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Avatar: Reckoning is Disney's Major Foray Into MMORPGs, But Will It Be Good?

Kanishka Thakur Posted:
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The Avatar franchise is making strides and is breaking into the gaming space. Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is an upcoming open-world action-adventure game based on James Cameron’s Avatar film series. The game is currently under development by Ubisoft Entertainment. But there is another game that is being developed as a result of a partnership between Disney and Tencent’s Archosaur Games. Avatar: Reckoning is an ambitious MMORPG title that is coming to Android and iOS where several Na’Vi clans will fight against Resources Development Administration (RDA) troops looking to exploit resources from the Na’vi homeland. 

Players will be able to experience the content in solo, co-op, and “dynamic multiplayer patches.” Multiplayer dungeon raids will shape a core part of the MMORPG experience and we cannot wait to see how the game turns out. Archosaur Games is the same studio that developed Dragon Raja, which is a highly successful mobile MMORPG, and the expectations from the dev team are very high.

Setting the Stage for Avatar’s Lore and Class System

Avatar Reckoning

If you have not watched any Avatar content and are not familiar with the universe’s lore, here’s a very brief rundown. In the world of Pandora, we discover the Na’Vi civilization. While they seem primitive at first sight, they are evolved beings. Among them, are the Avatars who are genetically engineered creatures that have both human and Na’vi DNA. The purpose of these avatars is to explore Pandora without being affected by the poisonous atmosphere. They can also interact with Na’vi natives.

Avatars are responsible for fieldwork for the RDA, which is one of the oldest and largest quasi-government entities. The RDA seeks to create a transit system that would allow entire populations to move hundreds of thousands of miles. Conflicts arise when Avatars decide to side with the Na’vi and expose the RDA’s plans to exploit Pandora.

While very little is known about Avatar: Reckoning, we know what the Avatar universe is like and how Archosaur Games have handled their previous MMORPG Dragon Raja. we can expect the Na’vi to be split into separate classes or tribes. Dragon Raja achieves this by offering full customization for your characters and there are multiple classes to choose from. We can expect something similar in Avatar: Reckoning as well. When it comes to the official lore itself, there are no clearly identifiable classes in the universe. However, the developers added Guard, Scout, Combat Medic, and Engineer classes in the beta and we may see more classes at launch.

Gameplay Systems We Want in Avatar: Reckoning

With Pandora being a hostile environment for the Na’vi, we might see some survival gameplay elements being implemented in the game. The poisonous air is dangerous for humans and Na’vi alike and the developers have confirmed that we will be part of the Na’vi tribes. Managing your resources and bracing the toxic air can add another layer of challenge that makes the gameplay loop feel a lot more interesting.

In terms of Archosaur’s track record with its Dragon Raja MMORPG, the combat system is likely to be more or less the same in Avatar: Reckoning. Since the game is designed for mobile devices, Dragon Raja’s combat does not get too fancy and overcomplicate things. 

It is highly functional and you mash buttons to pull off special skills and combos. With no PC or console version in sight, it is likely that the combat systems will be simple and fast-paced, instead of going for more traditional and complex systems.

If you are not a fan of auto-combat or auto-questing, this game might not be for you. Both features are present in Dragon Raja and it essentially breaks the immersion of the game. And since these systems exist in Dragon Raja, the game is optimized in a way that players can automatically do everything. With a lot of players in the servers playing on auto, the human interaction between players is reduced. While there are enough players that communicate and interact, I feel that the automated features are a detriment and not a quality-of-life improvement overall. 

Avatar’s Pandora is one of the most beautiful worlds ever created within a movie and I would rather experience it with real players instead of “bots” when I do any kind of content in the game. While these systems are not confirmed officially, they have worked very well for Dragon Raja and it will not be surprising if they are staples in Avatar: Reckoning as well.

Monetization Concerns Aplenty

Yes, I am about to say the dreaded G word. Gacha is present in Dragon Raja and considering how popular the monetization method is at a global level thanks to games like Genshin Impact and Tower of Fantasy, it is very likely that Avatar: Reckoning will also have something similar.  I personally see gacha and loot boxes as the same. You are paying for random rewards and a lot of the time, the random rewards can leave you very frustrated. 

While it is entirely possible for games to have gacha mechanics and still offer excellent experiences, the monetization method can feel predatory in an MMORPG environment. After all, MMOs are multiplayer experiences and if there are PvP elements in the game and someone could just buy better gear, it would not feel very fair. Dragon Raja has both a cash shop and a gacha system which is where the main problem lies. Having just one of the two monetization methods is fine but if the game has both forms of monetization in Avatar: Reckoning, people will raise eyebrows.

Should You Try Avatar: Reckoning?

While I have concerns about the game’s monetization looking at Archosaur Games’ track record, I cannot help but be excited for Avatar: Reckoning. Unless you are concerned about PvP leaderboards, the free-to-play experience might turn out to be great. With the Disney brand being involved in the game’s release, we can expect a high-quality experience. 

After all, Disney’s Dreamlight Valley turned out to be a solid game and it has a lot of features that would put Animal Crossing to shame. I am cautiously optimistic about Avatar: Reckoning primarily due to monetization concerns but aside from that, Archosaur Games can offer high-quality graphics and some solid writing for their games and I hope the track record stays the same considering how important the Avatar franchise is to me and a lot of other fans of James Cameron’s work.


Kanishka Thakur