<editorsnote> I am not a gamer … at all. My brother was the gamer in the family and subsequently beat the bejesus out of me if I touched our Genesis. Needless to say, I don’t game – but I actually do to this day find it theraputic to watch gamers. Kinda gnarly … but anywho, I’d still like to keep you all caught up on gaming news – so my buddy Adam aka Violent Gamer is gonna help out and keep you guys in the know … cause we’re fucking nerds man, WE GOTTA KNOW!!!! </editorsnote>
With many MMO gamers starting to retire from World of Warcraft, some are looking for the next big MMO to release. In this article I will be going over some big contenders that will be coming into the MMO market, some of which I got to play at E3 this year. There are countless MMOs that are available right now but I will just be focusing on potential contenders that may take over the WoW market.
As we covered in our first impressions of Tera, this MMO has a lot to offer for players looking for a new experience in the MMO genre. Tera utilizes an action combat system that feels like a third person hack and slash, but also a shooter if you are a ranged class. Also, a unique aspect of the game is the player driven political system that can impact what happens in certain areas of the world map.
Action combat in MMOs are starting to gain momentum. With players tired of single targeting combat like World of Warcraft, Tera’s combat system actually requires your full attention during enemy encounters. With the ability to dodge, block and use ranged attacks, the combat uses skill and timing to defeat your enemies. During my hands on time, I played a priest and had to combine different spells and abilities to create heavy combos in order to use her full potential. This was just a taste of the diverse combat system Tera is using.
One of the more intriguing aspects of the game is the player run government system. This brings something new and interesting that previous MMOs have not taken advantage of with their large communities. There are two tiers to the political system, the Vanarchs, who are the lords of a section of the world map, and the Exarch, who rule an entire continent.
From what we can gather, the path of the Vanarch will require either high ranking in PvP or by winning a popular vote during a week-long election that takes place every 21 days. If you become a Vanarch, you gain access to various privileges such as controlling the taxes in your zone, enabling or disabling PvP in your zone and also unlocking special vendors.
The new political community in Tera brings a new and exciting way to play MMOs. Depending on what the government is like at the time, everyone can be very prosperous, or end up living a life in tyranny. Tera is set to release in the last quarter of 2011.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
Star Wars: The Old Republic is probably the most anticipated MMO in development. With BioWare at the helm, you can expect Star Wars to be a very strong story driven MMO. The game will be fully voiced and feature the same interactive dialogue seen in Mass Effect and Dragon Age that will alter your characters story progression. Though there are some slight differences in game play, The Old Republic will feel familiar to World of Warcraft players.
The Old Republic is really pushing the story driven experience. Each class will have a different saga and will have the ability to change their overall progression with the interactive dialogue used during missions. When grouped with other players, team members will also be able to choose the course of the mission during interactive dialogue scenes. The Old Republics story driven campaign will be leaps and bounds over the competition.
In my mind, Star Wars: The Old Republic has the greatest chance of taking over the MMO market. Whether your a fan of the Star Wars series or your just looking for a new MMO to get into, Old Republic offers something new and exciting but has familiar fundamentals any gamer can get into. Plus, its fucking Star Wars man!
Rift: Planes of Telara
Rift is the one game on this list that is already out, but it still did interesting things for the genre and obtained a large fan base. First and most importantly it created a new and unique player versus environment dynamic that was created with invasions and rifts. There are two factions in this game that constantly fight in player versus player and throughout the world (on pvp servers) but with a invasion comes then it no longer matters. People tend to ignore the factions and end up fighting together against a common invader that threatens to take over their quest areas, encampments and quest givers. Often the invasion is so large that it makes it damn near impossible to ignore it, forcing everyone in the area to flee or join the fight. Has any other MMO done that? Not to my knowledge.
On top of invasions, Rift also improves upon many common MMO dynamics. For instance it has a incredibly easy to use group system, non-cumbersome UI (interface), many customization options from cosmetics (clothing) to guilds to UI, easy and familiar loot system and a multi currency system that allows for a build up of many different types of currency at the same time without it being confusing. Rift does a lot right, but it is not the contender that Guild Wars 2 and Star Wars are, although it may be on the same level as Tera. Rift does not do a lot new, other than Rifts/invasions, but everything it does it does very well and with a lot of polish. For a early preview of the game, up to level 30 or so (out of 50 levels), check out our post from March. Rift Hands-On Preview.
Guild Wars 2
Guild Wars was a successful MMO created by ArenaNet a few years after the release of World of Warcraft. While other MMOs focus on leveling and gear, Guild Wars focus was on building and collecting your skill and utilizing your abilities to progress in the game. Set 300 years in the future, much has changed in the world including new races and an overhaul of the graphics. If you enjoyed the original, Guild Wars 2 looks to improve upon its old system and bring new aspects to exploration, questing and combat (lets just hope they don’t introduce a subscription fee).
One of the big changes coming to Guild Wars 2 is the open map exploration, rather than the instance structure like the previous game. Questing is meant to bring players together and use teamwork to accomplish quests rather than competing for the same items. Items and experience will depend on your involvement during fights. When playing in dungeons, players will first run through in story mode, after that players can then group up and find themselves facing different enemies and bosses and pathway options the second time around.
Guild Wars 2 has a combat system unlike other current MMOs on the market. Rather than only having skills increase when you level, their system splits the skill bars in two: 5 skill slots for an equipped weapon and another 5 slots that a player can customize with whichever class they choose. This is to give a diverse style of game play so each player is not the same. The game also features an action combat system rather than a target attack system, this will let players dodge, block and evade attacks from enemies in real time and not requiring stats to do it for you.