As we did in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018, right now I’m going to recap our annual awards and different meta articles from the tip of 2019. We gave out 19 formal awards this previous 12 months, plus our separate MMO music awards, all along with dozens of different recaps, roundups, listicles, predictions, bloopers, oddities, polls, provocations, and retrospectives. Our crew thinks I’m nuts, however annually we’ve executed this, it’s been larger than the final. Muahaha! Plus, take a look at the beautiful art work Larry’s executed for our awards for the final 5 years! Mo was even joined by the Offended Crab this spherical.
Following our deep-dive into our awards and the connected reader polls, I’ll be recapping all the end-year articles in a single handy place in case you missed one thing over the vacations. Get pleasure from!
MMO of the 12 months: Elder Scrolls Online (2019), Final Fantasy XIV (2018), Elder Scrolls Online (2017), Black Desert (2016), Final Fantasy XIV (2015), Nothing (2014), Final Fantasy XIV (2013), Guild Wars 2 (2012), Star Wars The Old Republic (2011), Global Agenda (2010), Fallen Earth & Dungeons & Dragons (2009)
Group Ballot: Elder Scrolls Online (2019), Final Fantasy XIV (2018), Elder Scrolls Online (2017) Elder Scrolls Online (2016), Elder Scrolls Online & Trove (2015), Nothing (2014), Star Trek Online (2010), Runes of Magic (2009)
Years in the past, we shifted to together with current MMOs for our GOTY award, not simply brand-new ones, which means that older MMOs that sustain a excessive stage of updates are within the working for this award. That tends to imply one in all a small crop of prime MMORPGs wins this award yearly, and certainly, this 12 months, Elder Scrolls On-line took the crown for the second time in three years. Each the writers and readers cited the sport’s high-quality, help of its playerbase, and constant rollout of large-scale content material as causes for placing it on prime as soon as once more.
Greatest Enlargement/Replace: Final Fantasy XIV’s Shadowbringers (2019), Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset (2018), Guild Wars 2 Path of Fire (2017), World of Warcraft Legion (2016), Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns (2015), Guild Wars 2 April Feature Pack (2014), Guild Wars 2 Super Adventure Box (2013), RIFT Storm Legion (2012), Lord of the Rings Online Rise of Isengard (2011)
Group Ballot: Final Fantasy XIV’s Shadowbringers (2019), Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset (2018), Guild Wars 2 Path of Fire (2017), World of Warcraft Legion (2016), Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns (2015), World of Warcraft Warlords of Draenor (2014), World of Warcraft Cataclysm (2010)
Wanting again, I’m shook that Closing Fantasy XIV has by no means gained one of the best growth award till now, however rattling, if there was ever a second for it, Shadowbringers was it. XIV’s magnum opus generated accolades from all corners of the gaming business, so it’s no shock that even individuals who don’t play XIV would nonetheless vote for its epic story as one of the best of the style this 12 months.
Most Anticipated: Book of Travels and Torchlight Frontiers (2019), Torchlight Frontiers (2018), Crowfall (2017), Star Citizen (2016), Star Citizen (2015), EverQuest Next/Landmark (2014), EverQuest Next (2013), WildStar (2012), Guild Wars 2 & WildStar (2011), Star Wars The Old Republic (2010), All Points Bulletin (2009)
Group Ballot: Pantheon (2019), Pantheon (2018), Crowfall & Shroud of the Avatar (2017), Camelot Unchained (2016), Star Citizen (2015), Camelot Unchained & Shroud of the Avatar (2014), Star Wars The Old Republic & Project Titan (2010), Star Trek Online (2009)
Torchlight Frontiers is again for a second 12 months on the prime of this award, although this 12 months it has to share the title with the tremendous bizarre indie sport that wowed everybody on Kickstarter this 12 months, Guide of Travels, although there have been dozens of different MMOs in rivalry, from AIR and Ship of Heroes to Star Citizen and Crowfall – to not point out Zenith, New World, and Magic Legends. Pantheon’s group as soon as once more ensured the sport’s crest within the reader polls, and because the sport can also be on our quick listing, we’re not even mad.
