Multiplayer games are a peculiar bunch. They appear to be affected by trends far more than their single player brethren. First, there was the MMORPG craze after the landmark success of Blizzard's World of Warcraft; then the age of MOBA games arrived thanks to Riot's League of Legends; survival games took the limelight with Bohemia's DayZ and finally, last year Bluehole's PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds ushered in the era of Battle Royale games.
2018 is likely to deliver its own trend out of the blue but regardless of that, there are already several solid bets in the multiplayer games line-up and we've gathered them below.
Previously on Wccftech's Most Anticipated games of 2018: Simulation Games, Roleplaying Games, Shooter Games, Adventure Games, Fighting Games, Action/Adventure Games, Strategy Games, Horror Games, Indie Games, Platform Games
Warhammer Vermintide 2 (PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One - Q1 2018)
Among multiplayer games, this has to be the most anticipated for those longing for that Left 4 Dead-like experience. Fatshark's Warhammer Vermintide turned out to be a success for the Swedish studio and they're now looking to significantly expand the feature set. To begin with, there will be three entirely different career paths for each character to pursue and each one will also feature a talent tree to progress in.
The loot system has been improved to provide relevant loot to your career of choice and Fatshark also announced that Chaos warriors will join the Skaven as the main foes in this sequel. Furthermore, the signature first-person melee combat will be even more polished and varied.
Anthem (PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One - Fall 2018)
At once the greatest hope and fear of multiplayer games fans for 2018, Bioware's Anthem showcased an explosive debut trailer at E3 2017. Expectations skyrocketed right after that event but recently, the Star Wars Battlefront II loot box fiasco dampened the hype surrounding the game due to the involvement of Electronic Arts as the game's publisher.
Nevertheless, the promise of a story focused shared world online action RPG is tantalizing to say the least, particularly when you consider the astounding visuals and exciting movement abilities. Players will take the role of Freelancers and customize the Javelins exosuits, capable of flying, leaping and climbing across a dangerous, untamed world that the developers recently said to be a fair bit larger than Destiny's. There's still much we don't know about Anthem, but we can't wait to find out more.
Red Dead Redemption 2 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One - Spring 2018)
While Rockstar Games will undoubtedly craft a meaty single player story campaign for Red Dead Redemption 2, after the incredible success of Grand Theft Auto Online a deep, addictive multiplayer mode is to be expected as well. There's no concrete info yet, but Rockstar managed to up their game constantly when it comes to multiplayer modes, improving from GTA IV to Red Read Redemption and even more from Red Dead Redemption to Grand Theft Auto V (Online). There's no reason to believe the same won't be true for Red Dead Redemption 2.
State of Decay 2 (PC, Xbox One - Spring 2018)
Undead Labs may have ditched its original plans of a zombie MMO (so long, Class 4), but State of Decay 2 will still allow up to four players at once to try and survive the zombie apocalypse together.
While there may be an abundance of zombie themed survival games, none of them are quite like State of Decay. This one is as much a management game as it is an action game where players need to foster an entire community of NPC survivors who are always at risk of permanently dying. State of Decay 2 will feature three maps each of the size of the first game's zone and on top of that, you'll be able to play with your friends and coordinate the survivors' efforts in an even more exciting way.
Bless Online (PC - TBA 2018)
MMORPGs might be going through a rough patch, but that doesn't mean they are dead. This year will finally see the Western release of Bless Online, a long anticipated fantasy MMORPG made by Neowiz. The developers are now working hard to improve the game's performance, simplify the User Interface and polish the combat system ahead of the launch on Steam.
While there aren't truly revolutionary features in Bless Online, its rather old-school approach to the genre might work in its favor in this day and age. For instance, there's a truly massive and seamless world to explore here whereas recent MMOs have generally shrunk and segmented their zones.
Moreover, fans of the massive PvP sieges seen ages ago in Lineage 2 and Dark Age of Camelot should be glad to hear about the 100 vs 100 Realm versus Realm skirmishes of Bless Online.
As it is always the case, the titles mentioned above aren't the only multiplayer games that you should add to your radar for this year. Those who enjoy shooting will undoubtedly be waiting for the yet-to-be-announced (but also inevitable) new Battlefield and Call of Duty games, which should land as usual in October and November, respectively.
Fans of Payday and The Walking Dead should keep an eye on Overkill's The Walking Dead, due to launch in Fall 2018. A class-based co-op game where teamwork is paramount to overcome the zombie apocalypse, Overkill's The Walking Dead will introduce new characters to the acclaimed universe by Robert Kirkman.
On the shared world front, Rare's Sea of Thieves will be available on March 20th. An NDA-Free Beta will be active from January 24th to 29th, giving lots of people the chance to sail the seas. This pirate-themed online game is also the only one on this list to support cross-play functionality.
Among MMOs, the PvP oriented 'Throne War Simulator' Crowfall (crowdfunded on Kickstarter and developed by the makers of Shadowbane) could also debut this year with its intriguing concept of 'eternal heroes, dying worlds'. Then there's the seventh World of Warcraft expansion, Battle for Azeroth, which is sure to lure back a fair portion of fans to Blizzard's golden goose.
Do you have any additional multiplayer games due in 2018 you're looking forward to? Let us know below.