No matter what you think about current MMOs there are still games out there that do extremely well in today’s market. There are two that I can think which provide updates and content for their user bases as well as fast leveling practices and multi-tiered cash shop options. Neverwinter and Elder Scrolls Online remain strong money makers for their respective markets and also keep the classic fantasy feel we all grew up with.
Elder Scrolls Online
Maintaining a consistent output of DLC packs and eliminating the level grind has really made ESO one of the top MMOs on the market. It plays on console as well as PC and provides an open experience for players. The team at Zenimax Online Studios has taken the game into the modern MMO era as a driving force among its strong player base.
Logging in for the first time in months it was amazing to see how populated the cities and in game locations were. Even in remote starting areas, there were a lot of players, always a healthy sign. The game has enhanced its format with reasonably priced expansion packs which provide content. Many developers will tell you that content is king. Well, ESO has proven that model by keeping a steady release schedule. Wrathstone is coming soon, as in, next week soon.
That is not all though, the game has managed to fit in a subscription model which makes sense. It has multiple ways for players to pay for the game. This format allows players to decide when and how to spend their money.
Overall, ESO keeps a very strong community. Returning to the game I found the leveling fast and easy to catch up to the current meta.
This game continues on the same path as ESO. Neverwinter does have the D&D brand behind it, but it also does a good job of maintaining a consistent launch of content throughout the year.
The new Undermountain expansion offers dungeon crawls and keeps with classic D&D troupes. When you get old school D&D players from first edition excited about taking the ruby eyes out of a statue well, then perhaps you are doing something right to maintain your community.
While Perfect World keeps the ball rolling on Neverwinter, there has been some push back on expensive pricing models in the game’s online store. It still hosts the free-to-play model and limits some financial transactions.
In the end, Neverwinter does support another strong community.
These two games are prime examples of how MMOs released in the past ten years continue to make money. Many consider them hold overs from the post WoW MMO boom, but they are actually teaching us lessons in the 2010 era of MMOs. How games will be structure in the decade of the 2020s will be interesting to see if they can follow these models. New MMOs think they may have to chase the battle royale craze right now in games, however that is not a game mode that everyone wants. Sure, it is a successful model but only sustainable for a few titles at the top.
MMOs like World of Warcraft have seen a dip in continued users lately because they have never adjusted to the new marketplace and take too long in between updates. The game has also suffered from lack of design changes to meet new ideas of play.
In the end, MMOs have taught us more about playing online in the past ten years than the previous decade which saw so many come to market. Now we just have to wait and see what is coming over the horizon for 2020.