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Space simulators and worlds at war: The state of MMO PC games in 2014

Hayden Dingman | Jan. 5, 2015
2014 saw the release of four major MMOs, an MMO alpha, and a ton of expansions for legacy games. Now what were you saying about MMOs being a dead genre?


Well, I think as 2014 comes to a close we can officially chalk Wildstar up as "most disappointing" MMO. Seriously, I don't think I've heard people as universally excited about an MMO since Guild Wars 2 or maybe even World of Warcraft's original launch. WildStar was at every trade show, it hit with high-scoring reviews, and disappeared.

I mean, not really. You can go play WildStar right now--buy the game, pay for a subscription, et cetera. But the players are abandoning it, and with good reason. WildStar is a pain in the ass to play. Leveling requires grinding. Accessing great content requires grinding. Everything is one long grind.

And while that's par for the course with many MMOs, WildStar's focus on "hardcore" players meant that few newcomers stuck around, and those that did found it even harder to get to any of the good content. I mean, look at this: Only approximately 1.3 percent of players have ever killed a raid boss. Ever.

Also, PvP is still completely broken thanks to a combination of timing-based combat and horrific lag/rubber-banding, and the game is riddled with bugs.

The result? As we close out 2014, WildStar is a shell of its former hype. 2015 prediction? Free-to-play.


Do you want to know how intense it is to develop an MMO? Red 5, the developers of Firefall, worked on the game for almost a decade before it released this past summer.

It's a whole mishmash of influences. A little bit of PlanetSide, a little bit of World of Warcraft  (like most MMOs), and a whole hell of a lot of Borderlands. Throwing around those names, you've probably gathered that unlike the rest of this list Firefall is a shooter rather than your standard MMORPG.

And it has a lot of potential! When everything works right, jetpacking around the environment with friends and shooting big bosses with big guns is pretty damn fun. Borderlands knew it, and Firefall is basically just Borderlands on a massive scale.

The writing's not there though, and that's ultimately what sinks Firefall. It's a whole lot of space with not a lot of interesting stuff to do, and a lot of the quests seem like holdovers from the worst days of MMOs--go here, kill this, repeat.

On the other hand, the barrier to entry for Firefall is the lowest of any new MMO this year: Free. As in, free-to-play, with all the benefits and drawbacks that entails. Want to kill some time? Free will suit you just fine. Want to get the most out of the game or get rid of some of the tedium? You'll end up paying.


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