Free for All: Four games I'm dying to play in 2011

The year 2010 was a great year in gaming. If anyone tells you any different, look him in the eye -- you've just met a madman. In fact, 2010 did so much for me, personally, that it might be hard to top it for a while. I actually started getting paid to write my blog entries this year, discovered so many wonderful new developers this year, and played more hours than in all of the previous years combined.

As luck would have it, there are already several new games being announced that are making 2011 look like an even bigger year for me. Browser-based technology is only growing more robust and rich, indie gaming is finally starting to get a lot of the respect it deserves, and I now have the ability to contact almost any developer I want for use in my columns. All of this adds up to some exciting times ahead, for sure. All thanks to Massively, of course.

There are four games in particular that I am very excited about. More will come, I'm positive, but these four have already cast huge spells on me. Click past the cut to see what you should be excited about, too!

A Mystical Land



Many players were crushed when the closure of Earth Eternal was announced. For them, a browser-accessible, fully realized 3-D MMO was a dream. It even ran relatively well on older machines and chipsets. Well, I'm happy to say that A Mystical Land by Neonga reminds me of Earth Eternal -- but with quite a few more systems and activities. It only took one look at the trailer for me to be convinced that the game could easily work out as a main game for many of those same players.

Watch closely and you will see what seems like minigames or actions like scrubbing a pig, burning ants with a magnifying glass, or making sheep dance to flute music. The website promises housing and gardening, something that always provides more depth. I can't wait to load this one up.

Wakfu


If you're a fan of Dofus, the brilliant turn-based Flash MMO by Ankama, you will be more than excited to hear about Wakfu. The world of Wakfu occurs 1,000 years after the time of Dofus, but expect to get a similar feel from the game -- it looks very similar and plays similarly. The developers are promising mobs that run in herds, a more seamless world, trees and other environmental objects that do not return once used up, and a ton more.

Once again, Ankama is proving that you do not need a massive gaming rig or amazing 3-D environments to have great gameplay. If Dofus is any indication, Wakfu will not only be a rich, fun experience but will continue to receive updates for years. A partnership with Square-Enix should do away with any doubts. Hurry up, 2011!

Glitch


Could there be a song that gets stuck in your head more than the one in the Glitch trailer? I didn't think so. Glitch is a new MMO that comes from the world of Juxtapoz magazine, collectible figures, nightmare toys and psychedelia. Players are cast into a world of imagination, quite literally, and must go around the environment collecting crafting items and performing tasks. If you are a fan of offline skill leveling as in EVE Online, then you might want to check Glitch out as well!

I was initially very attracted to the game after seeing the website and explanation for gameplay. The developer, Tiny Speck, was established in 2009 by one of the founding members of Flickr and several other people. They seem to have their fingers to the pulse of everything hip, which makes for a very unique and modern-feeling MMORPG. When people ask me why I am so excited about browser-based gaming, I can point squarely at this trailer.

Battlestar Galactica Online

I have to be honest -- really honest: I am not quite a fan of the newer incarnation of the Battlestar Galactica television series. I thought it was a little bit silly and missed a lot of the charm from the original series, but obviously many other people felt differently. The combat in the series was fantastic, however, so when I heard that I will be able to pilot many of the featured starships in a browser-based MMO, I was floored. Tack onto that the fact that it is being developed using Unity (one of the newest and slickest browser technologies) and is being developed by Bigpoint, and you've got a recipe for nerd heaven.

Granted, I really just want to fly an original Cylon Raider ship just like the toy I had as a child, but I'll settle for the awesomely killer Viper. It looks like we'll be making avatars, as well (you know, those things that CCP has been promising for a century), which will add a deeper dimension to this ship combat shooter. Avatars or not, sign me up. If you saw what Bigpoint is doing with browser games such as Ruined Online, you'd know that the BSG game is in very, very good hands.

I think I'll stop there. I could go on and list a lot of expansions, additional chapters and updates to already-existing games, but I wanted to point to some new titles that you might not be familiar with. Yes, most of those games are browser- or mobile-friendly games, mainly because I truly believe that the mobile market is going to take over the entire genre eventually. As I write this right now, I have fully capable and immersive 3-D MMORPGs sitting on my iPad, just waiting to be played from a local park or coffeehouse. The browser market is already doing things that haven't been done before, and new technologies are going to help it go further. I also believe that if you want to find true innovation, you must go to the indie market or check out mobile gaming.

The year 2010 was amazing in so many ways. It taught me so much about being a gamer and a writer. Mainly, though, it primed me for the incredible new developments that are coming. Feeling overwhelmed? Don't worry -- keep your eye on Massively and we'll keep you updated!

Each week, Free for All brings you ideas, news, and reviews from the world of free-to-play, indie, and import games -- a world that is often overlooked by gamers. Leave it to Beau Hindman to talk about the games you didn't know you wanted! Have an idea for a subject or a killer new game that no one has heard of? Send it to beau@massively.com!

This article was originally published on Massively.