Okay, this is a tough one to tackle. Publisher Warner Bros. has stated that with their next few games projects, they’re looking to focus on live service elements. This comes after EA tried to shoehorn what they wanted into Anthem, and Marvel’s Avengers failed to break even after delays and hype. It seems like MMOs always launch to negative press. They’re never what everyone wants them to be. After a while though, with developers working on player feedback, they do become better. Communities eventually form, and the games are finally accepted for what they are, not what players wanted them to be. I don’t think that every game with live service elements has to be similar to an MMO though.
— IGN (@IGN) January 25, 2021
Games can have live service elements without without being Destiny 2, Anthem, Marvel’s Avengers, or World of Warcraft. For example, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla has live service elements. These see you pick up time-limited contracts and challenges to complete in exchange for premium currency. You can buy unique items with that currency, and you can buy the currency if you really want to. All of that doesn’t mean that the game is an MMO though. In fact, I’d argue this is a better live service than what’s offered in MMOs.
Even games like World War Z, which are multiplayer titles based online, don’t have to be MMOs. All players want is to complete their gameplay loop, whether that’s repeating the same mission to level up a class, or complete the story on a new difficulty. The game has had new modes and characters added over the years, but it’s still not an MMO. You can even play it with AI, there’s no need to have other players involved. It’s still not an MMO, but it’s definitely a live service game.
What I’m trying to get across is that just because Warner Bros. wants to focus on live service elements doesn’t mean that all of their upcoming games will be awful. I think that if they take note of what works for the style of game they’re producing from examples in the industry, they’ll do amazingly well. If they don’t though, and just churn out MMOs, then we are in for a bad ride with their otherwise exceptional IPs.