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Too Many Choices: Four Cool Need-to-Play MMOs for 2014

online gamesThis year is going to be awesome for MMO Gamers, but downright excruciating for those of us with time and/or budgetary boundaries to our online gaming.  There are just so many really amazing MMOs coming out this year, and it’s been hard to get the list down to just four new titles.  These are the ones that I feel like I absolutely need-to-play this year, and there’s no doubt it’s going to cause some tension among our friends and guild-mates as to which one we’ll have to settle on to play long-term.

Genre-wise, I somehow ended up with two fantasy-type and two scifi-type online games.  Not sure how that happened, but I guess that just shows where my tastes in games tend to run.

“Choices are the hinges of destiny.” ~ Pythagoras

Elder Scrolls Online
elder scrolls logo
The Elder Scrolls series of computer-games have been a part of my gaming experience since Daggerfall hit the shelves, oh so many years ago.  And not only do I love the series, but I can honestly say that TES has even had an effect on how I run my D&D games over the years.

That said, it should be a no-brainer that I’ve already pre-ordered Elder Scrolls Online and am greatly anticipating the release on April 4, 2014 – which incidentally is my birthday, so that makes ESO a nice little present to unwrap!  The gameplay looks excellent, and of course it’s stuffed full of lore from The Elder Scrolls PC series which will give the game setting a very comfortable appeal.

It’s got a hefty initial price tag at $59.99 for the game and then a monthly subscription fee of $14.95, but given the high quality of the game, and the awesomeness of the voice-actors being used – Kate Beckinsdale, Michael Gambon, John Cleese, Malcolm McDowell, Lynda Carter, Bill Nighy, Alfred Molina – I guess I can begrudge them a monthly fee.

Whether I stick with ESO or not really depends on the other games coming out this year – I can be downright mercurial when it comes to new games in shiny cool packages.

Star Citizen
star citizen logo
Like The Elders Scroll PC game series, I was also a hug fan of the Wing Commander PC game series, including the spin-off Privateer games – actually, I think I liked the three Privateer games more because you didn’t have the military constantly ordering you around… too much.  So now that Chris Roberts is working on what amounts to a super-Privateer style MMO-like game, it’s kind of hard not to want to play that too!

This one is due out at the end of August, so I’ll have a little time playing ESO before I have to decide if I want to switch to or split my time with Star Citizen.  Thankfully, it does not have a monthly service fee, but only the initial game purchase to worry about.  That said, it does have a micro-transaction economy built into the game, which I know from my experiences with Guild Wars 2 (which I still dabble with now and then), micro-transactions can pretty quickly add up to macro-transactions if you don’t watch yourself.

Still it looks like a heckuva lot of fun zipping around the galaxy in a custom built starship, doing whatever makes you grin, whether it’s shooting up space pirates, hauling cargo, bounty hunting, joining the military, or just exploring.  Definitely something I want to try out!

EverQuest Next
everquest next logo
Everquest was my very first successful MMORPG experience, and I played the crap out of that game through four expansions.  I say “successful” because my actual first MMO experience was Ultima Online, and after having my lowbie character killed and cut up for food three times, I decided that a Lord-of-the-Flies MMO was not my cup of tea.

So after playing both Everquest and Everquest 2, Everquest Next definitely got my attention as a potential “fix” for my online gaming addiction.  There are some great videos online and a discussion of the game principles from the devs on the site.  The idea that you can build and destroy structures in the game is pretty cool too, and there seems to be a lot to do in the game besides dungeon-delving and raids.

So far, there is no release date, but there seems to be a consensus from online boards that it’s likely to be a late 2014 release, if not 2015.  That should make things a bit easier if I decide to split time between ESO and SC, as I might drop one to try out EQNext.

There is a downside though in how SOE has previously handled their free-to-play model.  If it’s anything like the free-to-play content of EverQuest and EverQuest 2, then you really won’t be able do much in EQNext without buying a lot of micro-transactions to pay for “conveniences” like more than 1 character slot, 1 race, and 1 character class – or you can get the “full experience by paying the “optional” subscription fee.  The fact that they are charging folks to play in the Alpha makes it pretty clear that this game will never be like other free-to-play games like Guild Wars2.

This is the “wildcard” MMO that could make me rethink what online games I really want to spend time and money on – depending on when it is released.  This is a very cool, highly graphic science fiction MMO, where two factions of aliens and humans battle over a planet (Nexus) littered with ultra-high tech gadgetry left over from an ancient star-faring race.  But what I like about it is that the game doesn’t take itself seriously at all, feeling like a mash-up of Guardians of the Galaxy and Tripping the Rift.  The characters are cartoony, as is the violence, but it looks like it’s going to be a really fun game to play.

There are a ton of videos on their site called “DevSpeak” that talks about all the mechanics of this game, backgrounds of the races, and the two factions.  The voice acting and voice-overs are hilarious, and there are features here like character housing and building battleforts in PvP that just look like a lot of fun!

The game is designed for a subscription model, but it is possible for players with limited time and extra money to buy extra subscriptions and sell them on the Galactic Auction House for in-game cash.  Players with lots of time on their hands can get out of paying real money for a subscription by paying other players in-game money.  I potentially see gold-farmers finding such an economy inherently frustrating to work in…

The last suggested release date for Wildstar was the Spring of 2014, but many fans on the boards are speculating early to mid-summer – mainly to avoid the clash with the release of ESO and yet another ex-pac for WoW (yawn).  My personal guess is they will release it in early July, a few weeks ahead of Guardians of the Galaxy, seeing as there are some pretty nice parallels to be drawn between Wildstar and GotG, and the movie’s success might attract even more players to Nexus.


So it’s going to be very hard to decide what I want to play this year, not to mention figuring out what my friends and guildies are drawn to play as well.  But still, it’s better to have more cool MMOs to choose from than none at all – I just hope I can afford buying all these new games and subscriptions this year!

So until next blog… I wish you happy (online) gaming!

About The Author

Michael is an Adept of a Secret Order of Dungeon Masters, and dwells in a hidden realm with his two evil cat-familiars, deep within the Vale of Wolverines, called by some "Michigan". He has been esoterically conjuring D&D Campaigns for nearly a Third of a Century, and has been known to cast ritual blogs concerning Dungeons & Dragons every few days with some regularity. Michael has freelanced for Wizards of the Coast, and writes reviews of D&D and other Role-Playing Game products on EN World News.


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