Massively OP’s Best of 2017 Awards: Biggest MMO Industry Blunder of 2017

Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2017 awards continue today with our award for Biggest MMO Industry Blunder of 2017, which we awarded to the industry’s VR obsession last year, and I just need to point out that some of you mocked us for that pick, but we’re feeling mighty vindicated this year, and you’ll soon see why. 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 and so we can be prepared for how they’ll affect us in the future.

The Massively OP staff pick for Biggest MMO Industry Blunder of 2017 is…

CCP’S DRAMATIC VR PULLOUT & EVE ONLINE LAYOFFS

Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): I was going to say Chris Roberts saying he was tired of giving 3.0 release estimates (which is my runner up pick), but instead go with Star Citizen asking people to buy land well before the game’s out. This isn’t just bad for the MMO industry but the Kickstarter industry as well. Star Citizen can really bring faith to Kickstarter fans with patience or (more likely) remind bitter old gamers like myself that it should be an option best left to smaller teams with partially finished projects in need of capital to help them cross the finish line. With the way the genre’s looking and some of the past stories with not just Kickstarters but Early Access in general, the cash grab after already selling so many ships seems to have fallen to the same level as their former contractors (illFonic, which went on to cancel Revival). Roberts also probably shouldn’t have voiced his frustration with being asked when the game would be essentially ready for the public. Maybe if he’d done a song and dance instead it would have gone down better and possibly raised them another million dollars. Maybe Richard Garriott will do that instead of selling blood art.

Brendan Drain (@nyphur): EVE Online firing its entire community team when pulling out of VR. While pulling out of VR was ostensibly a business decision for CCP, the way CCP handled it was deplorable. Once again it seems that the studio financially over-extended itself and had no plan for failure other than to panic and fire a lot of staff. The worst part was the fact that they unexpectedly let go all but two members of the EVE community team and the entire Atlanta office. The entire thing came just days after EVE Vegas 2017, where the Sparc and Valkyrie devs were all proudly talking about the future of their games and the EVE community team announced ambitious plans for future Fanfests. Nobody there had any idea they’d be looking for a new job at the end of the month.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna): I don’t even play EVE Online anymore and I’m horrified at the way CCP dumped the entire community team over its VR misjudgments while telling the press and the players that everything was fine, situation normal – that EVE Online wouldn’t be affected. Any studio that truly believes — or thinks we’re dumb enough to believe — that a game of EVE Online’s magnitude (and frankly, toxicity level) will be just fine without a solid global community team is in trouble indeed. Seems like we’re in a “killing the goose that lays the golden egg” situation with the Reykjavik company.

Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre): CCP Games and the Incredible Layoffs and Shutdowns. I spend a fair amount of time making fun of Jagex, chiefly because Jagex makes RuneScape but falls down horribly when trying to make anything else. CCP Games is like a version of Jagex that apparently can’t even manage making its one game at this point. Gutting the EVE Online community team to the point of killing community events indicates that there’s a whole lot of disconnect going on at the most fundamental level. On some level, this is a “blunder” that predates 2017. Heavy investment in VR was a dumb idea when it first happened. But the chickens came home to roost this year, and so here we are.

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster): ArcheAge server merge/wipe. While the final result was probably the smoothest server merges that the game has done yet, the truth is that ArcheAge is a game that guts itself anytime it does one of these “evolutions” that wipes out player progress and asks its community to do a land grab all over again. There had to be a better way to go about this.

MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie): I feel the biggest blunder this year that has been making a negative impact on games is the whole focus on making all development decisions as to what is best for PvP. For instance, ArcheAge mergers were obviously needed to boost up PvP, but was it the best for the game as a whole? I know a sizeable chunk of folks who enjoyed the game’s other features (trade, farming, housing) who quit over the housing wipe. I left, taking all three of my subs with me. Even the trade system was changed up to encourage more travel in PvP areas. And now lets talk about ARK: There have been so many changes to the game because of PvP and PvP exploits that made everything worse for PvE servers that I couldn’t even begin to list them!

Tina Lauro Pollock (@purpletinabeans): I have to get on the CCP train too: Brendan and I live together and have spent plenty of time discussing this as the news rolled out to everyone, and he was very upset by the development team accounts he’d heard. Some of the greatest talent under the studio’s banner was cut, and that is a huge blunder for any studio to make. Runner-up goes to ArenaNet for it’s rather lacklustre (read: practically non-existent) Guild Wars 2 Path of Fire launch hype: The community drove the hype train for the studio and the lack of run-up PR was, and still is, a little baffling when the expansion was so solid.

CCP Games’ VR pullout and subsequent EVE Online layoffs won our award for Biggest MMO Industry Blunder of 2017. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: What was the biggest MMORPG industry blunder of 2017?

