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Most Anticipated Game of 2008: Winner

Jon Wood Posted:
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2008 Reader's Choice Awards - Most Anticipated Game of 2008: Winner

MMORPG.com is pleased to announce the winner of the 2008 Reader's Choice Award for Most Anticipated Game of 2008.

2009 is now upon us and we here at MMORPG.com would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy New Year. As is our custom here, we want to kick off the year by announcing the winners of the 2008 Reader's Choice Awards. In each entry, we will give you the choice of the fans, as well along with a little bit of "editor's choice" commentary.

Before we announce the results of the voting for Most Anticipated Game of 2008, we want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for taking the time to vote. In the overall awards, more than 26,000 votes were cast.

In the voting for Most Anticipated , 4643 votes were cast. The editorial nominees were: Runes of Magic, Aion, Champions Online, Chronicles of Spellborn, Darkfall, Earthrise, Jumpgate Evolution, and Stargate Worlds.

Once again, this is another category with a strong winner, standing more than 16% above even its strongest competition. Aventurine's Darkfall, which has been stirring up quite a bit of buzz and interest as of late, wins the award with 31% of the vote.

The voting broke down as such:

Most Anticipated Game for 2009

18.2% » Aion
9.3% » Champions Online
7.0% » Chronicles of Spellborn
31.5% » Darkfall
7.1% » Earthrise
6.4% » Jumpgate Evolution
6.0% » Runes of Magic
14.5% » Stargate Worlds

(Voting is now closed. Final results are shown.)

Darkfall Online, a game that intends to bring the sandbox back into the world of fantasy MMORPGs, is finally set to release on January 22nd. The game's development has gone through two separate companies and a cumulative seven + years to see its realization.

In 2001, Darkfall Online was first announced by a company called Razorwax. Some months later, in 2002, the Razorwax team merged with a company called Aventurine and development continued. In 2005, after announcing sign ups for closed clan beta, the company decided to hold off in order to devote more time and energy into growing the game.

While information continued to flow from the company, Aventurine's unique approach to marketing its game resulted in less information being widely known about its game than with most modern launches, but while unconventional, it is difficult to argue the strategy's effectiveness as the game's reputation and buzz continued to grow until on December 5th, 2008 they announced that the game would hit European shelves on January 22nd, 2009.

Editorial Commentary

I really have to tip my hat to the folks over at Aventurine on an impressive and to some, unexpected win in this year's 2008 Reader's Choice Awards. Not so unexpected though to those who have been following the game, which I would classify as one of the most hotly anticipated MMORPGs in recent memory. No other game has caused more of a stir here on MMORPG.com with each and every piece of information that becomes available, bringing people out of the woodwork to debate and discuss.

I have to admit, while I am honestly looking forward to every nominee's launch, Darkfall has to take the cake for me as well. I think it's probably the overall concept that grabs my attention more than any of the nitty-gritty design details. After all, Darkfall is attempting to build an audience for a new, fantasy-based sandbox style game. It's a bold choice for this indy development studio, but one which will certainly allow them to corner the niche of the market that has been screaming for a change from the theme park style that seems to have taken industry precedence since the launch of World of Warcraft. I also think that, given a solid game and release, Darkfall's influence could spread beyond the niche and pick up some of the much sought-after general gaming population crowd.

I won't say that all of the lead-up to Darkfall's impending launch has been positive, but nor has it been overwhelmingly negative. In fact, people on both sides of the Darkfall discussion seem eager to find out just what Aventurine has up its sleeve. It's easy to say that while the anticipation is sometimes mixed, no other game has more eyes on its launch this year than Aventurine's Darkfall Online.


Jon Wood