Welcome to MMORPG.com’s The List. We’re updating this old column to be both written and fancy video, and for the inaugural take on the old favorite, we’re going with a topic that’s sure to stir some discussion: The Best MMOs of 2013. So far, anyway. We’re going to countdown the top seven MMOs of the year, through the first several months. At the end of 2013, we’ll look back at this list and see just how well our picks fared and whether we need to change our minds and pick different games for our annual Best of the Year Awards. The list will include titles new to the industry this year, and past titles that have been doing “all the right stuff” so far... essentially it’ll be a recount of the games we think are hitting all the right notes in 2013.
Without further ado, let’s count down The List: The Best MMOs of 2013... so far.
7.) DARKFALL: Unholy Wars
Aventurine’s Darkfall: Unholy Wars may have its share of rough spots, but few players who pick it up can deny that the Greek studio’s take on all-out kill-or-be-killed clan warfare is a concept worth holding onto in the MMO space. It’s definitely niche, and it definitely needs a coat or two of polish, but the follow-up to cult-hit Darkfall is ripe to claim and dominate the throne of “The MMO for the Discerning Hardcore”. Full-loot PVP, high-seas brutality, and keep battles are just a few of this gem’s unique and much-welcome MMO staples.
6.) Age of Wushu
Age of Wushu came out of nowhere (okay, maybe out of China) to offer an innovative and deeply addictive quasi-sandbox MMO. It’s based on the historical aspects of ancient China with a flare for the fantastic that evokes the best moments of films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Sure, it’s got some translation and localization issues to overcome, but Snail Games’ wildly popular free-to-play game offers a lot of ideas that other studios should pick up on in the future.
5.) The Secret World
How could we do a best of list without mentioning Funcom’s The Secret World? Sure it didn’t meet the developer’s expectations in terms of sales, but it certainly has found an audience with us here at MMORPG.com. It’s a one-of-a-kind game that keeps us coming back with every new content release. We only wish it didn’t rely on the tired gear-treadmill for an endgame. Other than that, TSW is our pick for most underappreciated MMORPG, and one that deserves to at least be played once by any MMO gamer.
4.) Star Wars: The Old Republic
Blasphemy! We’re putting Star Wars: The Old Republic on a best-of list! Alert the authorities and stop the presses! But if you take a moment, and put aside the disappointment felt during its launch window, you’ll quickly realize that as a free-to-play themepark with a strong sense for story, SWTOR is actually pretty damned good and getting better with each new update.
We were initially blown away by Neverwinter when given a first look at 2012’s PAX East. We remain highly impressed by Cryptic and Perfect World’s F2P D&D themed MMO. Its Foundry Toolset is the sort of user-generated content we want to see in every MMO from here to eternity, and its action combat is highly addictive. It has its faults, no doubt... we’re looking at you Cash Shop and lack of immersion... but Neverwinter is proving to be the perfect “pick-up MMO”: the kind of MMORPG you can play for twenty minutes if it’s all you’ve got and feel like you accomplished something worthwhile. The future is bright for this one.
2.) EVE Online
A perennial favorite of staff and readers alike at MMORPG.com EVE hits our list for 2013 because it’s the only MMO we can point to that is still growing after ten years of live existence. It may not be the juggernaut that is World of Warcraft in terms of wide-appeal, but EVE’s consistent growth and broad-ranging ideals towards what an MMO should be show exactly why CCP’s flagship title keeps garnering new fans. We’re stoked to see what we’ll say about the EVE Universe in 2023.
1.) Guild Wars 2
Shocker, right? Our highest scored MMO is also our current Best MMO of 2013. Even if you’re not a fan of ArenaNet’s sequel, you’d be hard pressed to deny the team’s dedication to adding to and improving their game. In the six-plus months since its launch, Guild Wars 2 has added more content and features than any other MMO on this List has in the same amount of time. And there are no signs of the pace slowing down... in fact, they only seems to be speeding up their output. Oh, and all of it has been free too, let’s not forget that. We wish more developers offered this much value with your purchase, and gave you so much quality content for so little investment. ArenaNet stands head and shoulders above the pack for 2013 so far.
What about you? Does our top seven jive with your own? How would you rank these titles, round out the top ten, or change it completely? Let us know in the comments, and submit your list to editor at mmorpg dot com for a potential guest column here on the site!
Bill Murphy / Bill Murphy is the Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.