10. OverwatchRemember when Bastion had his own shield barrier in the beta? Or when D.va took damage from her own ultimate? Or how about when Symmetra had a dynamic mobile shield barrier similar to Sigma’s current one? And let’s never forget when Mercy could resurrect her entire team at once… Overwatch is ever-evolving. It’s a true paradigm of modern hero-based first-person shooters that are made up of addictive gameplay, numerous play styles, and backed by a community that supports the game and keeps it alive. [widget path="global/article/imagegallery" parameters="albumSlug=overwatch-2-maps&captions=true"] From subreddits to discords, to community-content, and patch notes overview videos from the lovable Jeff Kaplan, the Overwatch community is an ecosystem that continues to redefine the hero-shooter genre. We can’t wait to see how the upcoming Overwatch 2 builds upon the existing Overwatch foundation, but whenever it does release, rest assured it will be a very different game compared to now and that really excites us and keeps us wanting to play.
- Armando Torres, Syndication
9. Destiny 2On September 6th, 2017 Destiny 2 launched and while it seemed to be an upgrade in many respects, fans felt the systems nearly perfected with the original just didn’t translate into Destiny 2. PVP teams became larger, there was an odd mod-based power level chase, and the Raid only had a single big-boss damage encounter. It was good but faltered in the endgame. Fast forward to 2019 and Bungie has made vast improvements to that original sandbox and continues to do so with their latest release Destiny 2 Shadowkeep that brings back a 3v3 PVP mode, infuses some much-needed narrative into the overall experience, and builds upon the excellent PVE changes that started with Forsaken in 2018 and continued here with a new armor system. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2019/10/09/destiny-2-shadowkeep-review"] It seems they’re building a playstyle that lends to builds, weapon pairings, and balance. There’s no arguing that Destiny has had its ups and downs through development, but Bungie has also done a tremendous job trying to find that sweet spot as they poke and prod the engine into a place the community is happy with. With regular updates, cross-save, and especially since they’ve gone free-to-play it’s not surprising that Destiny 2 was the number 1 paid, and free game on Steam this October. Destiny 2’s future looks brighter than ever, especially with a team as committed to getting it right as Bungie.
- Destin Legarie, Senior Features Producer
8. FortniteWhile we understand that Fortnite has reached market saturation and you’re probably tired of hearing about it there’s no denying that it’s been a phenomena that has made the career of several streamers and regularly brings in huge views on platforms like Twitch and Mixer. The craze may have stabilized, but that doesn’t mean Epic has slowed down their incredible in-game events like the Blackhole that shut servers down for a few days, kicked off season 2 and had children crying in their parent's arms. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2019/10/23/7-million-people-watched-the-end-of-fortnite-event"] The regular tweaks and partnerships keep giving players a reason to sign on, be that for the chance to play as Batman to explore Gotham, or to become Thanos and wreak havoc on the world. PUBG, Apex, Call of Duty, and Escape from Tarkov are all doing interesting things in their corner of the Battle Royale genre but for the time being Fortnite remains king.
- Destin Legarie, Senior Features Producer
7. Rainbow Six SiegeIf you would have told me in 2015 that Rainbow Six Siege would be on bestseller lists for the next 4 years I wouldn’t have believed you. However here we are and it’s not as surprising as you might think. With constant updates, tweaks to the operators, and huge championships featuring new reveals every year, Ubisoft has managed to keep the game feeling fresh with each patch. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2019/08/26/rainbow-six-siege-operation-ember-rise-exclusive-details-raleigh-major-recap-more"] In the last year, I’ve found myself gravitating back toward Siege and having a great time learning to be a better player via the plethora of fan-made strategy videos that often manage to blend information with a bit of blunderous fun as creators poke fun at themselves (and the rest of us) for the ways we all made mistakes when starting out. Not only is there a community out there of inviting people willing to teach you the best ways to breach, but even as you’re learning you find yourself improving even when learning simple tactics like camera placement or creating a rotate between points. With the Operator grand total being brought to 52 as of last month with the addition of Kali and Wamai Rainbow Six Siege shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.
- Destin Legarie, Senior Features Producer
6. CS:GOEven though Counter-Strike: Global Offensive was released on August 21, 2012, it still holds a strong reign over the competitive first-person shooter genre. While known for its competitive game mode in the esports scene, CS:GO offers casual and competitive game modes that invite a wide range of players. There is also a wide range of esports tournaments and leagues that operate all year round, which means players wanting to get into the true competitive scene of CS:GO have plenty of opportunities to do so. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2018/12/07/counter-strike-global-offensive-is-now-free-to-play-battle-royale-mode-added"] While this is an older FPS title with no other games to match its content (Rainbow Six Siege being the closest game in similarity), CS:GO focuses on challenging players on pure skill and strategy. Teamwork is heavily important in the standard competitive matches and mastering specific spray patterns of each weapon available is critical to becoming a top player. Whether players are looking to get into competitive play and test their skills or hop into a quick game of free-for-all or other casual game modes, CS:GO offers plenty of content for anyone to jump into. Valve has been working on updates this year to this beloved FPS title which further make CS:GO still one of the best FPS games out on the market.
