Hey all, we’re back with another top 10, this time one focusing on Eastern-developed MMOs that are confirmed or leaked for a Western release. You know, things such as Bless Online, which is developed by a South Korean studio, but is coming to North America and Europe. You’ll probably find a few surprises and some big names on this top 10, and it will serve to show you that 2017 is shaping up to be a great year after all, despite what crap the naysayers may spout about free to play and how it’s “dying”. Uuuuhhhh, deadly death is coming! Let’s begin!
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10 – MAPLESTORY 2
MapleStory 2 is the risk-taking sequel to one of the most popular MMORPGs ever and one that is still around and making truckloads of money for Nexon. While the sequel is far from the huge success that some expected in South Korea, MapleStory 2 still manages to be a fun game for all ages, with plenty of content, mini-games and customization options – you can even design your own t-shirt, something that naturally led to quite some excesses. There’s also house customization to keep you busy, but the bulk of the game is the usual walking around, slaying cute creatures and cool big monsters while collecting stuff.
MapleStory 2 isn’t officially announced for North America and Europe, but a job offer from Nexon asking for a Production Manager for MapleStory 2 for Nexon’s California office is pretty self-explanatory.
9 – HYPER UNIVERSE
Hyper Universe is that kind of strange beast, a side-scrolling MOBA that should crash and burn based on that fact alone. However, this game managed to offer a fresh and fun take on a tired genre by means of extremely cool characters based or inspired on pop culture idols such as Bruce Lee and Power Rangers, as well as gameplay mechanics that work well and support the choice of a 2D perspective. Things like a focus on verticality that is reminiscent of action platformers or the ability to shake ladders and make the enemies fall off of them are clever touches that add to the game. But most of all, the characters and gameplay are just fun.
Hyper Universe was officially announced for North America and Europe in January 2017.
It seems like it’s been ages since we’ve been promised a western release for Kingdom Under Fire 2 and now, early 2017, we still didn’t get one. While the temptation to consider a North American release dead and buried – you know, just like Phantasy Star Online 2 –, from time to time someone at developer Blueside comes out of nowhere and says stuff like “yeah, it will happen, after we’re done with this region”. The latest we heard from them was in February 2017, when the studio claimed that the North American and European releases would happen after the Russian open beta this fall. So, now we’re looking at a 2018 release at best for a game that has been around in Southeast Asia since early 2014. Still excited?
Anyway, the good thing is that Blueside is actually working on improving the game engine, so when it releases it could actually not look like an old fart. Oh, and for those who don’t know what makes this game exciting, it’s mostly the mix of action combat with realtime strategy, as you can command your troops and have up to 10,000 units battling on-screen. Pretty impressive.
7 – MASTER X MASTER
Master X Master is NCsoft’s Heroes of the Storm, if you catch our drift. We won’t simply call it a MOBA as the game is way more than that – it’s actually a full-fledged action RPG with a co-op mode featuring a storyline that will take you across several locations from popular NCsoft games, and as far as characters go, you’ll get to pick familiar faces from Blade & Soul, Aion, Guild Wars 2, Wildstar, Lineage and more, among other original creations. There’s no beating around the bush here – Master X Master has high production values and is extremely fun to play, either with friends or in competitive modes, and it’s a good thing that the western release is officially confirmed and planned for somewhere close to summer.
6 – CLOSERS ONLINE
Closers Online is one of the few good side-scrolling brawlers that we’ve tried lately and despite heavily featuring an anime style that makes it more suitable for South Korea and Japan, it surely doesn’t lack fans in the west too. With visuals that are rarely matched for a free-to-play game of its kind – perhaps only rivalled by SoulWorker Online – Closers Online is fast, furious, addictive and frequently updated brawler, with new characters and advancements. Some of its creators already have the experience of Elsword Online and it shows on Closers.
There’s no official western announcement for Closers Online yet, but word on a private English server named Code: Closers led developer Naddic Games to take action and mention how this could harm the official North American launch. So, it’s pretty much happening, we just don’t know when.
5 – MU LEGEND
MU Legend marks the return of a classic series, a game that was in development hell for many years but eventually resurfaced and we’re glad it did. Webzen’s hack and slash game won’t win any prizes for originality, but as far as polish and fun goes, this is one of the best Diablo-like games you can expect this year. And even if you’re not interested in this genre or in this game in particular, you have to praise them for one thing that other studios should take notice – the global version was announced pretty much as soon as the game started making some waves, instead of many years after its original announcement, as it happens with other games. In your face, Lost Ark and Peria Chronicles!
SoulWorker Online is making quite a fuss in Japan and South Korea, it seems, and it’s coming to North America and Europe, or at least it looks like it. Publisher Gameforge hasn’t really said much about it since the official announcement, causing thousands of players desperately searching for new virtual waifus to go on an existential crisis. We hope the German studio says something about it soon, as Soulworker is a pure delight for anime fans, an action RPG chockful of style, crazy bosses and characters with plenty of zing and some awesome weapons, so much that they’re the perfect fodder for sexy cosplayers to go wild.
3 – BLESS ONLINE
It would be a crime not to have North American and especially European players experience Bless Online. Why, you ask? Because it’s a game that had its architecture inspired by medieval European countries such as Italy and Spain, brimming with detail in a way that very few MMORPGs manage to nowadays. Oh, and there’s a desert region that apparently was inspired by the Grand Canyon, so that’s where the USA part comes in.
Anyway, another German publisher, Aeria Games, is working on bringing Bless Online to the west and despite a few communications hiccups – including the official Bless website being down for a whole month without any clarification for most of it –, it’s pretty much still on track for 2017. Apparently combat is being improved, so let’s hope that Bless Online becomes a better game than the one that Russian players, for example, are already experiencing. As far as familiar but good MMORPGs go, Bless Online is one of high quality.
2 – MOONLIGHT BLADE
If you know your fantasy martial arts MMORPGs, then you should know that the hottest ones right now are Blade & Soul, Revelation Online and Moonlight Blade. Of the three, only one still hasn’t seen what the western world looks like, that one being Tencent Games’ Moonlight Blade. This game is a truly stunning MMORPG with an action feel that very few games are capable of conveying, and while the developers have fallen to the temptation of adding a loli class (a request by South Korean publisher Nexon), Moonlight Blade is doing its best to create a real Wuxia experience, avoiding the usual traps of monsters and supernatural creatures. And we can’t stress this enough, Moonlight Blade can look like a dream in some places.
Revelation Online enters open beta early March 2017, but many of you have already tried this game and made up your mind about it. Either way, Revelation Online is probably the biggest free MMORPG to launch during 2017 in North America and Europe, with its many qualities making up for some minor issues, including bugs that we hope the developers will be able to wipe out before the official release. By now you should know pretty well what Revelation Online is all about – it’s a fantasy martial arts epic with a seamless open world where you can fly anywhere, there’s aerial combat, world bosses and guild battles. Plenty of stuff to keep you busy for weeks.
And this concludes our top 10 with the big names that are certain to be coming west during this year or 2018 at worst, but we left a few out of it because the likeliness of their localization was a bit more far-fetched, but still bound to happen. We’ll begin with the big one, Lost Ark, which for some reason included an English folder in its Korean closed beta files – we bet you’ll agree that this is suspicious; then there’s the anime sweetheart Peria Chronicles, which has an official Facebook page that more often than not translates the lore of its characters to English, a move that leaves us very intrigued; and we’ll end with Lineage Eternal, a game that was supposedly going to have a simultaneous global release, but that plan seems a bit iffy right now.
Of course, if you have any tips for us on more games, let us know. Or you could just say which game you’re expecting the most. Until next time!