Massively OP’s Best of 2015 Awards: Biggest MMO Blunder of the Year

Massively OP’s end-of-the-year awards continue today with our pick for biggest MMO blunder of the year.

Last year, we called developer hubris and obstinance the biggest blunder of the year, as we criticized game development and business model decisions in WildStar, Destiny, The Elder Scrolls Online, and ArcheAge. This isn’t an award we particularly enjoy giving, but I think it’s a fitting complement to praising trends and big stories: We must consider the mistakes of the year so we don’t make them again.

All of our writers were invited to cast a vote, but not all of them chose to do so for this category. Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end.

The Massively OP staff pick for biggest MMO blunder of 2015 is…

The Star Citizen melodrama

blunder

Brendan Drain (@nyphur): Derek Smart & The Escapist vs Star Citizen. The drama between Derek Smart and Chris Roberts regarding Star Citizen was a complete mess on all levels. Smart has been relentlessly slinging mud at Star Citizen all year, and it all came to a head this year when Smart began sending letters to Roberts threatening legal action and demanding that the company refund all Kickstarter backers. There were suggestions that the FTC was be investigating RSI’s financials and frequent accusations that the whole thing had been a scam. The story reached boiling point when The Escapist ran a hit piece on Star Citizen citing quotes from anonymous sources who claimed that the company was running out of money and personally accused Sandi Gardiner of using racist hiring policies. Evidence surfaced that the anonymous sources were likely ex-employees with an axe to grind, and Chris Roberts threatened legal action if the article wasn’t withdrawn. In the end, we were left with a lot of frayed nerves on the Star Citizen dev team and none of the threats made by any involved party have been taken to court.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): Definitely the (ongoing) Star Citizen drama spurred on by everyone’s favorite Internet Warlord, the grotesque allegations levied by The Escapist at Cloud Imperium, and the return fire from Roberts himself… yeah, I kinda wish none of that had ever happened. No one comes out of that looking good.

Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre, blog): The war of words between Chris Roberts and Derek Smart. Boy, there ain’t nothing to like here. Two veteran developers in a verbal slapfight that makes neither of them look good and poisons the water for any actual constructive discourse? Ouch.

Jef Reahard (@jefreahard): Can we give multiple awards to Derek Smart, The Escapist, and Star Citizen trolls all over the internet? You guys have been awful quiet lately!

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): Guild Wars 2’s expansion pre-order. ArenaNet fans are likely to riot at practically anything, but the timing and nature of the expansion pre-order announcement was ill-executed and lacked important information. There was a noticeable scramble on behalf of the studio to correct it. Also ArcheAge anything .It’s not a month if ArcheAge isn’t messing up royally or inciting its community to take up pitchforks and march on Trion. It’s not a week, even.

Matt Daniel (@Matt_DanielMVOP): I’ll vote again for Pathfinder Online’s running out of money. Maybe I’m the only one who didn’t see the proverbial writing on the wall, but I was at least cautiously optimistic about Pathfinder Online. Alas, it seems like my hopes are going to be dashed once again.

MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie, blog): I think Daybreak letting Dave Georgeson go was the biggest blunder; that seemed to be a nail in the coffin of hope for EverQuest Next.

Tina Lauro (@purpletinabeans): The biggest blunder award should go to a fellow news site rather than a studio this year, I say! I still haven’t quite gotten over IGN accidentally spoiling all of ArenaNet’s PAX reveals! Urgh, if I had pushed the button early on something so big, I would just curl into a ball in the corner and let the world pass me by! I felt so bad for the hardworking PR team that put so much work into PAX prep, only to have the magic ruined by a single, hastily corrected missclick. The gang responded with a fantastically tongue in cheek image of a Skritt in an IGN shirt, so I’m sure they bear no grudges.

Star Citizen’s melodrama won our award for biggest MMO mistake of 2015. What’s your pick?

What was the biggest MMO mistake of 2015?

  • Star Citizen, Derek Smart, and Escapist melodrama (25%, 232 Votes)
  • Guild Wars 2's expansion preorder debacle (11%, 98 Votes)
  • Pathfinder Online's money fiasco (5%, 48 Votes)
  • ArcheAge. Just ArcheAge. (30%, 277 Votes)
  • Daybreak layoffs including Dave Georgeson (18%, 166 Votes)
  • Guild Wars 2's PAX reveal spoil (2%, 17 Votes)
  • Smed's Lizard Squad drama (4%, 36 Votes)
  • Something else. Lay them on us in the comments. (4%, 36 Votes)

Total Voters: 910

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204 Comments on "Massively OP’s Best of 2015 Awards: Biggest MMO Blunder of the Year"

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pepinocantador
Guest
pepinocantador

Yeah, I think I’m with MJ on this one. I’ve said before that Georgeson’s enthusiasm is really what fueled my own for EQN, but if the flame of my enthusiasm were like that from a Zippo, than Georgeson being laid off was like putting that Zippo at the base of the Hoover Dam and then bringing the dam down with explosives.

