So, there’s usually a variety of opinions when it comes to the success of an online game, that’s set in a 2D environment.
On one hand, some say: “Even if you make a great online 2D game you’ll never achieve a player base above 50… and that’s IF you’re lucky.”
On the other hand, some shoot for the stars and come crashing back to earth with: “I’m gonna make the most epic online 2D game anyone has ever played and it will be as popular as WoW!”. You can almost hear the snickering now.
Because I like to be as realistic as possible, I’m going to challenge both sides of this proverbial coin by covering games that are not only well made, but have a substantial player base. (Nowhere near millions, but much higher than 50)
Without further ado, here are a handful of online 2D mmos that have achieved success over the years:
Average Player Base: 25,000
MapleStory is a free-to-play, 2D, side-scrolling massively multiplayer online role-playing game, developed by the South Korean company Wizet. Several versions of the game are available for specific countries or regions, and each is published by various companies such as Nexon. Although one may play the game for free, one can only purchase some character appearances and gameplay enhancements from the Cash Shop with real money.
Average Player Base: 25,000
Tibia is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) created by CipSoft. It is one of the oldest MMORPGs and was considered most noteworthy in its early years; however, with the development of MMORPGs, its popularity has grown much slower than other MMORPGs. Its most unusual aspect is its 2D graphics environment, which may have contributed to its slow growth, as the gaming community rapidly shifted to 3D graphics.
3. Nexus TK
Average Player Base: 20,000
NEXUS: The Kingdom of the Winds alternately known as Nexus TK or simply Nexus, is a Pay to PlayMMORPG, currently run in the US by Kru Interactive. Nexus began as a U.S. version of the Korean game 바람의 나라 (Baramue Nara, or simply Baram) developed by NEXON Inc. of Korea, and is loosely based on Korean mythology and on a series of graphic novels by an artist named Kim Jin. Development of Baram began in Korea in 1994 and the game was released in 1996. One year later, it also entered Beta in the United States, going commercial in 1998.
4. Ragnarok Online
Average Player Base: 50,000
Ragnarök Online often referred to as RO, is aKorean massive multiplayer online role-playing game or MMORPG created by GRAVITY Co., Ltd. It was first released in South Korea on 31 August 2002 for Microsoft Windowsand has since been released in many other locales around the world. Player characters exist in a world with a player environment that gradually changes with the passage of time. Player characters interact in a 3D environment but are represented by 2D character sprites for front, back, side and diagonal facings.
Average Player Base: 10 million per month
Habbo (previously known as Habbo Hotel) is a Finnish social networking service aimed at teenagers. The website is owned and operated by Sulake Corporation. The service began in 2000 and has expanded to include 11 online communities (or “hotels”), with users in over 150 countries. In August 2012, the site opened to users from Turkey. As of August 2011, over 230 million avatars have been registered. There are an average 10 million unique visitors monthly.