It’s that time again, folks - the time of year where E3 has come and gone and we meaninglessly list out our favorite games from the show. Okay, it’s not entirely meaningless. E3 is one of the biggest events in gaming and it’s a great place to get a first look and first hands-on with some of the year’s best and brightest titles. There was quite a lot of back and forth this year, but as always each game can only win one award with Best of Show going to the title we believe represented itself in the most well rounded fashion. So without further ado, here are MMORPG.com’s Best of E3 2014 Awards.
Best Hybrid MMO: Battlecry
We weren’t really expecting to cover Battlecry. When Rich Vogel’s titular studio released information on the game a few weeks back, we assumed it was just another match-made fighter. Instead, what we found was indeed a match-based fighter… with persistent character development, a territory control meta-game, crafting, harvesting, and even more staples of the MMO industry (see our preview here). The demo we played was in early stages, but it was more than enough to entice us, and Battlecry now has us watching the game eagerly from here on out.
Most Innovative: The Division
The Division is one of those games (like many at this year’s show), which makes us question our notion of “MMO”. A shared world third-person RPG, Tom Clancy’s The Division has all the makings of an MMO… you just won’t always be sharing the same world with thousands of other players. Instead, the game’s social backend puts you with your friends, strangers, and others seamlessly in a world that’s always rife with conflict. You won’t see a thousand people zerging some world boss in this ravaged New York, but just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they’re not there. On top of the way the game puts players together, you also have one of the cleanest and slickest looking UIs for any MMO, as well as the most intriguing use of an “out of game” tablet experience with iPad users being able to control a drone in game to offer support to friends. The Division has been pushed to 2015, and there’s still a lot to prove, but we sincerely hope Massive manages to do so.
Rising Star: H1Z1
We were, and to an extent, still are skeptics of SOE’s zombie MMORPG H1Z1, but when we saw thje game in working order at E3, and learned of the team’s plans to make this the definitive zombie survival horror MMO, we were made much more comfortable. This isn’t just “another DayZ” knock off. The SOE team has the chops, the FPS experience, and the tools to make a dark, suspenseful MMO where the rules change from server to server and every player can play the game they want to play. The zombie genre may be heading into overdrive these days, but H1Z1 could be a stellar addition when it launches and we’ll be waiting.
Most Anticipated: Dragon Age: Inquisition
We did forget to list this out in MMOFTW, and for that we are sorry. There really were a lot of great games at the show. Dragon Age: Inquisition, though we didn’t get to go hands-on, was one of many RPGs representing the genre well in Los Angeles. The demo of a party taking on a High Dragon was far more intense than the fights you saw in Skyrim, and the way the party interacts, and how you can slow down and pause combat to issue orders was right out of the Infinity Engine days. We remain skeptical until we see just how the combat feels and how wide open and free the world truly is, but for now it certainly looks like BioWare is redeeming the series with its third entry.