According to our Game List, 2009 saw the birth of somewhere around 50 new MMORPGs, a number that seems to keep growing with every passing year.
Each year, we honor one title that stands out above the rest as the cream of the crop, the top freshly launched game. This year's nominee list had a diversity that is seldom seen, with games from science fiction, fantasy and superhero, FFA PvP to very little PvP, theme park to sandbox.
One game, however, stood out among the rest as the Best New Game of 2009. The nominees were:
- Champions Online
- Fallen Earth
- Runes of Magic
The Winner: Aion
This year's Best New Game has the distinction of having been released and thriving in another market before making its way to the ravenous gamers of the West. While normally games launch in the North American market, are improved and then released in other markets, this year's winner had the benefit and hindsight of having been released in the East before hitting our local Best Buys.
For those who might not have guessed, MMORPG.com's New Game of 2009 is NCsoft's Aion. On the surface, Aion is one of the most graphically impressive MMORPGs created to date, sporting visuals that are thus far unmatched in the MMO genre. In creating Aion, the game's developers took existing concepts and conventions of gameplay and added interesting aspects like the game's flight system to give it its own flavor.
While an argument can certainly be made that the game is by no means perfect or ideal, it has nonetheless earned its place at the top of this year's 50 freshly released MMOs.
Runner Up: Fallen Earth
The MMORPG.com editorial staff was impressed by what they saw from Icarus Studios' post-apocalyptic MMORPG, Fallen Earth. Not only does the game present a unique setting, but it is also the first new release in some time to truly try to offer a virtual world style experience.
The game, which was a little bit rough around the edges at launch, is already showing signs of the improvement and growth that are so important for a game of its kind. With the dedication of a strong staff and a loyal player base both committed to the virtual world experience that is Fallen Earth, we can see this game picking up steam as time goes by.