As we embark on an exciting new year of MMO releases, we reflect back on the year that was. Though 2013 was light on new MMOs, it was filled to the brim with games fighting for our attention. Patch after patch hit our newsreels. Games such as EVE Online and Lord of the Rings Online spun heads with their expansions. Two of the bigger new games, Final Fantasy XIV and Neverwinter, both impressed and addicted us. Today we reflect on the best. Join us as we countdown the top ten Best MMOs of 2013.
10.) Age of Wushu
Age of Wushu surprised us all when it released in April. This free-to-play sandbox is packed to the gills with martial arts-themed content. Throwing out levels and classes, Snail Games instead embraces a world that is both rich and dangerous. Though the game is widely known for its deep player-versus-player, PVE players can while away countless hours in the game’s 17 professions. Snail games also upped the ante by releasing its first expansion, Legends of Mount Hua, in August.
9.) Lord of the Rings Online (Helm’s Deep)
Players were worried when Turbine went uncharacteristically quiet earlier this year. It turns out they were simply hard at work on their newest expansion, Helm’s Deep. The expansion cast player’s fears aside and delivered on its “big battles” system in fine fashion. The much needed class revamps also infused new life into the game, changing paradigms which had begun to show their age. For new players or those looking for a little more Tolkien after seeing The Hobbit, the time is ripe for an adventure into Lord of the Rings Online.
8.) EVE Online (Rubicon)
EVE Online has been a mainstay in the MMO community and maintains its top spot as the go-to destination for space-faring sandbox fans. There is nothing else quite like it. After 10 years, CCP isn’t content to rest on its laurels and impressed fans by releasing not one but two expansions this year. Both Odyssey and Rubicon add to an already extensive library of features and ensure the game will continue to grow in the years to come.
7.) RIFT: Free-to-Play
RIFT released in 2011 to incredible fanfare and, following an expansion’s worth of free updates, continued to impress with the Storm Legion expansion. Following last year’s switch to free-to-play, RIFT now represents one of the best values in MMO gaming. Players can now level through the entire game free of charge and experience every system without spending a penny. From raiding to PVP to trinket collecting and designing your own class, the game is a wealth of content. Trion just released the patch 2.5 and has hinted at a restored pace of updates before the release of their next expansion. For pure bang for the buck, RIFT is one of the best MMOs of 2013 and things only look better for the coming year.
6.) Star Trek Online
It’s no secret that Star Trek Online got off to a rocky start, but Cryptic has worked hard and made Star Trek Online one of the most compelling games of 2013. With an ever increasing emphasis on deep stories and engaging missions, the studio released its first expansion pack, Legacy of Romulus, to widespread acclaim. Players can now experience the original story from the perspective of the Romulan Republic, as either a Romulan or Reman. What’s more, any faction can now play through all 50 levels of content, including an excellent backlog of episode missions sure to please any trekkie.
5.) The Secret World
When The Secret World made the switch the buy-to-play in late 2012, many players feared that it was the beginning of the end. Quite to the contrary, Funcom has built the game into a genuine cult hits. The Secret World blends horror, mystery, myth, and conspiracy to weave one of the most engaging story-driven MMOs ever seen. Even without a subscription fee, Funcom regularly delights its fans with new story and system-driven DLC, including three meaty updates in 2013 alone. The Secret World’s unique modern setting, great story, and wonderfully deep customization system make it an easy contender in our best MMOs of the year.
4.) Star Wars: The Old Republic
Last year might be remembered as the year that saved The Old Republic. BioWare recovered from a rocky free-to-play transition in the best way possible: By listening to fans and delivering on what they were asking for. This year saw the release of two expansion packs in Rise of the Hutt Cartel and Galactic Starfighter. The first added a whole new planet, two new operations, hard-mode flashpoints and raised the level cap to 55. The second added free-form space combat, making this the pew-pewers dream.