MMORPGs may be regarded by some gamers as a dying genre thanks to what may amount to the overpopularity of World of Warcraft. Simply put, most titles within the genre have been pushed out of bounds by the sheer popularity of Blizzard’s ten ton gorilla.
Outside of small niches created by EVE Online and Guild Wars, there’s been very little room for any other title to compete. However, World of Warcraft is on the wane, and some studios are banking on its ever decreasing popularity to potentially serve as an opening for new games to claim a big slice of the MMORPG cake. That being said, the games have to introduce new elements and stand on their own as games worth playing. They can’t simply behave as clones of World of Warcraft and still expect players already bored by WOW to sink their teeth into it.
Five games stand out apart from all the rest, and their release in 2013 may herald a new dawn for the MMORPG genre. Read on!
#5 Dust 514
Dust 514 is a massively multiplayer FPS with RPG elements, and it’s one that takes place within the universe of EVE Online. It’s intrinsically bound to the setting and events which occur in EVE Online affect Dust 514, and vice versa. Developed primarily for the PlayStation 3, players take on the role of one of the groundpounders dispatched by their spacebound counterparts to partake in real time battles on planets.
#4 Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
Final Fantasy XIV was a deeply flawed game upon its release a few years ago, and things haven’t really improved much since then. While the game has seen multiple release of content and various changes to its core gameplay, the game still plays second string to its predecessor, Final Fantasy XI. Players unfamiliar with Final Fantasy in general were largely put off by the grind and its unintuitive controls.
A Realm Reborn is an attempt by the game’s creators at Square Enix to reboot Final Fantasy XIV, and correct every mistake they made by creating what amounts to a Final Fantasy XIV 2.0.
Firefall is a massively multiplayer third person shooter with a strong emphasis on cooperative play. Developed by former designers from Blizzard Entertainment, players band together to fight their way out of the ruins of old Earth and reclaim the planet from alien aggressors known as the Chosen. As one of the last remaining survivors on earth, you must team up with other humans to harness alien minerals and technologies to further expand the reach of humanity and reclaim Earth.
The game features an open-world cooperative campaign in which hundreds of players work together. Like Guild Wars 2, each individual player has their own personal storyline in addition to global events.
#2 MechWarrior Online
MechWarrior Online is the successor to the popular MechWarrior series of games, and it brings the whole setting into an online world in which players are finally able to battle each other with more ease than ever before.
The game offers 8v8 team-based battles in which two teams of players—or MechWarriors—battle for dominance over a vast expanse of terrain. Each of these battles takes place in an on-going meta-campaign that determines the progress of each of the game’s factions.
As a MechWarrior, players can align themselves with various houses and mercenary companies for winning virtual money that can be used to purchase upgrades and earn better equipment. Additionally, allying with a faction can yield various perks, allowing players to develop specializations to better suit their playstyle.
#1 The Elder Scrolls Online
The most anticipated MMORPG of the year is The Elder Scrolls Online. Set within the universe of Skyrim and Oblivion, The Elder Scrolls Online takes place a thousand years before the events of the popular single player RPGs, and splits players into one of three main factions who vie for dominance over the land of Tamriel.
They have more than each other to contend with, as the Daedric Prince of Domination, Molag Bal, has his own plans for Tamriel and intends to invade the realm from Oblivion.