Joystiq MMO round-up

Wow. I knew there were tons of MMOs (Massively Multiplayer Online games) coming out in the near future. Stacked on top of those already existing MMOs (in particular, the overwhelming current king World of Warcraft), this makes for a crowded market. What I didn’t realize, however, is that “tons of MMOs” amounts to somewhere close to 50. At least, that’s where I get to counting these upcoming MMOs covered at Joystiq.

For those new to MMOs, you might want to look at the free offerings first – like Bang! Howdy, Dofus-Arena (not Doofus, but Dofus), Dungeon Runners, or Planeshift (actually playable now, with some work). Veterans or those wanting to jump right in to the big names will perhaps more look at something like the Square/Enix MMO (although little information on it currently exists), Tabula Rasa (from gaming well-known, Richard Garriott), the Marvel or the DC superhero games (little information available on either, and no links to details), or, heaven forbid, even Hello Kitty online.

We can guarantee we’ll be seeing a lot of MMOs at E3, so that’s why we’re bringing you this comprehensive overview of every MMO we currently know to be in development — excluding expansions of existing MMOs. Here’s a quick summary of the trends that we see emerging from this list:

  • East meets West. Ten out of the thirty-five games listed are Korean MMOs hoping to make it in America and Europe, with several companies banking on the success of such a translation.
  • Elves and Orcs. Despite a number of fantasy-themed MMOs, there are several under development that have no sign of the fantastic about them — instead, we see themes from sci-fi to pirates.
  • Microtransactions. Pay for currency, don’t pay for the game — this increasingly common strategy allows gamers to try games for free. Those who become heavy players end up pouring in more cash than they would have paid for an all-you-can-play monthly subscription.
  • Casual MMOs. Three of the titles listed below are trying to break into the casual space, with appealing cutesy graphics and Flash-based play. Most casual titles aren’t persistent, though games like Runescape have done well out of the browser-based market so far.
  • New developers. Fifteen of the studios below are working on their first MMO, or their first game altogether. This could mean increased innovation, or more problems — MMOs are risky business.

Honestly, this is one of the most interesting gaming reads I’ve laid eyes upon lately. If you have any thought of trying out large scale online gaming, you should look through this list and see if anything catches your eye. Sadly, many of these games will likely fail or fail to launch. Of those that do make it though, there should be quite a lot of variety for those who are looking for something new.

[tags]Gaming, MMOs, E3 trends[/tags]