This year at PAX East 2014 we had a host of solid games to look at, especially with us now dipping our toes in the waters of straight up RPGs. Many had playable demos on the show floor and some had amazing things to show off in panels and presentations. What’s really exciting is just how many of our favorite games were the independent titles willing to try something new and unique. Overall we want to thank every game at the show for bringing us out and allowing us time to play. So without further chatter, let’s get to the MMORPG.com PAX East 2014 Awards.
Editor's Note: Each game can only win one award (though they may be nominated in others), with Best of Show being awarded to the game we believe to embody the most out of each category.
Most Anticipated – Star Citizen
Duh, right? Thing is, Chris Roberts space opus was finally playable at the event the RSI team hosting on Thursday before the show officially kicked off. The Dogfighting Module now known as Arena Commander (hooray for throwback references!) looks incredible, has amazing depth, and will certainly feel like a complete game in and of itself when it launches in a few short weeks. Yes it was buggy on the stage, but what alpha game isn’t? Chris’ PVP-centric dogfighting sim is going to be a great way to bide our time while we wait for the full Star Citizen experience, and Arena Commander just made the wait that much more torturous.
Best Hybrid – Dawngate
Dawngate, developed by the folks over at Waystone Games, does some interesting things to set itself apart in a MOBA genre that has quickly become saturated with a ton of "me too" games. We had a chance to see the game in action and speak to a couple of the game's developers at this year’s PAX East and came away impressed both by what we saw and heard. MOBAs tend to fall into our "hybrid" category and so we're enthusiastically giving Dawngate our Best Hybrid MMO award this year. If you're a MOBA fan and you're seeking to "break the meta" and try something different, we’d encourage you to give Dawngate a try.
Rising Star – Heroes of the Storm
It feels a little weird giving a Blizzard game “Rising Star”, but that’s how we feel about Heroes of the Storm. I know folks are tired of MOBAs, but it’s probably a good thing that Heroes eschews so much of what makes the genre seem stale. They try crazy mechanics with heroes, do weird things on maps, and completely do away with the established meta in favor of a design that’s more open and fun for players of all skill levels. Most importantly, Heroes of the Storm is just fun. Blizzard seems to be on a roll creating highly polished smaller scale experiences, and Heroes of the Storm will no doubt be a staple at conventions for years to come.
Most Innovative – Prodigy
Holy cow, guys. This one caught us off guard in a good way. So many of us grew up collecting miniatures, action figures, cards, and playing RPGs. The team at Hanakai is combining all of these elements with the collectible tactical RPG, Prodigy. It’s a lot like Skylanders for adults, but involves the tactical RPG combat we’ve come to know and love from games like Final Fantasy Tactics. There are full story campaigns, two factions, tons of figures planned for launch, and more on the way. Plus PVP modes with ELO rankings, leveling up of your miniatures, and on and on and on. Oh, and did we mention you play it all entirely on an electronic board that senses your miniatures and their movements, as well as the cards you place down? After you begin the game, you won’t touch the keyboard or mouse until the game’s over. Keep your eyes on this one. When it officially launches in 2015, it’s going to be big.