I don't think I've ever thrown about so much venom in a piece of literature as I did with this article. This was also perhaps one of the most edited of anything I've written for the site. All sorted various barbs and jibes were glossed over, but even the edited version pulls no punches.
As I promised I counted all the forum votes and announced the top 3 vote getters in each category followed by my personal pick. I have to admit even I was shocked at the results nearly a year after the NGE fiasco put a big dent in SWG's sub numbers. The effect is magnified here for some reason and the Awards really proved how cool it was to hate SOE last year.
Before I reprint the original I want to discuss a bit why I made the choices I did for each category with the benefit of hindsight.
WORST GRAPHICS: Roma Victor
It's hard to remember the last time I looked at a game this bad. Some guy posted a Roma Victor fight scene and it made me gag with disgust While the guys behind Dark and Light were obviously less talented artist, Red Bedlam's guys were probably working with animation tools from the 1980's. Sure there are probably some worse graphics if you look really hard but none were released in 2006...anyway I'm not sorry.
LEAST FUN: Dark and Light
One of the quickest ways to lose my interest is to have bugs that only show up after you have invested a long ass time into an aspect of a game. Dark and Light took the cake in this regard. Most of the system were flawed, like crafting, but the bugs were so frustrating because you wouldn't discover the item you made was screwed up until much later, like when trying to repair it. for example. Combine this with the most inept programming staff to ever touch a keyboard and you've got a game that make you want to become a serial killer.
MOST DESOLATE: Dark Age of Camelot
I spent a lot of time in DAoC on the same server so when you go back after a six month break and notice everyone you fought against is gone, it pretty obvious the game is going downhill. I could probably have picked a game like DnL that couldn't even hold a hundred people on it's sever without crashing, but the whole connection with DAoC made it jump right up in my mind when I wrote the piece.
WORST USE OF A POPULAR IP: Dungeons and Dragons Online
Eberron and 3rd Edition FTL. nuff said. Freaking 3-tards shouldn't shit on a proud genre.
MOST SHAMELESS DEVELOPER: NP Cube
An NDA still up 2 years after launch? Developers who tell you that they won't give you all the tools to test it at once because they know better than you? Assholes who promise the world and deliver a turd? The lead dev who tries to convince me at a gaming convention that SOG is NOT the DARK and LIGHT BETA when I know for a fact it is? These guys deserve everything bad that happens to them from now on plus some.
MOST LIKELY TO BE CANCELLED: Auto Assault
While a definitely don't think this game deserves to die it really can't comeback when the devs themselves declare it dead. Its funny how we keep hearing: WTF! dewd stop making teh stupid Fantasy games!" but they still sell like Sims 2. (ironically the popularity of The Sims didn't help it's online version in the slightest) The game isn't cancelled yet, but I can't imagine a Free-to-play model is far off.
BIGGEST STINKER: Dark and Light
Now on with the ORIGINAL and UNEDITED MMOWTF Award winners
2006 MMOWTF AWARD WINNERS:
The Best of the Worst
Welcome back to the 2006 MMOWTF Awards. Despite a weak grasp of the English language and plummeting approval ratings I’m still your host of this weekly jaunt into forbidden territory. This week we tally up all the votes that you placed and give out some punk cards to the losers in each category. I painstakingly counted each and every post/ballot and finished a mere couple of hours before the forums were the victim of a database failure. Each of the categories will show the game you voted for followed by my choice. Now without further ado, lets see how you voted:
WORST GRAPHICS: DARK AND LIGHT
With a healthy 38% of the votes, Dark and Light won by a decent margin over the runner ups Roma Victor (21%) and World of Warcraft (8%). This game met all my requirements for truly awful graphics with its melted wax hills and mountains, horrible avatars and poorly placed structures. Congrats DnL, I hope we never see your like again.
MY PICK: ROMA VICTOR
There are so many choices here that it’s hard to select one from the bunch. Narrowing it down to the games that are 3D and that look bad even on their released screen shots makes it a bit easier though. I’d have to say that Roma Victor is the worst simply because it is brand new and looks equally as bad even on the highest settings. Iron poisoning and barbarians were downfall of the real Rome but these graphics will be the undoing of the Roma Victor version. Et tu RedBedlam?
LEAST FUN: STAR WARS GALAXIES
Star Wars has no trouble beating out the other games nominated in this field taking 37% of the votes when compared to Dark and Light (16%) and RF Online (11%). Obviously our voters are still a tad bit upset over the giant overhaul of the combat and class system last year. It is more fun than picking the fleas off a Wookie or potty training an Ewok? Who knows, but I’m not in hurry to experience any of the three anytime soon.
