There are many hidden gems in the MMO genre. Some are obscure, but their unique approaches to traditional MMORPG mechanics make for interesting experiences.
The MMORPG genre is a realm of AAA titans, but for every Final Fantasy 14 or World of Warcraft, there's a smaller game trying to carve out its own niche. These standalone MMOs set themselves apart from the bigger players by incorporating interesting mechanics or exploring areas of the genre that others haven't touched.
Smaller MMOs have a tough job for them. Attracting enough players to avoid looking “dead” to potential newcomers is hard enough without the added strain of competing against the likes of Square Enix and Blizzard. Finding a comfortable place in the MMO sphere seems almost impossible when a company like Amazon cancels a Lord of the Rings MMO to focus on other genres. However, somehow these smaller developers have found their own niches.
Some little-known MMOs have been running for years without much public attention. Some were even forced to close due to low player counts before being brought back by fan demand. Being a sleeper hit might not make a game appear on top MMORPG lists, but it might attract a dedicated player base to keep the community alive.
Secret world legends
Secret World Legends was originally released on July 3, 2012 under the name The Secret World. Re-released in 2017, the game now employs a buy-to-play business model. One purchase gives you access to the entire game and there is no entry fee. Focusing on modern day rather than traditional fantasy, Secret World weaves gothic horror and folklore into an interesting mystery-based storyline. Players can choose to join the Illuminati, the Templars (yes, like the Templars from Assassin's Creed), or the Dragon, giving them access to different faction-specific quests. The game was only a minor success, according to Steam's charts, with a peak of just 176 concurrent players in the last 24 hours at the time of writing and a peak of 3.740.
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A fully open world sandbox experience, Mortal Online offers full PvP, meaning players are only safe in select locations. A dead character can be fully looted by anyone, so death is an extra punishment. Featuring a skill and attribute system rather than traditional leveling, characters can only get better at what they actively practice. The game's focus on skills and an open world can be compared to games like Skyrim, although it is far less forgiving. A sequel, Mortal Online 2, is currently in development and is in its beta phase.
The Glory of the Conquerors: Medieval MMORPG
Gloria Victis: Medieval MMORPG is an early access, open-world, feudal-era MMORPG that could soon join some of the best medieval games. Described by developer Black Eye Games as a cross between Mount & Blade and Planetside 2, this title eschews traditional MMO guide targeting in favor of a more active combat system. PvP is a central part of Gloria Victis. Dead players can be partially looted by others and guilds can create their own virtual fiefdoms. The property is not permanent, however. Rival guilds can besiege the ruling guild and take their land. The game looks promising for those looking for a more player-oriented game rather than the now-standard theme park MMORPG experience. Gloria Victis' future is unknown, but for now, it's one of many smaller MMO games trying to achieve great levels of success.
This was our short list of little known MMORPG's, but with a lot of potential. Stay tuned on our website for more news and tips about the gaming world. Take care and until next time!