That said, I would be totally fine with Star Citizen, EQN… Or really any other MMO coming along and sweeping up some of my friends, so I can finally escape the prison of Azeroth.

Carthoris
Guest
Carthoris

rioinsignia Yeah, maybe I didn’t pay attention enough but it didn’t strike me as a blunder or a mistake. Derek Smart was doing exactly what he meant to do, and he’d do it again. Maybe Chris Roberts didn’t respond as professionally as he should (I honestly don’t know what he said in response), but there’s a certain balance of aggressive, public accusations that businesses just *have* to deal with and Derek is perfect at generating just enough controversy that he can’t be ignored – and the right kind of controversy that responding makes you look at least a little bad.

TiaNadiezja
Guest
TiaNadiezja

Anyone listening to Derek Smart. Ever. Because he is always wrong.

rioinsignia
Guest
rioinsignia

SC/DS a “Blunder”?  Nah.  “Ridiculous Incident Of The Year” more like.

Scarecrowe
Guest
Scarecrowe

@Matt Daniel
You keep saying you might be the only one who didn’t see the writing on the wall… yes, I think you would be correct. Within 10 minutes of in-game test time, I knew this game was going to flop. It would have needed a complete re-write (scorched earth) to become a fun game much less anything resembling the p&p Pathfinder. Most small studios can’t afford that so it was no surprise to me when they shut this down. Actually, I was quite relieved. A released game like that would be hard to live down and might impact new player interest in the p&p game.

Scendera
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Scendera

CoH still gone.

MatthewYetter
Guest
MatthewYetter

Honestly, I don’t think that the Star Citizen stuff can be called a blunder.  Not when the game just hit $100 million in crowdfunding.  And if any blunder was involved, it wasn’t by the studio.  It was by an outsider.  So I couldn’t vote for that one and instead went with Archeage.

breetoplay
Guest
breetoplay

fastcart breetoplay SallyBowls1 Veldan Tithian Yeah, I don’t really blame him. I would have been livid and wanting to lash right back at a serial harasser too. Probably would have been wiser to just let the attorneys handle shitty libeling press, though.

ManastuUtakata
Guest
ManastuUtakata

Veldan ManastuUtakata SallyBowls1 Ironwu d0ub1ep1u5g00d 
Not even close. I have replied less than 4 posts per contention, 4 being my limit. And you must be fairly new here. o.O

Tongle
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Tongle

Archage and the whole labor point thing. Just weird.

Veldan
Guest
Veldan

ManastuUtakata SallyBowls1 Ironwu d0ub1ep1u5g00d you guys trying to make the longest reply streak?

ApathyCurve
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ApathyCurve

A point of clarification for you, Eliot:  Derek Smart is not a “veteran developer,” he’s a megalomaniac who has failed at everything he’s ever attempted.  I’ve been observing this braying donkey since my UseNet days, before most people even knew how to dial a modem.  He’s a troll of the first order and this site shouldn’t even be mentioning his name in any context save ridicule.

Chris Roberts, on the other hand, has produced some of the most iconic video games in history, several of which were chart-toppers.  I find it offensive that you would even intimate the two men are similar in any way.

JakeDunnegan
Guest
JakeDunnegan

Considering that Pathfinder’s mess basically put an actual MMO – to say nothing of MMO gamer money down the tubes in kickstarter backing – and, for that matter, no mention was made of Funcom almost going out of business….
Giving the award to a war of words just seems really bizarre. Giving the un-named asshat any more recognition is .. blah. Downvote on MOP for that. :(

Elijah Crow
Guest
Elijah Crow

I disagree here. In fact the community of backers were to the point that they wanted and needed an official response denying the accusations. At that point, silence was threatening the project and the confidence of the community. When they did respond it was detailed enough specifically refute the accusations and was measured and concise.
In no way did CIG do anything remotely resembling DS but they have a right (and responsibility) to set the record straight. They did this while also doing their best to end the discourse and clearifying going so far as to even invite news outlets into their offices, etc.
When you are forced to defend yourself against a smear campaign, there is no way to walk away. At least they did their best in a dignified and professional manner.

