In this week’s List, we’re doing the obvious… ranking our staff’s top ten Most Wanted MMOs of 2014. The new year is just a day away, so it’s time we took stock of the ten games, expansions, and so forth we’re most looking forward to in the next twelve months (given that all of these listed titles actually hit their expected launch dates). So tarry no more, read on, and dig our list of the Most Wanted MMOs for 2014. Be sure to leave your own thoughts in the comments and tell us where we went right or wrong, too. And before you say anything: we didn’t include Star Citizen because it’s not technically supposed to fully launch until early 2015.
10. The Repopulation
A huge open sci-fi sandbox with a focus on crafting and cross-faction warfare? Yes please. The Repopulation has been very open and engaged about the experience they’re seeking to deliver when the game launches in 2014, with updates coming fast and furious. We’ve been keeping our eyes on this one for months now, and 2014 should prove whether or not Josh Halls’ magnum opus is worth the wait.
9. Elite: Dangerous
One of a slew of games funded by Kickstarter, Elite: Dangerous (like others on this list) is blurring the lines of what it means to be an MMO by being both playable completely offline or in an MMO-like persistent universe. It’s also the spiritual successor to one of the greatest space dogfighting games ever and will embrace the Oculus Rift, so we’re pretty psyched to get our hands on Elite come March.
8. The Division
Due out at the end of 2014, Tom Clancy’s The Division looks like one of many MMOs that are coming to consoles… and serving as a reason to pick up a PS4 or XB1 for many interested. Luckily, PC gamers are getting this near-future MMO shooter too where players react and engage a lifelike ravaged NYC, where martial law is in effect and humanity is on its last legs. Plus, you can play with your friends from work on your iPad as a drone if you can’t be at your PC or console. And that’s just awesome.
Halo revolutionized the FPS for modern day gamers, and Bungie is now hoping to do the same for MMO shooters, though they’re keen to not really call Destiny an MMO. Regardless of terminology, this console based MMOFPS oozes depth and scope like few other games. And who doesn’t want their own AI companion voiced by Peter Dinklage? If it lives up to the hype, Destiny could be a game of the year not just for MMOs, but across all platforms and genres.
XLGAMES’ ArcheAge should finally be making its way to the US in 2014, courtesy of Trion Worlds. The Korean version has been a success initially, followed by struggles and changes in its monetization, but the anticipation for one of the genre’s most sought after sandboxes doesn’t seem to be waning. In a game where you can almost literally do and be anything you want from pirate to farmer, we’re all waiting anxiously to get our hands on an English-ified version and see if the gameplay is as engaging as we hope.
5. World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor
Heresy, right? Putting ArcheAge below Warcraft on a Most Wanted list? Thing is, Blizzard’s latest planned expansion looks very promising in everything from the revamped character models to the team's new approach to creating zones and player housing known as Garrisons. While it may be nearing its 10th year, and while many would argue it’s seen better days, you’d still be hard-pressed to find a more fully-featured MMORPG.
4. Elder Scrolls Online
There’s a lot of arguing surrounding Elder Scrolls Online, from people who think it’s the Holy Grail to those who think it’s going to be an utter failure. Us though? We just think it’s going to be a polished and engaging addition to the Elder Scrolls series. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but ESO is shaping up to be an excellent PVE themepark with a bit of sandbox PVP thrown in with the inclusion of Alliance Warfare in Cyrodiil.
3. EverQuest Next: Landmark
While EQ Next proper is not due out until 2015, Landmark looks new and interesting enough to whet all of our appetites. While there was confusion if it was going to be an actual MMO, Landmark will be what SOE likes to call the creative and cooperative partner to EQ Next’s more story-focused and traditional MMO. Players will literally help build and shape a new Norrath, with combat, exploration and crafting taking center stage.
2. Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues
The spiritual successor to Ultima Online, driven by much of that game’s staff, and featuring both MMO play and completely offline adventuring. Need we really say more? We’re betting and hoping and wishing this will be Lord British’s triumphant return to the RPG and MMO landscape.
1. WildStar Online
If you had asked us a few months back, there’s no way WildStar would have topped this list. But then we got to play it, and we’re still playing it. Though Carbine’s MMO is still in a beta where the progress will be wiped before launch, many of us find ourselves logging in often to experience Nexus and hijinks and hilarity that it has to offer. Some are calling it WoW 2.0, and that’s not an entirely off-base statement. In a lot of ways, it’s like Vanilla Azeroth reimagined with better combat, more stuff to do, and an overall greater sense of wonder. Yes, Virginia, it’s a Theme Park MMO, but it’s also fun. And that’s what counts most, when all is said and done.
Bill Murphy / Bill Murphy 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.