With a new year about to dawn, it’s time to look ahead to the MMORPG offerings of tomorrow. 2012 saw many high-profile launches, and next year – while a little light on huge, earth-shattering titles – still has a bevy of great games to offer, some of which gamers have been looking forward to for years.

mmorpg     Top 13 Most Anticipated MMOsOur “13 for 2013″ list combines 2013 readiness, overall hype for a game, and our belief in its earning potential to provide a comprehensive ranking from one to 13. To qualify, a game has to be promised for a North American release. Also, we’re only covering true open-world MMOs here – we’ll cover the semi-MMO-type, lobby-based games, like Hawken and World of Warplanes later.

So what are you looking forward to the most in 2013 and beyond?

mmorpg     Top 13 Most Anticipated MMOs

1. The Elder Scrolls Online

Love the concept or hate it, there’s no doubt that TESO is the most hotly anticipated upcoming MMO release. ZeniMax Online still holds to a 2013 release, but, as little as we’ve learned about the game at this juncture, we’d put odds of that at about 50/50.

Whenever it launches, it will have legions of fans interested in its premise. The question is, how many of those fans of the single-player RPG will be converted into MMO players? Even at its height, Star Wars: The Old Republic only boasted about two million active players. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim sold upwards of 10 million copies.

To its credit, ZeniMax doesn’t seem to be taking quite the same cookie-cutter MMO approach as BioWare did with its big title. Class flexibility, dynamic events, and three-faction PvP all sound like good ideas, but will they be enough to overcome lofty expectations? Hell hath no fury like a genre gamer scorned.

2. Firefall

Technically still in beta, we’ll go out on a limb and assume Firefall will “launch” in 2013. It’s already garnering quite a bit of acclaim from both the competitive e-sports and the PvE crowd for its innovative mechanics wrapped up in an FPS shell.

3. Marvel Heroes

Gazillion’s superhero smashup is garnering more attention than you’d think. With its focus on established Marvel characters, as opposed to the ability to create your own, as in previous superhero MMOs, it will probably appeal more to the mass-market crowd than to hardcore gamers, but there’s no denying the (cosmic) power of the Marvel license.

mmorpg     Top 13 Most Anticipated MMOs

4. Neverwinter

Going back to the granddaddy of all RPGs, Neverwinter updates the Dungeons & Dragons experience for MMO players and offers all the tools that fans of Perfect World’s games have come to expect. We’re especially looking forward to the dungeon creator, which by itself should keep players coming back for years.

5. EverQuest Next

SOE President John Smedley has made some bold claims regarding this title, promising sandbox-style gameplay with the sheen of a AAA MMO. It probably won’t be out until 2014 at the earliest – it might be #1 or #2 on our list otherwise – but it deserves a high spot on any “most-anticipated” list. We can’t wait to see what’s in store.

6. Defiance

Trion’s MMOFPS based on the SyFy series is an ambitious mesh of TV and gaming that pushes the envelope and blurs the line between the two media. Known for its frequent updates to Rift, Trion should be able to update the game to account for changes in the show, but it’ll be a challenge unlike any that has ever faced a game developer.

7. DUST 514

CCP’s ground-combat complement to EVE Online isn’t just following in PlanetSide 2‘s shadow. Being a free-to-play title on PlayStation 3 is bold enough, but getting the two games to interact, across platforms, will be a monumental achievement – if they can pull it off.

7.5 Blade & Soul

Little embarrassing here… we missed this one on our first go-around, forgetting that it had been announced for a North American release at an unspecified date. The NCSoft offering has done well in its native Korea so far, with its high-flying martial arts action, but will it fare better than Aion on these shores?

mmorpg     Top 13 Most Anticipated MMOs

8. Phantasy Star Online 2

The sequel to the venerable title will make its way to North American shores in early 2013 and seems to be a bit of a throwback to a bygone era of MMOs. It looks phenomenal, and will surely inspire nostalgia in long-time MMOers, but can it compete with modern offerings?

9. Transformers Universe

With a big IP behind it, Transformers Universe certainly carries the weight of expectation and pushes the boundaries of what you can do with a browser-based MMO. We’ve yet to see actual, you know, transforming, in any of the videos, but we’re sure Jagex is just holding off on that to make a big impression… right?

