As the new year approaches, it's time for us to look back on the games of the year and pick out the best (and worst) games we've played in 2019. The entire MMORPG.com staff was polled, and each game won via a majority vote in its favor. On to the picks!
Biggest Disappointment: Ashes of Creation: Apocalypse
Runners-Up: ArcheAge: Unchained, Astellia Online, Conqueror's Blade
Ashes of Creation: Apocalypse is one of those games that many people really weren't asking for. Intrepid's Battle Royale/Combat testing ground has been hit or miss with the fanbase, with many wondering why Intrepid hasn't simply released the MMORPG they promised instead of worrying about a Battle Royale title. And while the team has stated the BR is a way to test their combat in real time with players before the MMO finally launches, its something that really hasn't stuck with the fans awaiting the actual MMO itself. Here's to hoping next year will be better and the MMO will finally take center-stage for fans.
Best (sigh) Battle Royale: Apex Legends
Runners-Up: Fortnite, PUBG
Last year, the Battle Royale category(sigh) replaced our MOBA category as the new online darling. But with everyone and their best friend making a battle royale these days (see the above award), you really need something to stand out among the powerhouse that is Fortnite. Apex Legends is that game. Apex Legends has had a good year, and it's primed to do even better going into 2020. It's unique revival mechanics for the mainstream genre, it feels better to play than Fortnite (and most definitely PUBG) with solid gunplay, interesting traversal on the map clearly inspired by Respawn's Titanfall series, and the quick matches make it easy to keep going over and over for hours. It'll be interesting to see what's next for the genre and whether or not Apex can retain this momentum it's built all year long, especially with Fortnite still chugging away as one of the most played games in the world.
Most Anticipated Persistent World/MMO: Magic: Legends
Runners-Up: New World, Crowfall, Pantheon
When Wizards of the Coast announced they were in the works to create an MMO based on the hugely popular Magic: The Gathering series, many long-time fans of the series rejoiced. The rich story and worlds Wizards has crafted over the years has long been one told in books, short digital stories or the cards themselves, so to potentially be able to visit these worlds and interact with them more meaningfully has definitely caught the attention of the MMORPG staff. Magic: Legends puts you in the role of one of the game's powerful Planeswalkers, and while not much is known just yet about the title - there will be a beta in 2020 for interested players - the prospect of a game made by a known MMO studio in Cryptic has given some hope that this IP will be taken seriously. We shall definitely see as we move into 2020.
Best Persistent Online Game: Path of Exile
Runners-Up: Destiny 2, Warframe, The Division 2
The team at Grinding Gear Games is doing something right, as Path of Exile is once again Best Persistent Online Game for MMORPG.com, winning with a whopping 53% of our vote. Coming off the excitement of ExileCon last month, the Diablo-inspired ARPG is posed to have an even better 2020, as Path of Exile 2 hits with major improvements to the skill gem system and more, as well as a whole new campaign for Exiles to follow. Additionally, Conqueror's of the Atlas and the new Metamorph league leave Path in a strong place at the end of 2019, giving its fanbase much to enjoy as they patiently await the upcoming sequel. Path of Exile is in a strong place right now as one of the best free-to-play experiences on any platform, and they don't seem to be slowing down.
Best RPG: The Outer Worlds
Runners-Up: Kingdom Hearts III, Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Obisdian's The Outer Worlds definite scratched an itch left by the, still popular, Fallout series. Going back to their roots, the venerable RPG creator (and original Fallout creator) brought players the type of branching, story driven RPG many were looking for but couldn't find. Bringing back the old-school feel to first person RPGs, The Outer Worlds brings a colorful and eclectic ride through the cosmos and is worthy of anyone who decides to pick it up this year.
Best MMO of 2019: Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers
Runners-Up: The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr, WoW Classic
Final Fantasy XIV is often lauded by players and critics alike as one of the best MMORPGs on the market, period. Well, dethroning ESO, FFXIV: Shadowbringers is MMORPG.com's Best MMO of 2019, winning with 53% of the vote. Shadowbringers is without a doubt one of the best stories in gaming this year, let alone MMORPGs, and it's only primed to continue as patches add more content over the next year. With the prospect of a Fan Festival next year which could announce the next chapter in the Final Fantasy XIV series, the Japanese-developed MMORPG feels poised to continue dominating as one of the most exciting games on the market to date. congrats to everyone at Square Enix for their hard work this year, and here's to what's to come!
Remember, next week we unveil your choices for the Player's Choice Awards, which you can still vote on until Sunday night. Check out our poll and vote for your favorites!