At one point in time, MMOs were as rare as the legendary loot players desperately hope to receive at the end of a quest. The genre’s history is littered with total failures and ambitious games that never received the attention they deserved.
However, there appears to be a shift in 2019 as the continued success of popular MMORPGs like WoW Classic, Neverwinter, and Final Fantasy XIV show clear signs of an MMO resurgence. As live service games become increasingly common and players continue to come together to explore sprawling new worlds, it’s possible we may finally see the genre reach its full potential.
Here, we’ve highlighted the best upcoming MMORPGs releasing in 2019 and beyond. Make sure to check back as we’ll be updating this list in the future. And if you’d like to receive more gaming recommendations, consider reading through our other highly researched curated lists:
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Release Date: TBA 2019
Starbase is an upcoming space MMO set in a fully-destructible, constantly expanding universe that combines voxel and vertex-based technology to create highly-detailed environments capable of simulating real-world physics. This allows for in-game collisions that can either break off a few pieces of your ship or completely rip it apart, depending on what speed you’re traveling at.
The game is centered on building and designing a variety of spaceships and stations in addition to exploring meteors, intergalactic wreckage, and more. Players can interact with one another in a variety of ways including trading, cooperative building, and engaging in combat. Lastly, developer/publisher Frozenbyte has included a sandbox mode where you can explore alone or with a group of select friends in your own universe.
Release Date: Mar 31, 2020
Destiny’s Sword is an upcoming squad-based strategy MMO where winning a battle is about more than brute strength. This is because the game features unique social mechanics that task players with managing both the physical and mental wellbeing of their team as they command them through skirmishes against the enemy faction.
As the war progresses, your character will start to develop mental illnesses that can affect their performance in battle as well as team morale. Destiny’s Sword considers itself a “community-first MMO,” where personal victories take a backseat to elevating your teammates; communicating and cooperating with your squad will be an essential part of succeeding in battle.
Phantasy Star Online 2
Release Date: Spring 2020
Fans of the original rejoiced upon learning that Phantasy Star Online 2 will finally be released outside of Asia for the first time on Xbox One and PC. The Sega-published MMO sees you becoming a member of a research expedition called Arks, a fleet of intergalactic spaceships whose goal is to research as many planets as possible.
Players will be able to create a custom avatar by selecting from a variety of races, physical features, and character classes before embarking on planetary quests that support online multiplayer for up to 12 players. Now seven years old, PSO2 will launch as a free-to-play title with all previously released content included.
Release Date: TBA 2020
Dual Universe is another upcoming space MMO that shows a lot of promise. The game boasts having the first fully editable universe where players are free to create vehicles, ships, buildings, and even full-sized cities. It doesn’t just end there, as player-driven economy, politics, trade, and warfare systems offer a truly immersive experience that allows for more intricate player interactions.
While a game of this scale could easily fall prey to many of the usual MMO trappings, such as lengthy load times and overly crowded servers, developer Novaquark has come up with an ambitious solution. Dual Universe will feature one seamless universe that connects every player, referred to as the “continuous single shard.” If successful, this would allow for a much more populated game world with a stronger sense of community compared to other MMOs.
Crowfall is an upcoming fantasy MMORPG centered on forming political alliances and rivalries in order to divide and conquer. To this point, the game emphasizes interacting with other players via a host of political/economic systems such as territory ownership, alliance hierarchies, trading, and more. Players can leverage each of these systems to advance their position of power and ultimately seize the throne.
When it comes to character creation, Crowfall uses a point-based stat system that allows players to finely-tune different archetypes to match their preferred playstyle. This ensures no two builds are the same, as each avatar will have their own distinct advantages and disadvantages determined by the player. Currently in Beta, the game has recently been updated with a new Day/Night system as well as refinements to progression and crafting.
Having been in development for roughly six years, Arthurian fantasy MMO Camelot Unchained appears to be the latest victim of what’s been deemed “development hell,” with developer City State Entertainment having little to show of what’s been touted as a massive, open-world sandbox environment with towns and cities built almost entirely by the players.
So far, we know the game will let players join one of three factions—Arthurian, Tuatha De Danann, and Viking. From there players will be able to explore a variety of activities including large-scale battles spanning multiple realms, base building, trading, and armor/weapon crafting. While far from release-ready, an upcoming Alpha build will hopefully provide a bit more context as to what players can expect from Camelot Unchained in the future.
Population Zero is an upcoming MMO that sees players working together to unravel the many mysteries of Kepler, a strange alien planet home to an array of hostile creatures and plant-life. The game places a heavy emphasis on forming alliances, assigning players to different colonies, each with their own philosophy and arsenal of special skills.
Colonies will have dynamic relationships that evolve over time, sometimes requiring players to put their differences aside and cooperate in order to eliminate a major threat, or participate in large-scale conflicts over resource-abundant territories. As they navigate through Kepler’s harsh environments, players will discover secrets regarding ancient civilizations that came before, and encounter clever enemies with unique behaviors.
City of Titans
While many are still mourning the loss of the wildly popular superhero MMO City of Heroes, developer Missing Worlds Media has spent the last six years creating a spiritual successor, aptly named City of Titans. Similar to CoH, the game will allow players to create an original hero or villain and begin carving out their own adventures through selectable storylines designed specifically for their chosen archetype.
In-game powers cover just about every superhero trope you could imagine including flight, teleportation, super strength, and laser vision to name a few. Although CoT is still very far from being finished or even playable, the most recent developer update shows improvements to the game’s UI and character creation tools.
Ascent: Infinite Realm
Set in a high fantasy, steampunk-inspired world, Ascent: Infinite Realm is an upcoming MMO being developed by Bluehole, the company behind PUBG. The game sees players exploring a massive open-world in search of a new home. However, to traverse A:IR’s mostly vertical environments, they’ll have to take to the skies using a wide-selection of airships, hovering vehicles, and flying mounts, each of which highly customizable.
These dirigibles are useful for more than just navigation, with many providing defensive/offensive options that make full use of the game’s unique air-based combat. Additionally, ground base weaponry such as mechs, anti-air artillery, and cannons make A:IR’s large-scale wars feel like epic battles pulled straight off a page of a fantasy novel.
Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen
Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen is another upcoming MMO set in a high fantasy world filled with swords and sorcery. Taking on the role of a legendary hero who’s been stripped of their powers, players will have to rebuild their legacy by exploring Terminus, a world brimming with formidable foes and powerful relics waiting to be discovered.
The game places a heavy emphasis on group play and social interactions, with many high-reward quests requiring multiple players to complete. Most promising is Pantheon’s strategic combat system, which removes the option to rotate abilities, instead forcing players to carefully plan out every action before deciding to execute.