10. WildStar

WildStar continues to intrigue us with its charming art style and unusual approach to progression, development, and exploration. The team promises a “metric boatload” of new stuff to announce in the new year, and we’ll keep a close eye on it.

mmorpg     Top 13 Most Anticipated MMOs

11. ArcheAge

ArcheAge just slips into our list, having recently been guaranteed a North American release. The sandbox MMO features loads of character customization, beautiful design, and even naval combat. But can it break through the stigma of other Korean games that foundered on American shores?

12. A Game of Thrones: Seven Kingdoms

We haven’t heard much recently about Bigpoint’s MMO set in George R. R. Martin’s epic fantasy world, but the few visuals we’ve been lucky enough to preview look good enough to make us want to jump in and start treacherously backstabbing people right now.

13. Salem

Paradox Interactive’s crafting-permadeath-colonial America MMO – yes, that’s what it is – continues to intrigue us. It likely won’t be a huge hit, but it scratches a perfectly unique itch that’s sure to excite a very passionate type of gamer.

Jason Winter has held several positions in the tabletop and video-gaming industry since 1996, including writer, editor, marketing coordinator, and game designer. He's the former editor of Beckett Massive Online Gamer and almost considers himself competent in PvP. In addition to his work with Gamebreaker.tv, he also blogs about video games at http://jasonwinter.wordpress.com.
  • http://twitter.com/Panziix Danielle Istead

    Although I am looking forward to many of the MMOs above, I am greatly enjoying City of Steam’s closed beta. It’s a free2play in-browser MMO (and hopefully Steam Greenlight).
    Oh yeah… It’s steampunk themed as well =) which pleases many of its players! =)

    • Jado Cast

      Yeah, I’ve played as well, and its great considering its browser based.  Its one of those games you can jump in and play a little and jump out.  I am surprised how good its turning out.

  • http://www.facebook.com/MelanieDawnMcGreevey Melanie Dawn McGreevey

    Wildstar is the only one i care about at this point

  • http://twitter.com/Luke_Malcolm Luke Malcolm

    Final Fantasy 14 A Realm Reborn should be in that list as Game of Thrones was apprently cancelled.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1260066056 Steven Diaz

      FF14 has already been launched.  Relaunching doesn’t mean it’s a new game.

      • saxophone15

        Movie remakes are considered new movies, why shouldn’t a game remake be considered a new game?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jonathan-Reyna/1830988318 Jonathan Reyna

    Phantasy Star Online 2 FTW!!!! Played the Japanese Beta for quite sometime and even though launch if you liked PSO this game is a MUST!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ze.pedro.10441 Zé Pedro

    Star Citizen? How could you miss that one?

    • http://twitter.com/donisofjuanis Corey

      I’m sure it would be on the list, but Star Citizen isn’t planned to be out til 2014.  ;)

  • http://twitter.com/cecilandblues Anthony Botz

    Marvel Heroes looks like a great game in the making but I was under the impression that it was going to be a lobby based game where you went on missions with X players and inside those mission maps only one copy of each unique hero could be present. I haven’t been following it too closely so I could be off base.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Frazze89 Alexander Skägguevara Franzén

    There is only one game i will give up my life for, that game is World of Darkness.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shawn-Hargrave/100003202374593 Shawn Hargrave

    I think game of thrones will do as good as swtor has lol. Seriously a browser based game what a joke. Why do big name franchises always make such stupid decisions when it comes to mmo’s? Those graphics look god aweful as well

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1260066056 Steven Diaz

      Graphics look decent.  Being a web based game doesn’t mean anything.  There are quite a few web based games that have proven that it can be done.  Unfortunately, developer decisions have trashed those games.

  • http://twitter.com/Oledurty Oledurty

    Though not schedueled for 2013 i do hope World of Darkness by CCP makes the light of day eventually. Sounds like a GREAT mmo concept and we know from looking at EvE, CCP knows how to work a community/social based sandbox mmo.

  • http://www.facebook.com/zaq.myers Zack Myers

    How is Blade And Soul not on this list?!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1133133141 JaNno Moraga

    NO Blade and soul!!!!!!!!  WTF?

