I like being outdoors as much as the next person, and I'm thinking of building a weather-resistant PC setup in my backyard so that I can play all of this year's MMOs while still enjoying the sunshine. There are more than a few high-profile titles coming out soon that are all worth tracking, and here are five of my personal must-watch games of 2013.
I've been waiting a long time for a solid video game series set in the San Francisco Bay Area (being a native myself). So long, in fact, that the most relevant game that comes to mind is 1996/1997's San Francisco Rush: Extreme Racing. That's one of the reasons why I'm excited to play Trion Worlds' post-apocalyptic, science fiction MMO shooter, Defiance. Offering all of the features of a triple-A MMORPG, with third-person controls and massive co-op battles, Defiance looks poised to push the cross-media envelope by overlapping with a new television series on the Syfy channel. It will also feature vehicle-based missions in an alien-infested, open-world representation of the Bay Area, which means that I'll be able to re-create Rush racing scenarios in a post-apocalyptic San Francisco.
Having played the original Neverwinter Nights and its expansions and sequel for countless hours, I'm excited to see what Cryptic Studios is bringing to the table with their upcoming MMO, Neverwinter. I've always been a fan of the Forgotten Realms setting, and have opined that a modified version of the 4th Edition ruleset could work very well as the gameplay basis for an MMORPG. I'm particularly interested in tinkering with The Foundry, Neverwinter's suite of dungeon creation tools, as it reminds me of the wide success enjoyed by the original series' player-made mods. Cryptic's MMO looks to be a completely new experience in the Neverwinter franchise, with significant nods to the classic games, and is one to keep an eye on.
Like most fans of The Elder Scrolls, I've been skeptical of the desire to turn the franchise into an MMORPG, preferring to play my Elder Scrolls games in Solitude (that's a little Skyrim humor for you). I can't argue, however, with group questing, public dungeons, and three-faction PvP, and am more than a little curious about Zenimax Online Studios' vision for The Elder Scrolls Online. The opportunity to adventure in new regions of Tamriel, and visit familiar territories from previous games, is a promising one, and I'm very interested to see if the game has that "Elder Scrolls feel" to it. Before you ask, I'll be joining the Ebonheart Pact faction, so if you're looking to take over Cyrodiil, mind your allegiance!
I know Bill wrote about Red 5 Studios' MMOFPS, Firefall, in his Best of 2012 article because the game will already happily take your money. Still, it's technically in beta, and I'm looking forward to checking out Firefall's release version, projected for this year. I'm attracted to the game's cell-shaded art style, combination of PvE and PvP gameplay, and Battleframe character customization system, and have been looking for a rich MMOFPS experience that doesn't exclusively hinge upon its player-vs-player component. If done right, Firefall could provide a fun counterpoint to PvP-only FPS titles, and is on my list of games to investigate in 2013.
I don't mind telling you that while I had a long-time interest in checking out the now-closed Darkfall, I was also fairly intimidated by jumping into a presumably hardcore PvP sandbox as a beginner. Aventurine SA is currently re-inventing their flagship title with Darkfall: Unholy Wars, and while the sequel looks every bit as intense as its predecessor, DFUW seems to be as good a point of entry as any into the series. With a huge, seamless world, full loot, and a flexible character role system, Aventurine's new MMORPG has a lot going for it, and I'm hoping that enough other novices will be trying it out at launch to draw attention from my own newbie characters.
What are your most-anticipated games of 2013? Let us know!
You can follow Som on Twitter and plot the Ebonheart Pact's success @sominator.