The best MMO games of 2013

Shadowrun Online

Publisher: Cliffhanger Productions
Release: TBC 2013
After a rather limp showing on console a few years ago, legendary cyberpunk pen and paper RPG Shadowrun is getting another stab at life online. Cliffhanger Productions’ Unity-powered MMO will allow players to become mages, hackers, cyborg warriors and more. It’s the blend of traditional fantasy and near-future sci-fi that has always made Shadowrun stand out – this is a world where elves wear tanktops and assassinate corporate dragons. Player actions will impact the ongoing storyline of the pen and paper version, which is a nice touch.


Publisher: Perfect World Entertainment
Release: June 20
Cryptic’s latest shares a setting but little else with the BioWare RPG series of a few years ago. It’s an action-heavy online RPG set in the Forgotten Realms’ most famous city, a hundred years after a terrible disaster. It’ll be free to play, and there’ll be a proper content creation tool that’ll allow players to create their own questlines. Cryptic had success with something similar in City of Heroes – here’s hoping they can build on that success.


Publisher: Red 5 Studios
Release: TBC 2013
Firefall is a hugely amibitious free to play shooter that is attempting to be all things to everyone – co-op MMO blaster, competitive FPS, serious e-sport contender. Jetpacks abound, but despite the presence of Tribes designer Scott Youngbood you’re better off thinking more along the lines of Guild Wars 2 and Planetside 2. The developers have been active in responding to the community over the course of the game’s long beta, and there’s a lot of promise in Firefall’s vision of a vibrant, monster-stalked future Earth.

Marvel Heroes

Publisher: Gazillion Entertainment
Release: June 4
Recently shown off to the press in an early form, action RPG Marvel Heroes has been slow to win hearts and minds. You drag classic superheroes on a Diablo-style ganking spree taking place in the Marvel universe. It’ll be free to play, but expect to shell out for premim heroes and alternate appearances. Potentially of interest to serious Marvel buffs – is that Rocket Raccoon? – but those less enamoured of the comics giant might want to wait for the reviews before investing their time.


Publisher: Vostok Games
Release: Late 2013
A post-apocalyptic MMOFPS by the chaps behind the excellent STALKER games is an exciting notion, but little is known about Survarium save that it takes place following a worldwide ecological disaster and that players will battle ‘maddened animals and birds’ in the ruins of civilization. Hopefully the presence of other players will enhance – rather than undermine – the pervasive sense of threat that made STALKER so special.

We recently went hands-on with the promising Survarium, and after we’d hopped in a decontamination shower we wrote about our experiences here.

Age Of Wulin/Wushu

Publisher: Gala Networks
Release: July 18
Age of Wulin is a Chinese-developed MMO currently being adapted for a western audience. It’s set during the Ming dynasty and focuses on martial artists from various schools. While not wholly realistic, there’s a strong attention to historical detail and the tone is more magic realist than outright fantasy. There are a few novel ideas in play, too – when you log out, your character remains in the world, performing your crafting professions as an NPC.


Publisher: NCSoft
Release: TBC 2013
Wildstar is a cartoonish sci-fi MMO that promises to give players a wide range of options for progression, with combat, crafting and exploration all fully viable games in their own right. The developers recently announced an innovative in-game housing system that’ll ensure there’s space for every player by ejecting individual chunks of land into the sky with rocket boosters. Hey – it’s more imaginative than instancing.

Wizardry Online

Publisher: Sony Online Entertainment
Release: January 30
The official Wizardry Online website claims that the anime MMO has been in development for thirty years, which seems like a bit of a stretch. It’s a ‘hardcore’ online RPG that features permadeath and looks a little like Dark Souls, were it not for the bobble-headed anime characters.


Publisher: Gamigo
Release: TBC 2013
An action MMO set inside a series of virtual worlds – some fantasy, others medieval, others science fiction – that themselves comprise a virtual world. If there were ever a time that the Inception horn was justified, now would be it. It’s free to play, and based on the novels of the same name by Tad Williams.


