Choose My Adventure: All of the MMOs you made us play in 2023, from Guild Wars to Gorgon


Well here we are, my friends. It’s always such a pleasure. Remember when your votes killed me twice? OK, maybe that’s being overdramatic, but I will admit that the 2023 slate of gaming for Choose My Adventure definitely had some rough bumps in the road – enough that I actually took a month away from the column to hit a mental reset button (and write a bunch of things about a game that I feel like nobody cared about).

That’s not to suggest I’m not thankful, of course. Being able to take this crazy train out for a ride every month is still an honor, and none of it is literally possible without your support. Still, as I look back at the year that was for CMA, I can’t help but feel like the overall theme was, “Can’t knock it ’til you try it.” Which still is valuable information all the same.

Allow us to look back at the past year’s chosen adventuring.

Guild Wars

We start off with a game that’s a classic for many but a game I felt was better left in the past, the original Guild Wars. While I still ultimately appreciate how much of a foundational title this MMORPG is, I also still remember nothing but aged jank and annoyance, which probably wasn’t helped by my own lack of emotional attachment.

The Shooter Medley

This bundle of games started off really rough – Global Agenda full-on sucked – but it did eventually remind me of how much fun Destiny 2 can end up being. When Bungie isn’t trying to smother it with the monetization pillow anyway. All of the pillows. Whole-ass mattresses.

Embers Adrift

Perhaps it’s because I missed the wider sandbox boat of the early years, or perhaps it’s because I just appreciate modern MMORPG design more, but Embers Adrift made me unnaturally angry. I wish the people who are building indie titles would stop misremembering these supposed good old days.


Neverwinter remains the only MMORPG that I played for this column where I actually was able to get to level cap by the time the series’ run was over with, and I have to say that nothing about the trip was memorable in even the slightest and I’m not encouraged to hop into the endgame right now. That said, the Bard class was incredibly fun.

Dungeons & Dragons Online

Conversely, my return to Dungeons & Dragons Online reminded me of just how much more of a “true” D&D experience it is when compared with the previous month’s game. I still have this one installed in my disk drive while Neverwinter was excised almost immediately if that tells you anything.

Age of Conan

We once more go back to a “classic” title that aged like sun-baked milk. Age of Conan was one of the most unfortunate, most obtuse, most annoying, ugliest, most miserable MMORPGs I have ever had the displeasure of playing. It even managed to eclipse Wurm Online for me. That’s impressive in a rancid and long fart kind of way.

Warhammer Online: Return of Reckoning

Out of all of the games I journeyed through this past year, WAR: Return of Reckoning taught me the most. The several weeks within the game started to get worse and worse for me from a mental standpoint until I finally figured out that it was tweaking my competitive nerve by the end of it – a nerve that I never really knew I had to begin with. Sometimes PvPing does teach you things.

Lost Ark

Going into this one, I kind of expected what was going to happen, so perhaps that played into my feelings as this series moved forward. Still, for something that was generally a good time the first run through until level cap, it was still a bit sad to get confirmation all the same. It’s sadder still to see Amazon Games apparently trying to treat the symptoms instead of the disease as well. Maybe an OARPG will come along for me, but this one ain’t it, chief. And the fault primarily lies with its players.

New World

Talk about a surprise. The Rise of the Angry Earth expansion’s features made a humongous difference in my enjoyment of New World. The story stuff is still kind of forgettable but still improved, the weapons combination I’ve put together ended up being great, and horses rule. Pleasantly surprised by this one.

Tree of Savior

After more time considering my time in Tree of Savior, I’m still not sure that it’s a good game overall. However, I will contend that the often referenced “pachinko effect” it has had on me in terms of its leveling speed and character growth speed did kind of feed that OARPG need that I was hoping it would. So I suppose that’s mission accomplished in a manner of speaking? Sometimes you just need to feel a specific feeling from a game.

Project Gorgon

Finally, the year ended out with what’s easily the most feel-good story for our genre, Project Gorgon resurgent. And I have to admit that time away and experience with other “slower” games has helped me navigate this one much better than in previous return trips. That said, I still maintain that this game is a very tough nut to crack and really is only for players who have the right kind of mindset. On a personal level, I’m not sure this is the sandbox MMORPG for me, but it’s a damn sight closer than others I’ve tried.

So ends another year of adventuring in MMOs as directed by you, the reader. It’s been a bouncy journey that feels like an illustration of a similarly bumpy ride for MMORPGs and multiplayer gaming this year, so I’ll end with the usual hope that we all have a good time together in 2024, both for this column and for MMOs overall.

Welcome to Choose My Adventure, the column in which you join Chris each week as he journeys through mystical lands on fantastic adventures – and you get to decide his fate. Which is good because he can often be a pretty indecisive person unless he’s ordering a burger.
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