This is a very interesting year for online games. We are starting to see a huge return to the sandbox MMO. We are seeing more hybrid style games hitting the market. More than ever we are seeing the rise of Kickstarter and programs where fans are funding the development of the games themselves. With all of that said, here are my top five games for 2013.
Elder Scrolls Online
Without question, this is my most anticipated title for 2013. It is because of a number of reasons. Matt Firor is involved and he helped create my favorite MMO of all time: Dark Age of Camelot. Also, Skryrim has become one of my all time favorite video games. Add those two elements together and you have the makings of an awesome MMO if it's done right. I am excited for the continued depth of the game. The PvP system sounds great. The fact that there is one mega-server to run the whole world makes for a connected community. There is just so much in this game to look forward too. The biggest question is can they pull it off?
Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar
Ultima Forever comes in at a very strange hybrid angle for online games. It is an action RPG. You have the options of solo or group play. So why the heck did it make this list? Well, there are some exciting aspects to this game because it reaches back to one of my other favorite MMOs: Ultima Online. It was even given the blessing of Lord British himself, Richard Garriott. It also heralds in an exciting new era of games that will be playable across mutliple platforms. I think we are in entering the age were it isn’t so much about the machine you play the game on, but the game itself. Also, it is about you the player and finding the time to play and have fun. I think Ultima Forever wil turn a lot of heads once it launches.
In the 1990s I played a lot of D&D. I was younger and usually had money to hit the bar scene on Friday nights, but going out two nights in a row just cost too much. So on Saturdays we played D&D. We played in the Forgotten Realms. Neverwinter brings me back to that era. In many ways, Neverwinter is what Dungeons & Dragons should be for a video game. When we first saw the game at shows this past year we were shocked at how dynamic the combat was and how great the game systems (Foundry) looked.
The Repopulation is another game that brings the Sandbox back into play. With an inide team and world ideas which give players a lot of options on how to play, the game has a clear plan for the future. So many MMOs have lost sight of the goals that the Repopulation defines. The game is being made to grow and continue from the ground up. It is a world which lets players build combat and non-combat skills. There are choices everyone makes and the effects on the world are permanent. I am excited to see how the game does and how players react.
Marvel Heroes Online
Marvel has always been my comic company of choice. I just found the heroes easier to relate to... I know everyone says that. Marvel Heroes' gameplay mirrors the Diablo style that Dave Brevik is known for. It plays well and offers a host of Marvel heroes to choose from throughout the game. You also encounter plenty of villains to fight along the way and the cut scene motion comics are a great touch. I am excited to play this game with my son who loves the Avengers, and I can play as Deadpool.
So that is my list. I think 2013 will give a lot of power back to players and you will see more and more games listening to their fans. Hopefully this movement will open up as we head into the next console (and Steam Box) generation as well.