List Finder: Old Games Find New Life Through Steam
Given the recent surge of older MMO titles re-releasing through Steam we had to make a compilation list to keep track. While Steam isn’t a proven method to revitalize an older MMO it is fascinating to see developers push aged titles, some of which are over 10 years old. Some games like Knight Online have seen a baffling amount of success, while others are boxed away in the ever growing Steam warehouse. Games posted to Steam years after their release beg the question, “Why not sooner?” While the answer isn’t always clear we’ll be updating this list with new-old titles as they release. Let us know of anything we may have missed in the comments below.
Fantasy MMORPG Aion was released in North America on September 22, 2009 but found its way to Steam six years later, on October 29, 2015. Aion originally required a subscription but it’s been free to play since 2012. Built on CryEngine, players join one of two factions and grind through an enormous amount of content. While the graphics are dated for some players Aion does offer unique PvPvE gameplay where players wage war amid fortresses, artifact hunting, and instances brimming with warring players and NPCs. In the following months of its Steam release Aion’s playerbase remained consistent, hovering around 1000 players. While, perhaps, not as enticing as newer MMORPGs, Aion is a solid distraction—especially since it’s on Steam.
After sitting on Greenlight for two years Granado Espada finally released through Steam on January 07, 2016. Originally released for a North American audience in 2007, T3Fun’s fantasy MMORPG offered gameplay design choices. Rather than controlling one character players form a tripartite party, guiding their trio of musketeers through dungeons and across zones to slay mobs. Slaying oversized creatures to the excellent soundtrack featuring music from soundTeMP is rewarding by itself, along with the game's steampunk environments (a setting largely ignored in the genre). While gameplay follows the traditional MMORPG formula it’s worth playing for players interested in seeing how MMOs have evolved, or for players who simply like to grind to a fantastic soundtrack.
Originally launched in Korea in 2004, Audition Online is one of the oldest games to grace the Steam store. Launched in NA/EU in 2007 the hip-hop and pop music rhythm game didn’t make its way to Steam until June 03, 2015. Gameplay is similar to 5Street, where players press keys corresponding with dance moves, with scores determined by how close player’s strokes align with the beat. Audition Online emphasizes social features such as guilds (Fams) and Couples, who must pass a dancing test to marry. The music is a bit dated, and while the game’s community has slowly dispersed over the years, Audition Online has maintained a fairly steady player base (around 100). Players with an interest in rhythm games may find something to love in Audition Online.
Even though Perfect World Entertainment has their own distribution platform, Arc, the Chinese game company chose to release Swordsman Online through Steam on January 28, 2016. Originally released on July 03, 2014, the choice to push the game on Steam was a bit surprising, but not unprecedented. Built on the Angelica III engine, the wuxia action MMORPG sees players join one of ten martial arts schools with distinct play styles, and features polished environments and exaggerated acrobatic prowess. But as a wuxia MMORPG it must contend with NCSoft’s Blade & Soul. While originally releasing 2 years prior to Swordsman, BnS captures player imagination with titillating characters. Swordsman Online joins fellow PWE published title Forsaken World on Steam.
Knight Online was one of the first popular free to play titles launched in South Korea back in 2003. The fantasy MMORPG was subsequently released in North America the following year, on August 17, 2004. Part of the original PvP tradition, players choose between one of two warring factions and enter large-scale nation vs. nation battles (the game’s “bread & butter”). For some reason Knight Online has proved incredibly popular with Turkish players; many show off their patriotism with Turkish capes and flags decorating their character. Knight Online released through Steam on January 25, 2016 to incredible success, with more than 20,000 concurrent players in the first 24 hours—more than H1Z1 and Left 4 Dead 2 respectively. While Steam reviews have been less than favorable, Knight Online is at least a short term success and proves that, perhaps, old games can thrive through a re-release on Steam.
While unable to contest the popularity of its predecessor, Lineage II is one of the oldest MMORPGs to release through Steam (November 12, 2015). The 3D fantasy MMORPG released in South Korea even before World of Warcraft, on October 01, 2003. It made its way to Western shores on April 27, 2004. 14 million players have traversed the PvP-centric universe, more when private servers are accounted. Featuring 36 classes, additional sub-classes, and years of additional content, there is plenty to do in Lineage II. But age hasn’t been kind to the game. Players complaining of bots running the economy that have now become the foundation of Lineage II's market. But NCSoft’s game is a classic Korean MMORPG, and the successor to NCSoft's most profitable MMO.