TAGN has a post about the PC Gamer 50 most important PC games, which includes five MMOs (UO, EQ, EVE, WoW, Second Life). As noted in his post, all those MMOs came out prior to 2004, which basically tells you everything you need to know about the genre today.
As I was thinking about it, what post-2004 MMO would you put on the list if you had to pick one? WAR for killing the genre? SW:TOR for being a massive flop at release? FFXIV for its disaster launch with 1.0 and rebirth with 2.0? GW2 for…?
It’s tough right? And what’s crazy is this shouldn’t be that hard, not having to go back as far as 2004. So much has changed in gaming in 12 years, and yet here we have the MMO genre without any major leaps forward (and a lot of steps backwards, from WoW’s current state to the now-dying F2P model idiocy). No Kickstarter games that have shattered the mold (yet, hopefully), no niche releases that have picked up major steam, no big releases that moved us forward. Just more WoW-clones or small titles that had a few decent ideas and a whole host of flaws or issues.
What’s even more crazy if you think about all of this is that even today, the MMO genre is young compared to genres like FPS, RTS, RPG, or TBS, yet again while those genres have moved forward, the MMO space has not.