[Guest Post] 5 Greatest MMOs of 2012

Today’s guest post was written by Evan Fischer, a contributing writer for Sonic Games 365–where you can find the best arcade, puzzle, and RPG games on the web.

If you’ve grown bored with some of the overstuffed MMOs that seem to offer only minute variations on popular themes (Evil wizard holds kingdom hostage! Aliens invade the earth! An apocalypse turns us all into battle-ready soldiers!) then you’re no doubt looking forward to some of the incredible new MMOs being released 2012. While not a comprehensive list, here are just a few that should give you something a little more than the average fare.

Firefall

Expansive open-world environment – check. Futuristic battle zone setting – check. First- and third-person shooter features – check. And it’s free?

Holy crap.

So, this asteroid basically hits the earth, setting off the “Nine Year Winter” (brrrr). Some governments fall to pieces while other nations make alliances, and a new element called crystite is discovered (providing unlimited power, which is a real bonus during asteroid-induced winter). Also, wormholes are created, but they have this unfortunate side effect of creating energy storms that ravage the earth, leaving it largely inhospitable, darn the luck. So the story is a little like a spit-balling exercise that never got pared down. But with lots of groups and classes to choose from (fighter, engineer, medic, etc.), plenty of loot to be captured, and extensive PvP environments, Firefall is one MMO to try this year (and keep in mind, the demo will air at RTX July 7).

TERA

This action/adventure MMO out of Korea is an epic fantasy game of the sword-and-sorcery variety (dragons, magic – all the snacky-treats of the fantasy genre). But thanks to the Unreal Engine, the graphics are breathtaking, and the manual targeting feature gives the game some unexpected oomph that will likely appeal to the hardcore gaming crowd (since it’s relatively rare in the PC world).

Guild Wars 2

Although this game won’t debut until August, it’s already getting a lot of buzz; it’s basically the choose-your-own-adventure version of the MMO world. The success of the first Guild Wars apparently gave developer ArenaNet a desire to take it to the next level, and their plan is certainly audacious. Every choice users make, from character attributes to the weapons they draw, will affect the outcome of individual events and the progression of the game as a whole. If their plan works, this game could just take MMOs to the next level.

The Secret World

Fantasy runs rife in the wide world of MMOs, but this gorgeous game embraces the weird in a different way. Set in modern day (rather than a magical past or apocalyptic future),The Secret World nonetheless offers a touch of the fantastic through the unveiling of the fact that myths, legends, and folklore are all true. Secret societies are out there (you’ll be joining one, too!), there really are hidden cities at the center of the earth, and brain-hungry zombies could be invading the Hamptons as we speak. With an emphasis on character creation and storytelling (and a lack of levels), this isn’t your average MMO.

But that’s what makes it fun.

Diablo III

As MMO video games go, this one may be one of the most anticipated in recent memory; hard-core fans of the franchise have been holding their breath (and slowly turning blue) for the last twelve years, when Diablo II came out. In fact, so many people were eager to get their hands on this game that it reportedly broke pre-sale records and sold more copies within the first 24 hours of hitting store shelves than any other PC game to date.

You might not think that your typical hack-and-slash game would be worth all the hubbub, but this franchise is anything but typical, with stellar storylines, tactical action gameplay, fully-formed, destructible, 3D environments, and of course, the multi-player functionality that first made the Diablo franchise so popular. Sadly, this game is not free (though there is no subscription fee); however, most players will agree that it’s worth every penny.

Did we miss your favorite MMO of 2012? Let us know about it in the comments!