Previews

A Complete Look at the MMOs of 2013 - Part 1

By Reuben Waters -

While 2012 may not have had as much activity in the MMO space as weÂ’ve seen in previous years, there were still a number of major releases clamoring for our attention, time, or hard earned dollars. Major releases included TERA, The Secret World, Guild Wars 2, RaiderZ, and PlanetSide 2, among others.

Apparently MMO developers were amongst those smart enough to figure out that the world wasnÂ’t going to automagically implode in late December, as a massive number of games are slated to hit the market in 2013. In fact, this looks to be one of the busiest years for new game launches in the history of the industry.

WeÂ’ve put together a comprehensive two-part look at the games expected to drop sometime in 2013, and as an added bonus have also included a brief look at some of the other titles we hope to learn more about this year, even if they donÂ’t land their ships in our backyard and demand to see our leaders over the course of the next twelve months.


Neverwinter


Developer: Cryptic Studios
Status: Closed Beta
Release: Spring 2013

If the city of Neverwinter is known as the Jewel of the North, then the upcoming game bearing the same name could very well be the jewel in Cryptic Studios' crown. Not only does it feature what is perhaps the best active combat system we've experienced in an MMO to date, but it also manages to capture the essence of what makes Forgotten Realms such a beloved setting.

While most MMOs tend to suffer from the fact that players can consume in-game content faster than the developer can crank out meaningful updates or expansions, that won't be the case with Neverwinter. The game will of course ship with a hefty chunk of content created by Cryptic, but Neverwinter's secret weapon is the Foundry.

The Foundry will allow players to create and share their own custom content, all within the game client. While it isn't necessarily the first of its kind, from what we've seen so far the Foundry is shaping up to be one of the best.

Read more about Neverwinter on Ten Ton Hammer
The Neverwinter official website


Age of Wushu


Developer: Snail Games
Status: Closed Beta
Release: February 1, 2013

The release date for Age of Wushu is right around the corner, ringing in the decidedly busy MMO release schedule for 2013. The jury is still out on how North American players will take to Wushu's progression and combat systems, though reports from the most recent beta have been pretty positive.

A main selling point for this free-to-play import is the progression system. Rather than select a static class, instead players are able to train in eight different martial arts schools, essentially creating their own combat style as you progress. While not a revolutionary paradigm shift by any means - skill-based leveling systems have picked up a fair amount of steam over the years - it still offers something outside of the typical predetermined destiny that most class-based MMOs devolve into.

Read more about Age of Wushu on Ten Ton Hammer
The Age of Wushu official website



FireFall


Developer: Red 5 Studios
Status: Ongoing Beta
Release: 2013 (?)

For all intents and purposes FireFall has been live for quite some time now, though developer Red 5 has stated on numerous occasions that the plan is to have more of a soft launch for the game rather than a firm (giggity) release date. Much like the original rollout of Gmail, the idea is to keep adding more and more players to the beta until enough people are playing to consider the game "live".

As such, FireFall has been in beta for well over a year now, but that's also allowed Red 5 a lot of freedom to rework entire gameplay systems and add new ones without the same negative connotations associated with major post-launch iteration.

If you're even casually interested in online shooters, FireFall is worth checking out. Chances are you already know someone in beta that could toss a key your way, but if you don't you can sign up by hitting the handy link to the official site below.

Read more about FireFall on Ten Ton Hammer
The FireFall official website


The Elder Scrolls Online


Developer: ZeniMax Online
Status: In Development
Release: 2013

There have been many popular IPs that have been given the MMO treatment over the years to varying degrees of success. In most cases the end results simply haven't lived up to the lofty expectations of a preexisting fan base more familiar with the IP through other media, or even different gaming genres. Age of Conan, Warhammer Online, Star Wars Galaxies, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Champions Online, DC Universe Online... and the list goes on.

So what makes The Elder Scrolls Online special, and why would it have a better chance of achieving massive success where so many others have fallen flat?

For starters, the existing Elder Scrolls series already offers a slice of what makes MMOs tick to begin with. In other words, massive, open worlds - not to mention class, combat, and character progression systems that have very distinct MMO hooks.

From what we've seen of TESO during our hands-on time with the game so far, it looks to be on track to be one of the first genre-hoppers since Warcraft to grow as a franchise rather than come to a grinding halt in the massively multiplayer market.

Read more about The Elder Scrolls Online on Ten Ton Hammer
The Elder Scrolls Online official website



Hawken


Developer: Adhesive Games
Status: Open Beta
Release: Early 2013

Hawken is shaping up to be an excellent alternative for gamers who love shooters in concept, but have grown tired of the "been there, done that" nature of the genre. Unlike its direct competitor, MechWarrior Online, Hawken plays very much like an FPS... albeit one where you're scampering around in giant robots that have the potential to overheat, and might not be as graceful as say a ballet dancer.

Hawken is also one of a handful of games on our list that have been loosely categorized as an MMO by gamers or other media outlets, but at the end of the day it's a pretty straightforward lobby based multiplayer game. That's not necessarily a bad thing, and Hawken does offer a pretty decent advancement system on a per-mech level.

