On April 14th of this year, we kicked off a new column here at MMORPG.com, The List. To be honest, it started off as a bit of a lark, a one-off article that I thought might be fun to write, and hoped would be fun to read. I had no idea then that I would spend the rest of the year writing a list almost every week, and when I wasn't writing it, one of my colleagues was.
Fortunately, you guys seem to have enjoyed what we've written, so here at the end of a successful year for "The List," I thought it might be fun to make another list of my favorite lists, or at least the ones that I can look back on fondly. So, out of thirty, I've carefully whittled them down to five:
They say you always remember your first. If that saying holds true, then this particular list simply had to make an appearance among my most memorable of 2009. Not only was this the first official MMORPG.com list, but it also gave me a chance to reflect back on my first job in the MMO industry, even if it did end in a flaming plane wreck that never saw the light of day.
As anyone who has read my bio on the site already knows (all three of you), my first job in the MMO industry was as a writer for a little MMO known as WISH. It was a high concept, sandbox MMO in a Fantasy setting. That game came in at #4.
Four other games shared the dubious honor of having moved through the development cycle long enough to get noticed, but not far enough through to be launched.
The Five MMOs that never were shaped up like this:
#5 Perpetual Entertainment's Star Trek Online #4 WISH #3 Gods & Heroes #2 Imperator #1 Ultima X
Of course, as always, we encouraged all of you to give your feedback on our choices. Reading the comments though, I couldn't help but notice a push for the game Dragon Empires to have been included. For those who might be curious, Dragon Empires was a Codemasters MMO that was unveiled in 2001 and cancelled in 2004 due to technical issues.
Did you guys have a point? Probably. I was also impressed with the other titles that were suggested: the original Middle Earth Online and Warhammer Online games were highlights I'd missed.
While it's sad when a game dies in its development stages, what might be considered sadder is when a game dies shortly after release. It's a lot of time and effort on the part of the developers wasted, and gives the game a has-been failure image which always seems to be worse than the never was image.
In order to qualify for this particular list, the games had to have died within 18 months of their initial release date. So, after much research, I learned that the four shortest lived MMOs were:
#4 Auto Assault #3 Tabula Rasa #2 Fury #1 SEED
In the comments thread, a number of you brought up a couple of games that you felt may have had shorter runs. The most commonly asked for game was Asheron's Call 2, which actually lasted over three years, clocking in at 1134 days. Earth & Beyond was also mentioned, it came in at 729 days, over two years. The suggestion that came closest, and probably should have been listed as #5 was actually Motor City Online, which clocked in at a meager 689 days.