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Massively's Best Of 2022 Awards
It is almost the end of the yr, a time for merriment, camaraderie, and cynical analysis of all of the MMO triumphs and tragedies that 2013 offered us.
At the moment, Massively's workers honors the better of the perfect (and the worst of the worst) for the yr 2013. Each author was permitted a vote in every class with an something-goes nomination process. No MMO, company, or headline was off the table, as lengthy as it met the standards. Can WildStar make it to a few 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 more likely to flop next year? And just what constituted the most important MMO screw-up of the final 12 months?
Take pleasure in our picks for the best MMOs, expansions, studios, stories, and improvements of 2013... and our most-anticipated for 2014 and past.
Finest New MMO of 2013: Ultimate Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
Runners-up: Tie between Neverwinter and Defiance
Jasmine: Remaining Fantasy XIV, arms down. This sport managed to attain something I assumed was unimaginable: Sq.-Enix took a game that I thought-about the worst MMO I've ever played and turned it into something that retains me logging in every likelihood I get.
Eliot: If you had requested me two weeks ago, I'd have stated Ultimate Fantasy XIV without reservation. Now don't get me mistaken; every part good about the original model is brought to the forefront, and every part negative has both been removed or minimized. However the 2.1 update and the housing fiasco have driven home the idea that we're not out of the woods and that we're just taking a look at an period of bold new mistakes. If these points get mounted, then I have excessive hopes for the future; if not, it'll be a shocking instance of a gorgeous turnaround followed by a shameful crash.
Greatest Expansion or Replace of 2013: Guild Wars 2's Tremendous Adventure Box
Runners-up: Tie between EVE On-line's Odyssey, EVE On-line's Rubicon, and Star Trek Online's
Legacy of Romulus
Richie: Guild Wars 2's Super Adventure Field patch stands out in such a profound approach as a result of many players thought it was nothing greater than an April Fools' Joke. The official webpage was updated with amazing pictures from an 8-bit world accompanied by a hilarious, cheesy, '80s-type industrial. Once i logged into the sport and realized that SAB was actually in the game, my jaw hit my desk. There have been three full levels of this 8-bit world complete with secrets and techniques, puzzles, boss battles, original music rating, and customized sound effects -- a full platforming journey game neatly tucked inside of my MMO.
Brendan: I've written a fair bit on why I really like this year's Odyssey and Rubicon expansions, however Rubicon's personal deployable structures push it simply over the edge. The Mobile Depot has made long-time period exploration a really possible profession by permitting tech three ships to refit wherever in deep house, and Ghost Websites have added some additional reward for these scouring deep house. The change to warp acceleration has also fastened the disparity between small and large ships and enabled real hit-and-run style warfare again.
Best Non-Traditional MMO or Pseudo-MMO of 2013: Path of Exile
Different nominees: Hearthstone, Dota 2, Cube World, Defiance, MUSH
Matt: Path of Exile will get my vote for this one. The folks at Grinding Gear Video games have taken the time-honored action-RPG system popularized by Diablo and twisted it up into an experience that feels both contemporary and familiar. Eschewing traditional courses and development in favor of an almost inconceivably big talent tree and permitting players to customise their capability loadouts via interchangeable gems are just two of the distinctive spins Path of Exile brings to the table, and with its number of leagues and competitions, there's something here for your entire casual-hardcore spectrum.
Justin: Hearthstone. If just about everybody's in beta, does it depend? I say it counts. Blizzard's bought a cash cow hit on its arms, and the mix of World of Warcraft and Magic-lite is just inspired. Plus, it's fairly enjoyable.
Most Underrated MMO of 2013: Neverwinter
Larry: Neverwinter launched with a wide viewers and the hopes of being a full-fledged Dungeons and Dragons MMO. But alas, that's not what Cryptic had in mind for the sport, and avid gamers did not appreciate Neverwinter for what it was: a enjoyable recreation that you spend a few minutes to a few hours enjoying to unwind from the every day stress. Once i revisited the game, I used to be really shocked at how a lot fun I had. I do not need to stress about rotations or builds or the usual MMO worries. I simply log in, pound by a couple of dungeons, then carry on with my day.
Tina: I feel lots of people boxed Neverwinter under the "more of the identical" category without giving it a chance. The traditional charm is updated nicely by the 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons freshness.
Jef: Defiance is not setting the world on hearth or anything, but I loved my time in it, and that i keep it installed in case I want some sci-fi shooter motion with questing and a function.
