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MMORPGs – A Year in Review!

by Dave Elliott
LotRO, AoC, and WAR

LotRO, AoC, and WAR

It’s another year on (plus a month or 2), and it’s time to update the Top 6 Most Anticipated MMORPGs list. But before we do that, we thought we’d do a review of last years Most Anticipated MMORPGs list, and other MMO releases that have appeared in the last 12 months. What worked, what didn’t, whats still to come…

MMO Expansions

Where you prepared?

Were you prepared?

There have been some great updates to MMOs over the past year. The biggest of course being Warcraft‘s Wraith of the Lich King. I’ll be honest, i didn’t want to like this. I really didn’t want to get dragged back to Azeroth. But, in a moment of weakness whilst near a GAME store, i found myself at the till, expansion in one hand and money in the other. And damn it, Blizzard had done it again. Lich King really had everything you could want in an expansion. More levels. More varied gameplay. Vehicles. New mounts. Even motorbikes! Same great WoW feel and humour. *sigh* damn you Blizzard, i’m playing WoW again…

LotRO also had a great expansion in Mines of Moria. They’re also kept up their awesome release schedule of free updates, expanding Middle Earth towards Moria. As we’ve mentioned before, both D and I have lifetime accounts on LotRO so it’s a game we pop back to on and off. We’ve not had a chance to play properly through all the new content yet, but we are planning a trip back to the Shire later in the year. Yes, the gameplay is a bit of a WoW clone, but it’s still by far one of the nicest looking MMO on the market at the moment.

EVE Online also had a massive expansion in Apocrypha adding new quests, tech, and wormholes. I can’t comment too much on how much this has changed EVE, since i’d only had a brief tinker with it a few years ago. However, I have been playing a bit of EVE recently, and the update does seem to softened the previously rather vertical learning ‘curve’ for new players.

Some Most Anticipated MMORPGs 2008 List Updates:

Last Years No. 5 – The Firefly MMO

Has got ‘put on a back burner’ by developers MultiverseAs much as i want it to happen, i’m not convinced it will... Multiverse are also allegedly developing a Buffy MMO, which would also be awesome, but i’ve kinda lost faith in Multiverse producing anything but vaporware, so i’m not pinning my hopes on that appearing anytime soon (if at all). If your reading this Multiverse, we want proof your actually working on something!

Last Years No. 3 – Age of Conan

AoC - A game of 2 halves

AoC - A game of 2 halves

D in particular is a huge Conan fan, so there was no question that we were going to try out AoC. It pitched itself as a ‘next-gen’ MMOs. One that tries to do something different than being a ‘WoW clone’… And in some areas it suceeded. Those areas mainly the first 20 levels… They then seem to forgot about the rest of the game, which was a real shame, as those first 20 levels had some great ideas. Wonderful intertwining story, decent voice acting, and an entertaining, different combat system. Unfortunately after the first 20 levels, the NPCs lost their voices, the story became less engaging, and you found yourself in a half finished game… So much potential wasted. You can read our full review here.

Last Years No. 2 – Warhammer Online

As an old tabletop Warhammer player, i was really looking forward to WAR’s release. We jumped in pretty much on the day of release, and were really impressed.

This is WAR... on a flyng disc...

This is WAR... on a flyng disc...

From the first starting area, you really get the feeling of being in a war zone. It’s also got a superb PvP system, teasing you into player combat slowly, before ending in full on group player bashing. The biggest dissapointment for me was the very half hearted crafting system. On paper it looked great. It sounded like you needed to collect unique elements to make a myriad of different trinkets and items. The reality was somewhat lacklustre, confusing mess. I know in a game that’s based around combat (this is WAR after all), crafting might that important, but i’d have rather they’d have left it out totally and added it in later, rather than running with the system they had. WAR is something I can see us going back to at some point in the future, once it’s had a few more updates.

The Others…

Obviously, there are other MMOs out there which we haven’t had chance to play (yet), or haven’t covered. Pirates of the Burning Sea i did play (10 word review – ‘Sid Meier’s Pirates’ online… but much worse… much much worse).


Pirates of the Burning Sea

We also spent the early part of 08 in the now departed Tabula Rasa. TR was initally pretty fun to play, but turned into a massive grind in later levels. However, the innovative combat system was a refreshing change to the normal MMO style button mashing. Darkfall Online looks really interesting as it’s the first real sandbox MMO since Star Wars Galaxies (pre SOEs messing about with it…), but we’ve just not had time to look at it yet, so we’d be interested in hearing people opinions.

If there’s any other MMOs out there you’d like to see us covering, let us know!
Geektown’s Most Anticipated MMORPGs 2009 List Coming Soon!

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