We’re half way through 2014 already, can you believe it?! We decided to stop and take a look back at how the year has gone so far for the MMO industry. 2013 was a bit of a slow one so it was really important that 2014 be bigger and better. Developers haven’t let us down. We’ve already had amazing releases, amazing betas, and exciting expansions. But for now let’s take a look at the best.
Top MMO Betas Currently Running
There are so many amazing beta events going on right now. Our most recent beta data article has nearly 100 different betas to pick from! But we narrowed it down to three amazing games you can find in beta right now.
Landmark has gone through a name change, an alpha phase and is currently sitting in closed beta. Access to which is only through pay but it seems to be working out well for the already very popular title. The game is still very much a work in progress; they only recently added water for instance. But that doesn’t stop it from being one of the most talked about betas currently running. This is further helped by the fact that there is no NDA. You can talk about it and post videos all you want. This seems to be a very popular move with players. Landmark will likely continue to be popular and talked about for a long time to come.
Though it took Trion a long time after announcing the game for any signs of it to pop up again ArcheAge has taken the industry by storm. Many are calling it the sandbox MMO they’ve always dreamed of. The translation process is taking a little bit longer than Trion expected they have said that the game will launch with update 1.2 already part of the game. Everyone who plays it loves it. Everyone who isn’t playing it is jealous of the people who are. A whole lot of hype is building around Archeage. And that is only going to continue to grow as they reveal more about the popular title.
MOBAs are incredibly popular this year. It can be difficult to stand out in a massive crowd, but Dawngate does just that. With a unique take on the MOBA genre and a community you actually enjoy being a part of Dawngate looks like it will be joining the elites like League of Legends and Dota 2. Of all the MOBAs in beta right now Dawngate is the one to try. It gives the personal interaction you get with indie games, but with a big publisher, EA, backing it. Best of all Dawngate is fun and friendly to people no matter their skill level.
Top Launched MMOs
There have big some AAA launches this year. Not all of them have gone as was expected, but most of them are huge successes. We picked these three more for the hype that has been around them all year than for the actual game themselves as they really are still a bit too young to know how they will continue into the future.
WildStar will most likely be the biggest MMO of 2014. It certainly is the biggest so far and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. It mixes old, familiar mechanics with new and exciting ones. As well as mixing humor, sometimes dark humor, with serious plot to give an entertaining experience. They have interesting new takes on races, an artistic style that really makes it stand out, and Rowsdowsers. Yes, Rowsdowers are a selling point. But it also has a little something for every type of gamer. It has a strong PvP, PvE, Housing, Crafting, and roleplaying. It is quite possibly the most well rounded MMO to be released in a long time, which will undoubtedly contribute to its lasting popularity.
For a while earlier this year Hearthstone was all anyone was talking about. Office productivity at MMOGames tanked as everyone was playing against each other and there were many arguments over who would get to review it. Everyone everywhere seemed to want in on Hearthstone. These days the hype seems to have died down some but we still catch people around the office playing it when they’re supposed to be working. Previously, trading card MMOs were thought to be a bit of an obscure corner of the MMO genre. But Hearthstone has made it popular and many more studios are taking the leap.
Elder Scrolls Online
Elder Scrolls Online enjoyed massive popularity for most of the year so far. Part of it was down to the secretive nature of closed betas and the fact that it comes from such a hugely popular series. There were high expectations for this game, possibly a bit too high. Sadly the launch of the game was a troubled one. Gold spammers filled starting zones with endless streams of spam, there were bugs galore, and generally the game turned out to be not quite what everyone had hoped it would be. But still, there are die hard fans of the title and though it hasn’t enjoyed popularity post launch because it spent so much of this year in beta it earns a spot on our list.
Top MMO Expansions
Expansions are the blood that gives life to MMOs. They keep things new and exciting which why they are so important to do right. Done poorly they can kill a game. But done well and the game will thrive. We picked three of the best to have gone live already this year though there are sure to be many more exciting ones to come.
Neverwinter: The Curse of Icewind Dale
Neverwinter fans across the world squealed in girlish glee when module 3, The Curse of Icewind Dale was first announced. And it attracted the attention of Dungeons and Dragons fans that had never played the game. It added three new zones to the game, new campaigns, and new abilities. This brought new life and new excitement to the popular title which is sure to keep people going until module 4 is released in August.
The Secret World: Tokyo
Fans of The Secret World have been waiting patiently for Tokyo for a very long time. And now that it has finally been released players are going nuts! What really makes The Secret World fans excited though is the knowledge that Tokyo is only beginning and there will be much more to come not only in full fledged updates but also in smaller side mission packs released into the in game store.
Age of Wushu: Tempest of Strife
Tempest of Strife may not be the first expansion you think of that has come out in 2014. Age of Wushu isn’t really considered one of the big players in the MMO genre. But Tempest of Strife added something very important to the game, something that in my opinion brought Age of Wushu to an all new height. What is it I’m talking about? Weather. It may seem silly at first but bear with me. Age of Wushu is all about a classic period in Chinese folklore and history. With epic hand to hand battles, beautiful scenery, and weather to express the mood and emotion behind the event. Until Tempest of Strife Age of Wushu was lacking that final, possibly most important component.
MMOs we’re Looking Forward To
We couldn’t help ourselves. We’re only half way through the year after all. What would this article be without a look at the rest of 2014? It is certainly going to be an exciting second half of the year.
We’ve had our eyes on Destiny since E3 2013. During E3 2014 we drooled and lusted. And there is still more waiting to do. Destiny is due to be released in September and will be the first of the major cross platform multiplayer games that is sure to draw the attention of fan boys and girls from all gaming genres. It was said on Twitter not long ago by a friend and I have to agree, Single player is dead. Unlike them though I welcome the new age of multiplayer and MMOs. Destiny certainly has the potential to be the game of the year.
The announcement for H1Z1 seemed to come out of nowhere. Gamers are completely in love with zombies at the moment so it makes complete sense that SOE would make a zombie game of their own. Though they have to compete with the likes of DayZ eventually, there isn’t currently any MMO that really does zombies well. And that is what makes H1Z1 so exciting. Though I think the entire world is still trying to work out what Smedley was talking about when he said it was a game Star Wars Galaxy players would love. It hasn’t been given an exact release date yet, but all signs are pointing towards the end of 2014.
At first glance Swordsman Online might look like just another Age of Wushu with the Ancient Chinese theme and martial arts but it actually takes direct inspiration from a Wuxia novel written in the 1960s called The Smiling, Proud Wanderer. This novel was very popular in China and has been adapted for television and movies several times. In fact one of the actresses from a 2013 TV series lent her image to the game. By all accounts the game itself is exciting and entertaining. Open beta began on July 3rd, and as of today, the game has officially launched.
And there we have it. The best of 2014, so far. There is so much more to look forward to and we’re already starting our list for the best of 2014 article which will come out in December just before New Years. Did we leave anything off the list? Let us know in the comments below.Related: Age of Wushu, ArcheAge, Beta, Dawngate, Destiny, H1Z1, Hearthstone, Landmark, Neverwinter, Swordsman Online, The Elder Scrolls Online, The Secret World, Top List, Wildstar