The year 2010 has been a big year for MMOs, with a lot of new releases and news on upcoming titles. Nothing gets us more worked up about an upcoming MMO release than a good trailer, and this year we've been absolutely spoiled with some incredible examples. Some have been epic cinematic trailers, designed to explain the storyline behind a game, and get people excited about its release. Others MMO studios have opted for a more hands-on approach, showing off in-game footage to excite people about a game's art direction or content. Recently, we've even seen studios mixing developer talks into their trailers, giving a glimpse into the gameplay, what makes it stand apart from competition, and how development is going.
It was hard to pick just five trailers out of all the excellent examples released this year, and even harder to put them in some kind of order. We discussed, debated and outright argued about which videos should make the cut, but in the end we settled on our top five MMO trailers of 2010.
Skip past the cut for a run-down of Massively's top five MMO trailers of the year, all embedded in HD.
5 -- EVE Online Sansha trailer
Several months ago, an incredible storyline began to unfold in EVE Online. Unlike many previous storylines, the story of Sansha's Nation invading the secured systems of New Eden happened as a series of in-game events in which players could make a real difference. The invasions have become the basis for the current Incursion expansion, though the incursions themselves won't be released until the third phase of the expansion next month. CCP's official Incursion expansion trailer really set the scene as it told the tale of Sansha's impending revenge against the four empire nations. Perhaps the most impressive fact, and one that slipped largely under the media radar, is that the avatar of Sansha Kuvakei used in the trailer was created with the new Incarna character creator. The trailer gives us a glimpse of things to come, with the Incarna character creator coming in January.
4 -- DC Universe Online story trailer
If any upcoming MMO lends itself well to cinematic trailers, it would have to be DC Universe Online. With access to all the signature DC characters and full creative license with the storyline, Blur Studio made this one of the best cinematic trailers of the year. Created on behalf of Sony Online Entertainment, the epic six-minute trailer features Batman, Superman, Lex Luthor, Green Lantern, the Flash, Wonder Woman, the Joker, and other well-known DC characters. Although the trailer contains no in-game footage or gameplay clips, it does introduce an intriguing storyline that we can expect to be expanded on throughout DCUO.
3 -- Guild Wars 2 Manifesto
While some trailers do a good job of showing off a game's graphics or gameplay, ArenaNet's Guild Wars 2 Manifesto trailer does both with style. Featuring commentary by several Guild Wars 2 developers, the trailer makes a strong point of the game's art direction and the differences between Guild Wars 2 and the MMO norm. With plenty of gameplay footage, the manifesto trailer serves as both a clear view into the upcoming title and a promise of the direction ArenaNet is taking with it. It's definitely a refreshing change from purely cinematic trailers or gameplay videos that don't touch on a game's features or design.
2-- Rift pre-beta trailer
Trion Worlds' upcoming fantasy MMO Rift has been turning a few heads, with two phases of its closed beta complete and a third already underway. Many studios have touted their game as a next-gen MMO, but few ever explain what those buzzwords mean for the player. In the Rift pre-beta trailer, some of the game's developers took the bold step of explaining exactly what they meant. In addition to showing off the game's graphics, the trailer shows Rift's core game mechanics and talks about creating a truly dynamic world. Trion has released a number of trailers for Rift so far, but this one was particularly inspiring.