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My Top Ten Games with Potential

Jon Wood Posted:
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5 – Fallen Earth

Icarus Studios has been around for a while, touting an MMO that takes place in the aftermath of a plague that wipes out much of the world’s population.

The game itself makes the list of games with potential partially because of the setting. A post-apocalyptic MMO is full of possibilities, giving players the opportunity to eek out an existence is a universe that really couldn’t be much further removed from the fantasy realm of elves and dwarves. Then, of course, there are the features.

Fallen Earth promises to show us a game that takes a new approach to classes where players don’t have to commit right from the beginning, having a chance to interact with the world before making a concrete decision. That doesn’t rock your world? Doesn’t give you tingles of joy? Well maybe you’re one of the many MMO fans who feel that crafting systems have gotten the shaft in recent years. Maybe you’re one of those people who have been hoping for a game that would give it an important role rather than making it a half-forgotten sideshow as others have done. Whatever the case may be, Fallen Earth promises to deliver meaningful crafting.

These features, along with a few others, make Fallen Earth another of my MMOs with great potential.

4 – Global Agenda

When the MMORPG.com staff went down to attend E3 this year, we gave our Editor’s choice award to Global Agenda and the folks from Hi-Rez Studios. With launch eeking ever closer, this sci-fi MMO has grabbed my attention in a number of ways and has more than enough interesting aspects to score highly on my potential-o-meter.

When Dana Massey got a hands-on at E3, he came back to work talking about two aspects of the game specifically: The first were jetpacks. Global Agenda will allow players the use of jetpacks as a travel and combat mechanism, but the catch is that players won’t be able to use their guns while using their packs. The second revolved around the way that the game presented melee combat in its FPS skin, a feat that isn’t easy to pull off. Still, while those aspects are pretty interesting and will certainly add something new and interesting to the game, but that wasn’t what really grabbed my attention in terms of potential. For me, the real potential is in the genre.

I have said for a long time that there is a great deal of potential in marrying the MMORPGs with the FPS genre. Show me a game that promises all of the depth of story, character and environment of an MMORPG combined with the fast paced action and overall skill requirements of an FPS, and I’ll show you a game with the potential to do something special.

3 – Aion

I know that there are going to be people out there who feel like I placed Aion too low on my list. After all, it is the game that some have been touting as the long awaited competitor for WoW. There will also be those of you out there who feel like I placed Aion too high on my list with thoughts that it doesn’t really offer anything new to the genre. For my part, I think I’ve placed it perfectly partially because of the controversy that seems to be surrounding it at the moment. It seems that the closer an MMO gets to launch, the more polarized the audience becomes.

I say that Aion is full of potential for a number of reasons. The first is its approach to race in a fantasy setting MMO. Looking to the principle that players want some degree of uniformity to their races, but want aesthetic difference, the team has compiled an incredibly detailed character creator that will allow players to create an elf or a dwarf or really almost anything else if they so choose. It’s actually an interesting way of stripping away the veneer of statistical racial difference in high fantasy games.

That brings me to the idea of flight. Personally, I like the way it’s being handled with this game. By making flight a limited ability, the developers are able to take full advantage of extraordinary combat potential while at the same time controlling the distances that players move. PvP is also an interesting aspect of this game and, if done properly, could really go a long way toward capturing a niche crowd that hasn’t been impressed with recent offerings in that direction. The real potential in this one though is that it has so many people fired up. When that happens, games tend to have a successful launch in terms of immediate numbers. If, and I stress if, Aion is able to impress the many people who will undoubtedly pick it up in the early days it may just live up to expectations.

2 – Star Trek Online

I started this list off by saying that I’m a big fan of the Stargate franchise. Well, being a bigger nerd than anyone rightfully should be, I’m an even bigger fan of the Star Trek franchise. Not that I’m alone in this. Alongside Star Wars, Trek is probably the most recognizable sci-fi franchise on the planet. To say that there are a lot of people anxiously waiting to be able to jump in and actually experience their favourite universe is an understatement.

When Cryptic announced that they had secured the project after the collapse of Perpetual Entertainment, all eyes and expectations turned to them because everyone, whether or not they are a fan of Star Trek, sees the potential that lies in this particular IP. The unfortunate truth for Cryptic is that in order to make a game, design decisions need to be made that aren’t always going to be popular with the game’s entire would-be audience. Still, they have forged ahead, and will bring us a game that includes two factions: Federation and Klingon, NPC crews, customizable ships, alien race creators, an ever expanding universe and more. Each of these decision, popular with some, unpopular with others, are yet to be seen. They all have the potential to come together to make a great Star Trek game. Will they live up to the potential? Only time will tell.

1 – Star Wars: The Old Republic

The Old Republic started out as the worst kept secret in the business and when someone finally admitted that Bioware was indeed working on an MMO based on the successful Knights of the Old Republic franchise, there was much rejoicing. As time has gone on, and details are slowly (like glacially slowly) coming to light about the game, more and more people are beginning to express their doubts.

One of the biggest complaints that I have heard about this game is actually something that I would classify as the aspect that carries the most potential, and makes TOR my number one most anticipated game: A focus on story and character.

The complaints are pretty easy to see: if there is a focus on individual character and individual story in a persistent world, how will a community be fostered? How will the game be anything but a single player game with lots of other people running around? How will the game retain players over the long term rather than a single play to max level and then an end? The list could literally go on for pages, but here’s the cool thing: No one right now outside of Bioware actually knows what the answers to those questions are. It is possible that, now stay with me, a company that has the experience and reputation of Bioware might actually have thought of these questions as well and found ways to address them. There is so much potential in the idea that a company may have found a way to actually present an MMO where individual decisions matter and a story, not a constant desire to level drives players through the game that there really wasn’t much choice but to say that Star Wars: The Old Republic has the most potential right now of any game currently in development.

Of course, there’s an almost equal chance that the naysayers are right and that no answers to these issues have been found. That’s really the beauty of potential. No one knows if it will be lived up to or not until they can see it with their own eyes.

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Jon Wood