Most Anticipated for 2014 and Beyond: EverQuest Subsequent
Other nominees: EverQuest Next Landmark, ArcheAge, Future, Pathfinder On-line, TUG, The Elder Scrolls On-line
Brendan: There are some great MMOs on the horizon, but the one I am wanting ahead to essentially the most is EverQuest Subsequent. I'm an absolute sucker for sandboxes, and the concept of a fantasy sandbox with a voxel-based mostly and utterly destructible world has me completely excited! The large monetary success of Minecraft has inspired a deluge of voxel-primarily based games in recent times, but no recreation has but done the characteristic justice. EQ Subsequent promises to be as removed from those blocky worlds as possible whereas retaining much of the identical sandbox gameplay.
Bree: The day I realized Star Wars Galaxies was closing, Smed reassured a teary-eyed me that SOE was working on an even greater and better sandbox. That sandbox turned out to be EverQuest Next. I am banking on SOE's capability to parlay the whole lot it realized from SWG -- particularly the errors -- into EQN. There are other good sandboxes on the horizon, absolutely, but nothing as prone to thrive as Next.
Justin: Progressive sandboxes or huge fanbase followings apart, I am rooting for Carbine to drag off a wacky sci-fi themepark in WildStar. I almost hope it would not launch super-big in order that it will probably grow from word-of-mouth as a substitute of developer hype.
Richie: I'm looking ahead to WildStar. Ever since I give up World of Warcraft, a part of me has missed having just a few nights each week as scheduled hangouts with my associates. I'm itching to raid again, and it seems to be as if WildStar will have the perfect endgame options of the 2014 MMO crop.
Most More likely to "Flop" in 2014: The Elder Scrolls Online
Runner-up: Mud 514
Anatoli: "Flop" is a really loaded time period in the case of MMO. I do not suppose ESO will make a lot of a splash. I doubt it'll fail as a game or as a enterprise, however I predict that lots of people will determine that it did when it doesn't set the entire world on fireplace.
Bree: I think ESO will launch simply high quality and collect a number of field and sub charges initially, but long-term, it's in hassle. MMORPG fans are sick of story-driven single-player themepark MMOs, console followers might be mystified by subs and a three-way PvP endgame, and Elder Scrolls followers will wander again to the lore and mods of their solo sandboxes. I'm actually not sure for whom the sport is meant, and i say that as a TES fanatic.
Matthew: I'm probably not a fan of The Elder Scrolls series, so possibly I'm biased, but I can not see the online version having the success of the single-participant installments.
MJ: If I had been compelled to hazard a guess, I would say ESO. It feels as if there's a dark shadow of "cannot meet expectations" hanging over it.
Finest Studio in 2013: Sony Online Leisure
Runner-up: Trion Worlds
Honorable Mention: Tiny Speck
Beau: SOE continues to churn out video games, however the studio does so on its own terms. Love it or hate it, you can't deny that SOE has executed many, many issues that have changed the course of MMOs.
Mike: SOE appears just like the studio that has one of the best hold on what the market wants. It retains releasing engaging new content material for its present properties, and EverQuest Next seems to be like the primary fantasy MMO to actually attempt something new since Ultima On-line. SOE also has a solid repute for making huge guarantees and failing to ship, however I'd say it had an excellent yr. No query all eyes are on EQN in the coming years.
Toli: Glitch's shutdown last year was downright tragic, but Tiny Speck has made every effort to keep the spirit and community alive, going as far as to release the game's belongings into the general public area only in the near past. That is preposterous, and i imply that in the best possible approach.
Largest Story of 2013: The reveal of EverQuest Subsequent and Landmark
Runners-up: Tie between Star Citizen's Kickstarter success and Remaining Fantasy XIV's relaunch
MJ: EverQuest Subsequent Landmark grabs this one because the game got here actually out of nowhere! There was not a single whisper, hint, leak or something to suggest there was a second recreation on SOE's horizon. On this trade, that is simply unheard of.
Tina: EverQuest Next. Everybody just went nuts, and for good reason!
Matthew: EverQuest Subsequent. Because the announcement, it appears as if the entire future of the business is colored 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 believe Blizzard went back to the drawing board on Titan due to EQN.
Jef: Star Citizen. You could not wish to play it, and also you may be tired of the Chris Roberts hero-worship, however you cannot deny the influence that it's had and continues to have on the best way games are made.
Greatest Disappointment of 2013: Dust 514
Different nominees: Defiance, Warhammer's sunset, the Kickstarter craze, Age of Wushu, Neverwinter, uninspired MMO design, traditional subscription fashions, no EverQuest Subsequent at SOE Dwell, the gloom and doom surrounding World of Darkness, and Guild Wars 2's dwelling story.
