ZAM Game of the Year Awards (Part Two)

We honor our favorite PC and console games of 2013, and look forward to 2014.

Winner: Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft by Blizzard Entertainment

Hearthstone tops the list again following its Strategy Game of the Year win on Tuesday. This card game by Blizzard has captivated audiences worldwide and ZAM is not immune to the addiction. Those invested in the game should check out our sister site, Hearthhead, and our weekly Hearthstone Deck Tech series if you haven’t yet!

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft will be available on the PC, Mac, iOS and Android. Players can currently opt-in on their accounts to apply for beta.

Honorable Mentions: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag by Ubisoft Entertainment and Dota 2 by Valve Software

Winner – TIE!: WildStar by Carbine Studios and EverQuest Next/EverQuest Next Landmark by Sony Online Entertainment

Wait... a tie? Yes, a tie! These two games finished with the same number of votes, and we’re too excited about them to even dream of a tie-breaker.

WildStar is an upcoming MMORPG that blends fantasy and science-fiction together to create a quirky and action-packed experience that beams with personality, memorable characters and action combat. Choose to battle for the freedom fighting Exiles or the Imperialistic Dominion as you uncover the secrets of the legendary planet Nexus and the mysterious disappearance of the hyper-advanced race; the Eldan.

At launch, players will be able to dive into WildStar’s many gameplay features such as player housing, warplots, arenas, dungeons, adventures and 20-man and 40-man raids. With six unique classes and eight playable races, WildStar is aiming to be the next big AAA MMO in 2014.

WildStar is currently in closed beta and is set to launch on the PC in the first half of 2014. The title will use a monthly subscription model, with an alternate method of paying for playtime with an in-game item.

EverQuest Next/EverQuest Next Landmark
The reveal of EverQuest Next at SOE Live 2013 also unveiled a hidden gem: EverQuest Next Landmark. Both games make their entry into the EverQuest franchise with Landmark coming in first with its late February alpha (and March closed beta) launch. They are powered by SOE’s ForgeLight Engine and use voxels in an amazingly seamless environment.

EverQuest Next Landmark is touted as the “online social building game” of the two. Players will be given in-game building tools to create whatever they can imagine with materials found throughout Norrath. Exploration and crafting are emphasized, and SOE’s Player Studio will provide a platform for players to sell templates for real world money. At launch, Landmark is expected to have only the Human race and Adventurer class available, but it has been hinted that combat may be added at a later point.

EverQuest Next is where the combat and features will truly shine in a sandbox MMO environment. SOE has announced that the world will be “fully destructible” (though it will heal back over time), can have permanent change by way of Rallying Calls, will have multi-classing, consequences for your choices and more. This reimagining of Norrath is a reboot in the timeline with its own history and lore. There are several free eBooks available on the website for those interested in diving into the story.

EverQuest Next Landmark will enter alpha on or before February 28, 2014 (UPDATE: A few hours after this article launched, John Smedley mentioned on Twitter that alpha may start "sometime in the last half of January.") and closed beta on or before March 31, 2014. For guaranteed alpha or beta entry you can purchase (or gift) a Founder’s Pack. Alpha and beta dates have not yet been announced for EverQuest Next. Both titles are Free-to-Play and will be released on the PC. SOE President John Smedley hinted at a PlayStation 4 release for EverQuest Next in an interview with GameHubTV.

Honorable Mention: The Elder Scrolls Online by ZeniMax Online Studios

The Elder Scrolls Online is set in Tamriel 1,000 years before the events of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The daedric prince, Molag Bal, is threatening the world with Dark Anchors, trying to merge Nirn and Oblivion. Three factions war over the control of Cyrodiil – The Daggerfall Covenant, The Aldmeri Dominion and The Ebonheart Pact. A large portion of the beloved Elder Scrolls world will be yours to adventure and progress in.

ZAM is eagerly awaiting the launch of TESO and it was narrowly edged out by this category’s winners. Spring can’t come soon enough!

The Elder Scrolls Online is currently in closed beta and will launch for PC and Mac on April 4, 2014. PlayStation 4 and Xbox One launches will shortly follow in June 2014.

Catch up on our previous Game of the Year awards here!

 Ann "Cyliena" Hosler, Managing Editor

Additional contributions by Corey "Cyglaive" Jenkins

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