PC RPGs and MMORPGs are not one in the same, but it's difficult to talk about this best of category without having a mix of the two. This year, we decided to combine the Best PC and Best MMORPG groups officially into one lone category. Here is the best of this combination.
When World of Warcraft hit computers at the end of 2004, it was met with critical acclaim. After four years, and a ton of content updates, some speculated that Blizzard could not significantly improve their extremely successful game. World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King put those fears to rest.
Blizzard's new expansion adds the expected flood of new areas and quests. What it does so much better than before, however, is add depth to these new quests. Throughout Northland, players will run across quests that engage them by having key events unfold before their eyes. Even players who skip reading the quest text will enjoy the story of Warcraft and will learn exactly why they fight. This showcases Blizzard doing one of the things it does best; tell a story. Some of these quests have an impact on the world around the player, making it a larger draw.
If there were no other additions to Wrath of the Lich King, many players would have bought it and been happy. However, Blizzard furthered the value of this expansion by adding the Death Knight hero class, with a whole line of quests rich in lore and content to explore. Furthermore, graphical enhancements were added to the client (in the new areas only) that really improve the overall look of the environments and players. With Wrath of the Lich King, Blizzard has proven that they are constantly working to make the best MMO even better.
Originally, The Witcher had a somewhat quiet release, but quickly gained reputation as one of the best PC RPGs in some time. Filled with racism, drug abuse, scandals, and political strife, The Witcher does a great job blending real world problems with fantasy races and themes. The choices that the player makes are more true to life than most RPGs, with few clear cut "good" and "evil" decisions. The Witcher: Enhanced Edition takes what's good about The Witcher and makes it better, with vastly improved load times, extra adventures, soundtracks, "making of DVD," and more. The fact that many of these goodies can be downloaded for free by owners of the original game makes this an easy decision.
Warhammer Online: Age Of Reckoning lived up to the hype when it finally launched in mid-September of 2008. Mythic brought some new elements to the MMORPG table with Warhammer Online's public quest system, extensive Tome of Knowledge, and intense focus on PvP in every aspect of the game. PvP has never been easier to get into than in Warhammer Online, as in addition to the open world PvP options players can queue up for the many varied PvP instances at any time during play. While PvP is the focus in Warhammer Online, PvE is just as strong with the deluge of quests the game provides. Casual and solo players will find plenty to do in the game, but those seeking to experience the true heights that Warhammer Online can provide will need a strong guild behind them.
by Phillip Willis, Michael Cunningham