 10. It will be priced 70€. To justify a similar price, we definitely feel that more content than what has currently been seen needs be added. Bless Online Bless has had a very tormented developement. For a couple of years it was released in Russia and Corea, and it should have come to Europe thanks to Aeria Games, but in the last months the deal with the publisher has blown. Neowiz Games has therefore decided to be personally responsible for releasing the game in the West, not before changing a lot of it, such as the combat system or the user interface to make them more palatable for the western audience. Bless Online will be released in early access on Steam in the first half of 2018. We still don’t know if the game will be free or else, but the developers promised no pay to win whatsoever. Crowfall Crowfall is an original sandbox MMO that takes on some mechanics from RTS games. In Crowfall every character can join a campaign. They can last for months, until a faction is victorious. The world then gets destroyed and characters will be able to join another campaign, in a brand new world. Crowfall focuses especially on PvP with sieges and guild wars to obtain resources and territories. Thanks to the use of Voxels, it will be possible to completely alter and destroy the environment. The combat system is action based with combos and dodging. Players that don’t like PvPing will be able to build, trade and craft weapons and armor. Crafting is paramount, as there are no bosses nor loot to be dropped. Crowfall is currently in testing phase. Developers are hoping for a soft launch in the first half of 2018. Ascent: Infinite Realm Developed by Bluehole, creators of TERA and PUBG, Ascent is a new open world MMORPG focused on air combat. It features an iconic fantasy-steampunk setting with dragons, firearms and flyable airships. Ascent will offer a mixture of PvP and PvE with dungeons, raids, world bosses and air battles. It will also feature a housing system, with customizables homes for players. There will be no gender lock: classes won’t be bound to a specific sex, as it happens in Black Desert. The combat system won’t be action based … … but targeting based. Build on the Unreal Engine 3, Ascent features good graphics although at the moment the engine seems badly optimized. The first closed beta is already available in Korea, while us Europeans will have to wait for a beta in 2018. Camelot Unchained Camelot Unchained promises to be the modern successor to Dark Age of Camelot. This MMO by City State Entertainment features three factions at war and it focuses heavily on Realm vs Realm. Every Realm will have 10 unique classes with the chance of customizing each skill and a complex progression. After a Kickstarter campaign in 2013, Camelot Unchained has had a troubled developement due to the fact that developers had to create a new engine from scratch, one able to support large scale PvP battles. Things are better now and Mark Jacobs, game director, promised a big announcement coming soon. It should be about the beginning of Beta 1, that will allow backers to try a good part of the game. Anthem After freezing Mass Effect, Anthem is Bioware’s and EA’s new IP. It’s an Action online RPG, inspired by Destiny and The Division. Players will play as Freelancers, warriors risking everything to explore a dangerous abandoned world. Every one will use a Javelin, a customizable exoskeleton that will allow to fly or to dive underwater, shoot missiles, use special skills and much more. Many details about gameplay and plot are still missing. They will be revealed in the next months. What’s certain is the excellent graphics, thanks to the Frostbite Engine. Anthem will be released for PC, PS4 and Xbox One at the end of the year. Before the official release, there will be an open beta that everyone will be able to try. Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen Developed by Visionary Realms, Pantheon is a fantasy MMORPG inspired by Everquest. The game focuses on PvE and group content. Players won’t be able to do everything alone. The will need to cooperate to explore the world, to complete quests and dungeons. Every player can choose between 9 races and 12 different classes. Pantheon will offer many typical features of classic MMOs such as targeting combat and the holy trinity of tank, healer and damage dealer. The game will also have innovative features, and a modern graphic engine. A pre-alpha started last December. It was available only to selected backers. Developers promised “a year of testing”. Pantheon could therefore be out of alpha at the end of 2018. Chronicles of Elyria Chronicles of Elyria is an ambitious sandbox MMORPG set in a huge open world. There are no instances in it, and it continuously evolves. The first feature is the aging of the characters. Every character will be spawned as a young adult then after gaining experience he will grow old and in the end, he will die. We will then be able to reincarnate in our own successor, join another family, or become an orphan. This alone sets Chronicles of Elyria apart from other MMOs The economy and crafting will be wholly player based. The unscripted gameplay will favour the rise of a real feudal community, with soldiers, artisans, outlaws, nobles and powerful figures. There have been some accusations of pay-to-win because it allows backers to become counts, dukes or king. However, these characters will have no immunity nor guarantees once they will start the game A king may be assassinated, for instance, by another player. He would then lose everything. The first restricted closed alpha began in December. It should be extended in the next few months. There are also minor projects coming along with the MMO such as an offline demo and a voxel version. They will help testing various features of the game. Chronicles of Elyria, however, is set to launch in the second half of 2019. Star Citizen The ambitious project of Cloud Imperium Games needs no introduction. Many people love it, while others warn about a potential scam. In 2017, the amount of money obtained through crowdfunding was astonishing: 35 million dollars, for a grand total of over 176 millions raised through the official website. For those who don’t know, Star Citizen is a space simulator that aims to create a shared galaxy with thousands of players. In December, the long awaited Alpha 3.0 was finally released. It added many features and a first taste of the Persistent Universe, the real MMO part of Star Citizen. In it, it’s possible to command huge ships, alone or with friends to trade, explore the galaxy or fight against other players. In the last CitizenCon, the team showed the astonishing procedural generation of cities, that will simulate with a never before seen precision the environment of colonized planets. Dynamic missions will allow players to forge their own path. One could be a pilot or a miner, or a bounty hunter, or maybe a pirate. No role will be precluded. Cloud Imperium has shown a lot of pre-alpha gameplay of their single player campaign, Squadron 42. It will be a cinematographic story-driven experience with real world actors such as Gary Oldman and Mark Hamill. There is no release date, at the moment, nor for Star Citizen nor for Squadron 42 The developement of the Persistent Universe is now trimestral: this means that we should get a big update every 3 months. Although the inevitable challenges, the developement seems well on its way. If Chris Roberts’ dream will become reality, it will be the dawn of a new era for PC gaming. Ashes of Creation The last game in this list is Ashes of Creation. Developed by Intrepid Studios, the game was presented through a crowdfunding campaign and it became the most successfully financed MMO on Kickstarter. Ashes of Creation is an open world MMORPG with no factions and a lot of sandbox elements. The game experience will be fully immersive thanks to a vibrant, dynamic world, constantly changing depending of players’ actions and the seasonal cycle. In the winter, for instance, snow will build up on the road and it will block traffic. The game revolves around “nodes”, focal points of the game world that evolve together with players. A small village could become a huge town thanks to trading and then it could become a huge metropolis. Not only this: in Ashes of Creation every civilization can expand or collapse Everything will depend upon the choices and interactions of the players. There will be 64 classes available to customize your character. A housing system has been promised by the developers, along with sieges. Dynamic quests and a complex economy system are also features. The game sports great graphics using the Unreal Engine 4. At the moment, the development of Ashes of Creation continues quickly. Alpha Zero began in December, and the first closed alpha should be available in 2018. We hope the game will bring a real rebirth of the MMO genre. We will continue to keep you updated on our website, MMO.it.