I’ve bagged a lot on Mortal Online in the past, mostly because at launch it was a trainwreck. Amazingly this was sometime just after the release of Darkfall 1. Since that time DF1 closed to make room for DF:UW, and then Aventurine decided having a slowly increasing population was bad and removed classes and tanked DF:UW, all while Mortal Online has kept on going and improving/expanding.
I somewhat recently played the game a bit, and while still not my cup of tea, its a solid MMO that knows what it’s focus is (clan-based open-world PvP, crafting-focused economy) and doesn’t try to do too much. Per MassivelyOP, the CEO recently posted that the game has ‘a few thousand’ subs, that the total is slowly increasing, and that a bigger increase is expected when the next free expansion hits.
All of that is good stuff, both for MO players and for everyone else tired of ‘AAA’ MMOs that end up being FFF MMOs when it comes to the stuff that should really matter in the genre (community, long-term engagement, a greater sense of purpose and world). And like a few other titles, MO is another nice example that you can be successful without having to change what you do, even if ‘what you do’ is only for a few thousand players at a time. MO is also a good example of a game with a rough start, that must have been seriously hurting in terms of population, but where the devs stuck with it and eventually dug themselves out.
The MMO genre can both be extremely harsh and also extremely forgiving. If you deliver something that doesn’t have legs, no amount of polish or sizzle will save you. If you appeal to an under-appreciated group and don’t sell them out, all while improving and fixing your mistakes, you will be rewarded eventually. It’s kinda nice that things work like that sometimes, although unfortunately not often enough just yet.