With the bar set incredibly high already with the releases of Aion: Tower of Eternity and World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, what games can we look forward to in the new year? Here’s a quick round-up of the market’s next biggest names.
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
It’s only been a year since the last expansion and Blizzard have another expansion already set
for release sometime in 2010. Cataclysm sets a post-apocalyptic scene with an ancient dragon named Deathwing, previously known to be dead, rising from the planet’s core to sunder Azeroth and Kalimdor into fragments of their former selves. Instead of creating a completely new continent like Blizzard did with the Outlands and Northrend for its last 2 expansions, the original continents of Azeroth and Kalimdor have been revamped for end-game characters, with new takes on many previous foes.
Being the biggest hitter on the market always helps boost your popularity and there is no doubt that Cataclysm will be one of the most anticipated MMOs in the coming months.
Final Fantasy XIV
Following on from the success of Final Fantasy XI, FFXIV is set in another classic fantasy/sci-fi land called Hydaelyn, with players forming under various “guilds” as adventurers in their chosen city states. With five confirmed character races so far and a number of familiar classes on offer, Final Fantasy looks like 2010’s answer to the graphical masterpiece that was Aion. A broader approach to character development sees players not earning experience points, but instead seeing progress in the form of the skills they learn and the weapons they wield.
With cross-platforming planned with the Playstation 3 version of the game and having a fan base to rival any other big name in the video game market at this time, FFXIV is one that Blizzard will definitely be keeping an eye on.
Guild Wars 2
A fact that isn’t known to many MMO gamers out there right now – you know NCSoft, the Korean
developers behind Aion? Well, they’re also behind Guild Wars, and a 2010 release has been mooted for its sequel. Rumoured to truly do its concept art justice, Guild Wars 2 promises graphics on a completely new level. Set 250 years after the first Guild Wars, the dominant human race is in decline with numerous new races sprouting up to claim land. Five elder dragons that have lain dormant until this time have awoken and begun wreaking havoc in the land, with players given the lofty task of uniting these races together to defeat the common enemy. A number of previous features will make their comeback, with the popular guild vs guild fighting returning to the front of the PvP scene in Guild Wars 2, and new features such as the sidekicking system allows players at maximum level to grant bonuses to their new characters, helping bring down “grind-time” that players across all games detest.
Guild Wars 1 was the original contender to the throne and with a new set of armour and skills to boot, Guild Wars 2 will hopefully raise the bar for large-scale PvP, something that many games are unable to handle.
2010 promises to be an exciting year for MMOs, with lesser-known companies also tossing their hat into the mix. These 3 are only the tip of the iceberg and hopefully we’ll all find our poison of choice.