  • http://www.facebook.com/andrew.sekersky Andrew Sekersky

    Defiance! Is there any other game that ‘matters’ that isn’t out yet? I expect ESO to be out in 2014, so 2013 is the year of Defiance!

    • http://twitter.com/Luke_Malcolm Luke Malcolm

      I don’t see it succeeding, If the TV show flops or doesnt attract a big anough crowd it will get cancelled and that could cripple the game & if the game doesn’t provide a big anough crowd than the show wont grow as it will be just another Sc-Fi show,.But both things need to succeed & as its a make it or break it thing.

      if they pull it off thats good, but we wont know until its actually is in beta or releases.

      • http://twitter.com/dularr Dularr

        The long term success of Defiance will be based on how good a MMO FPS Trion produces.  The show will bring some hype, but if its a bad MMO, it won’t last.

        The biggest risk is if Trion World releases an incomplete MMO driven by a TV show release date.

        • http://twitter.com/Luke_Malcolm Luke Malcolm

          I feel the show can live without the game, but the game cant live without the show.

          • theunwarshed

             both need to stand on their own two feet.  the tie-in is just a gimmick until proven otherwise.

          • DoctorOverlord

            Agreed!    Each has to be a worthwhile product.   If they can pull that off, it will certainly be an accomplishment.  

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000581166778 Michael Bower

            You forget that the show is only accessible in America, their entire ‘Immersion with the show’ concept only works in the US. I hardly think the show is going to make a difference to whether the game is successful, since a good 95% of the world doesn’t get to see it as intended, if at all.

  • Jado Cast

    I would of thought ArcheAge and WildStar to be higher on this list for some reason.  

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/KI7Q7KTG4XGQQ2NOM7N4IMFAIM Rae

    been a big follower and tester of Firefall since the beginning,
    But while I’m still loving it,

    removing the weapon and armor drops from mobs was a bit of a letdown.

    But if anybody can pull off PVP and PVE successfully, it’ll be 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=731108011 Andrew June

    You forgot Blade and Soul.

    • patrick.kershaw

      ^ this

    • http://twitter.com/winterinformal Jason Winter

      Yes, I did. For some reason, I was under the impression is hadn’t been announced for launch in the U.S. I’ll see if I can’t update the article later today.

      • http://twitter.com/winterinformal Jason Winter

        And done!

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Miguel-Crespo/501398647 Miguel Crespo

          since you added that shitty game souls and blade… add FFXIV realm reborn!

  • DoctorOverlord

    I didn’t think there were 13 MMOs to fill the list but I guess there really are a bunch of titles in the works.   As pointed out below, Blade and Soul seems like it could have been on as well.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/james.walters.9028 James Walters

    Will be great to get back into PSO again can’t wait for that.  Beta Roadmap for FFXIV is released with signups Starting in Jan. so looking forward to it..  And of course agreeing with everyone else, Whats up with no Blade & Soul?! lol

  • http://www.facebook.com/oneniisama Bear Powell

    TESO, ArchAge, EQ Next, and Neverwinter are ones I’ll check out. The rest I have zero interest in.

  • http://twitter.com/AisarGaming Aisar

    Wow I don’t care about any of these besides TESO, wondering how that will turn out being a big fAn of the series.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000581166778 Michael Bower

      A lot of it is going to come down to trying to get the traditional WoW-combat system to feel flowing and the AI feeling intelligent. Otherwise nothing has really been said to make me think this is going to be anything more than a WoW-clone and definitely not subscription worthy.

      • ScottHawkes

        The combat doesn’t play anything like WoW. It’s mainly mouse attack based, the direction you are facing matters, there’s aimed skills, there’s active block and dodge, NPCs combine abilities to vary up the combat and have team dynamics etc.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Miguel-Crespo/501398647 Miguel Crespo

    Wheres Final Fantasy XIV realm reborn?

