Awaiting the next big PC game

Hi! I finally got some time to write my first entry for VGBlogger. My name is Chris, and my articles here at VGBlogger will focus on PC gaming. Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMO) in particular. On the PC front I am currently playing Defense of the Ancients, a user made map in Warcraft III, and I am very much looking forward to Age of Conan and The Burning Crusade being released in Q1 2007. As far as consoles go I currently play my Nintendo DS, and I am planning to buy the Wii. ….oh, and Happy Halloween!

If you are like me, World of Warcraft (WoW) has become a bit stale. I have also tried most of the major MMOs out there. City of Heroes/Villains was fun for a while, Dungeons and Dragons Online was fun for about a week, and Everquest just didn’t appeal to me. So while I anxiously await the releases of The Burning Crusade (The WoW expansion) and Age of Conan I need something to entertain me. I’ve talked to gamers, I’ve scoured the net, and I’ve come up with a few inexpensive or even free alternatives that might keep you busy until January ’07, which is the (planned) release date for The Burning Crusade.

Continue reading for the list of alternatives.

1. Did you know that there is an MMO that has 7 times more players than WoW? Did you know that this MMO is free? The MMO in question is called Maple Story, and it has about 50 million active subscribers. Maple Story is a side scrolling, 2D game with a colorful and ‘cutesy’ graphical look. It offers a combination of platform action and RPG style gaming. It has a very friendly community, and finding groups and quests is never a problem. I’d say that this game is good for at least a month of free entertainment. The game does have some issues with hackers/cheaters and a steep leveling grind.

2. The next game on my list is old, it has outdated graphics, and it has a very steep learning curve. So why am I even recommending it? Well, if you get past those three obstacles it is one of the most complex and enjoyable MMOs out there. Anarchy Online (AO) offers a free subscription to their basic game. Instead of charging gamers to play, AO has advertisements on billboards within the gameworld itself. AO offers a vast array of professions (think classes in a traditional MMO), it is set in a futuristic sci-fi world, and it is a game that doesn’t hand everything out on a plate. You will need to ask for advice from the mixed-bag of a community (mostly very nice), encouraging social play. I have played AO on and off since 2001.

3. My last option today is an innovative PC game titled Mount and Blade. The game is still in the development stages, but if you buy the game in its current stage it only costs $18. As the game is being completed you will receive any future updates for free. Mount and Blade also offers free play until level 6. To me, the main draw of this game is the combination of a sophisticated, dynamic game world with intense medieval swordfighting action. Mount and Blade is being created by a small independent gaming studio, and you as a gamer have direct communication with the developers. This enables the community to suggest changes, tweaks and enhancements. Many of which have come to fruition. The game’s tactical gameplay is unrivaled by anything I’ve played thus far. However, the game has two small downsides. First, it is still in development, so the numbers of quests available is slightly limited. Second, the graphics in the game are not cutting edge, but they work, and I feel that the excellent gameplay more than makes up for this shortcoming.

Well, I hope the above gave you some insight into a few options that might keep you entertained as you wait for that next big PC game to be released. Even if you are not big into PC gaming, the three games I mentioned can be had very cheaply 🙂

Feel free to send me any questions or comments regarding this post, MMOs, or PC gaming in general.

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