Publisher: I-Novae Studios
Release: TBC
Infinity has been around forever, it seems – a dream of a procedurally generated universe featuring seamless space-to-surface flight. The developer is planning a Kickstarter campaign early in the year to finally get this starship MMO into game-like shape – but whether it’ll be enough to compete with Star Citizen and a resurgent Elite remains to be seen.

City Of Steam

Publisher: Mechanist Games
Release: 2013
3D indie action MMO that, impressively, runs entirely in a browser. It features traditional fantasy races transposed to the post-industrial world. Expect dungeons, orcs, and clockwork motorcycles. They’re really commiting to that steampunk thing: the world is a giant cog floating in space.

World Of Warplanes

Release: November 12
The follow-up to World of Tanks transplants’s multiplayer formula to the skies. Take on squadrons of player-controlled WWII aircraft, level up, and upgrade your plane before heading out to do it all over again. Like its caterpillar-treaded cousin, it’ll be free to play but spending money will unlock exclusive vehicles and speed up your advancement.

Heroes And Generals

Publisher: Square Enix
Release: TBC 2013
Heroes & Generals combines a multiplayer FPS (that’d be the ‘heroes’ bit) with a persistent web-based strategy metagame (you know, ‘generals’). It’s set during World War II, and you can access the strategy component on the move by using a smartphone.

The Castle Doctrine

Publisher: Jason Rohrer
Release: 2013
The Castle Doctrine is an MMO by indie developer Jason Rohrer, based around the concept of home defence. The doctrine in question is an aspect of U.S. law that allows homeowners to defend their property. You’ll need to buy traps in order to prevent other players from stealing your things – but where do you get the money? That’s right: by stealing other people’s stuff. Not much else is known at the moment, but Rohrer’s ‘Sleep is Death’ showcased some innovative ideas about multiplayer storytelling.

Read our thoughts on The Castle Doctrine’s alpha version here.

Transformers Universe

Publisher: Jagex Games Studio
Release: TBC 2013
Autobots and Decepticons do as Autobots and Decepticons will in the MMO debut of the Transformers franchise. Early footage shows off a brightly-coloured take on the series, suggesting something closer to the original cartoon than the recent movies. Which can only be a good thing, frankly. It’s being developed by Jagex, of Runescape fame.


Publisher: SyFy
Release: April 2
A massively multiplayer action game that ties into a SyFy channel TV show. It’s set in the area around San Francisco in a future where alien terraforming has littered the world with Hellbugs. Don’t let the name fool you! They’re pretty terrible. There’s a little of Firefall to the art style and premise, but the cross-media aspect is a novel touch.

The Missing Ink

Publisher: Redbedlam
Release: TBC 2013
A cute British indie MMORPG where every player gets their own sandbox world to manipulate as they see fit. It’s browser-based on PC, but there’ll be mobile versions to allow players to log in while they’re out and about. The art style is adorable – a mixture of chunky 3D and ‘paper doll’-style players and monsters.

Cartoon Universe

Publisher: Warner Bros Interactive
Release: Q1 2013
An MMO based on Warner Bros. cartoons – think Looney Tunes, Scooby Doo and co. Run quests, play games on arcade machines, and defeat bosses – it’s straightforward stuff, but as you might expect the game is being aimed squarely at a younger audience.

World Of Warships

Release: TBC 2013
The third part of’s World War II action trifecta is a battleship deathmatch game. Planes and tanks, we’re familiar with – warships are a stranger proposition, and it’ll be interesting to see how the developers handle the relatively slow pace of naval warfare. Expect a major difference in playstyle between ship types – an aircraft carrier is a very different beast from a frigate or a submarine.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

Publisher: Square Enix
Release: August 27
Square Enix’s first go at Final Fantasy XIV was a bit of a massive calamity, but you have to admire their decision to nuke its game world from orbit and redo pretty much the whole game from scratch. Set after that apocalypse, the rejigged A Realm Reborn has so far garnered much more praise, even if the game’s launch didn’t go particularly smoothly.


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