Every gamer knows this feeling: YouÂve been playing Game X for quite a while now and, while you were having fun with it, for whatever reason the thrill is currently gone. Maybe youÂll get back to the game later--in fact, you most likely will--but for now youÂre in a slump. Sure, you could give up gaming for a while, but youÂre no quitter.
ThatÂs why weÂve worked up a list of 5 games you should take a look at before you do something crazy...like watching endless reruns of How I Met Your Mother or getting obsessed with politics.
Read on to discover a few MMO gems you just may want to try.
YouÂre probably thinking, ÂBut, isnÂt Aion a Korean grinder?Â It certainly was when you had to pay for it, but now itÂs Âtruly free,Â with no level restrictions or any pay-to-win ceilings. And itÂs also pretty awesome. Not only does your character learn that he is a demigod, but sprouts wings. And whatÂs really cool about Aion is that youÂll look and feel like a badass early on. This is one game that doesnÂt dress your toon in rags and give her stupid low-level abilities while she works her way up to the impressive ones: youÂre pretty much going to rock before youÂre even level 10.
As free-to-play games go, Aion ranks up at the upper tier in terms of sleek, polished gameplay (both PvE and PvP), impressive visuals, and a solid story. Plus, it has shugos. And once you go shugo, you never go back. (YouÂll simply have to play the game to figure out what in the hell weÂre talking about.)
ÂBut, itÂs a WoW clone!Â you cry. Well, okay, weÂll admit that it does look stylized like WoW (albeit even prettier), and there are certainly other similarities, but those are superficial. If you scratch below the surface, youÂll find that Allods Online isnÂt WoW (in fact, its PvP might be more fairly compared to Warhammer Online), and it offers a lot of fun gameplay for the (un)cost of free.
So, whatÂs an allod? ItÂs an island floating in a magical space called the Astral. And you fight against your opposing faction (League or Empire) for control of the allods in cool Astral ships that look like schooners. The game has multiplayer ship-to-ship combat (ships can be manned by multiple players), and awesome things like astral demons for you to battle. Of course, there are also plenty of things happening on terra firma, too.
You may have heard some early wailing and gnashing of teeth over cash shop prices in Allods, and a controversial system that required players to purchase a cash shop item to avoid a death penalty. Those insidious little pocket-drainers were removed recently, making way for smoother (Astral) sailing. To top things off, Allods Online gets a major update later this month.
While players didnÂt seem willing to pay a monthly fee for DC Universe Online, they have definitely gravitated toward the free-to-play model since SOE converted the game. And with City of Heroes singing its swan song in November, fans of the superhero genre could find that DCUO provides a familiar-feeling gameplay experience, with the added bonus of beloved (or maligned) DC Comics NPCs to engage with.
DCUOÂs recent update, The Witching Hour, brings some Halloween events to the game, plus an improved tutorial and mail UI, and updates to weapon trees.
Okay, weÂre cheating a bit here--RaiderZ is still in beta. But fortunately this monster mashing gem heads to open beta October 24th. Not only is RaiderZ visually impressive (another MMO with a stylized art style), but itÂs all about beating up really big monsters before they do the same to you. In this game, monsters wonÂt just stand there and take a beating--if youÂre not careful about evading their attacks, theyÂll pick you up and snap you like a twig.
Another interesting feature in RaiderZ is that the game lets you shift roles depending on which weapons you decide to use (shades of Guild Wars 2.) And Conquest Crafting lets you create powerful weapons with...spare monster parts. How cool is that?
This one is bound to be controversial, but weÂre gonna go out on a limb and say that Vanguard, the game you love to hate if you were ever a fan before its abysmal launch, is worth a second look now that itÂs free. Now, donÂt get us wrong--when last we played it, Vanguard was still Vanguard, irritating little bugs and all. But at least now your system will most likely run it.
Vanguard always had a lot of great things going for it that its launch tragically decimated: it had an enormous open world, a variety of interesting races, and a sort of EverQuest-y old school feel. To add to the appeal, there are a couple of advantages to VanguardÂs free-to-play conversion, besides the fact that itÂs free: it now has more than just a skeleton of a dev team (EQ2 players might be interested to hear that Steve ÂMoorgardÂ Danuser recently replaced Salim ÂSiliusÂ Grant as Creative Director); and thereÂs been an infusion of new (or returning) players to hang out with.
DonÂt get us wrong--Vanguard will likely feel dated to the sophisticated gamer, and just how much effort its reenergized dev team will put into updates and improvements remains unseen for the moment, but if you long for a little old school fun itÂs worth downloading and exploring one more time.