Massivelys Better Of 2022 Awards
It's practically the tip of the year, a time for merriment, camaraderie, and cynical analysis of all of the MMO triumphs and tragedies that 2013 provided us.
Today, Massively's employees honors the best of the perfect (and the worst of the worst) for the 12 months 2013. Every writer was permitted a vote in each category with an anything-goes nomination process. No MMO, company, or headline was off the table, as lengthy because it met the criteria. Can WildStar make it to 3 years in a row at the top of our "most anticipated" pile, or did its delay dampen our enthusiasm? Can SOE repeat its win for finest studio? Which MMO is most likely to flop subsequent yr? And simply what constituted the largest MMO screw-up of the last 12 months?
Take pleasure in our picks for the perfect MMOs, expansions, studios, stories, and innovations of 2013... and our most-anticipated for 2014 and past.
Finest New MMO of 2013: Ultimate Fantasy XIV: A Realm RebornRunners-up: Tie between Neverwinter and Defiance
Jasmine: Final Fantasy XIV, palms down. This sport managed to achieve one thing I believed was impossible: Square-Enix took a sport that I thought-about the worst MMO I've ever played and turned it into one thing that keeps me logging in each chance I get.
Eliot: When you had requested me two weeks ago, I might have mentioned Closing Fantasy XIV with out reservation. Now do not get me wrong; all the pieces good about the unique version is dropped at the forefront, and every thing damaging has either been removed or minimized. However the 2.1 replace and the housing fiasco have pushed dwelling the concept we're not out of the woods and that we're simply taking a look at an era of bold new errors. If these issues get fastened, then I've excessive hopes for the long run; if not, it'll be a shocking instance of a beautiful turnaround followed by a shameful crash.
Greatest Expansion or Update of 2013: Guild Wars 2's Tremendous Journey BoxRunners-up: Tie between EVE On-line's Odyssey, EVE On-line's Rubicon, and Star Trek Online'sLegacy of Romulus
Richie: Guild Wars 2's Super Adventure Box patch stands out in such a profound manner as a result of many gamers thought it was nothing more than an April Fools' Joke. The official web site was up to date with wonderful pictures from an 8-bit world accompanied by a hilarious, cheesy, '80s-model industrial. After i logged into the game and realized that SAB was really in the sport, my jaw hit my desk. There have been three full levels of this 8-bit world complete with secrets, puzzles, boss battles, authentic music score, and custom sound effects -- a full platforming adventure game neatly tucked inside of my MMO.
Brendan: I've written a good bit on why I like this yr's Odyssey and Rubicon expansions, but Rubicon's personal deployable structures push it just over the edge. The Cell Depot has made long-time period exploration a extremely feasible profession by allowing tech 3 ships to refit anywhere in deep area, and Ghost Websites have added some extra reward for these scouring deep house. The change to warp acceleration has additionally fixed the disparity between small and enormous ships and enabled real hit-and-run model warfare once more.
Finest Non-Traditional MMO or Pseudo-MMO of 2013: Path of ExileOther nominees: Hearthstone, Dota 2, Cube World, Defiance, MUSH
Matt: Path of Exile will get my vote for this one. The parents at Grinding Gear Games have taken the time-honored motion-RPG formulation popularized by Diablo and twisted it up into an expertise that feels both recent and familiar. Eschewing traditional lessons and development in favor of an virtually inconceivably enormous skill tree and allowing players to customize their capacity loadouts by way of interchangeable gems are simply two of the distinctive spins Path of Exile brings to the table, and with its variety of leagues and competitions, there's one thing right here for your entire informal-hardcore spectrum.
Justin: Hearthstone. If just about everyone's in beta, does it count? I say it counts. Blizzard's bought a cash cow hit on its fingers, and the combination of World of Warcraft and Magic-lite is solely inspired. Plus, it's fairly fun.
Most Underrated MMO of 2013: NeverwinterRunner-up: Defiance
Larry: Neverwinter launched with a wide audience and the hopes of being a full-fledged Dungeons and Dragons MMO. However alas, that is not what Cryptic had in mind for the sport, and players didn't respect Neverwinter for what it was: a enjoyable recreation that you spend a couple of minutes to a couple of hours enjoying to unwind from the every day stress. Once i revisited the sport, I used to be truly shocked at how a lot fun I had. I do not should stress about rotations or builds or the usual MMO worries. I merely log in, pound by means of a couple of dungeons, then carry on with my day.
Tina: I think a lot of people boxed Neverwinter beneath the "more of the identical" class with out giving it a chance. The standard charm is updated nicely by means of the 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons freshness.
Jef: Defiance is not setting the world on fireplace or anything, however I loved my time in it, and that i keep it installed in case I want some sci-fi shooter action with questing and a purpose.
