Editor's Note: This is an edition of a weekly column by Staff Writer Dan Fortier. The column is called "MMOWTF" and will look at some of the stranger or more frustrating events in MMOs as seen by Mr. Fotier. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of MMORPG.com, its staff or management.
It’s that special time of year when we huddle around space heaters and ignore the family members we never liked. That’s right, Christmas is here and what better way to spend it than running around like an idiot at the last minute trying to buy gifts and reading my weekly column? Last week you cast your ballot for this years Awards in typical hater style for the games that made you sick. I have tirelessly counted all the ballots so now is the time to pull off the rotten curtain and reveal the results of our dastardly little experiment. Please check your optimism at the door and come on in!
Before I announce the winners in the standard categories I wanted to award a special achievement honor. Since once again the readers of the site (and their alts) voted in large numbers for Star Wars Galaxies even in irrelevant categories I decided to remove all the votes for SWG from the existing categories and make an Award especially for them so that the rest of us can get on with our lives. Behold!
The Award for Biggest Mistake in MMO History goes to: Star Wars Galaxies: NGE
Gratz NGE! You managed to turn a bunch of normal gamers into forum terrorists. With this lifetime achievement award bestowed perhaps we can actually get some diversity in the voting next year. Sure I broke the rules, but that’s my job. Now on with the show.
MMOWTF Reader Pick: World of Warcraft/Pirates of the Burning Sea
This went right down to the wire and ended up a tie between ‘The Juggernaut’ and Flying Labs Software’s first MMO project. Having played both I can assure you that while they are both 3D, they have very different styles. WoW’s graphics will run on even a computer with vacuum tubes and PotBS seems to have added character avatars as an afterthought. Roma Victor and Fury also contented for a share of the title but fell slightly short of this dubious honor. Each takes home a piece of this years rock hard fruitcake. Better luck next year contenders!
My Pick: Roma Victor
This ‘photorealistic’ game wins my pick again this year. For me the graphics fall smack dab in that uncanny valley that lies somewhere between Down’s Syndrome and Morrowind. The creepy avatars contrast horribly with the repetitive textures and shoddy modeling. Yeah I voted for the same game twice...Hmm maybe I should throw out my own vote eh?
MMOWTF Reader Pick: Vanguard: Saga of Heroes
With it’s less-than-optimized engine and item centric mechanics Vanguard managed to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory this year. All the flying mounts, huge landmasses and naval battles in the world are no good if the design is flawed. Since SOE took complete control things seem to be improving, but there no forgiveness in our voters hearts this year. Lord of the Rings and Fury received a decent amount of votes this year. Worse luck next time guys!
My Pick: Dungeon Runners
Yay it’s free...almost. Too bad my time is worth way more than money and I don’t enjoy tying myself in knots to see what my character is doing. The original Diablo was more fun and didn’t try and nickle and dime me for perks. We all know that all those Guild Wars players out there were really looking for a clumsy watered down version of the game that didn’t force them to buy a retail box...What a gaming revolution! Take two Bioware employees and call me in the morning please.
MMOWTF Reader Pick: Vanguard: Saga of Heroes
The mighty Saga of Heroes beat out stiff competition from DnL and Horizons to grab this year’s Golden Tumbleweed. Apparently our voters feel that despite server merges and steady patches this game is still a ghost town. Could it also be other skeletons in the closet also pushed “The Vision” over the proverbial cliff? Next year will be key for the future of the game: Epic or Nixed?
My Pick: Entropia Universe
On a whim I decided to reinstall this little farce of a game to see how this had changed. Needless to say I wasn’t shocked to discover it is empty and barren as ever. The massive size of the cities and huge empty landscape is really at odd with the actual number of players. Even fewer and farther between are the players with enough PED to actually wear real clothes or kill something rather than sit in the starter area and beg for currency. I’m sure out there somewhere are some fabulously wealthy character is having the time of his life..Gratz to him.
Worst Use of an IP:
MMOWTF Reader Pick: Lord of the Rings Online
LotRO won a closely fought battle with DDO for this dishonor. Turbine played it safe and released a stable cookie-cutter MMO this year. I guess they figured taking an IP based on massive wars and battles and turning it into a one-sided PvE storybook would be the best use of the franchise...The answer is no. I hope some hobbits steal the Devs paycheck pie next year for this.
My Pick: Dungeons and Dragons Online
Turbine seems to have a habit of taking IPs just begging for a freeform sandbox style and turning them into one-shot wonders with a three month fun window. DDO easily wins this award in my eyes by taking the most open-ended franchise in history and locking it into a linear and instanced dungeon crawl based around a pathetically new campaign setting. I swing my Sword +5 vs lame ideas at you...CRIT!
MMOWTF Reader Pick: Vanguard: Saga Of Heroes
Vanguard won this title in a blow out besting Fury and Hellgate London and Tabula Rasa. You voted again for the Saga probably for the same reasons it won Least Fun. You would have thought by now that Devs would realize that pushing out a broken game is a death sentence, but every year proves that theory wrong. My best suggestion to the devs is to use their fingers on the keyboard instead of pointing them at the nearest scapegoat. I’ll adjourn the kangaroo court till this time next year.
My Pick: Dark and Light
Since this the 1st year for this award I’ll give it to my favorite whipping boy. Few have reached the epic level of deceit and misdirection during its development. This ‘game’ featured releases being pushed back at the last minute numerous times only to culminate in the paid release of a staggeringly broken ‘preview’ that was in the fact the virtually untested beta version. Suffice to say that DnL will always have a place in the black crunchy center of my heart.
Most Likely to be Cancelled in 2008:
MMOWTF Reader Pick: Star Trek Online
This overwhelming nomination deserves a great big ‘LAWLS’. Since the postponement of God and Heroes and the recent news about legal issues it doesn’t surprise me that folks are pessimistic about this MMO chances of seeing the light of release day. Star Trek has always been a bit too carebear for my tastes (A universe where humans are peaceful and tolerant good guys? WTF?) The game could still build a large following if the canon were properly translated into MMO form. Whether Perpetual gets a chance to do that remains to be seen. Set Phasers to ‘Lawyers Only”!
My Pick: Darkfall
While we are dissing games that haven’t been released yet I might as well jump on the bandwagon. Even though they have been working on the game since MMOs were young, they keep plunging away. Every so often they drop a juicy tidbit to keep us from writing them off, but how long can you work on a game before it becomes pointless? Until we get a vaporware category I’ll just have to park Darkfall in this spot and hope no one checks my meter.
MMOWTF Reader Pick: Hellgate: London
This vote literally went down to the wire with the final vote breaking the tie between Vanguard and this wanna-be MMO. Linear? Sure..why not? Scary as the name implies? Not even close. Hellgate has all the things you hate about MMOs in spades. The only thing sinful about this game is that they are charging a monthly fee. Perhaps the Devil will file a defamation of character suit against Flagship with the help of Johnnie Cochran.
My Pick: Star Wars Galaxies
I keed! I keed! I joke with you...My real pick would have to be any game that has a boring advancement, non-existent or crummy PvP, shallow game play and lame missions. Aw Shucks...why don’t I just say The Matrix Online and get it over with...You are ‘The One’ MXO!
Now that I’ve basically talked smack about every game I can imagine I think I’ll write Santa and beg forgiveness. I hear those PS3's are fragile and I don’t want to give him any reason to slip on his way down my chimney. Make the circle complete by giving us an awesome mini-rant about this year’s Awards. Cheers!