There are many hidden gems in the MMO genre. Some are obscure, but their unique takes on traditional MMORPG mechanics lead to interesting experiences.

The MMORPG genre is a realm of AAA titans, but for every Final Fantasy 14 or World of Warcraft, there’s a smaller game trying to carve out its own niche. These indie MMOs set themselves apart from the bigger players by incorporating interesting mechanics or exploring areas of the genre others haven’t touched.

Smaller MMOs have their work cut out for them. Attracting enough players to avoid seeming “dead” to potential newcomers is hard enough without the added strain of competing against the likes of Square Enix and Blizzard. Finding a comfortable spot in the MMO sphere seems nigh impossible when a company like Amazon cancels a Lord of the Rings MMO to focus on other genres. Yet, somehow, these smaller developers have found their own niches.

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Some little-known MMOs have been running for years without much mainstream attention. A few have even been forced to shut down due to low player numbers before being brought back by fan demand. Being a sleeper hit may not make a game show up on any best MMORPG lists, but it can attract a dedicated player base to keep the community alive.

Unknown MMOs – Secret World Legends

Secret World Legends was originally released on July 3, 2012, with the name The Secret World. Relaunching in 2017, the game now employs a buy-to-play business model. One purchase gives access to the entire game; there is no subscription fee. Focusing on the modern day instead of traditional fantasy, Secret World weaves gothic horror and folklore into an interesting, mystery-based plot. Players can choose between joining the Illuminati, the Templars (yes, like the Templars from Assassin’s Creed), or the Dragon, giving them access to different faction-specific missions. The game has seen only a small amount of success, according to Steam Charts, with a peak of only 176 concurrent players in the last 24 hours at the time of writing, and an all-time peak of 3,740.

Unknown MMOs – Mortal Online

A completely open-world sandbox experience, Mortal Online features full PvP, meaning players are only safe in a few select locations. A killed character can be fully looted by anyone, so death is extra punishing. Featuring a skill and attribute system instead of traditional leveling, characters can only get better at what they actively practice. The game’s focus on skills and an open world can be compared to games like Skyrim – though it’s much less forgiving. A sequel, Mortal Online 2, is currently in development and is in its beta phase.

Unknown MMOs – Gloria Victis: Medieval MMORPG

Gloria Victis: Medieval MMORPG is an early-access, open-world, feudal-era MMORPG that could soon be joining some of the best medieval games. Described by developer Black Eye Games as a cross between Mount & Blade and Planetside 2, this title eschews traditional MMO tab-targeting in favor of a more active combat system. PvP is a core part of Gloria Victis: Slain players can be partially looted by others, and guilds can create their own virtual fiefs. Ownership is not permanent, however; rival guilds can siege the ruling guild and take its land. The game looks promising for those looking for a more player-driven game, rather than the now-standard theme park MMORPG experience. Gloria Victis’ future is unknown, but for now, it is one of the many smaller MMO games trying to reach big levels of success.

Next: League Of Legends Now Hiring For Upcoming MMORPG

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