Most Anticipated for 2014 and Past: EverQuest NextRunner-up: WildStarDifferent nominees: EverQuest Next Landmark, ArcheAge, Future, Pathfinder Online, TUG, The Elder Scrolls Online
Brendan: There are some great MMOs on the horizon, but the one I am looking ahead to essentially the most is EverQuest Next. I'm an absolute sucker for sandboxes, and the concept of a fantasy sandbox with a voxel-primarily based and completely destructible world has me completely excited! The large financial success of Minecraft has inspired a deluge of voxel-based mostly games in recent years, but no recreation has yet executed the characteristic justice. EQ Subsequent promises to be as far from those blocky worlds as potential whereas retaining a lot of the identical sandbox gameplay.
Bree: The day I learned Star Wars Galaxies was closing, Smed reassured a teary-eyed me that SOE was working on a fair bigger and better sandbox. That sandbox turned out to be EverQuest Next. I'm banking on SOE's capacity to parlay all the pieces it discovered from SWG -- especially the errors -- into EQN. There are other good sandboxes on the horizon, absolutely, however nothing as more likely to thrive as Subsequent.
Justin: Revolutionary sandboxes or massive fanbase followings apart, I'm rooting for Carbine to tug off a wacky sci-fi themepark in WildStar. I nearly hope it doesn't launch tremendous-massive in order that it could develop from phrase-of-mouth as a substitute of developer hype.
Richie: I am looking forward to WildStar. Ever since I give up World of Warcraft, a part of me has missed having just a few nights every week as scheduled hangouts with my pals. I'm itching to raid again, and it appears to be like as if WildStar can have the very best endgame features of the 2014 MMO crop.
Most More likely to "Flop" in 2014: The Elder Scrolls OnlineRunner-up: Mud 514
Anatoli: "Flop" is a very loaded term when it comes to MMO. I do not think ESO will make much of a splash. BEST MINECRAFT SERVERS I doubt it'll fail as a sport or as a venture, however I predict that lots of people will decide that it did when it would not set the entire world on fire.
Bree: I believe ESO will launch simply tremendous and collect quite a lot of field and sub charges initially, however long-term, it is in hassle. MMORPG followers are sick of story-pushed single-player themepark MMOs, console fans will be mystified by subs and a three-means PvP endgame, and Elder Scrolls fans will wander back to the lore and mods of their solo sandboxes. I'm actually unsure for whom the sport is meant, and that i say that as a TES fanatic.
Matthew: I am not likely a fan of The Elder Scrolls series, so possibly I'm biased, however I am unable to see the web version having the success of the one-player installments.
MJ: If I were compelled to hazard a guess, I'd say ESO. It feels as if there is a dark shadow of "can't meet expectations" hanging over it.
Best Studio in 2013: Sony Online EntertainmentRunner-up: Trion WorldsHonorable Mention: Tiny Speck
Beau: SOE continues to churn out video games, but the studio does so on its own phrases. Find it irresistible or hate it, you can't deny that SOE has performed many, many things that have changed the course of MMOs.
Mike: SOE seems just like the studio that has one of the best hold on what the market wants. It keeps releasing participating new content for its current properties, and EverQuest Next looks like the primary fantasy MMO to truly strive anything new since Ultima On-line. SOE also has a solid reputation for making big promises and failing to ship, however I might say it had an excellent yr. No query all eyes are on EQN in the approaching years.
Toli: Glitch's shutdown final 12 months was downright tragic, but Tiny Speck has made each effort to keep the spirit and community alive, going so far as to launch the sport's property into the public domain only recently. That's preposterous, and that i imply that in the absolute best manner.
Biggest Story of 2013: The reveal of EverQuest Subsequent and LandmarkRunners-up: Tie between Star Citizen's Kickstarter success and Remaining Fantasy XIV's relaunch
MJ: EverQuest Next Landmark grabs this one as a result of the sport came actually out of nowhere! There was not a single whisper, hint, leak or anything to counsel there was a second sport on SOE's horizon. On this industry, that is simply unheard of. BEST MINECRAFT SERVERS
Tina: EverQuest Next. Everyone simply went nuts, and for good purpose!
Matthew: EverQuest Subsequent. Because the announcement, it seems as if the entire future of the industry is coloured by comparisons to our new savior. I am not going to disagree. I am going to exit on a limb so far as to say I suspect Blizzard went again to the drawing board on Titan due to EQN.
Jef: Star Citizen. It's possible you'll not wish to play it, and you could also be uninterested in the Chris Roberts hero-worship, however you cannot deny the impression that it is had and continues to have on the way games are made.
