Top Five MMOs We Miss the Most

By Jeff Francis
Top five mmos we miss the most

One aspect of playing mmorpg games that can really grab players is how immersed a player can become in the game. Many of us have made lifelong friends playing online games, and there's just something that's so compelling about having shared adventures with others. In a perfect world, the mmos that we love to play would last forever, but that is seldom the case. It seems that the games we care about the most and pour our hearts into are the ones that eventually find themselves being shut down. It can be devastating to have the game that we've spent years playing cease operation and shut down for good. To remember those games that have gone to the digital realm in the sky, we offer this list of the top five mmos we miss the most.

As always, it needs to be pointed out that all lists are subjective. It's very possible that a game that we loved is one that others hated or just didn't care about. Feel free to comment below if your favorite cancelled game didn't make our list. Now light a candle in memoriam for these top five cancelled mmos.

Star Wars Galaxies battle

Star Wars Galaxies
The first game on our list of the top five cancelled mmos is Star Wars Galaxies. Long before Star Wars: The Old Republic was a gleam in a developer's eye, Star Wars Galaxies brought mmo gamers into the Star Wars universe. What made this game memorable was the sandbox nature where players controlled the economy and players could join together and build cities. There were many players who devoted themselves to just being craftsmen or merchants, and it was not uncommon to enter a cantina and find gamers working as dancers. You could even play as a politician! When space combat was introduced, players could find themselves flying fighters, such as the X-Wing or Tie-Fighter, or larger ships where players could man individual laser turrets. Sadly, SOE ruined the game by overhauling the core mechanics and it never recovered.

Auto Assault
Second on our list of cancelled mmos is Auto Assault. Developed by NetDevil, this game brought post-apocalyptic action to online gaming. Auto Assault was a refreshing change of pace from the standard fantasy mmo games that dominate the marketplace. Gamers played in a Road Warrior-type setting as one of three factions: humans, mutants, and biomeks. In town, the player moved around with a normal character, but once you left town, the action really began. Players roamed the post-apocalyptic landscape in heavily armed and armored vehicles. Who doesn't get a kick out of driving a semi and shooting missiles and using a flamethrower? There was no death penalty so players would really go at it in massive road rage battles. As someone who loves the Mad Max movies and played Car Wars extensively, this game really appealed to me. Alas, Auto Assault could never garner enough subscribers, so it died only a year after it launched.

Tabula Rasa
A lawsuit is one of the interesting tidbits about our next game on our top five cancelled mmos list. Tabula Rasa generated tremendous buzz and excitement when it was being developed, but that initial hype didn't generate into enough subscribers for the game. Those that played Tabula Rasa usually loved it, and the game featured some unique gameplay systems. The combat system was universally praised and was akin to a first person shooter. All players started out as the same and would specialize in a tree as they leveled up. Besides the combat, what really set this mmo apart was the fascinating lore created for the game that permeated it thoroughly. Players were the remnants of humanity who were fighting against the Bane, a consortium of aliens who had conquered the Earth. The game featured its own language in the form of pictographs, and there were quite a few missions that featured the player having to make some ethical choices. As for the lawsuit, Richard Garriott sued NCsoft for forcing him out and he eventually won $28 million.

City of Heroes superheroes

City of Heroes
This game is the one that hurts the most for me as we list our top five cancelled mmos. City of Heroes was a bright, shining jewel that allowed players to play as a mighty superhero. This was the first superhero mmo, and many would say the best. The character creation was absolutely incredible, with only Champions Online coming close. The game had a vibrant community, and while players could only play heroes at the beginning, City of Villains introduced the ability to play as a supervillain. City of Heroes was just flat out fun to play, and the game eventually allowed players to create their own missions and share them with others. One aspect of the game that was a blast was that guilds (supergroups) could build a lair of their own design, and players could attack rival group's lairs or be forced to defend their own. When NCsoft pulled the plug on City of Heroes, it was a dark day for justice.

Warhammer Online
The last entity on our list of the top five cancelled mmos is Warhammer Online. I've been involved in the Warhammer universe since the mid 1980s, and I was ecstatic when this mmo was announced. While I admit that the game bogged down in the upper tiers, it was a total joy to play for the first few tiers. The game was extremely true to its setting, and I nearly wept with joy when my Witch Elf talked to a Chaos Warrior NPC, who said, "Why aren't you out killing something?" The scenarios for PvP were extremely well designed and varied quite a bit from one another. I actually hated leveling past the level range to do the first two tiers of PvP scenarios. Another feature of Warhammer Online that was incredible was the public quests, which have become a staple in later online games. While Warhammer Online never lived up to its promise, it did stay true to the brutal roots of Warhammer Fantasy Battles and it was a great ride for the first part of the game. What other game celebrated Valentine's Day by going out and collecting severed heads?

None of these cancelled mmos were truly perfect, but they did provide quite a bit of entertaining play. Some games failed to attract enough subscribers and only lasted a year (Auto Assault and Tabula Rasa) while others were silenced despite still being profitable (City of Heroes). In the end, these games were enjoyable and had something unique for players to latch onto. It's sad that companies sometimes tinker with success (Star Wars Galaxies), but every mmo eventually fades away. No matter what, we'll still remember these games fondly.

Sep252014

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