Being a somewhat impatient person is rather incompatible with writing about the MMO genre, an industry where waiting is merely half the battle. Between games announced half a decade before their intended release and those launched in Korea, China, or Japan only to take a further few years to make it over to the west, it’s enough to pull your hair out over. It is especially aggravating when you figure games like Phantasy Star Online 2, who we recently found out may never release in the west at all. Then you have games like Hellgate: London, Lineage, and Dungeon Fighter Online who, despite shutting down in west, continued operation overseas.
So with that in mind, let’s look at the top five MMOs we can’t have, and by we I mean people in the Americas and Europe.
Despite what some of my readers may believe, I don’t talk about ArcheAge’s content updates to tease you, but I agree with the frustration that I see in many of these articles. ArcheAge, unlike its brothers and sisters, gets so much coverage from western outfits that you’d think the game had already been launched here. Every mention of patch notes and content updates is another reminder of the game’s continued delay and unclear future for westward expansion.
The “why we don’t have ArcheAge” coverage also instills a constant chilling reminder as to the recent business issues surrounding the game’s would-be western publisher, Trion Worlds, between several rounds of layoffs, server mergers, the poor reception of Defiance, allegations of neglecting overseas publishers leading to Rift being shut down in several foreign territories, and the continued difficulties surrounding End of Nations. ArcheAge will eventually release in the west…hopefully. Maybe.
4. Phantasy Star Online 2
I decided to stick Phantasy Star Online 2 as number four on this list because it is technically playable. While Phantasy Star Online 2 is likely to not hit western markets, due to an alleged lack of faith in the game’s ability to be profitable, many gamers have already signed on to the Japanese servers using an English patch. This process should be made easier when the game releases a localized version for English speaking Asian regions.
3. Blade & Soul
NCSoft has refused to censor Blade & Soul for the west, but if an uncensored MMO falls in the woods and no one is able to play it, does it make a sound? Blade & Soul has the backing of NCSoft, but the game has quickly dropped down in sales to the levels of Lineage II and “other” and is likely to continue dropping. If the game continues to do poorly, it is possible that the game could be shut down before it ever has the chance to be localized.
But NCSoft isn’t the kind of company that cuts an MMO loose just because it hit some hard times, right?
Lineage is particularly painful not just because the game continues to operate in its native Korea after being shut down in the west, but it is outperforming every single one of NCSoft’s other games. Lineage has been NCSoft’s #1 top selling game for the past year and has grown exponentially over the past several quarters. Despite its healthy population in Korea, however, the game was not performing well in America and Europe to continue supporting the localized version.
The good news at least is that while Lineage I is over aside from private servers, Lineage Eternal will probably release before the world ends.
1. Black Gold Online
Black Gold Online is likely to release before any of the other games on this list, but it is the most interesting concept so I decided to put it at number one. If you don’t know, Black Gold Online is by the creatively brilliant minds at Snail Games who brought us Age of Wushu, and carries one of the more interesting monetization models of recent titles. It is difficult to understand, and I am not entirely sure that I have explained it properly, but the game has no cash shop or subscription, but instead monetizes drops in some fashion.
So far all we have seen is this concept in theory, and it could go either way in terms of its reception. Assuming we ever get it.