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MMORPG | Genre:Fantasy | Status:Final  (rel 06/20/13)  | Pub:Perfect World Entertainment
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Neverwinter General Article: Mike's Games of 2013

By Michael Bitton on January 09, 2013

2012 was a great year for MMOs, but there is still a ton of awesome stuff to look forward to in 2013. I’ve got my eye on a couple of games in particular and today I’ll be sharing my top five picks for 2013 with you.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic: Rise of the Hutt Cartel

I’m putting this at the bottom of my list because frankly it seems like a bit of a mini-expansion at this point, but there was no way I could leave it off. I play SWTOR more than any other MMO out there and I’m genuinely excited for the new content, increased level cap, talents, skills, and whatever else they manage to package into the deal.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

I was a console gamer long before I ever got into PC gaming.  And in the 90’s, consoles were king for JRPGs, especially titles from the Final Fantasy franchise, for which Squaresoft (now Square Enix) is primarily known for. Long story short, I’m a huge Final Fantasy fan, even though I don’t believe Square Enix has put out a good title in the series (outside of remakes on handhelds) since Final Fantasy X.

Despite my fandom, I was just never attracted to Final Fantasy XI and by extension, Final Fantasy XIV. They just seemed more MMO than Final Fantasy. However, my interest was piqued after speaking to Square Enix’s Naoki Yoshida at E3 2012 about his team’s plans to re-launch Final Fantasy XIV as not just a solid MMORPG, but a game that would interest Final Fantasy fans.

At this point, it’s hard for me to say whether or not Square Enix will deliver on either of these goals, but Final Fantasy XIV remains one to watch for me in 2013 nonetheless.

WildStar

Like many of my colleagues here at MMORPG.com, I was immediately sold on this one from the game’s very first (CG) trailer. WildStar exudes personality, a sense of adventure, and features a Pixar-like art style that quickly catches the eye.

On top of it all, Carbine Studios is looking to do some really interesting stuff by allowing players to dig into the common MMO playstyles outlined by Richard Bartle (achievers, socializers, explorers, and killers). For example, WildStar players who fit more into the explorer type will be able to partake in activities that directly feed into that playstyle as a significant portion of the content they experience in the game.

Though a release date has yet to be announced for WildStar, I'm hopeful the game will make a surprise landing this year.

The Elder Scrolls Online

As a longtime fan of the Elder Scrolls series, the IP alone is enough to attract interest from me. However, when I first heard of the game, I wasn’t entirely impressed. TESO sounded more MMO than Elder Scrolls and I was hoping to find the reverse to be true with this game. Fortunately, Zenimax Online has done quite a bit to sway me over the past year with an impressive introductory video and E3 demonstration along with a steady stream of information that should hopefully encourage any fan of the series that the developers are looking to deliver on the Elder Scrolls experience first and foremost.

Oh, and there’s also that whole three faction RvR bit. I still can’t settle on a faction.

Neverwinter

Cryptic Studios is looking to make a real splash with Neverwinter, the upcoming free-to-play MMO based in the eponymous city-state found in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting of Dungeons & Dragons.

From our first time laying eyes on it at PAX East 2012, all of us here knew Cryptic had something special on its hands. A D&D MMO set in the fan-favorite Forgotten Realms with the already MMO-like 4th Edition ruleset as its foundation? Awesome! But it gets better.

Neverwinter’s fluid and visually spectacular combat made a great first impression on me, but it’s the evolution of Cryptic Studios’ Foundry user-generated content tool that really sets the game apart. In Neverwinter, players can create ridiculously elaborate game content that even includes NPC dialogue trees (non-voiced!). While players can browse and rate content through an in-game interface, they can also organically find nearby player content by doing things like talking to the local barmaid. You can even hook quest dialogue into NPCs in the game world proper, which is a nice bonus.

I’m really excited to play in the world that Cryptic is creating with Neverwinter, but I must admit, I’m even more excited to see what other players come up with.

You can follow Mike on Twitter at @eMikeB.


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