In the current open beta, Hawken does tend to suffer a bit from a disparity of maps and the lack of full clan support. Thankfully, developer Adhesive Games has stated that both of these areas are being addressed so players will have an easier time connecting in-game, and the ability to play on a wider variety of maps in the future.

Read more about Hawken on Ten Ton Hammer
The Hawken official website


Wildstar


Developer: Carbine Studios
Status: In Development
Release: 2013

Wildstar may be one of those games that lives or dies by people's acceptance of its decidedly cartoonish graphics. But if you can look beyond the highly stylized surface, Wildstar is perhaps one of the most interesting MMOs currently in development.

The combat is incredibly fun, taking concepts like ground targeted abilities to a whole new level that factors in more shapes than circles or straight lines. The Paths system also adds a layer of depth that extends character progression in some very direct and meaningful ways, and we were also pleased to learn last summer that Wildstar will also feature a player housing system. Player housing is one of those magical MMO elements that helps connect players to a given game over time nearly as much as social systems, so we're excited to see what the team at Carbine has up its sleeves in that department.

We expect big things from Wildstar, and will be looking at the game in greater depth moving forward. While a release date still hasn't been confirmed, we're keeping our fingers crossed that this will be one of the games we're all playing and talking about next fall.

Read more about Wildstar on Ten Ton Hammer
The Wildstar official website



Defiance


Developer: Trion Worlds
Status: In Development
Release: April 2013

There have been lots of games that were inspired by film and television, and likewise plenty of attempts have been made to adapt stellar video game IPs into feature films. Call it an act of defiance (I know, terrible pun), but Trion Worlds and the SyFy Channel (it's pronounced "siffy"... honest!) have teamed up to be the first to launch both a TV series and MMO set within the same world simultaneously.

Well, almost the first. Anyone remember Hero 108?

While we walked away from the 2012 event season with mixed feelings about Defiance, a thing to keep in mind is that it won't only be releasing in April along with the TV series, but it's launching on PC and consoles as well. As such, some of the deeper MMO connects we've come to expect from a PC only release have necessarily given way to locking in a core console shooter experience first and foremost.

With that said, Defiance is still high on our radar, and you can bet your arkfall that we'll be playing the heck out of the game between episodes of the show this April.

Read more about Defiance on Ten Ton Hammer
The Defiance official website


DUST 514


Developer: CCP
Status: Closed Beta
Release: 2013

Have you ever loaded up a console game and thought to yourself, "Hot diggity clown vipers, I bet this game would be so incredibly awesome on PC!" Call me old school, but PC is where it's at for shooter purists, which makes DUST 514 an interesting specimen of sorts.

While DUST may be a PS3 exclusive, it's also one of the few shooters I've ever had a genuine interest in playing on that particular platform. It also sits in an oddish space where on the one hand you could simply consider it a multiplayer shooter and call it a day, but on the other it offers a lot of MMO hooks, even if a massive open world isn't among them.

It's also one of the numerous games on our list that is kind of still in beta, but also taking real world cash for in-game purchases so could be considered a launch product. The game also comes with the PS3 Uncharted bundle, prominently featured on one of the side panels of the box.

Regardless, DUST 514 is a great game that helps expand the EVE universe in interesting ways. If you own a PS3 you'll absolutely want to check it out, and can sign up for the beta on the official site or by purchasing the Mercenary Pack.

Read more about DUST 514 on Ten Ton Hammer
The DUST 514 official website



Blade & Soul


Developer: Team Bloodlust
Status: In Development
Release: 2013(?)

By all accounts, the Korean release of Blade & Soul has been a highly successful. While that doesn't necessarily indicate that the game will share a similar success in North America, it does at least help give us some indication of whether or not Team Bloodlust's localization efforts will pay off.

Among the many things that make Blade & Soul worth watching are the distinct visual style, and the hyper-active combat system. Since the game is already live in Korea, you can find oodles of fan-made gameplay videos on the web that help illustrate both points. On the whole, the fundamentals of the game won't change much for the NA release, but things such as the leveling curve are being looked at very closely to help avoid getting slapped with the dreaded "grind" label.

As for when Blade & Soul will launch in North America, that remains to be seen, but we remain hopeful that NCSoft and Team Bloodlust will begin dropping more details heading into the 2013 event season.

Read more about Blade & Soul on Ten Ton Hammer
The Blade & Soul official website


City of Steam


Developer: Mechanist Games
Status: In Development
Release: 2013

The most recent closed beta test for City of Steam came to a close during the holiday sandwich week, and while the developers haven't announced when the next CBT will kick off, the plan is to begin assessing and incorporating as much of the feedback they're received as possible over the next few months.

As the name suggests, City of Steam takes a stab at steampunk; a setting that is woefully underrepresented in online gaming. On the whole, we enjoyed our time with the game during the latest CBT, and found the setting to be a breath of fresh air, even though it can at times feel a bit too gritty and hyper-industrialized.

That's not necessarily a bad thing, and given that CoS is based on a series of existing PnP RPG sourcebooks there's plenty of rhyme to the reasoning behind many of the design decisions for the game.

Read more about City of Steam on Ten Ton Hammer
The City of Steam official website



Don't forget to check back tomorrow for the second half of our complete look at the MMOs of 2013!


Last Updated:

Around the Web