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Massively's best of - Game we're most looking forward to

Michael Zenke

Winner: Star Wars: The Old Republic (writeup by Michael Zenke)

If called this you did, strong in the Force are you.

Actually, you probably didn't need to be a Jedi prognosticator to see this coming. Star Wars: The Old Republic is a game that MMO nerds have been awaiting for years. Re-uniting the Star Wars IP with MMO gameplay in a new format, reviving the very popular Knights of the Old Republic setting, SWTOR was a sure-fired win with the Massively staff long before the announcement.

That said, we've been pretty well blown away by every scrap of information BioWare has released to date. The focus on storytelling in the game, the companion concept, the idea of meshing character class and progression experience so closely together ... they all sound like elements we've been waiting for in MMOs for years. We're particularly excited about the idea a branching storyline that allows us to make real decisions in a persistent universe. Even the illusion of decision is so often denied us in MMOs, the tantalizing hope the SWTOR developers hold out is tempting indeed.

And, of course, there's gobs more to like just in what they've already talked about. "Choreographed" combat, a crafting system that actually lets you have fun, the feeling of being an epic hero from level 1 ... it's like a group of forum users got together and made a 'best of' list, then turned it into a design doc.

With the release of the game so far off, at this point we're just hopeful the finished product somewhat resembles the promised feature set. With the boys at BioWare behind the development and industry veterans like Gordon Walton at the helm, we're more hopeful about The Old Republic than almost any other game on the horizon. It's definitely the game we're most looking forward to in 2008, and is likely to keep this spot well into next year.

Gallery: Star Wars: The Old Republic Concept Art | 75 Photos

Runner-up: DC Universe Online (writeup by Dan O'Halloran)

We love our fantasy-based MMORPG's, what with the dragon slaying and magical sword owning and all. But sometimes you want to freeze your opponent in a block of ice and drop kick him across three city block of Metropolis. Or rip a street lamp out of the sidewalk and swat a bad guy over the horizon. That is the allure of Sony Online Entertainment's upcoming DC Universe Online. Overseen by renowned comic book artist and MMORPG fanatic Jim Lee and the SOE Austin crew this game is high on our list of drool worthy titles yet to be released.

Using the Unreal engine, players will be able to manipulate the physics of the virtual world in this superhero MMO to bash the bad guys in all new and spectacular ways. By combining certain powers, players can wreak all sorts of havoc on their foes, some of which the developers never even considered. On top of that, they will do it side by side with Superman, Batman and other big hitters from the DC Universe. Playable either on PC or PS3, this game aims to bridge the gap across platforms in a way MMOs have yet to pull off.

We've had our chance to go hands-on with an early demo of the game and the devs had a hard time prying the controls back from us when it was over. And isn't that what it's all about?

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