- Stella Chung, Associate Gameplay Producer
5. HearthstoneWhile the competitive landscape for Hearthstone may be getting old for those of us who have played for 5 years, it's actually the other modes in Hearthstone that keep the game great in 2019. Over time Hearthstone has amassed a surprisingly large single-player experience. From Dungeon Runs to Puzzle Lab, Hearthstone is nearing 10 unique single-player experiences that offer fresh alternatives to its standard gameplay. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2019/11/01/hearthstone-descent-of-dragons-cinematic-trailer"] If you are the type who still prefers the competitive side of things, the newly announced Hearthstone Battlegrounds auto battler mode has captured the attention of the games most prominent players and appears to have introduced a much-needed change to the competitive landscape.
- Tate Fiebing, Senior Product Manager
4. League of LegendsLeague of Legends continues to fulfill the niche of being one of the most accessible games to the greater PC audience, while also having the depth of play to keep players coming back for more. Critically a Free-to-Play first model, anyone with a half-decent computer could download the game and play one of the distinct 146 champions in 5v5 combat. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2019/11/25/league-of-legends-aphelios-the-weapon-of-the-faithful-champion-trailer"] It’s a game where teamwork, skill expression, and game knowledge all work hand in hand to try to capture victory. The League community also remains extremely vibrant – the game developers do a great job tweaking the game every so often to prevent the meta from being stale. Because of this, you’re always feeling like you are playing something ‘new’, while yet still fundamentally sound.
- Kevin Kwan, Campaign Manager
3. DOTA 2Dota 2 is a satisfyingly complex game; not only are there well over a hundred heroes with unique abilities to learn (with about two heroes added each year), there also tons of items and creative ways to use both to achieve the ultimate goal of destroying the enemy team's ancient. No one playstyle is absolute either, and the freedom to play creatively keeps Dota 2 engaging even if you're not interested in learning all of its heroes and roles. Constant updates and seasonal events are helpful in retaining player interest too. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2018/10/11/is-dota-2-really-harder-than-league-of-legends-esports-mashup-episode-2"] These updates aren't just for balance, though. There have been several game-changing updates since Dota 2 first came out of beta in 2013, and the latest massive patch that altered some fundamentals of the game is one of the most exciting yet. With so much constantly changing in the meta and an interesting professional scene to help interpret those changes, it's fun to keep coming back to DOTA 2.
- Miranda Sanchez, Senior Editor
2. Final Fantasy XIVFinal Fantasy XIV Game Director Yoshi-P and his team at Square Enix not only dropped one of their best expansions yet with Shadowbringers this year, but they were able to introduce a slew of big quality of life updates that improve the experiences for new and old players. Jobs were changed significantly to make combat easier and features like the Trust System are geared towards players who like a single player experience. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2019/10/18/final-fantasy-xiv-patch-51-vows-of-virtue-deeds-of-cruelty-trailer"] Aside from the typical patches you see with every MMO, Final Fantasy XIV was able to add in a new unique job, a Final Fantasy XV crossover event, and new post game content in collaboration with Nier Automata this year. From Square Enix’s livestream updates to community fan events, Final Fantasy XIV is a great contender for the best ongoing game of the year.
- Mike Mamon, Syndication Editor
1. World of WarcraftWith over fifteen years of content updates spanning across seven expansion packs, there’s no denying that World of Warcraft is one of the largest and most popular MMORPGs out there. Before WoW came out, MMORPGs had a certain kind of gameplay formula that was quite daunting for a lot of people who were interested in the MMO genre, but the idea of hardcore grinding didn’t sit quite well with a vast majority of folks. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2019/11/01/world-of-warcraft-exploring-the-shadowlands-gameplay-trailer"] Then came WoW, which was Blizzard’s answer to create an MMORPG world set in the Warcraft universe that managed to take the old formula and transform it into something that was more accessible to all types of players. And it worked! Nowadays, WoW is played by millions of people who have fallen in love with its world, characters, lore, gameplay systems and its fantastic raids that have all been built up over these past fifteen years. Plus, with WoW: Classic being a gateway for folks who crave Blizzard’s first (more hardcore) version of the game, there’s a version of WoW for every kind of player — past, and present.
- Eric Sapp, Editorial DesignerSo do you feel like we got it right or wrong? Let’s talk about it in the comments below, and tell us what should be swapped out and replaced with your favorite and why. [poilib element="accentDivider"] Destin Legarie is a Senior Features Producer at IGN. You can follow him on Twitter or watch him stream on Twitch.