Jef: Dust 514. I might be beating a lifeless horse here, however console-only plus same-outdated-shooter-gameplay equals meh. And CCP hyping the crap out of the EVE Online connection wasn't notably sensible since there actually isn't one.
Mike: This could also be a cop-out, however I'm pinning this on the entire MMO style. The 12 months was dominated by countless re-treads of familiar fantasy worlds and lots of uninspired work from developers that should actually know better (Trion, I am taking a look at you). With the road between MMO and non-MMO getting blurrier by the minute, MMO builders must get their acts together in the event that they're hoping to stay aggressive. And they want cease asking for handouts via Kickstarter.
Eliot: Kickstarter. We've had a number of funding drives for video games, some successful, some not, with nearly every single one of them promising the identical fundamental gameplay philosophies, none of which has been backed up by actual finished MMOs. At the very least a type of studios has gone again to the effectively and requested for more money from Kickstarter backers, and I do not imagine will probably be the first. It isn't a pattern I'm completely satisfied to see, and one that I've already written about at length. There's some nice stuff on Kickstarter, however this year's glut was unpleasant.
Largest Blunder of 2013: Subscription fashions for Elder Scrolls On-line and WildStar
Different nominees: Console MMOs, Every part ESO does, LucasArts' closure, Blizzard's lore sexism, Star Wars: The Outdated Republic's area fight, FFXIV's launch woes, CCP's World of Darkness layoffs, Guild Wars 2's horrifying PR campaigns, and Diablo III's public sale house fiasco.
[Update: We talk more about this award and the rationale behind it in December twenty sixth's Ask Massively.]
Eliot: WildStar's enterprise model a minimum of seems to be taken from a e-book written by somebody with the vaguest knowledge of trade traits, however ESO's seems to have been designed with the assumption that each different game that went free-to-play after launch (also known as "pretty much every game that has launched inside the previous 4 years") was a worse recreation than ESO will probably be. Can we please stop pretending that you could launch with a subscription now?
Mike: I believe, in the long term, placing a subscription fee on The Elder Scrolls On-line will transform a pretty bad idea. Bethesda will make piles of money before it is forced to shift to free-to-play, however I am unsure what the value can be by way of loyalty to the brand. If followers really feel burned or taken benefit of, the Elder Scrolls franchise will endure. A subscription price basically says, "You may stop World of Warcraft/EVE On-line/Ultimate Fantasy XIV for this," and that's exceptionally bold from a studio that's never made an MMO.
Tina: I actually don't see how CCP can keep its dedication to complete World of Darkness whereas continually cutting the team. We need to see some stable ends in 2014 to prove otherwise.
Largest Innovation or Trend of 2013: The return of sandbox gameplay
Runner-up: Defiance's transmedia synergy
Other nominees: Oculus Rift, Guild Wars 2's cadence, streaming games, blurring style strains, actiony MMOs, voxels, and Warhammer's sunset.
Toli: I like that trends are swinging back towards a variety of gameplay features this year. Voxels! Sandboxy issues! I turn round and suddenly MMOs are launching with housing once more! Holy smokes!
Matt: I am completely satisfied to see extra studios tapping into the sandbox market. From heavy-hitters like EverQuest Subsequent and Star Citizen to less-hyped titles like Pathfinder On-line, the sandbox genre is gaining loads of traction.
Larry: Defiance was a disappointment as a sport, but as a product it broke the mold. I actually loved the tie-in launch of a television collection with an MMO. I do not suppose different video games need to repeat this model exactly, but I do suppose that tie-ins, crossovers, and multi-media launches add value to a product. And that i additionally consider that exterior-the-box considering needs to be encouraged in MMOs, even when it does in the end flop.
Justin: Oculus Rift: Might VR come again to be an precise future for MMOs? It is a chance, and what teases we're seeing this yr have whet my desire to strive it out for real.
Shawn: Closing Warhammer Online. I imply, the game was kinda fun at first, however can we stop with that exact method now? Thanks. (I'm already placing my vote in for 2015's Greatest Trend to be "the top of voxel-based mostly online video games.")
Most Improved in 2013: Remaining Fantasy XIV
Runners-up: Tie between Star Wars: The Old Republic and RuneScape 3
Jasmine: Final Fantasy XIV. It improved so much from 1.0 to 2.0 that it performs like an almost solely totally different game. I do not think you may get much more improved than that.
Beau: RuneScape three introduced a lot to the older game that it really is a unique game. It is always been dynamic and felt like a living world, however this relaunch made it that a lot better.
These are our picks. Howsabout yours? Minecraft roleplay servers