We've all heard of Blizzard's powerhouse MMO(massively multiplayer online) game, World of Warcraft. With somewhere around 10.2 million subscribers it's been a titan among other games that have tried to take it's throne. That might all change in the next coming months. Two very important games will be coming out for the online gaming world: The Secret World and Guild Wars 2.
Funcom's next MMO is set in a present day setting. It focuses on the idea that all of our rumors and legends are true. Secret societies and ancient monsters dominate the games theme as you try and stop a dark force from taking over the world. It's not the story that is changing the genre, though, it's the game play. In most MMO's your very first choice you have to make is what type of character you want to play. This has come down to three very distinct archetypes: The Tank, The Healer, to The Damage Dealer.
In The Secret World, you can play whatever character archetype you want, whenever you want. You are given the choice of 520+ skills that can be used in conjunction with your other teammates. When you have enough skills, you can switch from a damage dealer to a damage taker if the situation calls for it. Many of the skills are made to be used in conjunction with other players to maximize your utility.
Guild Wars 2, on the other hand, throws those archetypes out the window. The game lets you not only choose what you play, but how you play it. Do you want to be a ranger that uses only axes? Do it. Want to play a mage with two daggers? Go right ahead! The game also introduces a new premise to MMO's, the idea that grouping 'happens'. Many MMO's have focused on bringing people together for the sake of playing the game. With little server pride in games, disputes and rivalries can ruin gameplay for some people. Guild Wars 2 lets you be part of the server rather than part of a guild.
While World of Warcraft has a a strong hold on it's users, many are craving for something more dynamic and different. Hopefully we'll see some major changes in the genre after these games come out.