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Best buys for gaming buffs

Adult gamers lead the pack of players. Turning to gaming-related gifts for men could garner you high brownie points come the next special occasion.

Did you know that the average gamer is not the rambunctious 10-year-old who invites a gaggle of school friends over to battle in "Skylanders"? Rather, a study published in the October 2009 issue of the American Journal of Preventative Medicine says that the average age of video-game players in the United States is 35. And among players, some of the most popular console- and Internet-based games enjoyed are MMORPG, or massively multiplayer online role-playing games.

MMORPG is a genre of video games that involves role-playing and interaction within a virtual game world. Unlike single-player or small multiplayer role playing games (RPGs), MMORPGs can attract a very large number of players who assume roles in a persistent world, which is one that usually evolves and grows -- even when players are offline. These games can be played by gamers all over the world -- and video game revenue forecasters say that consumer spending on MMORPGs is now a billion-dollar industry.

Those who are planning to purchase an MMORPG may want to choose among the top-rated games. Here are the top 5, according to MMORPG Center.

1. "World of Tanks": This is a free, team-based game that revolves around armored warfare. Epic tank battles take place during the era of World War II. Arsenals include more than 150 armored vehicles from Germany, America and the Soviet Union that are digitally detailed with historical accuracy.

2. "Star Wars -- The Old Republic": "Star Wars" fans number in the millions. For those who want to delve into what the galaxy was like prior to the rise of Darth Vader, players can explore the time of the Old Republic. This is when the Old Republic battles against the Sith Empire, dividing the galaxy into good and evil.

3. "Firefall": This action shooter has players joining fellow gamers in a campaign to fight for the survival of humanity. It's another game that features a free-to-play model.

4. "End of Nations": This game brings real-time strategy and MMO together in order to combat the Order of Nations. Deploy units, join battles and evolve an army to change the world with each battle.

5. "TERA Online": Players battle in epic wars and protect their kingdoms from demise within the exiled realm of Arborea. This is a visually stunning world with top-of-the-line graphics -- some the best in the industry.

While these are some of the top-rated games, there are many games that have withstood the test of time and continue to be released in new installments.

Another popular game series is Diablo. "Diablo III" is the latest in the series, set to be released in May of 2012. It is a dark fantasy/horror-themed game that takes place in Sanctuary, the dark fantasy world of the series.

Video games continue to enthrall people of all ages. They can make the perfect gifts for birthdays, holidays and other special occasions for the men in your life.