Over the past few years there has been a dire lack of MMO's leaving my favorite genre feeling nearly dead. I had at one time hoped that new titles such as Revelations Online, Riders of Icarus, and Everquest Next would be that next great game. Sadly this turned out to be a major series of disappointments helping to contribute to the mess we are in today. These games were destroyed by their monetization practices, poor management, and lack of communication between the developers and their communities.
I have seen enough failures that I didn't fall for the hype surrounding Bless Online which only needed to be average to succeed. The game ended up becoming a prime example of developers who are lazy, disconnected from their community, and seemingly greedy wanting only a quick buck. After the game flopped many guilds parted ways not having anything to play together now. This was disheartening. I wondered how anyone could have been hyped for a game that had failed multiple times previously in different regions. Or how could a development team that was on their last chance to succeed so marvelously mess up their game and fail to learn from their prior mistakes. For so many this wrecked what little faith we had left in the industry. Personally I have been a member in many larger guilds that fell apart after the game they built themselves around died or failed to meet expectations. Hype can truly be a killer in that sense as over expectations can certainly drown a game. So I understand the pain caused by losing that community, your group of friends.
However, I wouldn't say the genre is dead completely but it is becoming increasingly stagnant. Guild Wars 2, World of Warcraft, Elder Scrolls Online and many other games are fun and can be played right now. Still they've been out for many years and time is definitely beginning to take its toll on the industry. Even when we have so much history to look back on and play, the need for something fresh and new is there! We have learned to fear failure so we avoid being caught up in the next wave of hope (or hype). I am more afraid though of losing hope completely in something better that brings back that excitement I had when I first began to play MMOS. If we stop fighting for a better future, if we do lose hope, then our favorite genre will eventually fade away.
There are some games coming out in a few years that promise to be great such as Duel Universe, or Temtem, that may or may not be successful. However if they do what they promise then we may see the revitalization of our community. These games are meant more for a niche market but even so if they succeed they will be making a statement about what a good game can be. While I look forward to these games personally there is one upcoming title that will in my opinion truly "make MMOs great again." One that I am actually hopeful for and, dare I say it... HYPED.
Ashes of Creation does something that other games have failed for the most part to do: they are open about their development. From day one the team from Intrepid Studios has been completely transparent about the good, and the bad. You're able to see how quickly they are progressing while also getting a completely raw look at the game in it's earliest stages. For many who don't understand how games are developed and never see the rough unpolished side of game design this can be turn off for them. For me this game represents hope and I'm glad to see that they aren't choosing to hide anything from us like so many other developers have! If Alpha 1 is successful and shows a fun, enjoyable game at it's earliest stages, and they nail the combat right on then I have no doubt this game will succeed! This game will shine like a star.
For now I am a member of an amazing community called Ember and we are all waiting for Ashes of Creation together. The guild is new, with many possibilities, especially when the game launches. Since the game is more than a year away much could happen between now and then but I wouldn't choose another place to belong.