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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?

But if you're looking for a massive MMOFPS and PlanetSide 2 is a bit too unstructured for you, maybe consider giving Firefall a try.

Star Wars: The Old Republic
Shadow of Revan

I thought I was never going back to The Old Republic. I played it a bit when it came out, realized it wasn't the Knights of the Old Republic follow-up I so desperately wanted out of BioWare, and then I drifted away.

Release a Darth Revan-themed expansion though? Damn it, BioWare, you know how to get my attention. And I hate that you know how to get my attention.

It sounds like The Old Republic doesn't capitalize though. I haven't been able to jump into this one yet due to the holidays and a crippling addiction to Elite: Dangerous (more on that later), but I've heard mediocre things--mostly from my friend Phil Owen, who broke the current state of the game down pretty efficiently over at Kotaku.

EVE Online
eve online odyssey tagsforsecuritystatus

Listen, I also don't play EVE. I can't. I've tried, and there's a part of me that loves the idea of flying a spaceship around. Whenever I hear those amazing EVE stories--the massive battles, the corporate subterfuge, et cetera--I think about getting back into it.

And then I get back into it for a bit and...well, it's still just spreadsheets. It's work.

But--and again, these are not my own observations but from the people that play EVE--apparently the new expansion schedule CCP adopted earlier this year at Fanfest has made a huge difference in the game. Rather than releasing two major expansions per year, CCP now releases one every six weeks (ten per year).

When I talked with executive producer Andie Nordgren at Fanfest this year, she said the new release schedule would mean that "For small and medium stuff, we can just finish it and ship it. We can respond faster, keep the game healthy, make fixes to the UI--they don't have to wait until the next big expansion."

Apparently that's what the game needed. Scouring through the EVE subreddit and discussing EVE with users, I'm seeing actual excitement for the game itself--something that was sorely missing at Fanfest this year, where it seemed like most players were more interested in the metagame than the in-game content.

It's not perfect, and it's not wholly accessible--even the "This is EVE" trailer that garnered attention earlier in December still shows a game that's mostly spreadsheets in space. EVE is leaving 2014 in a better place than it entered though, and that's more than most MMOs can say.


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