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Five MMOs Worth a Second Look

William Murphy Posted:
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It’s easy in this industry to write off an MMO after playing it and finding it lackluster for your wants.  I’m no stranger to logging into a game for a few minutes, realizing it’s not my cup of tea, and running away as fast as I can never to think twice about the game.  But that’s really a shame if you think about it.  MMOs are the sort of product that never really stops evolving, and more often than not a bad game one year, can turn into a great game later given the proper tender lovin’ care.  So for this week’s List, we thought it would be good to prattle off a few of our own choices for “Comeback Kid” in the MMO world.  This is by no means a definitive list of games worth playing, but rather a guideline for what the MMORPG.com staff thinks are titles that deserve a second look after a long haul towards self-improvement.  Don’t get all hate-filled if we don’t list your game here… it’s not personal.  Take a look at the games we think deserve a second look and see if you agree!

5.) Vanguard: Saga of Heroes

Vanguard was supposed to change the MMO landscape for the better, by bringing it full circle back to its roots.  It didn’t.  No, by and large the game was unfinished when launched, and lacking in a number of ways.  But as our re-review coming this month will attest to, the Saga of Heroes has come a long way in recent months and deserves much more attention than its getting.  It’s still decidedly old school, and lovable in that way, and it’s far more complete these days than it ever was during its hype up until launch.  For players wanting something that reminds them of days before the Themepark and Sandbox debate, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes might just do the trick. Plus, I mean come on… you can make your own boat!

4.) Champions Online

Cryptic’s Champions Online had a lot of promises leading up to its launch, and the only one it really lived up to at the time was its character creation and freedom thereof.  Now though, a couple years have passed, a lot has changed at Cryptic, and Champions Online is now free to play with an option subscription following in the footsteps of the Turbine Freemium model.  The crazy thing? It works. Star Trek Online will be adopting a similar model later this year, and it seems like with Perfect World Entertainment that maybe Cryptic’s finally found its niche in the MMO market.  Champions class system is as robust as ever and there is a lot of content to play through if it’s your first go round, but the PVP is still sorely lacking and unbalanced.  Still, for fans of comic books looking for a free action-MMO with a funny-book feel, you can’t really beat Champions Online.

3.) Fallen Earth

Fallen Earth has a diehard and devoted fanbase.  This post-apocalyptic Mad-Maxian MMORPG is one of the finest PVE sandboxes in the industry, and it’s had a lot of sprucing up since its initial launch a while back.  Updated visuals, combat, tons of content… and now it’s free via Gamersfirst.  If your idea of a good time involves making your own ATV and shooting mutants in the face, you owe it to yourself to give Fallen Earth another shot.

2.) Age of Conan: Unchained

To say that Age of Conan underwhelmed people at launch would be an understatement.  It quite simply needed more time in the oven before it launched, but for what’s probably a multitude of reasons it launched all the same.  That said, now several years on with a fantastic expansion, a new F2P model, and another new expansion just released, Age of Conan: Unchained is shaping up to be one of the best PVE-centric MMOs on the market.  It took some time and a lot of hard work, but it seems that the barbarian King should be pleased with his game these days.

1.) Darkfall

Aventurine’s fans will tell you already: Darkfall is a hardcore PVP sandbox that’s not for the weak of stomach.  Your gear and goods will be plundered, you will die, and you will get frustrated.  But the game, when it launched, wasn’t quite good enough to garner a lot of people’s attention.  It was rough around the edges to say the least.  But with three free expansions and countless updates, the game’s getting closer and closer to the spot where Aventurine and players alike expect it to be.  Now, with the massive overhaul of version 2.0 right around the corner, it may be time to give Darkfall another look once again.  It won’t ever be for everyone, but you have to hand it to Aventurine for sticking with their vision and constantly iterating and improving upon it.


William Murphy

Bill is the former 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.