Studio of the 12 months: Grinding Gear Games (2019), Grinding Gear Games (2018), ZeniMax & Square-Enix (2017), ZeniMax (2016), Square-Enix (2015), SOE (2014), SOE (2013), SOE & ArenaNet (2012), SOE (2010), Turbine & Fallen Earth LLC (2009)
Group Ballot: Square Enix and Cloud Imperium (2019), Standing Stone Games (2018), ZeniMax & Square-Enix (2017), ZeniMax (2016), City State Entertainment (2015), Cloud Imperium (2015), Blizzard (2010), Frogster (2009)
Path of Exile studio Grinding Gear Video games as soon as once more took our workers’s award right here due to its constant updates, still-classy enterprise mannequin, and unwavering communication. Sq. Enix topped our reader ballot, together with Cloud Imperium, whose customers gave it a hefty increase within the last hours of the ballot.
This award can really feel like a back-handed praise, however on this case, we actually wished to honor Black Desert’s clear give attention to constructing up the PC sport whereas constructing out its presence on cell, Xbox One, and PS4. No different MMO got here near increasing and bettering as a lot as BDO this 12 months. The reader vote was far more cut up, with Closing Fantasy XIV and No Man’s Sky coming in for a near-tie on the prime.
As we famous in our publish, this explicit class was the toughest one to settle out for our crew this 12 months, as some writers have been as vehemently in favor of some video games as others have been towards them, and all with legitimate causes. Finally, we determined to no-consensus the award for this 12 months given the polarized workers, arguing that it’s unhappy that we’re caught debating, as Colin put it, “which evils we’re keen to place up with.” Our readers didn’t appear significantly enthused about anyone sport both; Elder Scrolls On-line and Closing Fantasy XIV have been on the prime of the polls as they closed, however with solely small percentages of the general vote.
Most Underrated: Lord of the Rings Online (2019), Lord of the Rings Online & MapleStory 2 (2018), Black Desert & Secret World Legends (2017), Final Fantasy XIV (2016), Trove (2015), Elite Dangerous (2014), Neverwinter (2013), The Secret World (2012)
Lord of the Rings Online as soon as once more took our award for many underrated MMO, the second 12 months in a row a a lot older title has worn the crown, this 12 months due largely to the sport’s Minas Morgul expansion. Our readers agreed with us and put LOTRO on prime, with DDO not far behind.
Story of the 12 months: The Blizzard boycotts (2019), The Daybreak Columbus Nova Saga (2018), The Lockbox Debate (2017), The Death of EverQuest Next (2016), Daybreak’s Drama (2015), ArcheAge’s Drama (2014), EverQuest Next’s Reveal (2013), 38 Studios’ Doom (2012), Monoclegate (2011), Blizzard’s Real ID Fiasco (2010)
Group Ballot: The Blizzard boycotts and Hong Kong mess (2019), The Daybreak Columbus Nova Saga (2018), The Lockbox Debate (2017), The Death of EverQuest Next (2016), Daybreak’s Drama (2015), ArcheAge’s Drama (2014)
We have now 5 awards that target subjects somewhat than particular video games, and since we’d somewhat one story not win all the pieces, we attempt to unfold them round. Greatest MMO story of the 12 months was a troublesome one, particularly in a 12 months when Metropolis of Heroes was revivified, however total we agreed that the Blizzard scenario – particularly, the truth that there was a spontaneous worldwide boycott of the corporate following its mishandling of the Hong Kong fiasco – topped the listing.
For the third 12 months in a row, Star Citizen as soon as once more took this award, although it’s been pressured the share the title with Fallout 76 since, you already know, we are able to’t have good issues. As we’ve famous the previous three years, a sport already promoting pixel starships, automobiles, and land claims has a enterprise mannequin whether or not or not it’s formally launched, whether or not or not we really like and hope properly for the sport (and embody it on our most anticipated listing, for that matter). Fallout 76’s absolute nonsense Fallout First fiasco introduced it to the highest of the pile as properly. Our readers agreed on Star Citizen, by loads, although Fallout 76 got here in a powerful second place.
