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The List: The Top 5 Most Disappointing MMOs of 2015…So Far

Columns By David Jagneaux on July 27, 2015

The Top 5 Most Disappointing MMOs of 2015…So Far

A couple weeks ago I wrote about some of the best MMOs we've had in 2015 so far. That list included stuff like new releases, games that saw big improvements, and some of the most promising ones to keep your eye on for the next half of 2015. This list, on the other hand, is going to focus on the exact opposite.

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There's no hiding the fact that the past few years in general, haven't been the most prosperous and wonderful for MMO gamers. This year is no exception as we've already seen lackluster launches, poorly maintained games, and everything in between over the past 6 months. As a result, this list is a combination of games that attempted to launch into glory for the first time and those that have fallen from grace.

5) Echo of Soul

I don’t really think too many people were really and truly expecting Echo of Soul to be an amazing and genre-defining game, but I think people had at least hoped it’d be a bit of fresh air in the crowded MMO market. Whenever a game gets localized from another country like Korea, there are always a lot of issues to consider, but it seems like Echo of Soul is just the most lazily localized game in recent memory.

Gender-locking character classes, tiny zones, crappy visuals, uninspired art direction, and an oppressive sense of “meh” holds this game down in a huge way. Echo of Soul is so disappointing not only because of how shoddy the execution is, but also because of how completely generic and uninspired it feels. It’s not necessarily bad, just really disappointing.

4) Archlord 2

What do you get when you take a relatively boring original game, kill it, put a stale coat of paint on the carcass, and attempt to revive it with few changes or hype? You get Archlord 2. A game that somehow manages to be both a sequel and wholly uninteresting at the same time.If you’ve got hours of time to kill grinding in an otherwise boring game, then maybe this is what you’ve been searching for.

But the problem with that is that, even if you’re looking for a grindfest, there are better versions of that out there already. Honestly it’s a damn shame too. The concept behind the original game was fresh and original at the time, but now it’s a franchise that has wholly lost its way and is hardly worth leading back to the path it originally forged.

3) Cabal 2

Continuing the trend I’ve established thus far is Cabal 2, another uninteresting, completely unoriginal, boring, and grindy game that tries so hard to find an audience it never takes the time to find itself. Even if you never downloaded Cabal 2 or booted up the game and take it for a spin, you’ve played Cabal 2.

It’s a game that defies logic. The original Cabal, while far from being a critical success or smash hit, was a cult-classic that a lot of people enjoyed. Hell, I remember playing it and enjoying it back in the day - it was a fun diversion and reminded me of what a free-to-play MMO version of a Diablo clone might look like. Cabal 2 takes all of the promise the original showed and erases it completely.

2) Pathfinder Online

A million bucks is a lot of cash and Goblinworks raised, with the help of 8.7 thousand fans and financial backers on Kickstarter, over a million bucks to make Pathfinder Online a reality. On (pen and) paper it makes sense to take a sandbox design and stick it into an established fantasy universe, so naturally people were excited.

What we actually have so far, is a game that jsut doesn’t feel it was ready for a mass audience yet. That’s totally fine: MMOs more than any other genre are always works in progress. But when you promote your game on an Early Access platform and charge people a monthly subscription to play it, that means you should be ready for judgement. And at the end of the day, Pathfinder is just a disappointing mess in its current state. 

1) World of Warcraft

Oh how the mighty have fallen. Warlords of Draenor, or Borelords, as our very own Suzie Ford prefers to say, has not been the best phase for Blizzard’s flagship MMO powerhouse. From the flight controversy, to the undercooked Garrisons, and repetitive daily quests, WoD lacks the punch it needs to really sustain itself over the long-term. It’s been a solid eight months since the expansion launched, but after the honeymoon phase wore off people quickly saw below the surface of what was originally expected to be a strong outing for the long-running MMO.

The questing from 90-100 is solid and entertaining enough, but that only lasts you a few hours at best. Everything else in this expansion requires so much grinding for so little reward it feels like one giant timesink. There is a lot of potential under the hood with WoD and some really good ideas are at work here, but at the end of the day it can only be described as a one major disappointment.

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The year of 2015 is only halfway over, so there is still plenty of time left for more disappointment unfortunately. In a perfect world, all five of the games on this list would see the error of their ways and make dramatic turn arounds. Each of them have some morsels of creativity buried beneath the mediocrity, but it’s a longshot if you think any of these will really turn much of anything around. Perhaps a new, unexpected patch will release for WoD, or maybe Pathfinder will take away the monthly subs until the game is actually finished, but I doubt it.

Sometimes the surest bet of all is that you can expect more of the same. Maybe I sound like a bit of cynic here, but I’ve learned to stop dreamily expecting innovation and instead hope for it like a good sunset.

David Jagneaux / David is a freelance writer and full-time nerd. He loves to play, write about, talk about and think about all things gaming. You can find his work all across the interwebs. It's dangerous to go alone, so follow him on Twitter!