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MMO Games in 2012 - Recap Part II

31. December, 2012Tags: MMO Blog, MMO Industry

Recap on MMO in 2012 Part 2MMO 2012 Recap continues with part 2. We looked at the world of MMOs in the first six months of 2012 yesterday. Today we continue with the second half of the year. 2012 has been a great year for MMOs - perhaps the best ever – and the trends started for 2013 are going to be very, very important. Continue reading for a recap on MMO games in 2012. Today we also have a quick flashback video. 12 months in 4 minutes. Read on.


If you missed the first part of this MMO World - 2012 Recap, you can read it here. In an attempt at looking back at 2012, we’ve compiled some of the most important news of the past twelve months into a nice, easy to read compilation. If there are things we’ve missed or things you’re looking forward to, be sure to hit up our comments section below. This is part II continuing from yesterday's part I.

MMO World in 2012 - Recap Part II



Kingdoms of Amalur MMO Shelved – Troubled 38 Studios had been talking about the fact that Kingdoms of Amalur was a prequel to an MMO for quite a long time. Then it was cancelled and deemed not “fun.” A leaked trailer got people talking, but millions of dollars of debt and mediocre sales meant the full game would never see the light of day.

The War Z Announced – The gaming world’s most entertaining controversy of 2012 began in July, with the announcement of The War Z. First complaints said it tried too hard to cash in on the DayZ craze, although those complaints would soon seem mild.

The War Z

The War Z

The Secret World Released – After months of talk and hype, The Secret World release was vaguely disappointing. Links to EA and it being a new IP meant that the MMO everyone was talking about turned out to be…not all that well known. That linked with a high entry price effectively set this one on an uphill struggle.

Play The Secret World

End of Nations Closed Beta begins: Trion Worlds launch End of Nations’ Closed Beta and starts selling Founder’s Edition. See our End of Nations Beta preview here.


The Old Republic Going Free-To-Play – The first of August saw the announcement that, due to dropping user numbers, The Old Republic would be going free-to-play in the Autumn. It was by no means a shocking announcement and some questioned whether it was too little, too late.

City of Heroes to be Closed – Superhero MMO City of Heroes was announced to be closing at the very end f August. This was met with confusion, outrage and quiet disappointment, but NCsoft confirmed the game would be shut down and there was no more to it despite the remarkable effort of the game's fans.

City of Heroes closes

En Masse in Trouble – TERA, similarly to The Secret World, had started off quite well and then had quickly found their subscription numbers hard to maintain. Unlike The Secret World, where they would try to fix the problem with a different purchase model, En Masse had to lay people off and merge servers instead.

Square Enix Detail A Realm Reborn – After a year of Final Fantasy XIV being something of a laughing stock, Square Enix finally unveiled A Realm Reborn. It wasn’t all the assurance people needed to go back to the game after the disappointment that was the original game, but 2.0 was definitely a step in the right direction.

Guild Wars 2 Released

Guild Wars 2 released in August 2012

Guild Wars 2 Released – Guild Wars 2 exploded on release day, crashing servers and selling out completely both on the web and in retail stores. Giantbomb said it was just like any other MMO, although many of the gamers who took to the game in their hundreds of thousands definitely disagreed.


Guild Wars 2 Accounts Compromised – Signing in to Guild Wars 2 was quite difficult at the beginning of the month, but it was the fact that hackers had managed to compromise up to 10,000 accounts that hit the front pages. People were understandably upset, but it didn’t slow down the huge popularity of Tyria.

New Review Structure Needed! – The subject of editorials across the net, Cryptic Studios’ Dan Stahl said that he thought review structures for MMOs should be different to review structures for offline games. Hundreds of MMO reviewers responded to Dan Stahl and wrote about the amount of coverage done and the impossible nature of what he was asking.

Mists of Pandaria Released - The World of Warcraft expansion that some people felt was the end of the game released at the end of September. Although the Pandarens were part of Warcraft lore and had been a part of the series for a long time, there was mixed reaction to just how what they’d add to the World of Warcraft. Casual racism? Cutesy characters? It doesn’t matter, it still sold a ton and confimed the on-going popularity of World of Warcraft. See the Mists of Pandaria trailer here.

Mists of Pandaria released

Mists of Pandaria released in August

DevilsMMO’s Guild Wars 2 Diary Begins – Following TERA, DevilsMMO starts the all new weekly diary for Guild Wars 2.


Fallout MMO Mentioned Again – Bethesda announced in October that they were opening a new studio in Austin, although they didn’t specify what exactly that studio would be working on. Battlecry Studios was to be headed up by Rich Vogel, a veteran of The Old Republic and several other high profile MMOs, leading people to the conclusion that they were probably working on the Fallout MMO.

World of Warcraft reach 10 million subscribers - again- Having lost a bit of momentum earlier this year, World of Warcraft, following the release of Mists of Pandaria, reclaims 10 million subscribers once again.

Mech Warrior Online Open Beta

Mech Warrior Online



More Elder Scrolls Online Details – After months of coy hints and no news, Bethesda released a long video detailing The Elder Scrolls Online. From Mega-Servers to perks and classes, this nine minute video managed to both inform and tease, as fans simultaneously felt satisfied but wanted more.
World of Warcraft turns 8 – With no signs of going away, the World of Warcraft turned 8 years old in November. Players around the world were given anniversary gifts and partook in events (both in game and out) to celebrate.

Planetside 2

Planetside 2 released in November 2012

Planetside 2 Released – The biggest MMOFPS of the year hit Steam in mid-November to fantastic reviews. Read our Planetside 2 review here. It was different, it was big and it was enough to get people excited about shooters.

Disney buying Lucas Arts – Disney announce that it’s reached an agreement with Lucas Arts and will be buying the company.


  • Rift’s new expansion Storm Legion launches
  • RaiderZ goes live


The War Z Implodes – After months of suspect activity, The War Z hit Steam and started selling incredibly well. Except the features on the Steam store page was nothing like the features in the game. The developer started refusing refunds through their own website and Steam removed the game from its store. All the infamy was bound to sell the game to masochists, but even that was scuppered when the trademark office forced them to change the name. At the end of the day, The War Z had thousands of angry customers.

The Secret World Issue 4

The Secret World doesn't require subscription but issues won't be for free

The Secret World Drops the Subscription to play the game – The Secret World was the last game of the year to learn the error of its ways and drop the subscription (It is now optional). Unlike The Old Republic, that went free-to-Play, The Secret World took up the Guild Wars model, payment for entry and then unlimited access afterwards. The £10 price in the Steam sale probably bolstered the user base an awful lot.

MMO in 2012 - Final Words

2012 has seen a lot of ups and downs in MMO industry, from studio closures to surprise hits. We’ve seen MMOs rise and fall, we’ve seen slow burners and a few no hopers. We’ve seen the trend of free-to-play/no subscription games take off in a whole new way and that’s a trend I expect will continue into 2013. Guild Wars 2 revitalized the market for a moment and continues to pull healthy figures, but The Elder Scrolls Online might soon once and for all take up the mantle of WoW-Killer and force Blizzard to share details of their next big game.

There’s one thing I can say without a doubt: 2013 will prove more exciting than 2012 for MMO games, if only for rivalries and continued growth of those gams released in 2012.


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