Greatest Pattern: The Rise of Rogue Servers (2019), Progression Servers (2018), Focus on Communities (2017), Content Scaling (2016) Resurgence of Expansions (2015), Sandbox Gameplay (2014), Sandbox Gameplay (2013); Greatest Innovation: SOEmote (2012)
Metropolis of Heroes’ resurrection this 12 months as soon as once more helped encourage this award. As we argued, emulators and rogue servers aren’t new in any respect; the brand new pattern is the general shift in MMO avid gamers’ opinion on emus and unauthorized servers as MMOs proceed to sundown, studios proceed to exploit the previous with legacy servers, and sport preservation has been centered in our consciousness. Our readers agreed, although simply as final 12 months, the gradual dying of lootboxes scored loads of votes too.
Greatest Not-So-Massively Recreation: No Man’s Sky (2019), Warframe (2018), Warframe (2017), Overwatch (2016), ARK Survival Evolved (2015), Hearthstone (2014), Path of Exile (2013), PlanetSide 2 (2012); Greatest Cell MMO: Arcane Legends (2012)
The award goes to MOBAs, on-line dungeon crawlers, ARPGs, on-line shooters, survival sandboxes, battle royales, and different video games that tread into MMO territory however aren’t full MMORPGs – in different phrases, video games we cowl that orbit the MMO style however aren’t full MMORPGs (and due to this fact aren’t eligible for lots of the awards we give). However lots of the winners on this class over time are video games that due to growth at the moment are thought-about MMOs and is perhaps extra in rivalry for MMO awards subsequent time, and No Man’s Sky, this 12 months’s winner, is amongst them.
“[NMS’] Past replace added full avatar and ship multiplayer to the sport, and reworked the Anomaly ship into a large multidimensional hub the place gamers from throughout the digital cosmos can meet, do missions collectively, and even go to one another’s bases,” MOP’s Brendan argued. “Gamers can now be part of teams and go on missions collectively, and there’s even a weekly mission now that sends everybody to the identical planet by a stargate-style portal. Gamers depart clues for one another in message buoys and beacons to assist them discover mission-critical sources, race to catalogue all the native natural world, and even chase one another across the planet and have interaction in firefights. Past was a complete overhaul of the sport.”
Our readers deemed each NMS and Path of Exile the winners.
This award is meant to honor a smaller sport that’d by no means have an actual likelihood on the large awards, and so it’s no shock that Challenge Gorgon gained once more, given its weird sandboxy worldbuilding and tiny workers. I used to be personally elated, nevertheless, that Villagers & Heroes additionally received a nod within the tie in addition to within the reader ballot, because it pumped out a really huge quantity of content material this 12 months.
In earlier years, this award was often known as “Most Prone to Flop,” however in 2018 we determined to vary it up, each as a result of we felt it was too imply and since we thought “flop” was approach too ambiguous, after which in 2019 we additionally determined to incorporate entire studios and never simply particular person video games, largely as a result of the overwhelming winner was shaping as much as be the whole thing of Dawn somewhat than one in all its titles. As all the time, we word that this isn’t actually a enjoyable award to offer; it’s meant as a sign of significant concern that everybody’s frightened about the best way Dawn’s 2019 went and we’re desperately hoping 2020 is healthier. Dawn additionally took the reader ballot, which looks as if an excellent worse signal.
This was a surprisingly contentious award for the workers, as a number of folks argued that Elder Scrolls On-line’s housing was far more pointless and costly than previous winners’ choices. Nonetheless, it scored probably the most votes. Our readers, fortunately, gave their nod to the superb housing of sandbox Wurm On-line.
Echoing our reader vote final 12 months, our workers this spherical pegged each FFXIV and Elder Scrolls On-line for the consideration of finest crafting, whereas the readers settled on XIV alone. We’ll word that if sunsetted MMOs and rogue servers have been allowed into this vote, the outcomes could be very totally different certainly – a suspicion backed up by the truth that an unnamed useless sport got here in second with the readers. You realize the one, although.
