MMOs are a hard market to break into. They have to keep a certain number of active players just to survive, and more to be successful. I mean, it’s kind of in the name – Massively Multiplayer Online. This can be a little difficult to do, considering the market saturation around MMOs. Not only do MMOs need to keep a large enough playerbase, but they also need to find a way to recoup funds for further development. Over the past 15 or so years there have been many free MMO’s that’ve closed for any number of reasons. And yet, with so many games closing, there are also a lot of fan-supported MMO revivals: games that were brought back to life by their players.
Here are some of the best MMO revivals I’ve seen – and don’t worry, I’m definitely being biased.
Cartoon Network Fusionfall
Fusionfall was my absolute favorite while growing up. I got to travel throughout the Fusionfall universe, meeting grown up versions of your favorite characters and fighting their evil counterparts. The revival, Fusionfall Legacy, is interesting, seeing as the main game has stayed mostly the same.
The only difference I could pick out last time I played was that progression had changed somewhat. A lot of things are open from the get go – and if I recall correctly, you even have an option to skip the tutorial. There is also Fusionfall Retro, which is pretty much just the original game – equally as awesome.
Everything you acquired in the game was themed off a Cartoon Network TV show, and nothing was off limits. You could grab gear matching anything from Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, to Samurai Jack. You could even get tiny versions of your favorite character that would look cute and help you in battle. Sadly, Fusionfall closed in 2013 – five years after its initial release. Five seems to be the key for Fusionfall though, as the revival would come five years later in 2018. The return of Fusionfall is definitely one of the best MMO revivals I’ve seen.
Freerealms was super fun when I first hopped on back in 2010. It had everything from cooking to racing, and was surprisingly developed by Sony. The game itself was pretty simple when I think about it, but something about it always left an imprint in my memories.
When I found out about Free Realms Sunrise I was excited, yet surprised. I never thought the game seemed that popular, nor did I think there were enough dedicated fans to support it and keep it alive. I was entirely wrong, it seems, as it had closer to 10 million players by 2011. In any case, I’m happy it’s back on the market – even if it’s not completely available to play yet.
Toontown was an MMO from Disney in which you play as an anthropomorphic animal, fighting off business-executive looking robots that threaten to suck all the joy out of the titular town. It was based around a combat system where you used “gags” to fight off the robots. No, not those gags. The Toontown gags consisted of a flower squirter, pie to the face and more.
There were minigames, parties involving trampolines, as well as iconic Disney characters scattered across the different areas. Toontown closed down in 2013 after a decade of operation. As you can probably tell by now though, it didn’t stay dead for long. Toontown Rewritten arose a year later, and has been going strong ever since. The game receives regular updates, and even some new features on a regular basis. Toontown Rewritten is one of the more passion-driven MMO revivals I’ve seen, and it shows.
I only played Lego Universe for a few days back when it was in beta – sadly I didn’t take advantage of it, because I was still playing Fiesta at the time. The game was fun, and I love Lego so much that I was into it from the announcement.
All I can remember is that one day, a long time after I stopped playing, I received an email notifying players of the shut down. That was at the end of January in 2012. Luckily I don’t have to try to remember my experience. A year later, server emulators started popping up – the most popular of which being Darkflame Universe.
Club Penguin was the absolute best MMO out there and yes, it counts as an MMO. That’s it, no cap, you can stop reading now.
Okay come back pls. Club Penguin is legendary, even if you don’t think of it as such. You could do so much in this game. You could decorate your igloo, adopt puffles (which are adorable), go surfing and sledding, go clubbing, visit the theater, or you could even be a secret f**king agent!
I spent way too much of my parents money on this game – way more than I care to admit. But hot damn, was this game worth it. When I lost my account I was actually really sad, so I stayed away from the game. I felt a twinge of regret for not coming back for its final days. I felt especially bad for missing the great iceberg flip – a feat players had tried to achieve for years to no avail.
Private servers for the game – dubbed Club Penguin Rewritten – popped up in its wake a couple of months later – but faced a bit of turbulence when it came to staying open. Many other private servers now float around the internet, seeing hundreds if not thousands of players reliving their childhoods – and some even arriving for the first time. It’s been smooth sailing/swimming ever since for penguins everywhere.
I should probably mention, that to keep the franchise alive, they actually released a sequel of sorts, called Club Penguin Island. Unfortunately, that closed down soon after… only to get hit with the defibrillator too!
Those are just a few of the MMO revivals I’ve seen around the internet. I’m not ashamed to say, that I’ve dropped more than a few hours into a couple of these since I first ran with this idea. These games were my childhood – which admittedly was not that long ago, but still my point is VALID.
Besides, they were many other people’s childhoods, and clearly meant a lot to them. The examples I’ve listed just go to show, that games never stay dead as long as there are dedicated fans who remember them.