MY PICK: DARK AND LIGHT
How much fun can you have in a game that crashes every ten minutes, has ridiculously poor design and game breaking bugs? Not much, if any, I assure you. Why not hop on a Dragon and soar through the sky? Make sure to avoid looking at the ground if you enjoy getting more than 10 FPS. Take a hot air balloon ride across the massive landscape? If you do then everyone within 2 km will crash out as soon as you hop aboard then be told they are already logged in when they try and restart! I wouldn’t recommend this ‘game’ even to a masochist.
MOST DESOLATE: STAR WARS GALAXIES
Once again, the majority spoke and gave SWG another dubious award gaining 51% of the votes for this category. Coming in at second place was Dark and Light (23%) followed by Dark Age of Camelot (9%) at a distant third. In my introduction to the voting last week I suggested giving preference to game whose population had dropped rapidly rather than a game that never had the big numbers so I’m not too surprised at this outcome. Maybe by this time next year, everyone will be over it, or playing a new Star Wars game. Either way, Galaxies comes away with the Golden Tumbleweed here.
MY PICK: DARK AGE OF CAMELOT
It’s truly a sad state of affairs when even the mighty zerg army of Albion is reduced to a couple eight man groups during peak hours. While it never quite had the numbers the SWG enjoyed, its demise is more significant to me because it represents the downfall of one of the best PvP games in the last ten years. All good things must come to an end though, so out with old and in with the new.
WORST USE OF A POPULAR IP OR LICENSE: STAR WARS GALAXIES
Seeing a trend here? With 63% of the votes, Star Wars beat out Dungeons and Dragons Online (37%) and The Matrix Online (4%) for the worst of the MMOG conversions. I’m pretty sure that no permanent damage was done to the franchise, but for most of the voters SWG betrayed the original concept of the movie, much like the newest Trilogy did. DDO has fallen pretty far from last year when it won “Most Anticipated for 2006”. Shows how much you can trust award votes.
MY PICK: DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS ONLINE
This was a tough call since I was torn between DDO and Lord of the Rings. Being an old PnP gamer who still keeps 1st edition books I was appalled at the shallow gameplay and simplistic mechanics which are totally at odds with the flavor of the AD&D system. Why pay monthly for a poor mans’s Guild Wars when you can just log on to a NWN Persistent World for free and get better Modules to boot?
MOST SHAMELESS DEVELOPER: SONY ONLINE ENTERTAINMENT
With a staggering 77% of the votes SOE won in a blowout and the next closest was Dark and Light’s very own NP Cube (16%) followed by Turbine (3%). What can you say? When the gibbering hordes have spoken all you can do it stand aside and watch them play ‘Pin the Punk Card’. Keep your chin up Sony, at least the PS3 works great right?
MY PICK: NP CUBE
Sony may have their enemies, but for me I have to give the nod in this category to the guys from Reunion Island. Without comparing lies, mismanagement, and audience alienation stories, I can safely say that NP Cube has done more than anyone else to damage to the reputation of small time Devs everywhere. When you hurt the folks with little pockets it means a lot more in my book. Plan on dropping that NDA sometime guys?
MOST LIKELY TO BE CANCELLED IN 2007: STAR WARS GALAXIES
Star Wars wins it’s fourth award tonight in a close fought battle of bargain-bin hopefuls taking 29% of the votes edging out it’s faithful runner up Dark and Light (17%) and Archlord (15%). The voters continued to vent their rage on their favorite meat puppet and SWG beat out some other games on the chopping block with less than a tenth of their subscribers. I can only hope that by the time next year’s awards roll around we won’t have to look at any of the games that received votes here.
MY PICK: AUTO ASSAULT
How much longer can you go on with a handful of subscriptions and server merges before you call it quits? NetDevil may just choose to skate along on the razor edge of profit margin, but MMOs are only worth running if you love your own game. I don’t think any amount of extra work can turn this title into a money maker however.
BIGGEST STINKER: STAR WARS GALAXIES
For some reason space opera games seem to win all the awards, good or bad here. Once again, Star Wars crapped it’s way past the competition gaining 40% of the overall votes. In at a close second, Dark and Light claimed 29% followed by Dungeons and Dragons Online (10%). This year the old school Pre-CU/NGE gangstas came out in ‘force’ and sent a message. Are they just Rebel scum without a cause? Will something good ever come of this franchise? Will I ever stop causing trouble by provoking die-hard fans? Difficult to answer, these questions are...uncertain the future is.
MY PICK: DARK AND LIGHT
Once again I’m in the minority here, but as far as I’m concerned this is the worst game top to bottom that I’ve ever had the displeasure to play. When this title is gone the MMO world will be a better place. When you have to hire an exorcist to uninstall something from your computer you’ll truly feel my pain.
Well there you have it, After all is said and done we still aren’t any closer to original, fun and engaging titles than we were last year. Let’s all wish upon a star that 2007 brings me a reason to stop these Awards all together. When your done washing out your drool cup I’ll be waiting for your comments in the Forums. Till next time.
- Dan Fortier