Greatest Disappointment: The Cancellation of Peria Chronicles and the Decline of Guild Wars 2 (2019), Industry Employment Scandals (2018), The Sad Death of Marvel Heroes (2017), EverQuest Next & No Man’s Sky (2016), World of Warcraft (2015), WildStar & ArcheAge (2014), DUST 514 (2013), City of Heroes’ Sunset (2012), Star Wars Galaxies’ Sunset (2011), Aion (2009)
Group Ballot: The Decline of Guild Wars 2 (2019), Blizzard’s Diablo Immortal Mess (2018), The Sad Death of Marvel Heroes (2017), EverQuest Next (2016), EverQuest Next’s Silence (2015), WildStar & ArcheAge (2014), Final Fantasy XIV (2010), Aion (2009)
Two particular tales disenchanted our workers probably the most this 12 months: Nexon’s random and pointless cancellation of Peria Chronicles, an MMO many people have been wanting ahead to, and the obvious decline of ArenaNet and Guild Wars 2 over the course of the 12 months following a number of sport cancellations and layoffs. Our readers apparently cared much less about Peria and extra about Guild Wars 2, nonetheless a much-beloved MMO round right here. If solely NCsoft would pay attention.
Greatest Blunder: Blizzard’s Bliztchung Fiasco (2019), Blizzard’s Diablo Immortal Bungle (2018), CCP’s VR Pullout & EVE Layoffs (2017), The VR Obsession (2016), Star Citizen Melodrama (2015), Dev Hubris – Multiple Games (2014), Elder Scrolls Online’s & WildStar’s Sub Models (2013)
Group Ballot: Blizzard’s Bliztchung Fiasco (2019), Blizzard’s Diablo Immortal Bungle (2018), The Death of Marvel Heroes (2017), EverQuest Next’s Cancellation (2016), Everything ArcheAge (2015), WildStar’s Endgame & ArcheAge’s Launch (2014)
Whereas the Blizzard boycotts took our story of the 12 months award, we gave largest blunder to Blizzard as soon as once more, this time for the choice that led to these boycotts: particularly, Blizzard’s determination punish an esports star over his help for Hong Kong dwelling rule with a view to pacify Chinese language authoritarian counterparts. “Over the course of October and November, Blizzard had a number of alternatives to restore that blunder, however as an alternative it doubled down on it, banning extra gamers, quashing occasions, and delivering a nonpology at BlizzCon,” we wrote, expressing horror and unhappiness for the studio’s status plummet. On this one, our readers clearly agreed.
Group Ballot: Elder Scrolls Online’s kill-dragons-to-help-cats campaign (2019), Elder Scrolls Online’s Fall Freebies (2018), Lord of the Rings Online (2017), The Elder Scrolls Online (2016)
I’m so happy we have been capable of honor AdventureQuest 3D this 12 months, particularly for its weird however entertaining in-game Korn and Alice in Chains live performance occasions. Our reader ballot had a stronger exhibiting, nevertheless, for Elder Scrolls On-line and its cat-rescue marketing campaign.
In 2018, we retired our greatest PvP award, changing it with largest shock, which this 12 months went to the resurrection of Metropolis of Heroes, each from our workers and from our readers in absolute landslides. No one noticed this coming in any respect, and we’re so grateful we may play a task in it.
And that’s a wrap on our awards for 2019! For these of you who missed different particular content material over the vacations, we’ve rounded up all our music awards, our blooper awards (now often known as the Golden Yachties), our weirdest story series, end-year content material from a few of our feature columns, our monthly news recaps, our staff roundtables, and our favorite top tens proper down under. If you happen to’re strapped for time, undoubtedly hit the Schlag meme of the year, biggest stories listing, biggest surprises listing, healthiest MMOs listing, best updates listing, our predictions for next year, all of the MMOs we’re watching in 2020 (not up but), and the best-value MMOs firstly of 2020 (up later in January)!