    • Krzysztof Kotarba

      in hell

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Miguel-Crespo/501398647 Miguel Crespo

    The Elder Scrolls Online looks like crap

    • http://www.facebook.com/joshua.rennirt Joshua T Rennirt


  • Krzysztof Kotarba

    if TESO will have skyrim feeling… oh man

  • http://www.facebook.com/romario.ortegarodriguez Romario Ortega Rodriguez

    where is Blade and Soul?  also Zenimax say that TESO have the same combat as WoW… Soo..

    • http://www.facebook.com/joshua.rennirt Joshua T Rennirt

      it will have a lock on system that the TES doesnt have. i guess you could say they are alike. but there wont be an auto atk and you will have to use light and right mouse buttons to atk/block

  • Sharuko

    I believe in TESO 100% and I am certain we see a Holiday 2012 release.  As long as they have the some of the important features down like group finder and small scale PvP it will do great.

    A good team behind them and they don’t have to answer to the likes of EA.

    • http://www.facebook.com/aaron.desrosiers.3 Aaron Desrosiers

       Sharuko, this is long over due. About GW2? You were right. God help us all, you were right.

  • http://twitter.com/kirzanSix Michael Coulombe

    I’m guessing this is a personal list from the article’s author? No ARR? I know GBTV hates ARR because its ARR videos that made them realize they weren’t doing their job properly. But still… What I’m trying to say is: WTF is Salem?

    • http://www.facebook.com/joshua.rennirt Joshua T Rennirt

      if sony would let people that love gaming make everquest next it will be a game that many people will gravitate to. but sony puts people that only care about the buck in charge and thats where they mess up. you let gamers make games for gamers.. . .

      • http://www.facebook.com/kirzansix Mike Coulombe

        Hopefully Smeds isn’t just doing amazing PR. I can see that being the case however. He’s so good at bullshitting LOL! Gahhhhh I hate SOE but I love SOE. They’re still the only ones doing double XP week-end in their MMOs too. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/HDHRO7GCCGE25VLFNQUEPAVLBM Josh

    Transformers but no darkfall? I am disappoint

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeanpierre.naranjo.52 JeanPierre Naranjo

    I saw Blade n Soul in the comments and couldnt help but laugh :) FFXIV relaunch is in the gutter i dont think anyone is “anticipating” it. Nice read Jason although I must admit 11-13 had me lost lol I hadnt heard of any of those titles.

    • http://twitter.com/kirzanSix Michael Coulombe

      What do you play?

  • http://twitter.com/winterinformal Jason Winter

    Middreks — if my list went to 14, that would be on it :P

  • Justin Griffin

    The only two titles on here that I plan to actually play are ESO and FireFall. Besides that, I don’t see anything else that peaks my interests. However, I do love the fact that the MMO space has now naturally diversified into different genres. I equate that to the long-term reverberations from World of Warcraft both broadening and giving exposure to MMOG’s in general.

  • http://twitter.com/linki90 Linki

    Darkfall: UW is the only mmo i’ll be playing for 2013 along with GW2

  • http://twitter.com/Nathiest Nathiest

    #14 Otherland

  • http://www.facebook.com/brandon.carpenter.773776 Brandon Carpenter

    Been a huge EverQuest fan so i’ll be looking forward to EQ Next

  • http://twitter.com/TovarishGaming Tovarish Gaming

    Firefall deserved a bigger description, that game will change MMO’s!

  • Abos0001

    #1 Darkfall Unholy Wars, This list is lacking. TESO is going to be click to target crap, DF:UW is the only mmo out there with true “Skyrim” combat.

    • Michael Metz

      Screw Darkfall! Darkfall’s annoying community alone is enough of a reason not to like it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.sperduto.1 Brian Sperduto

    I am sort of interested in Neverwinter, just because it’s Neverwinter, but Cryptic’s involvement does not fill me with confidence. Curious to see what they do with EQ Next, since they say it’ll be different. PSO2 is another kind of curious about, as well as Game of Thrones. I would not say I highly anticipate any of them, really, mostly just keeping an eye on out of curiousity.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Munchma-Quchi/100002735454386 Munchma Quchi

    I’m watching TESO, mainly because the PvP system sounds very much like DAOC. WildStar looks neat for sure, I love the graphical style. EQ:Next, because I think they’re gonna really take some risks with it, will be interesting to see how it turns out.