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The List: Five of the Most Unappreciated MMOs

Column By William Murphy on October 11, 2013

Not long ago, in a PVP Column, I said that the vast majority of our 600+ game Game List is pure garbage. It’s the truth, really. But there are a ton of games on there that don’t get the love they deserve from press, players, or a combination of both.  So today, we’re going to list a handful that we think are deserving of a little more respect and recognition.  This isn’t the end-all, be-all list (lord knows there are plenty of games out there that deserve more airtime), but these five represent MMOs that are solid experiences, but for whatever reason don’t get enough love from the gaming universe.

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Ryzom

Ryzom is one of those “little games that could”. It has almost died several times, but keeps on kicking thanks to a passionate and dedicated community.  Ryzom is one of the stalwart sandbox MMOs out there, with a fantastically realized and unique world, progression system, and also one of the first MMOs to have player generated content as an integrated feature of the game. We suspect this one’s unique gameplay (in so much that it differs quite a bit from the norm) is one reason the game never truly caught up with the masses.  But it’s still out there, plugging away, and folks craving something unique should certainly check it out.

Fallen Earth

Fallen Earth, now part of the GamersFirst F2P stable, is one of the only post-apocalyptic MMOs out there, and also (like Ryzom above) one of the more in-depth PVE sandboxes available.  You can make everything from your own car, bike or ATV, to ammo and must take care of your horse if you want it to stick around as your mount. It may be a brutal and barren wasteland, and it’s also not exactly the prettiest game in the world… but it sure is engrossing when you give it a chance. 

Wakfu

In Europe, particularly France, Wakfu and Dofus are huge animation properties.  Here in the US? Not so much. But that doesn’t mean the game should be swept under the rug. Ankama’s turn-based tactical MMORPG, complete with a thriving ecosystem where critters and plant-life can become extinct, is the kind of game that practically screams niche.  But its gorgeous visuals, deep FF:Tactics-like combat, and storyline are enough to entice any gamer that’s not afraid to try something out of the ordinary. Look at this trailer, and tell me it doesn’t look at least a little bit interesting, and then go try the thing… it’s free!

Rift

Probably the highest profile game on this list, but I swear we have a good reason for including Trion’s flagship. It gets a bum rap from many for being “a WoW Clone”, when it’s really anything but. Rift has some of the best Theme Park content and systems in any game, great housing in Dimensions, and continues to update at a decent pace, despite the slowdown that occurred during the game’s F2P transition. To this day, I’d rather pick up Rift than WoW, EQ2, or any other Theme Park when I get that traditional DIKUMMO itch. With Hartsman back in town, expect this one to thrive even more.

The Secret World

We’re putting Funcom’s horror MMO at the top of this List for the simplest of reasons: it’s the MMO with the best quests in the genre. Find me another game that can have you scratching your head for hours trying to translate Morse code, while other titles have you slay ten boars or collect troll ears.  Yeah, it may have some of the more boring solo combat in the genre, but it also has some of the best dungeons, and most addictive character building systems available. It’s now F2P beyond the initial purchase, and sales are always happening.  Get out there and try this one if you’ve yet to do so. It’s phenomenal, even if just for the quests and story.

William Murphy / Bill 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.

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The List
Sometimes less than serious, in this space, we look back at the genre's history and far into the future to bring you a new list each week. Our countdowns are written by assorted members of the MMORPG.com Staff.
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