Dope_Danny
Guest
Dope_Danny

I’d say its a toss up between Warlords of Dreanor and Archeage. Both a veteran and fledgling mmo that shat the best so bad this year it may have permanently damaged their reputation albeit for different reasons each. Dreanor took WoW to the sorriest state the games been in ever. For a game this old thats a big deal, but then eventually every good game gets a shit update, Archage stumbled out the gate, fell on its face and ate shit and never recovered.
Sure things like TESO or Star Citizen had problems, but that has lead to me seeing people go “ew, why would i bother touching that anymore” like i see people do with WoW circa WoD and Archeage.

paragonlostinspace
Guest
paragonlostinspace

madhunde Or you could just say… “Another normal day in ArcheAge”. :)

DrowNoble
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DrowNoble

I think the biggest mistake was Blizzard not releasing Legion at the end of this year.  Whey they said just before Warlords that they were going to have “yearly expansions”, players were happy.  When they said patch 6.2 was the last patch of Warlords, players thought that they were going to keep their promise and that they’d see an expansion around christmas.

Instead, the “yearly expansions” apparently means “one year after we announce said expansion” in Blizzard Logic.  On their website it says Sept 21, 2016 as the release date of Legion.  This is ABSURD.  The last content was in June 2015, so they expect players to keep paying to sub for over a year with no more Major Patches? 

Then they wonder why subs are rapidly declining.  Oh wait, they’re not going to release subscription numbers any more.  Gee, I can’t imagine why not….

paragonlostinspace
Guest
paragonlostinspace

Vexia Oh yeah, forgot about that too! That ranks in my top five of “WTF blunder moments of 2015”. Four months??? Ouch!

paragonlostinspace
Guest
paragonlostinspace

Because I feel that Chris Roberts and Cloud Imperium handled it as well as could be handled, I didn’t vote for that. Like MJ, I felt that Letting the ever classy, ever enthusiastic and positive Dave Georgeson go was the biggest “Blunder” of 2015 and like MJ  I feel it really put the final nails into the EQNext coffin. :(  

Seriously, when MJ even admits this, you know it’s not good. MJ’s almost on par with Dave Georgeson for being enthusiastic and positive and of course MJ is classy and highly entertaining to watch play an mmorpg. So  yeah, that’s the blunder for me of 2015.

sfrees80
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sfrees80

Elijah Crow I agree completely.

sfrees80
Guest
sfrees80

BobDobalina Just ignore the actual meaning of the words and click on the article.

sfrees80
Guest
sfrees80

I lose respect for this entire site when I see articles like this one.  Look up the definitions of Blunder and controversy.  Go ahead, please.Which definition fits best?  At least put in some effort to make it clear that the devs of SC were relentlessly provoked before they finally even responded to the attacks from an unreasonable hack of a game designer who is puking out his own digestive track from envy.

sfrees80
Guest
sfrees80

Kodimus Well, MOP should have made it clear who this was aimed at.  None of it would have happened without the interference of that arrogant hack.

Lotsofheals
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Lotsofheals

Sigbjorn Lotsofheals 
Right Libel suits never happen and the people slandered never win. Believe what you want.

GoJammit
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GoJammit

breetoplay Armsbend Should have stuck to it. Made more sense given your pick. You could have had both and gotten even more clicks.

Sigbjorn
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Sigbjorn

Lotsofheals Sigbjorn You can’t take someone to court over “bad reporting.” You can take someone to court over libel, which would require proving an intent to cause harm (also that actual harm was caused). It’s almost impossible to prove libel in court.

Gylnne
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Gylnne

melissaheather It seems the company who bought SOE got rid of anyone who had a decent or large salary.

Gylnne
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Gylnne

melissaheather Armsbend madhunde I just wish Melissa that Trion and XL games understood this. My personal opinion is a pve server would be very popular. And yes I would play on it.

Omedon
Guest
Omedon

Tomorrow’s award: Which MMO devs should take their own lives and stream it live?
You know, to lighten the mood!

ManastuUtakata
Guest
ManastuUtakata

SallyBowls1 ManastuUtakata Sorenthaz d0ub1ep1u5g00d Ittybumpkin 
That does not dispute what I heard.

FraserStegosaurusWilson
Guest
FraserStegosaurusWilson

Kodimus FraserStegosaurusWilson Hmm I think you’re right, but the fact it was a main feature of any major patch is so silly.

