2013 is now behind us, and we’re at the point where it’s time to start looking forward. Almost…but not quite. Before we move forward, let’s take one last look back at what I thought was a great year for MMOs in 2013. Here’s some of my thoughts for the top MMORPGs of 2013.
I’ve never personally played Defiance, and I’m more than aware of its incredibly rocky start – but I’m equally as aware of the promising concept behind it. After all, no one’s really tried to tie a video game and TV series, never mind one with the scope of an MMORPG. Although reviews of the title have been lukewarm at best, it’s a game that’s all about potential. With a little bit of work on the part of Trion Worlds – who’ve displayed nothing but commitment to improving – the game’s currently got nowhere to go but up. This potential is what’s netted Defiance fifth place on our list.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
Towards the end of 2012, Bioware and Electronic Arts decided to make Star Wars: The Old Republic free to play in light of falling subscriber counts. The game was no worse for wear as a result. In a narrative sense, it’s still the strongest titles on the market, and though EA has made a few blunders with the game’s freemium elements, as a whole, they’ve done a fairly good job balancing things between subscribers and non-subscribers. That, coupled with the announcement of a promising new expansion makes The Old Republic the fourth entry on our list.
I know I’ve leveled my fair share of criticism at Neverwinter in the past, but the fact remains that it’s still one of the strongest D&D MMOs on the market, and an admirable free to play offering besides. Although Perfect World Entertainment hasn’t quite gotten the hang of micro-transactions, none of the items sold in the shop are particularly game-changing. and though it could do more to immerse players, the gameplay is still very well-designed. Without a doubt, the strongest offering Neverwinter brings to the table is the Foundry, which allows players to craft their own quests. Maybe I’m just a sucker for user content, but if the developer plays their cards right, I feel like the Foundry could make Neverwinter one of the strongest MMORPGs of 2014.
Path of Exile
Although it’s not necessarily a traditional MMORPG, Path of Exile earns itself second place on our list. As I said in my review, the title feels exactly like what Diablo III should have been, and features unique character progression, a novel approach to skills, and game-play that puts most other dungeon crawlers to shame. There’s not a whole lot else to say about Path of Exile, other than the fact that Gamespot didn’t name it 2013’s Game of The Year without reason.
Guild Wars 2
It’s been over a year since Guild Wars 2 launched, and in that time, the Arenanet team has displayed an unending dedication to updating and improving their game. Given the fact that the game’s free to play after the initial purchase, this is no mean feat – the MMO, along with its added content, stands head and shoulders above its competition. Not only that, the in-game cash shop is probably one of the best designed I’ve ever seen; selling only reasonably-priced convenience and cosmetic items. Although the story-line might be less-than-stellar, the sheer volume of content and quality of game-play more than makes up for it. This commitment – and the enduring quality of the game – earn Guild Wars 2 the top spot on this year’s list.