Biggest Disappointment of 2013: Mud 514Different nominees: Defiance, Warhammer's sunset, the Kickstarter craze, Age of Wushu, Neverwinter, uninspired MMO design, conventional subscription models, no EverQuest Subsequent at SOE Reside, the gloom and doom surrounding World of Darkness, and Guild Wars 2's living story.
Jef: Mud 514. I may be beating a dead horse here, but console-solely plus identical-old-shooter-gameplay equals meh. And CCP hyping the crap out of the EVE On-line connection wasn't notably wise since there really isn't one.
Mike: This could also be a cop-out, however I am pinning this on the entire MMO style. The yr was dominated by countless re-treads of acquainted fantasy worlds and a variety of uninspired work from developers that ought to really know higher (Trion, I am taking a look at you). With the line between MMO and non-MMO getting blurrier by the minute, MMO builders need to get their acts collectively if they're hoping to remain aggressive. They usually want cease asking for handouts through Kickstarter.
Eliot: Kickstarter. We've had a variety of funding drives for games, some profitable, some not, with nearly every single one of them promising the same primary gameplay philosophies, none of which has been backed up by precise finished MMOs. At the least a kind of studios has gone again to the effectively and requested for extra money from Kickstarter backers, and I do not think about it will be the primary. It is not a development I'm happy to see, and one that I've already written about at size. There's some great stuff on Kickstarter, but this yr's glut was unpleasant.
Greatest Blunder of 2013: Subscription models for Elder Scrolls Online and WildStarDifferent nominees: Console MMOs, Everything ESO does, LucasArts' closure, Blizzard's lore sexism, Star Wars: The Outdated Republic's space combat, FFXIV's launch woes, CCP's World of Darkness layoffs, Guild Wars 2's horrifying PR campaigns, and Diablo III's auction house fiasco.
[Replace: We talk more about this award and the rationale behind it in December twenty sixth's Ask Massively.]
Eliot: WildStar's enterprise mannequin at the very least appears to be taken from a e-book written by someone with the vaguest data of business developments, however ESO's appears to have been designed with the assumption that each different recreation that went free-to-play after launch (also called "just about each sport that has launched within the past four years") was a worse game than ESO shall be. Can we please stop pretending you could launch with a subscription now?
Mike: I think, in the long run, putting a subscription payment on The Elder Scrolls Online will turn into a pretty unhealthy thought. Bethesda will make piles of money earlier than it's compelled to shift to free-to-play, but I am unsure what the price shall be when it comes to loyalty to the brand. If fans really feel burned or taken advantage of, the Elder Scrolls franchise will endure. A subscription charge basically says, "You'll give up World of Warcraft/EVE On-line/Final Fantasy XIV for this," and that is exceptionally bold from a studio that is never made an MMO.
Tina: I honestly do not see how CCP can keep its commitment to complete World of Darkness whereas frequently slicing the workforce. We need to see some solid results in 2014 to prove otherwise.
Largest Innovation or Trend of 2013: The return of sandbox gameplayRunner-up: Defiance's transmedia synergyOther nominees: Oculus Rift, Guild Wars 2's cadence, streaming games, blurring genre lines, actiony MMOs, voxels, and Warhammer's sunset.
Toli: I like that developments are swinging back toward a variety of gameplay options this yr. Voxels! Sandboxy things! I flip round and out of the blue MMOs are launching with housing again! Holy smokes!
Matt: I'm completely happy to see more studios tapping into the sandbox market. From heavy-hitters like EverQuest Next and Star Citizen to much less-hyped titles like Pathfinder On-line, the sandbox style is gaining a lot of traction.
Larry: Defiance was a disappointment as a sport, but as a product it broke the mold. I actually enjoyed the tie-in launch of a tv series with an MMO. I don't assume different video games want to repeat this mannequin exactly, however I do assume that tie-ins, crossovers, and multi-media launches add worth to a product. And i additionally imagine that outside-the-box pondering must be encouraged in MMOs, even when it does ultimately flop.
Justin: Oculus Rift: May VR come again to be an actual future for MMOs? It is a chance, and what teases we're seeing this 12 months have whet my want to attempt it out for real.
Shawn: Closing Warhammer Online. I mean, the sport was kinda enjoyable at first, but can we stop with that precise system now? Thanks. (I'm already putting my vote in for 2015's Greatest Pattern to be "the top of voxel-primarily based on-line video games.")
Most Improved in 2013: Ultimate Fantasy XIVRunners-up: Tie between Star Wars: The Previous Republic and RuneScape three
Jasmine: Last Fantasy XIV. It improved so much from 1.0 to 2.Zero that it plays like an almost entirely completely different sport. I do not assume you may get far more improved than that.
Beau: RuneScape three brought a lot to the older sport that it really is a different sport. It's at all times been dynamic and felt like a residing world, but this relaunch made it that a lot better.
These are our picks. Howsabout yours?