  • CCP's VR bungle and EVE layoffs (17%, 105 Votes)
  • ArcheAge's server merge-wipe mess (5%, 30 Votes)
  • Star Citizen's land claims (16%, 102 Votes)
  • ARK exploits (1%, 6 Votes)
  • Chris Roberts 'fed up' drama (5%, 32 Votes)
  • Lack of proper Guild Wars 2 Path of Fire hype (2%, 12 Votes)
  • Guild Wars 2 mountgate (5%, 30 Votes)
  • Funcom making Secret World players reroll for the reboot (9%, 56 Votes)
  • Gazillion's Marvel Heroes failboat (36%, 229 Votes)
  • Nothing (1%, 9 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments) (4%, 23 Votes)

Total Voters: 634

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Poll options include all stories nominated plus other games we thought would be worthy.

MOP’S 2017 AWARDS (SO FAR)
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84 Comments on "Massively OP’s Best of 2017 Awards: Biggest MMO Industry Blunder of 2017"

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Chosenxeno .

Even though I like SWL and I never played TSW I voted for that. That’s just not fair. I always talk about how MMORPGs should respec a players time. Which is partly why I argue against Archaic Design Philosophies so much(thing I saw this year was TOS having a flower that has a 5 hour spawn timer to unlock a specific class. Uh, I have shit to do lol). My time is valuable. It’s not something you can get back. For them to do what they did to people that had thousands of hours played is a disgrace.

I don’t like how MHO ended either.

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Suikoden

So far it sure looks like the popular opinion goes to Marvel Heroes. I certainly understand that.

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Robert Mann

I would agree with MJ, but that is a long term trend in multiplayer where PvP is involved. So yeah, Gazillion or CCP.

Reader
Alex Malone

Voted for the Marvel Heroes blunder.

Whilst the EvE story sucks, I still believe it was right for CCP to stop investing in VR, they just did it badly. But ultimately EvE is still there, the game is still playable, it just sucks about the community events and all the staff having to find new jobs.

With Marvel Heroes…it’s just gone. Not only does it suck for those people who enjoyed the game, but I imagine it will make some of them jaded about the whole genre which is a shame.

cambruin
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cambruin

None.

As I only read newsitems about the few games I play, none of them seemed to have drawn negative attention. So good job Elder Scrolls Online, Civilization 5, CS:GO and Elder Scrolls Legends.

5seconds2urheart
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5seconds2urheart

I’m going with Battlefront 2, EA and that whole gamble box debacle. It brought gamble boxes to the attention of the mainstream media and politicians having a potentially positive impact for the players who are against that kinda malarky.
While EVE’s issues were sad for the employees, EVE isn’t really an important game in the industry and hasn’t been for time so I don’t see that debacle having much effect on gaming as a whole.

Reader
Alex Malone

Whilst EA definitely blundered with SWBF2, it’s not an MMO and is actually leading to positive things for our genre.

Reader
touchofkiel

Everything about Marvel Heroes, which stretches back to last year. The changes they made to the PC version while still denying a console port exists – changes which worked for consoles, maybe, but gutted the PC version. Then the console port comes – it runs like crap, it offers maybe 2/3 of the content (if that), and everything is vastly more expensive.

And then (I believe) before it even gets out of open beta, it’s canceled. Sunset time: end of the year.

And then the sunset was canceled and the game was shut down a few days later – and the entire company collapsed with layoffs on the day before Thanksgiving.

(Special mention to FFXIV’s housing issue! But my FC already has a house and in the end, housing is useless and unimportant to most of us in the FC.)

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Fisty

I’m with everyone else on Gazillion being the biggest offender, but am entirely okay with CCP or Chris Roberts taking the brunt of the editorial criticism.

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mistressbrazen

This was a question that begged for a choice that said “Pick all that apply.” Of course, my heart wanted to pick the way Funcom treated us with the reboot of SWL, but the EVE Online mess was really good too. Ultimately, I voted for the Gazillion Marvel Heroes choice because not only did they mismanage the adult game but they failed on a thoroughly enjoyable children/family game (Hero Squad) which also went down in flames earlier this year. So overall, I had to think Gazillion impacted more players, across all age groups, than did CCP.

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Jeffery Witman

How did Marvel Heroes and Gazillion collapsing overnight not win?

Brendan Drain
Staff
Brendan Drain

It’s winning the the reader vote by a landslide! Without spoiling the other awards still to come, I can promise the Marvel Heroes fiasco did not go ignored. It featured heavily in our discussions, and for this award we came to a consensus that the EVE layoffs (including firing almost its entire community team) to make up the shortfall for a failed misjudgement in VR was the bigger industry blunder.

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Sorenthaz

Guess more folks are invested in EVE or something.