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The Think Tank: The best MMO of 2013... so far

Shawn Schuster

At the end of each year, we like to put our heads together and figure out the year's best MMOs in several categories. Often times, the games released earlier in the year aren't as fresh in our memories, so we might not be as excited about them by the time December rolls around. But in this week's The Think Tank, I wanted to make sure to play off of that mid-year enthusiasm and have the team members pick their favorites as they stand at this halfway point.

So what did the team pick for best MMO or expansion released from January to May 2013? Read on past the cut to find out.

The Think Tank Best MMO of 2013 so far
Defiance has been a blast so far. It really has something for almost everyone. Casual players can jump in or hardcore players can grind away. It looks fantastic, and I can't wait to see new missions. The co-op is usually a quiet affair and the only actual voice communication I have yet to hear in the game -- and I mean this literally -- was when a player screamed on the mic, "Woohoo! A new gun!"

I've heard that the single player campaign is very easy to burn through, and I'm not sure how much the game will actually connect to the show, but I don't care. It's fun and easy to get into. I spent $60 on it, and a few days later it went on sale for half off, but I don't care. Even poor games can be hard to make, so Defiance was definitely worth it.
The Think Tank Best MMO of 2013 so far
I have been dabbling in little parts of the new games and content this year. But my pick of the litter so far is probably going to have to be Defiance. The game has a flavour that caters to my need for shooting things, while just covering my RPG needs. I also really dig the concept of crossing the TV show and the game together (although that has been quite minimal so far) to bring an extra level of engagement to the game. That being said, I also like the direction that Neverwinter is going, relying quite heavily on user-generated content. It really will speak to the majority of pen-and-paper RPers in the world, and more specifically to the dungeon masters looking for ways to map out those new stories.
The Think Tank Best MMO of 2013 so far
The best new MMO content I've played this year has come courtesy of DC Universe Online's two latest DLC packs. I don't know whether you can call them expansions or not, but Home Turf added an extensive (and addictive) player housing system, while this month's Origin Crisis added the Quantum power and new high-level group content. Both updates also added solo stuff where you can play as various DC heroes.
The Think Tank Best MMO of 2013 so far
I haven't been sampling all of the new releases of 2013, so my experience is mostly limited to Neverwinter, Star Trek Online: Legacy of Romulus, and... yeah, that's been about it. For all of its typical Cryptic-rushed nature, Neverwinter does have a gooey center of good fun about it, although I have to applaud the addition of the Romulans and the fleshing out of the Klingon faction in STO. I think that the remainder of 2013 will have a lot more in store for me than what's come already. Marvel Heroes, Lord of the Rings Online: Helm's Deep, and WildStar are very much on my to-play list.
The Think Tank Best MMO of 2013 so far
You know what? I'm digging Defiance. I have no idea how it's tied to the television show, it has done nothing to keep me playing, and I'm really not committed to it as a franchise or even as a game, but there's something to be said for an MMO that gives you a wide collection of "easy-in" activities with minimal time commitment. If you've got only 30 minutes and really want to play an MMO, Defiance is probably the game to play. It's not perfect, and I doubt it will live forever, but for those of us with tight schedules and minimal requirements for a title beyond it being "fun," it certainly does the trick.

Of course, Defiance would be more palatable for the average gamer if it didn't currently cost $59.99. That's a bit much for a casual second or even third MMO, even if there are lots of big monsters to shoot and cool vehicles to drive.
The Think Tank Best MMO of 2013 so far
For me, it's Defiance. I wanted to like Neverwinter, but I just couldn't. Age of Wushu started off big for me, and I still love the game's concept, but when Defiance came along, it just grabbed me away. Sure, it's not a full-service MMO like Age of Wushu, but it's fun. Fun is why I play games.

What do you get when you throw the Massively writers' opinions together in one big pot to stew? You get The Think Tank, a column dedicated to ruminating on the MMO genre. We range from hardcore PvPers to sandbox lovers to the carest of the carebears, so expect some disagreement! Join Senior Editor Shawn Schuster and the team for a new edition right here every other Thursday.

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