ManastuUtakata
Guest
ManastuUtakata

SallyBowls1 ManastuUtakata Ironwu d0ub1ep1u5g00d 
Most players will grind for it. You can point to the glass being 1/10th full all you want, the fact of the matter still remains. /shrug

fastcart
Guest
fastcart

breetoplay SallyBowls1 Veldan Tithian Roberts had to respond because his company/Sandi was accused of breaking laws (not hiring minorities, etc.).  While he could have worded his response less harshly, he had to protect his company (and who wouldn’t defend his/her spouse?)

Eliandal
Guest
Eliandal

melissaheather Armsbend madhunde  I liked your comment – even though I don’t agree :D  Well, I agree with everything – except I actually DO like the PVP – but your point of view is a point shared by many.  I guess I just hate myself and my time ;P!

Dreema
Guest
Dreema

I’ll probably go with Blizzard seeing as I’m on a real downer with WoW right now. WoD was an awful expansion with precious little content and the way Blizzard act like everything is fine and dandy just bugs me. They lose half their player base in six months and then give interviews that basically read “we did a really great job here”. As far as blunders go, the way Blizzard have run this MMO for the past few years takes some beating.

BryanCole
Guest
BryanCole

GW2 pissed me off more than once this year, from having to buy the previous living story patches if you didn’t log in when it was live to the pre order pricing and fiasco and then topping it off with making the game worse than it was before the expack and driving me away from it altogether.  So yeah, that got my vote.  Arena Net really made the biggest blunder(s) of the year for me.

Kodimus
Guest
Kodimus

FraserStegosaurusWilson Wasn’t the selfie feature in 6.1?

Kodimus
Guest
Kodimus

It’s unfortunate this scumbag is getting an award, even if it is negative. He doesn’t deserve the extra attention this is generating.

Jeais
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Jeais

Vexia Absolutely. I’ve been playing since CB and most of the people I know from it don’t play anymore primarily because we just can’t trust that it won’t happen to our server.

Rumm
Guest
Rumm

Archeage forever altered how people saw Trion, regardless of whether or not it was their game. They weren’t forced to create a completely pay-to-win game with time locked crafting. 

Star Citizen’s drama was bad yes, but I would argue that it drove more people towards the project rather than deterring potential backers. Certainly it made the SC community more hostile to dissent, which isn’t good in the long run as you need to be critical of the game during its development to ensure the finished product is a good one. That being said, the specific groups who were being critical in the Escapist/Voldemort drama clearly had a chip on their shoulder and ulterior motives. Voldemort has thankfully once again become irrelevant, so hopefully constructive communication can start happening again.

FraserStegosaurusWilson
Guest
FraserStegosaurusWilson

Warlords of Draenor 6.2 “patch” which was essentially devoid of any meaningful content and biggest addition was the selfie feature to tie in with linking up with twitter. Really? A disappointing midpoint for an underwhelming expansion, but Legion looks promising.. Hopefully. 
Heroes of the Storm came out though and meant I still played a Blizzard game, so all swings and roundabouts. Probably one of the most fun MOBAS out there right now, and I hope it stays that way.

BobDobalina
Guest
BobDobalina

How is that a blunder? That is more of a controversy.

ArtoriosRex
Guest
ArtoriosRex

NCSoft failing (again) to release the IP for City of Heroes.

Lotsofheals
Guest
Lotsofheals

Well now i know why Star Citizen comments seem so one sided here. Live and learn.

Kithred
Guest
Kithred

SWTOR: companion hassle. They should’ve never buffed the companions to begin with.

Vexia
Guest
Vexia

I can’t help remembering how not too long ago one of Wakfu’s EU servers got a 4-month rollback (!!!) from October to June. It’s big in that it’s very impactful to this one game, but I think I would still pick one of the above items instead because they have far greater consequence for MMOs as a whole. I’m just not sure which one. >.>

Lotsofheals
Guest
Lotsofheals

?

Kheran
Guest
Kheran

Why giving that one guy any spotlight ? He thrives on this, and this is exactly the kind of thing he wants. Sure, it makes good click count articles, but it is shallow if you ask me.

Damonvile
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Damonvile

Armsbend It will probably run out of year before matching some of the other ones…but…there’s always next year!

melissaheather
Guest
melissaheather

Elijah Crow I’m having a hard time summoning up enough feeling of importance for the issue itself that I could even use the word “irresponsible” …

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