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The List: Five Infuriating MMOs

Column By Jon Wood on August 25, 2009

People who are passionate about MMOs are naturally going to get angry and upset about some games, or features or trends that come along with the industry. That's just a fact of fandom. If people care about something, it's going to bring up strong emotions, either good or bad.

Below, you will find a list made up of five of the most infuriating MMOs of all time. These games (as well as a few others that I couldn't find enough info on to include), for various and sundry reasons, bring out "Hulk Smash!" feelings in people at the mere mention of their names.

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It's funny, when researching for an article like this; you would think that information about the events surrounding these games would be readily available. As it turns out, this just isn't how it works.

In some cases, the events were so convoluted that it is difficult to separate rumor from truth. In each descriptive section I have done my best to explain, at least in vague terms, why that title deserved to be listed amongst the most infuriating games of all time.

I invite readers to use the forum to try to present a more complete picture of the exact events that surrounded each of these games.

#5 Star Wars Galaxies

Sony Online Entertainment's MMO based in the much beloved Star Wars universe has the dubious honor of being the only game to make my most infuriating MMOs list while at the same time still being an active game. This, more than any other reason is why Galaxies only holds the fifth position and doesn't rank higher. Just its inclusion on the list makes a statement about just how angry this game has made people.

When SOE decided to radically change the core structures of their active game with very little input or warning given to the player base, they had to know that they were ruffling a few feathers. When the company launched its third expansion, Trials of Obi-Wan, shortly before the move, it infuriated the player base to the point that SOE actually offered a refund for the expansion.

What the developers couldn't possibly have known, was that even years after the controversial move, the mere mention of Star Wars Galaxies would give rise to some of the strongest emotions, angry and otherwise from a vocal group of players who still feel burned by the decision.

#4 Risk Your Life: Path of the Emperor

There are those who lament the fact that the power of marketing has become such a driving force in bringing players to MMOs. There are those who believe that marketing gone awry is firmly to blame for the recent trend in major MMOs to do well in initial box sales but lose large numbers of subscribers soon after. No matter the reasons, major marketing's opponents in the MMO world need look no further than the headline-grabbing Risk Your Life Million Dollar Tournament.

Turns out, in order to draw attention to the game and to showcase what they believed to be an excellent combat and PvP system, the game's developers thought that it might be a good idea to hold a PvP tournament. The winner, they said, would win a $1,000,000 prize.

From a marketing perspective, this was a genius plan. On top of coverage from industry press, the contest got a pretty fair deal of attention from the mainstream media. After all, this was the first time any video game had promised prizes on par with your average reality TV show.

The problem was, in all of their boasting about their PvP combat system, the developers apparently failed to realize that where there is a PvP combat system, there will be people who figure out how to exploit it.

In November of 2005, PlanetWide Games announced the cancellation of their tournament due to rampant cheating. This caused a significant uproar given that many of those who purchased the game, did so for the chance to win the money. Let's put it this way: How pissed off do you think the guys on Survivor would be if they were told at the end that there would be no $1,000,000 prize?

Over the years, people have tried to continue plugging along with RYL, but in the end, the stink of this failed marketing campaign and the anger that it caused among the MMO community, remains.

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